Lessons from the Chennai floods for Kerala – C. I. Issac

Chennai Floods 2015

Prof C. I. Issac“Here in Kerala, the numbers and significance of the people who adore nature as ‘Mother’ is shrinking day by day. At the same time, the importance and influence of religions which advocate nature as a resource to alleviate the greed of man is also mounting day by day. The best example of this was the destiny of the Madhav Gadgil Committee Report and the role played by the bishops.” – Prof C. I. Issac

The main reason behind the disaster borne out of the unpredicted outburst of floods in Chennai was the humiliation of ‘Mother Earth’ by the regimes of the Metro City and Fort St. George for last three decades. This is not a topic confined to the Tamil Nadu state alone, but the warning of the times, the writing on the wall for the entire country, and specifically for the state of Kerala.

Kerala is the most densely populated state in India; according to the latest available data, the State’s density of population is 860 per square kilometre. A place with regular and recurring rainfall, it is now in the extra danger zone. Should a Chennai-like situation develop here, the depth and extent of the calamity could be far more disastrous than Tamil Nadu.  

Chennai Floods 2015The main reason for the present havoc caused by floods in Chennai is the creation of the greedy real estate and construction mafia. Related to this is the unscientific road construction along with the encroachment of creeks, backwaters and other traditional water-clogging areas by a highly influential section in the political class of Tamil Nadu.

These areas are vital mechanisms of nature, because while at the time of frantic and violent rain these creaks will drain-out the excess flood water, the rest will be absorbed by the lakes, backwaters and other traditional or natural water-storing areas. All these are now a panorama of bygone days in most of our cities. This write-up is concerned with the situation in Kerala. 

Kerala is the single largest metropolis of India with a population 33.3 million (2011 census), excluding expatriates. The repercussions from any sort of natural calamity in this ‘God’s Own Country’ (the land created by Lord Parasurama) will be far worse than Chennai.

This is because the topography and density of population in Kerala is entirely different from that in the rest of India. God created this land with all safety valves to overcome any such adverse situations that occur rhythmically in nature. Kerala has 44 west-flowing rivers and each river has 150 to 250 tributaries and 10 to 50 distributaries that embrace the sea; hitherto the backwaters also functioned as flood water managers.

It is a wonder that nature has provided such a fantastic device to a place with a landmass of 38,863 sq. km., and length is 580 km. This enabled Kerala to survive as a safe haven for human habitation all this time. But in recent decades, the flow of petro-dollars along with hawala money and counterfeits from the 1970s onwards, sabotaged the divine human-nature relations of Kerala.

Today, all the 44 rivers of Kerala have shrunk by 2/3 of their natural width. As many as 50 per cent tributary rivers have vanished. The banks of the backwaters are subject to encroachments in Cochin, Kumarakom (famous for its bird sanctuary), and so on in all the cities and towns of Kerala, all under the benediction of the ruling and opposition parties in the Legislative Assembly. 

One such encroachment of a backwater by a company run by an in-law of the Congress dynasty was unearthed by the visual media of Kerala. (I mention this instance only to show the power and impunity of persons who plunder nature and violate the law in this state). Under the umbrella of these administrative forces, several malls and resorts have mushroomed by acquiring government purambokku (government land belonging to none), river beds, shallow regions of backwaters and violating lease agreements in cities like Cochin.

In cities like Trivandrum and the like, the business communities are occupying roads and streets under the power of collective communal vote banks. All such violations have enjoyed the backing of both the ruling and opposition parties. This nexus has also worked to sabotage the genuine infrastructural projects of the state. What was the destiny of the Gadgil Commission ReportMadhav Gadgil Committee Report to save the Western Ghats? This is a well-known story, so I am not going to dwell upon it.

In the wake of havoc caused by the recent Chennai flood, the Chief Minister of Kerala announced that development means not two-storied buildings but skyscrapers. This response of the Chief Minister was in the light of the decision of the State Fire Department Chief to implement fire norms strictly in the case of flats, apartments, shopping malls and skyscrapers. This decision of the Fire Department opened a ‘wrestling platform’ in which doyens of the builder lobby met the State Fire Chief and the poor Fire Chief was knocked out.

The irony was that the (unfair) umpire on the platform was the Chief Minister of Kerala. The result was that the Chief of the State Fire Department lost his chair. And the State Cabinet decided to apply the 1994 State Municipal Building Rules by evading the existing National Laws and Acts relating to the building of skyscrapers in the state hereafter. A recent non-formal study says that 90 per cent of the big budget constructions since 2000 are going on in blatant violation of the vital norms of the State Building Rules. Yet all these hitherto construction violations were ratified by the authorities!

Here in Kerala, the numbers and significance of the people who adore nature as ‘Mother’ is shrinking day by day. At the same time, the importance and influence of religions which advocate nature as a resource to alleviate the greed of man is also mounting day by day. The best example of this was the destiny of the Madhav Gadgil Committee Report and the role played by the bishops.

One bishop went to the extent of threatening the State Government that “they have no hesitation to create another Kashmir in Kerala if they go with Madhav Gadgil suggestions.” Sadly, the impotent law making and implementing authority of the day in Kerala shut their ears and closed their eyes before this treasonable threat of the bishop, thereby revealing the destiny that lies ahead for ‘God’s own country’ in the days to come. – Vijayvaani, 8 December 2015

Lynn Townsend White Jr

Prof Lynn Townsend White Jr

Advertisements

Reporting only church attacks is half-truth, says RSS Krishna Gopal – Jatin Gandhi

Krishna Gopal

Journalist Icon“‘The media creates a false impression on church attacks. Only four churches were attacked in Delhi. During the same period, 458 temples and 25 masjids were also targets. You cover half the truth and show the other half, it becomes a lie that amounts to cheating the country,’ Dr Krishna Gopal said at a function to honour journalists.” – Jatin Gandhi

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh leader Krishna Gopal said on Saturday that reporting only attacks on churches in Delhi is a “half-truth” and amounts to lying and cheating the country.

According to him, it also puts national prestige and honour in jeopardy.

This is the first RSS reaction since the U.S. commission on inter-religious freedom released its report last week placing India amid more than 30 countries that meet a “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” standard for failing to protect religious freedoms.

Mr. Gopal is a sahsarkaryavah — the number three position in the Sangh hierarchy — and the RSS official designated to liaise with the Bharatiya Janata Party and, effectively, the government.

Flagging concern over “Hindu nationalist” groups for programmes of forced conversion, ghar wapsi (re-conversion to Hinduism), attacks on churches and “hate campaigns” against Muslim minorities, the U.S. commission retained India’s status as a “Tier 2 Country of Concern” on religious freedom. Ghar wapsi is one of the Sangh’s key, professed goals.

“The media creates a false impression on church attacks. Only four churches were attacked in Delhi. During the same period, 458 temples and 25 masjids were also targets. You cover half the truth and show the other half, it becomes a lie that amounts to cheating the country,” he said at a function to honour journalists.

The reporting on church attacks exposed India to unfair international criticism and hurt it, he charged.

Mr. Gopal in his address earlier said media sensationalised rapes. “You read the papers and it seems no woman is safe, there are rapes on every street. We all know women are targeted, but the percentage of rapes in the U.S. and Europe is much higher,” he said. – The Hindu, 10 May 2015

» Jatin Gandhi is a Deputy Editor at The Hindu. He tweets at https://twitter.com/jatingandhi.

Christian Polytheism

See also

Christianity’s fraudulent legacy – Michael Paulkovich

Jesus

No Meek MessiahThis article is written as an introduction to historical researcher Michael Paulkovich’s investigation into early Christianity called No Meek Messiah: Christianity’s Lies, Laws and Legacy — Editor

Most historians hold the position I had once harbored as true, being a Bible skeptic but not a Christ mythicist. I had maintained that the Jesus person probably existed, having fantastic and impossible stories later foisted upon his earthly life, passed by oral tradition then recorded many decades after Jesus lived.

After exhaustive research for my first book, I began to perceive both the brilliance and darkness from history. I discovered that many early Christian fathers believed with all pious sincerity their savior never came to earth—or when he did, it was Star-Trekian style, beamed down pre-haloed and fully-grown, sans transvaginal egress. Moreover I expose many other startling bombshells in my book No Meek Messiah.

I embarked upon one exercise to revive research into Jesus-era writers who should have recorded Christ tales, but did not. John Remsburg enumerated forty-one “silent” historians in his book The Christ (1909). I dedicated months of research to augment Remsburg’s list, finally tripling his count. In No Meek Messiah I provide a list of 126 writers who should have recorded something of Jesus, with exhaustive references.

Perhaps the most bewildering “silent one” is the mythical super-savior himself, Jesus the Son of God ostensibly sent on a suicide mission to save us from the childish notion of “Adam’s Transgression” as we learn from Romans 5:14. The Jesus character is a phantom of a wisp of a personage who never wrote anything. So, add one more: 127. 

The Jesus character is a phantom 

Jesus is lauded as a wise teacher, savior, and a perfect being. Yet Jesus believed in Noah’s Ark (Mt 24:37, and Lk 17:27), Adam and Eve and their son Abel (Lk 3:38 and Lk 11:51), Jonah living in a fish or whale (Mt 12:40), and Lot’s wife turning into salt (Lk 17:31-32). Jesus believed “devils” caused illness, and even bought into the OT notion (Jn 3:14) that a magical pole proffered by the OT (Num 21:9) could cure snake bites merely by gazing upon it.

Was Jesus smarter than a fifth grader?

Apollonius of TyanaBut perhaps no man is more fascinating than Apollonius Tyaneus, saintly first century adventurer and noble paladin. Apollonius was a magic-man of divine birth who cured the sick and blind, cleansed entire cities of plague, foretold the future and fed the masses. He was worshiped as a god, and son of god. Despite such nonsense claims, Apollonius was a real man recorded by reliable sources.

As Jesus ostensibly performed miracles of global expanse (e.g. Mt 27), his words going “unto the ends of the whole world” (Rom 10), one would expect virtually every literate person on earth to record those events during his time. A Jesus contemporary such as Apollonius should have done so, as well as those who wrote of Apollonius. Such is not the case. In Philostratus‘ third century chronicle, Vita Apollonii, there is no hint of Jesus. Nor in the works of other Apollonius epistolarians and scriveners: Emperor Titus, Cassius Dio, Maximus, Moeragenes, Lucian, Soterichus Oasites, Euphrates, Marcus Aurelius, or Damis of Hierapolis. It seems none of these writers from first to third century ever heard of Jesus, global miracles and alleged worldwide fame be damned.

Another bewildering author is Philo of Alexandria. He spent his first century life in the Levant, even traversing Jesus-land. Philo chronicled Jesus contemporaries—Bassus, Pilate, Tiberius, Sejanus, Caligula—yet knew nothing of the storied prophet and rabble-rouser enveloped in glory and astral marvels. Historian Josephus published Jewish War c. 95. He had lived in Japhia, one mile from Nazareth—yet Josephus seems to have been unaware of both Nazareth and Jesus. (I devoted a chapter to his interpolated works, pp. 191-198.) You may encounter Christian apologists claiming that Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius, Phlegon, Thallus, Mara bar-Serapion, or Lucian wrote of Jesus contemporary to the time. In No Meek Messiah I thoroughly debunk such notions.

The Bible venerates the artist formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, an “apostle” essentially oblivious to his heavenly savior. Paul is unaware of the virgin mother, and ignorant of Jesus’ nativity, parentage, life events, ministry, miracles, apostles, betrayal, trial and harrowing passion. Paul knows neither where nor when Jesus lived, and considers the crucifixion metaphorical (Gal 2:19-20). Unlike the absurd Gospels, Paul never indicates Jesus had been to earth. And the “five hundred witnesses” claim (1 Cor 15) is a well-known forgery.

Qumran, the stony and chalky hiding place for the Dead Sea Scrolls lies twelve miles from Bethlehem. The scroll writers, coeval and abutting the holiest of hamlets one jaunty jog eastward never heard of Jesus. Dr. Jodi Magness wrote, “Contrary to claims made by a few scholars, no copies of the New Testament (or precursors to it) are represented among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Christianity was still wet behind its primitive and mythical ears in the second century, and Christian father Marcion of Pontus in 144 CE denied any virgin birth or childhood for Christ—Jesus’ infant circumcision (Lk 2:21) was thus a lie, as well as the crucifixion! Marcion claimed Luke was corrupted, and his savior self-spawned in omnipresence, a spirit without a body (see Dungan, 43). Reading the works of second century Christian father Athenagoras, one never encounters the word Jesus (or Ἰησοῦς or Ἰησοῦν, as he would have written)—Athenagoras was thus unacquainted with the name of his savior it would seem. Athenagoras was another pious early Christian, unaware of Jesus (see also Barnard, 56).

Mary at the wellin NazarethThe original booklet given the name “Mark” ended at 16:8, later forgers adding the fanciful resurrection tale (see Ehrman, 48). The booklet “John” in chapter 21 also describes post-death Jesus tales, another well-known and well-documented forgery (see Encyclopedia Biblica, vol. 2, 2543). Millions should have heard of the Jesus “crucifixion” with its astral enchantments: zombie armies and meteorological marvels (Mt 27) recorded not by any historian, but only in the dubitable scriptures scribbled decades later by superstitious yokels. The Jesus saga is further deflated by the reality of Nazareth, having no settlement until after the 70 CE war—suspiciously around the time the Gospels were concocted, as René Salm demonstrates in his book. I also include in my book similarities of Jesus to earlier God-sons, too striking to disregard. The Oxford Classical Dictionary and Catholic Encyclopedia, as well as many others, corroborate. Quite a few son-of-gods myths existed before the Jesus tales, with startling similarities, usually of virgin mothers, magical births and resurrection: Sandan, Mithra, Horus, Attis, Buddha, Dionysus, Krishna, Hercules, Isiris, Orpheus, Adonis, Prometheus, etc. 

The one true religion

If you encounter a Christian defending her faith purely based on its popularity, you would do well to inform her that Christianity was a very minor cult in the fourth century, while “pagan” religions, especially Mithraism, were much more popular in the Empire – and the Jesus cult would have faded into oblivion if not for an imperial decree.

From No Meek Messiah:
It is 391 CE now as Roman Emperor Theodosius elevates Jesus (posthumously) to divinity, declaring Christianity the only “legitimate” religion of the world, under penalty of death. The ancient myth is rendered law. This decision by Theodosius is possibly the worst ever made in human history: what followed were century after century of torture and murder in the name of this false, faked, folkloric “prophesied savior” of fictional virgin mother. Within a year after the decree by Theodosius, crazed Christian monks of Nitria destroy the majestic Alexandrian Library largely because philosophy and science are taught there—not the Bible. In Alexandria these are times of the highest of intellectual pursuits, all quashed by superstitious and ignorant Christians of the most godly and murderous variety: they had the “Holy Bible” on their side.

Emperor Theodosius I could have had no idea how much harm this blunder would cause humanity over the centuries that followed. Christianity was made the only legal cult of the empire, and for the next 1500 years, good Christians would murder all non-Christians they could find by the tens of millions. 

Frauds and forgeries

Along the centuries the Church has sought to gain power and wealth, and No Meek Messiah exposes their many scams and deceits and obfuscations in detail including:

  • Abgar Forgeries (4th century)
  • Apostolic Canons (400 CE)
  • Hypatia the witch (415 CE)
  • Symmachian Forgeries (6th century)
  • St. Peter Forgery (c. 751)
  • False “Donation of Constantine” (8th century)
  • False Decretals (8th century)
  • Extermination of the Cathar “witches” (13th century)
  • Murder of the Stedinger “devils” (1233)
  • The Manifest Destiny decree (1845) and eradication of Native Americans
  • Invention of the “Immaculate Conception” (1854)
  • The Lateran Treaty (1929)

Paul burning books at EphesusThe good that Jesus brought

Early Christians believed all necessary knowledge was in the Bible and thus closed down schools, burned books, forbade teaching philosophy and destroyed libraries. The Jesus person portrayed in the Bible taught that “devils” and “sin” cause illness, and thus for some 1700 years good Christians ignored science and medicine to perform exorcisms on the ill.

The Bible decrees “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” (Ex 22:18, with support from Dt 18:10-12, Lev 20:27, 2 Chr 33:6, Micah 5:12, and 1 Sam 28:3). In the New Testament, Paul in Galatians 5:19-21 joins the anti-witchcraft credo. But let’s face it: Paul claims to be a devoted Hebrew, full of credulity and misogyny. Paul will “suffer not a woman to teach” and thus along the centuries women have been second-class citizens, especially within the church. These juvenile and immoral Bible edicts are not left in the past.

From No Meek Messiah:
Remember the witch hunts? Long ago and far away, past atrocities forgotten? So perhaps we should forgive and forget. Around the world, the Christian Bible is still used to accuse people, usually children, of “witchcraft” and to punish them. Refer to The Guardian, Sunday 9 December 2007, “Child ‘witches’ in Africa”; Huffington Post, October 18, 2009, “African Children Denounced As ‘Witches’ By Christian Pastors”; and The Guardian, Friday 31 December 2010, “Why are ‘witches’ still being burned alive in Ghana?” The scripture normally cited regarding witches is Exodus 22:18, and there are many more. In Ghana, a study found that “accused witches were physically brutalized, tortured, neglected, and in two cases, murdered.” In Kinshasa, Congo, “80% of the 20,000 street children … are said to have been accused of being witches.” Even to this day the Bible’s proclamations against witches are still considered valid by many Christians. In places like Indonesia, Tanzania, the Congo and Ghana superstitious fundamental Christians actively pursue and execute witches, including murdering child “sorcerers.” In Malawi, accused witches are routinely jailed.

Christians are typically kept ignorant of certain evil and immoral words placed into the mouth of this mythical mystery-man:

If any man come to me, and HATE NOT his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26.

Jesus is actually portrayed as a pitiful man in desperate need of praise:

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” – Matt 10:37.

Not only does Jesus never advise against slavery, but he recommends savage whipping of disobedient slaves:

And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” – Luke 12:47.

Jesus has nothing against stealing, as he instructs his apostles to pinch a horse and a donkey from their rightful owner:

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.” (Matt 21:1-3). 

Gentle and meek and mythical

I personally know several Christians who accept evolution as scientific fact. Okay, they kind of ignore the Old Testament, but I asked one born again Christian about the genealogy of Jesus and she was only aware of another one in Luke.

From No Meek Messiah,
Christianity absolutely depends on mythical “Adam.” Without Adam, Eve, and a talking snake, Jesus’ mission is moot and pointless and void. Christians are generally oblivious of this because they have been shown a genealogy in Matthew (which only goes back to “Abraham”), and are rarely if ever exposed to Luke’s disparate and childlike version—which if true would negate all of evolution and in fact most known history and science. According to the anonymous author of Luke, a mere seventy-five generations separate “Adam”—and the beginning of the universe—from the birth of Jesus some 2,000 years ago.

Jesus This “meek” messiah boasted he was “greater than Solomon” (Mt 12:42), saying he “came not to send peace, but a sword” (Mt 10:34), and “to send fire on the earth” (Lk 12:49). Jesus desperately needs your praise (Mt 10:37), and advises you to beat your slaves.

This Jesus character speaks highly of father Yahweh‘s genocidal tantrums in Matthew 11:20-24. Jesus is referring to the book of Joshua where his father declares he will wipe out all people of Sidon: “All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephoth-maim, and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel” (13:6).

You may have heard Christians claim that the only “god hates fags” verbiage comes from the Old Testament (Lev 18:22), but both Paul (in Rom 1:26-27) and Jesus speak out against it, as the J-man praises the ruin of Gaytown, Canaan: “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.” – Luke 17:29. 

Onward Christian soldiers

Christianity has a violent “holy book” as its authority, granting followers supremacy over the entire earth (e.g. Gen 1:28) which they used to justify land grabs, genocide and holy conflicts. The following wars were perpetrated by Christians in the name of their savior:

  1. War against the Donatists, 317
  2. Roman-Persian War of 441
  3. Roman-Persian War of 572-591
  4. Charlemagne’s War against the Saxons, 8th century
  5. Spanish Christian-Muslim War of 912-928
  6. Spanish Christian-Muslim War of 977-997
  7. Spanish Christian-Muslim War of 1001-1031
  8. First Crusade, 1096
  9. Jerusalem Massacre, 1099
  10. Second Crusade, 1145-1149
  11. Spanish Christian-Muslim War, 1172-1212
  12. Third Crusade, 1189
  13. War against the Livonians, 1198-1212
  14. Wars against the Curonians and Semigallians, 1201-90
  15. Fourth Crusade, 1202-04
  16. Wars against Saaremaa, 1206-61
  17. War against the Estonians, 1208-1224
  18. War against the Latgallians and Selonians, 1208-1224
  19. Children’s Crusade, 1212
  20. Fifth Crusade, 1213
  21. Sixth Crusade, 1228 War against the Livonians, 1198-1212
  22. Spanish Christian-Muslim War, 1230-1248
  23. Seventh Crusade, 1248
  24. Eighth Crusade, 1270
  25. Ninth Crusade, 1271-1272
  26. The Inquisitions
  27. War against the Cathars, 1209-1229 and onward
  28. War against the Stedingers of Friesland, 1233
  29. Spanish Christian-Muslim War, 1481-1492
  30. Four Years War of 1521-26
  31. Count’s War of 1534-36
  32. Schmalkaldic War, 1546
  33. Anglo-Scottish War of 1559-1560
  34. First War of Religion,1562
  35. Second War of Religion, 1567-68
  36. Third War of Religion, 1568-70
  37. Fourth War of Religion, 1572-73
  38. Fifth War of Religion, 1574-76
  39. Sixth War of Religion, 1576-77
  40. Seventh War of Religion, 1579-80
  41. Eighth War of Religion, 1585-98
  42. War of the Three Henrys, 1588
  43. Ninth War of Religion, 1589—1598
  44. Ottoman-Habsburg wars, 15th to 16th century
  45. War against the German Farmers (“peasants”), 16th Century
  46. The French Wars of Religion, 16th Century
  47. Shimabara Revolt, 1637
  48. Covenanters’ Rebellion of 1666
  49. Covenanters’ Rebellion of 1679
  50. Covenanters’ Rebellion of 1685
  51. The Thirty Years War, 17th Century
  52. The Irish rebellion of 1641
  53. Spanish Christian extermination of South American natives
  54. Manifest Destiny
  55. War of the Sonderbund, 1847
  56. Crimean War, 1853-1856
  57. Tukulor-French War, 1854-1864
  58. Taiping Rebellion, 1851 and 1864
  59. Serbo-Turkish War, 1876-78
  60. Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878
  61. Russian Revolution killing of the Jews, late 19th century
  62. First Sudanese Civil War, 1955-1972
  63. Nigerian Civil War, 1967
  64. Lebanese Civil War, 1975
  65. Sabra and Shatila massacre, 1982
  66. Second Sudanese Civil War, 1983
  67. Yelwa Massacre, 2004
  68. Bosnian War

A relatively unknown contrivance occurred in the thirteenth century when Pope Innocent III ordered a genocidal attack against the entire region of Languedoc France. The pope depicted the Cathars as witches; of being cannibals; desecrating the cross; and having “sexual orgies.”

Yet malefic sounds of sibilance emanated only from the Vatican, and not from its contrived enemies living peaceably in France with their pure and righteous ways. The Church murdered over a million innocent Cathars over the period of 35 years—men, women, children. Christian forces wiped them from the face of the planet. At the height of the siege, Christian forces were burning hundreds at the stake at a time. The Christian colossus exterminated them, then annexed much of Languedoc—some for the Church, some from northern French nobles. The extravagant Palais de la Berbie (construction began in 1228) and the Catholic fortress-cathedral Sainte Cécile (began 1282) are just two examples that remain to this day.

Joseph McCabeConclusion

When I consider those 126 writers, all of whom should have heard of Jesus but did not, and Paul and Marcion and Athenagoras and Matthew with a tetralogy of opposing Christs, the silence from Qumran and Nazareth and Bethlehem, conflicting Bible stories, and so many other mysteries and omissions, I must conclude this “Jesus Christ” is a mythical character. “Jesus of Nazareth” was nothing more than urban (or desert) legend, likely an agglomeration of several evangelic and deluded rabbis who might have existed.

The “Jesus mythicist” position is regarded by Christians as a fringe group. But after my research I tend to side with Remsburg—and Frank Zindler, John M. Allegro, Thomas Paine, Godfrey Higgins, Robert M. Price, Charles Bradlaugh, Gerald Massey, Joseph McCabe, Abner Kneeland, Alvin Boyd Kuhn, Harold Leidner, Peter Jensen, Salomon Reinach, Samuel Lublinski, Charles-François Dupuis, Rudolf Steck, Arthur Drews, Prosper Alfaric, Georges Ory, Tom Harpur, Michael Martin, John Mackinnon Robertson, Alvar Ellegård, David Fitzgerald, Richard Carrier, René Salm, Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy, Barbara Walker, Thomas Brodie, Earl Doherty, Bruno Bauer and others—heretics and iconoclasts and freethinking dunces all, according to “mainstream” Bible scholars.

If all this evidence and non-evidence including 126 silent writers cannot convince, I’ll wager we will uncover much more. Yet this is but a tiny tip of the mythical Jesus iceberg: nothing adds up for the fable of the Christ. In the Conclusion of No Meek Messiah I summarize the madcap cult of Jesus worship that has plagued the world for centuries. It should be clear to even the most devout and inculcated reader that it is all up for Christianity, and in fact has been so for centuries. Its roots and foundation and rituals are borrowed from ancient cults: there is nothing magical or “God-inspired” about them. The “virgin birth prophecy” as well as the immaculate conception claims are fakeries, the former due to an erroneous translation of the Tanakh, the latter a nineteenth century Catholic apologetic contrivance, a desperate retrofitting.

Jesus was no perfect man, no meek or wise messiah: in fact his philosophies were and are largely immoral, often violent, as well as shallow and irrational. There have been many proposed sons of god, and this Jesus person is no more valid or profound than his priestly precursors. In fact, his contemporary Apollonius was unquestionably the superior logician and philosopher.

Thomas JeffersonChristianity was a very minor and inconsequential cult founded late in the first century and then—while still quite minor—forced upon all the people of the Empire, and all rival kingdoms in the fourth century and beyond, as enforceable law with papal sanction. Christianity has caused more terror and torture and murder than any similar phenomenon. With its tyrannical preachments and directives for sightless and mindless obedience, the Bible is a violent and utterly useless volume, full of lies and immoral edicts and invented histories, no matter which of the many “versions” you may choose to read—including Thomas Jefferson’s radical if gallant abridgment.

The time to stop teaching the tall tales and nonsense to children, frightening them with eternal torture administered by God’s minions, has long ago passed. Parents who do so are likely deluded, and most surely are guilty of child abuse of the worst sort ….

The cult of Christianity has an incalculable amount of blood on its hands. And the “Jesus” tale seems to have been nothing more than oral legend, with plenty of hoax and fraud perpetrated along the ages. It is my hope that mankind will someday grow up and relegate the Jesus tales to the same stewing pile that contains Zeus and his son Hercules, roiling away in their justifiable status as mere myth. – JNE, 19 July 2014

Ancient Historians

Bibliography

  1. Catholic Encyclopedia, first edition. The Encyclopedia Press, 1907-1913.
  2. Dungan, David L., Constantine’s Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007.
  3. Ehrman, Bart, Jesus, Interrupted. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.
  4. Encyclopedia Biblica: A Critical Dictionary of the Literary, Political and Religious History: The Archeology, Geography and Natural History of the Bible. Edited by Thomas Kelly Cheyne and J. Sutherland Black. 1899.
  5. Magness, Jodi, The Archaeology of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  6. Oxford Classical Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  7. Salm, René, The Myth of Nazareth. Parsippany: American Atheist Press, 2008.

Further Reading

  1. Alfaric, Prosper. Jésus a-t-il existé? 1932.
  2. Allegro, John M., The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1992.
  3. Barnard, Leslie William. Athenagoras: A Study in Second Century Christian Apologetic. Paris: Éditions Beauchesne, 1972.
  4. Bradlaugh, Charles, Who Was Jesus Christ? London : Watts and Co., 1913.
    Brodie, Thomas. Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2012.
  5. Carrier, Richard. Proving History: Bayes’s Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus. Amherst: Prometheus, 2012.
  6. Doherty, Earl, Neither God not Man. Ottawa: Age of Reason, 2009.
  7. Drews, Arthur, Hat Jesus gelebt? Mainz: 1924.
  8. Dupuis, Charles-François, L’origine de tous les cultes, ou la religion universelle. Paris: 1795.
  9. Ellegård, Alvar, Jesus One Hundred Years Before Christ. New York: Overlook Press, 2002.
  10. Fitzgerald, David, Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All. Lulu.com, 2010.
  11. Freke, Timothy, and Gandy, Peter, The Jesus Mysteries: Was the “Original Jesus” a Pagan God? New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999.
  12. Harpur, Tom, The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light. Toronto: Thomas Allen Publishers, 2005.
  13. Higgins, Godfrey, Anacalypsis. A&B Books, 1992.
  14. Jensen, Peter, Moses, Jesus, Paul: Three Variations on the Babylonian Godman Gilgamesh. 1909.
  15. Kneeland, Abner, A Review of the Evidences of Christianity. Boston: Free Enquirer, 1829.
  16. Kuhn, A. B., Who Is This King of Glory? Kessinger Publishing, LLC; Facsimile Ed edition, 1992.
  17. Leidner, Harold, The Fabrication of the Christ Myth. Survey Press, 2000.
  18. Lublinski, Samuel, Die Entstehung des Christentums; Das werdende Dogma vom Leben Jesu. Köln: Eugen Diederichs, 1910.
  19. Martin, Michael, Atheism: A Philosophical Justification. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992.
  20. Massey, Gerald, Ancient Egypt, the Light of the World. Sioux Falls: NuVision, 2009.
  21. McCabe, Joseph, The Myth of the Resurrection and other essays. Amherst: Prometheus Books, 1993.
  22. Ory, Georges, Le Christ et Jésus. Paris: Éditions du Pavillon, 1968.
  23. Paine, Thomas, The Age of Reason. Paris: Barrots, 1794.
  24. Price, Robert M., Deconstructing Jesus. Amherst: Prometheus, 2000.
  25. Price, Robert M., The Case Against the Case for Christ. Cranford: American Atheist Press, 2010.
  26. Reinach, Salomon, Orpheus, a History of Religions. New York: Liveright, 1933.
  27. Remsburg, John, The Christ. New York: Truth Seeker, 1909. Reprinted by Prometheus Books, 1994.
  28. Robertson, John M., A Short History of Christianity. London: Watts & Co., 1902.
  29. Steck, Rudolf, Der Galaterbrief nach seiner Echtheit untersucht nebst kritischen Bemerkungen zu den Paulinischen Hauptbriefen. Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1888.
  30. Walker, Barbara, The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. New York: HarperOne, 1983.
  31. Zindler, Frank, The Jesus the Jews Never Knew. Cranford: American Atheist Press, 2003.

» Michael Paulkovich is an aerospace engineer, historical researcher, freelance writer, and a frequent contributor to Free Inquiry and Humanist Perspectives magazines. His book No Meek Messiah was published in 2013 by Spillix.

Thomas Paine

Pope Francis lacks moral audacity, avoids apology for clergy sex abuse – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Barbie Latza Nadeau“Executive director of SNAP Clohessy says that while the pope is a ‘master of symbolic gesture’ he seems to lack the moral courage to effectively address the Church’s most devastating crisis.  ‘He comes from the developing world where this crisis is still percolating and has yet to burst into the public arena and force a real Church response,’ he says.  ‘An effective pope must use both carrot and stick. He must be a pastor and a policeman.  Compassion is wonderful but only goes so far. When dealing with predators and enablers, anger is also necessary.'” – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Pope Francis: Aren't unsolicited kisses a form of molestation?There is no question that Pope Francis has put a shine on the tarnished Catholic Church through acts of humility and courage in the first eight months of his papacy.  Cold calls to Catholics and random acts of kindness—including  rumors that he regularly sneaks out of Vatican City at night to help feed the poor in Rome—have endeared him to the most ardent naysayers.  But the first Latin American pontiff hasn’t won everyone over quite yet.

Advocates of the clerical child sex scandal say the pope still has done little to address the Church’s disgraceful record on child abuse.  And on Monday, he seemed to miss another big opportunity to apologize for the Church’s sins.  In a meeting with 13 Dutch prelates in Rome, he apparently intended to flick at the issue.  According to prepared remarks given to those who attended the meeting, he was planning to say, “I wish to express my compassion and to ensure my closeness in prayer to every victim of sexual abuse, and to their families; I ask you to continue to support them along the painful path of Catholic Church: Charges will be made in the International Criminal Courthealing, that they have undertaken with courage.”  But those in attendance said he veered off script and instead held an open conversation with the clergy present, failing to focus on the sex abuse problem in the Dutch Church as he may have intended, according to the prepared remarks.  Last year, the Dutch government issued a harsh report against the Catholic Church after investigating more than 20,000 valid claims of child abuse by priests since 1945.  They called out the Dutch Church’s failure to “adequately deal with the abuse.”

Monday’s missed opportunity is not the first time this popular pontiff has punted on the issue.  In a broad interview published in several Jesuit magazines in September, he also chose not to address the issue at all, which disappointed many Catholics who were hoping to hear from the new pope on this contentious topic.  In another interview in October, this time with La Repubblica the pope again remained silent on the subject of sex abuse, missing what many Italians felt was a golden opportunity to put his views on the record.

David ClohessyAdvocates like David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests say that the pope doesn’t need openings to make an apology or do more.  “He needs no opportunity with his massive global bully pulpit,” Clohessy told The Daily Beast.  “He could have apologized any time over the past eight months.”

Clohessy says that while the pope is a “master of symbolic gesture” he seems to lack the moral courage to effectively address the church’s most devastating crisis.  “He comes from the developing world where this crisis is still percolating and has yet to burst into the public arena and force a real church response,” he says.  “An effective pope must use both carrot and stick. He must be a pastor and a policeman.  Compassion is wonderful but only goes so far. When dealing with predators and enablers, anger is also necessary.”

To be fair, Francis has a lot on his plate as he confronts the Church’s mountain of problems, including allegations of financial corruption.  In July, he did make child abuse illegal on Vatican grounds, including the creation and possession of child pornography and prostitution of minors.  Apparently that law had never made into the Vatican legal code.  But he also made it illegal to leak secret documents kept sacred in the Holy See, effectively enabling Church officials to continue to hide any evidence of a cover-up when it comes to sex crimes that have been reported to the Vatican.

Victims of clerical sex abuse protest in front of Vatican.Hope is not lost for real changes in how the Church deals with this delicate issue.  On Tuesday Francis began a two-day meeting with his papal posse of reforming cardinals who have been tasked with advising him about how to fix the ails of the global Church. It seems impossible to think that better handling the child sex abuse problem would not be somewhere near the top of their agenda.  Clohessy, who also worries that a papal apology would be a band-aid and only give the wrong impression that the Church is addressing the problem through dialogue rather than action, is not optimistic.  “Papal apologies these days mean nothing,” he says.  “One apologizes for harm when harm is done.  But the abuse and cover-up crisis continues. Adults can heal themselves with or without church officials’ apologies. Kids, however, can’t protect themselves without Church officials’ actions.” – The Daily Beast, 3 December 2013

» Barbie Latza Nadeau is an American journalist based in Rome. 

Francis as Pontifex Maximus

Pope Francis is the successor of Roman Emperor Constantine who gave the title ‘Pontifex Maximus‘ to the Bishops of Rome, not the ‘poor fisherman from Galilee,’ a fictional character in the Gospels whose historical reality has yet to be established. Constantine also gave his red shoes and red cape, worn only by emperors, to the Roman Bishops as the official vestment of their supreme pontiff’s office. –– Editor

See also

Indian Catholic Church properties valued at rupees several lakh crores — D. P. Satish

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, PuducherryImmaculate Conception Cathedral: This Puducherry church replaces the Vedapuri Ishwaran Temple destroyed by the Jesuits and the French Governor’s wife Madame Dupleix (as attested by Ananda Ranga Pillai) . The Puducherry bishopric is one of the wealthiest in India and even operates an unofficial money lending business.

D.P. SatishThis report by D.P. Satish was made in August 2009. We are reprinting it here with reference to the RBI’s interest in obtaining gold from Hindu temples to shore up the rupee. The Catholic Church is the largest landowner in India and a conservative estimate of its holdings is Rs 7000 crores plus (2009). Much of its land and wealth was appropriated from Hindu temples during colonial times. Yet there is no government over-site of Church administration, and no interference from the government in the appointment of bishops who are the wealth administrators. This must change. The Indian Church acts like a state within a state in the Indian Union yet gives its feudal allegiance to the Pope in Rome. In a secular democratic republic, there is no reason why Hindu deities must give up their wealth to the state when Christian bishops and their vast, tax-free properties go scot-free. — Editor

Cardinal Oswald Gracias is the de facto head of the Catholic Church in India.A debate in whether church properties in India should be governed by the government. Some leading figures from the community demanded a law at the recently held All India Catholic Union Conclave [in Goa]. But, the bishops are not ready.

The Catholic Church in India owns the largest chunk of non-agricultural land, and is known as the second largest employer after the Government of India. It’s annual budget equals that of the Indian Navy but the Catholic community has been asking where is the money and where is the transparency?

Their conclave in Goa discussed the tangle. “All over the world churches are subjected to the law of the state. There cannot be a state within a state. Religious organisations cannot form a state within a state,” says Catholic leader and former Union minister Eduardo Faleiro.

Eduardo FaleiroBut, the shocked clergy are not in a mood to change their system. They claim that the demand is absurd and allows government interference.

“If you have a Waqf Board you are giving too much control to the government. That will add to large-scale corruption as we have seen where ever government has been in control of religious properties and institutions either in Islam or even in Hindu temples,” claims Catholic community leader Dr John Dayal.

The Catholic Church in India is over 500 years old and has total control over its assets across the country. Some Catholics feel the bishops are not the right people to handle properties worth several lakh crores. But so far, the government has kept quite on the row. — IBN Live, 9 August 2009

See also

The J. B. P. More Interview – Shobha Warrier

Shoba WarrierNothing much has changed since Vasco da Gama’s time, says historian J. B. P. More.

That is why he holds the view that the Clash of Civilisations, between the West and the rest of the world which started in the 15th century with Vasco da Gama traveling to India and Christopher Columbus stumbling upon America, has continued till today and will continue for many more decades to come.

“I am sure Samuel Huntington [who proposed the clash of civilisations theory in a memorable 1993 Foreign Affairs essay] will agree with me,” he said in an interview conducted over e-mail.

Born and brought up in Pondicherry, More, moved to Paris to pursue a BA degree. He later did his PhD in history at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (the School for Higher Studies in Social Sciences) where his thesis was on the Muslims of Tamil Nadu.

He has published more than a dozen books with quite a few on the Muslims of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In his interview to Rediff.com, he provides insights into the Muslims of Kerala and the consequences of Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India. — Shobha Warrier

J.P.B. More• Do you feel Indian (and Third World) history is seen always from the Western perspective?

Yes. Indian history is seen most of the time from the Western perspective. It is a colonial legacy.

Even after the colonial period, many Indian historians continue to work within the Western ideological frameworks and methodologies. They have not evolved anything worthwhile of their own, which is not Western. Therefore, they are bound to look at history from a Western perspective.

Besides, even after decolonisation, Western scholars continue to work on Indian history and society in greater numbers. They produce innumerable books from the Western perspective.

They have even resorted to collaboration and cooperation with like-minded Indian scholars and institutions after Independence in 1947, (which is part of the globalisation agenda of the West), thus ensuring their hegemony in the Indian intellectual and historical world even after decolonisation.

This has contributed largely to look at history greatly from the Western perspective, which is thought to be universal.

Most Western scholars never adopt a completely neutral attitude towards history and society and the Indians largely follow it.

A historian has to view history as an outsider, standing above all group interests. He needs to be uncommitted.

• You have written a book on the origin and early history of Muslims in Kerala. How did you get interested in the subject?

My PhD thesis was about the Muslims of Tamil Nadu. I had worked and published extensively on them and the Dravidians.

I was also interested in French colonial history in India, particularly Mahe on the Malabar Coast.

I went to Mahe. This led me to write a book on the history and freedom movement in Mahe.

From Mahe I got the idea to write a book on the Muslims of Kerala, their origin and early history. I worked on it for several years before it was published in 2011.

• What revelations came to light when you started your study on the origin of Muslims in Kerala?

The Muslims of Kerala owe their origin to peaceful Arab traders, unlike North Indian/Pakistani Muslims who are the result of invasions by Arab, Turkish, Afghan and Mongol armies.

They were a peaceful community, subjects of the Zamorin of Calicut and other Kerala kings until the arrival of Vasco da Gama and the Portuguese, followed by other Europeans.

The policies and values of the Portuguese and later the English transformed this peaceful community into a largely militant community during the colonial period.

They were probably the first among the Indians to realise the colonial implications of European arrival in Malabar and resisted it ferociously tooth and nail.

Sheikh Zainuddin’s work Tohfut ul Mujahdeen of the 16th century, which is the first historical work of South India, is a standing testimony of that.

It is a rare and pioneering, foundation document of resistance to colonialism and slavery, though written from the Islamic standpoint.

It must be included in the list of UNESCO heritage documents, rather than the recent inclusion in that list of the travel account of Vasco da Gama’s first voyage to India, replete with factual errors, which remains nevertheless the foundation document of colonialism.

• Did Arabs travel to the Malabar Coast and spread Islam as early as the 7th century?

There is no evidence in Arab, Persian and Chinese travel accounts and other literature, not to speak of Sanskrit or Tamil literature that the Arabs frequented the Malabar Coast in the 7th century.

But there is evidence of their presence in Malabar from the 9th century.

In my book on the origin of Muslims of Kerala, I have proved convincingly on the origin of Muslims that there was no conversion of the Chera king, Cheraman Perumal, to Islam in the 7th century or in the 9th century as claimed by some scholars or in the 12th century as claimed by M G S Narayanan.

• You say Samuel Huntington got it wrong to say that the Clash of Civilisations, essentially Western and Muslim, started after the Cold War ended.

• You say it began with Vasco da Gama setting foot in India and Christopher Columbus in the Americas.

• Are the conflicts in the world from the 15th century onwards a continuation of this theme?

For Huntington, the ideological clash is over with the fall of the Soviet Union. This has brought about a clash of civilisations on the basis of culture and ethnicity.

Huntington attributes a very restricted meaning and time-frame to the notion of the clash of civilisations.

I think the Clash of Civilisations, which involves all aspects of the life and existence of people, started way back in the late 15th century with the arrival of Vasco da Gama in the Indian Ocean region and Malabar and Columbus in the Americas.

We know about the tragic atrocities that fell upon the Red Indian civilisations due to Columbus’ intrusion into America.

Whole peoples and civilisations, which were a legacy of humanity, were wiped out by the European colonisers in favour of their own civilisation.

In the East, with the arrival of Vasco da Gama, we know that the largely peaceful Indian Ocean region was turned overnight into an arena of conflict and tension, which led to the colonisation of India and much of the Eastern world.

Eventually, the European colonisers had an upper hand in this tussle due to the sophisticated and superior arms and ammunition and the better developed navigation vessels that they possessed, with which they could impose their will on the high seas or bombard or raze to the ground any coastal town, as it was the case with Calicut in 1502.

They did not win India or the Red Indian continent with their values or way of life. Samuel Huntington himself accepted this and had held that the West won the world not with their values, but due to their superiority in applying organised violence.

Thus, the Clash of Civilisations where the Europeans held the upper hand due to superior arms at their disposal started in the 15th century.

This clash continued during the colonial period when the civilisation of the coloniser in the political, economic and cultural fields was imposed upon the colonised.

India became part of the globalised capitalist economy and power structure, dominated by the West.

Nothing much has changed even after decolonisation. India may be independent politically and it may even become an economic power like Japan, but it still remains and will still remain part of the global capitalist economy and system, dominated and controlled by the West.

India still revolves around the economic, political and ideological structures put in place by the colonisers, where power is concentrated in the hands of a few.

Naturally Western culture has become more and more pervasive in every field.

One might think that the dominance of the Western powers ended with decolonisation. Nothing is more erroneous than this thought.

The Western powers still dominate the oceans by the force of their arms and ammunition, their nuclear bombs, fighter jets and navigation vessels.

This, more than their values and ideas, assures their dominance in the world and the continued predominance and existence of the globalised capitalist economy, dominated and controlled by them and their ideological allies.

In this respect, nothing much has changed since Vasco da Gama’s time.

That is why I hold that a new era of Clash of Civilisations, between the West and the rest of the world started in the 15th century with Vasco da Gama coming to India and Columbus stumbling upon America, and has continued till today and will continue for many more decades to come.

I am sure Samuel Huntington will agree with me.

Coming to Western values, ideas and ideologies, I would say that many of them are fundamentally irrational and unfounded. If they had been truly rational and just, there would not be so much confusion and conflict, killings and massacres, injustices and inequalities, not just in India, but all over the world. – Rediff.com, 6 August 2013

• You have stated elsewhere that Darwin’s theory of evolution is a highly controversial speculative theory and that Darwin even thought that the Europeans were the fittest to survive; that this theory justified slavery and colonialism.

• Did it change colonial history after 1859 when The Origin of Species was published?

Slavery, colonialism and the new era of clash of civilisations had started long before Darwin enunciated his theories of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest.

If we follow Darwin’s logic, European or Western civilisation has to triumph ultimately at the expense of all other civilisations.

Coming to the question of whether Darwin’s speculative theories change colonial history after 1859, I would rather say that they were used to justify colonialism, slavery, competition, violence and inequalities in society, more and more thenceforth.

Colonialism was increasingly considered by many Western intellectuals as a service to humanity.

It was also thought to be an inevitable step towards the progress of humanity, according to a particular strait-jacket economic pattern and political belief system, idea or ideology, which are inherently violent, intolerant and aggressive.

All ideas and ideologies, however global or universal or progressive they may appear to be, are inherently violent and aggressive. They were conceived by some power-hungry megalomaniacs, stricken by the pathology of the urge to dominate.

• You say Vasco da Gama’s voyage round the Cape of Good Hope to Calicut was no achievement at all as Barthlomeu Diaz had documented the route to Cape of Good Hope along the West coast of Africa and Indians, Arabs and Persians have been criss-crossing the Arabian Sea all the time.

• Was it not an achievement to connect the two routes, when no European had ever rounded the Cape till then in the then level of knowledge of the earth and oceans?

Portuguese missionary pirate Vasco da GamaIs it an achievement when you follow the route traced by another?

Vasco da Gama simply followed the route traced by Diogo d’ Azambuja, Diogo Cao and Bartholomeu Diaz up to the Eastern Cape Province, where the Indian Ocean lay wide open to him. This is definitely not an exploit.

The Portuguese and Vasco da Gama knew that the Arab traders and others were criss-crossing the Arabian Sea to India from the East African coast. So he sailed still further up the coast to the sultanates of Mozambique and Melindi.

Here he began to scout for some Muslim pilot who would guide him across the Arabian Sea to India. It is with such help that Vasco da Gama was able to cross the Arabian Sea.

This cannot be deemed as an exploit of the first order as he did not venture out alone without guidance into the ocean.

Of course, Vasco da Gama was the first to connect the two routes. But this cannot mean that Vasco da Gama had connected East and West first and was the pioneer of globalisation.

This is not historically and factually correct.

The discovery of the Malacca Straits — whoever discovered it — was a greater discovery that connected East and West and permitted the transportation of goods from the Far East to the Far West (Western Europe), which was only in the outer fringes of the then known world.

Nevertheless, this had laid the foundation for the globalisation of the economy long before Vasco da Gama.

Necessity is the mother of invention. The Arabs, Persians, Indians and Chinese never felt the necessity to find an oceanic route to Western Europe around Africa, because the sea route up to the East African coast and then the land route to the lands that lay beyond as far as Western Europe were more practicable, safe and economical.

Besides, Western Europe was not a big market for their goods in those days. As a result they were content with the sea-land route. But this was not the case with the Europeans.

They were literally blocked by the Turks and the Arabs from reaching India by the land route. So they were literally pushed into the ocean to find a sea route to India.

The question inevitably arises: Why did the West Europeans wait till the 15th century to take to the oceanic route?

• What was the first clue that pointed you in the direction?

The facts related to Vasco Da Gama’s first voyage have always been obvious. A closer and more attentive look into history had revealed to me these facts.

What made me sit up and think was when I realised that Vasco da Gama was on the lookout for a pilot in East Africa to take him across the Arabian Sea to Malabar.

Historians have failed to look at such facts impartially without bias or prejudice due to their nationalist, cultural and racial conditioning.

That is why Vasco da Gama became greater in their eyes than a Zheng Ho who led vast fleets consisting of several ships and men several times to the Indian Ocean and East Africa through the Malacca Straits.

• You said the first man to set foot upon the Malabar Coast was not Vasco da Gama, but a ‘deadly convict’ by the name of Joao Nunes who was sent by Vasco da Gama on a reconnaissance mission.

• Is that not a matter of detail of sending forth a scout, and how does it detract him from being the first man from Europe to figuratively set foot in India?

It is unfortunate that a deadly convict had set foot on the Malabar soil first.

One cannot expect civilised dealings from a deadly convict.

Vasco Da Gama had all the makings of a ruthless pirate. He had orders from the Portuguese king to wrest wealth and fame by the force of arms from the hands of the ‘barbarians, Moors, pagans and other races.’

What happened to Malabar, the Zamorin and his Nair and Marakkar warriors stand testimony to this fact.

India entered the unfortunate phase of colonialism from the time the deadly convict stepped into Malabar. It was sponsored by the Portuguese king and the Church.

Colonialism is an improved version of slavery where the coloniser remains the master while the colonised becomes the ‘petted slave.’

• Why do you ask, what was actually so great about Vasco da Gama that many historians highlight in their numerous books?

I have told you on the basis of evidence that the arrival of Vasco da Gama was not a great exploit from the navigational point of view. Vasco da Gama came to India definitely with the idea of proclaiming Jesus Christ.

Christianity had reached Malabar several centuries before Vasco da Gama. So bringing Christianity to India cannot also account for the greatness of Vasco da Gama.

Vasco da Gama had orders to capture the wealth and land of the barbarians, Moors and pagans. He and his successors implemented these orders to the best of their ability on the Malabar Coast and the Indian Ocean region.

They acquired and captured land on the Malabar Coast, built formidable forts at vantage points, indulged in proselytisation and forcible conversions, mixed with the local populations to create a hybrid race that would be loyal to them and their values, imposed passes on Indian ships and monopolised trade.

Vasco da Gama himself indulged in some of the most heinous crimes. He was the inaugurates of gun-boat trade and politics in the Indian Ocean region.

On October 1, 1502, he mercilessly ordered the killing of 700 innocent Malabar pilgrims, returning from Mecca. Half the pilgrims were women and children.

Vasco da Gama issued orders for the ship to be set on fire by gunpowder, after looting it. Not one pilgrim escaped. He remained insensitive to even the wailing women holding their babies in their hands on the deck, imploring for pity.

On October 27, 1502, he seized 50 Malabaris at sea, got their heads, legs and hands cut off and sent ashore in a boat with a message in Arabic, asking the Zamorin to make curry out of the severed limbs.

Not satisfied with this, he bombarded Calicut from the sea for three consecutive days and razed it to the ground, killing several hundred people in the process.

All these crimes have been recorded by Portuguese chroniclers and have gone unpunished.

For these heinous killings Vasco da Gama needs to be tried for crimes against humanity.

The Portuguese royalty and the Church must also be held accountable for these crimes and also colonialism, for Vasco da Gama was acting under their orders and blessings.

It was this domination and power by the force of superior arms, capable of exterminating hundreds of people in one blow, which accounts largely for the greatness of Vasco da Gama and his successors and not because of their values or intentions to trade or their navigational exploits, as it is made out to be generally by many modern historians. – Rediff.com, 14 August 2013. This is the complete two-part interview.

» Shobha Warrier is a journalist with Rediff.com based in Chennai. She tweets at https://twitter.com/shobhawarrier.

Book Review: Pathetic plight of Christian scholars from Asia – N.S. Rajaram

Dr. N.S. RajaramTheology is the distinctive contribution and concern of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Christianity it has been taken to such stratospheric heights that for an outsider at least it is hard to see what it is that keeps it afloat. In the currently fashionable interfaith dialogues, Christian scholars often begin by telling Hindus that theology is to Christianity what Vedanta is to Hinduism. Nothing could be further from the truth though gullible Hindu intellectuals are easily flattered by the comparison.” — Dr. N.S. Rajaram

Prof. R.S. SugirtharajahR.S. Sugirtharajah is a Sri Lankan Christian scholar who until recently was professor of Biblical Hermeneutics at the University of Birmingham in England. This probably makes him a hermeneutician—something like a beautician perhaps or better still a politician. For those unused to hair-splitting exercises of Biblical hermeneutics, exegeses and exegetes, it is easier to think of him as a theologian engaged in analysing interpretations of the Bible with reference to history and philosophy.

Theology is the distinctive contribution and concern of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Christianity it has been taken to such stratospheric heights that for an outsider at least it is hard to see what it is that keeps it afloat. In the currently fashionable interfaith dialogues, Christian scholars often begin by telling Hindus that theology is to Christianity what Vedanta is to Hinduism. Nothing could be further from the truth though gullible Hindu intellectuals are easily flattered by the comparison.

Vedanta is an open-ended exploration of the meaning of the universe and our existence that acknowledges only the universal truth contained in the Vedas. Theology on the other hand is a closed system which is bounded by the text of the Bible and the dogmas of Christianity. All the resources of logic and sophistry are used to justify Christianity as the only truth. One challenges theology at one’s peril as Galileo and Giordano Bruno found out. The freedom of Vedanta often brings it close to metaphysics which explains why great physicists like Opperheimer, Heisenberg, Schroedinger, David Bohm and others were drawn to it. Theology may be hermeneutics, but it certainly has no metaphysics.

The Bible and AsiaThis background is necessary to understand what the author is trying to achieve in his sad little book. As he correctly points out Christianity is Asiatic in origin, more specifically West Asian, but “its influence in Europe and the Americas has received far more attention than its complex career in the East.” Even in India it has a longer history than in Europe beginning in the fourth century or later with the arrival of the merchant Thomas of Cana— not the mythical St. Thomas who supposedly came to Kerala in 58 AD when neither Christianity nor the Christian Bible existed. Fortunately the author is a serious scholar and does not peddle this nonsense.

Add to this the fact, which the author does not stress, the decline of Christianity in the West amounting almost to a collapse in Europe, forcing the churches to recruit Asians to fill its emptying seminaries, churches and hospitals. These could not exist without massive infusion from countries like India and the Philippines. For all practical purposes Christianity today is a third world religion. The Catholic Church at least has recognized this in electing the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the latest Pope.

For all this Christian institutions have failed to treat Asian theologians as equals. They may be useful and even indispensable but as the author points out they are repeatedly told “only the West matters,” meaning they should toe the line set by their Western masters. By ‘Western’ they don’t mean African-American, Hispanic or anyone else but white European and American. This is racism in all but name though they dare not display such attitudes towards outsiders—to individuals and groups outside Christianity. In interfaith dialogues they make a great show of the ‘equality’ of the churches.

Dancing Jesus in the New Indian Community Bible.This is a carry-over from colonial days during which Asian and African converts and missionaries wholeheartedly cooperated with the ruling Christian powers. They are being repaid for this loyalty with contempt and ingratitude. As the author observes, in pre-colonial days the Bible was receptive to Asian sources like the Upanishads and the Lao Tzu, but European colonization of Asia and Africa changed all that:

“With the emergence of modern colonialism the Bible was introduced as an artifact of modernity in the form of the King James Bible, the ‘national Bible’ of the English people. In this incarnation, the Bible became a very European book, lost all its oriental traits, and became less Asiatic. … The imported ‘white man’s book’ was seen as a strange instrument, an entrapment to lure them away from their own traditions.” As a result, an Asian reading of the Bible is always a contrived one and not as natural as a Hindu reading of the Bhagavad Gita or a Buddhist reading of the Dhammapada.”

As a result, all that Asian servants of Christianity have earned for their decades of loyalty is life in a limbo with no independent identity except as courtiers and camp followers in an essentially colonial, even racist institution in the post-colonial world. It is to these lost souls that Bible and Asia is addressed. And this is what makes it particularly sad reading.

The author’s advice to his fellow Asian theologians is to reclaim Christianity for Asians by going back to its Hindu and Buddhist sources. Curiously he makes no mention of Gnostic sources that had at least as great an influence on the growth of Christianity as Hindu and Buddhist thought. Perhaps as an Asiatic the author finds Gnosticism to be alien while finding Hindu and Buddhist thought more congenial. Perhaps he believes other Asian Christians will share the same feeling.

Prof. Michael WitzelHow sound is his advice to claim Christianity as their own by invoking their ancestral Asian sources? Here is a pointer. For at least a century, Western Indologists have been telling Indians, Hindus in particular how to read and interpret their history and tradition by creating interpretations based on the Aryan invasion bringing Vedic ideas from Europe. When Hindu scholars contested this by pointing out contradictions from the Sarasvati River to the Harappan archaeology, Western scholars fought a fierce academic and propaganda battle until they could no longer sustain them against mounting evidence.

Will such people yield control of their Bible to Asians? Based on personal experience with scholars like Michael Witzel of Harvard it is a pipe dream. When logic and evidence failed they resorted to personal attacks. Theologians will be no better, perhaps worse.

Here is a more practical option. Instead of using Hindu and Buddhist scripture to gain control of Biblical theology, make the Gita, the Upanishads and the Dhammapada your own. There will be no opposition for they belong to everyone. Who in this day and age needs theology and dogma anyway? Why be satisfied as someone else’s courtiers and camp followers when you have the matchless philosophic treasures of your own—which you gave up in return for small gains and false promises? Why beg when you can be the owners of the richest philosophical treasures the world has ever known?

» Dr. N.S. Rajaram is a scientist, historian and contributing editor to  Folks Magazine.