When truth does not come from authority, we must seek authority from truth.
We may not completely understand what our government does or why they do it at all times, but we should know one truth about it. A government fears only the revolution.
This fact should not surprise anyone. Those who run the government and those who benefit from it would lose everything they have staked in it. These are the same people empowered to put down a revolution.
Two thousand years ago, the Roman Empire feared a revolt from the Jews who believed the empire had taken over land that belonged to them and forced them to pay tribute to the Caesar. The Jews did revolt on several occasions and though the Romans put each of them down, the costs of human lives and resources
So what did the Romans do?
According to Joseph Atwill, author of Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus, they set aside the use of force and used a different tactic to solve this problem. Specifically, they invented a brand-new religion that convinced Jews to adopt a pacifistic attitude towards the Roman authority. Instead of promoting war and dissent, the new religion told its adherents to “turn the other cheek.” and
to “render unto Caesar what is his.”
The new religion became the official religion of the Roman Empire and spread throughout the world. Billions of people practice it now. Of course, this religion is
Followers believe the New Testament’s account of a man who claims to be a deity and who proves this claim by first dying of a crucifixion and then coming back to life. Atwill points out that all evidence of this story comes from a single source, Josephus, who wrote forty years after the events described allegedly took place.
The point of the fiction is its message of peace and uncritical acceptance of authority. It still works today in the United States.
Republicans and Democrats for the most part respect authority even when the other party holds it. Fringe groups like the Tea Party only encourage respect for authority which agrees to Tea Party principles. All of these political groups are prepared to ignore the truth about authority (i.e. the legitimacy of a government) because they are too concerned about being obedient.
When the public hears names like “Lee Harvey Oswald” or “Bin Laden” broadcast (by an obedient media) as criminals, most obey the order to believe what they hear. This docility works to help our government promote official stories which are used as justification to start wars in our name.
These lies should not cause us to become pacifists. These lies should cause us to look for truth from different sources than government or religious sources. Are you willing to take that leap of logic?
Daring to challenge assumptions about God and the afterlife, the novel St. Peter’s Choice arrives now to an audience of those willing to think freely.
It is Judgment Day. The “rock” of the Christian religion begins to change his mind about going to heaven after he decides to talk to those sent to hell. When he speaks to God later about the conversation, he finds he has a choice to make between faith and reason.
This novel is unique in that it provides ample footnotes from the Bible and other works that analyze Christianity. An appendix also gives background to issues raised by the characters in the book. A bibliography shows books of influence to the author, most notably Open Tomb: How and Why Jesus Faked His Death and Resurrection by David Mirsch.
Buy it here
Assertions by Christians:
There is a God.
He is my God.
There are no other Gods.
Those who believe as I do are rewarded after death.
Everyone else fails to get the reward.
I know people who believe in this manner. Many of them are, from my point of view, good people. Some are not.
The novel, St. Peter’s Choice, asks the reader to assume, for the sake of argument, the truth of this set of assertions. It then challenges the reader to decide if this is a God they would choose.
Through the novel, interesting questions come up:
Is God good?
Is heaven a desirable place?
Does hell exist?
Why does the Old Testament God have so many capital offenses?
What does one do if one’s reason leads them to disbelieve in God?
St. Peter’s Choice will be available on Amazon and other stores soon!
Daring to challenge assumptions about God and the afterlife, the novel St. Peter’s Choice by Dean T. Hartwell arrives soon to an audience of those willing to think freely.
It is Judgment Day. The “rock” of the Christian religion begins to change his mind about going to heaven after he decides to talk to those sent to hell.
When he speaks to God later about the conversations, he finds he has a choice to make between faith and reason.
As a child, there was a phrase I had to say every day…
ONE NATION UNDER GOD
My kindergarten class says there is a God, but my parents don’t. Why should I recite this pledge?
BECAUSE I SAID SO
The principal says I must say it. Maybe he is wrong.
YOU’RE A LOSER* IF YOU BELIEVE THAT
I tried to trust God, but my friend died in a car accident.
GOD MUST HAVE HAD A PLAN
Then I do not care for God.
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD…
Then why does he let innocent people die?
Faith in what? A God I cannot see? A Bible I read and do not believe?
ONE NATION UNDER GOD
My nation sends troops to fight wars that make no sense.
OUR GOVERNMENT WOULD NEVER DO THAT
Where are the weapons of mass destruction?
I CANNOT REVEAL MY SOURCES
SUPPORT THE TROOPS
I support the troops coming home and for all of them to stop supporting wars based on lies.
THE TERRORISTS DID IT
What terrorists are you talking about?
I CANNOT REVEAL MY SOURCES
Who can I trust?
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD...
I give up. Is there something you can tell me not connected to God or country?
"RAYMOND SHAW IS THE KINDEST, BRAVEST, WARMEST, MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING I'VE EVER KNOWN IN MY LIFE."**
*or a communist, a traitor, a conspiracy theorist, etc.
**from The Manchurian Candidate, a movie based on the novel by Richard Condon
There was a time in my life I especially remember that in which I should have said something.
I was in high school and in my English class, one of my classmates (I will call him Tex) made comments about his Christian beliefs on an almost daily basis. We were in a public school and most of the students had the patience to listen to what came off as religious dogmatism.
Others in the class hounded him, told him to shut up and jeered whenever he would start to say something. I sat there in an emotional straightjacket until one day, after class, I started crying.
I felt bad for the fact he was being picked on but did not know quite what to say in class. It took me years, but now I have constructed an imaginary dialogue which I could have started to get the class to understand Tex’s background:
Me: Tex, where are you from?
Me: Are you Baptist or Methodist? (Sorry for the stereotype, but it is close to the truth)
Me: Did you attend church every Sunday?
Me: Did everyone else in your neighborhood go?
Me: Did anyone ever challenge the doctrines of the church?
Tex: I never heard of anyone doing that.
With my background of having spent several summers in Texas visiting my grandparents, I had an understanding of how most people raised in the South (and especially those who still live there) think about religious and political matters.
I could have told my classmates that people in the South devoutly believe as they do just as much as non-religious people believe. Attacking a person’s beliefs will get us nowhere. It is better to simply ask a few questions and create a dialogue. No one should be made to feel left out.
The story of Jesus has been one of the most frequently told in world history. But I am a little confused. Did he really say he was going to return? Here are a series of questions I have about this subject:
When Was Jesus Born?
No one has been able to ascertain exactly when Jesus was born. Scholars typically place the year of his birth at around 4 BC (Before Christ) or BCE (Before Common Era).
Was Jesus born before he was born?
When did Jesus die?
As with his birth, there is no certain year for his death. Scholars put his death at around 30 CE (Common Era).
Why wasn’t the year of his death noted anywhere if it was that important?
What did Jesus tell people about the coming Kingdom of God?
He told them that it would take place during their lifetimes. (Matthew 24:34)
Why don’t Christians acknowledge that this prediction was wrong?
When did the Apostle Paul, one of the earliest Christian writers, begin to preach?
Paul makes no mention in his letters of the destruction of Jerusalem, which took place in 70 CE. It is reasonable to assume he must have written them before that point in time. Paul was an early persecutor of Christians and subsequently had his “conversion” to Christianity some time later. So, it is widely thought that he wrote his letters somewhere around 50-60 CE.
What is significant about Paul’s letters?
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:6 that there were 500 witnesses to the risen Jesus but gives no names even though he says they are still around.
Why didn’t he produce these witnesses instead of giving what sounds like hearsay?
When were the Gospels put into writing?
Paul never says anything about what we now call the Gospels (of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), so his preaching must have taken place before they were put into writing. Scholar consensus has the Gospels starting around 70 CE with Mark, Matthew and Luke and ending with John in about 90 CE.
What is significant about the last Gospel, that of John?
John is the only Gospel to refer to Jesus as God. (Source: Ehrman, Bart D.: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. HarperCollins, 2005.)
Why don’t the other Gospels say anything about this key tenet of the Christian faith?
There is no discussion in the Gospel of John of an upcoming “Kingdom of God.” (Source: "Biblical Literature." Encyclopedia Britannica Online).
Why did the Gospels stop mentioning the upcoming Kingdom?
Did the early Christians change the message when it suited their interests in attracting converts and establishing their religion?
Christians, help me out here!
I have recently written two diaries on OpEd News, "Did God Ask to Be Trusted?" and "The Choice of a Reluctant Messiah."In the first, I questioned those who assume about Christianity what cannot be proven, such as the Virgin birth, the miracles and the resurrection of Jesus. Many of those who profess to uphold these beliefs often fail to care about the beliefs of others, as was recently the case when members of the House of Representatives re-affirmed "In God We Trust" as our motto.In the second, I made up a conversation with Jesus in which I "reported" him as one who simply preached the coming Kingdom of God and never referred to himself as the Son of God. This representation of Jesus shows him as compassionate and thoughtful and certainly not vengeful or dogmatic.I have received some replies about this diaries and was referred to a lengthy article. If you liked my diaries, this is well worth your read. It is called "About Christianity."
St. Peter's Choice
I recently wrote my thoughts about what would happen to me if there really were a Christian "Judgment Day." It was in an essay called "The Gospel of Dean."
God told many of us to go to a place of everlasting fire because we did not believe in his son. We got close to hell and discovered that the fire was only an appearance. We were the people that overcame the threat of hell and lived our lives in accordance with our own principles instead of expecting a reward.
Now I turn to those in the other line. St. Peter is standing in front of heaven calling out names from the "Book of Life." It looks like (after hundreds of years) that he is just about finished. Let's listen in:
St. Peter: I call the name John Doe.
John: That's me!
St. Peter: So what have you got to say about your life?
John: I believe in Jesus.
St. Peter: You do?
John: Yes, sir! I am saved! May I go in now?
St. Peter: Just a minute. You are going to get an eternity in there. What's the hurry?
St. Peter: What caused you to believe in Jesus?
John: I was in prison.
St. Peter: What for?
St. Peter: Were you guilty?
St. Peter: You know I can call God and ask him.
John: Well, yes, I was.
St. Peter: So what are you anxious about?
John: Uhh, I just saw one of my victims in there.
St. Peter: OK, John. I have nowhere else to send you. God says you are allowed in, so go on.
John Doe walks through the pearly gates and makes a sharp right turn.
St. Peter: I call the name Sally Doe
Sally: Here I am!
St. Peter: How was your life?
Sally: I did it all for Christ!
St. Peter: How did you do that?
Sally: I called people out for being sinners?
St. Peter: Who were these sinners?
Sally: Liberals, homosexuals, and other Bible-hating heathens who are burning in hell now.
St. Peter: How do you know this?
Sally: It says God hates them in the Bible.
St. Peter (pulls out a Bible): Show me where in here.
St. Peter: Was it the New Testament or the Old?
Sally: What do you mean?
St. Peter: Have you ever read the Bible?
Sally: Well, no...Is God mad at me?
St. Peter: I don't know. But you can go through the gates to heaven now.
Sally wanders through the pearly gates.
St. Peter: I call the name Richard Rich.
Richard: That's me.
St. Peter: How did life go for you?
Richard: I am blessed.
St. Peter: How so?
Richard: God gave me such a wonderful life.
St. Peter: What made it wonderful?
Richard: He showed me how to make money using Christian principles.
St. Peter: Did you help the poor with any of that money?
Richard: The poor? Who cares about them?
St. Peter: Well, Jesus did. Surely you have read the "Sermon on the Mount."
Richard: Yeah. I read that. But the Bible says that people should not be lazy, too.
St. Peter: But not all poor people are lazy.
Richard: St. Peter, I've had enough of this socialist talk. May I go now?
St. Peter: Sure. But you know you can't take it with you.
Richard laughs and goes through the pearly gates.
God returns from sending people to hell. St. Peter drops the "Book of Life" and looks away from God.
God: Peter, you've got one more name on that list.
St. Peter: Yes. Of course you know it is mine.
God: So why don't you read it and enjoy your reward?
St. Peter: God, I can't believe some of the people who just went to heaven.
God: They all believe in my son and that is what matters.
St. Peter: You know I like your son and many of the people in heaven were good people, but...
God: But what?
St. Peter: But I want to go talk to the people you sent to hell.
St. Peter: I want to ask them why they rejected heaven. They must have had their reasons.
Suddenly God disappeared and St. Peter was walking toward hell. He had one thought on his mind that he believes those in heaven never considered:
"What is the point of going to heaven if you lose your soul along the way?"