¶. An atheist is not necessary an idiot. The statistics may prove the contrary. On the other hand, any intelligent person uses intelligent arguments. As priests do not like intelligent reasoning, they prefer to consider any intelligent person to be atheist.
I can admit the message of God's word is timeless, but its expression is necessarily a subject to refinement as things move on. That's what the priests do not understand.
Any philosophic, moral, ethic, or economic doctrine can be defined only face to the others, showing what is different, what it brings as new. The communist propagandist used to preach their doctrine, saying that all the others are wrong, so that we should not learn but the Marxist-Leninist doctrine. In religion, it is the same: the priests are like the communist propagandists. They have too few ideas and are not able to discuss anything else but some slogans and small stories. As we, the Romanians, did not used to believe the communists, people do not believe the priests.
Blaise Pascal, mathematician and physicist, considered to be one of the great minds in intellectual history, became a good and fervent Catholic believer. He entered the Jansenism community and led a rigorously ascetic life until his death. Of course, most of us wonder how was that possible? A more attentively reading of his works shows us that his change was not an abrupt one, and it was not accidentally at all. As a matter of fact, it was not a change, but a process. Here is one of his declarations: … "I spent many days studying abstract sciences, but the rather small number of people what one can communicate with on the scientific field had disgusted me by them. When I started the study of man, I saw that these abstract sciences are not specific to him and that, penetrating in them, I was deviating from my condition more than those who were ignoring them." It seams that the idea of communication was in fashion at those times. Spinoza said: "My aim is to reach a high nature and endeavour that many others to get it together with me. I cannot be happy if I do not endeavour that many other people to know, exactly like me, so that, their intellect and wish to correspond to my intellect and wish." But Spinoza was neither Christian nor believer, but an excommunicated Jew. Coming back to Pascal, he understood that, by means of religion, his life would be more complete. Obviously, he perceived the religion at higher level than he could do it before studying abstract science. The same thing happens nowadays with more and more people, as they learn abstract sciences as early as in school. Due to its high scientific position, Pascal had become more and more alone. He found out that church might be for him a better way of communication with as much people as possible.
In priests' opinion, people are now less faithful than in the past. I do not think so. People are faithful, they want to believe, but priests ceased to be their guides. The American Indians still keep their old religion, in spite of Catholic missionaries' efforts.
¶. Life, in old philosophic thought, has a cyclic character. Even the Greeks did not come off from this conception. They invented a beginning of the mankind, but not an end. The Judaism did it, but they invented also the messianic idea, according with somebody will come to make them masters of the world. In this way, Judaism is more a national creed than a universal religion. Besides, from the philosophical point of view, its morale is not much different: the same blind obedience in front of the fate, the same lack of will to change something by own effort. That who has carried the idea up till its last consequences was the Christianity: The God is for all the people, and the future is in our hands. It has given to men a chance, and man becomes dignify. He is a fighter for his own future. The Arthurian Legends were fundamental for European education. On a symbolic way, Lancelot turns his life from a careless one (Live the moment!) into a man able to do the supreme sacrifice for a noble dream. I do not know if it was a good idea, (maybe yes) but this was the theoretic education of any knight. Besides, man does not fight alone, but together with other God's children, like a family. The searching for the Holy Grail symbolises the endeavour of putting questions about the sense of life, of seeking the truth.
Judaism was the moral support of Jewish people in his fight against the invaders, from the Babylonians to the Romans. Many of their wishes were for understanding, but they are no longer actually only because are recorded in Bible, conceived firstly like a history.
Before making known his ideas, Jesus had to persuade his contemporaries that he is God's son. In this purpose, he needed to do some wonders, and he did it. If he would come in our times, when nobody belief in wonders, he should do things accordingly with the mentality of nowadays people. That’s why, priests using Jesus' behaviour now, are similar with someone pretending to be his adept only by wearing sandals through snow, under -20 Celsius degrees, because Jesus wore sandals. What is important is Jesus' message, not his sandals.
¶. The basic law of nature is the struggle for existence. As an alternative, civilised society recommend moral norms, mostly theoretical, often unrealisable, sometimes idealist and usually naive. The wise of reconciliation of the two extremities belongs to common people, whose real life occurs in a dialectical equilibrium of the contraries. Due to their position, priests are speakers of the moral extremity. They cannot say to the parishioners to be 1/2 believer, but only to repeat endless the same small stories. The question is what happens when they take seriously. In the first stage, some maladjusted, unhappy people result. In the second stage, such easy-manipulating people are turned into robots, among which suicide-terrorists are only examples.
Unfortunately, mankind went even beyond the limits, and through democracy and socialism invented the communism too. Yes, communism before to be a political system, was a religion. As a matter of fact, this was the reason why the first Russian communist leaders forbidden any other religion, except Marxism-Leninism doctrine as their single new bible.
From the "Man is nothing more than a shadow of a smoke: (Aeschylus) to the "Man as creator", mankind crossed the entirely spectrum.
Coming back to the equality between people, it is clear now that Christianity is that which do it for all the people, and Jesus' sacrifice has born fruit, even after centuries. A joke says “the proof that faith is from God is that it resists against the priests”. The President Lincoln's "The Gettysburg Address" proved that the idea of democracy is now part of our conscience. He began by saying "... all the men are created equally" and ended with the words "... this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people..."
The God's promise is an optimistic one: if we shall follow his guidance, our future will be a happy one. And his promise is approachable because he is kind and not capricious. People are his children, and he, as every parent, loves his children. Consequently, our task does not consist any longer of invoking the mercy and help, but to follow the guidance. As the sportsman does not implore his coach to bring him the performance on the plateau, but work under his guidance, in the same way, we do not ask God to give us something for which we did not work. That's why it is demagogically to ask God to fulfil our wishes, and as a reward, to raise to him glorifying hymns. First, we should ask ourselves if our wishes are quite correct. This is what church should give us: some criterions for judge our purpose and acts.
A bird coming to peck from our palm is not mild, as we are tempted to think, but cheeky. Also, when we ask God to help us too frequently, we are not his obedient children; we are cheeky. The God's glory is ensured without our everyday hymns. Coming from our part, the glorifying hymn sounds like a flattery, as disgusting as, afterwards, an appeal follows. God, help me please! And we ask his help for anything, even if our demands are not always just some Christian ones.
I have just remembered a joke. Two Jews at the Wailing Wall, in their characteristic style, were beseeching God to help them. One of them, poorer, was content with some food for his children. The other, a rich man, was asking help in the succeeding of a large business, which he was going to start. Disturbed by the first one, the rich proposed him: "Look here! Here is some money, go and buy some food for your children, and leave God thinking quietly about important things.
¶. Yes, the religion is necessary. Firstly, for the weak ones, who need a support to keep themselves in psychological equilibrium! Most of them already are believers in not mater that church, like Eric. At the other extremity, the too strong ones are. Those thinking to be their own Gods, they have theoretical just more need of religion, for moderating their ambitions, but they do not know it. The threatening with Apocalypse and God's punishments sounds ridiculous in their ears. From the nowadays churches, they are lost for long time. There need other means for persuading them. But how to do it with the nowadays ministers of the religion? They are not able to understand their own words. With them, the religion has not the smallest chance. They would bury definitive any religion.
¶. Before leaving Los Angeles, Eric, my friend, asked me whether I believe that Jesus is alive. Then, I avoid the answer, but the question must be analysed before answering. We first need to know if he imagines a Jesus like a man who lives somewhere and looks at us, or Jesus is a symbol for the entirely Christian theology. In the first hypothesis, I am not the man chatting over this topic, but in the second the subject is quite inciting. For those who look the religion as a myth - true or false - the question is an essential one, maybe the most. It is not my case. I remember some years ago it was in fashion the question whether Shakespeare was a man, or an enterprise dealing with books, a publisher house in our terms. As I am not a historian, the question is not interesting for my point of view. I am interested in Shakespeare's works and not in his life. It was Schumann he wrote that only stupid musical critics speak about the composer, instead of his works. Another example, maybe just clearer, is the Marxism. There is not important at all if Marx was a great scholar, a tiny one, or just he would not existed at all. Instead, the Marxism marked the social and political life almost the whole XX century. It is the same with writers and, generally, with the creators from any other field, including the Christianity. Yes, I am interested in Christianity and not whether Jesus is alive or not.
Maybe he is alive, or maybe not. Anyway, what is important is what he said to us. His message matters! Speaking about his life, it counts as a message too, because he used it as an example, as a way to convey his message to us.
Consequently, the question of the most importance is: what the Christianity is? Or, more exactly, what the Christian theology is? It is difficult to answer seriously at this question, and probably people will never write enough books on this topic. Instead, they wrote lots of books with propagandistic purposes, for induce among the common people a convenient behaviour accordingly with priests' interests. Bible was intensely used and misinterpreted, which makes things more complicated, because any different idea is immediately rejected, just because it is different. Any religion is conservative.
Many times, maybe most times, the priests themselves did not understand the Christian message, or more probably did not want to understand. Why? Because their interest was not to guide people, to teach them, but to keep them at their disposal! That's why their recommendations sometimes were just in opposition with those of the Christian teaching. Often they embraced the older ideas, the pre-Christian ones, because such ideas are more useful and accordingly with priest's interests. Fear and humility are among their spurs. They changed the word 'idols' with 'God' but kept the same attitude in front of them.
The Christianity gave us the humanism and the dignity, not the lack of them. As for the Apocalypse, this is a monument of non-Christianity.
Is Jesus alive or not? The question comes again in my mind, even if I said that it is not so important. Some people ask if Jesus really existed as a human being, as Roman documents do not mention him at all, or we know that in Roman Empire they used to record in official reports every remarkable event. Even this question is not so important, because what followed was what really matters - namely the Christianity - with it priest as well. Jesus was not the Messiah expected by Jesus people (although Christos means messiah in Greek language) but surely he was the prophet of the Christianity, which begins with him and find in his life its philosophy and morale. What it really counts is just this philosophy and morale.
Jesus was a prophet because he conveyed ideas from the philosophers to the common people. In this purpose he gave his life. This is generally a prophet: someone able to understand philosophy, and able as well to communicate with people, which usual philosophers cannot. Socrates had already made the supreme sacrifice for his ideas. He was aware that only through his dead, his ideas will survive; and he accepted to drink the cup with hemlock.
It is true, Jesus Christ was a Jew from Palestine, but it was only the spark that arouses the fire. The Christianity appears as a religion of poor people giving them a hope. Not far from the Palestine, Greece used to be under the Romans occupation too. It is not accidental that the apostle Paul was from Greece. Later on, the Jews kept the Judaic faith, while the Greeks adopted Christ's religion immediately. After Jesus the Christianity developed in wide world, firstly in Roman Empire, less in Palestine.
The first useless story assumed from the Old Testament is Genesis. I suppose that it was not conceived as a cosmogony, but a metaphor full of teachings, of moral consequences, being in this way a useful educational guide. Metaphor of what? Of an early period from their history. From it, the priests made a cosmogony, which - due to its naivety - has compromised the Christian religion entirely. Of course, God could not be like us. He should help us more if he is almighty. Then who was he for the Jewish people? Let's read the Bible!
¶. Do you want to know what the Christianity is? You must start from the older faiths and find out what is new. For example, unlike older faiths, where the divinities were menacing and revengeful, God is a mild and forgiving. This is one of the most important characteristic features of the Christian theology. Doing such comparisons, you will understand more. Only on this way you will be able to understand what the Christian theology really is.
Maybe a part of the Bible was written under the divine inspirations, but surely not entirely. It is full of priests' wishes and ideas - some of them belonging to the Jews'. There were also many other writings. What was accepted to be "The Bible" is a selection of what some priests considered to be opportune. As any human deed, it could be non-perfect. This is one more reason to read the Bible in an intelligent way.
Children know a lot about the Bible. But, in time, as they grow up, their faith diminishes. First, a child learns that Father Christmas, he who - after a thrilling waiting - gives him presents, and fills his soul with joy, he, Father Christmas himself was not a fabulous personage, but a well-known individual, and everything was only a little theatre, specially staged for children. After such a deception, it is almost a logical consequence to come to the conclusion that the whole religion is a story for children, in which he stops to believe when he no longer consider to be a child. Later on, when he learns at school that, in the name of Christianity, people made the greatest atrocities (Inquisition, crusades, etc.), and when he find by himself that some priests are not the most educated persons to be his masters, his faith is completely wiped off. The endeavour to preach the Bible to a grown-up only with some biblical stories and its threatening has no more chances.
For all that, the religion is still necessary. Where is the mistake? I think it is in the weak quality of the priests. They do only their duty of keeping the religious service. They ceased to be people's confessors, and most times have not the necessary intellectual level. The parishioners frequently are more educated. They are not able to respond to the matters of the real life.
Coming back to the children, the priests do not know how to preserve the contact with children when they learn that Father Christmas is not real, and to explain that any story has morale, and the morale is that which count. "God has established a moral code, which he wishes his children to adopt." It is Aeschylus who wrote this, five centuries before Jesus.
¶. Some days ago, I met some young Mormons who came in Romania to make proselytes. As a matter of fact, they stopped me in the street. Since then, I met them several times, as I am curious to know what they say, why they try to convert Romanian people - who are Christians for about 2000 years - and in which way they hope to do it. I am interested in religion generally, as part of the culture and civilisation. As a European I am particularly interested in Christianity, whatever would be the church that preach it.
I do not discuss now their cheekiness. Most of them have become missionaries as an alternative to the military service. That's why they come here for a period of two years. They proved to be incapable in their own life, but want to teach others. That reminds me of an old caricature featuring a beggar inviting people to buy a booklet for learning how to become a millionaire.
We can wonder why the American government absolve them of carrying out the military service, under the condition to go oversees for make proselytes, but everyone knows that politics is, and always was, perfidious and immoral. And even these young boys are not as so faithful as they do a job. Is this job a religious or apolitical one? It is almost the same, so that it is useless to know.
¶. I have just got rid off the Mormons, and another sect found me. The Christadelphians! I do not know how, from time to time, some booklets appeared in my mailbox, inviting me to contact them. By curiosity (they came from England), and for practising English, I did it. Their "doctrine" pretends to be a Christian one, but it is as simplistic as non-Christian. The main idea is that Jesus Christ will come back to massacre (this word is mine) all the heathens and make masters of the world, of course, the Christadelphians. First, this idea is not new at all. Besides, its "morale" is immoral. Even their booklets are written in perfect English, the authors did not understand a bit about what the Christian doctrine is, or do not want to. Instead they are extremely stubborn in preaching their slogans. In reply, I wrote several very hard letters. I thought they would abandon me. Bah! Without answering my subjects, they went on writing the same slogans. I came to the conclusion they are not believers at all. They have an aim, a target, and follow their way unscrupulously. As for their morale ... I think Hitler was more honest. He probably really believed in his idiot doctrine.
¶. There are lots of missionaries from all kinds of sects on the streets of Brasov, stopping you, and most of them come at our doors. All al them, and particularly the young Mormons, are like children wanting to teach their parents how to make children. The Christianity was born here. Not just here, in Brasov, but in Jerusalem, not so far away from here. To be more exactly, at about 1500 Km, namely the distance between Seattle and Los Angeles. Thanks to the apostle Andrew and his followings, our ancestors became Christians as early as the first years. During the centuries, the Romanians had to fight against the pagans to keep the Europe Christian. The Romanians are born Christians as nation and are Christians as individuals, willingly or unwillingly, because they are educated in Christian spirit, in Christian morale. For the Romanians, religion is more poem and symbol. It is that "love your fellow man as yourself", which supposes the correction of our primary sentiments. What neo-Protestants propose instead? Scare and fright?
I talked with many religious propagandists, but none of them was able to say something about the essence of the Christianity. Instead, all of them stoutly allege they are not only number 1, but also the single real Christian believers, and all the others are wrong.
Only the diseases are contagious, not the health. What we receive from the missionaries could not be soundness.
¶. There are some Differences Between Religion in Chinese and Russian Communism. The Chinese faith has been mainly unchanged for almost three thousand years and, most important, their religions (Zen, Buddhism, Confucianism) were never state-religions. In other words, the political power and people's faith are two different things. Zen is people's faith, without priests. All their religions are not hierarchical, that is organised in an official structure so that it would be nothing to abolish on an official way. It is not surprising that Chinese communists did not forbid religious fetes.
And there is one more difference. Buddhism is an aristocratic religion, Buddha himself was an aristocrat, and his teaching was assimilated by the people as wisdom, as salvation by the means of knowing, of meditation, of understanding. One might not ask people to renounce of wisdom, as the religion for a Buddhist believer is the wisdom itself. Buddhism does not offer a stern system, in which the believer must be integrated, but only a way of meditation. At the opposite pole, Judaism and Christianity appear as religions of poor people, occupied by foreigners, and/or oppressed by their own leaders. These religions offer a hope in the future, and facile solutions for the moment, frequently limited at prayers and hosannas. That's why those in power used Christian religion as a boomerang for handling the people. Religion often was similar with the doctrine of the single party in the authoritative regimes, particularly the monarchic ones. As for the communists, removing the religion was strictly necessary in their opinion, as they wanted to replace it with their communist doctrine. And it was not difficult at all, as people no longer believe in old stories, anyway. For the Europeans, religion was not the same with wisdom.
Mao Zedong, who was a clever man, probably thought that mixing politics and faith would be a mistake. Lenin instead did it, but it is not surprising. Why? He had a European education. Most Europeans are Christians. Lenin was too, but not entirely. Marx and Engels, his ideological mentors, were not at all. In Europe, as soon as Carol the Great accepted the crown from the Pope in the year 800, all the countries had Christianity as state-religion till 1789 when France removed the monarchy and religion at the same time. (It is not the French that invented democracy but they made the most noise around it.) The mentors of Communism thought to replace the Christian doctrine with the communist one. That's why they saw in church their ideological adversary. As Christianity was the single doctrine of Middle Age, Marxism-Leninist doctrine was to be the religion of the new epoch.
For those who lived under the soviet influence it was clear that communist party, as the single party, and Inquisition of 14-15 centuries are more similar than different. The communists had one more reasons to be afraid by the church. They started from the idea that, in any democracy, the politicians come to power thanks to the people's vote. We want universal vote, don't we? Most people are non-educated and easy to handle with simple and lying arguments.
This is the essence of the communist doctrine: handling people with simple ideas. Consequently, the intellectuals and priests were the communists' enemies. That's why the first thing that the Russians did in Romania after the WW2 was to get rid off them. And they did it. Mostly by killing.