Chapter Outlines

Two Catholic Bishops Giving The Nazi SaluteTwo Catholic Bishops Giving The Nazi SaluteScattered throughout my text are appearances by two legendary characters: Epios from the Iliad and Phemios from the Odyssey. I use them to carry my narrative forward and symbolize science and art respectively—two Greek gifts. They often make reference to Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s epic, and the stress he puts on individualism and intelligence.

To borrow an adjective from biology, freedom is a keystone concept for happiness, democracy, and Western Civilization. Without it, you may as well live in present-day North Korea or Saudi Arabia or medieval Europe. We will explore freedom’s origin in Chapter 1, and although freedom has many tributaries, its Greek source is clear. Major contributors are the Age of the Enlightenment plus the United States Declaration of Independence, with its “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Perhaps you feel that freedom once won will always be with us. If so, then Chapter 2 is for you. Both psychology and history teach us how quickly it can be lost.  Freedom is a river but rivers may be dammed and blocked, and their turbulent creative waters turned into compliant lakes bent to a single purpose. Waterways once full of teeming, divergent life morph into dreary pools of monotony and conformity. We will investigate this perilous danger in with an eye to avoiding it. 

Some believe that religion and science can’t be in conflict because their areas of interest and expertise don’t overlap. Chapter 3 exposes this myth by comparing and contrasting the research methods of biblical scholars and scientists as they both seek to discover the beginning of time. Their conclusions are astoundingly different; each will be fully analyzed. For both groups and people everywhere, their results have far-reaching consequences. Whichever path you follow—religious or scientific—will profoundly influence all aspects of your life. Even if you are unaware, you doubtless have already made your choice—however tentative or firm.

For all those who believe the Bible is an unerring source of perfect morality, I suggest they read Chapter 4, “On human Bondage.” This chapter concentrates on one great moral failure in the Bible and the Qur’an: both are pro-slavery from beginning to end. Not a word, not even a murmur, against slavery, much the opposite. Although the modern churches re-write history to cover their moral embarrassment, we must not let them whitewash their pathetic past. Unless you believe in the bankrupt idea of ethical relativism, this was a great moral catastrophe. 

This chapter also exposes why the Catholic Church invented a new form of bondage, one usually reserved for rebellious farm animals: castration. In a sixty-year period, they gelded approximately a quarter of a million boys in Italy alone. This “holy work” was accomplished to be in agreement with a verse of St. Paul’s found in I Corinthians.           

The final page of this section reveals the first person in recorded history to speak out against slavery—he was not a member of the Abrahamic religions.

Chapter 5 discusses numerous topics found nowhere else in the anti-theistic writings I've read. For example, the Roman God Mithras was the model for Jesus and church ritual! Since both Mithras and Jesus were saviours  celebrated the Eucharist, and had identical birthdays, this parallelism disturbed early Christians. This chapter discloses who Mithras was and why he became the archetype for Jesus and church ritual. Remarkably, the early Christians built their church (now the Vatican) on top of the largest Mithraic temple of the ancient world.

After the triumphant early Church eradicated Mithraism, they turned their weapons inward to stray Christian sects, like Gnosticism. This group had some intriguing ideas on the origins of the name Jesus and his number, a subject called gematria mentioned nowhere else in today’s literature.

We’ll discover little known biblical patterns and puzzles. The Qur’an had similar riddles. The curious relationship between Shakespeare and the 46th Psalm deserves investigating. The truly bizarre legend of the Wandering Jew will amuse us. And we end this entertainment with a full course of bubbly, hot, cheesy Pastafarianism with meat balls plus a side order of quotations from their sacred text, The Loose Canon.

Touched by His Noodly AppendageTouched by His Noodly Appendage

Chapter 6, God’s Messengers, gives the reader a hilarious look at the second, more recent, team of God talkers: Muhammad and Joseph Smith uncovering delusion and fraud respectively. Mark Twain, who owned a copy of The Book of Mormon, wrote, “It is such a pretentious affair and yet so slow, so sleepy, such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print.” Unfortunately, this dreary book also offers support to racists and slave owners.          

But comic relief is close at hand with the magic underpants Mormons wear and their penchant to polygamy. Evidently, with thirty-seven wives, Smith didn’t have his magic undies on most of the time. In Mormon cosmology we are told of the planet or star Kolob (Smith confused these) where God has his permanent residence and keeps his spirit (or is it spirited?) wives. But the winner in the absurdity sweepstakes is when Jesus returns he will keep a summer home in Jackson County, Missouri, the original Garden of Eden don’t you know.

This chapter also explores the recent work of V. S. Ramachandran—listed in Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential thinkers. His research points to Muhammad suffering from a peculiar form of temporal lobe epilepsy that accounts for his visions and many aspects of his behavior. Moreover, history records powerful evidence that the author of the priestly parts of the Torah, St. Paul, Ezekiel, and even Moses had this form of epilepsy. This new line of research called neurotheology offers exciting prospects to explain religious behavior beyond deception.

For all those who falsely believe we would be running naked through the streets without the God-given morality of holy books, I recommend Chapter 7, Morals and Man. We can do better—we have done better—than an Old Testament that descends to the level of stoning children to death for disobedience or women for a little dalliance.

Curiously, my wildlife photography of bears and wolves provided a bizarre extra-biblical source for morality. Over the years, I have observed that these supposedly fierce animals show surprisingly moral behavior within their species, and occasionally even to other species. Why such pro-social conduct? This chapter will answer that question.

A close reading of the New Testament reveals a side of Jesus rarely mentioned. He was not always a paradigm of great moral conduct! Jesus has two faces—the one presented in Sunday school and from the pulpit and a terrifying, implacable face presented in the Gospels. Other writers have only alluded to some of this, but with exact verse references, this chapter develops the idea in convincing detail.

Cultures in Collision, Chapter 8, is a poem in praise of the moral benefits of science. In the wrong hands, of course, bad actions can come from science, just as in the proper hands good things can flow from religion. But everyone plays the odds. Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg said it best to The New York Times, on April 20, 1999:

             With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.

But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. 

Who are the heroes who created the greatest moral advances in all of human history? Why have we forgotten them? This last chapter answers these questions. These few men and women wrought more miracles than all the prayers ever mumbled by priests, rabbis, and imans. Recall the church fought anesthetics, women’s rights, the theory of germs, vaccination, birth control, Darwin, the civil rights movement, emancipation of blacks, and this miserable, ignorant list goes on. Presently the churches, mosques, and synagogues are still fighting stem-cell research, family planning, Darwin, gay rights, etc. It will take more than amazing grace to save those wretches, both papal and public, who oppose such reforms!

Come, walk with me through these pages and see the glory and the horror we have created. Hold my hand. From religion to science, it has been a long night’s journey into light.



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