Jesus Never Existed

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Jesus Never Existed

Death of Science - A World Sunk in Piety

At the center of the Christian Dark Ages stood the Bible. This fabricated compendium of garbled history, borrowed mythology, genocidal conflict and pious platitudes was elevated as the font of all wisdom, even as the bonfires set by Christian zealots reduced the science of a millennium to ash.

In the new Christian tyranny all scientific thought which contradicted the Bible was suppressed. If rationality and observation contradicted the “revealed Word of God” then it was rationality and the observer who were in error.

“For the Christian, it is enough to believe that the cause of all things, whether in heaven or on earth, whether visible or invisible, is nothing other than the goodness of the Creator.”

– St. Augustine (Enchiridion 3.9)

St Paul himself had instructed his acolytes to “avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” (1 Timothy 6.20). In the new Christian commonwealth free thought itself was under seige.

The Gathering Darkness

In the early 340s a fanatic, Firmicus Maternus, wrote to the emperors Constantius and Constans (‘De Errore’). He was one of the first Christians to urge the persecution of pagans, for which he promised the ‘reward from God.’ The monarchs needed little encouragement – persecution began immediately, with pagan sacrifice made a capital offence in 353. Recorded Gibbon:

“The sons of Constantine trod in the footsteps of their father, with more zeal, and with less discretion … every indulgence was shown to the illegal behaviour of the Christians; every doubt was explained to the disadvantage of Paganism; and the demolition of the temples was celebrated as one of the auspicious events of the reign of Constans and Constantius.”

Even during the brief reign of the pagan emperor Julian, the Temple of Apollo at Daphne (Antioch) had been burned down by Christian arsonists. His successor, the sadistic Valens, restored tax and other privileges to the Church, rescinded by Julian, and waged a particularly vicious campaign against the dead emperor’s supporters (in vain, attempting a coup under Julian’s cousin Procopius). In Italy, Gratian chose this moment to seize the immense wealth of the Temple of Vesta, protector goddess of the city of Rome.

Within a generation, the wildest dreams of Firmicus were fulfilled with the institution of the theocratic tyranny of Theodosius and the subsequent murder of scientists, the destruction of libraries, and eliminated and silencing of intellectuals.

“All heretics we pronounce mad and foolish … these are to be visited first by the divine vengeance, and secondly by the stroke of our own authority, which we have received in accordance with the will of Heaven.”

Thus spoke Theodosius in 380 (Norwich, p118).

A new and darker culture emerged. In 397, at the 4th Church Council of Carthage, the synod drew up a list of approved books of the Catholic canon and at the same time instituted a prohibition on anyone, including Christian bishops, from studying pagan literature. Non-Christian teachers, army officers, public employees and judges were dismissed from office. Early in the 5th century John Chrysostom (erstwhile patriarch in Constantinople) recorded with delight:

“And as for the writings of the Greeks, they are all put out and vanished” 

– On John, Homily 2, Trinity, Sophists, Philosophers, 5.

He goes on to describe Pythagoras as a sorcerer and barbarian!

Within half a century, imperial edicts required the burning of non-Christian books. Many libraries of antiquity had been attached to temples, academies, and public baths and therefore suffered in the general attack by Christians on these vulgar pagan edifices. Plato’s Academy, and the last of the pagan schools, were closed by Justinian in 529.

In contrast to the assault upon science and paganism, imperial patronage and wealth from the elite poured into a plethora of new churches, monasteries and nunneries – glorifying God and securing for their patrons ‘a place in heaven.’ Starved of funds, as well as legality, scientific research inevitably withered and died.

End of Scientific Method

The ‘philosophy of the pagans’ and secular public education were thus marginalised and eliminated. Lamented Ammianus Marcellinus, Rome’s last great historian (who died in 395):

“Those few mansions which were once celebrated for the serious cultivation of liberal studies, now are filled with ridiculous amusements of torpid indolence … The libraries, like tombs, are closed forever.”

For those bright and privileged enough to seek education, career opportunities now lay exclusively within the hierarchy of the church and a Christianised state bureaucracy. With the active cooperation of the imperial court the Church had grasped complete control over education and, having done so, restricted instruction to potential priests.

Initially, rhetoric and grammar remained on the syllabus but knowledge which did not serve the purposes of the Church was suppressed. Mathematics, with its historic link to the ‘demonic’ philosophy of the Pythagoreans, was especially suspect:

The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell.

– St. Augustine, De Genesi ad Litteram, Book II, xviii, 37.

Some classic writers – Homer (in whose work Christians saw allegories), Plato and Aristotle (philosophies which ‘anticipated’ Christianity’), and some poetic and rhetorical works (Juvenal, Ovid and Horace) useful as teaching aids – were preserved; most were destroyed.

Such was Christian hostility to general learning and practical knowledge that access to scripture itself was forbidden to any lay-person who might still be literate. Preoccupied with ceremonial and holy pageants, within a few generations most members of the priesthood could not even read their own Bible. Ritual had replaced readingiconography had replaced words.

Scientific method – empirical observation of the natural world, the testing of hypotheses and revision of assumptions – had no role in an age in which eternal truth had been made known to man by the revealed Word of God.

The Natural World Demonized

In this harsh and solemn world of Christ the rich variety of public entertainments of an earlier age were replaced by a meagre diet of pious ceremonials in which the Christian monarch and his retinue appeared ever-grander, ever more remote from mere mortals. (The emperor Hadrian had once been accosted by an old woman and chided for ignoring her petition; he read it. Christian monarchs could only be approached by courtiers, forced to prostrate themselves and kiss the hem of the imperial garments.)

The frequent public holidays – more than half the year during the empire’s golden age – disappeared with the gods they honoured. The pagan festivals had not only provided generous leisure time but had brought nature and the seasons into peoples lives.

In the Christian monarchy ‘Nature’ was now seen as the domain of evil spirits, not a realm worthy of respect and exploration. Joyful public holidays were replaced by solemn commemorations of biblical events.

“The Platonists and their Christian successors held the peculiar notion that the Earth was tainted and somehow nasty, while the heavens were perfect and divine. The fundamental idea that the Earth is a planet, that we are citizens of the Universe, was rejected and forgotten.”

Carl Sagan (Cosmos, p188)


The popular nature gods of a millennium became the ‘demons’ of the Christians, infesting streams, forests, mountains and animals – and of course the temples and shrines of the pagans.

The Christians, if anything, feared the old gods more than the pagans, particularly as they preferred a diabolic rather than a natural explanation for mishaps and disasters. Far from exposing the old gods as merely wood and stone (the fate of Serapis in Alexandria, for example), most Christians of the 4th and 5th centuries invested the pagan deities with a new, and sinister, power. Instead of contempt, now only the utter extirpation of the old gods could make the world safe for Christians.

God’s Domain

To a plague of malevolent spirits was added the chastising hand of the Lord himself. Unlike the humanoid and capricious old gods of Greece or Rome – in the main, getting on with their own bawdy lives – the ‘true God’ of the Christians was pervasively interventionist, knowing every human thought, ‘looking into men’s hearts,’ and able to suspend natural law at will.

The course of nature could be anything that God chooses it to be; human ‘knowledge’ of natural causes could be overturned simply by God’s decision to do things otherwise. In this brave New World Order, divine caprice and cosmic lawlessness had triumphed and rationality had died. All that remained was to glorify God and await his judgement.

The Horned One

The goat was one of the very first animals to be domesticated. A resilient and productive animal, the goat was readily associated with good fortune and fertility and in many cultures given supernatural form as a half-human deity – Pan to the Greeks, Sylvanus to the Romans, Cernunnos to the Celts. With time, this god came to represent all of Nature. Soldiers even invoked his power to induce ‘pan’ic’ in the enemy.

As goat-herd or shepherd the god dwelt in natural settings, such as woods and valleys, less often in temples (one exception was Banyas in Palestine). Roaming free, the goat-man protector of animals amused himself by playing his pipes, dancing, and the amorous pursuit of the Fauns and Nymphs.

Wild and lusty – behaviour emulated at the festival of the Lupercalia – The Horned One was anathema to the Christians. The author of Matthew leaves us in no doubt as to the fate in store for “goats”:

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory …
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand,
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

– Matthew 25, 31-41.

Separated from the docile sheep of Christ, in the 5th century, the goat-god Pan was to contribute his horns, hooves and lustfulness to the increasingly demonic creation of the Christians. Their ‘Devil’ conflated a number of entities, including Lucifer (‘light bearer’), a Romano- Etruscan version of the sun god; and Satan, an Old Testament ‘testing spirit’ used for God’s dirty work. The plethora of Pan/ Priapus/ Dionysus effigies – complete with impressive erections and found throughout the ancient world – gave visual form to the nemesis of the Christians.

As the western empire of Rome disintegrated and the eastern empire sank into theological navel-gazing, an energetic and ambitious cleric in Rome, Leo I, moved to assert his authority among the ruins of Italy, Gaul and Spain. Assuming the ancient title Pontifex Maximus (an imperial title which ‘Christian piety’ led Emperor Gratian to refuse sixty years earlier!) Leo resurrected the notion of the ‘supremacy’ of the bishop of Rome, a claim first mooted by the notorious Damasus.

From the disinterested emperor, the weak-minded young Valentinian III, Leo obtained a rescript giving him jurisdiction over ‘all the western provinces’ (now mostly in the hands of barbarians). The would-be ‘boss of bosses’ moved his agents into Arles, Vienne, Milan, Illyricum and north west Spain, where they confronted independent-minded local bishops and heretics on all sides – Pelagians, Manichaeans, Priscillians, Arians. Again Leo prevailed on the emperor, who compliantly revived penal legislation against heretics – in other words, judicial torture and murder.

With renewed legitimacy and terror Leo stamped his authority on the western Church (notably, over his rival Hilary of Arles). Leo installed his own henchmen and imposed a standardised liturgical year, a uniform dogma, and subservience to Rome.

In 447 a Council of Toledo considered the issue of demonic power. The Lord’s arch-enemy, it concluded, was

” … a large black monstrous apparition with horns on his head, cloven hoofs … with an immense phallus and sulphurous smell.”

Thus was demonised one of humanity’s oldest, and more joyful, gods.

Pan comforting a friend

Nature spirit – or Diabolic?

Cernunnos – Celtic version of Pan

Flight from Reality: Theology the Source of all ‘Wisdom’

As early as 221 AD the Bishop of Emmaus (in Palestine), Sextus Julius Africanus discovered that he could write a Christian ‘history’ by a close reading of scripture. His “Chronographiai” used the Bible to begin human history with creation in the year 5499 BC.

His framework was used in the next century by another, more notable fantasist, Eusebius, who shamelessly declared:

‘We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity.’

– Ecclesiastical History (Vol. 8, chapter 2).

Thus was history reduced to ecclesiastical propaganda and the Bible used to ‘prove’ its own veracity. 
In all subsequent histories (Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, etc) theology was the guide. For example, the Lux Ex Orient (‘the Light Comes from the East’) doctrine emerged which said that all civilization originated in the “fertile river valleys” of the Middle East, the scene of the supposed Biblical events.

This belief was largely unchallenged until the middle of the 20th Century, when scientific advances in radiocarbon dating and other methods established that some of the oldest great structures had in fact been built in northern Europe – megaliths predating the Middle Eastern civilizations by perhaps thousands of years.

Cartography takes a Detour

Whether willfully or by neglect ancient understanding of world geography went into free fall with the emergence of the Christian theocracy. Ptolemy’s 1st century “Geographica” – a handbook for Roman mariners (which not only promoted a spherical earth, but detailed the grid system of latitude and longitude still used today) – was lost to the west for well over a thousand years, as was the 2nd century “Periplus of the Erythraean Sea,” which hints at knowledge of southeast Asia and China. In its place, Christian scribes developed theological maps which detailed such unlikely places as Heaven and Hell, and filled in the gaps with “terra incognito” and “here be dragons”. Empiricism was unnecessary. Records one scholar:

“With the Christian God established under state protection as the source of all wisdom, and the highlighting of miracles as a sign of God’s favour, scientific and mathematical research became redundant.”

– C. Freeman, The Closing of the Western Mind, xvii.

Mapping the World




Psalter Map

Light from the East: Ex Oriente Lux

“For as the light comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of man be.” – Matthew 24:27.

Mediaeval Christian ‘mapmakers’ introduced the term ‘Holy Land.’ Most had never visited the region and relied solely upon scripture (and their pious imagination) to fabricate detail. Jerusalem became the ‘centre of the world.’


Life imitating Art: The Pilgrim of Bordeaux

“Even as the Bordeaux Pilgrim was visiting the Holy Land it was being transformed to accord with the text which he – and everyone else – was using as a guide book.

He describes no basilica on Mount Sion, but by the mid-4th century there was a church there, where the feast of Pentecost was celebrated. By the 5th century, the site had become the setting for the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist.”

– S. Coleman, J. Elsner, Pilgrimage, 1995, p84.

Mapping the stars: What Did it matter?

Mapping the stars was not an idle leisure activity.

The lifeblood of Alexandria – as of other cities – was trade, particularly the export of grain and papyrus to the rest of the Mediterranean, and developments in astronomy allowed sailors to do away with the consultation of “oracles” and priests and be able to risk year-round navigation out of sight of the coast.

As early as 300 BC Aristarchus had argued for a heliocentric theory, a sun-centred universe, though many thinkers continued to support an earlier Aristotelian system which had the Earth at the centre of several ‘spheres’ – despite various observed ‘anomalies’ in the movement of the planets.

400 years after Aristarchus, Ptolemy worked out a system of ‘epicycles’ to explain away the irregularities and maintain the geocentric, Aristotelian view. The Christians seized upon this Ptolemaic system with relish and their thinking never moved beyond that point.

In the following centuries, mariners were forced, once more, to rely on “oracles” and the ship’s Bible. Hazards of the sea consumed unfortunate sailors and, with so many cities in headlong decline, maritime trade collapsed.

Banned by church, it was the rediscovery of the heliocentric theory by Copernicus which got Galileo into trouble in the 1600s.

Science forgotten for 1000 years

Pythagoras of Samos (569 – 475 BC) combined science and religion in equal measure. He travelled to both Egypt and Babylon. He is the father of number theory and recognised, among other things, that the Earth was a sphere. Pythagoras and his inner circle of followers (the mathematikoi) held that, fundamentally, reality is mathematical in nature, with each number having its own ‘personality.’

Euclid (325 – 265BC) of Alexandria brought together the work of several predecessors. The 13 books of The Elements became the primary source of geometric reasoning for two thousand years. Euclid’s other works included Optics (on perspective) and The Book of Fallacies (which sounds delightful but is lost).

Neo-Platonist Proclus Diadochus (died 485), one of the last great philosophers of Plato’s Academy at Athens, wrote a commentary on Euclid’s Elements which today is our principal source of early Greek geometry.

Aristarchus (310 – 230 BC) applied Alexandrian trigonometry to estimate the distances and sizes of the sun and moon, and also postulated a heliocentric universe.

Archimedes of Syracuse (287 – 212 BC) is credited with the discovery of pi.

Eratosthenes (275-194 BC), the third librarian of Alexandria, calculated the circumference of the earth to within 1% accuracy, based on the measured distance from Aswan to Alexandria and the fraction of the whole arc determined by differing shadow-lengths at noon in those two locations. He deduced that the length of the year should be 365 1/4 days and put forward the idea of adding a “leap day” every four years. He cataloged 44 constellations and 475 fixed stars.

Eratosthenes also suggested that the seas were connected, that Africa might be circumnavigated, and that “India could be reached by sailing westward from Spain.”

Apollonius of Perga (262 -190 BC), in his famous book Conics, introduced terms which are familiar to us today, such as parabola, ellipse, hyperbola and polyhedron. In another work On the Burning Mirror he described the focal properties of a parabolic mirror. When it came to planetary theory, Apollonius developed systems of eccentric and epicyclical motion to explain the apparent motion of the planets across the sky.

No mere theoretician, Apollonius developed the hemicyclium, a sundial which has the hour lines drawn on the surface of a conic section giving greater accuracy.

Hipparchus (190 – 120 BC) of Bithynia, during the reign of Ptolemy VII, discovered and measured the precession of the equinoxes, the size and trajectory of the sun, and the moon’s path. He charted constellations and speculated that stars might have both births and deaths. He is credited with inventing longitude and latitude, importing the 360° circular system from Babylonia, and calculating the length of a year within six minutes accuracy.

Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus) 87 -150 AD worked out mathematically his elegant system of epicycles to support the geocentric, Aristotelian view, and wrote a treatise on astrology, both of which were to become the medieval paradigm.

In the New World Order  – God’s Manifest Magic

Basilica, Nova (nr Naples). Look out for awe-inspiring works.

Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, “tested” a priest accused of sexual scandal (nothing new there) by sending him to the shrine of St Felix of Nola “a holy place, where the more awe-inspiring works of God might more readily make evil manifest.” (Augustine, Letter 78,3)

It seems that “during the persecutions” St Felix had escaped arrest by the intervention of a spider that conveniently weaved her web over the hole in which he was hiding.


K.D. White, Greek & Roman Technology (Thames & Hudson, 1984)
Trevor Williams, The Triumph of Invention (Macdonald Orbis, 1987)
Thomas Crump, A Brief History of Science (Robinson, 2001)
John Gribbin, Science, A History (Penguin, 2003)
J. Dyson, History of Great Invention (Constable, 2001)
Joan Evans (Ed.), The Flowering of the Middle Ages (Thames & Hudson, 1998)
Lisa Rosner(Ed.), Chronology of Science (Helicon, 1999)
F. G. Bratton, A History of the Bible (Robert Hale 1961)
R. McKitterick, The Early Middle Ages (Oxford, 2001)
Michael Wood, In Search of the Dark Ages (BBC, 1987)
Frank Delaney, A Walk in the Dark Ages (Fontana, 1990)


“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty.

Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism.”

– Albert Einstein (New York Times, April 19, 1955)

And from a Church Father

Pythagoras… practiced there ten thousand kinds of sorcery…. but by his magic tricks he deceived the foolish.  And neglecting to teach men anything useful.”

– St. John Chrysostom (344-408) “Homily II. John 1:1”


“The quantum theory of gravity has opened up a new possibility … there would be no singularities at which the laws of science broke down and no edge of space-time at which one would have to appeal to God …

The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed …

It would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?

– Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time,136, 141.

And from a Church Father

“Tell me, what is the sense of this itch for idle speculation? What does it prove, this useless affection of a fastidious curiosity, notwithstanding the strong confidence of its assertions? 

It is highly appropriate that Thales, while his eyes were roaming the heavens in astronomical observation, should have tumbled into a well. 

This mishap may well serve to illustrate the fate of all who occupy themselves with the stupidities of philosophy.”

– Tertullian (160-220) “De praescriptione haereticorum”

Devil “Made Up”

“For all the impious errors the Christians commit they show their greatest ignorance in making up a being opposed to God, and calling him ‘devil,’ or, in the Hebrew language, ‘Satan’ …

It is blasphemy to say that the greatest God has an adversary who constrains his capacity to do good.”

– Celsus, 2nd century pagan critic of the Christians (Pagels, The Origins of Satan, p141)

And from a Church Father

“…so poor is all the useful knowledge which is gathered from the books of the heathen when compared with the knowledge of Holy Scripture,

For whatever man may have learnt from other sources, if it is hurtful, it is there condemned; if it is useful, it is therein contained…

he will find there in much greater abundance things that are to be found nowhere else, but can be learnt only in the wonderful sublimity and wonderful simplicity of the Scriptures.

– St. Augustine (354-430), De Doctrina Christiana, 2,42   “Sacred Scripture Compared with Profane Authors

It may not be science – but it IS colourful

Flat Earth?

About the year 300 AD Christian apologist Lucius Lactantius preached against Aristotle and in favour of a flat Earth:

“Those who defend these marvellous fictions, why all things do not fall into that lower part of the heaven … they have once erred, consistently persevere in their folly, and defend one vain thing by another … they either discuss philosophy for the sake of a jest, or purposely and knowingly undertake to defend falsehoods … “

– “Divinae institutiones, Book III – Of the False Wisdom of Philosophers.”

Certain biblical passages implied support for the flat-earth view:

“And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” – Isaiah 11:12.

“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.” – Matthew 4:8.


The possibility of people leaving on the other side of a spherical earth caused dire problems for a biblical history of humanity (descent from Adam? Noah’s boat trip?)

Flat Earth?

Cosmas Indicopleutes in the 6th century … denounced the prevailing opinion that the earth was a sphere as being of pagan origin and contrary to plain good sense.

Instead, he maintained, the sky is draped like a tent over the flat, stationery earth and above it is another, heavenly, tabernacle inhabited by God and the angels.”

– R. McKitterick, The Early Middle Ages, p217.

Cosmas was an Egyptian monk who reasoned (in his “Christian Topography”) that the universe was a sort of house (on the plan of the Jewish tabernacle) with heaven as its upper story and the earth as its ground floor, with hell in the cellar. About it flowed four seas. and angels carried the stars in the firmament above.

In truth, opinion about the shape of the earth divided both pagans and Christians. For most people, desperate simply to survive, the answer was irrelevant to their lives.

“Important Discoveries in Theology”!

Irish Archbishop James Usher (1580-1656), in charge of the project to write an English Bible “free of Popish errors”, proved from Scripture that the world had been created on Tuesday, October 8, 4004 BC at 9:30 am !

Religious Stagnation

“The sciences of antiquity, whether physics, astronomy, medicine, or whatever … were dominated by principles founded on human reasoning but which developed into a canon … In the end Greek science failed because its adherents gave it the attributes of revealed religion.

The key figure is Aristotle … Before science could begin to discover its true nature, Aristotle had to be dethroned.”

– T. Crump, A Brief History of Science, p33/4.

“Never mind the books, grab the silk”

Two Nestorian monks were richly rewarded by Justinian I (527-565) for smuggling silkworm eggs out of China.

“I reflect with some pain that if the importers of silk had introduced the art of printing, already practiced by the Chinese, the comedies of Menander and the entire decads of Livy would have been perpetuated in the editions of the sixth century.”

– Gibbon (Decline & Fall, 40)

The Chinese invented paper in the 2nd century BC. From the 2nd century AD classical Chinese literature was cut in stone slabs and thousands of copies were made by a simple printing technique.

Science and the Church

“Historically, the Church fought venomously against each new scientific advance. But after fruitlessly criticizing each new scientific achievement, the Church soon flip-flopped its position and embraced the new discovery as a ‘gift from God to mankind.’

– David Mills, Science Shams & Bible Bloopers, p362.

“The Bible is not a textbook in science. Its world view is that of the childhood of the race, and this primitive cosmology is seen in all its references to the physical world.

The earth is conceived as flat and stationary. The sky is a canopy or vault through whose windows the rain falls. The sun, moon, and stars are contained within this vault. Beneath the earth is Sheol, the realm of the dead. The world and the creatures in it, according to the scripture, were made in six days.

The world in which the Bible was written was one in which human destiny was determined by the stars, sickness caused by demon possession, the dead were raised, angels stirred the waters of a pool for the healing of the sick, and the Red Sea was parted.”

– Bratton (A History of the Bible, p22)

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