No Meek Messiah: Christianity's Lies, Laws and Legacy
by Michael Paulkovich
S. T. JOSHI —
"A wonderful book... No Meek Messiah is one of the most bracing and hard-hitting books of its kind written in recent years. Its dissection of Christianity is relentless and exhaustive: from historical, philosophical, social, cultural, and psychological perspectives, it lays bare the fallacies, deceptions, and imbecilities of Christian belief. Written in lively, non-academic prose, the book is accessible to everyone--and should be read by everyone, believers and unbelievers alike."
— S. T. Joshi, award-winning critic and author of many books including The Unbelievers: The Evolution of Modern Atheism and The Angry Right: Why Conservatives Keep Getting It Wrong (2006).
ERIC A. STONE —
"Paulkovich presents a stunning account and condemnation of the fallacious foundations of Judeo-Christian religion. He demonstrates its predominant immorality with a unique detailed year by year recounting of its unprovoked murders, mass slaughters, witch burnings, tortures, Inquisitions and Crusades; its relentless annexation of territory and wealth... the mythical basis and surprisingly frequent unethical behaviors of its central deity, Jesus, for which there is no objective evidence from some 126 contemporaneous historians; as well as the undeniable multiple plagiarism from Mithraic legends of the stories of Christmas and Easter. Paulkovich's work is a unique combination of serious scholarly research with wry humor and wit which will attract the serious student and scholar as well as the interested nonexpert who is in search of an authentic but readable history of this important period. I am confident that No Meek Messiah will become a leading and much needed source for all interested in the unrevised history of religion."
— Eric A. Stone, PhD, author of forthcoming Atheism: The Struggle and the Promise.
DONALD R. BURLESON —
"Christianity on trial! It is as if a jury were deliberating over the guilt or innocence of an accused murderer, and the evidence consisted of a hundred eyewitnesses, four hundred mutually corroborating DNA samples, a complete set of the defendant's fingerprints on the murder weapon, two hundred surveillance camera photographs of the defendant committing the crime, and a signed and notarized confession.
"There is far more detail in this meticulously compiled volume than one can adequately comment upon, and all to the good effect of showing the untenable nature of a religion uncritically accepted by hordes of often otherwise reasonable people. Reading Paulkovich and seeing all the folly he so deftly exposes, one wants to ask, as he continually does: How, in the twenty-first century, can people still accept all this nonsense? Yet people by the billions do.
"As I see it, the author makes four major points: that Christianity (1) stems from fraudulent documents plagiarized to a remarkable extent from earlier strains of myth; (2) came to its historic and current position of influence through unfortunate political power manipulations during the Roman Empire; (3) perpetuates itself as a sort of viral meme through childhood indoctrination; and (4) is just about totally lacking in logic and internal consistency. The author makes these points well—a little meanderingly at times but always with an entertainingly wry humor and a taste for sound argument.
"It is one of those facts fairly well known among people lukewarm or hostile to religion, though it is willfully ignored by religionists, that Christianity has its narrative roots in more ancient myth systems, but how many people realize that the entire story had been told before in tedious detail, in the form of Mithraism as a striking example? In that body of myth some six centuries before Jesus is supposed to have lived, Mithras is the son of a god, born of a virgin mother; shepherds have come to bring him gifts, and he has twelve disciples. One wonders if the con-artists who put together the Jesus story could not at least have aspired to some modicum of originality, but apparently this would have been asking too much. And of course there are many other 'virgin birth' and 'son of a god' tales from ancient folklore as well, e.g. the Egyptian story of Isis and the birth of Horus. As Paulkovich says, "Christian mythology was forged and modified and cobbled together by dishonest perpetrators—as well as merely superstitious or ignorant actors—over many centuries" (p. 23).
"With regard to foundational documents, the whole meta-story of the development of Christian textual tradition is a horror tale of obfuscation, manipulation, and confusion. Paulkovich discusses, in some detail, the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Jewish Tanakh made in the third century BCE. Here lie exposed a variety of fake points of doctrine, notably e.g. the fact that the prophetic references to a 'virgin' mother of God amount to what one must suppose is a deliberate mistranslation into Greek of a Hebrew word meaning simply 'young woman.' As the author points out, it is clear, all things considered, that the budding authors of what would come to be the Bible simply needed for there to be a virgin birth, to keep things in line with anterior and widely known strands of myth. The author does not mention Jung, but that sage's theory of unconscious archetypes comes to mind, and one wonders whether such notions as virgin birth of the son of a god might not in some perverse way have become wired into the imperfect evolution of our psyche; but the reality that Paulkovich portrays is much worse, being one of conscious fabrication.
"Another aspect of modern Christian dogma made up out of whole cloth, and certainly not characterizing the older texts that were (mis)translated into Greek in the form of the Septuagint, was the whole notion of monotheism; Hebrew Elohim became Greek theos, due to some anonymous scribe's prejudices in favor of a one-god Weltanschauung. Earlier myths were universally polytheistic, and the translational expunging of this tradition was sloppily enough done so that the old structure peeks through in many places in what came to be the Old Testament as canonized by Christendom: e.g. 'Let us make man in our image.' This reminds one of Mark Twain's old remark that the only people who should refer to themselves as 'we' are royalty and people with tapeworm, and in any event unless our bearded Jehovah is really batty enough to stand around talking to himself, the language unavoidably smacks of a lingering polytheism, like the furtive scratchings on an imperfectly erased palimpsest.
"Paulkovich goes to great pains to explain that one of the tragedies of modern human history was the elevation of Christianity to a position of well-nigh unassailable sovereignty by political power brokers. In 391 CE Roman emperor Theodosius essentially made Christianity the law of the land, whereupon Christian madmen burned libraries and tortured and murdered anyone opposing the official point of view. In 415 CE the pope had Hypatia, head Alexandrian librarian, tortured to death, in only one of countless such atrocities. One gathers that modern-day Christians choose to ignore such things.
"And such Bible verses as Luke 14:26, where Jesus demands that you hate your family. Why are no sermons preached on that? One can see how earlier Christians might have been unaware of such textual drivel. Pope Innocent III in 1198 declared that anyone who read anything, including the Bible, should be stoned to death. One readily understands this; as Isaac Asimov has observed, there is no clearer path to atheism than a careful reading of the Bible. Paulkovich reminds us of the whole human litany of cruelty, mindlessness, and misery stemming from Christian dominance through many hundreds of years, the familiar Inquisition being only a part of the whole sordid story. From medieval book bannings to witch hunts to the modern 'creation science' lunacy imposed on some tax-supported schools, the effects of religious power-wielding have been a tale of suppression, bullying, and almost unthinkably arrogant posturing. In effect, Christianity (as any religion in power will do) has declared war on the human mind, and has practiced an antihuman violence unparalleled except in the case of such other religions as Islam. (Christianity at least has recently been tamed by secular social forces.) As the author says, one could have wished, if anything, that Mithraism, a comparatively gentle and humane religious tradition, might have prevailed in Roman times instead of Christianity; it would still have been factually false, but it probably would not have led to so much cruelty and bloodshed.
"And how does such a groundless and indefensible system as Christianity continue to hold sway over people? The author has the right answer: youthful indoctrination. Religion has a way of going viral, of becoming entrenched through the machinations of being crammed down children's throats well before they enjoy any critical thinking skills, if indeed they ever do once religion takes root. As the author properly judges, this is an especially odious species of child abuse.
"If a belief system were going to be placed in power over people's lives, one might have hoped that the system could at least have enjoyed a certain internal logical consistency, but such is not the case. Judeo-Christian tradition, throughout its canonical literature, is an almost comic mass of contradictions and paradoxes, many of which the author catalogues. He has some fun with the Noah's ark myth; if we are all descended from Noah's flood-surviving family, we must be appallingly inbred, begotten from a gang of hillbillies: 'My guess is that Noah's offspring formed trailer parks and married cousins and sisters. They had chariots up on blocks in their front yards' (p. 241).
"On a more serious note Paulkovich explores a fascinating concept that I cannot recall having seen explored elsewhere per se, one that shows all the more that the whole notion of Jesus as supernaturally endowed is not only a fable but a spectacularly unintelligent one. If, the author notes, Jesus were the son of some omniscient god and if he really wanted to do something that would greatly have helped people, he might have left off all that fishes-and-loaves legerdemain and taught them, for instance, the basics of the Periodic Table, thus putting human intellectual development ahead by almost two thousand years. But did he do anything of the sort? Are you kidding? This guy (if he ever existed, being more likely a crazy-quilt stitched together from various pre-Christian sources) was a typically clueless peasant of his time, neither knowing nor caring anything about science, indeed not realizing that there ever would or could be such a thing as science.
"That alone would cinch the whole thing for anyone who stopped to think about it. And one hopes that Paulkovich's book will indeed cause a great many people to do just that."
— Donald R. Burleson, author of over 20 books, hundreds of articles, and over a hundred short stories.
Dr. ELIE A. SHNEOUR —
"Drop everything you are doing and order Michael Paulkovich's NO MEEK MESSIAH, a book which treats the Christian biblical literature, the Bible among them, as a well documented set of lies, laws and a despicable legacy of non-events bloodied with unspeakable cruelty. Even Jesus Christ may not have existed nor was he crucified if he existed. Much of the accounts in the Bible (all versions) never took place and the number of contradictions they contain deploy confused messages they purports to convey. It will take perhaps another hundred years before the full truth of the Christian era emerges as the dominant early history of the development of what we call Civilization. This book is a great step in that rational direction." — Dr. Elie A. Shneour (The Malnourished Mind).