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Source: The Anarchist Library
Previously published by the Anarchy Archives.
Republished with permission from The Anarchist Archives.
by Johann Most
Among all mental diseases which man has systematically inoculated into his cranium, the religious
pest is the most abominable.
Like all things else, this disease has a history; it only regrettable that in this case nothing will be found of the development from nonsense to reason, which is generally assumed to be
the course of history.
Old Zeus and his double, Jupiter, were still quite decent, jolly, we might even say, somewhat enlightened fellows, if compared with the last triplet on the pedigree of gods who, on examination,
can safely rival with Vitzliputzli as to brutality and cruelty.
We won’t argue at all with the pensioned or dethroned gods, for they no longer do any harm. But the more modern, stir officiating cloudlollers and
terrorists of hell we shall criticise, expose and vanquish the more disrespectfully.
The Christians have a threefold God; their ancestors, the Jews, were content with a single simpleton. Otherwise both species are
quite a humorous crowd. “Old and New Testament;” are to them the sources of all knowledge; therefore, willing or not, one must read the “holy writ” if one wants to fathom their shallowness and learn to deride them.
If we only take the “history” of these deities, we find an ample sufficiency for the characterization of the whole. In a short sketch the case stands thus:
In the beginning God “created”
heaven and earth — consequently he found himself next of all ins complete void, where it surely may have been dreary; enough to bore even a deity, and it being but a trifle for a god to conjure worlds out of nothing by magic, like a juggler shaking eggs
or silver dollars out of his coat-sleeves, so he (God) “created” heaven and earth. Somewhat later he moulded the still, moon and stars to suit himself.
It is true, certain heretics, called astronomers,
have established long since that the Earth neither is, nor could have been the centre of the universe, nor could its existence have antedated that of the sun, around which it revolves. These people have proved it to be sheer lunacy to speak of sun, moon and
stars and with the sidle breath of the earth as being, compared with the former, something special and of great preponderance. It has been taught to every schoolboy that the sun is only a star, the Earth one of its satellites, and the moon an undersatellite
of the Earth; and, furthermore, that the Earth, compared with the universe, far from acting a conspicuous part, is only an atom, looking like a rain of dust.
But why should a god concern himself about astronomy?
He does what he pleases, and poohoos science and logic. For this reason he made, after manufacturing the earth, first the light, and afterwards the sun. To-day even a Hottentot can understand there can be no light can earth without the stuff, but God —
well, he is no Hottentot.
But let us continue to investigate. Thus far the “creation” was quite a success, but there was still something lacking — things ere not lively enough. The creator wanted
some pastime, therefore he finally made man. Curiously enough, he now deviated entirely from the method previously applied. Instead of accomplishing this creation by a simple and imperative “let it be!” he made it exceedingly troublesome. He took
a prosaic lump of common clay in his hand, modelled it into the figure of a man “after his own image,” and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” God being of infinite wisdom, benign, just, in short — amability itself
— it occurred to him that this Adam, as he had named his last article, being alone, would find life exceedingly tedious (perhaps he remembered his own former lonely existence to “Nothing”), and so he made him quite a nice, enticing little
Eve. But in the meantime experience had evidently taught him, that the handling of a lump of clay was a rather unclean business, especially for a god, therefore he applied another new method of manufacture he tore (dexterity is no witchcraft, least of all
for a god) a rib out of Adam’s body, and changed it into a charming female. Whether this rib, extracted from Adam was restored at a later period, or whether after the performed operation Adam had to run about in the world as a “one-sided”
individual, is a matter upon which the polite historian says nothing.
Modern natural science has established that animals and plants have, through the most manifold ramifications, developed during the course of millions of
years from simple molluscous matter to their present forms. Man is nothing but the most perfect form of this development and, that he not only, had, some thousands of years ago, a very brutish appearance without Language, but also, that he — every other
supposition excludes itself — must have developed from inferior, animal species.
Consequently, natural science stamps God with his self-proclaimed creation of man as a preposterous braggart. But of what avail
is all this? — God won’t have any tomfoolery. Whether his tales have a scientific ring, or whether they sound like foolish babble, he commands belief in them, otherwise he will let it come to pass that his competitor, the “devil” will
get you into his clutches, which is supposed to be quite uncomfortable. For in hell there is not only moaning and the gnashing of teeth, but, an eternal fire burns, an indefatigable worm is gnawing your soul and a dreadful stench of burning pitch and sulphur
fills the air. To all these discomforts the bodyless man is supposed to be exposed. His flesh, of which he is void, is stewed; his decayed and fallen-out teeth clatter; he howls without a throat or lungs; he smells without a nose — and all this eternally.
A devil of a god! Taking all in all, God is, as he candidly informs us in his autobiographical chronicle — the Bible — extremely whimsical and revengeful; actually an ideal model of a despot.
Hardly were Adam and Eve in existence, before God took
it as a matter of, course that this rabble must be governed. He decreed a penal code, which said categorically, “Thou shalt not eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!” Since that time no tyrant has existed anywhere, who did not lay down the
same decree for the people.
Adam and Eve did not respect this prohibition, therefore, they were exiled and sentenced to hard labor for life — they and their descendants for all time to come. Beyond this “civil
rights” were taken away from Eve, she being declared to be a bond-servant to Adam, whom she was to obey. Besides, both of them were to be under eternal divine police surveillance. Verily, not even William (the German Emperor), has got ahead of him as
a haberdasher of human affairs.
But in spite of God’s useless severity to mankind they angered him more and more in proportion as they multiplied. How rapidly this multiplication took place is demonstrated
by the history of Cain and Abel. After the former had slain his brother, he went into “a strange and, and took unto himself a wife.” Where the location of this strange land, and whence the women that were to be found there, God has forgotten to
mention, a matter of no surprise, considering the burden of overwork he had to perform at that time.
At last the cup was overflowing. God resolved to destroy all mankind by means of water. Only a few specimens of the race were excepted,
with which to make another trial. Unfortunately, notwithstanding all his wisdom, he had made a misgrab, for Noah, the chief of the saved, soon unmasked as a brand old toper, with whom his daughters raised “flail Columbia.” What good could ever
come of so degraded a family?
Again mankind spread; again they developed to such simpletons and rapscallions in sin — about whom the renowned Mecklenburger sang-book states so much viciousness —
that God felt like bursting with heavenly wrath, the more so, as all his exemplary local punishments, such as the destruction of whole cities with fire and brimstone, were entirely disregarded and “thrown to the dogs.” He resolved to destroy the
whole mob, root and branch, when a really remarkable event occurred, which toned, him down considerably. Otherwise mankind would have been done for long ago.
One fine day a certain “holy ghost” suddenly
appeared upon the stage. He came hither like a wart over night, nobody knew whence. The Bible-scribe (God) merely says lie himself was the holy ghost. All at once we have to deal with a dual deity. Said holy ghost took a notion to descend in the shape of a
dove, or rather of a cock-pigeon, and to enter into an intimacy with an obscure woman named Mary. In a sweet hour he “overshadowed” the selected of his heart, and lo! she gave birth to a baby boy, which occurrence, as God positively avers in the
Bible, never encroached the least bit upon her virginity. Now, this boy was not only human, he was also God, being the son of God (of the holy ghost). The first mentioned God now called himself God the father, at the same time assuring us of his identity not
only with the holy ghost, but also with God the son. The father to be his own son, the son his own father, and either or both the holy ghost. Thus the “holy trinity” was shaped. — Neat!
now, poor human brain, stand firm, for what now follows is enough to stagger a horse. We know that God the father had resolved to fricasee the whole human rabble. This intention filled the son with unbearable sorrow. He (being his own father), shouldered all
the guilt of man; and allowed himself to appease the fury of the father (being his own son), to be cruelly put to death by the “to be redeemed” rabble — of course, not without subsequently ascending hale and hearty to heaven. This sacrifice
of the son (who is one with the father), tickled the father (who is one with the son), to such an extent that he immediately proclaimed a general amnesty — under conditions — which partly remain in force to-day.
That is the “historical” part in the “Holy Scriptures.” Here we see that absurdity and nonsense are put on so thick that those who already idiotic enough to digest such stuff are susceptible to the most crazy hallucinations.
Among these must be classed first and foremost the doctrine of reward and punishment of mankind in the “great hereafter.” It has long ago been scientifically proved that there is no existence of a soul independent of the body. That which the religious
humbuggers call soul, is nothing more or less than the seat of thought, the brain, which receives impressions by means of the living senses, and by such impressions becomes active; and consequently, at the moment of physical dissolution this action necessarily
must cease. But what care the deadly enemies to human reason for the results of scientific research? Just as much as is necessary to prevent their promulgation among the people.
And so they preach the immortality of the soul. Woe to it in the “hereafter,”
if the body which here held it, has not punctiliously respected God’s penal code during life. As these folks assure us, their “all bountiful,” “all righteous,” “all benevolent,” “all merciful” God is a
super-highly developed pokenose, sniffling into the minutest affairs and trifles of each and every individual, and making entries of all their shortcomings in his blacklist. He is quite a queer coon anyway. Under danger of giving new born babes a bad cold,
he desires that, to his glory, they be drenched with water (otherwise baptized).
He takes a heathenish delight in hearing an innumerable herd of his faithful sheep bleat their litanies to hire from their church-stalls,
consecrated to such practices, or when the most devoted of his adherents send aloft without cessation their pious “caterwaulings” and pray, or rather beg for all things possible and impossible, while he participates in bloody wars and receives
the thanksgivings and frankincense of the victors as the “God of battles.”
He gets riproaring mad if anybody doubts his existence, or when a Catholic cats meat on Friday, or does not by repeated application
to the confessional chair scrub off his sins; or when a Protestant does not hold in contempt the bones of saints and the paraphernalia and images prescribed for Catholics, or when he does not, as a rule, toddle through the world with a face long enough to
stop a clock, turned up eyes, bent back and folded hands.
If such a person dies impenitent, then his “all merciful” God decrees a punishment to him, in comparison to which all the scourges of the knout
or cat-o’-nine tails, all pangs and sufferings of prison life, all privations of deportation and exile, all emotions of those sentenced to the scaffold, all pains of the rack and other instruments of torture that human tyrants ever invented, are only
pleasant, agreeable, tickling sensations. This God exceeds in bestial cruelty everything malignant that we know of on earth. His prison is hell, his handman the devil, and his punishments last forever. He employs worms that never cease gnawing, fires which
are never quenched, and other deviltries a thousandfold as chastisements and only shows mercy for minor transgressions after long periods of time, provided the transgressor died a Catholic; for these he has under certain circumstances provided a “purgatory,”
which differs from hell about as much as a jail from prison. It is fitted up only for comparatively transient inmates, with somewhat more lenient regulations; — but, at any rate, even in purgatory you will be singed mercilessly.
The so-called “cardinal sins” are never punished with purpatory, always with hell. These include among others “blasphemy,” perpetrated by word, by writing, or by thought. Consequently, in this direction God permit neither
freedom of the press, nor speech, not even of the unspoken thought. This in itself is enough to stamp him from the outset as a successful competitor in churlishness with the basest despots and tyrants of any country or time, but the means and the duration
of his punishments augment the baseness of his nature to the utmost. Consequently this God is the most atrocious monster conceivable.
His attitude is the more infamous in that he allows it to be said of him,
that the entire world, and especially mankind in their behavior, are regulated by his omnipotent divine providence. He maltreats man for actions of which he himself is the originator or prime cause. How amiable, compared with this monster, are the tyrants
of earth of the past and present time. Should it please God, however to permit a person to live and die happy in accordance with his (God’s) conceptions, he maltreats him still worse, because the promised “heaven,” examined by gaslight, is
a good deal worse institution than hell itself; for there you have no desires, you are always satisfied, without eve having a longing for anything. (But as without desire and attainment thereof no gratification is possible, so existence in heaven is without
enjoyment.) Eternally employed in “beholding the Lord,” eternally listening to the same strains from the same harps, eternally singing that same new and entrancing song in the same melody if not the one of “Gabriel blowing the trumpet in
the morning,” surely not anything more exhilarating.
This is the highest degree of getting-tired-after-a-whilishness. The occupancy of an isolated prison cell would be decidedly preferable. It is not surprising,
then, that those who are rich and mighty enough to enjoy paradise on earth, should laughingly proclaim with Heine,
angels and the birds may own
The heavens for themselves alone!”
And yet the rich and mighty foster and nourish divine idiocy and religious stupidity. It is, in fact, part of their business; It is, in fact, part of their business; it is really a question of life or death
to the domineering and exploiting classes, whether the people at large are dumbfounded religiously or not. With religious lunacy stands and falls their power. The more man clings to religion, the more he believes — the more he believes the less he knows
— the less he knows, the more stupid he is — the more stupid, the easier he is governed — the easier to govern, the better he may be exploited — the more exploited, the poorer he gets — the poorer he, the richer and mightier the
domineering classes get — the more riches and power they amass, the heavier their yoke upon the neck of the people.
The tyrants of all time and of all countries were always well acquainted with this
train of thought, and for that reason always were on good terms with the priesthood of all creeds. Casual quarrels between these two kinds of enemies to mankind were at all times only of a domestic character, merely a struggle for supremacy. The priests or
preachers know that they are done for, unless they have the “upper tendom” for a prop. It is no secret to the rich and powerful that mankind can only be enslaved and exploited when the necromancers of the churches ingraft sufficient servility into
the hearts of the masses of the people to make them look upon the earth as a vale of tears, to imbue their minds with the justness of the godly decree; “Serve ye your master” (those in authority), and to buy them off with an alleged “spare-rib”
of which the people will get the soup in that home beyond the skies, the “Nobodyknows.”
Mr. Windthorst, Member of the German Parliament, Arch-Jesuit and Champion of the Clerical Faction, once in the heat of debate gave
us plainly to understand what the frauds and charlatans of society think in regard to this matter. “When the people lose their faith” — said he — “they will no longer bear their intolerable misery, but rebel!” — That
was to the point, and should have aroused the minds of all work people to earnest reflection, if — yes, — if the great majority of them had not become religious imbeciles to such an extent, that it were an utter impossibility to comprehend the
simplest ideas, tho heard with normal ears.
It is not in vain that the priesthood of all sorts — i.e., the “black gensdarmerie” despotism — have always so strenuously exerted themselves to prevent
the retrogression of religious sentiment, altho, as is well-known, when among themselves they could burst with laughter over the nonsense they preach for ready cash.
During thousands of years these brain-defilers
have instituted a reign of terror, without which the religions craze would long since have been abolished. Scaffold and sword, dungeon and chains, poison and poignards, assassination and judicial murder, these were the means by which the religious insanity
was upheld, forever a, blot of shame in the history of the human race. Hundreds of thousands have been slowly roasted to death at the stake “in the name of God” because they dared to fend a stink in the biblical mire. Millions have in tedious wars
been compelled to break each other’s heads, to burn and sack entire countries, and, after wholesale murder and incendiarism, to spread disease and pestilence, all to maintain religion. The most excruciating tortures were invented by the priests and their
accomplices to scare those into religion by the application of mundane devilishness, who had ceased to fear God.
When a man maims the hands or feet of another, we say he is a criminal what shall we call those
who maim the intellect of man, and, failing in that attempt, with refined cruelty destroy the body inch by inch?
It is certainly true that to-day they can not carry on their nefarious “Godly” brigandage in the manner formerly in vogue, but in lieu thereof
have taken to worming into domestic affairs of families, influencing women, kidnaping children, and misusing the schools for the furtherance of their ends. Their hypocrisy has rather increased than diminished. After their attempts to abolish the newly discovered
art of printing had signally failed, they with their usual cunning and craftiness utilized it, and have gradually to a great extent made the press of today servile to their cause.
An old adage says, “Where
a priest has trod, no grass will grow!” That means in other words, if a person is once in the clutches of the priests, his intellect becomes barren — his intellectual functions cease to operate in a normal way, and instead religious maggots and
divine worms wriggle through his brain. He resembles a sheep that has the staggers.
These misguided, unhappy wretches have been defrauded of the real object of life; and, what is worse, they form the great crowd
in the train of the, opponents to science and the march of reason, to evolution and liberty. Whenever new chains are to be forged for mankind, they are wiling to work: at the anvil as if possessed by demons. Whenever the road of progressive development is
to be blockaded by obstacles, these Kaffirs oppose in their broadest front to the spirit of the times. The attempt to cure such imbeciles is not only a piece of good work to them, it is really an, attempt to cauterize a cancer which brings suffering to the
whole people and: which must ultimately be unconditionally extirpated, of this earth is to become a fit habitation for mankind instead of being a play ground for Gods and devils to torment us.
Out then with
religion from he heads of the people, and down with priesthood! The latter are in the habit of saying, “The aim sanctifies the means.” Very well, let us apply this precept against there. Our aim is to make mankind independent of every condition
of slavery, of the yoke of social servitude as well as of the shackles of political tyranny, and, not least because last, of all bane of religious darkness. All means to attain this object, and made use of at all opportunities offering, will be acknowledged
just and right by every true philanthropist.
Every person, possessing common sense in place of religious insanity, neglecting to do the utmost in his power, daily, hourly, to overthrow religion, shirks a duty. Every person,
released from deistic superstition, forbearing to oppose priesthood where, when and however an opportunity presents itself, is a traitor of his cause. Therefore, war to the black hounds! Implacable war to the knife! Incite against the seducers of man, enlighten
the seduced! Let us make every means of strife subservient: The scourge of derision and scorn, the torch of science and knowledge, and where these are insufficient — weightier arguments — those that will be felt.
For the ignorant, or rather those, craftily made and kept so, if they appear to have a little sense left, the following questions will be proper:
“If God desires that we know, love and
fear him, why does he not show himself? — If he is as good as the clergy tell its, what reason is there to fear him? If he is omniscient, — why bother him with private affairs and prayers? — If he is omnipresent, why build him churches? —
If he is just, why the supposition that man, whom he created full, of faults, shall be punished? — If man does good only by the grace of God, why should he be rewarded? — If he is omnipotent, how can he permit that we blaspheme? — If lie
is inconceivable, why shall we occupy ourselves with him? — If the knowledge of God is necessary, why does he remain obscure?” Such questions are puzzles to them.
Every thinking person must
admit, that not one single proof of the existence of a God has ever been found; and besides this, there is not the least necessity for the existence of God. As we know the inherent properties and laws of nature, the presence of God, either within or beyond
this nature, is really to no purpose, quite superfluous and evidently untenable. Morally the necessity for his existence is still more insignificant.
There is a large empire, ruled by a potentate, whose demeanor creates
differences of opinion in the minds of his subjects. He wants to be known, loved and honored, and that all shall obey him, but he never shows himself. Every one endeavors to confound the conception of him by individual nations. The people, subjected to his
power, have only such ideas about the character and laws of their invisible sovereign as his ministers see fit to make known, altho the latter admit, at the same time, that they are unable themselves to form a conception of their master, that his will is inscrutable,
his views of things and, his properties unfathomable, and that even his servants disagree about the decrees sent forth by him; for in every province of his empire, the laws differ, and they accuse each other of having altered and forged them. These edicts
and commandments, which they claim to have authority to promulgate, are obscure; they are conundrums, which the subjects for whose special benefit and enlightenment they are issued, can neither understand nor solve. The laws of this hidden monarch require
explanation, but those who explain are ever at variance themselves. Everthing that they, relate about their concealed’ sovereign is a chaotic mass of contradictions. They do not say one word that could not at once be proved as a lie. They speak of him
as exceedingly good, but still there is no individual existing who does not complain of his mandates. They speak of him as infinitely wise, but yet in his administration everything opposes common sense and reason. They praise his justice, and still the best
of his subjects are, as a rule, the least favored. They assure us that he sees everything, still his omnipresence alleviates no distress. He is, they say, a friend of order, yet in his domain everything is confusion and disorder. All his actions are self-determined,
yet occurrences seldom if ever bear out his plans. He can penetrate the future, but does not know the things that will come to pass. He permits no insult to himself to go unpunished, but still submits to them from everyone. They are amazed at his knowledge
and the perfection of his works, yet his works are imperfect and of short duration, for he creates, destroys, and constantly improves upon that which he has made, without even being satisfied with his productions. All his enterprises are for the sake of glory,
yet his purpose, to be universally glorified, is never attained. He labors incessantly for the welfare of his subjects, but the most of them are in dire distress for the necessities of life. Those whom he apparently seems to favor most are the least satisfied
with their lot. We sec them nearly all refractory to a, master, whose grandeur” they admire, whose wisdom they praise, whose benevolence they honor, whose justice they fear, and whose commandments they revere, but never keep. The empire is the earth;
this sovereign is God; his vassals are the priests; his subjects are mankind — a fine conglomeration.
The God of the Christians, as we have seen, is the God who makes promises only to break them; who
sends them pestilence and disease, in order to heal them; a God who demoralizes mankind in order to improve them. A God who created man “after his own image;” and still the origin of evil in man is not accredited to him. A God who saw that all
his works were good, and soon after discovered that they were bad; who knew that man would eat of the forbidden fruit, and still eternally damned him therefore. A God who is so dull as to allow himself to be outwitted by the devil; so cruel that no tyrant
on earth can be compared with Mini — that is the God of the Jewish-Christian theology. He is an all-wise bungler who created mankind perfectly, lint could not keep them in that state; who created the devil, yet could not keep him under control; a God
who is omnipresent, yet descended from Heaven to see what mankind was doing; who is merciful, and yet has, at times, permitted the slaughter of millions. An Almighty, who damned millions of innocent for the faults of a few who caused the deluge to destroy
mankind excepting a very few with whom to start a new generation, no better than the preceding — who created a Heaven for the fools who believe in the “gospel,” and a hell for the enlightened who repudiate it. A divine charlatan who created
himself through the Holy Ghost, and then sent himself as mediator between himself and others, and who, held in contempt and derided by his enemies, was nailed to a cross, like a bat on a barndoor; who was buried — arose from the dead — descended
to hell — ascended to Heaven, and since then for eighteen hundred years has been sitting at his own right hand to judge the living — and the dead when the living lead ceased to exist. A terrible despot! whose history should be written in letters
of blood, because it is a religion of terror.
Away then with the Christian theology! Away with a God invented by preachers of the bloody faith, who, without their important nothing, by means of which they explain everything,
could no longer revel in superfluity; no longer glorify poverty, and live in luxury themselves; no longer preach submission and practice arrogance; but who would, through the march of reason, be hurled into the deepest depths of oblivion.
Away then with the malignant trinity — the murderous father — the unnatural son — the lascivious ghost! Away with all the debasing phantasies in whose name man is degraded to miserable slavery, and through the almighty power
of falsehood has been deluded into hoping for the joys of Heaven as an indemnification for the miseries of earth. Away then with those, who with their sanctified hallucinations are the curses of liberty and happiness — the priesthood of all sorts!
God is merely a spectre, fabricated by designing scoundrels, through which mankind is tyrannized and kept in constant dread. But the phantom instantly dissolves, when examined under the glass of sober reflection. The defrauded
masses become impatient... and no longer fear the bugbear, but will rather hold out to the priesthood the word of the poet:
“A curse to the idols to whom we pray’d, That in winter our hunger
and cold be stay’d, In vain did we hope, in vain did we wait, To be humbugg’d and fool’d was ever our fate.”
It is to be hoped that they will not stand humbug ging and fooling much
longer, but will, one of these fine clays throw their crucifixes and saints in the fire, “transform their crucifixes and chalices into useful utensils, and make of their church” — theatres, concert and assembly halls, or, should they not
be serviceable for that purpose, use them as cornbins or stables — find useful work for the priests and nuns, and then be surprised at themselves for not having done it long before.
This short and terse method
will, of course, only be consummated in the storm of the coming social revolution; in fact, at that moment, when the conspirators of priesthood, the princes, the nobility, the bureaucrats, the capitalists; and the exploiters of all kinds, are swept away as
by a whirlwind, there cleaning state and church with an iron broom of the accumulated mire of centuries.