Christianity’s Criminal History, 87

Below, an abridged translation from the third volume of
Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums.

 
In the New Testament there are six counterfeited ‘epistles of Paul’

None of the Gospels was written by any of the ‘first apostles’. Neither the Gospel of Matthew comes from the apostle Matthew nor that of John from the apostle John, nor is the Revelation of John of Patmos due to the apostle. But if in the Old Testament there were men who did not stick at nothing (instead, they spoke as if God were speaking), why should there not be others, in the New Testament, capable of putting everything imaginable on the lips of Jesus and his disciples who, together with the Old Testament and Jesus, were the third authority for Christians?

In this way, several writings of the New Testament pass as works of the apostles. Although in some of them the intention to cheat may be doubted, in others it is evident and in others, plainly obvious. Nevertheless, and against all evidence, their authenticity is expressly attested. The main idea is to describe as ‘apostolic’ everything that has already been accepted and to make it binding as a norm.

Several epistles were thus falsified in the New Testament under the name of the oldest Christian author: Paul, who openly confesses he is only for proclaiming Christ ‘with or without second intentions’.
 

The Pastoral Epistles

Totally false in the Corpus Paulinum are the two epistles ‘To Timothy’ and ‘To Titus’, the so-called Pastoral Epistles. They were known in Christianity from the middle of the 2nd century and ended up in the New Testament among the other epistles without any qualms… until the beginning of the 19th century. In 1804-1805, J.E.C. Schmidt questioned the authenticity of the First Epistle to Timothy; in 1807 Schleiermacher rejected it completely, and in 1812 the scholar of Göttingen, Eichhorn, verified the falsity of the three epistles.

Since then, this idea has been imposed among Protestant researchers and lately more and more among Catholic exegetes, although there are still a few known authors who continue to defend their authenticity, or at least a partial authenticity (i.e., the ‘hypothesis of fragments’).

In the three epistles, which were probably written in Asia Minor at the beginning of the 2nd century, the forger calls himself, from the beginning, ‘Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ’. He writes in the first person and boasts of having been named

preacher and apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—: master of the pagans in faith and truth.

He lashes out harshly against the ‘heretics’, of whom more than one ‘surrenders to Satan’. He whips ‘the stories of old irreligious women’, ‘the hypocrisy of the liars’, ‘the useless and charming charlatans, in particular the Jews to whom it would be necessary to close their mouth’. But he also silences women: ‘I do not allow a woman to indoctrinate, nor to raise her above a man, but to remain silent’. And the slaves must submit and ‘respect their lords’.

These three falsifications, which are significantly lacking in the oldest collections of Paul’s epistles, were already considered apocryphal by Marcion when referring to Paul. It is very likely that they were written precisely to rebut Marcion through Paul, as happened in the 2nd and 3rd centuries with other ecclesiastical falsifications. And it speaks for itself the fact that these false ‘epistles of Paul’, much later than Paul and therefore from the theological and canonical point of view much more evolved, soon enjoyed great popularity in Catholicism; that the most important writers of the Church quoted them with predilection and used them against the true Pauline epistles; and that precisely these falsifications made the almost heretic Paul a man of the Catholic Church. With them, countless times the popes have condemned their ‘heretics’ and fought to have their dogmas recognised.

Against the authenticity of these pastoral epistles there are historical reasons, but even more theological and linguistic reasons that have not only increased over time but become more precise. ‘For evangelical researchers’ writes Wolfgang Speyer, one of the foremost connoisseurs of the falsifications of antiquity, ‘the pseudoepigraphy of the Epistle to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus is considered proven’.

The theologian Von Campenhausen speaks of a ‘falsification of extraordinary moral height’ and attributes them to St. Polycarp, the ‘ancient prince of Asia’ (Eusebius). The Catholic theologian Brox, also an expert in this field so little appreciated by researchers, writes about ‘the literary manipulation that is perfect’ although ‘it is recognisable as fiction’, a ‘methodically executed deception, a presumption of conscious authority done in an artistically, refined way’, and of course ‘the crowning work’ of forgery within the New Testament.

More conservative scholars, in view of the discrepancy with the authentic Pauline epistles, resort to the ‘secretary’s hypothesis’: according to which the author would have been Paul’s secretary who had to accompany him for a long time. ‘It is true that tradition knows nothing of such a man’ says the Bibel-Lexikon (Bible Dictionary). In the ‘hypothesis of the fragments’ the assumption appears that among the false texts of Paul there are also authentic pieces. Even for Schelkle the Pastoral Epistles ‘not only seem to be different from Paul’s epistles but subsequent to them’.
 

The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians

As is often supposed, it is very probable that the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians was ‘conceived premeditatedly as a falsification’ (Lindemann) attributing it to Paul. The authenticity of Two Thessalonians was put into question for the first time in 1801 by J.E.C. Schmidt, imposing definitively the thesis of falsehood, especially thanks to W. Wrede in 1903. In the early 1930s, researchers like A. Jülicher and E. Fascher were of the opinion that, by establishing a non-Pauline authorship of the epistle, ‘we have not lost much’.

Not us, but this has implications to the faithful of the Bible. What would they think if, for two millennia, falsification has existed in their ‘Holy Scriptures’? The counterfeiter, who above all tries to dispel the doubts about the Parousia (that the Lord’s return does not occur) testifies at the end of the epistle its authenticity by emphasizing the signature of Paul’s own hand:

I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters.

In order to avoid the doubts about authenticity in his case, the forger does not hesitate to warn his readers about the falsifications with these words: ‘Do not let anyone confuse you, in any way…’ He is fully aware of his deception. With a falsified epistle of Paul the author wants to disavow an authentic one. This is why there are ‘very few’ who today defend the authenticity of Two Thessalonians (W. Marxsen).

 
Colossians, Ephesians and The Epistle to the Hebrews

Most researchers consider the Epistle of Paul to the Colossians as ‘deutero-Pauline’, and also as ‘non-Pauline’. And very probably the Epistle to the Ephesians was also ‘consciously’ falsified, closely related to the previous one: an epistle which, from the beginning, was considered authored by Paul. It is significant that reminiscences of all the important Pauline epistles are found here, especially the one destined for the Colossians, from which almost its complete formulations are derived. The style is very rhetorical and, actually, more than an epistle it is a kind of ‘meditation on the great Christian themes’, a ‘discourse on mysteries or wisdom’ (Schlier). And in no other epistle of Paul is the word ‘Church’ used so exclusively in the Catholic sense.

The Epistle to the Hebrews, written perhaps in the 1st century by an unknown author, was originally transmitted anonymously and no old writing related it to Paul. It does not even contain the author’s name, but in the end it shows ‘intentionally the final formula of a Pauline epistle’ (Lietzmann). In spite of the fact that until the middle of the 4th century it was not considered apostolic, Pauline or canonical, it appeared nonetheless in the New Testament as a letter from ‘Paul’, and as such was taken until Luther. The reformer put it in doubt, finding in it straw and wood, ‘an epistle formed by numerous pieces’. At present, even on the Catholic side, the epistle to the Hebrews is rarely attributed to ‘Paul’.

However, since the 2nd century it was accepted by the tradition. It appears in the liturgical and official books of the Catholic Church as ‘Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Hebrews’. It also appears in the Latin translation of the New Testament, but not in the Greek text. We do not even know who wrote it, and all the names that have been quoted or can be cited about the author are only speculations.

Although critical theology considers authentic other epistles of Paul, the fact is that the books of the New Testament contain various forgeries. No less than six epistles attributed to Paul by his own name are actually deutero-Pauline, that is, not authored by Paul; but they appear anyway as such in the Bible. If the Epistle to the Hebrews is added, it would be seven.

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Christianity’s Criminal History, 83

Below, an abridged translation from the third volume of
Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums.

 
God as the author?

The New Testament is the most printed and (perhaps) most read book of modern times. It has been translated into more languages than any other book. It has been interpreted, says the Catholic Schelkle, with an intensity ‘that surpasses everything. Would not any other book have been exhausted long ago with such exhaustive exegesis?’

Is it possible, apart from its Jewish ancestors, that it offers with some good things so many contradictions, legends, myths; so much secondary transformation and writing work; so many parallels, as shown by the History of the Synoptic Tradition by Bultmann with the tales of universal literature—starting with the old Chinese fictions, through the stories of Indians and gypsies, the tales of the seas of the south to the Germanic legends, with so many inappropriate remarks and nonsense—that many men have taken it so seriously, and many still take seriously?

The New Testament is, not only formally but also in terms of its content, so diverse and contradictory that the concept of a ‘New Testament theology’ became, a long time ago, something more than problematic. In any case, there is no unitary doctrine of the New Testament but great deviations, inconsistencies, notable discrepancies, even in regard to the ‘testimony of Christ’ itself. Only the fact that the Lord is attested gives the whole a highly heterogeneous unity. In view of this, speaking of inspiration or inerrancy leaves speechless even those of us who take it for laughter!

At the Council of Florence (February 4, 1442), the Council of Trent (4th session of April 8, 1546) and Vatican Council I (3rd session on April 24, 1870), the Roman Catholic Church has made the doctrine of the inspiration of the Bible, which carries inerrancy, a dogma of faith. In this last conclave they decreed that ‘the Sacred Scriptures, written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, have God as author’. Therefore, the ecclesiastical theologians flatly deny the contradictions or even the simple possibility of falsifications in the Bible.

Contradictions and inerrancy, falsification and sanctity, illegitimacy and canonicity, hardly harmonise among themselves. Also, the high moral and religious dignity attributed to the biblical authors, their presumed conscience of the strict truth, is wrongly combined with all that. The ‘authority’ of their books is based and has been based precisely on ‘faithfully reproducing the prophecies about Christ by the prophets and the testimony of Christ by the apostles’ (Von Campenhausen). This is how the apologists have defended and still defend themselves, usually with eloquent words, against accusations of falsification.

Even a scholar not exempt of criticism such as Arnold Meyer, at the end of his article on religious pseudoepigraphy, not precisely in favour of the Churches, avoids the word ‘falsifications’—which I always prefer to the decent babblings of ‘serious’ science—and ‘prefers to speak of an ancient form of the creative literary force, which strives to give again the word to old figures, in a way as real and effective as possible, so that the truth finds today the same as yesterday a dignified voice and a successful defence’.

In fact, the fabrications of Christians—and of Jews—must be judged in a much more rigorous way than those of the pagans. Although the latter possessed sacred books, for example in Orphism or Hermeticism, these books did not have the meaning of a revealed religion. On the other hand, the Jewish and Christian revelations, the doctrines of the prophets and of Jesus, were obligatory; inviolable.

However, the Christians modified the writings of the New Testament and also of the Fathers of the Church, the texts of the ecclesiastical conclaves. In fact, they fabricated totally new treaties in the name of Jesus, of his disciples, of the Fathers of the Church; they falsified full acts of the councils.

It is significant that Norbert Brox (a Catholic theologian!) still calls in 1973 and 1977 ‘uncertain’ the scientific investigation of proto-Christian pseudo-epigraphy. He wrote: ‘All these efforts try to save themselves from the calamity of having to attribute to authors, with proven ethical and religious pretensions, a dubious behaviour in which they do not believe; and they want to delimit, from the whole mass of falsifications, an integral area: religiously motivated and beyond all suspicion’.

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Christianity’s Criminal History, 81

Below, an abridged translation from the third volume of
Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums.

 

Fabrications in the New Testament

‘Forgeries begin in the New Testament era and have never ceased’.

—Carl Schneider, evangelical theologian

 

The error of Jesus

At the beginning of Christianity there are hardly any falsifications, assuming that Jesus of Nazareth is historical and not the myth of a god transported to the human being. However, historicity is merely presupposed here; it is, independently from some exceptions, the communis opinio (common opinion) of the 20th century. But there is no actual demonstration. The hundreds of apologetic nonsense in circulation, such as that of the Jesuit F.X. Brors (with imprimatur), are as gratuitous as brazen: ‘But where is a personality somewhere whose existence is historically guaranteed as the person of Christ? We can also mythologize a Cicero, a Caesar, even Frederick the Great and a Napoleon: but more guaranteed that the existence of Christ is not theirs’.

On the contrary, what is clear is that there is no demonstrative testimony of the historical existence of Jesus in the so-called profane literature. All extra-Christian sources do not say anything about Jesus: Suetonius and Pliny the Younger on the Roman side, Philo and, especially important, Justus of Tiberias on the Jewish side. Or they do not take into consideration, as the Testimonia (Testimony) of Tacitus and Flavius Josephus, what even many Catholic theologians admit today. Even a well-known Catholic like Romano Guardini knew why he wrote: ‘The New Testament is the only source that reports on Jesus’.

Insofar as the judgment that the New Testament and its reliability deserves, critical historical theology has shown, in a way as broad as precise, a largely negative result. According to critical Christian theologians the biblical books ‘are not interested in history’ (M. Dibelius), ‘they are only a collection of anecdotes’ (M. Werner), ‘should be used only with extreme caution’ (M. Goguel), are full of ‘religious legends’ (Von Soden), ‘stories of devotions and entertainment’ (C. Schneider), full of propaganda, apologetics, polemics and tendentious ideas. In short: here everything is faith, history is nothing.

This is also true, precisely, about the sources that speak almost exclusively of the life and doctrine of the Nazarene, the Gospels. All the stories of Jesus’ life are, as its best scholar, Albert Schweitzer, wrote, ‘hypothetical constructions’. And consequently, even modern Christian theology, all of which is critical and does not cling to dogmatism, puts into question the historical credibility of the Gospels; arriving unanimously at the conclusion that, regarding the life of Jesus, we can find practically nothing. The Gospels do not reflect, in any way, history but faith: the common theology, the common fantasy of the end of the 1st century.

Therefore, in the beginnings of Christianity there is neither history nor literary fabrications but, as the central issue, its true motive, error. And this error goes back to none other than Jesus.

We know that the Jesus of the Bible, especially the Synoptic, is fully within the Jewish tradition. He is much more Jewish than Christian. As to the others, the members of the primitive community were called ‘Hebrews’. Only the most recent research calls them ‘Judeo-Christian’ but their lives were hardly different from that of the other Jews. They also considered the sacred Jewish Scriptures as mandatory and remained members of the synagogue for many generations.

Jesus propagated a mission only among Jews. He was strongly influenced by the Jewish apocalyptic—and this influenced Christianity mightily. Not in vain does Bultmann has one of his studies with the title Ist die Apokalyptik die Mutter der christlichen Theologie? (Is the apocalyptic the mother of Christian theology?). In any case, the New Testament is full of apocalyptic ideas and such influence has its mark in all its steps. ‘There can be no doubt that it was an apocalyptic Judaism in which the Christian faith acquired its first and basic form’ (Cornfeld / Botterweck).

But the germ of this faith is Jesus’ error about the imminent end of the world. Those beliefs were frequent. It did not always mean that the world would end, but perhaps it was the beginning of a new period. Similar ideas were known in Iran, in Babylon, Assyria and Egypt. The Jews took them from paganism and incorporated them into the Old Testament as the idea of the Messiah. Jesus was one of the many prophets—like those of the Jewish apocalypses, the Essenes, John the Baptist—who announced that his generation was the last one. He preached that the present time was over and that some of his disciples ‘would not taste death until they saw the kingdom of God coming’; that they would not end the mission in Israel ‘until the Son of Man arrives’; that the final judgment of God would take place ‘in this same generation’ which would not cease ‘until all this has happened’.

Although all this was in the Bible for a millennium and a half, Hermann Samuel Reimarus, the Hamburg Orientalist who died in 1768 (whose extensive work, which occupied more than 1,400 pages, was later published in parts by Lessing), was the first to recognise the error of Jesus. But until the beginning of the 20th century the theologian Johannes Weiss did not show the discovery of Reimarus. It was developed by the theologian Albert Schweitzer.

The recognition of Jesus’ fundamental error is considered the Copernican moment of modern theology and is generally defended by the critical representatives of history and the anti-dogmatics. For the theologian Bultmann it is necessary ‘to say that Jesus was wrong in waiting for the end of the world’. And according to the theologian Heiler ‘a serious researcher discusses the firm conviction of Jesus in the early arrival of the final judgment and the end’.

But not only Jesus was wrong but also all Christendom since, as the archbishop of Freiburg, Conrad Gröber (a member promoter of the SS) admits, ‘it was contemplated the return of the Lord as imminent, as is testified not only in different passages in the epistles of St. Paul, St. Peter, James and in the Book of Revelation; but also by the literature of the Apostolic Fathers and the Proto-Christian life’.

(Note of the Ed.: The face that Richard Neave constructed from skulls of typical 1st century Palestinian Jews suggests that Jesus, if he existed, must have differed significantly from the traditional depictions in Western art, which invariably ‘Nordicize’ the Semites.)

Marana tha (‘Come, Lord’) was the prayer of the first Christians. But as time passed without the Lord coming; when doubts, resignation, ridicule and discord were increasing, the radicalism of Jesus’ affirmations had to be gradually softened. And after decades and centuries, when the Lord finally did not arrive, the Church converted what in Jesus was a distant hope, his idea of the Kingdom of God, into the idea of ‘the Church’. The oldest Christian belief was thus replaced by the Kingdom of Heaven: a gigantic falsification; within Christian dogma, the most serious one.

The belief in the proximity of the end decisively conditioned the later appearance of the Proto-Christian writings in the second half of the 1st century and in the course of the 2nd century. Jesus and his disciples—who expected no hereafter and no state of transcendental bliss but the immediate intervention of God from heaven and a total change of all things on Earth—naturally had no interest in taking notes, writings, or books; for whose writing they were not even trained.

And when the New Testament authors began to write, they softened the prophecies of Jesus of a very imminent end of the world. The Christians did not live that end and this is why questions arise in all ancient literature. Scepticism and indignation spread: ‘Where, then, is his announced second coming?’ says the second Epistle of Peter. ‘Since the parents died, everything is as it has been since the beginning of creation’. And also in Clement’s first epistle the complaint arises: ‘We have already heard this in the days of our fathers, and look, we have aged and none of that has happened to us’.

Voices of that style arise shortly after the death of Jesus. And they are multiplied in the course of the centuries. And here there is how the oldest Christian author, the apostle of the peoples, Paul, reacts. If he first explained to the Corinthians that the term ‘had been set short’ and the ‘world is heading to the sunset’, ‘we will not all die, but we will all be transformed’—later he spiritualised the faith about the final times that, from year to year, became increasingly suspicious. Paul thus made the faithful internally assume the great renewal of the world, the longing for a change of eons, was fulfilled through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Instead of the preaching of the kingdom of God, instead of the promise that this kingdom would soon emerge on Earth, Paul thus introduced individualistic ideas of the afterlife, the vita aeterna (eternal life). Christ no longer comes to the world but the believing Christian goes to him in heaven! Similarly, the gospel authors who write later soften Jesus’ prophecies about the end of the world and make the convenient corrections in the sense of a postponement. The one that goes further is Luke, who substitutes the hopeful belief for a history of divine salvation with the notion of previous stages or intermediate steps.

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The Antichrist § 8

 

We need to say whom we feel opposed to—theologians and everything with theologian blood in its veins—the whole of our philosophy…

Published in: on August 5, 2018 at 2:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Christianity’s Criminal History, 79

Below, an abridged translation from the third volume of
Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums.

 
Opposition to the Old Testament

In the 2nd century, when Christians were still not exercising war as they would do permanently a little later, among them there were perhaps more opponents of the Old Testament than defenders. And none of them saw more clearly their incompatibility with the biblical Jesus doctrine than the ‘heretic’ Marcion, at least none of them derived consequences of such premise and with such success. In his Antitheses (lost) Marcion showed the contradictions and elaborated the first canon of Christian writings, based on the Gospel of Luke, the one with the least Hebrew influence, and in the letters of Paul.

Apostle John (left) and Marcion of Sinope (right), from Morgan Library MS 748, 11th century.

Seventeen, eighteen centuries later, theologians weave wreaths of praise towards the outlaw, from Harnack to Nigg; the theologian Overbeck, friend of Nietzsche (‘the God of Christianity is the God of the Old Testament’!) states that he has correctly understood this Testament; for the Catholic theologian Buonaiuti ‘it is the most dense and insightful enemy’ of ‘ecclesiastical orthodoxy’.

It is precisely the ‘heretical’ circles that have fought the Old Testament. Many Christian Gnostics condemned it globally. Two hundred years later, the Visigothic apostle Ulfilas, an Arian of pacifist sentiments, was shocked by the contrast between Yahweh and Jesus. In his version of the Bible to the Gothic he made around the year 370, which is the oldest German literary monument, the bishop did not translate any of the Old Testament history books.

After the century of the Enlightenment, criticism intensified again. The perceptive Lessing, who also considers the historical foundations of Christianity precarious, exclaims at the sight of the old book of the Jews: ‘On this clay, on this clay, great God! If you had mixed a couple of gold nuggets…!’

With greater passion Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) scourges the ‘unprecedented blasphemy’: to claim that the Almighty God had expressly ordered Moses to attack a defenceless people and because of their different beliefs to completely annihilate all living beings; to assassinate in cold blood all the children and the unarmed men, to slaughter the prisoners, to tear apart the married women and to respect only the young girls for carnal commerce and rape. Mark Twain (1835-1910) could not help but comment caustically that the Old Testament is essentially concerned with blood and sensuality; the New with salvation and redemption through fire.

Theologians have also rejected the Old Testament as the foundation of life and doctrine, among them some as renowned as Schleiermacher and Harnack, who strongly opposed that this book

be preserved as a canonical document in Protestantism. We must make a clean slate and honour the truth in worship and teaching. This is the act of courage demanded today—almost too late—to Protestantism.

But what good would it do? The masses would continue to be deceived by the New Testament and its dogmas. But the Catholic Wörterbuch christlicher Ethik (Dictionary of Christian ethics) still finds, in 1975, ‘the roots of the ethos of the Old Testament’ in ‘the decisive personal attention’ of Yahweh ‘to the world and to man’, found in the Old Testament ‘fundamentally and to the defence of what we call human rights; behind its humanum there is Yahweh with all of his divine weight’ (Deissler).

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Kriminalgeschichte, 70

Below, an abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (Criminal History of Christianity). For a comprehensive text that explains the absolute need to destroy Judeo-Christianity, see: here. In a nutshell, any white person who worships the god of the Jews is, ultimately, ethnosuicidal.

 
Augustine sanctions the ‘holy war’

The amantissimus Domini sanctissimus, as the bishop Claudius of Turin of the 9th century called Augustine, recorded, like no one before him, the compatibility between service to war and the doctrine of Jesus.

The father of the Church Ambrose had already celebrated a pathetic instigation of war, and the father of the Church Athanasius had declared that in war it was ‘legal and praiseworthy to kill adversaries’. However, none of them admitted the bloody office with as few scruples and as the hypocrite ‘angel of heaven’ who looks ‘constantly to God’.

Certainly, Augustine did not share the optimism of an Eusebius or an Ambrose, who equated the hope of the pax romana with that of pax christiana as providential, since ‘The wars to the present are not only between empires but also between confessions, between truth and error’. By weaving his web of grace, predestination and angels, Augustine theoretically committed himself in an increasingly negative way before the Roman state.

Every State power based on the libido dominandi rests on sins and for that reason must submit to a Church based on grace, but in fact not free of sin either. This philosophy of the State, which constituted the historical-philosophical basis of the medieval power struggle between the popes and the emperors, was decisively influential until the times of Thomas Aquinas.

Until the year of his death, Augustine not only asked for the punishment of the murderers, but also to crush the uprisings and subdue the ‘barbarians’, taking it as a moral obligation. It was not difficult for him to consider the State malignant but he praised its bloody practices and, like everything else, also ‘attribute it to Divine Providence’ since ‘its way of proceeding’ is ‘to avoid human moral decay through wars’.

Whoever thinks so, in a childlike and cynical way at the same time, obviously interprets in the same sense the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’. That commandment should not be applied to the totality of nature and the animal kingdom. Augustine discusses with the Manichaeans that it does not include the prohibition of ‘pulling a bush’ or the ‘irrational animal world’ because such beings ‘must live and die to our advantage; submit them to you!’

‘Man owns animals’, complains Hans Henny Jahnn in his great trilogy Fluss ohne Ufer. ‘He does not need to try. He just has to be naive. Naive also in his anger. Brutal and naive. This is what God wants. Even if he hits the animals, he will go to heaven’.

Earlier, authors such as Theodor Lessing and Ludwig Klages had persuasively shown that, as the latter affirms, Christianity conceals something with its connotation of ‘humanity’. What it really means is that the rest of living beings lack value—unless they serve human beings! They write: ‘As is well known, Buddhism prohibits the killing of animals, because the animal is the same being as we are. Now, if one scolds an Italian with such a reproach when he torments an animal to death, he will claim that “senza anima” and “non è christiano” since for the Christian believer the right to exist lies only in the human beings’.

Augustine on the other hand believes that the human being ‘even in situations of sin is better than the animal’: the being ‘of lower rank’. And he treats vegetarianism as ‘impious heretic opinion’.

That God can be pleased with arms is shown by the example of David and that of ‘many other righteous’ of that time. Augustine quotes at least 13,276 times the Old Testament, about which he had previously written that he had always found it unpleasant!

But now it was useful. For example: ‘The just will rejoice when contemplating revenge; He will bathe his feet in the blood of the wicked’. And of course all the ‘just’, logically, can make a ‘just war’ (bellum iustum).

It is a concept introduced by Augustine. No Christian had used it before, not even the easy-going Lactantius, whom he read carefully. Soon the whole Christian world made a iusta bella, based upon a ‘just’ reason for war any minimal deviation from the Roman liturgy. Augustine strongly recommends military service, and cites quite a few cases of ‘God-fearing warriors’ from the Bible; not only the ‘numerous righteous’ of the Old Testament, so rich in atrocities, but also a couple of the New Testament.

Augustine experienced the collapse of Roman rule in Africa, when the Vandal hordes invaded Mauritania and Numidia in the summer of 429 and in the spring of 430. He witnessed the annihilation of his life’s work: whole cities were grass of the flames and its inhabitants assassinated. Anywhere the Catholic communities, depleted by the Church and the State, opposed no resistance; at least there is no relation of it.

Augustine died on August 28, 430, and was buried that same day. A year later Hippo, retained by Boniface for fourteen months, was evacuated and partially burned. Augustine’s biographer, the holy bishop Possidius, who like the teacher was a fervent fighter against the ‘heretics’ and the ‘pagans’, still lived some years among the ruins.


 
 

END OF VOLUME I

 

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Kriminalgeschichte, 68

A 17th-century Calvinist print depicting Pelagius

The caption says:

Accurst Pelagius, with what false pretence
Durst thou excuse Man’s foul Concupiscence,
Or cry down Sin Originall, or that
The Love of GOD did Man predestinate.

 
The overthrow of Pelagius

Rather than the struggle against the Donatists, Augustine was internally motivated by the prolonged quarrel with Pelagius, who convincingly refuted his bleak complex of original sin, along with the mania of predestination and grace; the Council of Orange of the year 529 dogmatized it (partly literally) and the Council of Trent renewed it.

According to most sources, Pelagius was a Christian layman of British origin. From approximately the year 384, or sometime later, he imparted his teachings in Rome, enjoying great respect.

Interestingly, when he disembarked at Hippo in 410, Pelagius was in the retinue of Melania the Younger, her husband Valerius Pinianus and her mother Albina—that is, ‘perhaps the richest family in the Roman Empire’ (Wermelinger). The father of the Church, Augustine, had also intensified his contacts with this family for a short time. Indeed, he and other African bishops, Aurelius and Alypius, had convinced the billionaires not to squander their wealth with the poor, but to hand them over to the Catholic Church! The Church became heir to this gigantic wealth. Melania was even elevated to sanctity (her holiday: December 31). ‘How many inheritances the monks stole!’, writes Helvetius, ‘but they stole them for the Church, and the Church made saints of them’.

From Pelagius, a man of great talent, we have received numerous short treatises, whose authenticity is subject to controversy. However, there are at least three that seem authentic. The most important of his works, De natura, we know by the refutation of Augustine, De natura et gratia. Also the main theological work of Pelagius, De libero arbitrio has been transmitted to us, in several fragments, by his opponent, although his theory is often distorted in the course of the controversy.

Pelagius, impressive as a personality, was a convinced Christian; he wanted to stay within the Church and what he least wanted was a public dispute. He had many bishops on his side. He did not reject prayers or deny the help of grace, but rather defended the need for good works, as well as the need for free will, the liberum arbitrium. But for him there was no original sin: the fall of Adam was his own; not hereditary.

It was precisely his experience with the moral laziness of the Christians that had determined the position that Pelagius adopted, in which he also often included an intense social criticism tainted with religiosity, appealing to Christians to ‘feel the pains of others as if they were their own, and shed tears for the affliction of other human beings’.

But this was not, of course, a subject for the irritable Augustine; he, who did not see the human being, like Pelagius, as an isolated individual but devoured by a monstrous hereditary debt, the ‘original sin’, and considered humanity a massa peccati, fallen because of the snake, ‘an elusive animal, skilled on the sinuous roads’, fallen because of Eve, ‘the smaller part of the human couple’ because, like the other fathers of the Church, he despised the woman.

In strict justice, all mankind would be destined for hell. However, by a great mercy there would be at least a minority chosen for salvation, but the mass would be rejected ‘with all reason’.

There is God full of glory in the legitimacy of his revenge.

According to the doctor ecclesiae we are corrupted from Adam, since the original sin is transmitted through the reproductive process; in fact, the practice of the baptism of children to forgive sins already presupposes those in the infant. On the other hand, the salvation of humanity depends on the grace of God, the will has no ethical significance.

But in this way the human being becomes a puppet that is stirred in the threads of the Supreme: a machine with a soul that God guides as he wants and where he wants, to paradise or to eternal perdition. Why?

Why? Because he wanted. But why did he want it? ‘Man, who are you who want to talk to God?’

Augustine warned against Pelagius and launched, increasingly busier in the causa gratiae, his theory of predestination which Jesus does not announce and which he himself did not defend in his early days, for more than a decade and a half, until the year 427, when he published a dozen controversial writings against Pelagius.

St. Jerome, at odds with the Bishop of Jerusalem, then wrote a very wide-ranging polemic, the Dialogi contra Pelagianos, in which he defamed his adversary by calling him a habitual sinner, arrogant Pharisee, ‘greasy dog’, etc.: dialogues that Augustine extolled as a work of wonderful beauty and worthy of faith. In 416 the Pelagians set fire to the monasteries of Jerome, and his life was in grave danger.

Pope Zosimus was left out of play in a clever stratagem of Emperor Honorius, and in a letter addressed on April 30, 418 to Palladius, prefect praetorian of Italy, he ordered the expulsion of Pelagius and Caelestius from Rome—the harshest decree by the end of the Roman Empire. He also censured his ‘heresy’ as a public crime and sacrilege, with a special emphasis on the expulsion from Rome, where there were riots and violent disputes among the clergy. All the Pelagians were persecuted, their property was confiscated and they were exiled.

In the final phase of the conflict the young bishop Julian of Eclanum (in Benevento) became the great adversary of Augustine, who by age could have been a son: the authentic spokesman of the opposition, who often cornered the bellicose African through a frontal attack.

Julian was probably born in Apulia, at the bishop’s headquarters of his father Memor, who was a friend of Augustine. As a priest he married the daughter of a bishop, and Pope Innocent appointed him in 416 as bishop of Eclanum. Unlike most prelates, he had an excellent education, was very independent as a thinker and very sharp as a polemicist. He wrote for a ‘highly intellectual’ audience, while Augustine, who found it difficult to refute the ‘young man’, did so for the average clergy, who always constitute a majority.

Although he theologically subscribes the theory of grace, he does not see it as a counterpart of nature, which would also be a valuable gift of the Creator. He highlighted free will, attacked the Augustinian doctrine of original sin as Manichaean, fought the idea of inherited guilt, of a God who becomes a persecutor of newborns, who throws into eternal fire little children—the God of a crime ‘that can scarcely be imagined among the barbarians’ (Julian).

Along with the eighteen bishops who gathered around him, Julian was excommunicated in 418 by Zosimus and, like most of them, expelled from his position, he found refuge in the East. Augustine became more and more severe in his assertions about predestination, the division of humanity between the elect and the condemned. Already on his deathbed, he attacked Julian in an unfinished work.

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Kriminalgeschichte, 67

Below, an abridged translation from the first volume of Karlheinz Deschner’s Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums (Criminal History of Christianity). For a comprehensive text that explains the absolute need to destroy Judeo-Christianity, see here. In a nutshell, any white person who worships the god of the Jews is, ultimately, ethnosuicidal.

 
Augustine’s campaign against the Donatists

To the Donatists, whom the African had never mentioned before, he finally paid attention when he was already a priest. Since then he fought them year after year, with greater fury than other ‘heretics’; he threw his contempt to their faces and expelled them from Hippo, their episcopal city. Because the Donatists had committed ‘the crime of schism’ they were nothing but ‘weeds’, animals: ‘these frogs sit in their pond and croak: “we are the only Christians!” but they are heading to hell without knowing it’.

What was a Donatist for Augustine? An alternative that was not presented to him, because, when he was elected bishop, the schism was already 85 years old. It was a local African issue, relatively small, though not divided into ‘countless crumbs’ as he claimed. Catholicism, on the other hand, absorbed the peoples; it had the emperor on his side, the masses, as Augustine blurts out, ‘the unity of the whole world’. Frequently and without hesitation Augustine insists on such demonstration of the majority, incapable of making the reflection that Schiller will later formulate: ‘What is the majority? Most is nonsense; intelligence has always been only in the minority’.

The Donatist was convinced of being a member of a brotherhood. Throughout their tragic history, they collaborated with a religious-revolutionary peasant movement, which inflicted vexations on the landowners: the Circumcellions or Agonistici—temporary workers of the countryside and at the same time the left wing of this Church, who first enjoyed the support of Donatus of Bagai and later that of Gildo.

According to his adversary, Augustine, who characterized them with the psalm of ‘rapids are their feet to shed blood’, they robbed, looted, set fire to the basilicas, threw lime and vinegar in the eyes of Catholics, claimed promissory notes and started with threats his emancipation. Often led by clerics, including bishops, ‘captains of the saints’, these Agonistici or milites Christi (followers of martyrs, hobby pilgrims, terrorists) beat the landowners and Catholic clerics with decks called ‘israels’ under the war cry of ‘Praise be to God’ (laus deo), the ‘trumpets of the massacre’ (Augustine). The Catholics ‘depended to a great extent on the support of the Roman Empire and the landlords, who guaranteed them economic privileges and material protection’ (Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum). It was also not uncommon for the exploited to kill themselves in order to reach paradise. As the Donatists said, because of the persecution they jumped from rocks, as for example the cliffs of Ain Mlila, or to mighty rivers, which for Augustine was not more than ‘a part of their habitual behaviour’.

The centre of their offices was the cult to the martyrs. Excavations carried out in the centre of Algeria, which was the bulwark of the Donatists, have brought to light innumerable chapels dedicated to the adoration of the martyrs and which undoubtedly belonged to the schismatics. Many carried biblical quotes or their currency, Deo laudes.

A Donatist bishop boasted that he had reduced four churches to ashes with his own hand. They, as so often emphasized, even by Augustine, could not be martyrs ‘because they did not live the life of Christ’. The true background of the Donatist problem, which not only led to the religious wars of the years 340, 347 and 361-363 but caused the great uprisings of 372 and 397-398, Augustine failed to understand or did not want to understand. He thought he could explain through a theological discussion what was less a confessional than a social problem: the deep social contrasts within North African Christianity, the abyss between a rich upper class and those who owned nothing; that they were not in any way just the ‘bands of Circumcellions’, but also the slaves and the free masses who hated the dominant ones.

Augustine did not know or did not want to see this. He defended with all tenacity the interests of the possessing and dominant class. For him the Donatists were never right: they simply defamed and lied. He maintained that they were looking for a lie, that their lie ‘fills all Africa’. Initially, Augustine was not in favour of violence. He questioned any attempt to use it. ‘I have no intention of forcing anyone against their will to the religious community with anyone’. Of course, when he learned about the wickedness of the ‘heretics’ and saw that they could be improved with some force, which the Government already commissioned in an increasing way from the year 405, he changed his mind.

The faith of the Donatists, no matter how similar it was—even, essentially, identical—was nothing but error and violence. Catholics, on the other hand, only acted out of pure compassion, out of love. ‘Understand what happens to you! God does not want you to sink into a sacrilegious disunity, separated from your mother, the Catholic Church’.

As the Handbuch der Kirchengeschichte says, or more precisely, the Catholic Baus, ‘here speaks the voice of a man who was so driven and encouraged by the religious responsibility to bring back to an ecclesia the lost brothers in the error, that all the other considerations remained for him in the background’. How typical! He must exonerate Augustine, make his thoughts and actions understandable. Thus, over the course of two millennia, the great crimes of history have been constantly apologised and exalted; they have been glorified. Only in the name of God can they always allow and commit certain crimes, the most atrocious, as will be demonstrated more clearly each time throughout this criminal history.

With an extensive series of astute sentences, without missing those corresponding to the Old and New Testaments, the great lover now demands coercive measures against all those who ‘must be saved’ (corrigendi atque sanandi). The coercion, Augustine teaches now, is sometimes inevitable, because although the best ones can be handled with love, to the majority, unfortunately, it is necessary to force them with fear.

‘He who spares the rod hates his son’ he says, quoting the Bible. ‘A spoiled man is not corrected with words’. And did not Sara chase Hagar? And what did Elijah do with the priests of Baal? For many years Augustine had justified the brutalities of the Old Testament against the Manichaeans, from whom came that book of princes of darkness.

The New Testament could also be used. Did not Paul also give some people to Satan? ‘You know?’, Augustine says to bishop Vixens, explaining the Gospel—:

no one can be forced to justice when you read how the head of the family spoke to his servants: ‘Whoever finds them compels them to enter!’

—which Augustine translates most effectively as ‘force them’ (cogitere intrare). Resistance only demonstrates irrationality. Do not the feverish patients, in their delirium, also revolt against their doctors? Augustine calls tolerance (toleratio) ‘fruitless and vain’ (infructuosa et vana) and is excited by the conversion of many ‘through healthy coercion’ (terrore perculsi). It was nothing else than the program of Firmicus Maternus, ‘the program of a general declaration of war’ (Hoheisel), whether Augustine had read it or not.

‘Under extreme coercion’, the ‘professional speaker’ preaches, rich in tricks, ‘the inner will is realised’, referring to the Acts of the Apostles, 9,4, to John, 6,44, and finally, starting from the year 416-417, to Luke, 14, 23—the Gospel of love! In proceeding against his enemies, he gave the impression that he was also ‘sometimes a little nervous’ (Thomas), although what seemed to be persecution, in reality, was only love, ‘always only love and exclusively love’ (Marrou).

‘The Church presses them against their hearts and surrounds them with motherly tenderness to save them’—through forced labour, fustigations, confiscation of property, elimination of the right of inheritance. However, the only thing that Augustine wants again is to ‘impose’ on the Donatists ‘the advantages of peace, unity and love’:

That is why I have been presented to you as your enemy. You say you want to kill me, although I only tell you the truth and, as far as I’m concerned, I will not let you get lost. God would avenge from you and kill, in you, the error.

God would take revenge on you! The bishop does not consider himself by any means an inciter. But, yes, when it seemed appropriate, he demanded to apply the full weight of the law to the recalcitrant, not granting them ‘grace or forgiveness’. Better said, he authorized torture!

The most famous saint of the ancient Church, perhaps of the whole Church, a ‘so affable person’ (Hendrikx), the father of ‘infinite kindness’ (Grabmann) ‘and generosity ‘(Kotting), who against the Donatists ‘he constantly practiced the sweet behaviour’ (Espenberger), which against them does not formulate ‘any hurtful word’ (Baus), which tries to ‘preserve from the harsh penalties of Roman law’ even ‘the guilty’ (Hümmeler)—in short, the man who becomes spokesman of the mansuetudo catholica, of Catholic benevolence, allows torture…

The thing was not so bad after all! ‘Remember all the possible martyrdoms’, Augustine consoles us:

Compare them with hell and you can imagine everything easily. The torturer and the tortured are here ephemeral, eternal there… We have to fear those pains as we fear God. What the human being suffers here supposes a cure (emendatio) if it is corrected.

Catholics could thus abuse as much as they liked, it was unimportant compared to hell, with that horror that God would impose upon them for all eternity. The earthly torture was ‘light’, ‘transient’, just a ‘cure’!

A theologian is never disconcerted! That’s why he does not know shame either.

In the Christian Empire of those times there prevailed everything except liberality and personal freedom. What prevailed was slavery, children were chained instead of the parents, everywhere there was secret police, ‘and every day could be heard the cries of those whom the court tortured and could be seen the gates with the whimsically executed’ (Chadwick). The emperor’s assassins automatically liquidated the Donatists who had mutilated Catholic priests or who had destroyed churches. Augustine endorsed in practice the death penalty. ‘The greater the hardness with which the State acts, the more Augustine applauds’ (Aland).

Here we see the celebrated father of the Church in all its magnitude: as a desk author and hypocrite; as a bishop who not only exerted a terrible influence during his life, but who was the initiator of political Augustinism: the archetype of all the bloody inquisitors of so many centuries, of their cruelty, perfidy, prudishness, and a precursor of horror: of the medieval relations between Church and State. Augustine’s example allowed the ‘secular arm’ to throw millions of human beings, including children and the elderly, dying and disabled, to the cells of torture, to the night of the dungeons, to the flames of the fire—and then hypocritically ask the State to respect their lives! All the henchmen and ruffians, princes and monks, bishops and popes who from now on would hunt martyrs and burn ‘heretics’, could lean on Augustine, and in fact they did it; and also the reformers.

When in 420 the state minions persecuted the bishop of Ta-mugadi, Gaudentius, he fled to his beautiful basilica; fortified himself there and threatened to burn himself along with his community. The chief of the officials, a pious Christian, who nevertheless persecuted people of his own faith, did not know what party to take and consulted Augustine. The saint, inventor of the sui generis doctrine of predestination, replied:

But since God, according to secret but just will, has predestined some of them to eternal punishment, without a doubt it is better that, although some are lost in their own fire, the vastly greater majority is gathered and recovered from that pernicious division and dispersion, instead of all together be burned in the eternal fire deserved by the sacrilegious division.

Once again Augustine was himself, ‘of course the first theoretician of the Inquisition’, who wrote ‘the only complete justification in the history of the ancient Church’ about ‘the right of the State to repress non-Catholics’ (Brown). In the application of violence, the saint only saw a ‘process of debilitation’, a ‘conversion by oppression’ (per molestias eruditio), a ‘controlled catastrophe’ and compared it to a father ‘who punishes the son who loves’ and that every Saturday night, ‘as a precaution’ beats his family.

The ‘edict of the unit’ of 405 followed other state decrees in the years 407, 408, 409, 412 and 414. The obligatory withdrawal of the Donatists was ordered, their Church was relegated more or less to the underground and they started pogroms that would last several years. The Donatist Church was forbidden; its followers forced to convert to Catholicism. ‘The Lord has shattered the teeth of the lion’ (Augustine). Entire cities, hitherto convinced Donatists, became Catholic out of fear of sorrow and violence, such as the episcopal city of Augustine, where once the ovens could not bake bread for Catholics. Finally, he himself expelled the Donatists. However, when the State tolerated them temporarily during the invasion of Alaric and they returned, for the great saint they seemed ‘wolves to whom it would be necessary to kill with blows’. Only by chance did he escape from an ambush that the Circumcellions had laid out for him.

The masses of slaves and settlers, of whom only their labour force was of any use, were to be maintained within the Catholic Church, through forced labour and the lash of their lords, for the maintenance of ‘Catholic peace’. In the year 414 the Donatists were deprived of all their civil rights and the death penalty was threatened to those who celebrated their religious services. ‘Where there is love, there is peace’ (Augustine). Or as our bishop later declared triumphantly: Quodvult deus de Cartago: the viper has been crushed, or better still: it has been devoured.

After the year 418, the theme of the Donatists disappears for decades from the debates held in the synods of the North African bishops. In 420 it appears the last anti-Donatist writing of Augustine: Contra Gaudentium. In 429, with the invasion of the Vandals, the anti-Donatist imperial edicts also ended, which continued to call for annihilation. However, the schism lasted until the 6th century, although very weakened.

The sad remains that managed to escape the constant persecutions were destroyed a century later, along with Catholics, by Islam. African Christianity was undermined, bankrupt; finally, completely separated from Europe in the religious aspect, and escaped from its area of influence to fall into that of the Near East.

The most important ancient of the Christian churches, the only one in the Mediterranean, disappeared without a trace. There was nothing left of her. ‘But it was not due to Islam but to the persecutions against the Donatists, which made North Africa hate the Catholic Church so much that the Donatists received Islam as a liberation and converted to it’ (Kawerau).

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Kriminalgeschichte, 66

Sant’Agostino nello studio by Vittore Carpaccio (1502)

 
‘Genius in all fields of Christian doctrine’

[Augustine] often dictated at the same time discussions to several writings: 93 works or 232 ‘books’, he says in the year 427 in his Retractationes (which critically contemplate, so to speak, his work in chronological succession), to which we must add the production of his last years of life, in addition to hundreds of letters and sermons, with which he ‘almost always’ felt dissatisfied.

The intellectual production of Augustine was overrated, particularly from the Catholic side. ‘An intellectual giant like him, only the world offers it once every thousand years’ (Görlich). Maybe from the Catholic world! However, what he calls ‘intellectual stature’ is what serves him, and what serves him is detrimental to the world.

Augustine’s existence precisely reveals it drastically. However, J.R. Palangue praises him as ‘a genius in all fields of Christian doctrine’. And Daniel-Rops goes on to say: ‘If the word genius has any meaning, it is precisely here. Of all the gifts of the spirit that can be fixed analytically, none was missing; he had all, even those that are generally considered mutually exclusive’. Who is startled by such nonsense is called malevolent, malicious, ‘a creeping soul’ (Marrou). However, even the father of the Church Jerome, although out of envy, called his colleague ‘a little latecomer’. In the 20th century, the Catholic Schmaus flatly denies Augustine’s genius as a thinker.

The thought of Augustine? It is totally dominated by ideas of God, partly numbed by euphoria, partly terrified. His philosophy is, basically, theology. From an ontological point of view, it is based on hypotheses without any foundation. And there is a multitude of painful absences.

Augustine, whom Palangue praises saying: ‘With a flap he rises above any superficial objection’ usually is a prodigy of superficiality. Also the ‘professional orator’ of yesteryear (and today!) cheats through rhetorical tricks. He contradicts himself, especially in The City of God, a work with a strong influence of Arnobius that appeared between 413 and 426, his ‘magnum opus’ as he says, where he sometimes equates and others clearly differentiates his own fundamental concepts: ‘Roman Empire’ and ‘Diabolic State’. Or ‘Church’ and ‘God’s State’.

When he was a young Christian, he believed that miracles no longer occur, so that ‘no one is raised from the dead anymore’; when he gets old he believes otherwise. Already in 412 he had the idea of ‘collecting and showing everything that is rightly censured in my books’. And so, three years before his death he begins, since everything was ‘altered’, a complete book with rectifications, Retractationes, without really ‘rectifying’ everything. In any case, he introduced 220 corrections.

However, as many times as Augustine ‘rectified’ something, he refuted others’ work, placing the heading of many of his writings a ‘Contra […]’.

At the end of the 4th century he attacked the Manichaeans: Fortunatus, Adeimantus, Faust, Felix, Secundinus, as well as, in another series of books, Manichaeism: of which he himself was formally a follower for almost a decade, from 373 to 382, although as ‘listener’ (auditor), not as an electus. In three books Against Academics (386) he confronts scepticism. From the year 400 on he criticises Donatism; from 412 Pelagianism, and from 426 semi-Pelagianism. But next to these main objectives of his struggle, he also attacks with greater or lesser intensity the pagans, the Jews, the Arians, the astrologers, the Priscillians and the Apollinarians. ‘All the heretics hate you’ he praises his old rival Jerome, ‘just as they persecute me with the same hatred’.

More than half of Augustine’s writings are apologetics or have a controversial character. On the other hand, while, being a bishop, in thirty years he only once visited Mauritania, the less civilized province, he travelled thirty-three times to the incredibly rich Carthage, where, apparently as compensation for his modest convent diet, he liked copious lunches (for example roasted peacock); talk to important people and spend whole months with colleagues in hectic activity. The bishops already lived near the authorities and in the court, and were themselves courtiers; Augustine’s friend, Bishop Alypius, was arguing in Rome until the saint’s death.

Peter Brown, one of the most recent biographers of the leading theologian, writes: ‘Augustine was the son of a violent father and an inflexible mother. He could cling to what he considered objective truth with the remarkable ingenuity of his quarrelsome character’.

It should be noted that the increasingly violent aggression of Augustine, as manifested in his dispute with the Donatists, could also be a consequence of his prolonged asceticism. Before, as he himself confessed, he had had remarkable vital needs, ‘in lewdness and in prostitution’ he had ‘spent his strength’, and later he had energetically conjured ‘the tingling of desire’. He lived a long time in concubinage, later he took a girl as a girlfriend (she had almost two years to reach the legal age to get married: in girls twelve years) and at the same time a new darling. But for the cleric sexual pleasure is ‘monstrous’, ‘diabolical’, ‘disease’, ‘madness’, ‘rottenness’, ‘nauseating pus’, and so on.

Apart from that, was not he also feeling guilty about his long-time companion, whom he had forced to separate from himself and his son?

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Why Europeans must reject Christianity, 16

by Ferdinand Bardamu

 
Christianity: the grandmother of Bolshevism?

In 1933, the German historian Oswald Spengler wrote: “All Communist systems in the West are in fact derived from Christian theological thought… Christianity is the grandmother of Bolshevism.” This alone makes Christianity one of the most destructive forces in world history, a force so radioactive it destroys everything within its immediate vicinity. But how is this even possible?

Equality is such a fundamental aspect of the church’s kerygma that if it were removed the entire ideological structure of Christian orthodoxy would collapse like a house of cards. The “catholicity” of the church signifies that membership in the body of Christ is open to all men, regardless of ethno-linguistic or socio-economic differences. Salvation, because it is equally available to all, means that all men possess the same innate capacity to achieve it. There is also universal equality in sinful depravity, as well as in the possession of unmerited divine grace. Jesus’ commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself is merely the application of universalist and egalitarian principles to human social life. In the New Testament, believers are asked to serve one another, with the aim of achieving social equality within an ecclesiastical setting.

Assimilation of Platonic idealism by Ante-Nicene theologians added a metaphysical dimension to the egalitarian pronouncements of the New Testament. When God created man, he imparted the breath of life through his nostrils. This “breath,” psyche, or anima, translated “soul,” served as the life-principle of the animate body. The equality of souls before god obtains because all bear the same imago dei or image of god. In the Garden of Eden, man lived in circumstances of natural equality. St. Augustine writes that before the Fall, no one exercised dominion or lordship over anyone else, but that all ruled equally and indifferently over the inferior creation. The natural equality that once existed in this mythical prehistory was lost because of sin, which corrupted human nature. This brought slavery and other inequalities into the world. The church believed that the kingdom of god would restore Edenic conditions at the end of time.

To the Ante-Nicene church, belief in spiritual equality was not some ossified formula to be recited by rote like the Apostle’s Creed, but an ever-present reality with real-world, “anticipatory” consequences. Gospel narratives that incorporated elements of primitive communism were received favorably by the church and declared canonical. In Luke 3, John the Baptist, a member of the communist Essenes, exhorts his followers to share their clothing and food with those who are destitute. The communist pronouncements of John foreshadow the more explicit primitive communism of Jesus.

In Luke 4, Jesus begins his ministry by inaugurating an acceptable “year of the Lord’s favor.” This is a direct reference to the Hebrew Jubilee, which came every fifty years after the completion of seven sabbatical cycles. The proclamation of Jubilee signified manumission of slaves, absolution of debt, redistribution of property, and common ownership of the land’s natural produce.

According to Leviticus, no one owned the land, except YHWH; only its usufruct could be purchased. This was not a literal year of Jubilee inaugurated by Jesus. The passages being quoted in Luke are from Isaiah, not Leviticus which contains the actual Hebrew legislation. The imagery associated with the Jubilee is used to describe the realized eschatological features of the new age inaugurated by the coming Messiah. His return symbolizes the complete reversal of the old order. The new age will bring about communistic social relations through the ethical transformation of believers. From a biblical hermeneutic standpoint, the Torah Jubilee foreshadows the greater Jubilee now realized in Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus’ economic teachings go far beyond Levitical communal sharing. They necessitate large-scale re-organization of society along egalitarian and communist lines. In Luke 6, Jesus commands his audience to give to all those who beg from them, without distinction as to friend or enemy. His condemnation of violent retaliation is closely linked to this ethic of universal sharing; the communist social arrangement envisaged by Jesus cannot flourish in an atmosphere of violence and suspicion. The eschatological age inaugurated by the Messiah is one where lending without expectation of financial reward has become a new moral obligation, one that must be carried out if one wishes to obtain treasure in heaven.

That early Christian communist practice was morally obligatory is supported by numerous passages from the New Testament. According to 1 John 3:16-17, true believers will sacrifice their lives for the good of others, especially by giving to those in need; anyone who refuses to do this cannot claim to be a Christian in good moral standing.

In the Ante-Nicene church, fellowship was not only spiritual, but included mutual aid in the form of concrete material and economic assistance. The canonical epistle of James defines true religion as caring for “orphans and widows,” an ancient Hebrew idiom for the economically disadvantaged. Those who favor the rich over the poor, instead of treating both equally, are sinners in need of repentance. They have transgressed Jesus’ great commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” James says that “faith without works is dead.” What do these “works” consist of? We are informed that true faith is shown by those who feed and clothe the wretched of the earth. If one refuses to do this, one’s very identity as a Christian is placed in jeopardy.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul provides additional theological justification for early Christian communist practice using the kenosis of Christ as a reference point. Christians were expected to follow the example of Jesus, who was “rich” in his pre-existent state, but willingly “impoverished” himself so that believers could become “rich” through his “poverty.” This meant that wealthier Christian communities were morally obligated to share their abundance of riches with poorer ones. The purpose of re-distributing wealth from one Christian community to another, writes Paul, was the achievement of economic equality between believers.

The apostolic identification of “true faith” with material re-distribution led to the establishment of the world’s first welfare system and centrally planned domestic economy. While some form of primitive communism existed before the institutionalized Christian communistic practices of the first three centuries AD, these were reserved for small communities of Greek-speaking intellectuals or Jewish religious fanatics. What made Christian communism unique was its moral universalism and non-ethnocentric orientation. Given the egalitarian thrust of early Christian communist ideology, it should come as no surprise that the central organizing principle of classical Marxist economics, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” was lifted verbatim from the pages of the New Testament.

Marxism-Leninism, a murderous 20th century ideology that led to the deaths of over 100 million individuals worldwide, was directly inspired by the ethical pronouncements of the New Testament. This is a source of great embarrassment to the Christian religionist. In defense, apologists emphasize the voluntary nature of communist practice in early Christianity. Yet this apologetical evasion is clearly anachronistic.

Freedom defined as the ability to choose in the absence of external coercion is a uniquely modern idea inherited from post-Enlightenment philosophies of liberalism. This idea of freedom affirms the sovereign will as one obedient to itself, but also reducible to the basic laws of the free market. However, this understanding of freedom is diametrically opposed to the one encountered in the ancient Greek philosophical tradition. In this context, there is no sharp distinction between voluntary action and involuntary obligation; individuals are not conceptualized as autonomous agents with a multitude of options to choose from.

Instead, freedom is the ability to pursue the Good without impediment; only a properly functioning will, in which the subject has fully realized his true essence, can do this. To do evil goes against the proper functioning of the will; it is not an expression of one’s individual capacity for freedom. No one willingly or voluntarily refuses to pursue the Good; rather, they lack sufficient moral training or the appropriate self-restraint.

The Christian in the ancient world was free to not worship or consume meat sacrificed to idols; he was not free to do the opposite because he was no longer pursuing the Good. A Christian who violated the prohibition against idolatry was not legitimately exercising his capacity for free will, even though the prohibition had been violated in the absence of external coercion. Instead, such an action was the result of moral ignorance or error.

The same could be said of the early Christian practice of communism. This was only “voluntary” in the sense that Christians were freely pursuing a morally acceptable outcome. If freedom is pursuit of the Good without obstruction, Christians were morally obligated to participate in the communist socio-economic practices of the church, otherwise they would not be considered righteous before god.