ELA's Jesus or Christianity
Kirby Page's Jesus or Christianity (1929)
Note that copyright inquiries have been sent to
Random House, Inc. regarding the current status of the copyright for Jesus or Christianity A Study in Contrasts, by Kirby Page, orinally published in 1929 by
Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc.. No response has yet been received. Once copyright clearance is received, the article will again be posted at Wikiquote, where it was previously struck down as a "Possible Copyright Infringement," even though the entire
book may be downloaded at
Archive.org, and it has been pubished as a reprint by non-copyright holders such as at
Google Books by publisher
BiblioBazaar, owned by
BiblioLabs LLC and at
Amazon.com, by publisher
Williams Press, U.K.
Ch. 1: What is the Religion of Jesus?
Ch. 2: Causes of the Rapid Expansion of Early Christianity
Ch. 3: Contrasts between Historical Christianity and the Religion of Jesus
Ch. 4: Contrasts between Contemporary Christianity and the Religion of Jesus
Ch. 1: What is the Religion of Jesus?
- This volume is a study in contrasts: divergences between the religion of Jesus and organized Christianity.
- ...Christianity, It has accumulated so many alien and hostile elements as to make it a different religion from the simple faith of its founder.
- The religion of Jesus can best be described in terms of the home: God Is Father, men are brothers, all life is a domestic affair.
- Attitudes and practices which are alien and disruptive to the home should never be indulged in, while the virtues of the family should always abound. Each member of the household must run the risks inherent in the abandonment of retaliation and revenge and the reliance upon good will and sacrifice.
- As long as ministers and laymen labor under the delusion that
contemporary Christianity is the same religion that Jesus practiced they
will remain immunized against his way of life and will lack the vision.
- During the lifetime of Jesus the question of freedom was the
outstanding problem before the Jewish people. Political independence,
economic relief, religious integrity, all awaited the Deliverer, The
Kingdom of God could never come as long as the Romans ruled.
- The Essenes were communists and ascetics.
- The Sadducees were the Jewish aristocracy, the official and wealthy class. As they held office and enjoyed special privileges, they were more friendly with the Romans. They considered rebellion hopeless and thought it better to bargain with the invader. ...all the while railing at the wild radicals who threatened their privileges and security.
- The group that most completely identified themselves with Roman and Greek culture were known as the Herodians.
- The Pharisees were the popular party. Like all other devout Jews they were strict monotheists and ardent believers in revealed religion. The law came from God, every phrase of it, ceremonial requirements and ethical duties being equally binding. ...they were legalists. ...parallel with the Law itself had grown up interpretations of the elders. ...The Pharisees were passionately concerned about political freedom, chiefly because the conqueror threatened or prevented religious liberty. Acknowledging God alone as King, they looked upon the Romans as blasphemers and idolaters.
Zealots were the radicals of the day. They advocated and plotted violent revolution. The political
tyranny and economic exploitation of the
Romans were considered utterly intolerable and patience was regarded as a crime.
- It was in this kind of world that Jesus lived all his days. Six decades before his birth the Romans came. Four decades after his crucifixion the Holy City was utterly demolished by the Imperial legions. ..."Scarcely a year went by," says Dr.
Joseph Klausner, "during this century, without wars or other disturbances; wars, rebellions, outbreaks, and riots; and this state of things prevailed in the Land of Israel throughout the whole epoch which preceded Jesus and prevailed also during his lifetime."
Simon the Zealot was numbered among
the Twelve and some traditions maintain that
Judas Iscariot was also a Zealot. Jesus was frequently referred to as "son of
David" and on one occasion the populace gave him a royal reception by spreading their garments in his way and crying aloud their hosannas in anticipation of his
- On one occasion the Pharisees sought to trap Jesus with the famous question: "Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar or not?" An affirmative answer would have repelled patriotic Jews, while a negative response would have embroiled him with the Roman authorities. In the record tax collectors are usually classed with outcasts and sinners.
- The charge against Jesus before Pilate was that of sedition: "We found this man perverting our nation and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king..."
- The religion of Jesus begins and ends in the home. All life is a
domestic affair. The universal family embraces every race and tongue.
Man's primary purpose is to establish the Family of God, where all
persons will dwell in right relations with the Father and with each
other. The way to create God's home is to live every day as a good
member of the family. Only those ends are worthy which are consonant
with the family spirit and only those methods are justifiable which are
appropriate in the home. ...Live to-day as if the ideal society has
already come to pass. The Kingdom of God is within you. It is all about you.
- God is Father and perfectly exemplifies the spirit of the home.
Wisdom and understanding are His. Not a sparrow falls to the ground
without His knowledge. Active and persistent is He in the effort to
establish the perfect family. He is loving and has personal affection
for each of His children. ...He is eager to enter into an intimate
comradeship with every member of the household. He makes the sun shine
on the evil and the good and the rain to fall upon the just and the
unjust. He is forgiving and always goes out to meet the prodigal. ...He ever couples mercy with justice.
- Jesus staked everything upon the reliability of God. Apart from this
faith and this dependence, his life is meaningless and his teachings
become tragic mockery. The religion and the ethics of Jesus are utterly inseparable.
- The God of Jesus differs fundamentally from the Jehovah presented in many sections of the Old Testament, where Yahweh is frequently pictured as authorizing pillage and slaughter and often as himself an active participant in war...
- An authoritative study... was published recently... ''The God of the Old Testament in Relation to War''... the author, Dr. Marion J. Benedict, is summarized as follows: "Yahweh has been found to be a God of war throughout most of the Old Testament material."
- It is utterly unthinkable that Jesus would himself condemn a wrongdoer to everlasting torture.
Like any other Oriental teacher he spoke in parables and figurative
language. Allowance must also be made for misinterpretations by the
persons who recorded their impressions of his words. Jesus frequently
pointed out the inevitable consequences of human conduct. It would be
easy for his hearers to assume that he was uttering threats of
- There is... a vast difference between consequence and punishment. When a child disregards his mother's warning and plays with fire the pain which he suffers is a consequence, not a punishment. The God of Jesus permits fire to burn; He does not throw his unruly children into a furnace. The Father of the prodigal son could never consign his child to eternal flames. The Good Shepherd could never torture the wandering sheep. It is not the will of your Father that one of his little ones should perish, much less be endlessly tortured.
- Since God is Father of all, there is only one family. Every
human being is privileged and obliged to treat every other Individual as
a member of the household. Attitudes and practices that violate the
spirit of the home should never be tolerated. No son should be guilty of blasphemy and irreverence. Indifference to His presence and disobedience to His wishes grieve the Father. Ingratitude is baseness itself.
- Beware of covetousness. Greed wrecks the family. Avarice is so deadly that if a man cannot conquer it he must sell all that he has and give it to the poor. Pride and ostentation are disgusting; hypocrisy destroys fellowship; anxiety is a cancer; extortion and exploitation are out of place in the home; lust is a perversion and should be shunned. To seek physical thrills at the expense of another is to disregard the value of personality. Anger is poison. Hatred breaks the family bond. Revenge is never sought in a true home. Murder of a beloved kinsman is unthinkable. Woe unto the man who causes his brother to stumble or drags him
through the mire. To wreck the personality of a fellow man is worse than
to drown one's own body in the deep sea.
- The home is a place of affection. Understanding is sought, sympathy prevails, kindliness is manifested. Mutual forbearance is the rule; patience is exhibited; forgiveness brings reconciliation. Everyone delights in serving the others. Sacrifice is joyously accepted. The welfare of the group takes precedence over the desires of any member. The one increasing purpose of life is the creation of the Family of God. This is the pearl of great price. In order to secure it a man will eagerly sell all he has. This treasure will be sought until it is found. ...The desire for comfort, privilege, prestige, or safety must not be allowed to stand in the way. What good will it do if a man gain many possessions and lose his zeal for fellowship? ...Rather than be paralyzed by desire, one must pluck out an eye or amputate an arm. It is better to continue the pursuit maimed and blind than to be swerved by fleshpots. He that endures to the end will be victorious.
- The roadway is infested with evil doers—persons who, because of ignorance, delusion, prejudices, desire, greed, passion, or disease, are a menace to their relatives.
- The way to overcome evil is by doing good. To do good is to live every day as a true member of the home. Turn away from those attitudes and practices which destroy the family. Exhibit those virtues which constitute the foundations of the home. Remember that the wrongdoer is a child of God, of inestimable inherent worth, and, therefore, should be treated with reverence and affection.
- Can the use of physical force ever be reconciled with the family spirit? ...On one occasion he appears to have resorted to force himself... It sheds no light upon the question as to whether the taking of life, capital punishment, or war are ever justifiable. The criterion by which Jesus judges every method is this; Can it be used appropriately in the home?
- Those persons who do not think of life in terms of the Family of God often feel justified, however, in defending themselves by torture and terror. Long has it been the practice, ever since men became sufficiently humane to restrict unlimited retaliation, to exact an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. This is justice. But an enduring home can never be founded on justice alone. Love, mercy, forgiveness, and sacrifice are likewise indispensable.
- Love and forgiveness are means; ways of awakening the latent goodness in the wrongdoer. By not insisting upon its rights, love reveals a far better method. Love never fails. If it is patient and kind it penetrates even the most hardened heart. The body may be killed but love can never die. It is life. On love hangs the law, the prophets, the gospel, all life.
- Fear is a foul spirit. Cast it out. Be not unduly concerned
about appetites or sensations, comfort or safety. Pain may come, but
what of it? When voluntarily assumed on behalf of a brother beloved,
suffering is the gateway to joy and to life. The most precious of all privileges is fellowship in suffering; with God and for one's brethren. So be not afraid. What abiding difference does it make if your property is destroyed? Life does not consist of things.
- Even if your body is killed, love does not perish. Love is like a grain of wheat. Its harvest comes after it has been buried.
So be not dismayed because men think it God's will that you be put to
death. Even if you are devoured as a lamb by wolves, love lives on. And love is life. He that loves to the end never dies.
- It seems incredible that a man with such a message and such
nobility of character should have been killed as an enemy of society.
But is it surprising? ...In a memorable passage Jesus refers to
the fact that it is customary for one generation to stone the prophets
and for another to erect monuments in their honor.
- Those persons who were responsible for his tragic death had only the
faintest understanding of what he was seeking to accomplish. Even his own disciples so completely misinterpreted his teaching
that at the very end they argued among themselves as to who should have
the chief places. ...they still visualized twelve thrones of solid gold
and quarreled among themselves over the seats of honor on the right and
left of the king. How much less able to fathom the meaning of his words and deeds were the ecclesiastical leaders.
- "The notion of progressive revelation," says Professor George Foot Moore, "was impossible; the revelation to Moses was complete and final; no other prophet should ever make any innovation in the law. ...The law, being perfect, is unchangeable." And so Jesus was convicted of blasphemy.
Who was this young upstart who talked so freely of God and spoke as one
having authority? At the feet of what eminent teacher had he ever sat?
- Jesus was a radical on race questions. He treated men of every
color and tongue as sons of a common Father and therefore brothers
beloved. In His sight all men are of inherent and inestimable value. ...Jesus also disregarded the rigid class lines of his day.
- Hypocrisy has usually prevailed in the treatment accorded
prostitutes. Under the Jewish law these disreputable women were worthy
of death by stoning. But when Jesus suggested to the accusers of a
certain woman that the man who was without guilt should cast the first
stone, one by one they slunk away. No wonder the Jewish leaders were
infuriated at the sight of Jesus mingling freely with all classes of
people, completely ignoring the social cleavages of the day, and
teaching that every human being is of priceless worth, with Godlike
- With entire sincerity the Pharisees were alarmed lest Jesus
should lead the people astray. ...Better that one man should die than
that the people should perish in darkness and wickedness.
- Another serious charge against Jesus was that of treason to
his country. His admonition to refrain from hatred and retaliation and
instead to love the Romans seemed to the patriots of the day nothing
less than disloyalty and treachery to his native land... There is little doubt as to what would have happened to an American citizen early in 1918 if he had arisen in a Liberty Loan
mass meeting and pleaded for the immediate cessation of hostilities and
protested against the hatred being manifested toward the Germans.
- The Jewish leaders, especially the Sadducees, had a stake in the maintenance of the status quo. Vested
interests were involved. Profits and prestige were threatened. Jesus
was undermining the standing and influence of the Pharisees and
- Experience had shown that sooner or later fanatics got into trouble
with the Romans, Quite likely Jesus would stir up a riot or rebellion
for which the Jewish leaders would be held responsible. The risk was too
- Herod and Pilate likewise had a stake in the existing order. ...Few politicians have ever been willing to endanger their own standing in order to render justice to a friendless prisoner
at the bar. Personal prestige and power were of more importance...
Herod may have thought Jesus innocent but he saw a chance to gain the
good will of Pilate by a generous gesture in yielding jurisdiction... A
man... will trade the blood of innocent victims for personal advantage.
...It is always easy... to imagine that one is battling on behalf of
society when in fact the struggle is for private gain.
- When the devout rich man bitterly attacks radicalism he sincerely
believes that he is manifesting zeal on behalf of the masses of people,
whereas in reality his primary concern may be for the preservation of
his own unearned Income. Self-deception is as old as mankind.
Conscientiousness is no guarantee of moral conduct.
- Indifference constituted a fifth major reason why Jesus was killed.
Powerful groups were arrayed against him, but only a few sought to
defend him, The fickle crowds melted away when it became apparent that
Jesus was not the long-expected Deliverer. His ethical demands were too
exacting to gain for him a large following. During the days of supreme
crisis only a few score individuals, at most, cared enough to exert
themselves on his behalf.
- Christians have long imagined that all of Jerusalem was in turmoil
when Jesus was crucified. It is probably much nearer the truth to say
that this tragic event went unnoticed by the great mass of the people. Populations have usually been indifferent to the fate of martyrs. Loneliness has ever been the lot of those who were ahead of their day. The citizens of Jerusalem probably gave no more attention to the execution of the Great Teacher than the people of an American city ordinarily give to the hanging of a common criminal.
- Blindness, bigotry, fear, self-centeredness, indifference—this deadly quintette did its work well. And so they cried, "Crucify him, crucify him..."
- Society always issues an ultimatum to the innovator; conform to
this world or expect the reward of a heretic or a traitor. Every
generation metes out substantially the same punishment to those who fall
far below and those who rise high above its standards. Thieves and
prophets of a new day rot in the same foul dungeon; murderers and the
Savior of mankind agonize on adjacent crosses.
- At every stage Jesus was confronted with the necessity of choosing. More and more clearly he saw
the vast gulf between his ideal and the practices of those about him.
In moments of exaltation he caught a vision of life as it ought to be
and might be. ...From each succeeding experience of communion with God the conviction became more intense that love alone can bring reconciliation between man and man and between man and God.
- Asceticism may offer a way of escape from the temptations that come
from association with one's fellows and bring a sense of release and
contentment. But the universal family can never be built by hermits. Contact may lead to contamination, but it is essential to redemption. Love never flees from the object of its affection. Where pain is most severe and sorrow most bitter, there love is most
solicitous and untiring.
- Not by conforming to this world can humanity be saved. Lying down in the gutter with the derelict is no way to reform him.
is not an effective method of remedying evils. Sharing the gains of
exploitation and enjoying privileges arising out of injustice will never
lead to the transformation of society. Untiring opposition to false
standards and ceaseless activity against wrongdoing are demanded by
love. Mankind can never be lifted to the highest levels if its teachers
dwell in the lowlands.
- To be in the world and yet not of it is the difficult requirement of love.
- Not by observing the law can fulness of life be attained. ...the emphasis of the Pharisees was often upon the letter of the law. ...The
aching void of sorrow and misery can never be filled by strict
observance of the Sabbath. Hostility and enmity cannot be removed by
sacrifices of rams and goats. The maladies that afflict humanity are too
deadly to be cured by ceremony and ritual. The letter kills, only love
- Not by using the weapons of Satan can the spirit of evil be cast
out. Hatred is not an effective instrument for removing hatred. Desire
for revenge does not promote the family spirit. Violence and terror are
not appropriate weapons in the home. They that take the sword shall
- Real freedom is from within. More important than deliverance from
political bondage is release from paralyzing emotion. It is better to
be enslaved by Romans than by hatred.
- Little is gained by an exchange of masters. Genuine freedom can
be achieved only by living as a good member of God's home. ...all are
- Treat every person as a member of the family. Exhibit sympathy,
kindliness, affection, forgiveness. Meet the acid test: love the Roman,
bless the conqueror, pray for the despoiler, do good to the exploiter,
forgive the invader. Do unto the Romans as you would have God do unto
you. If the son shall make you free you will be free indeed.
- In the darkness of the night two alternatives appeared before Jesus with the brilliance of the noonday sun. Life
or a way of life! He must choose. Live as his contemporaries lived or
die. Blindness and intolerance and fear have always refused to permit a
man to treat every other human being under every circumstance as a
member of the family, worthy to be loved, forgiven, trusted. So the Jewish leaders gave Jesus his choice. Live as they lived or die.
- The purpose of life is to build the divine community. The way to
create the ideal society is to live to-day as if it is already a
reality. Live this hour as a good member of the Family of God. Depend upon love. Run the risks. Accept the consequences. Have confidence in God and faith in man. Rather than forsake the way of love it is better for a man to die.
- The theory that the crucifixion of Jesus was predestined and
preordained and that he went through life as a fated victim belies the
facts. If literally interpreted this theory transforms him into a mere
- The theory that his [Jesus'] death was required in order
to appease the wrath of an angry God is repugnant. And the explanation
that the Divine Law demands a purchase price to atone for the sins of
mankind seems legalistic and artificial.
- Some say that Jesus deliberately provoked his crucifixion as the means of ushering in the Messianic age.
- Jesus frequently likened the coming of the Kingdom to the slow working of leaven and the steady growth of seed. He spoke constantly of the Kingdom as a present reality. The record shows that on several occasions he carefully avoided an open clash with the authorities that might have eventuated in his arrest. Very often the significance of his utterances was veiled in parables and stories. To the very end he struggled against his fate. The agony in Gethsemane was no stage performance.
- Jesus responded to a deep inner urge, a divine call, to witness
before his own people. Jesus was a uniquely sensitive mystic. In hours
of prolonged communion the presence of God was more real to him than any
human being... at any cost he would faithfully follow the will of God.
...the clouds of perplexity and indecision were swept away by a vivid
sense of the boundless mercy and passionate tenderness of the Eternal.
He must go to Jerusalem. Even the probability of crucifixion could not
deter him. In the Holy City he would live as if the Reign of God had
already begun, revealing to all men their kinship with the Father and with each other.
- The very heart of the Eternal would be revealed in his last effort.
Then, if ever, men would come to themselves and return to the house of
their Father. Love never fails when it is kind and persistent. There
is no other way to create the ideal society. So Jesus went to his doom.
...Not for his own life but for the pearl of great price a man eagerly
sells all that he has possessions, talents, strength, blood!
- What, then, is the meaning of the Cross? ...In the light of the Cross three momentous facts stand revealed: the
awful consequences of estrangement and strife, the redeeming power of
sacrificial love, the deepest joy and the fullest self-realization come
only through self-renunciation.
- The awful chasm between goodness and evil, between righteousness
and unrighteousness, nowhere stands out in such stark reality as in the
presence of the Cross. Light is snuffed out by darkness. Love is
done to death by hate. Forgiveness is met with malignity. Sacrifice is
rewarded with ignominy. God's home is transformed into a charnel house. The appalling need [for love] of the human heart is exposed.
- Created in the spiritual image of God and capable of rising to
sublime heights, man is also able to sink below the level of the beast.
Blindness that cannot distinguish holiness from heresy, bigotry that confuses tradition with truth, hypocrisy that counterfeits the coin of sincerity, greed that devours a widow's substance, lust that feeds on a woman's body, fear that nails innocence to a tree...
- The offer of salvation through ceremonial and ritual is sheer
mockery. Compromise with temporal powers can never lead to redemption.
Flight to ascetic communities cannot heal the festering sores of
society. Resort to violence merely compounds fear and hatred. Prodigal
sons can never be persuaded to reclaim their heritage, nor can
embittered brethren be reconciled, except by an inner change of heart. The fathomless gulf that separates men from God and from each other can be bridged only by love and fellowship.
- Freedom means power to choose evil. And unwise decisions lead
to suffering. The harvest is always determined by the sowing. Freedom
may lead to estrangement, to callousness, to misery. ...Freedom might
even lead to disaster.
- The seed may appear to be dead, but not so; it is only buried. ...First the Cross, then resurrection, then redemption.
- That Jesus was annihilated on the Cross is to me simply unthinkable. The universe in which we live conserves values.
Science tells us that matter or energy is imperishable; many changes of
form but no annihilation. What a meaningless world it would be if
lesser values should be preserved with infinite care while the noblest
creation of the ages alone is destroyed! To me belief in the
resurrection of man is absolutely essential to rational thought. And that
one who was so altogether lovely and Godlike should utterly perish is
simply beyond my comprehension. The rationality of God is at stake.
- If death is the end for man, then it is difficult to believe that intelligence and love are at the heart of the universe. If
there is no God then the life of Jesus is the most ghastly delusion of
history. It would indeed be an irrational universe if a tragic
hallucination should create the fairest flower of the human race.
itself has usually been thought of as escape from hell and entrance
into heaven. Numerous theories have been advanced as to how belief in
the blood of the Lamb saves from eternal damnation, many of which are
repugnant to ethical minds today. Some have said that a ransom must
be paid to Satan; some that the payment of a great price was necessary
in order to placate an angry God; some that divine justice could not
forgive unless a perfect sacrifice was offered for the sins of mankind;
while multitudes of humble folk have made no effort to explain the
mystery, simply imputing magical power to the shed blood of Calvary.
- There is no redemption in the Cross. Salvation is not release from future punishment or the enjoyment of eternal bliss. Salvation is reconciliation and appreciation; reconciliation with God and man; appreciation of the good, the true, and the beautiful. A man is saved when he shuns unfilial and antisocial attitudes and practices; when he exhibits the virtues of the home. Salvation is not an act; it is a process. We are not saved, we are being saved. We grow into redemption.
- Death is not the end of life; it is merely the dividing line between two aspects of one reality. Life itself is continuous and eternal.
- Day by day we are being saved or being lost. ...If we give
food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome to the stranger,
clothes to the naked, relief to the sick, kindness to the prisoner, we
are being saved. When we fail to live as if the Family of God is a present reality we are being lost.
- He [Jesus] makes us conscious of the presence of a loving Father and fills us with desire for unbroken fellowship with the Eternal.
- Estrangement from God and hostility toward His purposes lead to barrenness of life and desolation of spirit.
- Jesus... exhibits a character of sheer nobility and utter
loveliness and illustrates how compassion and devotion deal with fear
and hate. By fathomless love and unstinting forgiveness he creates penitence and aspiration. Zacchseus
found it impossible to practice fraud any longer. The sinful woman
loathed her former ways after she had listened to him. ...The bereaved
found comfort in his presence.
- Why should it be regarded as impossible for Jesus to be in constant communication with those who are in tune with his spirit? The record of history bears important testimony concerning this point. Multitudes of Christians in every age and in all lands, including
many of the keenest minds and most consecrated spirits, have been
dominated by the certain conviction that the living presence of Christ
was the greatest power in their lives. ...prompting us day by day to
higher thinking and more courageous living.
- Even in the animal world, those species have survived and progressed which have practiced mutual aid and self-sacrifice. The evolution of mankind is one long story of struggle and renunciation. An
incalculable debt is due to the pioneers and heretics who, with
indomitable courage and supreme abandon, have blazed new pathways to
freedom and life.
- If any man would come after the Great Leader he must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow on. ...A man must be willing even to
forsake father and mother if necessary in order to follow his ideals. He
that truly desires to serve his fellows must not be content to deny
himself certain coveted things; he must deny himself. ...the deepest joy
and the fullest self-realization come only through self-renunciation.
- Man is made in the spiritual image of the Creator and is capable of rising Godward. ...Without the virtues of the family a man cannot be himself.
- When in a normal condition man derives more satisfaction from
feeding those who are hungry than from gorging himself with dainty
delicacies. Sublimation of a low desire for the sake of fellowship or the welfare of another is better than gratification.
- If devotion to ideals leads to pain, then suffering becomes a
gateway to joy and self-realization. The truth of this statement is
revealed in the lives of the great spiritual leaders of the human race. ...with them dedication to a great cause took precedence over gratification of fleshly desires. Reflect upon the lives of those persons whom you rank highest and you will be reminded that they are not self-centered.
- At every turn we come face to face with a paradox but none more startling than this: if
a man seeks to save his life he loses it, but if he loses himself in
devotion to a noble ideal he finds life indeed. With profound insight
Jesus pointed out this fact to his disciples on many occasions.
- The spirit of Jesus is truly reflected in the following words from
John's Gospel: "I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and that
your joy may be fulfilled ...that in me ye may have peace. In the world
ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Rejection and persecution and suffering; yet peace and joy and power. Jesus
never could have attained to such a Godlike character if he had turned
back from the Cross. ...Verily life is lost in seeking and found in
- No man understands the full meaning of the Cross. ...But at least this we do know: the Cross reveals
the hideousness of sin, releases the redeeming power of sacrificial
love, and opens the gateway to abounding joy and complete
self-realization. Here we find the answer to the supreme needs of every
generation: how to overcome evil and build the divine society, and how to find happiness and serenity. If any man would come, let him renounce self, follow the way of love, and live every day as a good member of God's home.
The pathway may lead to persecution and suffering and seeming defeat,
but it alone leads to reconciliation and redemption and life. This is the religion of Jesus.
Ch. 2: Causes of the Rapid Expansion of Early Christianity
- If it had not actually happened it would be regarded as utterly impossible. That the religion of an obscure teacher in a conquered province, who himself was crucified as a common malefactor, should spread within three centuries, in spite of vigorous opposition and bitter persecution, so rapidly that it became the official religion of the mightiest empire of all the earth: this is simply incredible.
- There seem to have been eight principal reasons for the phenomenal growth of early Christianity:  the conviction that Jesus had risen from the grave and the expectation of his early bodily return;  the preaching of a gospel of salvation in a decaying world;  the practice of love and sharing;  personal purity and family loyalty;  the rejection of violence and war;  the exhibition of unbounded courage and sacrificial devotion;  the solidarity and discipline of the Christian fellowship; and, eventually,  compromise with prevailing beliefs and practices.
- The crucifixion had utterly crushed the disciples. To the very end
they had expected Jesus to set up an earthly kingdom and when he was
shamefully put to death as a criminal, all their hopes collapsed. ...but
when the conviction became general that he had broken the bonds of
death and had ascended into heaven, ...the disciples became joyous and
hopeful; no longer fearful and afraid, they became bold and daring.
- The early Christians not only felt certain that Jesus was alive,
daily they awaited his bodily return in order to establish the Kingdom
of God on earth. This great event was to occur during the lifetime of
that generation and would be followed by the resurrection of the dead
and the judgment day. So confidently did they hold to this conviction
that they joyously endured incredible hardships. ...Without this
conviction and hope they would never have been able to overcome the
terrific odds against them.
- The Gospel of John, which came very late, seems to have spiritualized the second coming and no longer expected the bodily return of Jesus.
- There was an appalling amount of misery and injustice throughout the regions where the expansion of Christianity was most rapid. Greek and Roman civilizations rested upon the corner stone of slavery. ...The master had power of life and death over the slave and could torture, maim, and crucify.
...The wise and benevolent Marcus Aurelius classed slaves with animals.
...The total number of slaves in the Roman Empire is unknown but has
been estimated as high as sixty millions. ...The mass of people everywhere lived in the depths of degradation and misery. The free distribution of food by the government ...was not sufficient to prevent widespread starvation. ...the brutalizing effects of slavery had made men callous to human suffering. Even their sports were bloody and barbarous.
- The [theatrical] stage of that era was often highly indecent. "The exhibition of licentious shows and immoral plays, says C. L. Brace [in Gesta Christ, or, A history of Humane Progress under Christianity],
"had a profound influence. The extremes to which they were carried
cannot ever be explained in modern writings. In fact, few classical
scholars who have not waded through the disgusting mire of a large part
of Roman literature can have even an idea of the depth of obscenity and
immorality which it reached."
- In addition to the terrible ravages of slavery, poverty, cruelty,
and immorality, all classes in that period were victimized by fear of
unseen powers. The air was supposed to be densely populated with
spirits, good and evil. The reality of the existence of demons was rarely questioned either by pagans or the early Christians.
...Various forms of insanity and epilepsy were regarded as demon
possession. Multitudes lived daily in mortal fear of evil spirits.
- Apathy and satiety characterized the more prosperous, while misery
and despair were the lot of the dispossessed. It is said that among
the upper classes suicide was so frequent as to constitute the normal
form of death. One thrill after another had lost its attractiveness and
many were overcome with an unbearable weariness. The joy and zest of life had gone. Annihilation seemed preferable to nausea and disgust. While the depressed classes were so racked with pain and distraught with fear that many sought escape by the gateway of death.
- Throughout the first three centuries Christians almost uniformly
regarded the present world as evil and condemned unsparingly pagan
practices and institutions. Salvation was the exclusive gift of Christ.
- The early Christians not only offered salvation in the world to come, they preached freedom from the power of demons in the present world. ..."It was as exercisers," says Harnack, "that Christians went out into the great world, and exorcism formed one very powerful method of their mission and propaganda.
It was a question not simply of exorcising and vanquishing the demons
that dwelt in individuals, but also of purifying all public life of
them. For the age was ruled by the black one and his hordes.
- It is a gross error, however, to conclude that... future salvation
and... demons were... primarily responsible for the rapid expansion of
Christianity. From the very beginning Christians were motivated by the loftiest ethical principles and exhibited the noblest moral conduct.
- The church was especially solicitous for widows and children. It
will be recalled that James had defined true religion as visiting widows
and orphans in their distress. Great consideration was shown to the sick, the infirm and disabled, and the poor, including non-Christians.
So much attention was paid to prisoners languishing in the mines that
Licinius passed a law to the effect that "no one was to show kindness to
sufferers in prison..." ...Great heroism and generosity were shown by
many Christians in times of plague and famine and calamity.
- The record of the early Christians with regard to slavery was paradoxical;
they took the Institution for granted and made no serious effort to
abolish it, yet they showed great kindness to slaves and sought to
ameliorate their lot. Many Christians, even clergymen and bishops, owned slaves. Nevertheless, converted slaves were regarded as brothers and sisters and accepted as full members of the church. Slaves
became clergymen and even bishops. The same scale of values and virtues
prevailed among Christian slaves as among their masters. Owners were strictly charged to treat slaves in a humane and kindly manner. To set a slave free was highly praiseworthy.
- It is obvious, however, that the inherent incompatibility between
slavery and the religion of Jesus dawned very slowly on his followers. Brace tells us that it was not until the Ninth Century that the first recorded stand against slavery itself was taken by St. Theodore,
who said: "Thou shalt possess no slave, neither for domestic service
nor for the laborer of the fields, for man is made in the image of God."
- ...to a marked degree they [early Christians] refrained from manifesting hatred toward their persecutors; indeed, it was their custom to follow the admonition of Paul: "Your love must be genuine... Bless your persecutors... Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good."
- Lecky remarked that "there have certainly been many periods in history when virtue was more rare than under the Caesars; but there has probably never been a period when vice was more extravagant or uncontrolled." The vast number of female slaves, the voluptuous games of Flora, the audacious indecencies of the stage, the flagrant exposure of both sexes at the public baths, the licentious paintings everywhere exhibited, the obscenity of the literature,
the general coarseness and callousness produced by continuous warfare,
the low value placed upon human life as manifested by the ferocity of
their sports and the prevalence of suicide, the impotence of the
prevailing religions—all combined to produce a depth of depravity rarely equaled in human history and never surpassed.
- While there were undoubtedly lapses, some of them notorious, the gulf between the moral code and practices of Christians and those of their contemporaries was wide and deep. The followers of Jesus were adamantine
In their stand against irregular sexual relations. Early Christian
literature abounds with denunciation and warnings against lust and all
forms of sexual depravity. ...Monogamy was regarded as divinely
ordained. ...Women enjoyed an exalted status, although not absolute
equality with men. ...Abortion and Infanticide were regarded with
horror. The former had been recommended by Aristotle and the latter countenanced by Plato.
...Destruction of unborn children and the exposure of infants were
practiced almost universally among pagans. A regular business developed
of rescuing exposed girls and training them for prostitution. The record
of Christians, however, was absolutely consistent in denouncing both
abortion and infanticide as murder.
- The revulsion of Christians against the licentiousness of the age
was so extreme that they adopted attitudes and practices which led to
along series of terrible consequences. By the Third Century celibacy had
become glorified and asceticism
far advanced. Nevertheless, the record is very clear that the superior
morality and more loyal family attachments were major factors in the
expansion of early Christianity.
- "There can indeed be little doubt," says Lecky, who will scarcely be
accused of bias in favor of Christians, "that for nearly two hundred
years after its establishment in Europe, the Christian community
exhibited a moral purity which, if it has been equaled, has never for
any long period been surpassed."
- The corner stones of the ancient world rested on violence. Christians of that day, on the other hand, to a very marked degree repudiated the use of force and the practice of war. Fortunately, the evidence on this question has been presented in an exhaustive manner by Harnack and Cadoux [Militia Christi & The Early Christian Attitude Toward War'',
respectively]. The latter tells us that "no Christian ever thought of
enlisting in the army after his conversion until the reign of Marcus
Aurelius (161-180 A. D.) at earliest," and that "with one or two
possible exceptions no soldier joined the church and remained a soldier"
until that time. ...Harnack enumerates the following ethical barriers
in the way of Christians who contemplated service in the army: "the
shedding of blood on the battlefield, the use of torture in the
law-courts, the passing of death-sentence by officers and the execution
of them by common soldiers, the unconditional military oath, the
all-pervading worship of the Emperor, the sacrifices in which all were
expected in some way to participate, the average behavior of soldiers in
peacetime, and other idolatrous and offensive customs."
- In spite of all this evidence... we cannot be certain that the
early Christians were irrevocably opposed to all war. ...In attempting
to account for this anomalous situation, the following facts should be
kept in mind: 1) Not many Christians actually had to form a definite decision concerning their own personal attitude toward war because Jews and slaves were not enrolled in the Roman army and because voluntary enlistment usually provided all the soldiers needed. 2) The expectation of the speedy ending of the world was so vivid that many practical social questions were ignored. 3) The problem was complicated because there was no sharp differentiation between soldiers and police, the former doing service as the latter, which made it difficult to condemn the profession of soldiers without appearing to advocate anarchy. 4) The almost universal acceptance of the Old Testament as the inspired Word of God and the absence of the idea of progressive revelation made it improbable that they would condemn outright the ancient wars of the Israelites. 5) The frequent use of military similes and metaphors must have had a subtle effect upon their attitude toward war itself. 6) There was an almost universal opinion among Christians that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans was a direct act of God as punishment for the rejection of Christ by the Jews. 7) The old Jewish concept of a military Messiah had been appropriated, and the conviction was general that when Jesus returned
to set up his Kingdom the enemies of God would be destroyed. 8) By the
end of the Second Century a certain moral laxity had begun and there was
a general tendency toward compromise with prevailing beliefs and practices, 9) There is a possibility that the general acceptance of war by the church after the conversion of Constantine made it less likely that the records of early opposition to war would be preserved.
- [However,] hatred and revenge were uniformly condemned. The admonition to overcome evil with good was followed to an unparalleled extent.
- The Romans regarded the Christian church as an illegal society,
since the members refused to recognize the religion of the empire by
The attitude of the present-day patriots toward those citizens who will
not salute the flag is only a mild parallel... Christians were called
atheists because they offered no sacrifices and as such were blamed for
many of the misfortunes and catastrophes which befell Rome. ...Distrust
of secret societies was a characteristic of governments in that age.
- The number of Christian martyrs during the First Century was
comparatively small. ...Not until 250 A. D. did a Roman emperor make a
determined and systematic effort completely to stamp out Christianity.
- To be a Christian during the centuries prior to Constantine was a perilous adventure. Thousands perished at the hands of the executioners. ...The
courage and sacrificial devotion manifested by multitudes of Christians
was a primary cause of its rapid expansion. The blood of the martyrs
was indeed the seed of the church.
- Charity was deeply rooted. The infant church not only gave alms to the destitute, it felt a... responsibility for securing or furnishing employment to its members. Mendicancy received no encouragement in those early days. Labor was upheld as a duty. "If any will not work, neither let him eat," was accepted as axiomatic. The right of a Christian to employment was likewise recognized.
"It was beyond question," says Harnack, "that a Christian brother could
demand work from the church, and that the church had to furnish him
with work. ...The churches were also labor unions."
- The duty of one church to relieve the distress of another was fully
recognized. Generous contributions were frequently sent to less
fortunate groups of Christians.
- These primitive societies were democratic and cosmopolitan in the highest degree.
Men and women, masters and slaves, Jews and Syrians, Greeks Romans,
rich and poor? the educated and the illiterate, the cultured and the
uncouth, all met together on the common basis of brotherhood. ...It was
their custom to assemble for the purpose of breaking bread, prayer,
teaching, and fellowship. The Holy Communion was a source of spiritual
power and exhilaration. ...Teaching and preaching were means of
fortifying members against assaults from their enemies. ...In times of
grief and persecution, Christians were saved from despair and apostasy by the loving interest and sacrificial cooperation of the brotherhood.
- At the outset Christian communities were loosely organized. But as their numbers grew and life became increasingly complex they resorted to more formal organizations. ...by the middle of the Second Century church government had everywhere become monarchical, with the bishops in full control.
Whatever may have been the disastrous spiritual results of this
tendency, there is no doubt that the consolidation of ecclesiastical
power was a primary factor in the rapid expansion of the Christian
- A comparison of the life of the church in the Third and Fourth
centuries with the religion of Jesus reveals a great gulf. In numerous
ways Christians of this period made serious compromises with pagan
beliefs and customs. Theater going and dice throwing began to be
tolerated. Sexual looseness became so common that the literature of the
time is filled with denunciations and warnings and imposition of
penances. More and more Christians owned slaves.
- By 251 A.D. bishops were devoting so much time to cultivating the favor of Roman officials that Cupria complained bitterly because they were neglecting their spiritual duties. A few years later emperors entrusted Christians with governorships of provinces. In the time of Valerian there were Christian senators. The number of Christians in the armies increased steadily.
- The great church historian Eusebius,
at the end of the Third Century, draws a distinction between two
standards of Christianity, one for the clergy and another for laymen.
The latter are permitted to engage in political and military service
and secular pursuits generally, while the former are enjoined to
celibacy and aloofness from the world. This dual standard opened the way for license on the one hand and asceticism on the other. Tragic disparagement of normal home ties and morbid idealization of celibacy became increasingly prevalent.
- For a considerable period the Old Testament was given a more
exalted place than was accorded to the epistles now incorporated in the
New Testament. Unfortunately, the early Christians not only appropriated the nobler religious ideals of the Old Testament, they also took over its concept of a God of vengeance.
- Few ideas have had a bloodier history than that one which attributes
to God a willingness to torture those who depart from correct belief
and established ritual. Acceptance of the Old Testament idea of
Jehovah as a God of war and vengeance was a primary reason why
Christians eventually justified war and engaged in its horror. This same
concept strengthened their belief in the righteousness of casting
unrepentant sinners into an eternal lake of fire. There can be no
doubt that many converts came into the church because of fear of eternal
damnation if they died outside the faith.
- The primitive Christian church also absorbed many ideas and practices from the mystery religions of the Grace-Roman world. Polytheism was everywhere prevalent. That gods rose from the grave was a widely accepted belief. Many of these religions offered salvation to their devoted. Caesar-worship appeared reasonable to people who never made a clear distinction between gods and supermen.
- "It seems very probable. If not quite certain," says [Charles] Guignebert [in Christianity, Past and Present p. 76.] "that
Paul's childhood was spent in a milieu thoroughly impregnated with the Idea of a salvation obtained by the intercession or mediatorship of a god who
died and rose again, whose followers share his destiny by means of a
mystic union of themselves with him, shown only by a steadfast faith
and confidence in him, but also, and one might almost say, above all, by symbolic and potent rites and ceremonies."
- By the Fourth Century many forms of magic had crept Into the Christian church.
Mariolatry and the worship of saints was widespread. Exorcism of evil spirits had been long practiced, frequently In ways very similar to pagan rites. By the ignorant and uncultured, baptism was often thought to possess magical efficacy. In the Holy Communion the miracle of transubstantiation was thought to occur.
- "We are now beginning to see," says Professor [E. F.] Scott [in The First Age of Christianity, pp.41-42] "that the prevalence of those mystery religions was a factor of prime importance in the spread of Christianity. Their teachings were at some points strikingly similar to those of the Gospel, and for this reason had
an important influence on Christian thought. Mystical and sacramental
elements which had no place in the original message of Jesus gradually
found entrance by way of the Eastern cults."
- Dean Inge says: "It was as a mystery religion that Europe accepted Christianity."
- Greek philosophy also contributed many Ideas to early Christianity. The Gospel of John and the Epistle to the Hebrews especially reveal the infiltration of Greek thought. Many of the Christian writers grew up in communities where the teaching of the Stoics was all-pervasive
in cultured circles. Through this philosophy they became familiar with
the concept that "reason pervades all things like a fiery essence, and
that the soul of man is a spark from this universal reason."
- Philo, chief exponent of the Alexandrian school of Judaism,
who lived during the period 30 B.C.-50 A.D., was another channel
through which Greek ideas flowed into the early church. Philo attempted
to combine Hebrew religion and Greek philosophy. He gave great impetus
to the tendency to allegorize
the Old Testament and to derive from it highly speculative ideas which
became universal among Christian theologians. Philo's interpretation of
the Greek term "Logos" profoundly affected Christian thought.
- The greatest of the Church Fathers, St. Augustine, was tremendously influenced by NeoPlatonism,
which regarded the world of sense as irrational and evil. The tendency
toward asceticism within Christian circles was greatly accentuated by
the example and teaching of Plotinus, the founder of NeoPlatonism who lived from 204 to 269 A. D.
- From the very beginning the Christian church was torn with schisms
and heresies. The New Testament writers themselves gave frequent
warnings against false teachers. The most important of these heresies came to be known as Gnosticism, whose chief characteristics were rejection of the Old Testament, repudiation of the God of the Jews as the carnal creator of the world and the enemy of the supreme God, and the enthronement of Christ as the incarnation of the light and wisdom of the supreme God and the deliverer of mankind from the captivity of the material elements. ...The combat against Gnosticism ...hastened the creation of an official ministry and increased their influence and power.
- The long struggle with heresy proved in the end to be a source of great strength
to the church. ...The tendency toward uniformity was greatly
accelerated during the periods of severe persecution at the end of the
Third Century. ...but survival and consolidation cost a ghastly price. From the Fourth Century onward Christianity became a vastly different religion from the original religion of Jesus. Many elements of Jesus' faith were retained but they were covered up with numerous accretions from the Graeco-Roman world.
- These... seem to have been the primary reasons for the rapid expansion of early Christianity: confidence in the resurrection of Jesus and the expectation of his bodily return; the offer of salvation in a decaying civilization; the practice of love and forgiveness and sharing; personal purity and family loyalty; the rejection of violence and war; the exhibition of dauntless courage and sacrificial devotion; the unity and discipline of the Christian fellowship; and, in the end, compromise with prevailing beliefs and institutions.
Ch. 3: Contrasts between Historical Christianity and the Religion of Jesus
- The history of organized Christianity's relation to war constitutes a shameful record
(this is true in spite of the fact that Christianity has done much to
mitigate the horrors of war and in some periods has reduced its
frequency). Throughout the last sixteen centuries the Christian church has been terribly entangled in the war system.
- The closing years of the Third Century witnessed one of the
bloodiest periods of persecution of Christians by the Romans in the
entire history of the church. The opening decades of the Fourth Century
saw Christianity enthroned as the official religion of the Roman Empire,
while at the end of this century pagan worship was made a crime. Within
a single generation this new religion was transformed from a despised
and illegal status into an exalted and established position. Such an
absolute reversal has few parallels in history.
- Constantine certainly became the patron and ruler of the church, but the evidence is clear that he neither understood nor practiced the religion of Jesus. The Cross of Christ, instead of being a way of life to be followed, became a magical charm, a fetish, a luck token. By this time the cross had come to be widely used by Christians as a magical sign before which demons fled. To the very end Constantine's
chief conception of Christianity was that of a cult whose prayers and
emblems enabled him to triumph in military conflicts and political
crises, and whose rites insured eternal salvation.
- He [Constantine] retained the title of Pontifex Maximus, or high priest of the pagan hierarchy, to the very close of his life, as did his successors until 375. After his death the Roman Senate enrolled him among the gods of the heathen Olympus.
- During Constantine's reign Christianity became a religion of war, from which it has never been divorced to the present hour.
- By 416 only Christians were allowed to serve in the [Roman] army!
- The moral character of Constantine bore little resemblance to
that of the founder of the religion which he professed. ...very often
his conduct was quite repulsive. ...It was after his conversion that he murdered his conquered colleague and brother-in-law, Licinius; sentenced to death his eleven-year-old nephew; killed his oldest son, Crispus; and brought about the death of his second wife, Fausta,
perhaps by suffocation with steam. Yet this semi-pagan and cruel
emperor has been canonized as a saint by the Greek Church, and to this
day that ancient communion celebrates his memory as "Equal to the
Apostles." ...What really happened was the capture of the Christian church by a pagan warrior.
- In no other respect has there been a more striking contrast
between organized Christianity and the religion of Jesus than in the
conduct of the Crusaders
during the two hundred years of their history. ...These followers of
the Cross were guilty of massacre, treachery, robbery, sexual excesses,
and almost every other sin and crime imaginable. The stench they created
pollutes the nostrils of Moslems to this day. ...In order to recover
the grave of our Lord [the Holy Sepulchre] hundreds of thousands of his followers lost their lives and an unnumbered multitude of "infidels" were slain.
..In an age when relics and images received reverent adoration from the
faithful, it was simply unbearable that the most holy relic of all
should be defiled by infidels. ...No ...patriot can possibly be as
deeply outraged by the desecration of his nation's flag as pious
churchmen were scandalized by pagan pollution of holy places.
- Priests and bishops and popes agreed that all those who fell in the
holy war were assured of eternal salvation; while excommunication was
threatened against those who broke their vow. They were also freed from
arrest for debt and from usury. Moreover, the church assumed the
guardianship of their families. ...Alluring pictures of plunder of the
fabulous wealth of the East were drawn. All these factors combined to
produce a motley company, "with debtors and criminals abounding."
- Before a vast assembly in 1097 Pope Urban II
said: "If you must have blood, bathe your hands In the blood of
infidels. ...soldiers of hell become soldiers of the living God."
Whereupon the multitude shouted: "It Is the will of God." Bernard],
the holiest man of his century, cried out: "...Cursed be he who does
not stain his sword with blood." In 1188 the Pope ordered prayers
against the Saracens to be said daily.
- The ferocity with which the Christian armies fought and the
ruthlessness with which they slaughtered their foes have rarely, if
ever, been surpassed in the history of warfare. The capture of Jerusalem at the conclusion of the First Crusade
was accompanied by deeds of the wildest savagery on the part of the
Christian soldiers. "Neither age nor sex were spared. Children's brains
were dashed out against the stones, or their living bodies were whirled
in demoniacal sport from the walls. Women were outraged." In a letter to
the Pope, Godfrey said that in Solomon's Porch and in the Temple the Crusaders rode in Saracen blood up to the knees of their horses." ...An eyewitness wrote that "not even a sucking child, male or female, escaped from the hands of the slayers."
- At the siege of Nicaea
the Crusaders cut off the heads of a thousand prisoners and hurled them
from catapults over the walls of the city. In describing the capture of
that fortress, Anselme of Bibemont wrote to the Archbishop of Rheims:
"Our men, returning in victory and bearing many heads fixed upon pikes*
furnished a joyful spectacle for the people of God." Bohemond
commanded that Syrian spies should be spitted and roasted. The
Christians once sent four camel-loads of human heads to the Egyptian
ambassador. The Pope's legate at the siege of Antioch, Bishop Puy, advised the Crusaders to cut off the heads of the Saracens, stick them on lances, and expose them to the enemy on the ramparts.
And when the victory was won the warriors of the cross "contemplated
with joy fifteen hundred heads separated from their trunks, which were
paraded in triumph through the army." The Crusaders were known to have
burned the dead bodies of their foes in order to secure the coins which
they believed had been swallowed. Before the walls of Antioch the
famished Christians devoured the putrid flesh of the Turks they had
- The Catholic church in the early years of the Thirteenth Century also engaged in a mighty crusade against the Albigenses, a heretical sect... Christian was now pitted against Christian. The Dominicans were intrusted with the responsibility of preaching the Crusade and arousing the enthusiasm of the faithful. The Third Lateran Council proclaimed indulgences
for those who enlisted in the holy war. Eternal life was promised to
those who perished, and two years' remission of penance to all who
- The city of Beziers was taken by storm, the scene that followed
being described by the Papal legate in these words: "Our men, sparing
neither rank nor sex nor age, slew about twenty thousand souls with the
edge of the sword; and, making a huge slaughter, pillaged and burned the
whole city, by reason of God's wrath wondrously kindled against it. More than five hundred castles and towns were captured and the whole countryside "reduced to the appearance of a desert."
- During the Albigensian crusade, severe measures were also taken against the Waldenses,
another heretical sect. ...In Mayence and Bingen fifty were burned at
the stake. For the next three centuries they were subjected to
intermittent persecution, the period of the greatest suffering coming
about the middle of the Seventeenth Century, when nine thousand were
killed in battle and twelve thousand carried off as prisoners.
- At the sack of Munster the army of a Catholic bishop mercilessly slaughtered Anabaptists.
Men and women were thrown from windows and caught on spears below.
Three of the heretical leaders were exhibited in an iron cage, tortured
with hot pinchers, their tongues torn out; and finally they were stabbed
to death. The cage containing their dead bodies was then hoisted high
on the tower of the Church of St. Lamberti, where the remains "hung
undisturbed except by wind and storm, for three centuries and a half."
- In 1524 Thomas Munzer, pastor of the church in Zwickau
and leader of an extreme wing of the Protestants, took up arms on
behalf of the German peasants. ...Unfortunately for Thomas, the enemy
was too strong, with the result that he was beheaded and one hundred
thousand peasants were slaughtered before the war was ended.
- During the century following the birth of the Reformation In
France, nine successive wars, covering a period of sixty years, were
waged between the Christians of that country. ...On the eve of St. Bartholomew's Day, 1582, Admiral Coligny, leader of the Huguenots,
was assassinated by Catholic officials of state and the systematic
annihilation of Protestants begun. Before noon of the next day two
thousand victims were slaughtered in Paris alone. News of the massacre
was celebrated by Catholics in Rome with hymns of praise and rejoicing.
...The number of persons slain has been variously estimated from ten
thousand to twenty thousand. During the siege of Paris in 1590 by Henry IV
the suffering of the inhabitants became so acute that they ate dogs,
cats, and rats. The bones of animals and even dead persons were ground
up and used as flour. Thirteen thousand people died of starvation and
twenty thousand succumbed to fever.
- The most sanguinary fighting of all religious wars took place in the Netherlands. Philip II of Spain
boasted that he would bring the Protestants of the Low Countries back
to the fold of Rome or "so to waste their land that neither the natives
could live there nor should any thereafter desire the place for
habitation." Every fiendish device imaginable was resorted to.
Because he trampled upon the sacred wafer, Le Bias, a velvet
manufacturer of Toumay, was tortured to death by having his right hand
and foot twisted off between red-hot irons, his tongue was torn out by
the roots, and he was then swung to and fro over a slow fire until he
was roasted. The inquisitor Titelmann convicted John de Swarte, his wife
and four children of "reading the Bible, and of praying in their own
doors, and had them all immediately burned." After the Inquisition
had taken its horrible toll of many thousands, one authority placing the
figure as high as fifty thousand, the Protestants revolted and were
guilty of many excesses. Philip replied by sending an army of Spanish
veterans under the leadership of the infamous Duke of Alva... Within six years this monster executed from six thousand to eighteen thousand heretics and rebels.
"Columns and stakes in every street, the door-posts of private houses,
the fences in the fields were laden with human carcasses, strangled,
burned, beheaded. The orchards in the country bore on many a tree the
hideous fruit of human bodies."
- When Zutphen was captured, Alva sent orders to his son to kill every
man in the city. Some were stabbed, some were hanged, some were
drowned, and many stripped of their clothes and driven out to freeze in
the snow. Similar punishment was meted out to the Inhabitants of many
- In the end, however, the Protestant forces under the leadership of William the Silent
were victorious and threw off the Spanish yoke. In the course of the
long years of fighting they also were guilty of many atrocities.
- In numerous ways the churches have helped to mitigate the horrors of war and to restrict its scope.
But in practically every instance where a Christian power was involved,
a large majority of the clergymen and laymen of that country have given
their endorsement and support to the war being waged by their
government. ...From the tragic hour when the Emperor Constantine
captured Christianity there has not been a day when the church was free
from responsibility for the perpetuation of the war system. Most
ecclesiastics since the Fourth Century have approved of war as a method
of seeking security and justice.
- There are, of course, notable historical exceptions, including Wyclif and John Huss and George Fox,
but as a general rule the keenest intellects and the noblest spirits of
the church have rejected the philosophy and practices of pacifism.
- Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin, chief among the formative minds of Christendom, although separated by the centuries and antagonistic in many of their views, are united in their belief that war is legitimate when used in a righteous cause.
- For centuries the Catholic church has maintained the position that
as a last resort a nation is justified in going to war if menaced by
foreign aggression, if its rights are violated by an alien power, if
future security demands the punishment of the aggressor, or if necessary
to stop the oppression of innocent peoples. This is substantially the
attitude of the major Protestant bodies as well.
- By a strange inconsistency, Luther justified all wars of self-defense except those waged by subjects against tyrannical rulers.
He unconditionally condemned rebellion and revolution. In referring to
the peasants' revolt... To the soldiers who took the field against the
peasants, he said: "If you die in battle against them, you could never
have a more blessed end, for you die obedient to God's Word in Romans
13, and in the service of love to free your neighbor from the bands of
hell and the devil."
- In later years Luther showed no regret for his attitude toward this rebellion. Indeed, he went
so far as to say: "Preachers are the biggest murderers about, for they
admonish the authorities to fulfill their duty and punish the wicked. I,
Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the rebellion, for I said they
should be slain; all their blood is on my head. But I cast it on our
Lord God, who commanded me to speak in this way."
- One of the charges against the Anabaptists was that they condemned war as unchristian.
- All the wars waged by the United States have received the sanction and support of the churches. ...practically all were agreed as to the righteousness of war in a just cause.
- In 1882 an English translation of Dr. H. Martensen's
two-volume work on Christian Ethics was published. Nowhere else do we
find a more outspoken defense of war... The author was Bishop of
Seeland... he says about war: "It is, however, a necessary evil, and one
based upon a divine ordinance. . . . The combatant should know that he
is subserving a divine ordinance. It is not his business to investigate
whether the war in which he is fighting is a just or an unjust one. The
responsibility lies upon those who have resolved upon war. His concern
is to show fidelity and bravery... It is, however, a delusion to suppose
that war can ever be abolished, for then we must know also how to
banish sin and injustice from the world."
- After a serious study of this whole problem, the historian Westermarck records the opinion that "it
would be impossible to find a single instance of a war waged by a
Protestant country, from any motive, to which the bulk of its clergy
have not given their sanction and support. The opposition against war
has generally come from other quarters... War is in our days, as it
was in those of Erasmus, so much sanctioned by authority and custom,
that it is deemed impious to bear testimony against it."
- Another historian who examined the record carefully said: "In looking back... we are driven to the melancholy conclusion that not only has ecclesiastical influence had no appreciable effect in diminishing the number of wars, but that it has actually and very seriously increased it.
We may look in vain for any period since Constantine, in which the
clergy, as a body, exerted themselves to repress the military spirit, or
to prevent or abridge a particular war... With the exception of
Mohammedanism, no other religion has done so much to produce war as was
done by the religious teachers of Christendom during several centuries."
- Not only have leaders of the churches sanctioned the various wars
waged by Christian countries during the past sixteen hundred years,
ecclesiastics have often been in the front of the fighting. We have seen how priests and bishops and popes led the Crusades and the various wars of religion. John X was the first of the warrior popes to lead his troops in battle. When Charlemagne was crowned by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day, 800... Lavisee says [in General View of the Political History of Europe, p.24] that "Christianity seemed like a society of soldiers and priests governed by a soldier and a priest." During the age of feudalism, inmates of monasteries frequently participated in private wars. "There was always a general feeling," says Henry Osborn Taylor, "often embodied in law or custom, that
a Church dignitary should fight by another's sword or spear. But this
did not prevent bishop and abbott in countless instances in France,
England, Germany and Spain, from riding mail-clad under their seignorial
banner at the head of their forces."
- The addresses of Oliver Cromwell
to his armies and to Parliament, for example, abound in references to
God and His protecting care. ...this religious zealot who, following the
massacre of Drogheda,
wrote to the President of the Council of State: "It hath pleased God to
bless our endeavors at Tredah (Drogheda). ... I believe we put to the
sword the whole number of the defendants. I do not think thirty of the
whole number escaped with their lives. This hath been a marvellous great
mercy. ... I wish that all honest hearts may give the glory of this to
- Stonewall Jackson
and his staff were accustomed to evening devotions. So strictly did the
latter observe the Sabbath in peace time that he would not even mail a
letter on Sunday. And yet... in response to an inquiry as to how he
proposed to deal with an overwhelming enemy force, he said: "Kill them,
sir! Kill every man."
- Theodore Roosevelt
was at the same time a valiant soldier and a devout Christian. The
latter years of his life were devoted to the cause of military
preparedness. He saw no contradiction between religion and war. Indeed,
he ransacked the dictionary for words of vituperation with which to
berate pacifists who were opposed to armed preparedness and war, His
volume, Fear God and Take Your Own Part, is one of the ablest appeals on behalf of a larger army and navy that has ever been written.
- But why continue? Whole libraries could be filled with volumes by
and about Christian warriors. At no time during the past sixteen
hundred years has the total number of Christians who refused to sanction
or participate in war constituted more than an infinitesimal fraction
of the entire church membership in the respective nations.
- By the Fifth Century Christianity had become an intricate system of beliefs. Orthodoxy was determined by credal standards far more than by ethical conduct or religious experience. Opinion about Jesus transcended in importance the following of his example. Theology supplanted ethics and religion.
- In 431 the Third General Council of the church was assembled at Ephesus by the emperor Theodosius II in an effort to settle the bitter controversy between Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria, and Nestorius. The latter protested against the current practice of designating the Virgin Mary as "Mother of God." The
character of Cyril, who was later canonized by the church, is indicated
by the fact that he had acquiesced in the brutal murder of the learned
and beautiful Hypatia,
who was dragged from her carriage by monks, stripped of her clothes,
her flesh scraped from bones with oyster shells, and her mangled body
thrown into a fire.
- Eighteen years later another council met at Ephesus, later designated "Robber Council" by Leo I, and was characterized by shameful conduct on the part of the Christian officials present. If any person dared uphold "two natures," he was met with cries: "Nestorian! Tear him asunder. Burn him alive. As he divides, so let him be divided." The Patriarch of Constantinople, Flavian, was so viciously kicked and mauled by the Patriarch of Alexandria, Dioscuras, and other clerical opponents that he died a few days later.
- Following the Council of Chalcedon in 451, a prolonged struggle with the Monophysite heresy rent the church. Concerning this controversy, Professor W. F. Adeney says, "Here
was a fine point of theology, so difficult to determine that only an
expert could state it correctly, and yet it divided cities into furious
factions with howling mobs and fatal riots." The orthodox Patriarch of
Alexandria, Proterius, was murdered in his own baptistry by followers of his rival Timothy.
His body was dragged through the streets and then hacked to pieces, the
remains being burned. Some years later in Constantinople the orthodox
party retaliated by carrying about the head of a Monophysite monk on a
pole, crying, "See the head of an enemy of the Trinity."
- "A literature arose," says
Lecky, "surpassing in its
mendacious ferocity any other the world has ever known. The polemical writers habitually painted as daemons those who diverged from the orthodox belief, gloated with a vindictive piety over the
sufferings of the heretic upon earth, as upon a Divine punishment, and
sometimes, with an almost superhuman malice... exulted in no ambiguous terms on the tortures which they believed to be reserved for him forever."
- A history of the patriarchs of Constantinople reveals many casualties.
A total of 95 have reigned for less than one year. Of the 328 occupants
of the office up to 1884 only 137 closed their term by natural death;
41 resigned, three were poisoned, two murdered, one beheaded, one
blinded, one drowned, one hanged, one strangled.
- Throughout this period there were undoubtedly many pious and devoted Christians who incarnated the virtues of their Lord. It would be easy to exaggerate and distort the vices of the church. Nevertheless, the evidence is overwhelming that the kind of Christianity exhibited in the writings and conduct of many theologians and ecclesiastics from the Fourth Century onward is utterly different from the religion of Jesus himself. They appropriated the title and rejected the content of his message.
- For several centuries the Christian church systematically used
torture in dealing with heretics. This was true of Protestants and
Catholics alike. ...Both were guilty of unspeakable barbarities.
- All over Europe down to the end of the Eighteenth Century criminals were accorded utterly barbarous treatment. Human ingenuity exhausted itself in perfecting instruments of torture, every conceivable device for inflicting pain being used. In some sections women were burned or buried alive for simple felonies, while men were boiled to death for counterfeiting. Hanging, drawing and quartering were common penalties. Late In the Seventeenth Century blasphemers
were beheaded. Jews were sometimes hung by the feet between two savage
dogs. Down to the early decades of the Nineteenth Century there were
more than one hundred capital offenses In England. Some years ago the Earl of Shrewsbury
opened for public exhibition his famous collection of instruments of
torture, every specimen of which had a gruesome history. The catalogue
of this exhibition describes six hundred and fifty instruments. Just to
read the list Is sufficient to send cold shivers up and down one's
spine: spiked collars, flesh pinchers, thumbscrews, branding Irons, iron
whips, tongue-tearers, torture stocks, iron spiders for disembowelling,
pear-shaped gags, choking ropes, mouth openers, torture ladder, wheels
for breaking joints, stretching gallows, torture chairs, and the famous iron maiden whose embrace gouged out the victim's eyes and impaled his body upon numerous sharp prongs. The age was characterized by extreme callousness and cruelty. Human life was cheap.
- The Inquisition was founded as an instrument of mercy and as a rule was administered by men of the purest intent and most ardent zeal. Christians who believe in capital punishment should not find it difficult to understand the motives of the Inquisitors. In that day heresy
was regarded as a greater crime than treason. All the arguments in
favor of hanging a murderer or a traitor seemed equally valid when
applied to the burning of heretics. The belief was universal
throughout Christendom that only orthodox members of the church could be
saved. Jews, Mohammedans, heathen people in general, the unbaptized and
from the true faith, were all consigned to the flames of hell. No worse
fate could possibly befall a man than to die outside the church. And no
one could remain in the church unless he accepted the beliefs and
practices of that institution. ...Any method seemed justifiable if its use would save a precious soul from hell fire. When persuasion failed coercion seemed necessary; when mild means were unavailing violence was deemed essential. Moreover, the heretic not only endangered his own soul, he was a menace to the temporal and spiritual welfare of others. It was regarded less reprehensible to kill a man's body than to destroy his soul by enticing him into unbelief. And so for the good of the individual and the protection of society, the Inquisition was founded.
- The Dominicans and Franciscans were especially favored as Inquisitors. ...So saintly were some of these men that they were later canonized by the church. They were no more condemned by their contemporaries than soldiers are when they kill in battle. Indeed, the populace often spurred them on to greater zeal.
- In 1895 Carl Mirbt, a prelate of the Papal household, eulogized the Inquisition in these words: "O blessed flame of those pyres
by which a very few crafty and insignificant persons were taken away
that hundreds of hundreds of phalanxes of souls should be saved from the
jaws of error and eternal damnation! O noble and venerable memory of Torquemada!
- For centuries a reign of terror prevailed. The faithful were obliged to inform the authorities of any suspected heretic.
Mothers were required to be informants against heretical sons; wives
were bound to disclose the apostasy of their husbands. Toleration of
heresy was regarded as the worst of all sins. Pity and compassion for
the disbelievers were looked upon as sinful. Indeed, the faithful were
taught to rejoice in the anguish of the victim. ...The accused was not assumed innocent until proved guilty; quite the reverse, he must prove his innocence. Witnesses for the defense were rare. Few dared to risk their lives by appearing on behalf of an accused person. The sources of the charges against the accused were usually kept secret. Trickery and deceit were frequently practiced by the ecclesiastical court. Torture was a normal procedure.
Every horrible device that the human mind could devise was made use of.
A modern Catholic writer says: "In general it would seem that the
Inquisition employed the same methods of torture as the secular courts." If all other means failed, the victim was disposed of by slow starvation or burning at the stake. Use of the fagot was justified on the ground that it is better to burn here than hereafter!
- The statement is frequently made that the inquisitorial
court or the church never condemned a heretic to death, the guilty
person simply being turned over to the secular arm for punishment. ...this is
...sheer hypocrisy. The church uttered dire threats against any ruler
who refused to execute the prisoner handed over for punishment.
- Imprisonment in foul dungeons was perhaps the most common way of
exterminating heretics. Suspected persons were sometimes detained for
years before they were brought to trial. Dr. H. C. Lea has recorded numerous illustrations of this practice.
In one case thirty years elapsed before the victim was given a formal
hearing. In another instance where a woman made a confession of heresy,
she was not formally sentenced until three decades later. When It is
recalled that the prisons of the Middle Ages were horribly unsanitary
and that inmates were ordinarily fed almost solely upon bread and water,
one gets at least a faint conception of the frightful toll of human
life taken by the Inquisition.
- In Spain alone from two thousand to eight thousand men and women perished in the flames of the Inquisition.
- Concerning the persecution of heretics in France, Principal Fairbairn of Mansfield College, Oxford, says, "The Roman amphitheater was, compared with the Place Maubert, a home of mild humanity; the gay and careless intolerance of Francis I had nothing to learn from pagan hate..."
- One of the strangest anomalies of history is found in the fact that victims of oppression often became persecutors themselves at the first opportunity.
Again and again this has happened. The Jews sought to stamp out early
Christianity and in turn they have been harassed and hounded all over
Christendom for many generations. In less than five decades after the
worst period of persecution of Christians by the Romans the former
became relentless in their antagonism to pagans. In later centuries the
reformers were doomed if they fell into the hands of Catholic
ecclesiastics; but they, too, often became persecutors the moment they
had power of life and death over their opponents.
- Freedom was the watchword of Martin Luther
in his early days. His theology rested upon the foundation of the right
of private judgment, and he boldly proclaimed the "universal priesthood
of all Christians." ...His own conduct, however, often departed widely
from his abstract teaching. ...In practice he was often bitterly
intolerant of his opponents. ...He favored banishment for Catholics who remained steadfast to their faith, and in 1530 signed a memorandum drafted by Melanchthon
which justified the setting up of a regular system of coercion and the
use of the death penalty for the most dangerous heretics or blasphemers.
Concerning this point a Protestant theologian [Walther Kohler] says:
"The death-penalty for heresy rested on the highest Lutheran authority."
- John Calvin
likewise was guilty of intemperate language and cruel practices. ...The
use of torture in extreme cases was justified by the Geneva reformer. When Francois Daniel was being tried Calvin wrote to Farel: "We shall see in a couple of days, I hope, what the torture will wring from him."
- Calvin hounded Servetus to his death.
As a result of his ferocious prosecution the Spaniard was found guilty
of heresy on three primary charges: denying the Trinity, declaring that
infant baptism was an invention of the devil, and attacking the
doctrines of the church of Geneva. During the trial Calvin called
Servetus a "villainous cur" because he denied that Palestine was a land
flowing with milk and honey. No charge was too petty to be overlooked.
...the Geneva Council sentenced Servetus to the stake. On October 27, 1553, the torch was lighted... There is plenty of evidence that Calvin
did not ask for nor desire death by burning. On the other hand, he
certainly was responsible for the arrest and merciless persecution of
Servetus and for the death sentence. Moreover, one of his biographers tells us that he "never regretted the part he played in the case." Indeed, he wrote a passionate defense of the execution. "In this book," says Mr. [Hugh Y.] Reyburn, "there is not an argument which might not have been used by Torquemada or any other Inquisitor."
- Most of the leading reformers applauded the execution of Servetus. Melanchthon... wrote: "I thank the Son of God... It is a pious and memorable example to all posterity."
- Luther went so far as to rejoice over the death of Zwingli:
"God knows the thoughts of the heart. It is well that Zwingli,
Carlstadt, and Pellicanus lie dead on the battle field... Oh, what a
triumph is this, that they have perished! God indeed knows His business
- The Roman Catholics list two hundred and fifty-three martyrs in
England from 1535 to 1681. Burning at the stake, hanging, and quartering
were used by Henry VIII in disposing of clergymen who denied his supremacy over the church. Dorothy Trask died in 1645 after having spent fifteen years in prison for the crime of regarding Saturday as the Sabbath. Baptists, Quakers, Unitarians, and other dissenters were punished ruthlessly.
...a law was enacted which provided a penalty of death by burning for
the offense of denying that the sacraments of the Communion are "the
very flesh of Christ" and "the very blood of Christ."
- Queen Elizabeth assented to an article which declared that "a Christian government may lawfully punish heretics with death." During her reign several dissenting clergymen were burned at the stake.
The sentence pronounced upon persons found guilty of aiding or
harboring a priest included these words: "You are to be severally hanged
by the neck; that you severally be cut down alive... that your bowels
be taken out and burned in your view; that your heads be severed from
your bodies; that your bodies be divided into four quarters... and the
God of infinite mercy have mercy upon your souls."
- In England after 1612 it was found more expedient, writes Thomas Fuller, that heretics "should silently and privately waste away in prisons, rather than to grace them and amuse others with the solemnity of a public execution." In Scotland, however, Thomas Aikenhead, a boy of eighteen, was executed for blasphemy as late as 1697.
- It would be natural to suppose that the Puritans,
who fled to America in order that they might worship God freely, were
ardent believers in religious toleration. Such was far from the case...
Heretics were placed in the stocks, lodged in jail, whipped behind
ox-carts, maimed, banished, or executed.
- Roger Williams was banished from Salem in 1636 for advocating separation of church and state and other "crimes." ...The famous preacher, John Cotton,
affirmed that "denying infants' baptism would overthrow all; and this
was a capital offense; and therefore they were soul murderers." ...A
Massachusetts Act of 1646 provided a penalty of banishment for all who
denied the immortality of the soul or the need of repentance. Penalties
for "denying the true God" included whipping and boring the tongue with a
hot iron. Roman Catholics were not allowed to live in the colony, and
Jesuits were threatened with death if they returned after banishment.
The penalty for blasphemy in Rhode Island was death.
- The Puritans of New England were especially hostile to Quakers.
...In 1659 a list of sufferings presented by the Quakers to the King
are the following: two honest and innocent women stripped stark naked
and searched in an inhuman manner; one laid neck and heels in irons for
sixteen hours; one branded with the letter H; three had their right ears
chopped off; two ordered sold as bondslaves. William Robinson and
Marmaduke Stephenson were hanged in Boston. The next year Mary Dyer and
William Leddra met the same fate.
- The early settlers in Virginia and the Carolinas were likewise intolerant. Governor Dale, whose term of office began in 1611, drew up a code of laws
which provided the death penalty for all who spoke impiously of the
Trinity and for the third offense of Sabbath breaking. Failure to attend
religious services was punished on the second occasion by whipping and
on the third by labor in the galleys for six months. There is no
evidence, however, that the heaviest penalties were ever executed. In
1642 Roman Catholics were disfranchised and priests were expelled.
Nonconformist ministers were banished. ...If Quakers returned after a
third banishment they were to be treated as felons. Notwithstanding the
fact that many ministers of the established church were "profane
swearers, brawlers, drunkards, gamblers, and licentious," no other
clergymen were allowed in the colony.
- Judging by centuries of zeal in slaughtering Jews, one might
conclude that Christians had never so much as heard of the brotherhood
of man or the law of love.   The period of persecution begins with the accession of Christians to power and ends with a day which has not yet dawned.
- Almost everywhere in Christendom Jews have been regarded as the scum of the earth and treated with contempt and brutality.
Segregation in the foulest portion of the city was for long periods a
regular procedure. Times without number banishment has been decreed. Mob
violence has occurred with sickening frequency. Systematic annihilation
has many times been planned and often executed. Not until 1791 were Jews placed on a footing of equality before the law in any European country.
- Jews were the first victims of the Crusades. In Worms almost
all of the eight hundred Jewish residents were butchered; in Mayence the
number rose to a thousand. Many Jews sought the more merciful death of
suicide; mothers killed their own children rather than permit them to
fall into the hands of Christians. In 1207 Pope Innocent III
ordered a crusade against Jews and Albigenses. In his message to the
kings and princes the Pope wrote: "The Jews are doomed to everlasting
slavery for the crucifixion of Christ by their ancestors... It is the
duty of Christian rulers, so far from protecting them, to treat them as
slaves and keep them apart from their Christian subjects, as is right
for an inferior caste, devoid of human rights and scarcely to be
- A common custom arose of compelling Jews to wear a special badge a
mark of shame when they appeared on the street. During the Twelfth,
Thirteenth, and Fourteenth centuries banishment was the order of the
day. Stephen Langton,
Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1222 decreed that "Christians shall not
hold communication with the Jews, or sell them food under pain of
excommunication." In 1320 all Jews were banished from England "forever,"
in 1394 from France for the third time, in 1492 from Spain.
- In the Fourteenth Century in the city of Deckendorf the tolling of the church bell was used as a signal for a massed attack on the Jews of that community. During the scourge of the Black Death the Jews were accused of having caused the pestilence and were slaughtered wholesale. All over Europe men, women, and children were consigned to the flames.
In Prague they were given the alternative of being baptized or being
burned. Those that refused to accept Christianity were butchered, their
corpses stripped naked and then burned. In 1391 four thousand Jews of
Seville were murdered or sold as slaves to Arab merchants.
- For the two and a quarter centuries following the rise of the Cossacks against their Polish overlords in 1648, the Jews of Eastern Europe never knew a decade of security. In the Seventeenth Century hundreds of thousands of Jews were slain.
- From 1881 to 1906 repeated massacres occurred throughout Russia....
In the course of a single week in October, 1905, there were fifty
pogroms or massacres in that many communities. In Odessa more than three
hundred Jews were slaughtered and the possessions of forty thousand
Jews looted or destroyed. In no country in the world was the
Christian church more dominant during the last decades of the Nineteenth
Century than in Russia. The Czar was head of the church and received ecclesiastical support in all his acts of despotism and barbarism.
- From the prayer of forgiveness on the Cross to the fiendish persecution of Jews is a far cry!
- Throughout a period of fifteen hundred years... fifty
generations... belief in witchcraft flourished in all parts of
Christendom. ...It was generally believed that witches had entered
into a compact with Satan and had been endowed with power to work
diabolical miracles. Hail, thunder, plagues, and pestilences were
supposed to be the work of evil spirits masquerading in human form.
Ecclesiastical dignitaries with extraordinary unanimity denounced
witchcraft; legislative authorities enacted laws against it;
executioners sought to abolish it by shedding the blood of innumerable
- The Catholic church exerted its full strength in the effort to stamp out the hideous crime of witchcraft. Through every available channel it was taught
that to spare a witch was a direct insult to God and gross disobedience
of His commands. Bulls against witchcraft were promulgated by Innocent VIII, Julius II, and Adrian VI. In speaking of the bull against witches issued by Innocent VIII in 1484, President Andrew D. White said: "Of all documents ever issued from Rome, imperial or papal, this has doubtless, first and last, cost the greatest shedding of innocent blood. Yet no document was ever more clearly dictated by conscience. Inspired by the scriptural command 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,' Pope Innocent exhorted the clergy of Germany to leave no means untried to detect sorcerers."
- Gerson, chancellor of the University of Paris, and one of the master-minds of his age, advocated the persecution of witches. Luther exclaimed: "I would have no compassion on these witches. I would burn them all." Twelve bishops sat upon the Commission which was responsible for an English law against witchcraft. John Wesley declared that "giving up witchcraft is in effect giving up the Bible." As late as 1773 "the divines of the Associated Presbytery" of Scotland passed a resolution asserting their belief in witchcraft and deploring the prevailing skepticism concerning it.
- Torture was regularly used in the trial of witches. Every
fiendish device imaginable was used to extract confessions of guilt from
suspected persons. Piercing with pins and needles was almost invariably
practiced. An iron bridle or hoop bound across the face of the
suspected person, with two prongs thrust into the mouth, and fastened to
the wall in such a way as to prevent the victim from lying down, was
frequently used. The accused person was sometimes kept awake for five or
six days and even for nine days in one case. The thumbscrew, breaking
leg bones, tearing off the skin from the body and other horible tortures
were resorted to. Sometimes the victims were strangled before burning;
often they were burned alive.
- The number of executions for witchcraft was staggeringly large. In Germany seven thousand victims were burned, six hundred of them by the Bishop of Bamberg.
In France severe decrees were passed by the Parliaments of Paris,
Toulouse, Bordeaux, Rheims, Rouen, Dijon, and Rennes. At Toulouse four
hundred persons were executed on a single occasion. Judge Remy of Nancy
boasted that he had slain eight hundred witches in sixteen years. Remigius,
criminal judge in Lorraine, recorded on the title page of a manual
against witchcraft the fact that within fifteen years he had condemned
nine hundred persons to death for this crime.
An "almost infinite" number of executions occurred in Paris. In Italy
there were a thousand victims in one year in the province of Como alone.
Under the reign of a bishop in Geneva five hundred alleged witches were
killed within three months. In Spain the notorious Torquemada was as energetic against witches as in the stamping out of heresy.
- Cotton Mather, the leader of the attack upon witches in New England, was an extraordinarily gifted man. ...He published more than four hundred works." His books, Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions, and Wonders of the Invisible World, were recommended
by the governor of the province, the president of Harvard College, and
eminent clergymen in Europe as well as in New England.
- It is difficult to believe that Jesus would have forcibly imposed
his opinions on other people or that he would have suppressed ideas
which differed from his own beliefs. His method was to permit the wheat and tares to grow together until the harvest. He taught that the goal of freedom is to be attained by the pursuit of truth. And yet the history of Christianity since it acquired power is one long story of suppression and persecution.
- Most of the advances in science down to the end of the Nineteenth
Century were made in spite of the opposition of powerful Sections of
the Christian church. In two large volumes on A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, Dr. Andrew D. White has cited a mass of evidence which shows that all
too frequently Christian theologians have prevented the free pursuit of
knowledge and have bitterly persecuted those who strayed from the
- For many centuries the church not only sought to control the theological beliefs of its members, it also attempted to dominate their thinking on all subjects, including the whole realm of science. Utterances of church councils and ecclesiastical dignitaries were supposed to be infallible authority
concerning questions of geology, geography, astronomy, physics,
chemistry, medicine, anthropology, ethnology, philology, political
economy, history, and ethics. Failure to conform to orthodox ideas was heavily penalized, often with torture and sometimes with death.
- In 1560 an Academy for the Study of Nature was founded at Naples, but it was quickly suppressed by ecclesiastical leaders.
- As late as the middle of the Eighteenth Century the faculty of the Sorbonne [theological college] compelled Buffon to make a most humiliating recantation of certain simple geological truths,
including these words: "I abandon everything in my book respecting the
formation of the earth, and generally all which may be contrary to the
narrative of Moses."
- The publication of Darwin's Origin of Species created a storm throughout Christendom which has not yet entirely subsided.
"If the Darwinian theory is true," cried one theologian, "Genesis is a
lie, the whole framework of the book of life falls to pieces, and the
revelation of God to man, as we Christians know it, is a delusion and a
snare." Cardinal Manning
described the new theory as "a brutal philosophy, to wit, there is no
God, and the ape is our Adam." A Catholic authority denounced Darwin's
ideas in the scathing words: "Their father is pride, their mother
impurity, their offspring revolutions. They come from hell and return
thither, taking with them the gross creatures who blush not to proclaim
and accept them." Even Pope Pius IX launched an attack upon Darwin.
- For nearly a thousand years it was regarded as heresy to maintain the doctrine of the antipodes. St. Augustine strenuously opposed the idea that men could exist on the opposite side of the earth. When Bishop Virgil, in the Eighth Century, asserted his belief in this doctrine he was promptly attacked by Pope Zachary... Several centuries later men were burned alive for upholding this heretical theory. Not only was Cecco d'Ascoli burned alive [in 1327] at Florence for holding this dangerous idea, along with other proscribed views, he was represented by Orcagna in a fresco on the walls of the Campo Santo at Pisa as being consumed by the flames of hell.
- All branches of the Christian church—Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Calvinists—united in opposing the Copernican theory. Calvin asked: "Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?" John Wesley declared that the new theory "tends toward infidelity." For refusing to abandon this and other heresies Giordano Bruno was hounded from country to country, imprisoned for six years in the dungeons Inquisition, and then burned alive.
- When the crude telescope of Galileo revealed the moons of Jupiter
and the mountains and valleys of the moon, all the power of entrenched
authority was hurled against the new theory. Father Caccini insisted that "geometry is of the devil," and that " mathematicians should be banished as the authors of all heresies." Cardinal Bellarmin
maintained that "his pretended discovery vitiated the whole Christian
plan of salvation." Father Lecazre declared "it casts suspicion on the
doctrine of the incarnation." Father Melchior Inchofer, of the Jesuits,
used strong language in attacking Galileo: "The opinion of the earth's
motion is of all heresies the most abominable, the most pernicious, the
most scandalous; the immovability of the earth is thrice sacred;
arguments against the immortality of the soul, the existence of God, and
the incarnation, should be tolerated sooner than an argument to prove
that the earth moves." Pope Paul V
decreed that "the doctrine of the double motion of the earth about its
axis and about the sun is false, and entirely contrary to Holy
- The works of Copernicus and Galileo were included in the Index of prohibited books as late as 1819.
- For ten long centuries the church vigorously opposed surgery and put obstructions in the pathway of medical science. (Footnote: On the other hand must be placed the story of the ecclesiastical hospitals and medical schools.)
Dissection was prohibited for the twofold reason that mutilation of the
body might prevent the resurrection of the dead and that "the church
abhors the shedding of blood." Many councils and decrees forbade surgery
to monks. ...In 1243 the Dominican order
forbade the bringing of medical treatises into their monasteries. For
many centuries the church substituted magic for medicine. ...The liver
of toads, the blood of frogs and rats and the fibers of the hangman's
rope were supposed to be especially efficacious.
- Inoculation against smallpox and other diseases was strongly opposed by ecclesiastical leaders. ...Rev. Edward Massey,
published a sermon in 1772 entitled, "The Dangerous and Sinful Practice
of Inoculation." The new practice was denounced by many ministers as
"flying in the face of Providence," 5 or "endeavouring to baffle a
Divine judgment," or "an encroachment on the prerogatives of Jehovah,
whose right it is to wound and smite." Jenner's
discovery of vaccination was met with a storm of clerical abuse.
Certain clergymen of Boston condemned vaccination as "bidding defiance
to Heaven itself, even to the will of God." Certain Catholic officials
exhorted the faithful to take up arms rather than submit to vaccination.
- The use of anesthetics in obstetrical cases was denounced by Scotch clergymen as an effort "to avoid one part of the primeval curse on women."
- The record is clear and convincing: as persecutors Christians have had no superiors.
Theological opponent, heretics, Jews, infidels, witches, and men of
science have been hounded to death with relentless zeal. There is an
appalling amount of evidence to substantiate the opinion of Buckle that as compared with religious persecution "all other crimes are of small account," and that even secular wars have proved to be less calamitous to mankind than the destruction wrought by religious fanatics.
- Asceticism has been widely practiced in all ages.  It was represented in the Jewish world by the Essenes. Jesus was probably familiar with this sect but refused to identify himself with it. At an early date, however, asceticism made its way into Christianity.
- There are three stages in the history of monasticism: the hermit life or anchoretism; cloister life; monastic orders.
The first of these produced the most meager social results and
exhibited the worst excesses. In revolting against the sins of the world
and the secularization of the church, thousands of Christians from the
Fourth Century onward swarmed to the deserts and there subjected
themselves to the most rigorous privations. Absolute poverty, absolute
celibacy, severe bodily penances, and silent communion with God were the
chief characteristics of the anchorites.
- Cleanliness was abhorred by most ascetics, and usually they became a hideous mass of clotted filth.
- The significance of this aspect of asceticism has been described in vivid language by Lecky:
"There is, perhaps, no phase in the moral history of mankind of a
deeper or more painful interest than this ascetic epidemic. A hideous,
sordid, and emaciated maniac, without knowledge, without patriotism,
without natural affection, passing his life in a long routine of useless
and atrocious self-torture, and quailing before the ghastly phantoms of
his delirious brain, had become the ideal of the nations which had
known the writings of Plato and Cicero and the lives of Socrates and Cato."
- One of the most important phases of asceticism was its exaltation
of celibacy and its depreciation of marriage and sexual relations.  ...Gradually
the church adopted an attitude on this question which departed widely
from, if it did not absolutely contradict, the New Testament position.
The primitive Christians held marriage in the highest possible esteem
and gave an unrivaled exhibition of family loyalty.
- Not until the end of the Fourth Century was there any general
legislation against the continuation of marriage relations even by the
higher clergy. The effort at the Council of Nicaea
to make celibacy obligatory was defeated. By the beginning of the
Fourth Century the marriage of higher ecclesiastics after ordination was
prohibited. In 385 Pope Siricius issued a decretal
commanding all higher clergy to cease conjugal relations. In the
centuries which followed bishop after bishop and council after council
exhorted and commanded priests and monks to refrain from marriage and
all sexual relations, until the Council of Trent in 1563 "completed the theory of sacerdotal celibacy by erecting it into a doctrine." Those
who asserted that a person in holy orders was capable of contracting a
valid marriage, and those who denied that celibacy was superior to
marriage were anathematized as heretics and the whole weight of the
church thrown against them. ...The Greek church,
on the other hand, has always permitted the parochial clergy to marry
before ordination, but not afterward. Bishops and patriarchs are denied
the right to marry, that is, they are always chosen from the monks.
- Many of the early ecclesiastics held very debased ideas
concerning sex and marriage. This is due partly to revulsion from the
gross sensuality of the day and partly to the absorption from Greek
philosophies and Oriental religions of the conception that matter is
essentially evil and that "marriage and generation are from Satan." Tatian pronounced marriage to be corruption and fornication. The early Fathers regarded woman as "the door to hell, as the mother of all human ills.
She should be ashamed at the very thought that she is a woman. She
should live in continual penance, on account of the curses she had
brought upon the world... She should be especially ashamed of her
beauty, for it is the most potent instrument of the daemon... Women were
even forbidden by a provincial council, in the Sixth Century, on
account of their impurity, to receive the Eucharist into their naked
- St. Odo of Cluny gives a description of women which is too indecent to be quoted, after which the whole question is disposed of by asking: "Wherefore do we desire to embrace this bag of filth itself?"
- One of the greatest of the Benedictine scholars, Haeften,
writes: "So great are the seductions of the inferior sex, and so great
is the peril which these cause to the superior sex, that both Holy
Scripture and the Fathers seem to forbid all communication between the
- Note: this is from Benedictus van Haeften's Disquisitiones Monasticae, lib.XI, disq.3, 1644, p.986
- Under some of the monastic codes the penalty for talking privately with a woman was from one hundred to two hundred stripes.
- When Mutius, accompanied by his eight-year-old son, was received
into a monastery, he was reminded that "he had already forgotten that he
was rich; he must next be taught to forget that he was a father."
- That the effort to enforce celibacy upon the clergy led to gross immorality is not open to question. The 682 pages of Lea's monumental volume, An Historical Sketch of Sacerdotal Celibacy,
constitute one of the most disgraceful records in all literature. Since
Dr. Lea's works are frequently regarded as unreliable by Catholic
historians, it may be well to quote the opinion of Professor G. G. Coulton
of Cambridge, himself an authority on the Middle Ages: "No European
medievalist is likely to forget the debt that we all owe to Dr. H. C.
Lea's enormous industry and general accuracy; his books are
indispensable to all serious students of medieval society." In a hundred other reliable histories the tragic story is told. ...in its main outlines the record of ecclesiastical immorality is unimpeachable.
- "Unfortunately," says Lea, "there can be no denial of the fact that notorious and undisguised illicit unions, or still more debasing
secret licentiousness, was a universal and pervading vice of the church
throughout Christendom. Its traces amid all the ecclesiastical
legislation of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth centuries are
too broad and deep to be called into question. ...The repetition of
almost identical enactments year after year, with corresponding
infinitesimal results, grows wearisome and monotonous."
- The abbot of S. Pelayo de Antealtaria in Spain was upbraided by his archbishop for keeping no less than seventy concubines.
- Even the highest ecclesiastics were sometimes guilty. In speaking of conditions in the Tenth and Eleventh centuries, Schaff says: "Pope
followed pope in rapid succession, and most of them ended their career
in deposition, prison, and murder... Three bold and energetic women of
the highest rank and lowest character, Theodora the elder (wife or widow of a Roman senator) and her two daughters, Marozia and Theodora, filled
the chair of St. Peter with their paramours and bastards... They turned
the church of St. Peter into a den of robbers, and the residence of his
successors into a harem."
- The Council of Aix-la-Chapelle declared that many convents "were rather brothels, than houses of God." The famous Abelard
"depicts the nuns of the period, in general terms, as abandoned to the
most hideous licentiousness--those who were good-looking prostituting
themselves for hire, those who were not so fortunate hiring men to
gratify their passions, while the older ones, who had passed the age of
lust, acted as procuresses. Innocent III
may therefore be absolved from the charge of exaggeration when, in
ordering the reform of the nuns of St. Agatha, he alludes to their
convent as a brothel which infected with its evil reputation the whole
country around it.
- In the Kingdom of Naples, where state and church shared in the
proceeds of the taxes laid upon the concubines of the clergy, Alfonso I
complained bitterly that this tax had not been paid for three years.
Nicholas de Clemanges, Secretary to Benedict III, declared that "in
most of the dioceses the parish priests openly kept concubines, which
they were permitted to do on payment of a tax to their bishops. Nunneries were brothels, and to take the veil was simply another mode of becoming a public prostitute."
- The citation of evidence of immorality on the part of the clergy
could be continued almost indefinitely. In no other respect have the
official representatives of Christianity departed further from the
religion and ethics of Jesus than in this realm of the relations between
men and women.
- Footnote: For an appalling mass of citation from Roman Catholic authorities on this question, see George Gordon Coulton, Five Centuries of Religion, Vol.2, p.504-564
- The Puritans of New England were very religious and many of them were heavy drinkers. ...The worst period of drunkenness was from about 1730 to 1830. ...The Reverend Leonard Woods
said: "I remember when I could reckon up among my acquaintances forty
ministers and none of them at a great distance, who were either
drunkards, or so far addicted to drinking, that their reputation and
usefulness were greatly Impaired, if not utterly ruined." A
correspondent of a Boston newspaper wrote: "A great many deacons in New
England die drunkards. I have a long list of one hundred and
twenty-three intemperate deacons in Massachusetts, forty-three of whom
became sots." We are told by Reverend L. N. Tarbox that "the drinking
habits of all classes, ministers included, hung like a dead-weight upon
the Churches. Ordinations were scenes of festivity, in which copious
drinking had a large share."
- Throughout its history Christianity has absorbed many
superstitious ideas and magical practices from its semi-pagan
surroundings and has promoted not a few of its own creation.
The early apologists devoted much energy to refuting the claims of
pagan magicians. And yet gradually and unconsciously many of the
abhorred practices crept Into the church in a new guise and under
different names. From the Fourth Century onward belief In magic was rife throughout Christendom.
Sometimes these beliefs were incorporated Into the official utterances
of ecclesiastics and councils; more often they represented the popular
ideas of the masses.
- The name of Jesus was frequently used in casting out demons. It
was both a defensive and an offensive weapon, serving alike for healing
and cursing. The monogram, or Initial letters, of Christ was often
used as a charm. Christians were long accustomed to wear miniature
Gospels or fragments of the Bible around their necks as amulets. The
Psalms were regarded as especially potent against demons.
- The sign of the cross was almost universally used to ward off danger and disease.
...To eat lettuce without making the sign of the cross was to run the
risk of swallowing a demon. The cross was worn by Crusaders as a charm
against the weapons of the infidels.
- Whatever may have been the theology of the church, the rite of baptism was often regarded by ordinary Christians as being endowed with magical power.
All past sins were automatically forgiven by baptism, while the
unbaptized were doomed to hell. Even infants could not be saved without
baptism. The rite was reported to have cured gout and paralysis; to
insure victory in a duel and render impervious to sword and shot.
- Millions of superstitious Christians have expected magical results from the emblems of the Holy Communion.
In all ages it has been necessary to guard carefully the consecrated
Host in order to prevent it from being used in magical practices.
Peasants have sought consecrated bread to sprinkle over cabbages as a
remedy against caterpillars.
- Holy oils, holy waters, as well as holy bread, have been widely
used as antidotes against sickness and disaster. To various precious
stones were attributed the possession of magical qualities. Marbod, Bishopof Rennes
at the end of the Eleventh Century, declared that the sapphire,
powdered and diluted with milk, heals ulcers, cleanses the eyes, stops
headache, and even liberates those who are in prison. He also advocated
the use of the magnet in detecting an unfaithful wife.
- The relics of Christ and the martyrs were thought to possess divine virtue.
Pieces of wood from the Holy Cross were the most highly treasured of
all relics. Healing and protective power were supposed to reside in
every particle of a saint's body, the hair and teeth being especially
- Magical Incantations were often hurled at insects and reptiles.
In 1497 the Bishop of Lausanne excommunicated the may bugs which were
committing great depredation. ...In 1532 a papal anathema was given
credit for delivering mankind from the perils of a huge comet. ...Many
of these superstitions have survived to the present day. Albert Rhys
Williams has described a procession of Russian peasants led by a priest,
who curses insects and reptiles of the field in these words: "I forbid
you in the name of the Saviour... in the name of the all-seeing cherubim
and seraphim... in the name of the angels and the millions of heavenly
spirits... to touch any tree, fruitful or unfruitful, or leaf or plant
or flower. I forbid you to bring any woe upon the fields of these
- The prevalence of superstition and magic in the ranks of
Christians has been accentuated by the fact that on several occasions
great populations have been converted wholesale to the new religion.
...The kernel of true mysticism is usually covered over with a mass of
superstition and magic. The melancholy truth is that the vast majority
of Christians in every age and in all lands have never had more than a
faint understanding of the real religion of Jesus.
- Christians have often maintained horrible ideas as to the nature
of God. The most savage concepts of God found in some portions of the
Old Testament have been taken over by Christianity and made even more
- About a century ago Thomas Arnold
headmaster of Rugby and one of the keenest minds of his day, in
addressing the boys of his school told them the story of how God sent
two bears to devour the forty-two children who had mocked Elisha,
and then concluded : "The point for you to observe Is that God is
angry with the faults of young persons as with those of grown-up men,
and that he punished them as heavily."
- The ancient idea that God sends epidemics and pestilences as
punishment for the sins of His people has been widely proclaimed in the
Christian pulpit. To the Almighty has been attributed direct
responsibility for the frequent plagues which have scourged Christendom.
During a terrible epidemic of yellow fever in New York City in 1822,
for example, the Rev. Paschal N. Strong, minister of the Reformed Dutch
Church, said: "God then was pleased to send upon our city the pestilence
a pestilence highly contagious, voracious in its thirst for prey, rapid
in Its work of death, dreadfully malignant." Ten years later, during an
epidemic of malignant cholera, Dr. Gardiner Spring,
pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church of New York City, said: "This
fatal scourge is the hand of God... The judgment we deplore has aimed
its vengeance at three prominent abominations—Sabbath-breaking,
intemperance, and debauchery."
- Throughout many centuries the Christian church failed to
recognize the contradiction between the God of vengeance which it
worshiped and the God of love proclaimed by Jesus.
- The belief was practically universal throughout Christendom for many centuries, and still prevails widely, that
God condemns unrepentant sinners to eternal torment in a literal lake
of fire. This theme has been the central idea in literally millions of
sermons since Jesus told the story of the prodigal son and taught that
God is love and that it is not the will of the Father that one of these
little ones should perish.
- In a sermon entitled, "Wicked Men Useful in Their Destruction Only," Jonathan Edwards
says: "When the blessed shall look upon the damned, and see their
misery, how will heaven ring with the praises of God's justice toward
the wicked, and his grace toward the saints. With what love and ecstasy
will they sing that song in Rev. 5:9, 10." In his address on "The Future
Punishment of the Wicked Unavoidable and Intolerable," he says: "God
intends to magnify himself exceedingly in sinking you down in hell."
- Henry Ward Beecher once referred to God as "the incendiary of the universe, who by-and by will burn you with unquenchable fire."
- Orthodox theology not only consigns unrepentant sinners to hell
fire, much emphasis is placed upon the duration of the torment of the
damned. Charles G. Finney,
one of the great evangelists of last century, described the length of
eternity with the most vivid images. He... pointed out... "How fearful,
then, must be that woe which knows no limit save eternity."
- Not only have the wicked and ungodly been condemned to eternal
punishment by Christian theologians, the heathen who have never heard
the name of Christ are likewise damned. Moreover, men of blameless
character who have not confessed their faith in Christ are doomed to
burn in the flames of hell.
- Most revolting of all, however, has been the attitude of orthodox
theologians, Catholics and Protestants alike, on the question of infant
- It seems utterly incredible that followers of the teacher who
loved to gather little children around him and who said that no one
could enter the Kingdom of God unless he became like a little child
should solemnly consign all unbaptized infants to the flames of hell.
And yet millions of mothers have been terrorized into believing that
their beloved babies would be tortured endlessly unless they were
sprinkled with water.
- In 1844 the Oxford University Press republished the original work of William Wall on A History of Infant Baptism, which first appeared in 1705. The new edition... contains an unbelievably sordid story of the controversy which orthodoxy waged with heretics over a period of sixteen centuries, and which has not yet terminated, as to whether or not unbaptized infants could escape from the wrath of an angry God.
- The evidence is irrefutable that throughout most of its history
organized Christianity has envisaged God as a horrible monster who casts
unbaptized children into a fiery pit because of Adam's original sin.
- Graft on the part of ecclesiastics constitutes another marked
contrast between historical Christianity and the religion of Jesus.
...When the church began to exercise temporal powers as well as to
perform spiritual duties, it was soon overrun with officials whose
characters and objectives bore little resemblance to those of Jesus.
- Simony, the buying or selling of spiritual gifts or offices, has been so general that Bishop MacLean goes so far as to say that "no age and no country has been quite free from it."
- Footnote: see his article on Simony, in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol.II, pp. 525-528.
- At the conclusion of his doctor's dissertation on this subject, N. A. Weber, a Catholic writer, says: "Simony ultimately developed to the extent of being one of the most disastrous abuses of the Christian Church."
- Footnote on dissertation: A History of Simony in the Christian Church, pp. 239, 241.
- From the Fourth Century onward church councils began to legislate
against the exaction of fees for baptism, confirmation, administering
the Eucharist, marriage ceremonies, unction with holy oil, burials,
ordination, and similar functions. The frequency with which these
admonitions are repeated is evidence of the wide prevalence of the
practices thus condemned.
- The buying and selling of ecclesiastical offices or promotion to higher office has been an exceedingly common practice.
- Thomas Aquinas deals at length with the evils of simony, as does Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales. Guiot
cries out that "the cardinals are stuffed with avarice and simony and
evil living; without faith or religion, they sell God and His Mother,
and betray us and their fathers. Rome sucks and devours us; Rome kills
and destroys all."
- Some of the most disgraceful excesses of the ecclesiastics are found in connection with the sale of indulgences.
- The first notable use of indulgences was by Urban II at the time of the First Crusade,
although the practice was found as early as the Ninth Century. ...Later
this device was used In securing recruits in the struggle against
heretics. ...So effective did this method prove to be that it was used
almost indiscriminately in the petty wars between rival ecclesiastics
and secular princes. Gradually the practice of substituting payments of
money for personal service in a crusade spread over Christendom.
...Indulgences were also granted for aid in building or repairing
churches and other religious edifices, and for the construction of
bridges and roads. ...Gradually the practice developed of granting
indulgences to souls in purgatory. ...Upon the payment of a fixed sum it
was declared that a soul would immediately fly from purgatory to
- The evils of the system were greatly exaggerated by the practice
of selling indulgences on credit and then making collections by means
fair and foul. The credulity of the people was so preyed upon by mercenary ecclesiastics that the selling of salvation became the scandal of Christendom and one of the primary causes of the Reformation.
- Enormous incomes were received by some ecclesiastics from the sale of benefices.
- The outstanding illustration of ecclesiastical corruption in modem times is found in Russia. From the overthrow of the Patriarchate by Peter the Great in 1721 to the downfall of the Romanoffs in 1917, the Russian church was controlled absolutely by the Czars. ...The
priesthood, like the police, was simply an appendage of the government.
Most of the parish priests were illiterate and superstitious;
frequently they were greedy and immoral. As a rule they had no fixed
income but depended upon fees and offerings. The degrading custom grew
up of haggling over the fee required for officiating at funerals,
weddings, baptisms, and other ecclesiastical functions. ...The Russian church almost uniformly supported the government in its acts of tyranny and cruelty,
while all reform movements looking toward greater freedom and an
increase of popular government met with vigorous opposition from the
ecclesiastical hierarchy. For its subservience the church was well
paid. ...Its altars were bedecked with rare jewels and its coffers
jingled with fine gold, but it failed tragically to reveal the religion
- For nearly a thousand years feudalism prevailed over parts of Europe. Throughout this entire period the Christian churches were deeply entangled in the prevailing economic system.
...four usages [of feudalism] were widely prevalent: monopoly of land
ownership in the hands of the nobles and the higher clergy; the
obligation of these owners to equip themselves and wage war at their own
expense; the duty of vassals or serfs to render service to their
masters; the frequent if not usual miscarriage of justice.
- Vast estates were common wherever feudalism existed. ...In an age
when the church dominated so large a share of all life it was
inevitable that it should accumulate much property. There came a time
when "there was not a bishopric, an abbey, a chapter of canons or a
collegiate church that had not become a great landholder." ...It has
been estimated that in the Thirteenth Century the church owned one
third of the land of Germany, one fifth of France, the greater part of
Italy, one third of England, vast areas in Spain, Scandinavia, and other
parts of Europe. The church was incomparably the greatest secular and economic power of the age. As late as the closing decades of the Eighteenth Century one fifth of the entire domain of France was owned by the church.
- During this whole period the upper class was restricted almost
entirely to two groups: warriors and the clergy. All noblemen were
trained at arms and since waging war was an expensive business... Land
monopoly made this possible.
- The serf
differed from the slave in that he could not be sold. His obligations
to his superior, however, were often so numerous and exacting as to make
his condition one of actual slavery. ...There were long periods
when it was a rare occurrence for the owner to manage his estate
personally. As a rule, supervision was delegated to an overseer...
earning his livelihood by retaining a portion of the taxes for himself.
Under this arrangement nothing short of a miracle could prevent him from
becoming a grafter and petty tyrant. ...There was no state or outside
agency to stand between the exploiter and his victims. ..."In almost all
the documents of the middle ages," says [Charles] Seignobos, "...Justice, like peace, was not a common right; in the middle ages it was a privilege.
There was a different justice and special courts for each class."
Tenants could not even gather together to discuss grievances without
permission from the landlord. Illicit assemblage was a crime.
- When it is recalled that for several centuries more than three
fourths of the population of great areas of Europe were serfs, the
incalculable amount of misery caused by this economic and social system
will be more clearly realized. In France the institution survived until the end of the Eighteenth Century. It is estimated by Coulton
that as late as 1789 there were still three hundred thousand serfs in
France. In Russia serfdom was not abolished until the close of the
- Wherever and whenever certain groups wield irresponsible power
over other groups there will occur exploitation, injustice, and cruelty. The civilized world was horrified by the reports of inhumanity toward serfs that came out of Russia. Yet this same kind of barbarity prevailed throughout Europe in one form or another for several hundred years.
- And all the while monasteries and churches were terribly entangled in the system. The higher clergy, as we have seen, controlled vast landed estates and dominated the lives of countless vassals. "The Roman Church in the Middle Ages," says Professor J. W. Thompson, "was
a governor, a landed proprietor, a rent collector, an imposer of taxes,
a material producer, an employer of labor on an enormous scale, a
merchantman, a tradesman, a banker and mortgage-broker, a custodian of
morals, a maker of sumptuary laws, a schoolmaster, a compeller of conscience—all in one. The medieval Church was a feudalized Church; it was in and of the feudal world."
- Proof of... injustice is found in the fact that in the in the numerous peasant revolts "they nearly always struck with equal rage at the squire and at the monk." Professor Achilie Luchaire expressed the opinion that "the clerics of the Middle Ages showed almost as much cruelty to the peasants and burghers as did the men of the sword."
- The church accepted feudalism and made only the feeblest and most
sporadic efforts to overthrow it. Regulation and reform was its motto.
...Indeed, the church was a primary factor in prolonging the life of feudalism. Numerous synodical decrees prohibited the alienation of church property, including slaves and serfs. ...says Professor Coulton, "...It was on Church estates that bondage lasted longest."
- Professor Thompson expressed the... opinion: "Anselm,
the father of scholasticism... said: 'For if any man and his wife...
commit in partnership a grievous and inexcusable fault, for which they
are justly degraded and reduced to serfdom, who would assert that their
children whom they beget after their condemnation should not be subject
to the same servitude?' ...In the matter of emancipation of serfs, the Church lagged behind secular Europe and even retarded emancipation."
- If one looks only at the favorable side, it is possible to write such a book as The Thirteenth Greatest of Centuries, by Dr. James J. Walsh. But if the seamy side is also examined it is not possible to avoid the conclusion that many
of the economic practices of the Christian church in the age of
feudalism were a denial and repudiation of the basic principles of
- Throughout many generations the doctrine of the divine right of kings held sway. ...To
question the divine right of a king to rule his subjects was long
regarded as both heresy and treason. Until recently orthodox
ecclesiastics have usually sided with
reactionaries and opposed efforts
toward political democracy. The early Fathers of the church were
almost unanimous in declaring that resistance to established authorities
is sinful. Upon this foundation theologians of succeeding centuries
erected an elaborate superstructure. Catholics and Protestants alike have defended this doctrine with enthusiasm and ruthlessness.
- In a sermon before the University of Oxford on December 13, 1776,
Myles Cooper, president of King's College (later Columbia University) in New York City, said: "When men's principles are wrong, their practices will
seldom be right. When they suppose those powers to be derived solely for
the people, which are 'ordained of God'... when once they conceive the
governed to be superior to the governors... they open a door for
- King James I
had a habit of telling his Parliament that "they held their privileges
merely during his pleasure, and that they had no more business to
inquire what he might lawfully do than what the Deity might lawfully
- As late as 1856 the Reverend Moses Margoliouth defended the
autocrats who sat upon the Russian throne in these words: "It is our
duty to look upon Alexander II as the Lord's anointed."
- In 1882 Bishop Martensen
strongly endorsed the principle of a hereditary monarchy "because... of
the fact that the king exists not by the will of the people, but by the
will of God, that the king and his authority are given us, that
subjective arguing is in this matter of as little use as it would be to
complain that we have not other parents than those whom God has given
- In his famous Königsberg speech of 1910 the German Kaiser
said: "Considering myself as the instrument of the Lord, without
heeding the views and opinions of the day, I go my way." On another
occasion he said: "The king holds his power by the grace of God, to whom
alone he is responsible."
- The attitudes and practices of Christian employers during the
early stages of the industrial revolution in England afford another
series of illustrations of the misuse of property and power. ...At
the end of the Eighteenth Century in England, however, the industrial
changes were so rapid and the prevailing economic philosophy so
destructive of human values that masses of people were plunged into
- The need of the factories for unskilled workers led to the
exploitation of women and children. This combination of events produced
incalculable misery. The whole ghastly story has been gathered together
in four volumes by J. L. and Barbara Hammond.
- In his famous Poor Law Bill, the proposal was made by Pitt
that children should be set to work at the age of five. Children of six
and seven were employed on a widespread scale, and their hours were
incredibly long. Twelve to fifteen-hour schedules were common.
- It now seems incredible that wise and good men once regarded poverty not only as inevitable but as desirable.
- Not a few writers of that period proved to their own satisfaction
not merely that poverty is inevitable and desirable but that it is
really a blessing. After all, the poor have less responsibility and
fewer anxieties than the rich.
- Relief, not prevention, was the prevailing method of dealing with
physical destitution. Many Christians of the day were generous with
their alms and a few sought to deal with the fundamental causes of
distress. But the vast proportion of religious people regarded
poverty as a necessity, and many looked upon it as a blessing. The
various reform measures were usually opposed by Christian men of
property. Times without number the argument was advanced that low wages,
long hours, and the employment of children were absolutely necessary if
plants and factories were to be kept running.
- When the workers in desperation sought to form trade unions for
collective action they met with combined opposition from the employers
and the statesmen. The infamous Combination Laws
of 1799 and 1800 made it a crime for two workmen to combine in order to
get an increase in wages or a decrease in hours. As early as 1786 five
London bookbinders were sentenced to two years' imprisonment for leading
a strike to reduce hours from twelve to eleven. Seventeen tanners at
Bermondesey in 1834 were sentenced to imprisonment for the offense of
leaving their work unfinished. ...Dr. Ellicott, Bishop of Gloucester, publicly suggested the village horsepond as a fit destination for union organizers.
- Concerning the attitude of the churches toward social reform. Lord Shaftesbury, one of the foremost advocates of protective legislation for workers, said:
"I find that Evangelical religionists are not those on whom I can
rely... the clergy, and especially those of the trading districts....
from them I have received no support, or next to none."
- Harold Begbie
said: "Nearly every suggestion for bettering the condition of the poor
was regarded as blasphemous republicanism and treated with a wrathful
disdain. ...Religion, politics, art, even literature, struck no blow for
justice and advance."
- It is beyond the power of imagination to measure the volume of human misery caused by chattel slavery.
From the earliest dawn of history down to the day before yesterday man
enslaved man, and even now the practice prevails in a variety of forms.
- True enough, Christianity was primarily responsible for the
removal of many of the worst excesses of the institution and not a few
of the ablest abolitionists were nurtured in the church. But there
can be no doubt that slavery would have disappeared centuries before it
did if it had not been buttressed by the support of the churches.
- The institution [of slavery] gradually died out in various parts of
Europe from the Sixth Century onward or was merged into serfdom,
although it never disappeared completely. In the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, however, the slave trade was revived and grew enormously in dimensions.
- The early Christians manifested much kindness and generosity to slaves but they did not condemn slavery outright.
- It was not until the Ninth Century that St. Theodore of Studium came forth with the positive command: "Thou shalt possess no slave..."
- Note: this was in a letter containing suggested monastery reform rules.
- In a notable chapter on the history of slavery Professor Westermarck says: "Not
one of the Fathers even hints that slavery is unlawful or improper. In
the early age martyrs possessed slaves, and so did abbots, bishops,
popes, monasteries and churches. ...a Council at Orleans, in the
middle of the Sixth Century, expressly decreed the perpetuity of
servitude among the descendants of slaves. ...As late as the Nineteenth Century the right of enslaving captives was defended by Bishop Bouvier." 
- Concerning the practices of the church, Professor Coulton says: "More serious were the not infrequent papal decrees of slavery against papal enemies. Boniface VIII, in his feud against the Colonna family held this punishment over them (1303). Clement V condemned to slavery the whole population of Venice (1309); Gregory XI, a couple of generations later, the Florentines; a generation later again, Sixtus IV and Julius II decreed the same fate against Florence, Bologna and Venice; and Paul III, when Henry VIII repudiated him, condemned all Englishmen to servitude who took the king's part." Even though these sentences were never fully carried out, they indicated an inhuman attitude toward enemies.
- The record of the churches of the United States with regard to slavery is a shameful one. ...Some religious groups, notably the Quakers,
and many individuals were consistently and vigorously opposed to
slavery and many of the leaders in the antislavery movement were devout
churchmen. But after due allowance is made for all these the fact
remains that the churches of the South were ardent defenders of
slavery, while those of the North in their corporate capacity were
timid, evasive, and inconsistent.
- In the eyes of the law the slave was not a person, but a thing or
piece of property. ...He had no right to possess anything, although many
exceptions were made by benevolent owners. He had no adequate
safeguards against the cruelty of his master. He had no right of control
over his family life, being unable to contract a legal marriage and
helpless to protect his wife or children. He had no right of education
or religious instruction... 
Slaves were often horribly mutilated and not infrequently killed by
owners and overseers. Slave girls and women were at the mercy of their
masters, receiving no protection from the law or public opinion.
Concubinage and promiscuity prevailed on a widespread scale. Husbands
and wives were frequently separated, and children were sometimes
exported to distant regions.
- The Charleston Courier, on February 12, 1835, published the
following advertisement: "By Thomas Gadsen. On Tuesday the I7th inst.,
will be sold at the north of the Exchange at ten o'clock A.M., a prime
gang of ten negroes, accustomed to the culture of cotton and provisions,
belonging to the Independent Church, in Christ's Church Parish."
- In the Mercier Luminary J. Cable once wrote: "Those who know
anything about slavery, know that the worst kind is jobbing slavery that
is, the hiring out of slaves from year to year. What shocked me more
than anything else was the church engaged in this jobbing of slaves. The college church which I attended, and which was attended by all the students of Hamden Sydney College and Union Theological Seminary (Va.), held slaves enough to pay their pastor, Mr. Stanton, one thousand dollars a year.
The slaves, who had been left to the church by some pious mother in
Israel, had increased so as to be a large and still increasing fund. These were hired out on Christmas day of each year, the day in which they celebrate the birth of our blessed Saviour, to the highest bidder. There were four other churches near the College Church that supported the pastor, in whole or in part, in the same way."
- Three primary arguments were used endlessly: slavery is good for
the slaves; It is good for the owners; and it is divine in its origin.
It was considered axiomatic that Negroes were an inferior race and that
without the leadership of white people they could never rise above
- Professor Thomas R. Dew,
of William and Mary College, based a long argument on the proposition
that "slaves are entirely unfit for a state of freedom among the
- Chancellor William Harper
once declared that "the Creator did not intend that every individual
human being should be highly cultivated morally and intellectually. It
is better that a part should be fully and highly cultivated, and the
rest utterly ignorant."
- Governor J. H. Hammond once said: "I endorse without reserve the much abused sentiment of Governor McDuffie,
that 'slavery is the corner-stone of our republican edifice'; while I
repudiate, as ridiculously absurd, that much lauded but nowhere
accredited dogma of Mr. Jefferson that 'all men are born equal.'"
- Chancellor William Harper quoted with enthusiasm from an article
which said; "Slavery has done more to elevate a degraded race in the
scale of humanity; to tame the savage; to civilize the barbarous; to
soften the ferocious; to enlighten the ignorant, and to spread the
blessings of Christianity among the heathen, than all the missionaries
that philanthropy and religion have ever sent forth."
- The Reverend James Wilson called slavery "that gracious and
benevolent system which elevates the heathen cannibal into the
contented, civilized, intelligent, and happy domestics we see around us.
Nay more? into humble, faithful, and most joyous worshipers of the true
and everlasting God. Bless God for such a system. We don't apologize
for slavery, we glory in it, and no society shall exist within our
borders that disqualifies or stigmatizes the slave trade."
- That slavery was ordained by God was the unwavering belief of most Southern churchmen. 
- "I firmly believe," said
Governor J. H. Hammond, "that American slavery is not only not a sin, but especially commanded by God through Moses, and approved by Christ through his apostles."
- In 1858 during the course of a
debate with another minister [Abram Pryne], the Reverend [and future Governor of Tennessee] W. G. Brownlow said:
"Not only will I throughout this discussion openly and boldly take the
ground that Slavery as it exists in America ought to be perpetuated, but
that slavery is an established and inevitable condition to human
society. I will maintain the ground that God always intended the
relation of master and slave to exist... that slavery having existed
ever since the first organization of society, it will exist to the end
- The Reverend J. C. Postell, of Orangeburgh, South Carolina, once
declared: "So far from being a moral evil, slavery is a merciful
visitation. ...It is the Lord's doings, and it is marvellous in our
eyes; and had it not been for the best, God... long since would have
overruled it. It is by divine appointment."
- On Thanksgiving Day, 1860, in the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, the pastor, Dr. B. M. Palmer, expressed the conviction that it was the the "providential trust" of the Southern people "to conserve and to perpetuate the institution of domestic slavery as now existing."
- After quoting the statement of the Reverend Dr. Bachman,
outstanding Lutheran minister of Charleston, in referring to "that
unexampled unanimity of sentiment that now exists in the whole South on
the subject of slavery," Dr. Leonard Bacon,
a church historian, says: "The common sentiment of southern
Christianity was expressed in that serious declaration of the Southern
Presbyterian Church during the war of its 'deep conviction of the divine
appointment of domestic servitude' and of the 'peculiar mission of the
Southern church to conserve the institution of slavery."
- Not only was slavery defended, to bear testimony against it was regarded as impious and unpatriotic. ...
Reverend J. H. Thornwell, a distinguished Presbyterian clergyman said: "The Parties in this conflict are not merely abolitionists and slaveholders they are atheists, socialists, communists, red republicans, jacobins, on the one side, and the friends of order and regulated freedom on the other. In one word, the world is the battle ground—Christianity and Atheism the combatants; and the progress of humanity the stake."
- For many years prior to the Civil War it was highly dangerous to speak against slavery anywhere in the South.
Ministers and teachers found their positions jeopardized and their
lives threatened if it became known that they were sympathetic with the
antislavery movement. Large rewards were offered for the capture dead or
alive of certain noted abolitionists. Many post offices refused to
deliver antislavery literature, this procedure being defended by at
least two Postmaster Generals of the United States.
- In 1845 the General Association of the Presbyterian church
"recognized no responsibility on the part of the church to remove the
evils connected with slavery."
- The churches in their corporate capacity, as well as individual
ministers and officials, have often maintained attitudes, engaged in
practices, and upheld institutions which sharply contradicted the
fundamental principles of Jesus' way of life. In every age since
Christianity became powerful the churches have sanctioned and
perpetuated terrible Iniquities. Ecclesiastics high and low with
appalling frequency have been guilty of unspeakable cruelties. The life of many an ancient evil was prolonged for centuries because of the support of devout Christians.
- This volume is merely a study in contrasts... an
examination of certain attitudes and practices on the part of
Christians which constitute conspicuous violations of the spirit and
teaching of Jesus.
- The evidence cited herein constitutes a partial explanation of the relative impotence of Christianity. Compromise with and acceptance of pagan attitudes, practices, and institutions account for the weakness of the churches. The influence of the religion of Jesus has often been nullified by the adherents of a denatured religion called Christianity.
Ch. 4: Contrasts between Contemporary Christianity and the Religion of Jesus
- The progress of mankind and the achievements of Western civilization have likewise been described in numerous volumes. That tremendous strides forward have been taken is not open to question. It
is altogether probable that the number of persons now alive who have a
clear understanding of the religion of Jesus and its significance is
greater than at any period since his crucifixion. Nevertheless, there is
still a vast chasm between the lives of most Christians and that of the
Nazarene carpenter. 
- As a rule, ministers and laymen alike gave their blessing and support to the war. Thousands of sermons on both sides of the line upheld the righteousness of the cause of their own nation.
- The German clergy with few exceptions followed the leadership of the Kaiser and his staff. Ethical justifications of the war poured forth in a mighty stream. A former Chancellor of the University of Tubingen said
that "the entire chapter of the duties of love, which is the chief
doctrine of the moral law, has no application to the conduct of the
state. A nation depends, not upon the love of others, but upon the
love of self, upon the fostering and development of its own power and
- Although nearly eleven years have passed since the close of the World War, the
churches are still terribly entangled in the war system. Most
Christians continue to give their active or tacit support to armed
preparedness. If the United States should declare war tomorrow...
Christians by the thousand would enlist without any clear idea as to the
real reasons why they are fighting. They would once more swallow the
propaganda of misrepresentation and falsehood which is always issued by
governments in war time.  The God of war would again supplant the universal Father of mankind.
- Modern war is caused primarily by the clash between economic and
political forces. The growth of industrialism makes it impossible for
nations to live apart, each being dependent upon other regions for raw
materials and food, markets and fields of investment. Rivalry for
control of the economic resources of the earth has grown keener and
keener. This commercial and financial competition is carried on in an
atmosphere of suspicion and hostility created by nationalism.
- Every nation emphasizes the like-mindedness of its own citizens
and stresses their differences from other peoples. Almost every group
regards itself as superior; the consequent idea of the inferiority of
all others leads to fear, contempt, and enmity.
- The dogma of national sovereignty prevents governments from
cooperating heartily in creating international agencies through which
disputes between nations may be settled peaceably. The dueling
concept which underlies the prevailing doctrine of national honor
arouses dangerous emotions in times of crisis, while the interpretation of national patriotism which obligates citizens to support their government in all controversies with other governments and to fight the duels of their country encourages aggression.
- The great powers feel obliged to expend large sums upon armed preparedness, to erect economic barriers
around their borders, and to control the political and economic life of industrially backward regions.
- The dueling concept of national honor is widely prevalent, and
the right-or-wrong brand of patriotism is deeply intrenched in our
national life. Our chauvinistic press is not less bellicose than that of other countries.
- If this nation ever goes to war again it will not, in all
probability, be for the purpose of repelling an actual invader but to
protect our rights and interests and prestige against the inroads of
some competing power.
- The war system, in which the churches are so seriously entangled,
emerges out of and is sustained by economic and political rivalries.
That armaments constitute an irrational, ineffective, and suicidal
method of seeking the settlement of complex international problems is so
obvious that there is no need to labour the point.
- ↑ James Meeker Ludlow, The Age of the Crusades. Christian Literature Co. 1896 pp.164-167
- ↑ Ludlow, Ibid., p. 132.
- ↑ Anselme of Ribemont, Letter to Manasses II, Archbishop of Reims (1098)
- ↑ Ludlow, op. cit., p.106
- ↑ Ludlow, op. cit., p. 113
- ↑ G. G. Coulton, The Death Penalty for Heresy from 1184 to 1921 A.D. p.7
- ↑ Frederic Palmer, Heretics, Saints, and Martyrs p. 36.
- ↑ Preserved Smith, The Age of the Reformation p. 98.
- ↑ R. H. Murray, Erasmus and Luther, p. 251
- ↑ Hans Lassen Martensen, Christian Ethics, Vol. 2, pp. 231-238
- ↑ Edward Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, Vol.1, pp. 362, 365
- ↑ William Edward Hartpole Lecky, History of European morals from Augustus to Charlemagne, Vol.2, pp. 269, 270
- ↑ Philip Schaff, History of The Christian Church, Vol.4, p. 285
- ↑ G. H. Perris, A Short History of War and Peace, p. 86
- ↑ Henry Osborn Taylor, The Medieval Mind, Vol. I, p. 489.
- ↑ J. W. Thompson, Feudal Germany, pp.32,39
- ↑ Wm. Stearns Davis, Life on a Medieval Barony p.382.
- ↑ Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, edited by Thomas Carlyle, Vol. 2, pp. 171, 172 (English Edition of 1870)
- ↑ Allen Tate, Stonewall Jackson, The Good Soldier, pp.128,274
- ↑ W.F. Adeny, The Greek and Eastern Churches p.114
- ↑ W. E. H. Lecky, History of European Morals, Vol.2, p.221
- ↑ C.D. Cobham, The Patriarchs of Constantinople, pp.7,8
- ↑ George Ives, A History of Penal Methods
- ↑ Preserved Smith, The Age of the Reformation, p.643
- ↑ A. L. Maycock, The Inquisition (1926)
- ↑ H. C. Lea, History of the Inquisition, Vol.1, pp.419 ff.
- ↑ Cambridge Modern History, Vol. 2, p. 347
- ↑ Walther Kohler, quoted by Hartmann Grisar, Luther, Vol. 6, p. 266
- ↑ Hugh Y. Reyburn, John Calvin, p. 203
- ↑ Reyburn, ibid., p.188
- ↑ Grisar, op. cit., Vol.3, p.384
- ↑ Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol.9, p.758
- ↑ Mathew Carey, Letters on Religious Persecution, p. 32
- ↑ Carey, ibid., p.37
- ↑ Gustav Pearlson, Twelve Centuries of Jewish Persecution
- ↑ Leopold Zung, The Suffering of the Jews During the Middle Ages
- ↑ Lewis Browne, Stranger Than Fiction
- ↑ S.M. Doubnow, An Outline of Jewish History, Vol.3, p.99
- ↑ W. E. H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of Rationalism in Europe, Vol.1, pp.27-154
- ↑ Andrew Dickson White, The Warfare of Science with Theology, Vol.1, p.352
- ↑ Lecky, op. cit., "Vol.1, p.33.
- ↑ White, op. cit., Vol.1, p.363
- ↑ White, op. cit., Vol.1, p.358
- ↑ White, op. cit., Vol.1, p.9
- ↑ Henry Fairfield Osborn, From the Greeks to Darwin
- ↑ White, op. cit., p. 104
- ↑ White, op. cit., p. 138
- ↑ White, op. cit., Vol.2, p.58,60
- ↑ Henry Thomas Buckle, History of Civilization in England, Vol.1, p.172
- ↑ Oscar Hardman, The Ideals of Asceticism
- ↑ Joseph Ward Swain, The Hellenic Origins of Christian Asceticism
- ↑ W.E.H. Lecky, History of European Morals, Vol.2, p.114
- ↑ Henry Charles Lea, An Historical Sketch of Sacerdotal Celibacy (2nd Ed., 1884)
- ↑ Earl Evelyn Sperry, An Outline of the History of Clerical Celibacy in Western Europe to the Council of Trent
- ↑ Lecky, ibid.,Vol.2, pp.357,358
- ↑ George Gordon Coulton, Five Centuries of Religion, Vol.1, p.398
- ↑ Coulton, ibid., Vol.1, p.399
- ↑ Coulton, ibid., Vol.1, p.521
- ↑ Lea, op. cit., p.280,333
- ↑ Lea, op. cit., p.138
- ↑ Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol.4, pp.283,284
- ↑ Lea, op. cit., p.137
- ↑ Lea, op. cit., p.264,265
- ↑ Daniel Dorchester, The Liquor Problem in all Ages, Phillips & Hunt (1884) p.123, 133, 134
- ↑ S. Baring-Gould, Lives of the Saints, Vol.1, p.342
- ↑ The Russian Land, p.97
- ↑ Henry Osborn Taylor, The Medieval Mind, Vol.1, p. 491
- ↑ Lea, op. cit., Vol.3, p.347
- ↑ Charles T. Byford, The Soul of Russia Kingsgate Press
- ↑ Charles Seignobos, The Feudal Regime Henry Holt & Company (1906)
- ↑ Clarence Flick, The Rise of the Medieval Church G.P. Putnam's & Sons (1909) p.574
- ↑ see J. W. Thompson, An Economic and Social History of the Middle Ages p.648,676
- ↑ Thompson, ibid., p.680
- ↑ Coulton, op. cit., Vol.2, p.8
- ↑ J. W. Thompson, op. cit., p.679
- ↑ E. A. Westermarck, The Origin and Development of Moral ldeas, Vol.1, pp.694-697
- ↑ Bouvier, Institutiones philosophicæ p.566
- ↑ William Goodell, The American Slave Code (1853)
- ↑ John Codman Hurd, The Law of Freedom and Bondage in the United States (1858)
- ↑ William Harper, Thomas Roderick Dew, James Henry Hammond, William Gilmore Simms The Pro-Slavery Argument Lippincott, Grambo, & Co., (1853) p.35
- ↑ James Henry Hammond, Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, p.126
- ↑ Harper, Dew, Hammond, Simms op. cit., p.60
- ↑ Report of the Anti-Slavery Society of New York, 1860, p.281
- ↑ Henry Wilson (Vice President of the United States), The Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 3 vols. (Vol.2); especially Vol.3, pp.697-724
- ↑ Charles Baumer Swaney, Episcopal Methodism and Slavery
- ↑ Ought American Slavery to Be Perpetuated? A Debate between Rev. W. G. Brownlow and Reverend A. Pryne
- ↑ Stephen Symonds Foster, The Brotherhood of Thieves: or, A True Picture of the American Church and Clergy, Parker Pillsbury (1884)
- ↑ Benjamin M. Palmer, Slavery, a Divine Trust, pp.7,19
- ↑ Leonard Woolsey Bacon, A History of American Christianity, pp.278,346
James Henley Thornwell, The Rights and the Duties of Masters Press of Walker & James (1850) p. 14
- ↑ Whither Mankind, edited by Charles A. Beard
- ↑ Recent Gains in American Civilization, edited by Kirby Page
- ↑ Arthur Ponsonby, Falsehood in War Time Inst. for Historical Review (1991)
- ↑ Harold Dwight Lasswell, Propaganda Technique in War Time P. Smith (1927)
- ↑ Carlton Joseph Huntley Hayes, Essays on Nationalism Russell & Russell (1966)