Monday, January 23, 2012

Beware of False Prophets

I do not accept that there are any books or bodies of doctrine which include the revealed words of God. None that I read include demonstrable, verifiable evidence of supernatural authorship. None include anything unknown by writers of their time and place. None, for example, teach that the earth is a planet orbiting a star, that Jupiter has moons, that an America lies over the ocean, even that the earth has ice-caps.

None, in short, reveals understanding of the realities of humanity's place on earth or in the cosmos.

All had human authors: these are books of human opinion, human wisdom, human speculation, human fantasy, human frailty. Their ethics and moralities derive from the dogmas prevailing in the societies in which their authors lived.

Indeed I would go further. To attribute divine authorship to a book is a subtle form of idolatry.

But probably a majority of mankind believe their own religion's book is God's word, having divine authority. Claims for a similar divine status of other books are rejected.

If you believe that a text has a supernatural author, then you must admit the author may be Satan, not God.

Priests, mullahs, rabbis - all agree that Satan is sly, deceiving, the whisperer, adept at persuading to evil. The gullible may be deceived into the greatest blasphemy - and do evil in the name of God. Examples abound.

Christianity must acknowledge guilt in such matters, but can argue with justice that all persuasions to evil are an aberration, incompatible with the recorded teachings of Jesus.

Islam has no such excuse. The Qur’an explicitly commands murder, cruel and sadistic punishments - even crucifixion, and phobic discrimination - against women, jews, unbelievers.

There is a remarkable passage in the New Testament: Matthew 7:15-20. Beware of false prophets; by their fruits you shall know them.

A book which persuades to satanic actions cannot have divine inspiration.
It is foolish and dangerous to commit your life and mind and identity to the dominion of doctrines which claim authority from supernatural revelation. Beware those so committed; beware their denial of facts inconsistent with their precepts, their ruthless hostility to all sceptical or contradictory arguments, and their vicious intolerance of even trivial deviations from their dogmas.

Especially, beware all whose incomes and careers depend on institutionalised doctrine. Above all, do not let them indoctrinate children: the first freedom is to grow up with an independent mind.