Wednesday, October 12, 2016
The Great Lying Church by M. M. Mangasarian 1909
The Great Lying Church by Mangasar Mugurditch Mangasarian 1909
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The central figure of the New Testament is Jesus, and the question we are trying to answer is, whether we have sufficient evidence to prove to the unbiased mind that he is historical. An idea of the intellectual caliber of the average churchman may be had by the nature of the evidence he offers to justify his faith in the historical Jesus. "The whole world celebrates annually the nativity of Jesus; how could there be a Christmas celebration if there never was a Christ?" asks a Chicago clergyman. The simplicity of this plea would be touching were it not that it calls attention to the painful inefficiency of the pulpit as an educator. The church goer is trained to believe, not to think. The truth is withheld from him under the pious pretense that faith, and not knowledge, is the essential thing. A habit of untruthfulness is cultivated by systematically sacrificing everything to orthodoxy. This habit in the end destroys one's conscience for any truths which are prejudicial to one's interest. But is it true that the Christmas celebration proves a historical Jesus?
We can only offer a few additional remarks to what we have already said elsewhere in these pages on the Pagan origin of Christmas. It will make us grateful to remember that just as we have to go to the Pagans for the origins of our civilized institutions—our courts of justice, our art and literature, and our political and religious liberties—we must thank them also for our merry festivals, such as Christmas and Easter. The ignorant, of course, do not know anything about the value and wealth of the legacy bequeathed to us by our glorious ancestors of Greek and Roman times, but the educated can have no excuse for any failure to own their everlasting indebtedness to the Pagans. It will be impossible today to write the history of civilization without giving to the classical world the leading role. But while accepting the gifts of the Pagan peoples we have abused the givers. A beneficiary who will defame a bounteous benefactor is unworthy of his good fortune. I regret to say that the Christian church, notwithstanding that it owes many of its most precious privileges to the Pagans, has returned for service rendered insolence and vituperation. No generous or just institution would treat a rival as Christianity has treated Paganism.
Both Christmas and Easter are Pagan festivals. We do not know, no one knows, when Jesus was born; but we know the time of the winter solstice when the sun begins to retrace his steps, turning his radiant face toward our earth once more. It was this event, a natural, demonstrable, universal, event, that our European ancestors celebrated with song and dance—with green branches, through which twinkled a thousand lighted candles, and with the exchange of good wishes and gifts. Has the church had the courage to tell its people that Christmas is a Pagan festival which was adopted and adapted by the Christian world, reluctantly at first, and in the end as a measure of compromise only? The Protestants, especially, conveniently forget the severe Puritanic legislation against the observance of this Pagan festival, both in England and America. It is the return to Paganism which has given to Christmas and Easter their great popularity, as it is the revival of Paganism which is everywhere replacing the Bible ideas of monarchic government with republicanism. And yet, repeatedly, and without any scruples of conscience, preacher and people claim these festivals as the gifts of their creed to humanity, and quote them further to prove the historical existence of their god-man, Jesus. It was this open and persistent perversion of history by the church, the manufacture of evidence on the one hand, the suppression of witnesses prejudiced to her interests on the other, and the deliberate forging of documents, which provoked Carlyle into referring to one of its branches as the great lying Church.
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