Tag Archives: organized religion

Was Thomas Paine the Founding Father of Secular Humanism in America?

This is an excerpt from Chapter Five of Antidisestablishmentarianism.

Benjamin Franklin might have remained his friend, yet he said concerning the publication of works like The Age of Reason,

“I have read your manuscript with some attention. By the argument it contains against a particular Providence, though you allow a general Providence, you strike at the foundation of all religion. For without the belief of a Providence that takes cognizance of, guards, and guides, and may favor particular persons, there is no motive to worship a Deity, to fear his displeasure, or to pray for his protection. I will not enter into any discussion of your principles though you seem to desire it. At present I shall only give you my opinion that … the consequence of printing this piece will be a great deal of odium [hate] drawn upon yourself, mischief to you, and no benefit to others. He that spits into the wind, spits in his own face. But were you to succeed, do you imagine any good would be done by it? … Think how great a portion of mankind consists of weak and ignorant men and women and of inexperienced, inconsiderate youth of both sexes who have need of the motives of religion to restrain them from vice, to support their virtue. … I would advise you, therefore, not to attempt unchaining the tiger, but to burn this piece before it is seen by any other person. … If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it? I intend this letter itself as a proof of my friendship.”

Thomas Paine was a bitter, caustic critic of Christianity and organized religion of any kind. He clearly saw the corruption of the Established Religion but he rejected truth and the Scriptures as coming from God himself. He saw the Bible as concocted by the organized church. He denounced many state constitutions for claiming to be tolerant but being tolerant only of Christianity, and attacked the authority of Scriptures repeatedly. Although his ideas have existed for centuries, Thomas Paine was the founding father to whom Secular Humanists look back to justify most of their beliefs and ideas. Secularists today loudly echo Thomas Paine’s views on Christianity.

“No falsehood is so fatal as that which is made an article of faith.”

“Of all the tyrannies that afflict mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst. Every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in, but this attempts a stride beyond the grave and seeks to pursue us into eternity.”

“What is it the New Testament teaches us? To believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married; and the belief of this debauchery is called faith.”

“The Bible: a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.”

“The Christian system of religion is an outrage on common sense.”

“It has been the scheme of the Christian church, and of all the other invented systems of religion, to hold man in ignorance of the Creator, as it is of government to hold him in ignorance of his rights. The systems of the one are as false as those of the other, and are calculated for mutual support.”
“Priests and conjurors are of the same trade.”

“Jesus Christ, … at once both God and man, and also the Son of God, celestially begotten, on purpose to be sacrificed, because they say that Eve in her longing … had eaten an apple.”

“The Church was resolved to have a New Testament, and as, after the lapse of more than three hundred years, no handwriting could be proved or disproved, the Church, which like former impostors had then gotten possession of the State, had everything its own way. It invented creeds… and out of the loads of rubbish that were presented it voted four to be Gospels, and others to be Epistles, as we now find them arranged.”

“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon that the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.”

“As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me as a species of atheism — a sort of religious denial of God. It professed to believe in man rather than in God. It is as near to atheism as twilight to darkness. It introduces between man and his Maker an opaque body, which it calls a Redeemer, as the moon introduces her opaque self between the earth and the sun, and it produces by this means a religious or irreligious eclipse of the light. It has put the whole orbit of reason into shade.”

“The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion.”

“Yet this is the trash that the Church imposes upon the world as the Word of God; this is the collection of lies and contradictions called the Holy Bible! this is the rubbish called Revealed Religion!”

“The continually progressive change to which the meaning of words is subject, the want of a universal language which renders translation necessary, the errors to which translations are again subject, the mistakes of copyists and printers, together with the possibility of willful alteration, are of themselves evidences that the human language, whether in speech or in print, cannot be the vehicle of the Word of God. The Word of God exists in something else.”

“The fable of Christ and his twelve apostles, which is a parody on the Sun and the twelve signs of the Zodiac, copied from the ancient religions of the Eastern world, is the least hurtful part.”

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Viral Video by Jefferson Bethke: “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus.”

Jefferson Bethke, from his Facebook page

Jefferson Bethke of Tacoma, WA posted a Youtube video on 1/10/2012 which has 10,886,714 views as of 1/15/2012 which is entitled “Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus.” Because of some of the more outlandish comments people posted, he posted this on his facebook page on Friday 1/13/2012 “If you are using my video to bash ‘the church’ be careful. I was in no way intending to do that… The Church is Jesus’ bride so be careful how you speak of His wife. If a normal dude has right to get pissed when you bash His wife, it makes me tremble to think how great the weight is when we do it to Jesus’ wife. The church is His vehicle to reach a lost word. A hospital for sinners. Saying you love Jesus but hate the Church, is like a fiancé saying he loves his future bride, but hates her kids. We are all under grace. Look to Him.”

This is not a line by line analysis, but this is in response to some of the uproar it has created.

It opens with the words “What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion?” Very simple: then you are wrong. Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17. The Law is the religion God Himself set up under Moses. Jesus opposed hypocrisy and false religion, but he did not come to abolish religion. Christianity is both a relationship with Jesus the Christ and a religion.

Many of the questions he asks are obviously true, but like so many true statements are either misleading or dishonest. For example, Jefferson Bethke says, “What if I told you ‘Republican’ doesn’t automatically mean ‘Christian’?” I have never met, talked to, read about or heard of anyone who either believes that or believes anything like that. This is a either a straw man argument, that is, deliberately misrepresenting your opposition or religious hypocritical mockery. It is an appeal to man’s pride, the “I am not like this so I am better than you” type of pride. Voting for righteousness is important and the democratic party disdains righteousness. Why do we who vote Republican, understanding that we are choosing the lesser of two evils, have to be mocked by you?

But the worst lines are the outright lies. “I mean, if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?” This is one of the Big Lies atheists constantly use against us. The Christian Religion has never started a war. period. False religions start wars and Christian use the military to defend themselves when attacked, but the Christian Religion has never, ever started a war.

“Why does it build huge churches but fails to feed the poor?” The Law commanded the building of the temple, mostly of gold, yet Jesus said “For you always have the poor with you.” Matthew 26:11 The greatest help to the poor the world has ever seen are the hospitals, orphanages, poor houses, retirement homes, rescue missions, etc. built by the Religion of Christianity.

“Tells single moms God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever had a divorce?” The Religion of Christianity does not say that. Anyone who says this is not a Christian.

Though there are many hypocrites who fit the descriptions he gives, he fails to realize that by condemning all religion, he is just another hypocrite. “Now I ain’t judging, I’m just sayin’, ‘Quit puttin’ on a fake look.'” Yes, you are judging.

“Which is why Jesus hated religion, and for it he called them fools Don’t you see it’s so much better than just following some rules?” Jesus hated hypocrisy, not religion. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, as well as the rest of the Law. He is equating religion with the Law.

The key to this video are the lines “Now back to the point: One thing is vital to mention How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums See, one’s the work of God, but one’s a man-made invention” If he means by religion the works of sinful man to obtain salvation by his own efforts, then this section is entirely correct. But that is not the Religion of Christianity.

Jesus did not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it. A proper relationship with Jesus Christ will fill you with the power of His holy spirit to obey His Word. This is the Religion of Christianity.

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