The Dance of Equality, Technology and Spirituality

10 years ago someone said to me, “These days you may not even know your next door neighbor, but you exchange emails with your buddy in South Africa twice a week.”  I looked out the window at the house next to mine – barely knew the neighbors – and yes I was sitting there sending emails to someone in some far-off country.

Every week I get on conference calls and say hi to everyone and barely think twice about the fact that I’ve got 17 people from Texas, four from Perth, one from Amsterdam, one in Alaska, one in Lebanon.

Ever heard Thomas Friedman’s “McDonalds theory of world peace”? He observes that with only one exception, no two countries with a McDonalds have ever gone to war with each other.

Can you imagine, say, the US going to war with Australia? Think of all the emails the senators and congressmen would get: “Hey, stop trying to kill my customers! And by the way, here’s a list of 115 blogs from people who are trapped in the Siege of Sydney right now!”

The world is truly a strange and wonderful place. Just before I went on a trip, I loaded the first season of The Dukes of Hazzard on my video iPod so my 10 year old son would have something to watch while we trucked down Interstate 80.

That TV show ran in 1979 – the year that *I* was 10 years old. I said to Laura, “Who would’ve thought that 25 years later you’d be able to download an entire season of the Dukes of Hazzard onto a device that’s half the size of a pack of cigarettes, and our kids would watch it in the car with headphones and a 2″ screen?” We shake our heads in amazement.

OK, so what does all this have to do with spirituality?

Equality and technology… They have everything to do with spirituality.

Let’s start with equality.

The United States Declaration of Independence makes a world-shattering declaration that transformed the modern world:

“We hold these things to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

In his book “Democracy in America” (1835) Alexis de Tocqueville carefully traces this statement and its idea of equality backward through history and lands at Galatians 3:28, the words of St. Paul:

“In Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. All are equal in Christ Jesus.”

Before Paul said this, no one had ever made such a bold and sweeping statement. No one. Not the Jews or Babylonians, not the Egyptians, not the Greeks, not the Chinese. The concept of equality came first from Paul.

This idea got planted in western civilization and began to grow and develop, little by little dismantling slave trade, sowing the seeds for democracy and spurring technological and political progress. Tocqueville says that from 1100 AD to the present, every major development led to more equality, not less. The Magna Carta. The invention of the horseshoe. The invention of the gun and the post office and the printing press and democracy.

If you live in a democracy and you’re thankful for the ability to vote, if you’re thankful that people generally consider you and themselves to be just as good as anybody else, then thank Paul. And his Rabbi, Jesus.

Because – despite what the Declaration says – equality really is NOT self evident. At least it wasn’t to any of the ancient world prior to 2000 years ago. On the surface, we’re all different. Some are stronger. Some are smarter. Some have more money. Some are politically connected. Some are more savvy.

And some people get the scraps.

You have no principle to guide you but winners and losers. Which, divorced from any overriding sense of equality or individual dignity, is a cruel master.

But when Paul said this, he was declaring that there is an underlying *spiritual* reality, that yours and my true identity doesn’t come from accomplishments or money or power but from our Heavenly Father. That once we know that true identity we’re no longer slaves to money and power and accomplishments and the ‘natural’ order of things.

If you’re thankful that Western Civilization today considers all people to be intrinsically equal, be thankful that a young couple in Bethlehem gave birth to a baby who was to become the most loved, most hated, most argued about, most written about, most influential person in the history of the world. One who taught that the greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. One in whom there is no male or female, no Jew nor Greek, no slave nor free.

So then how about technology?

Science itself is, at its core, a presumption of discoverable underlying order. A belief, an assumption (which cannot be proven in advance, by the way) that when an apple falls from a tree it does so because of some law of nature that caused it to do so. That there was a string of cause and effect that can be traced back to explain why this happened.

The apple did not fall from the tree because, say, Zeus was having a snit with Apollo and that’s why there was the lightning storm which is why there was a wind that caused the apple to swing back and forth and fall from the tree…. no, it happened for rational discoverable reasons. That God made a world which could operate consistently on its own without Him constantly making corrections from the outside.

So far as I can tell, the inspiration for this belief first came from Wisdom of Solomon 11:21:

“Thou hast ordered all things in measure and number and weight.”

(The Protestants omitted that book, but our Catholic friends thankfully left it in.)

If a scientist does not presume that there is a rational reason for what he is about to investigate, there is nothing for him to investigate at all. Belief in rationality comes from belief in a rational God. A God who wants us to discover His universe. For whom such discovery is an act of worship.

If you read the history of science over the last 500 years, the only reason science succeeded in the West – after getting started but failing in Greece, Rome, China, Egypt and in the Arab world – is that Christian theology understood God to have created the universe to operate according to fixed discoverable laws.  Theology made that prediction, then people had a philosophical basis for having a scientific method.

In his fascinating book “The Victory of Reason” historian Rodney Stark further explains that the forward march of technology began after the fall of the Roman Empire and has marched steadily forward ever since. Equality implied that slavery was wrong, so people had to develop technology in order to free their slaves and still get the work done.

So… part of the inspiration for inventions like water wheels was a belief in dignity and freedom and the rights of the individual.
Technology is supposed to empower people, not enslave them. Because, as Paul said, in Christ, all are equal.

If you trace these ideas back through history, equality and technology and even iPods and Democracy have everything to do with our very beliefs about the universe and about God. And yes, even Jesus.

Case in point: it’s politically incorrect to say “Merry Christmas” cuz it’s too religious. Instead you get a tepid, watered down “Happy Holidays.”

It’s because Christ is offensive. When a guy smashes his thumb with a hammer, he doesn’t say “Krishna” or “Buddha,” he says Jesus Christ. Because that’s the most loaded, most powerful word in the English language.

There’s no name you can invoke that’s more powerful than the Son of God.

~~~

Do you know what the most important invention in the history of the world was?

It wasn’t the computer.  And it sure wasn’t the light bulb or the telephone.  (Or even the electronic voting machine.)
It was the printing press.

In 1445, Johannes Gutenberg invented the world’s first movable type printing press.  He didn’t know it, but he was unleashing a revolution that continues to this day.  Even the mighty Internet in the 21st century is just an extension of Gutenberg’s original, revolutionary machine.

The first book he printed was the Bible.  And that led to controversy, too, because Luther translated it into German, the people’s language, instead of Latin, the lingo of the religious elite.

Suddenly, ordinary folks could not only afford a copy, but they could read it for themselves instead of getting some guy’s slanted interpretation.  Soon the cat was out of the bag–there were copies scattered all over Europe.

It’s no coincidence that the scientific enlightenment and industrial revolution began in earnest within 50 years of this.  Not that it wasn’t already underway (it had already gathered considerable momentum) but now that ordinary folks had access to knowledge and the freedom to pursue it, the possibilities were limitless.

The printing press took the handcuffs off of knowledge and spirituality, and the world has never been the same.  Equal access to knowledge empowered people everywhere, and it was only natural that the Renaissance, and in time, democracy too would follow.

Every year at Christmas we celebrate the person who inspired these revolutions. Jesus’ teachings were radical and scandalous. He claimed to be the Son of God. He said he would rise from the dead, and according to the historical accounts, he did. He stepped into the world and split time in half: BC and AD. And his words still resonate throughout the earth today.

Still rolls the stone from the grave.

In the spirit of what Jesus taught us, I hope that you’ll use our 21st century printing press, the Internet, to not enslave but empower individuals. To bring more equality, to make the world a better place for your fellow man.

Thanks for reading.

Perry Marshall

305 Responses to “The Dance of Equality, Technology and Spirituality”

  1. Tony Rush says:

    Wonderful article — I particularly like the “McDonald’s Theory of World Peace”. An interesting way to make an observation through the lens of pop-culture. 🙂

    Also, as a slight clarification, the concept of “we are all equal” was taught by in India by Buddha 500 years before Paul’s ministry in Israel.

    This obviously doesn’t invalidate the power of Paul’s message at all. Nor do I think being “first to market” with this teaching is relevant. I suspect that Buddha wasn’t the first to spread that message, either.

    Great stuff!
    Tony

  2. Duncan Pugh says:

    Hi Perry

    Thanks for that email I enjoyed reading it very much. However I cannot accept any supernatural aspects to my beliefs about Jesus and I think you will find that the idea of equality is implicit in the teachings and example of the Buddha, who pre-dates Jesus by at least 400 years, and is at least latent, if not explicit, in Greek philosophy in the 4th century BCE. Furthermore, without Islam I doubt if we would have been anywhere near as ‘technologically advanced’ as we are and there are numerous ways in which we are enslaved by technology and indeed so-called ‘equality’.

    If you want to know some of my gestating views about spirituality in our society then take a look at my website: http://www.bluecrucifix.co.uk

    Thanks again

    Duncan

    • perrymarshall says:

      If you have specific Buddhist or Greek quotations about equality I’d be open to hearing them.

      • Duncan Pugh says:

        Galatians 3:28, the words of St. Paul:

        “In Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. All are equal in Christ Jesus.”

        Perry,

        Your request for specific quotations begs similar questions to ones I would like to ask regarding issues surrounding the provenance and the socio-historical contexts of the reading and writing of the above quotation referred to in your email. The contexts within or without which ‘you’, ‘your readers’, ‘de Tocqueville’ and, yes, ‘Paul’ were or are reading and writing.

        There is strong evidence that the quotation from Paul itself is influenced by Greek philosophical ideas that inevitably lead to the notion of equality, at least on the philosophical, if not the ‘ethical’, level. Namely, the philosophical and historical Greco-Roman influence upon Judaism, around and between 100 BCE and 100CE

        I call ‘equality’ a notion here because I feel that we are very far from formulating an absolutely objective definition of this term as I write. I am not even certain that it is a reliable foundation for a coherent or fruitful ethic; even if we accept your rather unconvincing assertion that technology grew out of the idea of equality and has resulted in a diminution of slavery. For the Greeks, Hindus and Romans, slavery was understood as an aspect of the natural order of the universe and, therefore, society. Who can tell if we are not making similar assumptions about our world?

        There are many people, especially during the last 200 years, who would and have argued that technological advancement has served to enslave us at least as much, if not more, than it has freed us. Of course, slavery, as it would have been defined in Ancient Greece and India, or the Roman Empire of which Paul was a citizen, has certainly diminished. Yet, are there not new forms of slavery, alongside the remnants of its more ‘ancient’ manifestations that are not so obvious to those of us alive today?

        So forgive me for the lack of specific quotations and allow me to be more general in trying to show how the idea of equality, or at least its seeds or saplings, can be traced in Plato’s writings. There is much evidence to support the view that the Greeks were influenced by Buddhist and by extension Hindu ideas:

        • Concerning the Greeks then, it is a central claim throughout Plato’s writings that knowledge is innate and that to know is really to remember through a process of questioning our assumptions and in doing so revealing the true nature of the particular self and its universal innate ability to access the most important truths. A fortunate example in the context of this discussion is Plato’s Meno. Meno asks Socrates if it is possible to teach virtue. Socrates’ answer is to teach Meno’s slave how to solve a geometrical problem through a process of questioning rather than through the transmission of information. The whole dialogue is designed to convince the reader that EVERYBODY has access to the highest form of knowledge, in this case, as it should be, virtue or ethics. The dialogue is designed to refute ethical relativism. I am not alone in believing that such ideas inevitably lead to the notion of equality.
        • When we examine the variety of understandings of the relationship between atman (self or ego) with Brahman (the One God or the Supreme Being) in Hinduism it is not difficult to see strong affinities with Greek thought. In this case all living beings are understood as being part of the universal. In the ‘Upanishads’, perhaps the most important of all Hindu texts, we can see atman coming to be identified with/as Brahman. Almost certainly all of the ‘Upanishads’ pre-date Paul. The identification of atman with/as Brahman also implies equality, although this was not reflected in the societies in which they were written.
        • The teachings and example of the Buddha in his development and response to the Hindu beliefs and social order of his own time reject this idea of atman being identified with/as Brahman. In place of this, the Buddha teaches, amongst many other things, the doctrine of anatta/anatman (not/no-self), at the same time he challenges the social order, the idea of slavery and in the teaching of dukkha (suffering/pain/unsatisfactoriness) shows how all are equal in the face of sickness, ageing and death.

        I hope that wasn’t too long and makes sense to everybody. I am happy to elaborate further, if you’re interested.

        The living ethical world is spirit in its truth. G W F Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807.

      • solomon david says:

        live let live -mahavir jainism 500bc

  3. Mikhail Ramendik says:

    Ever heard Thomas Friedman’s “McDonalds theory of world peace”? He observes that with only one exception, no two countries with a McDonalds have ever gone to war with each other.

    ==

    I’m afraid this has been decisively proven wrong, by two wars with decidedly different sides involved.

    In one case, in 1999, the US attacked Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia has a McDonalds since 1988.

    In the other case, in 2008, Russia and Georgia went to war. Russia has a McDonalds since 1990 and Georgia since 1999.

    Source for McDonalds arrivals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_McDonald%27s_franchises

    (I am not trying to discuss here who was right in either conflict. But the fact remains that the theory is disproved).

    • perrymarshall says:

      Mikhail,

      I think Friedman’s theory was first proposed about 10 years ago. At the time there was only one exception. So yes, 2008 is another exception. But this hardly detracts from the pattern – that people with full stomachs are much less interested in taking up arms against others. So there are only 2 exceptions to his theory – it’s a pretty useful if not bulletproof theory.

  4. Gary Walker says:

    Yo Perry,

    Thank you for the essay, but almost everything you said in the above is wrong. Slavery didn’t end because of Jesus and, the real creator of Christianity, Paul. It ended in spite of Christianity. Neither Jesus, who was not Paul’s rabbi, nor Paul said that slavery was wrong. Neither did the really big god say slavery was wrong. “Slavery was condoned in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.” – Jefferson Davis. Slavery was a church institution endorsed in the Bible for 18 centuries after the fairy tale of Jesus emerged from the myths of ignorant men. If Christianity was responsible for ending slavery, it would have ended in the fourth century, but the Catholic church went on to become the world’s largest slave owner.

    And women are not equal in the Bible either. They are mere posessions, created “for the glory of man.” 1Cor. 11:7 And what does it mean to say that all are equal in Christ? Christ left us. You have to die to get to Christ. While here on Earth, slaves must obey their masters, and women their husbands, or so we are told over and over again in the Bible. Paul even sent a runaway slave back to his master. I wonder what happened to poor Onesimus? In Exodus 21 the cruel, pety, jealous, Bible god allows you to beat your slaves to death and sell your children into slavery. Two out of the Ten Commandments condone slavery.

    I do agree that the greatest invention to man may be the printing press. But what happened after copies of the Bible were available to many. They started slitting each others throats over dogma. The Catholic church new this would happen and so they banned anyone from reading the Bible or printing it in the common vernacular. “Men never do evil so well and so cheerfully as when they do it with religious conviction.” Blaise Pascal

    America emerged from the bloody soils of Europe because of the Age Of Enlightenment, which was a rejection of church control and bigotry. It was a secular humanist endeavor that gave us a secular and godless constitution. The first country in the world based on the principle of Freedom From Religion. Bravo!

    And to say that Jesus and Paul contributed to scientific discoveries is rediculous. They never once told people to think, but to believe. “Ignorance is the mother of devotion.” – Pope Gregory the great said and then he burned the library of Rome. And of course there was Hypatia and on and on. “Science is what we know. God is what we don’t know.” Robert Ingersoll

    Amen,
    Infidel

    • perrymarshall says:

      Gary,

      I suggest you start by reading Tocqueville, who is regarded by nearly all scholars as a first-rate historian. Thank you for your Infidel re-write of history.

      • Henri-Paul Indiogine says:

        Interesting. A rebuttal that is not rebutting anything. Alexis de Tocqueville is but one data point and quite and ancient one. How about some contemporary historians?

      • David White says:

        Perry,

        I appreciate being included in your discussion on Technology and Equality.

        I have a comment I’d deeply request you consider: If you plan on placing your beliefs on the web for all to read, and then invite participation and commentary, you cannot then just blithely deny the responses as unworthy of serious consideration. By claiming a reasoned reply like Gary’s above is merely a “rewrite” of history gives support to those who — very rightly — claim that many religions, Christianity included, deny rational thought. Nor can you simply refer back to a singular source, like de Toqueville, and claim that’s the answer to everything.

        That is the inherrent error in any religious debate about science: science looks at all evidence, not just the ones currently supported or “believed in” by the supporter. Or at least, an inclusive scientific method is best supported by such efforts of inquiry.

        Gary is quite right in his many comments, not the least of which is that equality is not fully supported throughout the Bible (take a look at the tome on inequality entitled “. Another nail in the coffin to that argument is 1st Peter 3:7: “Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” “Weaker partner,” eh?

        But the most glaring error in your post, in my humble opinion, is your suggestion that “the forward march of technology began after the fall of the Roman Empire and has marched steadily forward ever since.” No such a thing!

        Have you ever studied the reasons behind the term “The Dark Ages?” The Catholic Church did everything in its power to deny any non-canonical teaching! The burning of significant books of learning became common, from the aforementioned destruction of the Library of Rome, to the final (and perhaps most consuming) burning of the Library of Alexander. Targeted were the ancient foundations of rationalism, the Greeks, who were not reintroduced to the West until returning Crusaders brought them back from the surprisingly much more tolerant Islamic scribes — tolerant of knowledge, at least. In fact, the most advanced nation during much of the Middle Ages was Spain, due to their melting pot of islam and Judaism, which had been pushed out of many other Christian countries.

        Only when Church-ordered destruction of heretical texts was disobeyed, and books were hidden or buried, did such valuable learning survive centuries later, as with the banned Nag Hammadi scrolls, which had all been ordered burned by Bishop Athanasius in 327 AD. Interestingly, one of the banned “heretical” texts wasn’t even religious — it was Plato’s “Republic.” “Forward march” indeed!

        And when burning books wasn’t enough to quell dissident thought, there was no end to burning the heretics themselves, many of whom only sinned when looking outside the “laws” allowed by the Bible. You think when Galileo was threatened with death for claiming the Earth revolved around the sun, that he believed there was a “forward march” of technology?

        And it’s stunning that you would include the invention of the movable-type printing press, without also mentioning that one of the most important outcomes was the availability of the Bible in personal, non-theological hands. Why is that an egregious omission? Because immediately, the Church BANNED ownership of its own book, the Bible, possession of which was enough to be condemned to death.

        Perry, I applaud your search for the connection between modern technology and early Christian thought. But someday you may come to understand why I came to this conclusion arrived at long ago: whatever Jesus’ wonderful, original teachings, they were immediately subsumed by the power-hungry elite, and used to further male-dominated, closed-minded efforts to keep themselves in power. From Paul’s subverted “Pauline tradition,” to the first Council of Nicea (where the “divinity” of Jesus had to be debated), through to such acts as the “Donation of Constantine,” where Rome was given superiority over Byzantium through a forged document, the history of the Church in the West is one of consistently subverting the search for non-canonical truth.

        TemplarScribe
        http://www.MichaelDelving.com
        http://www.EternalHorizons.com

        • David White says:

          The title of the book I refered to in an early paragraph (that got excluded) was “The Woman’s Bible.”

          From its wiki: “‘The Woman’s Bible’ is a two-part book, written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and a committee of 26 women, and published in 1895 and 1898 to challenge the traditional position of religious orthodoxy that woman should be subservient to man. By producing the book, Stanton wished to promote a radical liberating theology, one that stressed self-development. The book attracted a great deal of controversy and antagonism at its introduction.”

          Ever in the hunt for truth,

          TenmplarScribe

        • perrymarshall says:

          David,

          Gary is trying to tell us that Jesus never existed. His credibility with me is spent before the sentence is done coming out of his mouth. I know that sounds harsh, but such a view is so far on the fringe as to be absurd.

          Let’s take his comments in turn:

          “Slavery was a church institution.” Where did he get that? Is he just making this up? You can look up “Christianity in Slavery” on Wikipedia and there is a long sordid history we can discuss. But a church institution?

          That is a lie. Religious conviction is what drove the statement in the US declaration of independence “All men are created equal” and you will notice nobody has disputed that point. That statement ultimately caused slavery to fall in the US and elsewhere. Where did this idea come from? You can say anything you want about Paul but Paul is the first person that said all are equal with that level of force.

          “Weaker partner” Read that verse again – this is not a pejorative statement. What is Paul’s point? For husbands to be sensitive. To listen. To understand. You’re twisting valid relationship advice into misogyny. Are women physically weaker than men? Yes, we all know that. Paul is saying TREAT YOUR WIVES WITH RESPECT SO YOUR PRAYERS WILL NOT BE HINDERED. If you think that’s misogyny then you have gravely misunderstood his point. Again, this is the typical Infidel jaundiced eye. Believing that Paul HAD to have meant something bad because he was such an evil person.

          Nonsense.

          Women “Mere possessions”?

          Again, nonsense. The NT never said that. Refer to my previous statement.

          Paul sent a runaway slave back to his master. With a plea that the master regard him as a brother and not a slave. EQUALITY of respect and treatment regardless of gender, race or social status.

          BIble God allows you to beat your slaves to death? My book says:

          if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. 26 “If a man hits a manservant or maidservant in the eye and destroys it, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the eye. 27 And if he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the tooth.

          I’m sorry but Gary’s arguments are one version of “Jesus never even existed” after another. Zero credibility.

          I fully acknowledge that religious institutions have done all manner of evil things. I do not defend those things, I condemn them just like you do. I do not find anything that Jesus said endorsing such behavior – quite the opposite in fact. The Protestant Reformation is one example of a major course correction within the church. Yes, I do understand, the church didn’t want people reading their Bibles. Gary doesn’t want people to read the Bible either. And he’s no better. You know what the tragedy is? It’s that you tell me “Christianity” is all the misdeeds of the Catholic Church (conveniently ignoring all the good things they did) rather than “Christianity” being the teachings of Christ himself.

          As CS Lewis said, you don’t need to defend a lion. You just have to let him out of his cage.

          As for the “dark ages” that is a pejorative term which misrepresents a steady progress from the fall of the Roman empire to the Renaissance. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_ages

          When you say that Christianity is nothing but the suppression of the truth you only show one side of the story. The other side needs to be heard.

          You show me where Jesus said to burn books. Show me where Jesus said women are property. Show me where Jesus treated women like property. Show me where Jesus endorsed slavery. Show me where Jesus was in favor of beating slaves. Show me.

          • Tony Waters says:

            Perry, I am afraid you missed out on a few things in your exploration for the truth regarding the equality of all men in the USA. Take a look at Chief Joseph and his people from Oregon. Look at how the American leaders of the day had reneged on a Signed, Sealed and Delivered Land Treaty with the native people of Oregon. At the point of a gun, the Native People were evicted from their homes and moved to a less desirable place so that White, Anglo Saxon people could steal Native Titled Lands. There wasn’t a whimper of protest by the Christian Churches over this travesty.

            Regards, CanadaNorth

            • Tony Francis says:

              In Christian Philosophy, Equality means having Freedom or Ability to be or to do what you want or dream, as long as you are within the constraints of God’s WILL – which is following two laws – loving God and loving your neighbor, .

              To understand the above statement, we need to know the exact definitions of certain words like “love, freedom and equality” which are familiar, but not well understood.

              Mango trees have the freedom to grow in different shapes and sizes, and we can see that no two mango trees are identical. But as long as they follow the will of its planter and produce tasty mangoes,they will not be cut off and the planter will tend to it with fertilizers and water.

              In human terms, products coming out of a factory, be it a vacuum cleaner, or spoon, or an automobile may be having the highest level of equality among themselves, because they are usually made to conform to strict quality and quantity controls. But in service, they perform quite differently. Their lives depend on so many other factors. Those which are operated and maintained according to the manufacturers’ instructions last longer and perform more efficiently. So even if a car manufacturer makes all its cars equal, some will survive and perform its duties for a hundred years while another may survive only a few months. One imperfect car with a smoking exhaust may get to take an important person to hospital to save his life, at a crucial moment and save this world from a disaster, while another car may be used for a hundred years to transport garbage to the city dump, and still another perfect car may get blown up by some terrorist.

              Therefore, we should not measure the performance or goodness of the car according to the result of what it did, but on how it met the expectations of its manufacturer.

              In religious terms, it is immaterial what we accomplish in this world; whether we lived as a slave, or as the President of a big country. All that matters is whether we lived our life according to the “Will” of God – our manufacturer.

  5. David Gibbs says:

    The whole Jesus story is just a myth…very beguiling, but none the less, just a myth…a money making myth. Yes, the printing press and now the internet is responsible for the dissemination of information which will be the undoing of the Church. Virgin births, miracles, transubstantiation, holy trinity, resurrection, etc, etc, etc,…nothing but a colossal hoax devised to suck the money out of gullible people. Most Christians would be shocked if they knew that, outside of the New Testament, History does not record one single mention of this Jesus character. It will take a long time before it dawns on the general population that the Jews were the inventors of this God that they, the Muslims and Christians worship.

    I can just see A Buddhist or Hindu in Tibet or India shrieking out, “Jesus Christ,” when he bashes his thumb with a hammer. What a stupid argument.

    Am not interested in any further comments on this matter.

    • perrymarshall says:

      Yeah, you’re right. Ignoring for a moment Thallos, Pliny the Younger, Seutonius, Tacitus, Mara bar Serapion, Lucian of Samosata, and Celsus, and Josephus and Eusebius and the Talmud….and the entire Western Calendar….

      Yeah, other than those half dozen+ different sources, there’s not the slightest crumb of evidence to support the existence of a Jesus.

      For everyone else – Good book on the subject: Jesus Outside the New Testament by Van Voorst.

      • Gary Walker says:

        Heathen’s greetings,

        Perry, all those writers you mentioned above have been discredited. For instance, “In the ninth century a Byzantine writer named George Syncellus quoted a third century Christian historian named Julius Africanus who quoted an unknown writer named Thallus who referred to the darkness at the crucifixion: “Thallus in the third book of his history calls this darkness an eclipse of the sun, but in my opinion he is wrong.” All of the works of Africanus are lost, so there is no way to confirm the quote or to examine its context. We have no idea who Thallus was, or when he wrote …” – Dan Barker – Losing Faith In Faith pg. 166

        And in John Remsberg’s classic, The Christ, he points out (along with many others) that, “Another proof that the Christ of Christianity is a fabulous and not a historical character is the silence of the writers who lived during and immediately following the time he is said to have existed.” (pg. 18) Remsberg then lists over 40 writers of the first century who never mentioned the supposed fact of Christ’s visit to planet earth. The most interesting to me is Philo-Judeaus.

        “Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era, and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ’s miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. He was there when the crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection of the dead took place – when Christ himself rose from the dead, and in the presence of many witnesses ascended into heaven. These marvelous events which must have filled the world with amazement, had they really occurred, were unknown to him. It was Philo who developed the doctrine of the Logos, or Word, and although this Word incarnate dwelt in that very land and in the presence of multitudes revealed himself and demonstrated his divine pwoers, PHILO SAW IT NOT.” – pg.19

        I know, I know, the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, but it is not the evidence of presence either.

        Shalom,
        Infidel

        • perrymarshall says:

          Gary,

          In Dan Barker’s opinion, Thallus is wrong. Dan bases his opinion on…. what? The fact that Dan used to sing in a church choir and is now an atheist? I’d be hard pressed to name a shoddier method of scholarship than “Dan Barker’s opinion”.

          Josephus clearly and explicitly mentions Christ in his work and this is well known. Josephus was born in 37, so he lived immediately following the death of Christ.

          Then we have the entire New Testament. 27 books all from the first century, and Jesus critical to every one of them. The contents of the New Testament are not absence. It’s evidence of presence. The four gospels are at least partially independent, because otherwise there would not be discrepancies between them.

          I’m sorry Gary, but anybody who claims that the most famous, controversial and influential person in world history did not exist completely discredits himself. Your views here are on the outer fringes of historical scholarship – exhibit “A” of psychological denial.

        • Jay says:

          Of course the ninth century a Byzantine writer named George Syncellus who quoted the third century Christian historian named Julius Africanus couldn’t possibly be wrong when quoting the unknown writer named Thallus who referred to the darkness at the crucifixion as having been an eclipse. So too did the 1st century High Priests and Pharisees who had Jesus delivered up to death by crucifixion. They claimed it was an eclipse. After all they couldn’t have been wrong to have Jesus delivered up to death. The Prophet Isaiah wrote over 700 years before Christ was born and testified to all the injustices Jesus the son of God would suffer. The Isaiah scrolls found in 1947 testify to these writings being accurate and modern bible translations correspond with the ancient scrolls. But we cannot consider this to hold any water. We must believe as fact the unknown writer who claimed the darkness was an eclipse. If the darkness was an eclipse and Jesus wasn’t even there, why should the eclipse be mentioned at all….? They couldn’t have been wrong to put Jesus to death for doing disgraceful acts like curing a man’s withered hand on the ‘Holy’ Sabbath or restoring sight to the blind or causing the lame to walk. And all who deny Jesus cannot be wrong either can they? They after all we could and would deny him all over again should he come in our midst and do the same terrible deeds again. Because this time it would not only be religious zealots who would have their thunder taken from them it would be Athiests, evolutionists who have evolved from fish spawn perhaps politicians and world leaders and all who care not for love and truth.

      • Henri-Paul Indiogine says:

        Very witty, but alas not really correct reasoning.

        The reference to Thallos is worthless. Just read the quote. Darkness and earthquakes. That could be anything.

        Plinius the Younger is an attestation that there were Christians in the 2nd century who worshipped the god Christus. How would this be a proof of resurrection is beyond me.

        Seutonius and Tacitus, again proof that there were Christians in the 2nd century. Same for Lucian of Samostata and Celsus. They are proof of Christian beliefs, not of the resurrection of anyone.

        Mara bar Serapion does not name this “wise king of the Jews” and in any case can be dated to the 3rd century as well as the 1st one. Again, a proof of beliefs not of historical facts.

        Flavius Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities is according to virtually all authorities been tampered with by Christians. It is a tainted text. Any inference from it is dubious.

        Eusebius and the Talmud are very late.

        The western calendar???? What kind of a proof is that?

        So, where is again that evidence? Please show me something solid.

        • perrymarshall says:

          David Gibbs said, “Most Christians would be shocked if they knew that, outside of the New Testament, History does not record one single mention of this Jesus character.”

          Your own attempts to downplay the importance of these other historical references demonstrate that Mr. Gibbs is wrong. All of these people mention Jesus. Not only that, but what Gibbs is really saying is, “If you throw out the evidence for Jesus, there is no evidence.”

          He is not justified in throwing out the New Testament in the first place. 27 books with varying degrees of independence with each other.

          Anyone who actually has the audacity to argue that Jesus never existed is wasting everyone’s time. It’s an extreme, fringe, frankly bizarre position.

          • Gary Walker says:

            Heathen’s greetings,

            Manna for thought:
            “I know of no country where there is so little true indepenence of mind and freedom of discusssion as in America.” Alexis de Tocqueville

            Albert Schwietzer wrote the Quest For The Historical Jesus and came up empty. I have read at least five books making the case for the Jesus Myth.
            This does not mean that my view is correct of course, and I do accept the fact that it is, in America especially, considered rediculous. But I do not come at this question lightly.

            Dan Barker did not make that stuff up about Thallus. He got it from reading scholars like G. A. Wells, Remsberg and manny others.

            “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” – Red letter words of Jesus- Luke 12:47

            And Perry you are mistaken when you say that I do not want people to read the Bible. I just wrote a letter to the editor of the NH Concord Monitor encourging people to read the Bible, because as Mark Twain pointed out a century ago, “The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible.”

            “There was no place in the land where the seeker could not find some small buddding sign of pity for the slave. No place in all the land but one – the pulpit. It yielded at last; it always does. It fought a strong and stubborn fight, and then did what it always does, joined the procession – at the tail end. Slavery fell. The slavery text in the Bible remained.” – Mark Twain

            Once again, if Christianity was the cure for slavery, why did it take 18 centuries?

            Perry, I think you should talk to your brother some more.

            Shalom,
            Infidel

            • perrymarshall says:

              Gary,

              I go back to my original statement: Before Paul, nobody made such a bold statement about equality. Why did it take 18 centuries? I don’t know, but it was Christian influenced culture that fought it the hardest, as Mark Twain acknowledges. It wasn’t the Infidels that got rid of it and it sure wasn’t Darwin. And yes, slavery is in the Bible but it’s a completely different animal from Jim Crow – as I think you know.

            • Tony Francis says:

              What is true slavery?
              Who has or enjoys more freedom?
              A rich heroin addict who spends all his money on his addiction or a poor single mother working for her master 12 hours a day in a farm to buy food for her child?
              A king or his subject?
              An owner of a factory or an employee of the same factory?
              Was the Pharaoh or Moses the true slave?

              Jesus showed us the way to true freedom from the slavery of this world. While Jesus was submitting only to the Will of His Father in Heaven,Pontius Pilate, and Caiphas, and other worldly leaders were subject to so many other worldly powers. If Pontius Pilate was not a slave, he would not have had to wash his hands off his decision to allow Jesus to be crucified on the cross.

          • Jay says:

            Many historical books from the 1st century and before were burned. That is why the qumran books were hidden. There have been many archeological findings backing the authenticity of prophetic writings proving many past critics to be wrong. A statue of Sargon an Assyrian king was found where he boasts “I besieged and conquered Samaria, led away as booty 27,290 inhabitants”. The bible account corresponding with this is in 2nd Kings 17:6

            A wall with clear and exquisite carvings of King Sennachrib receiving tribute from the King of Judea corresponds with 2nd Kings 19:36,37 but although readily willing to write about their victory they were not so keen to write about their defeat when 185,000 of his soldiers were killed in one night. That can only be found in biblical writings. There are many more testimonies. These ancient kings were happy to write about their successes but were not forthcoming in writing about their defeats. Stands to reason worldly people give accounts of victory not defeat. Bible writers however are different from worldly writers. Faults, defeats and victories by the power of God are all detailed in scripture.

            The apostles give the account of Jesus asking for a denarius and asking whose head was on it. The reply was Caesar’s this indicates the writings to be at the time period as written in the epistles. If you were to put a just person to death would you, who deny the authenticity of bible writings be boasting about what you did? Neither would the opposers of Christ in the 1st century.

            Claims that Pontius Pilate was fictitious were disproved in 1961 when archeologists found a stone inscribed “Caesariensibus Tiberium Pontius Pilatus Praefectus Iudaeae” translated as “People of Caesarea Tiberium, Pontius Pilate Prefect of Judea”. So that was another denial rebutted.

            It doesn’t seem to make any impression to opposers of bible truth no matter how many aspects of the bible they discredit that are later vindicated by archeological findings they will still come up with more twisted objections. The truth is there for all to see but many prefer to prove the bible right as in Matthew 13:14 “toward them the prophecy of Isaiah is having fulfillment, which says, “By hearing, you will hear but by no means get the sense of it; and looking, you will look but by no means see. For the heart of this people has grown unreceptive, and with their ears they have heard without response, and they have shut their eyes; that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back and be healed”. All who want to deny Jesus can do so but know that if you deny the Lord he will deny You! And if you deny the Father he will deny You also.

        • Jay says:

          Can you explain the basis of why all authorities claim Flavius Jesephus’ writings are tainted text. And who are these authorities who discredit these writings. Is it because Jesephus’ writings back scripture that the writings are discredited? Where and what are the particular discrepancies which dub his writings unreliable and tampered with?

  6. Jerry Beavan says:

    Perry — I received your essay today, and found it interesting. Somehow I think that we are both engaged in the same mission, but approaching it in different ways. If you go to the blog I have indicated you will be able to read the basic text of the weekly email newsletter/commentary I have published for the past 7 years. Sample copy free upon request. If you are interested in further correspondence, email me. If not — have a great day! Jerry

  7. Jude says:

    Thankyou Perry,,,As usual,,you present the issue with most common sense, knowledge, logic,and well researched ..
    God Bless your every endeavors…
    Jude

    PS. Thankyou for re-finding my email,,I had lost contact because of computer problems which lost all my email addresses..

  8. Joel Welty says:

    Christianity never encouraged science nor technology.
    Christianity punished people for scientific ideas and encouraged slavery, instead of developing technology.
    Christianity has held back the advancement of our species. Christians declared war upon all the peoples of the world, practicing genocide and robbing them of their wealth, and replacing their own governments with colonies. The ‘heavenly father’ ordered massacres of helpless people. You have everything upside down.

    • perrymarshall says:

      We would not have science if it were not for Christianity. Explanation here:
      http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/blog/faq/#christian

      Please show me in the New Testament where Christianity declared war on all the peoples of the world.

    • Jay says:

      I wish people would stop blaiming Christians for all the evil in this world. No one who is a TRUE Christian has ever committed atrocities. Those who do such are not Christians. A Christian has one teacher and leader and that one is Christ. Jesus came to teach us to love but whether people claim to be Christian or other and does commit such crimes without compassion they are not Christians whether they are just evil and using Christianity as a power tool or whether they are deluded into thinking they are doing a good thing they are not Christians. It was the 1st century religious leaders who had Jesus delivered up to an agonising death. Ignorance, arrogance and the lack of divine qualities a Christian must have is the cause of all evil.

  9. Your letter is very interesting indeed !However, kindly pause and self-reflect!
    You talk of spirituality and being equal in Jesus Christ.And yet your article defies exactly what you profess.
    It is extremely sad that your ‘truth’ is not reflecting the Absolute and Universal Truth.
    Everything repeatedly accentuates that your path is the only true path.
    Were all people considered equal why should ‘missionaries and evangelists ‘ including you Mr.Perry go to ‘pagan’ countries and harvest souls for Jesus Christ ?They convert other innocent peoples to Christianity using covert and unethical means.False testimonies and untruthful means are used to malign and blacken other religious belief systems. Large sums of money are being used to exploit and ‘buy over’ people by offering them money to make them change their religions.
    Is this “spirituality”? In my eyes and in the eyes of the Supreme Power this is nothing but cheating people to change the faith they are born into. Is this not immoral and unethical?This is not definitely equality in Jesus Christ.
    I await a reply from you.With thanks in advance and wishing you SEASONS’ GREETINGS !

    • perrymarshall says:

      All people are equal.

      All ideas are not.

      I am sorry that you report Christians using unethical methods to proselytize. Have you had these experiences yourself or did you hear about them?

      I agree, if these things happened, they are most assuredly wrong. People should be free to choose their religion.

      That said, I think all religions should be expected to compete in the marketplace of ideas. And there is nothing wrong with people preaching their religion. I think that Dalits (“Untouchables”) born in the Hindu Caste System should be given the opportunity to escape from it, for example.

      • The Hindu caste system has been used to flog India and Indians for ages by the west to ensure that HINDUISM is kept maligned and make Hindus feel guilty of something that has happened elsewhere under a different garb and name. That is still happening all over the world – if we had caste you have class.Who were the first to enslave the blacks and treat them so inhumanly ?Where and how did the word apartheid come into being ?
        Not so very long ago a Congolese man was ‘exhibited’ inside a cage just like an animal from some zoo right in the very heart of Europe- to be precise in Brussels!
        This again was in order to accentuate that ‘white is supreme’.
        What about the problems you have today in the US between the blacks and whites?We do not condemn and convert people if there are societal problems.
        Hindus have given LIGHT to the world in every walk of life – Philosophy,Arts ,YOGA,the SCIENCES .
        And Mr.Perry if you are ignorant of the devious means used by Christians of all denominations exploiting the poor of India to convert them then I am very sorry to say that you live in a ‘frog in the well’ world.
        During the Tsunami charity in cash and kind was given to only those poor who agreed to convert to Christianity both in India and SRILANKA.
        I am indeed surprised that you do not know about these recent facts.
        Hinduism is a non-proselytising philosophy and so religious conversion carried out by Christians is not done on fair and equal terms.Religion and philosophy are not market goods for Hindus -it is something of the SPIRIT -that which is invaluable and sacred and cannot and should not be bartered for in what you call the ‘marketplace of ideas’.
        Unless you consider that ‘yours’ is better than ‘theirs’ why should you even put forward such an idea ?
        Indic civilisation is the greatest living tradition that has come down from ages to Hindus and systematic destruction of this wisdom tradition will lead the world into utter chaos -that is evident in all the countries that have had war and are still having war.All these people were converted to Christianity or Islam.India has not had a single religious war for over a 1000 years .Why? Because the majority of the people in India are still Hindu.Such division in society will cause war and destruction of age-old values systems -peace,equality and non-duality -as someone has remarked in these very columns -even before the time of BUDDHA .
        Regarding the Dalit situation -mainly caused by weak financial situation in life – many were converted by ‘the doing -good evangelists’ to give them ‘equal status and yet these converted Dalits are disillusioned by the pariah treatment meted out to them by that very Christian brotherhood that converted them on grounds of inequality and discrimination.There are hundreds of factions in the Christian church that keep on fighting with each other and the Dalits find that they are more equal under the umbrella of HINDUISM .So they have converted back to their original religion.
        In India we have many many Hindus and Hindu organisations that are doing wonderful service without any expectations of ‘any harvest’ of going to heaven/hell – to better the lives of all people irrespective of caste,creed and community.
        I just wonder and ponder to think why you and your ilk do not go to Islamic countries and do the same that you are doing in India!Is it because the laws of those lands are far too strict and the ‘sword of Islam’ is too close for comfort and personal safety?

        • perrymarshall says:

          Vijaya,

          Racism is wrong.

          Apartheid is wrong.

          Paying people to change religions is wrong.

          And the Hindu Caste System is wrong.

          What are you doing to overthrow it?

          • Mr.Perry Marshall
            There can be no two opinions on what you have written.
            Anything done to exploit others is wrong indeed .
            However,you definitely need to read about the Hindu caste system before embarking on your condemnation trip. It will definitely help you to enlighten yourself by visiting the link given herewith.Though not exhaustive it will still be an eye-opener if you try to discard your coloured vision.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_in_India

            One must be honest and unbiased to differentiate between systems and societal problems.
            A bad doctor cannot be the cause for the defamation of the complete medical system.An immoral priest cannot be the reason for condemnation of all priesthood.And indeed we do not forcibly and slyly convert people from one faith system to another if there are societal problems.
            And again every land has laws for the protection and the rights of its people and rectification of the ills present in their society. So does India.We do not need ‘doing-good evangelists’ to save our poor Dalits by using exploitative and deceptive means to convert them to Christianity.Such conversions are done not out of compassion for such people but with the underhand and insidious motive to destroy the roots of Hinduism using caste oppression as an excuse.

            I dare state that India is the most democratic country in the world.Despite all her problems caused over centuries by foreign invasions and the rape of her peoples and her nation’s material as well as spiritual wealth there is still an inherent genetic spirituality that cannot be matched by any other nation. This is the miracle of India that causes wonderment to all peoples over the world.
            This is the very reason Mr.Perry Marshall why you too went to India and you did see this truth for own self.And yet without any empathy you attack Hindus and the timeless tradition of Hinduism .India and Hindus have been exploited since the 7th century- first by Mohammedan invaders and then the cunning Britishers who came as traders and then took advantage of our generosity.Both inflicted forced conversions using torture and the fear of death to convert a peace-loving people.The history of India has to be re-written so that the world will come to know the horrors of the HINDU HOLOCAUST and the actual numbers of Hindus killed by such oppressors.
            I am sure that your bleeding heart for the Dalits would be greatly consoled if I told you that one of the highest political posts that of the President of India was held by a member of the Dalit community.His name was Shri K.R.Narayanan.Apart from this political figure there are many many Dalits and other caste members in every field of life in India .For your information this is despite and in spite of our caste system.
            We in India have the will and determination to look after our own and are competent enough to tackle the ills of our society.
            So now your heart can stop bleeding !
            And Mr.Marshall do refrain from making such ludicrous claims in the name of Christianity- equality ,technology and spirituality !!!
            Even a high school student of mediocre intelligence will see through the ridiculous claims .
            Live and follow your heart and let others choose to live as they wish to! Do not impose on others the ‘cutting of their tails just because you lost your tail!
            This is a tale from India’s PANCHATANTHRA STORIES.
            I am sure you will find them very interesting and enlightening.

            • perrymarshall says:

              Vijaya,

              It is not my intent to insult you. I simply stand by my original statement that before the New Testament there was no universal pronouncement of equality anywhere in ancient literature. If Hinduism makes a statement of this sort, I invite you to post it here.

              I am very happy that Mr. Narayanan rose from Dalit status to President of India. I still know for a fact that millions of Dalits are forbidden education and good jobs and I’m still against the caste system. I have no doubt that in some places is holds little power but I know first hand that in other places, such as the location I visited in Andra Pradesh, it is harsh.

            • Tony Francis says:

              There can be no two opinions on what you have written.
              Anything done to exploit others is wrong indeed .

              And indeed we do not forcibly and slyly convert people from one faith system to another if there are societal problems.

              And how, may I ask can a person showing sympathy to somebody who is suffering, be seen as exploiting the latter?

              And again every land has laws for the protection and the rights of its people and rectification of the ills present in their society. So does India.We do not need ‘doing-good evangelists’ to save our poor Dalits by using exploitative and deceptive means to convert them to Christianity.

              Why do you forget that India is a democratic republic with freedom of speech, and freedom to practice any religion?
              Are you a Hindu? and do Hindus want to become fanatics and make India also like some Islamic countries where they prohibit speech and free practice of religion? I thought Hindus were better than Muslims in that respect.

              Such conversions are done not out of compassion for such people but with the underhand and insidious motive to destroy the roots of Hinduism using caste oppression as an excuse.

              What do the convertors stand to gain out of converting the starving and dying people on the streets? Votes, or their bones after they are dead? Why doesn’t the Hindus look after their own neighbors? Then you will not have to worry about them going after a foreign convertor.

              I dare state that India is the most democratic country in the world.
              Why are the present ministers and political figures in India mostly sons or daughters of earlier ministers? Is there caste system in Indian version of democracy too?

              Despite all her problems caused over centuries by foreign invasions and the rape of her peoples and her nation’s material as well as spiritual wealth there is still an inherent genetic spirituality that cannot be matched by any other nation.This is the miracle of India that causes wonderment to all peoples over the world.

              India has benefited more than she had lost due to repeated annexations by various conquerors, and the resulting cross pollination, has led to India having one of the richest bank of DNAs which has and will help India to adapt to any kind of economic or climatic change. That is the cause of the miracle that causes wonderment to all the people in the world,- it is not Hinduism.

              This is the very reason Mr.Perry Marshall why you too went to India and you did see this truth for own self.

              Or was it to save India from its caste-ism.

              And yet without any empathy you attack Hindus and the timeless tradition of Hinduism.

              What exactly is Hinduism? How many Gods are there in Hinduism?
              Why do some Hindus eat cows and sacrifice cows to their God while some others treat them higher than man- as gods?
              Why do Hindus float dead bodies of their relatives in Ganga and cause river pollution?
              Why should a wife jump into the funeral pyre of their husband and why no vice- versa?
              Why do some Hindoos consider sex as taboo (like you find it offensive to see sexual promiscuity in western countries), while some other Hindoos consider Kamasutra and all the udulterous escapades as holy texts.
              Why do some Hindus cover their bodies and even their faces wile others parade stark naked on the streets?
              Which is the holy text or book that you can go to for all answers? Is it Ramayana or Mahabaratha? or some other? Or is it the Indian constitution where might is always right?

              India and Hindus have been exploited since the 7th century- first by Mohammedan invaders and then the cunning Britishers who came as traders and then took advantage of our generosity.

              Indians were never generous. They always sided with the aliens to defeat their neighbors or brothers and eventually fell to the well fed alien.

              Both inflicted forced conversions using torture and the fear of death to convert a peace-loving people.

              Indians were never peace loving Each kingdom in India was – broken like the Indian agricultural fields into smaller and smaller portions because they always fought with each other, and did not know to co-operate with each other or organise into a bigger country. It was the British administration who brought all the kingdoms under one rule.

              The history of India has to be re-written so that the world will come to know the horrors of the HINDU HOLOCAUSulesT and the actual numbers of Hindus killed by such oppressors.

              The British punished people who opposed their rule, or broke civil rules; but Indians killed to steal and loot. They do it even today, which if they stop, they would become the richest nation on the planet. Indians who claim to have invented mathematics and Pushpaka Vimana and developed the theory of warfare should be ashamed to complain about torture from a bunch of British spice traders who came by sea in small schooners and eventual rule of India which is at least 20 times the size of Britain in size as well as in population.

              I am sure that your bleeding heart for the Dalits would be greatly consoled if I told you that one of the highest political posts that of the President of India was held by a member of the Dalit community.
              His name was Shri K.R.Narayanan.

              This happened because Mr Narayanan was from Kerala, where the Christian culture did not practice caste ism. If he was born in any North Indian State, he would not even have seen the gate of a school or college.

              Apart from this political figure there are many many Dalits and other caste members in every field of life in India .For your information this is despite and in spite of our caste system.
              Now a days there are some un-educated Dalits (like Lalloo Prasad and Mayavati) who have become ministers in North Indian states (because of getting votes from the majority Dalit population there.) and some in Tamil Nadu state. But these ministers are so corrupt, that what The British looted would look like a speck in the horizon. These corrupt Dalit ministers are the main cause of poor Dalits in those states.

              We in India have the will and determination to look after our own and are competent enough to tackle the ills of our society.

              We have not seen that happen for more than 60 years now.
              All the IITs are funded by western nations. Most of the IT professionals working in Bangalore and Hyderabad are working for western multi-national companies.
              The best Indian engineers and doctors still leave India to work abroad because it is difficult to live a honest life in India without paying or accepting bribes.

              So now your heart can stop bleeding !
              Are you feeling ashamed when you see others taking care of your neighbors who you have left starving in the streets to die?

              And Mr.Marshall do refrain from making such ludicrous claims in the name of Christianity- equality ,technology and spirituality !!!

              Even a high school student of mediocre intelligence will see through the ridiculous claims .

              India is now what she is and you are able to read and write English today because of the benovelent British and dedicated Christian missionaries who established schools and colleges in India

              Live and follow your heart and let others choose to live as they wish to! Do not impose on others the ‘cutting of their tails just because you lost your tail!
              This is a tale from India’s PANCHATANTHRA STORIES.

              I am sure you will find them very interesting and enlightening.

              Christians are instructed by Christ to go out and spread the good WORD, and Christians will continue doing that till this world is rid of SATI, and caste ism and all other evils.

    • Tony Francis says:

      You talk of spirituality and being equal in Jesus Christ.And yet your article defies exactly what you profess.

      Where is it in conflict?

      It is extremely sad that your ‘truth’ is not reflecting the Absolute and Universal Truth.

      What is the Absolute and Universal Truth?

      Everything repeatedly accentuates that your path is the only true path.
      There can be many paths between two points, but only one will be the shortest. You can go through wrong and longer and more circuitous routes and then come back to the correct shortest route to reach your destination.

      Were all people considered equal why should ‘missionaries and evangelists ‘ including you Mr.Perry go to ‘pagan’ countries and harvest souls for Jesus Christ ?

      Same reason why healthy people take care of sick people, and why educated people try to educate the un-educated. Probably only true Christians will understand why Mother Theresa had to come from Europe to care for the sick and dying people in Calcutta.

      They convert other innocent peoples to Christianity using covert and unethical means.False testimonies and untruthful means are used to malign and blacken other religious belief systems.
      What material benefit will there be for the people from affluent countries with good hygiene and resources to spend their time and efforts and money go to disease ridden and mosquito infested countries ? were it not out of sympathy for people who spend millions of dollars presenting gold ornaments to or in pouring milk and ghee and over stone idols, but would not lift a finger to help a sick neighbor starving in the streets.

      Large sums of money are being used to exploit and ‘buy over’ people by offering them money to make them change their religions.

      A lot of time, effort and money is indeed required to bring hygiene and education and good sense into areas where they are lacking. We should thank the generosity of the people who venture out of their cozy homes to share their prosperity with others.

      Is this “spirituality”? In my eyes and in the eyes of the Supreme Power this is nothing but cheating people to change the faith they are born into. Is this not immoral and unethical?

      Does your religion teach you that bringing prosperity to suffering people is cheating and immoral and unethical. I have heard that some eastern religions pray for disasters, diseases, and suffering for themselves and their loved ones, so that they will enjoy prosperity in heaven in their next lives. Some other religions teach that committing terrorism on people of other faiths in this world will ensure a happy future in heaven with many beautiful women. Christian missionaries try to educate people with such false faiths.

  10. John Grou says:

    Good thoughts. One niggle however.

    “In Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. All are equal in Christ Jesus.” Before Paul said this, no one had ever made such a bold and sweeping statement. No one. Not the Jews or Babylonians, not the Egyptians, not the Greeks, not the Chinese. The concept of equality came first from Paul.” (PM)

    Probably not. A few hundred years prior to Paul, the Buddha transformed a highly sexist Hinduism into an egalitarian religion. Buddha created an equal footing for male and female monks and nuns. This may be the first religion to allow female priests (I’m not sure). The Buddhist concept of equality, or “respectful living,” is called saraniyadhamma.

    And if there is no male or female in Christ, I wonder why the church’s treatment of women remains so crappy, to this day.

    • perrymarshall says:

      John,

      If you’re able to quote the relevant Buddhist scriptures I welcome that. I’m not convinced anyone before Paul ever made nearly so bold a statement about equality.

      As for male and female in the church, my church has a couple of female pastors and in the world I inhabit, I think women are treated with great respect.

      • John Grou says:

        See the saraniya and vinaya dhammas. It’s not “one scripture” – it’s an entire treatise developed over a long period of time. These dhammas form the practice of equal respect among all people (by their fruits you will know them..). But, like Xnty, Bdsm quickly split up into many factions or interpretive communities.

        AFAIK, early Buddhism didn’t have “scripture” though you might find something in the Pali canon. Early Bdsm was comprised of simple monastic communities following a few basic precepts.

        As an aside, the idea of “quoting scripture” to prove a religious point is less prevalent in Buddhism. Bdsm is less about intellectual assent, less about propositional logic.. and more about living the ideals, practicing the ideals, living selflessly, living peaceably, loving others. I think this is probably what Jesus had in mind as well.

        Paul forbid women to teach and have equal voice. Most Christian sects and denominations today more or less follow Pauline directives on women. It’s good to hear that yours doesn’t.

        • perrymarshall says:

          John,

          I stand by my original words: Before Paul, no one in the history of the world had ever made such a sweeping statement about equality.

      • Dalibor Šver says:

        I’ve been wondering before, and now you brought that issue: which church do you belong to, Perry?
        I’m in International Church of Christ, Zagreb.

    • Tony Francis says:

      Equality does not mean making everything identical. If God had such an idea for his creations, it would have been a very boring world full of Hydrogen atoms, or some other element. Or going a little bit deeper, it would been made of only electrons or only protons, because protons being so much bigger than electrons would amount to “inequality” in your sense.
      No church however fair or “equality conscious” is ever going to make male and female followers “equal” except by making drastic laws like castration for all males or mastectomy or similar procedures for all females.
      On the contrary, God has not made any time or location identical to another. All trees are different, even twins having the same DNA are very different.
      When we say we are equal in Jesus, it means that we will all be treated with equal importance when we are part of Jesus’ Kingdom or Body, just as in our body, the lungs and heart and liver are all important and support each other. One will not survive without the other. Equality does not mean that our lungs will be same shape and size and color as the heart.
      Also in a well administered country or kingdom, even a scavenger will be taken care of, and will get healthy food, healthcare and accommodation just as a minister or lawyer.

  11. Perry,

    You’re the man!

    Nice redesign on all the Christian sites!

    By the way, this is Caleb Osborne, the copywriter you invited out to your Autoresponder Writing seminar 🙂

    Glad to see you’re still pushin these sites, I love it 🙂

    Merry Christmas!
    Caleb

  12. Melissa Wells says:

    Perry,
    We often forget our neighbor, but yet Christ commanded us
    love your neighbor as yourself. This past thursday a Phili-
    pian missionary and his family came, and spoke on the passage
    from Luke 10;25-38 and gave us key words to think of “sight,
    sympothy, sacrifice,and service. As he read through the
    parable about the good Samaritan. the samaritan was more of
    a neigbor to the beaten man than even the religious men who
    walked by on both side. Today I took a Christmas card over
    three of the people of my apt.complex that are older , and
    do not get out as much. I like the passage from(Matt25:
    37-40) To me this gives a great illustration of compassion
    for our neighbor. With all the commercialization of Christ-
    mas and Santa , I won’t be surprized of how little of people
    really know him. Or even heard of him ,THAT IS VERY SAD,
    ISN’T IT? It is interesting how this happened but I sang
    a luliby to christ. as if Mary was singing to her infant in
    the manger, at a bar when My Tops group had a christmas
    party, I not uonly presented the gospel to the friends from
    my tops group who may not know him as Savior but also to ones
    sitting in the other room at the bar, and a couple at another
    table over a little. If he wants ones who need to hear a-
    bout him and receive him as savior. he will open that door,
    Amen? It is their decision on whether to enter in and receive
    the opportunity to invite him to be their savior. Another
    interesting thing is ,and even I didn’t spot this right off,
    Perry, is the frame around the portrait of Christ, my dad did
    for me matches the tree trimmings on my Christmas tree. It
    is interesting how God makes things happen for us in our
    lives, to draw him closer to him. I pray your Christmas is a
    Merry one, alway keep him in the center In Christ,Melissa
    Wells
    37-40)

  13. Rev. Dave Cochran says:

    Just wanted to send a quick thanks to you, Perry. I just finished reading “The Dance” in an email from you. I was so impressed, that with your permission of course, I would like to forward it on to all of my friends & family. It is one of the most thought provoking and eye opening articles I have read in some time. So, give thanks to God for the words, thank Jesus for the inspiration, but pat yourself on the back also. Great article.

    Rev. Dave Cochran
    Out Of The Wilderness Ministries

  14. Jon Manley says:

    Dear Perry,

    Thanks for your email, which I read with much interest. You could have mentioned that Martin Luther admitted to making changes in the text of the Latin Bible to accommodate his personal views on, eg. faith and works, just to mention two. Another such person was Ellen Gould White of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

    I am in what seems a continuous diaglog with a friend named Ken, very religious, and who worships in the Baptist Church, but says he isn’t a Baptist, and doesn’t as yet believe in any established religion. Below is the copy of a recent email I sent him on the subject of the bible. Do read it and let me have your opinion. Thanks.

    Regards,

    Jon Manley.

    ===============================================================================

    Ken, some thoughts on the Bible and where it came from. I would be interested in what you think.

    If you recognize Scripture for what it is, you’ll see it wasn’t intended to be an instructional tool for converts. In fact, not one book of the Bible was written for non-believers. The Old Testament books were written for Jews, the New Testament books for people who already were Christians.

    The Bible is not a catechism or a full-scale theological treatise. Just look at the 27 books of the New Testament. You won’t find one that spells out the elements of the faith the way catechisms do, or even the way the ancient creeds did. Those 27 books were written for the most part (excepting, for example, the Gospels and the general epistles such as James and, 1 and 2 Peter), as provisional documents addressed to particular audiences for particular purposes.

    Most of the epistles, were written to local churches that were experiencing moral and/or doctrinal problems. Paul and most of the other New Testament writers sent letters to these local churches (e.g., 1 and 2 Corinthians and Galatians) in order to rectify these problems. There was no attempt on the part of the writers to impart a vast body of basic doctrinal instruction to non-believers nor even to simply summarize everything for the believers who received the letters.

    Some like to say the New Testament is the basis of the Christian faith.

    But how can it be, since the Christian faith existed and flourished for years before the first book of the New Testament was written? The books of the New Testament were composed decades after Christ ascended into heaven, and it took centuries for there to be general agreement among Christians as to which books comprised the New Testament.

    And that brings up another point. How do you know what constitutes the New Testament canon? How do you know for certain that these 27 books here in OUR New Testament are in fact inspired and should be in the New Testament? And how do you know for certain that maybe some inspired books haven’t been left out of the canon?

    Who decided? Now that’s an interesting question Ken, WHO?

    You may say, the early Christians agreed on the 27 books, The Holy Spirit led them to this agreement.

    Sure the Holy Spirit did, but only over a pretty long period of time, and a study of early Christian history shows that there was a considerable disagreement among Christians until the issue of the canon was finally settled. Some early Christians said the book of Revelation didn’t belong in the canon. Others said Pope Clement’s* Letter to the Corinthians (written circa A.D. 80) and The Shepherd, an early second-century allegory written by a Christian writer named Hermas did belong in the New Testament.* Madeline and I went to Clement’s house in Rome. He was pope number 3, after Peter and Linus.

    We know by examining the contents of the books. Some books—like 1 Corinthians and Revelation—obviously belong. Others—like Clement’s Letter to the Corinthians—obviously don’t.

    But is it really so obvious? Tell me, what is so obvious in Philemon to indicate that it is inspired? And what is so obviously unorthodox in The Shepherd or the Didache or Clement’s letter or any of the other first- and second-century Christian writings? You’ve never even seen the autographs (originals) of the 27 books in the New Testament. Nobody today has. The earliest copies of those books we possess, in the Catholic Church, are centuries newer than the originals. Like it or not, you have to take the say-so of the Catholic Church that in fact those copies are accurate, as well as her decision that those 27 books are the inspired canonical New Testament Scriptures. You do accept her testimony as trustworthy, or else your Protestant Bible would not have those 27 books, now would they Ken?

    Look to the Church Fathers.

    Look, the fact is, the only reason you and I have the New Testament canon is because of the trustworthy teaching authority of the Catholic Church. As Augustine put it, ‘I would not believe in the Gospels were it not for the authority of the Catholic Church’ (Against the Letter of Mani Called “The Foundation” 5:6).Look it up on the net Ken. Any Christian accepting the authority of the New Testament does so, whether or not he admits it, because he has implicit trust that the Catholic Church made the right decision in determining the canon.

    The fact is that the Holy Spirit guided the Catholic Church over time to recognize and determine the canon of the New and Old Testaments in the year 382 at the synod of Rome, under Pope Damasus I. This decision was ratified again at the councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397 and 419). You Ken, accept exactly the same books of the New Testament that Pope Damasus decreed were canonical, and no others.

    Furthermore, the reason you accept the books you do is that they were in the Bible someone gave you when you first became a Christian. You accept them because they were handed on to you. This means you accept the canon of the New Testament that you do because of TRADITION, now there’s a word you never liked Ken, because tradition is simply what is handed on to us from those who were in the faith before us. So your knowledge of the exact books that belong in the Bible, such as Philemon and 3 John, rests on tradition rather than on Scripture itself!

    The question you have to ask yourself is this: ‘Where did we get the Bible?’ Until you can give a satisfactory answer, you aren’t in much of a position to rely on the authority of Scripture, or to claim that you can be certain that you know how to accurately interpret it, because you Ken don’t, nor do I.

    After you answer that question—and there’s really only one answer that can be given—you have some other important questions to ask: ‘If the Bible, which we received from the Catholic Church, is our sole rule of faith, who’s to do the interpreting?’ And ‘Why are there so many conflicting understandings among Evangelicals and Fundamentalists, even on central doctrines that pertain to salvation?’” (faith and works).

    But Christians, once separated from the Church our Lord founded, guess which one Ken, are susceptible to being “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14). Interesting that quote Ken.

    Here’s an interesting little thought provoking problem for you to solve Ken. Can you interpret for me in a few lines, what YOU think the point of this scripture passage is, then I’ill tell you what the Catholic Church’s official interpretation is, particurally verses 30 to 35. We argued about the subject matter of this once. Below is the passage.

    On the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) 13Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16but they were kept from recognizing him. 17He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

    They stood still, their faces downcast. 18One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

    19″What things?” he asked.

    “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

    25He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ[b] have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

    28As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

    30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

    33They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

    Regards Jon M.

  15. Mick Hendo says:

    While I substantially agree with the thrust of this article, the author repeatedly mentions ‘democracy’ as an outcome of christian influence in history, implying that it was an invention of the American constitution.
    Democracy predates the US by more than two millenia, & predates Christianity by some 600 years. The ancient Indian republics & later, the City-States of ancient Greece are among the earliest examples of democracy.
    Perhaps the author should replace the term ‘democracy’ with ‘universal suffrage’ – the right of all persons to vote, as I believe this is what he means.

  16. Anjela M. Koster says:

    WAS IT REALLY J.GUTENBERG OR LAURENS JANZOON COSTER FROM THE NEDERLAND WHO INVENTEDTHE WORLDS FIRST MOVABLE TYPE PRINTING PRESS

  17. Tim Case says:

    Perry:

    I read your latest “The Dance of Equality, Technology and Spirituality” with great interest. However, there are a number of statements with which I would like to call to your attention.

    First, you state that the concept of “man’s equality” was traced back to Galatians 3:28. I certainly don’t disagree with this statement. However, I am equally sure that your conclusions that “[b]efore Paul said this, no one had ever made such a bold and sweeping statement. No one. Not the Jews or Babylonians, not the Egyptians, not the Greeks, not the Chinese. The concept of equality came first from Paul” is erroneous.

    There are numerous examples from the ancient world of “man’s equality” being at the forefront of thought. Two of the most important are found in the Scriptures. The first example being the establishing of Israel as a nation in which God authorized no executive or legislative power to the people of Israel. He only established the system of judges by which disputes between the people were to be settled. Thus there was not only an implied but defined equality between all the people Deuteronomy 1:16-18.

    This was not only a direct edict of God’s but also the foundation of Galatians 3:28 and the directives by which the Christians were to live and treat each other.

    Other edicts concerning equality under the law are found also in Deuteronomy and further justify Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:28. I refer to Deuteronomy 27 and specifically to:

    “Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.” Vrs.17
    “Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.” Vrs.18
    “Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.” Vrs.19
    “Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.” Vrs.24
    “Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.” Vrs.25

    Then we have the rebellion against God in Genesis 10 which was instigated for the sole purpose of establishing tyranny (with its inequality) and destroying the equally that God had established among the sons of Noah.

    Cush and Nimrod’s rebellion (religious and political) was in direct line with the sin that was predominate among those of the pre-flood era. Here I quote the Geneva Bible of 1599 with footnotes in parenthesis.

    Genesis 6:4&5
    “There were tyrants (or giants) in the earth in those days, yea, and after that the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they had born them children, these were mighty men, which in old time were men of (Which usurped authority over others, and did degenerate from that simplicity, wherein their father’s lived) renown. When the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and all the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually”

    Now, “rights” are inescapable linked to man’s equality or lack of it. It is in this vane that Aristotle speaks when he uses the Greek word exousia (commonly translated “powers in Romans 13:1) as a right but further qualifies the word when he says: “The right (exousia) to do anything one wishes leaves [the political community] defenseless…”

    Here is the crux of the problem. The just equality of man necessitates that his rights not be infringed upon by the state or ANY form of government and this cannot occur without a complete allegiance to God! However, any act of rebellion against God must, of necessity, also intrude on men’s rights and thus the equality of man.

    This completely negates your statement: “every major development led to more equality, not less.”

    This leads me to the second exception I have with your statements i.e. your assumption that man is progressing from a lower social, intellectual order to a higher state of spirituality via technology.

    It simply is not true that the “forward march of technology began after the fall of the Roman Empire and has marched steadily forward ever since.” A statement that there was a rediscovering of lost technology is far more accurate but still would be lacking.

    Just because today’s science or religions (or am I being redundant?) don’t recognize or refuse to acknowledge the wisdom and advancements of the ancients doesn’t negate the facts.

    Let’s again look at Scripture for a hint of what is missing.

    In Genesis 11:6 we find the Lord saying of Nimrod, those who followed him and their rebellion:

    “And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they all have one language and this they begin to do, neither can they now be stopped from whatsoever they have imagined to do.”

    It is interesting that the LXX translates the end of verse 6 this way: “now nothing shall fail from them of all that they may have undertaken to do.”

    It is truly remarkable that the Creator of the universe would make such a statement because it denotes that as ONE people with ONE language they were capable of doing ANYTHING they wished. This denotes a high state of intelligence, society and technological advancement which is in direct contradiction to God’s wishes. Not to mention Noah’s instructions resulting in the reestablishing of the same sin that directly caused God to lament His ever having created man (Genesis 6:6) before the flood.

    I suspect that had the people remained united and of one language, with the pre-Flood knowledge that they possessed, they would have reached a level of technological advancement in just a matter of years which would have been beyond anything we could even imagine There are evidences that the earliest peoples in this region possessed very advanced technical knowledge, to the puzzlement of modern archaeologists and scholars.

    Our own sciences attest to this marvel when they proclaim that man progressed from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age to the Iron Age.

    It obviously hasn’t occurred to too many that production of bronze is a far more complicated process, required of higher degree of technology to produce than does iron. This doesn’t even take into account the sacristy of copper ore in relation to iron ore.

    It not by chance that THE oldest metallurgical factory site in the world is within a few miles of Noah’s home on in the mountains of Ararat! Analyses of copper found there showed 14 different alloys, including tin, lead, antimony and zinc.

    Nor is there any mention that the Greeks at the time of Troy produced bronze that was far superior to iron in durability including the ability to stay sharp. A process we can’t duplicate even today.

    If we are so capable why is it that we can’t duplicate even the cement the Romans used which cured underwater?

    What technology had been lost in the centuries between the Tower of Babel and Troy one can only guess at, but we have archeological evidence that suggests there was an amazing amount lost.

    Without going into a long listing of such lost technologies let me say this. Technology was never at the forefront of man’s spirituality in the ancient world any more than it is today. On the contrary technology was the source of men to subdue and chain people in a slavish social order designed to further a bevy of tyrants. Rarely, if ever, was it used to transform society and establish the equality of man or his rights.

    Far too often we forget that man hasn’t changed in all of his history. The tyrants of today are the same as the tyrants who ruled in the days of Noah; both before and after the Genesis flood.

    Man’s sinful nature is not reduced by technology; however, sin is, without question, enhanced by it. One only need study the first six chapters of Genesis to discover this unfaltering truth.

    Yes, there is also written and physical evidence that these ancient people had advance communications. Did they rival ours? I don’t know, but it seems perfectly logical that if we can, within 100 years, advance to the place we have then there is little bases to conclude that those who preceded us couldn’t also.

    Now, let me pose one question. Jesus said: “as the days of Noah were, so likewise shall the coming of the Son of man be.” (Luke 17:26 and Matthew 24:37) Let’s for a moment affirm that Christ’s return would necessitate man’s sin as being equal to that of Noah’s contemporaries. If, as so many believe today, that Christ’s return is imminent wouldn’t Jesus’ statement be all inclusive?

    As such aren’t we to assume that in the “days of Noah” they had technology equal to or greater than ours which kept them in a brute state of rebellion. A state that satisfied their every desire and whim while falsely allowing them to think then act as the Church of the Laodiceans; “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing…” Revelation 3:14. Thus, “they did eat and drink, marry, and give in marriage, unto the day that Noah entered into the Ark…” Matthew 24:38.

    History, archeology, and Scripture say it is not only probable but factual.

    I look forward to your thoughts.

    Best
    Tim Case

    • perrymarshall says:

      Tim,

      Within Israel people were equal, but the idea of gentiles being equal to Jews was unthinkable then. After Christ, it wasn’t.

      I have no idea what technology existed pre-babel. That’s a matter of speculation.

      • Tim Case says:

        Perry:

        “Within Israel people were equal, but the idea of gentiles being equal to Jews was unthinkable then.”

        I beg to differ:

        Exodus 12:19—Strangers are not to eat unleavened bread any more than the Israelites could.
        Exodus 12:48—Strangers who want to partake of Passover can if they are circumcised.
        Exodus 12:49—“One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.”
        Exodus 20:10—The Sabbath is to holy for all of Israel and all strangers who are in the land of Israel. No work is to be done.
        Exodus 22:21—“You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
        Exodus 23:9—“Also you shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
        Leviticus 17:15—The law of cleanliness apply equally to the Israelite and stanger.
        Leviticus 19:10—“And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.”
        Leviticus 19:33—“And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him.”

        I could go on and on but here is the most important of all the laws.

        Leviticus 19:34—“The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

        The same commandments are applicable to Christians. This is what distinguished the first and second Christians from the rest of the Roman Empire.

        Best
        tim

        • perrymarshall says:

          Tim,

          These instructions of humane treatment applied to people who wanted to integrate with the Jews but it did NOT apply to pagans living outside their land. There is no statement in the OT as sweeping as Paul’s. Yes, the 10 commandments say “Love your neighbor as yourself” but Paul’s statement went even further.

      • Anthony Waters says:

        Exactly Perry, I don’t believe there have ever been found diesel truck engine blocks which would last thousands of years buried in the desert, the high nickel & chrome content would perserve them nicely! Never mind stainless steel alloys, they last virtually forever in any environment. Best Regards, CanadaNorth

  18. Perry – what a pleasant surprise to here you sound off so deep. This radical idea – that we are each valuable and deserve the same honor, when enacted politically in our constitution, changed the course of history. May our technology always stay one step ahead of those who would like to make some people more valuable and deserving of the right to life, liberty, property, and to pursue their happiness according to their conscience. This independence makes true interdependence, and the Thriving (wealth, love, joy, beauty) it brings possible!

    Rock on Brotha! Thrive.
    Mark

  19. Richard Date says:

    Hmm. No mention of the Inquisition of heretics, which lasted a mere 600 years, from 1200-1800–until it was finally dismantled by Napoleon Bonaparte as he conquered Europe.

    The Roman Catholic Church has never preached equality of human beings, since it assigns the human Pope the role of speaking for God, and it insists that forgiveness of sin only comes thru belonging to the Church. That is the essence of a hierarchy of power, not of equality.

    “Equality” arose from the Protestant Reformation, which held that each person could seek a relationship directly with God, and would be answerable directly to God. This may also explain why there are 10,000 Protestant sects. There is no one clearing house (ie the Vatican) declaring the Truth du jour.

    The classical liberals, such as the French Physiocrats and John Locke, expanded on the Protestant concept of human equality under God to include the protection of human rights and of rightful property–which form the basis of good civil govt.

    The next hundred years were an ideological battle between the revolutionary forces of egalitarian liberalism vs the reactionary forces of slavery, aristocracy and Church.

    Those who defended slavery during this period, especially in the antebellum United States and in England, had plenty of source material from the Bible, which discusses the appropriate way to treat slaves in numerous passages.

    It is true that the Renaissance was critical to all that followed, but it is also true that all this progress only came at the expense of Church authority and relevance.

    • perrymarshall says:

      Richard,

      I never said bad things were never done by the church. But you need to check your facts if you’re going to say the Catholic church has long been an advocate of slavery. Rodney Stark in his book “Victory of Reason” documents that technologies like windmills were invented because the church was eradicating slavery as early as 400ad.

      You need to read Tocqueville’s book. I’ve made my argument, you need to go to the original sources before you make yours. I will not participate in a dialogue of the deaf.

    • Tony Francis says:

      Why only the Catholic Church, even in God’s Kingdom, there are bad elements (say Satan for instance); but overall, if there are rules and means to contain the bad elements, (like we have a toilet in a house, or a prison in a city, or a city dump for garbage )and keep them quarantined from the healthy ones, overall, things should work fine.

  20. Pradip Sapkota says:

    You Said no one said any thing about equality of living beeings
    in any religious manuscript before St. Paul but it was written
    in Hindu holy books more than 5000 years ago.We are resiting it
    every morning for generations.

    • perrymarshall says:

      Pradip,

      I’m sorry, there must be some misunderstanding here…. the Hindu Holy books do not teach equality. They teach an oppressive and horribly unjust caste system. I’ve been to India and seen it for myself.

      • anupam says:

        perry

        dont be a pathological liar. how did you read hindu scriptures? do you know any of the indian languages? u must have read translations by christian missionaries who have a prejudiced mind.we dont need guys like u to come to india with nsfarious designs in mind.

        caste system is division of labour amongst different communities engaged in various jobs.it is not what u call unjust or oppressive. A majority of westerners esp christians grossly misunderstand it for slavery which is a popular practice amongst christians bcos bible allows dominance of white man over others as debated by may in this forum.

        undestand you zealot

        anupam

        • perrymarshall says:

          Anupam,

          I took that picture of Dalit children breaking rocks myself. They are not allowed to go to school because of their caste.

          Is there a Hindu scripture that says all people are equal?

          • GyanP says:

            What about White/Black differentiation in White world? Now you can say a number of things – that Bible does not say this, so it is not responsible. The greed of money and power in the Western world, the gap between rich and poor – it is also not mentioned in Christian scriptures. The degradation of women in media. The obsession with sex and nudity. The perversion of the western mind. All these are not in Bible.
            But, it is still there. If I go to UK or USA I can click a number of pictures showing all the above evils.
            It is quite convenient to pick holes in other religions. Very difficult to face the heat of truth for one’s own.
            After all, it is your blog. You can write anything.
            In the end, I will invite Perry to study Hindu Religion with an open heart. A whole new world will open up. Now, at the moment, you are a frog in a well.
            In the end, i will say that caste system is not a part of Hindu religion. This is a mutation which came about duet to the fact that India was under oppressive rule for 1000 years- first by Turks, then by Christians.
            Somebody in this blog has mentioned how the caste was distorted and used by Christians to divide the Hindu society: Divide and Rule being the philosophy of the Christian rulers.
            Where was that equality when your people were ruling most of the world, and plundered India of all its wealth? Were you not Christian then?
            Is that equality? You need courage to even mention equality in Christianity!

            • Tony Waters says:

              Gyan, similar events happened in North America. I live in Canada and my forefathers were Native people. The British did the same here as they did in your country, the formula for oppression was the same. The Native Tribes here had their land stolen at the point of a gun. To this day, Treaties are regularly violated and agreements are still being distorted and changed against the will of the Aboriginal people. Genocide was practiced in Canada on a grand scale. Approximately 80 percent of the native people in western Canada were eradicated due to smallpox, tuberculosis, starvation due to the extermination of the Bison herds and through the introduction of alcohol. A once proud and hard working people were reduced to a ghetto like experience on so called Indian Reserves. All of this was backed and promoted by the Christian Churches of the day. The Anglo Saxon intruders wanted all of the riches this country had to offer. Much of the output was shipped to England for use by the Royal Family and the associated wealthy classes, all at the expense of the true owners of this land. So the new idea is that Christians have now changed and are really sorry for what their forefathers have done. In reality, nothing has fundamentally changed. The Christian Churches are only good to their own kind of people, other beliefs are not tolerated. Past events point out the truth, truth cannot be changed to make the
              Christian Churches look good. Jesus himself would be very dissatisfied with how his teachings were twisted and distorted to suit the Church Leadership. By the way, what do Hindus and Jesus have in common? The answer is that Jesus was not a Christian and Hindus are not Christian! Jesus was a devout Jew who could see the decay and corruption of the then Jewish ruling class. Jesus knew that the Jewish Rulers and Elite were going against the will of the all knowing universal God. Churches are still doing this today. Best Regards, CanadaNorth

              • Tony Francis says:

                Europeans did not come to India to rule. They came to buy spices.Indians should be blamed if the Europeans stayed back and ruled India. Unlike the Japanese or Germans or Vikings who always defied foreign rule, Indians have always been ruled by any hooligan passing through – Aryans, Moghuls, Greeks, Dutch, Portugese, British etc. Always one Indian supported the alien enemy to defeat his neighbor, and later fell victim to the same enemy. In this respect, India of today is no different from the India of yesterday. Indian politicians, because of their selfishness, are supporting foreign interests instead of defending Indian interests. Kalmadis, Rajas, and Gandhis (not Mahatma) and Nehrus (to name a few) have sold their motherland and sacrificed Indian interests to further their own petty interests. In my opinion, the British were more responsible and loved India more than 99% of our present elected ministers and Government officials.

                Many Indians believe that India is now a military and economic super power and is forging ahead. In paper, it may be true. But the fact is that even an Indian laborer in Dubai who is has only the status of a second class resident in that country is better of than a rich man India. When he switches on his lights or A/c, they work 99.99% of the time. No bandhs, no strikes, no pothole ridden roads, no power- cuts, but clean nutritious food in markets and restaurants, medical care in hygienic hospitals, etc. which even a minister or rich industrialist cannot dream of in India. Talented, industrious and honest Indians are driven out of India and are compelled to work for foreign interests in foreign countries because they cannot eke out a honest living in India.

                Instead of Indian money getting invested in roads and bridges and schools and hospitals, they today get deposited in Swiss banks because an Indian believes more in a European bank than their own country man. The swiss today earn their bread not by making watches. They just eat off the secret bank accounts of corrupt Indian politicians and industrialists which are full of money squeezed out of poor Indian public. Where has the Bofors money gone? Which Indian can ask that question today? Will Congress try to find out? Will the BJP dare to ask? The Swiss can safely eat that money.

                Even if an Ambani or a Mittal makes billions of dollars a year, what good is it for India? An average Indian continues to live in misery, drinking filthy water, and eating contaminated food. The richest Indians pay the least taxes. Their profits get siphoned out straight into foreign banks. Their children live and get educated abroad. Rich Indians, ministers and officials fly to hospitals abroad (which are full of Indian doctors and nurses) to get treated for even common ailments.

                As for the military might of India, its Navy cannot even chase Korean fishing boats that poach fish in Indian waters. Those fishing boats are faster, better maintained and have better radars with which they see the Indian Navy boats before the Navy sees them. Some of the fishing boats even have more powerful guns. By the time the Navy boats get approval for a new gun from ministers and IAS officers and generals, and after the kick backs are paid, the guns would have become obsolete, or rusty, and Navy will have to spend more money (to more foreign companies) and more kickbacks to safely dispose them off. Indian engineers account for a good percentage of hitech jobs that develop software and hardware for military applications in the US.

                In short, the Americans and Europeans (though they are in millions and billions and trillions of dollars of debt), have more access to money and are more powerful than India who has a lot of foreign exchange and makes even more black money illegally. Only a smal percentage of money earned by Indians abroad reach Indian banks or are saved in Indian Bonds, because Indians do not trust Indian banks, taxmen, or their government. Indians save their money in foreign banks if they can, or convert it into gold, and hide it under their beds or pillows, because they were afraid to declare the purchase in the bills. If someone raided all the beds in India, they will surely get a hundred times more gold than what they found in the East Fort Temple in Trivandrum. India is a rich country living like a beggar, because they worship and give more value to gold and money than to man. They give more value to their selfish interests than to nobler causes. Gold thus stashed away will do no good to their country. It will not result in new infrastructure or community welfare. That is why Mother Theresa, and other missionaries have to go to India to set up hospitals and schools.

                • Gyanp says:

                  Tony Walters is absolutely right. The ugly truths are always swept under the carpet by the conquerors, which the Britishers also were.

                  The great Greek civilization was also destroyed by the Christian fanatics.

                  Tony Francis, your enthusiasm is only matched by your ignorance.

                  India was a great, and wealthy nation, which has been reduced to its present state by the arrival of serial plunderers, one after the other.

                  I advise Tony Francis to read Indian history more carefully, and not the “official” false history which is only a bunch of lies.

                  • Tony Francis says:

                    If a great and wealthy nation was subdued and ruled and plundered by a handful of spice merchants who came from distant lands, whose science would you expect to be more accurate? whose beliefs would you expect to be closer to truth? Whose technology would you expect to be more advanced? The ignorant one is anxiously waiting to hear from the wise.

                    • GyanP says:

                      Great souls build…Rogues loot and destroy…It takes centuries to build..it takes seconds to annihilate..

            • Tony Francis says:

              Before the British ruled India, there was no India, but only a bunch of small petty kingdoms always fighting with each other. The British annexed all these kingdoms (by fair means or foul) and made it into one country under the British rule. Indians should thank the British for their railways (one of the biggest in the world), Postal and Telegraph services,and most of all for their Medical facilities and education system. Indians (Nehru, Gandhi, etc.) came to know of the value of freedom and independence only after they went to Britain for education. Today many Indians hold important positions around the world because of the English education imparted to them by the British.
              Indian politicians have looted India of a hundred times more wealth than what the British had looted. But unlike the Indian politicians, the British did some good for the country before they left.

              • Jay says:

                Before the British included India in the British Empire India was ruled by Persians after the fall of Babylon. There was one ruler called Menander who was loved greatly by the Indian people.

              • GyanP says:

                Again the same lies, lies and more lies. And to cover them, some more lies. Then some more and more and more lies.

                British empire was enriched by loot and piracy. The piracy was officially allowed in Britain till 1856. They were even knighted by the queen.

                They left India when there was nothing left to loot, India had been sucked bone dry. Thanks British people, you left us the bones! And it is the tenacity of Hindus that even on this left over they are bringing India on top of the world!

                The truth of the British ‘Pirate’ Empire is given here in the following link. And everything is supported by the official documents-

                http://2ndlook.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/britain-the-rise-of-a-pirate-empire/

                I do not expect any love for truth in people from such a background.

                So, Tony happy reading!

                • Jay says:

                  To GyanP. Why all the hate against the ‘British People’. If you were interested in being unbigotted and actually spoke to British people you would find that in general there are some like you… willing to believe all they see and hear when warmongers promote hate and cast blame on innocent people. However there are a number who look for truth and justice and refuse to participate in hate campaigns and voice concern for those being oppressed and wrongly exposed in a false light. What British Imperial’s did was orchastrated by the same powers that are orchestrating hatred throughout the entire world today for the purpose of war death and destruction that is coming upon all mankind. The common people are not all to blame for what the elite orchestrate some are gullible just like you.. others question and oppose but behind it all is Satan. Satan has his puppets on earth carrying out his desire to have mankind annihilate each other through ignorance, hatred and bigotry. Are you willing to be part of this plan?.

                  • Jay says:

                    Ps It is not the Muslim nor the British who are the enemy. It is corrupt rulers and always has been. That is why Christians and Muslims and all other of earth’s inhabitants would do well to know their creator, stop squabbling and keep to the commandments. This would be the only means of saving mankind from being burnt to a crisp by the thermo nuclear war the elite powers are devising and intending to promote by using the ignorance and hatred of the common people.

            • Tony Francis says:

              Is this blog about equality professed by Christianity or about atrocities by western nations on eastern nations?
              I was born in India, and at present in the U.S. I am not a Hindu, but was born into a family which became Christian 2000 years ago, much before any western country became Christian. My great great grandfather was converted by St. Thomas who came by sea to Crangannore in Kerala and converted a lot of people into Christianity which accounts for a third of Kerala’s population today. St Thomas was later killed in Mylapore (today known as St Thomas Mount) in Madras The people converted by St Thomas were mainly rich Hindus and Brahmin Temple priests, who lost all their wealth and lands because of their conversion. But thanks to the Christian influence in Kerala’s culture, there is more equality and religious tolerance among Keralites than in any other Indian state. Unlike in the other Indian states, no Keralite is extremely rich or owns vast stretches of land, but unlike in the other states, there are no beggars, and the educational, and health standards of the people are the highest in the country (Medical statistics compare with that of Switzerland and Cuba). Christian charities set up numerous schools, colleges, and hospitals all over the state. Though it is probably the smallest state in size, Keralites hold top jobs in the Public and private institutions all over India and even abroad, though there are hardly any famous politicians from Kerala.
              In contrast to the active participation by Kerala Christians in Church activities, I see that in the U.S. today, only a small percentage of the people go to any church. So it is wrong to assume that all Indians are Hindus and that all westerners are Christians trying to convert Indians into Cristianity. My family in Kerala were older Christians than the British or Portuguese Christians who visited India as traders and turned later into rulers

              • Gyanp says:

                Just to enlighten you, and open your eyes to your own ignorance- St. Thomas never cam to India.

                For the truth about St. Thomas Church follow the following link-

                http://apostlethomasindia.wordpress.com/

                The book exposing this historical lie written by Ishwar Sharan is available as PDF at many places on the net. You can read it if you want.

                If you are happy in your ignorance, God bless you. (Now please don’t start fighting with me over “your” God or “my” God– as is the habit of Christians…Sorry..)

                • Tony Francis says:

                  Who is Ishwar Sharan? Does he know more about me and my family and my religion more than me?

                  He can even write in his blog that Jesus never lived. But that will not prove anything.

                  Even today, after 2000 years, you can still visit in Kerala, places where St. Thomas preached and worked miracles.

                  Can Mr. Iswar explain how there is today a vibrant Christian Church following Syrian rites in Kerala, where Syrian is not the local mother tongue?

                • Tony Francis says:

                  If anybody follows the link (http://apostlethomasindia.wordpress.com/)which you have given, they will be able to see not only negation of St. Thomas, but also many other hate mails and articles written by Christ- haters.
                  I can give you a list of thousand such links which propogate evil, lies, hedonism,, hatred and violence, where you can read more bizarre lies against Jesus and Christianity.

              • GyanP says:

                Christianity everywhere has spread with deceit and falsehood. You, or anybody else, can believe anything. But truth has been exposed in India by Ishwar Sharan’s book. St. Thomas Church was built after destroying the Shiva temple of Mylapore.

                As I said above, if you are happy in your ignorance, so be it.

                If some fraud is exposed — it is not known as hate. It is called an expose.

                You may like to read the following on Indian Syrian Christians-

                http://apostlethomasindia.wordpress.com/2011/12/21/india-and-the-syrian-christians-of-kerala-pradeep-nair/

                Even your Christ has said that if you spread his message with the help of falsehoods, you will not be allowed entry into his kingdom.

                ‘Satyameva jayate’ – Truth always wins in the end!

                • Tony Francis says:

                  St Thomas’ Church is on the St. Thomas mount, where high caste Hindus killed St. Thomas, because he preached equality of all human beings.

            • Tony Francis says:

              What makes you think that all whites are Christian?

              • GyanP says:

                Wikipedia says – The Indian tradition, in which elements of the traditions of Malabar, Coromandel and the Persian Church intermingled firmly held that Thomas the Apostle died near the ancient town of Mylapore. His mortal remains were apparently buried in the town and his burial place was situated in the right hand chapel of the church or house known after his name. No archaeological evidence support these claims though, while Ishwar Sharan rebuts them in his The Myth of Saint Thomas and the Mylapore Shiva Temple

                A concise article on St. Thomas can be found here – http://folks.co.in/blog/2009/11/07/st-thomas-in-india-myth-or-truth/

                Dr. Elst has given the real reason behind the creation of the myth of St. Thomas-

                “In reality, the missionaries were very disgruntled that the damned Hindus refused to give them martyrs (whose blood is welcomed as ‘the seed of the faith’), so they had to invent one. Moreover, the church which they claim commemorates St. Thomas’ martyrdom at the hands of Hindu fanaticism, is in fact a monument of Hindu martyrdom at the hands of Christian fanaticism. It is a forcible replacement of two important Hindu temples (Jain and Shaiva) whose existence was insupportable to the Christian missionaries.”

                and he has again written,

                “In Catholic universities in Europe, the myth of the apostle Thomas going to India is no longer taught as history, but in India it is still considered useful. Even many vocal ‘secularists’ who attack the Hindus for relying on myth in the Ayodhya affair, off-hand profess their belief in the Thomas myth. The important point is that Thomas can be upheld as a martyr and the Brahmins decried as fanatics.”

                • Tony Francis says:

                  why do you think Catholic Universities in Europe teach truth and Indians teach lies? Is it just your belief or your observation or are all Indians really liars?

                • Old Git Tom says:

                  GyanP,
                  much of what you write is true, but you seem to be selective of which truths to promote. You seem to be Indian-nationalism biassed. Nationalism mixed with religion is usually a poisonous mix. I hope the BNP is not going the way of Zionism!

                  I have no interest in defending the horrors of British imperialism, just historical accuracy. There was no ‘nation’ of India before colonialism. Indeed, there was no ‘Britain’ until its rulers found that territorial-political concept to be useful. Ie., colonialism was born out of European nation & race myths, & Indian nationalism was born as a defence against it.

                  Mainly English-speaking missionaries to India devised Hindustani, to aid them in converting local peoples of several languages. Interesting! It seems it was the early Christian missionaries to the British Isles who devised English for very similar reasons. That is why English is a global language – not becos it is ‘superior’, but becoz it belongs to all, having elements of many languages. It is a lingua franca, as useful to invading imperialists as it later became to defenders of Indic culture, like Mahatma Ghandi (murdered by a Hindu fanatic, I might add).

                  English & knowledge of Western culture gave many people, like Ghandi, a new perspective on the stature & significance of Hinduism; & also its failings, as well as those of the West, with its very superficial ‘Christian’ values.

                  I hate nationalism. It is a fount of countless evils. So often, blind nationalism ends up using some particular religion &/or culture as a weapons to attack & denigrate some perceived ‘other’. Truth is one antidote, & true religon can be another. OGT

                  • GyanP says:

                    @Old Git Tom,

                    I welcome your generally balanced reply.

                    However, you have raised many points which need to be placed in the right perspective. Like your comment on nationalist, or murder of Gandhi by a Hindu fanatic (oh really?).

                    If you really want to know why Godse murdered Gandhi, following article series is one of the best and clear I have ever read –
                    please do read-

                    http://www.esamskriti.com/essay-chapters/Why-was-Gandhi-killed-%28full%29-1.aspx

                    Regarding the ‘creation’ of the “Idea of India”, I refer you to the following great article by Krishen Kak-

                    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2008/11/16/the-idea-of-india/

                    I will only add that we need not thank English or England for everything – we already have a great tradition of knowledge -including Science and Mathematics and Philosophy and Logic – English people only did their bid to destroy or distort it, the tradition and History of India.

                    • Old Tom says:

                      GyanP,

                      your first ref confirms that Ghandi was murdered by a fellow Hindu, albeit with theological rationalizations.

                      Your second ref is redundant, since outside Indian nationalist circles, it is uncontroversial fact that ‘India’ was composed of independent kingdoms/states until united against British rule. It had/has numerous languages. British-inspired Hindi was an instrument of unification.

                      I am quite aware of Indian achievements in science & culture, etc. I do not suggest British colonialism contributed ‘everything’, just correct your rather over-enthusiastic history.

                      Also, I know how much colonialism destroyed & ravaged in India. However, if you read the Maharrabhata, you will find the caste system implied – but not endorsed. Alas, if only more Hindus u/stood its wisdom!

                      The rigid attachment to hereditary Brahmin priest status was a major reason Islam converted so many in Kashmir. All converts lost their caste as Moslems.

                      This also explains the rise of Buddhism in India. The Buddha preached that anyone could attain enlightenment. Buddhism faded as Hinduism reformed itself & became more ‘democratic’, & Moslem invaders obliterated Buddhist monasteries.

                      So similarly in the medieval Balkans, when Christian serfs could become free by converting to Islam after Ottoman conquest.

                      Both Hinduism & Islam have long traditions of religious toleration. Even today in India, both venerate some common holy men’s graves. Where does this murderous fanaticism come from? OGT

                • Tony Francis says:

                  Kodungallur as the see of St. Thomas Regarding the arrival of St. Thomas in Malabar and his life and mission there considerable unanimity of opinion prevailed among the people of Kerala, whether Christians or non-Christians, until of late certain denominational rivalries or even political and communal vested interests began to colour the statements of some writers. As far as the Apostolate of St. Thomas in Kerala is admitted, his connection with Kodungallur has not been questioned. All traditions refer to that royal maritime city as the first host to the indefatigable Apostle. Any number of historians of repute can be cited on these two points. f. i: The Malabar tradition “which assigns the first preaching of the Gospel in Malabar to the Apostle Thomas is most ancient and strong.”22 Further: “St. Thomas is supposed to have landed near Cranganore, and therefore the city is sacred to the Christians. It was the capital of the Cheraman Perumals, whose palace, known as Allal Perumkovilakam, was situated in the vicinity of the great Pagoda at Thiruvanchikulam, which formed a suburb of Kodungallur”23 The Malabar tradition which is near-unanimous “holds that St. Thomas the Apostle came to Cranganore in the year 52 A.D., built churches at seven places and then suffered martyrdom at St.Thomas Mount near Madras.” 24 No wonder W. W. Hunter has remarked: “The large Christian population is a distinctive feature of the country. The Syrian Christians date from the earliest centuries of our era.”25 The Hindu compiler of the Travancore State Manual has no doubt about the Malabar tradition: “There is no doubt as to the tradition that St. Thomas came to Malabar and converted a few families of Nambudiris, some of whom were ordained by him as priests such as those of Sankarapuri and pakalomattam. For, in consonance with this long-standing traditional belief in the minds of the people of the Apostle’s mission and labours among high caste Hindus, we have it before us today the fact that certain Syrian Christian women particularly of a Desam called Kunnamkulam wear clothes as Nambudiri women do, move about screening themselves with huge umbrellas from the gaze of profane eyes as those women do, and will not marry except perhaps in exceptional cases, and those only recently, but from among dignified families of similar aristocratic descent.”26 As tradition goes, Christians from Malabar, West Asia and even from China used to go to Mylapore and venerate the Apostle’s tomb. These traditions are also enshrined in the Rabban Pattu, Margam Kali and the Veeradian Pattu songs of Kerala. The oral and documentary traditions have been well documented by the Portuguese in the 16th century. These are discussed in detail in A. M. Mundadan in his “Sixteenth Century Traditions”; and by Placid Podipara, The Thomas Christians. The Chapter entitled “The Indian Apostolate of St. Thomas” is reproduced in stcei II and also see stceI II p.7 ff. In all the accounts of the Malabar Tradition Kodungallur is the place designated as the apostle’s landing port in Kerala. In the narratives describing the churches and places connected with the apostle, Kodungallur invariably heads the list, It is remarkable that the Pazhayakoottukar (syro-Malabar Catholics), the Puthenkootukar (non-catholic syrians of Kerala) and the Latin catholics believe that the apostle first landed in or near Cranganore28. “The name of Nazaranis or Mar Thoma Nazaranis by which those Christians are universally known in Malabar, denotes an antiquity of origin prior to the time when the followers of Jesus the Nazarene had begun to be called Christians at Antioch”29
                  The seven churches of St. Thomas are to be found in locations where there were Jewish colonies in Kerala in the first centuries. According to some these colonies might have induced the visit of Thomas to India in one way or other.30 “The nation in general are called St. Thomas Christians in all parts of India, and it imports an antiquity that reaches far beyond the Eutychians or Nestorians or any other sect” says the author of Christian reasearches in Asia.31 He goes on to assert : “I am satisfied that we have as good authority for believing that the Apostle Thomas died in India as that the apostle Peter died in Rome.”32 “The innumerable popular songs, stories, and local legends about the Apostle, the common name of Thomas in most families, the temple like structure of the earliest Christian churches, resulting from tradition, that the apostle allowed the new converts to use the temples which he purified for Christian worship.”33 What is the west Asian tradition concerning the apostolic origin of the Malabar Church? “Some writers contend that Christianity was introduced into India from Mesopotamia by the East Syrians. But they are unable to assign the work to definite persons or to a definite age
                  . The East Syrians never claimed the honour . There is not the least trace of any tradition either among the Syrians or among the Indians concerning the original introduction of Christianity into South India by the East Syrians. The East Syrian bishops and patriarchs who ruled the Indian Church from the earliest times down to the sixteenth century never claimed that their forefathers were the apostles of South India…
                  They even explicitly recognised St. Thomas the Apostle as the founder of the South Indian Church”34 Vatican codex 22 written in Malabar in 1301 designates the then East Syrian Prelate of the Thomas Christians as “Metropolitan bishop of the See of St.Thomas .” The Patriarch of this prelate was only the head of a Church founded by a disciple of a disciple of St. Thomas (as the east syrians themselves believed ). Would a prelate tolerate a title that was more honourable than that of his patriarch, if that title did not mean what it said?”35 The statement attributed to Origen (as seen earlier) that the Gospel has not yet been preached in Ariake (supposedly the Bombay region), if anything only goes to prove that the other three well known areas of India near Taxila, Muziris and Mylapore had already been christianised.36 “There was Christianity in India and (along the Malabar coast) before Nestorius.”37 It is to be noted that both the traditions about the arrival of Thomas of Cana to Malabar begin with an account of the decline of Christianity in Malabar after apostolic times: From this date (i.e., St.Thomas’ death) the faithful declined by little in our country. At that time St.Thomas’ appeared in a vision to the Metropolitan of the town of Edessa and said to him : Wilt thou not help India? and he also appeared to Abgar, King of Edessa, who was the King of the Syrians, and then by order of the King and the bishop three hundred and thirtysix families came to India under the leaders Thomas the Cananite ……. All these sailed in the sea and entered Corigalore (Kodungallur), our country. They inhabited it by special permission from the King Shiramon Pririmal……”38 With Podipara we can say that the Malabar tradition is not contradicted by any rival tradition. 39
                  The archaeological vestiges of the Thomas Christians of Kerala establish the great antiquity of these Christians. As an advisor to the Department of Archaeology, Government of Kerala, the author had rather close contacts with the leading archaeologists of the South and leading historians of Kerala during the last two decades. The author has gathered the strong conviction from these contacts, that the granite sculptures of the churches, especially the crosses and the baptismal fonts, are probably the oldest extant granite sculptures of Kerala, even older than any Hindu sculptures in Kerala.40- This view expressed through different media and in different forums, have not been refuted or contradicted. The premier status of Kodungallur in everything connected with the Thomas Christians is further attested by the universally accepted traditions of various ancient christian families and communities, that they had migrated from Kodungallur. Many christian families in various parts of Kerala were using the expression “Christians of Mahadevapattanam” (or Kodungallur) in their official documents and court cases. We have already seen that geographically also Kodungallur was the most accessible and the most important harbour of apostolic times. The Jews and the followers of Islam also first landed in India at Kodungallur.41 Many writers have pointed out that traditions as they exist today in recorded form are not earlier than 16th century or so. But the tradition existed and still exists as the life of a community, that lived and still lives among other communities, that too have their own long standing traditions. We find no anachronism nor anything else that may weaken in any way the force of the Malabar tradition concerning St. Thomas and Kodungallur.42 The Christian families of one locality in Malabar, which traditionally trace their origin from Apostle Thomas do not contradict the claims of other such families of the same or other localities.43 This unanimity and uniformity of opinion concerning the life of the Apostle in Kerala and churches founded by the Apostle, beginning with Kodungallur will be found to be more authentic, if we examine the documents, legends, and local traditions connected with the more than hundred churches mentioned by Gouvea (Journado, Coimbra, 1606). For example, the Kayamkulam Church though founded by the saintly Sapor and Proth, and called the church of “Kandeesangal’, is yet given only much less importance, than the seven churches of Apostle Thomas, first of all Kodungallur.
                  Take one particular instance : The church at Ollur near Trichur used to be one of the wealthiest in the whole of Kerala. This church was founded only in 1718. Before that they used to go for Mass to Pazhuvil church which was founded in 960. Before that, the tradition goes, they used to go to Enammavu founded in 500. The Enammavu church recognises the unimportant Noth Pudukad church as its mother church (400 A.D). This church in its turn originated from the Mattam church (Ca. 140 A.D), which traces its origin to the Palayur church founded by St. Thomas. What is important is that the people of all these places unanimously subscribed to the truth of the chronology, although time has brought about great changes in the status of each place, and yet the traditions concerning the origin of each church is recognised by all the churches unanimously. Similarly almost all the churches of Kerala trace their beginnings to one or other of the Thomas Churches or to churches which derive from one of those churches. Thus these traditions have no less value than documents written on paper or stone. It may be proper to summarise here relevant portions of the Rabban Pattu, which is the substratum of all the traditions concerning the Apostolate of St. Thomas in South India, even if some minor details may be backward projections from the concepts of Church’s life at the time of the latest redactions of the song. (The summary is adapted from Mundadan : History of Christianity, I, p.30-32). Thomas the Apostle coming from Arabia, landed in Maliankara in the year AD 50 in the month of Dhanu (Dec./Jan.). After a short stay there he proceeded to Mailapuram (Mylapore) and from there went to China. Coming back to Mailapuram port he sailed to Maliankara being invited by the King of Thiruvanchikulam (modern Cranganore), and founded seven churches there : in Cranganore (where he arrived in AD 51 and baptized the King, 3000 pagans and 40 Jews), in Kollam, Chayal, Niranam, (to which place the cross was transferred from the infidel village of Trikpaleswaram), Kokkamangalam, Kottakayal (Parur) and Palayur. (These are the seven churches well-known in tradition). In AD 59 in the month of Kanni (Sept./Oct.) he was called back to Mailapuram by King Cheran,who imprisoned him ……….. But the king’s brother died at that time and was brought back to life and ……….. Thomas was set free and the king along with 700 received baptism. After a stay of two and a half years in Mailapuram the Apostle returned to Malabar via Malyattur and visited the old places : Cranganore, Kottakayal,… staying in each place for a year and conferring on the faithful the sacrament of confirmation. In Chayal the Apostle took leave of the Christians, telling them that they would not see him again. Then in the year AD 69 he departed from there to the land of the Tamils. At this point the peom enumerates the miracles performed by the Apostle : he brought back to life 19 dead, drove the devil out of 260, etc… In all he converted 17750 persons, of whom 6850 were Brahmins, 2800 Kshatriyas, 3750 Vaisyas and 4250 Sudras… Kepa and Paul are said to have been consecrated bishops. Kepa belonged to the Cranganore royal family and he was set over Kerala. He took part in the burial of the Apostle. Back in Milapuram in the year AD 72 on the 3rd day of Karkadakam (July), on the way to the Little Mount he was pierced with a lance…. Whether the See of Kodungallur succeeds St. Thomas’ see of Mylapore It may be opportune to summarise here from Mundadan’s History of Christianity in India, Vol. I, p. 71-78 the theory proposed by some, especially following Bishop Ros who became the first Padroado Bishop of Kodungallur in 1600.
                  Against the purely Malabar tradition that the Christian Community of Kerala is entirely the first of the Apostolate of St.Thomas in Kerala,there are some who in later times maintained that the Kerala Community originated from the Christians of the coromandel Coast, especially Mylapore, who migrated to Kerala as a result of some natural calamities and religious persecutions in that area. Bishop Ros seems to have been influenced by two facts : 1. The Syriac Books which were his primary source of information, 2. his polemic interest to establish that the See of Angamaly of which he had recently been made bishop, is the successor of the oldest See of India, which according to him is Mylapore, where St.Thomas died. He argues that the See of Mylapore which was founded by the Apostle Thomas himself, was transferred to Cranganore, when the Christians left Mylapore and established themselves in Cranganore. This had a polemic purpose, in the dispute with the bishop of Cochin, conducted in 1607. Another tradition as given by Fr. Mathew (1730) in St. Giamil, Genuinae Relations (1902) p.562-564 has this to say, about the Mylapore exodus: After the death of the Apostle, the Malabar Church was left without a preacher and leader. After 93 years there were no priests at all. At that time a magician called Manikabashar appeared. He went to Mylapore and worked wonders by his magic, seducing many Christians from the true faith. Those who remained faithful, took refuge in Malabar and were kindly received by the believing brethren there. This Manikabashar is believed to have been a saiva saint, who lived in the 2nd part of the 9th century, and is the author of Tiruvasagam (the sacred word), a collection of devotional hymns. He is said to have debated with Buddhists from SriLanka to Chidambaram and to have utterly vanquished them. Cfr. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, pp. 175, 369,370,425). From all this, one definite conclusion seems to emerge: at some time between 8th and 10th century, part of the Christian community of the Coromandel coast, owing to some natural calamities or antagonisms with other comunities, left that coast and merged with the Christian community of Malabar, where the community was more fully established at a still earlier date, as we have demonstrated in the rest of this study. Where was ancient Musiris? The schematic map of the region around Kodungallur gives only a faint suggestion of the landscapes of the area, which is hardly above sea level and abounding in canals and lagoons and prone to flooding in the rainy season. The landstrip, 5 to 10 Km. broad near the sea shore, shows every sign of being newly formed by the sea receding in recent times. As mentioned passim in Chapter I, it is now not possible to locate the ancient site of Musiris harbour, nor that of Mahodayapuram of the Chera Kings precisely at any of the present sites of the environs of Kodungallur. No structure or building existing today in the area can be dated back to more than 6 centuries. Although hundreds of Roman coins have been unearthed in the area, no satisfactory archaeological work has been done to identify any of the sites mentioned in early records. There is general agreement that the present Kodungallur area on the northern side of the estuary, where Periyar river joins the sea, is the continuation of the Cranganore of the 15th century, but we have no positive proofs as to where the site of the ancient Musiris Metropolis or the later Thiruvanchikulam or Mahadevarpatanam was.
                  There are surmises that make Parur near Kodungallur part of the ancient Musiris Metropolis (Cfr. Mundadan pp. 43, 92), while others suggest even Trichur area about 40 Km. away (e.g., J.J. Morris). Probably the great flood of 1341, mentioned above, changed the geography of the whole area beyond recognition and it would require extensive studies on archaeological excavations to arrive at definite conclusions. Vincent Smith’s opinion is worth mentioning here. (Short History of India, 1922, pp.iii-iv): “Let us consider for a moment the changes in the great rivers of India, which when seen in full flood, suggest thoughts of the ocean, rather than of inland streams….They cut and carve the soft alluvial places at their will, recking of nothing…The founders of the more important cities almost invariably built, if possible on the bank of a river, and not only that, but between two rivers in the triangle of the confluence”. And when rivers have changed their course or the sea receded or taken away land, it is difficult to locate the position of old cities. This agrees very well with the general tradition of Kerala, clothed in mythical lore, called keralolpathies (treatises on the origin of Kerala, which seek to give divine origin to the special rights of the Brahmins and the caste divisions in Kerala society) that the land strip of Kerala from Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari) to Kasargod (Gokarnam) was raised out of the sea by the warrior-sage Parasurama (an incarnation of Vishnu) and was gifted to the brahmins, in order to propitiate for the killings for which he was responsible in the war against the kshatriya kings. But one fact is not disputed: that Musiris was up the mouth of the Periyar river, before it joins the Arabian sea. Hence in the complete absence of any vestiges of the ancient harbour and metropolis, the most natural site that recalls the landing place of St. Thomas, is certainly the shore of the estuary where Periyar joins the sea, that is today Azhicode on the Kodungallur side of the estuary. That was the reason why Cardinal Tisserant agreed to deposit the Ortona Relics of the Right Arm of the apostle that he brought in the modest shrine built at Azhicode, where periyar joins the sea.
                  Archaeological Vestiges around Kodungalloor-some details Roman coins of B. C. 123-A.D. 117 were discovered at Iyyal in the Trichur District (on 3rd Kanni 1121 ME i.e., 29th October 1945). The village of Iyyal is situated on the highway supposed to have existed connecting the ancient emporia of Tyndis and Muziris (Early Coins of Kerala, P.L. Gupta, Curator, Patna Museum, Trivandrum, 1965 published by the Government of Kerala). The exact contents of the hoard is not known. Only 12 gold and 105 silver coins were recovered from the finder and his associates and acquired under the Treasure Trove Act. While all the gold coins are Roman, 34 of the silver coins are punchmarked coins and the remaining 71 are Roman denarii. A number of Roman denarii, are either broken or are mere fragments. They are now (1965, later distributed among the various Government museums of the Kerala State) kept in the Archaeological Museum and Picture Gallery, Trichur. Another hoard of 184 silver punch-marked coins were discovered from the Kottayam District (Travancore Archaeological Department’s Report for 1121 M.E.) These coins help us to compare the time of the different hoards found in the state. Recently a large number of Roman gold coins were discovered at Parur while the compound of one Madhavi Amma was being dug by workmen. Of the nearly 2000 gold coins reported to have been found, only a fourth have come into the possession of the Government From preliminary examinations by the Archaeological department it is found that these coins also belong to the same period as the Iyyal coins. The Roman silver coins and the punch-marked coins were current in the country together and side by side, both being more or less of the same weight. Obverse and reverse of the Iyyal Roman gold coins of Tiberius (r.figure of clemency seated), Claudius (r.winged figure of Victory standing), Nero (r.a cereal wreath), Nero (r.sacerdotal objects), and Trajan (r.seated female figure). The Iyyal hoard consists of the following coins: Republican period (126-86 B. C.) 4 denarii Octavian (44-31 B.C.) 12 ” Octavian from Gaul (29-27 B. C.) 1 ” Augusts (Rome 17, Gaul 15, 36 ” Ephesus 1, Pergamum 3) Tiberius 6 ” 8 aureii Claudius (A.D.41-54) 4 ” 1 ” Nero (A.D.54-68) 5 ” 2 ” Trajan (A. d. 98-117) 1 ” Like the silver punch marked coins of the hoard the Roman denarii are extremely worn; while the Roman aureii are in preserved condition. The aureus of Trajan is almost fresh. On the strength of the aureus of Trajan, and because later coins are not to be found in the hoard, the date of deposit of the hoard may be placed convincingly in circa 100 A. D. The fact that Roman coins of the first century B. C.-A.D. have been discovered in places near Palayur and parur, two of the seven St. Thomas churches indicate the contacts these areas had with Rome and how they were important in Apostolic times. The annual report of the Archaeological Department, Cochin State, Trichur, for the year 1123 M. E. (1947-48 A.d.) by P. Anujan Achan, Government Archaeologist, published from Ernakulam has reproduced the report prepared in collaboration with the Archaeological Survey Department of the Government of India of the excavation of a capstone flush monument at Porkalam in cochin State. Similar reports have been published in the other issues of the Report for other years concerning similar or other ancient mouments of prehistoric times. Reports from the Archaeological and Museum Departments of Travancore and Madras also are very helpful to study the situation and status of Kodungallur and its environs in the earliest historical times. Among the megalithic cultural vestiges of the area we come across Dolmenoid Cists, Capstone Flush, Stone Circles, Umbrella Stones, Hood-Stones, Merhirs and Burial Urns. (P. K. Gopalakrishnan, Keralathinte Samskarika Charithram has many useful pages for the study of these.) Ancient India, No. 8, 1952, article on megalithic Urn-Burial (Cochin State), p.5, by B.K. Thapar has the following: “The technique and fabric of the pottery recovered from this (Porkalam, Cochin State) monument are absolutely identical with the megalithic ware of Brahmagiri and other sites in South India….One phase of this culture has been dated at Brhmagiri tperiodbetween circa 200 B. C.and the middle of the First CenturY A.D.”

          • perrari says:

            “In Christ there is neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, slave nor free. All are equal in Christ Jesus.” Before Paul said this, no one had ever made such a bold and sweeping statement. No one. Not the Jews or Babylonians, not the Egyptians, not the Greeks, not the Chinese. The concept of equality came first from Paul.”

            I would be interested in hearing your comments on Bhagavad Gita verse 32 of chapter 9.

            O son of Pritha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth—women, vaishyas [merchants] and sudras [workers]—can attain the supreme destination.

            There is no point in debating that there are higher and lower classes of people in the world, but here Krishna clearly states that your birth is not a bar to spiritual progress.

            Essentially this means that all are equal in the eyes of God, despite the obvious and undeniable differences in material circumstances.
            (Krishna also explains how that comes about).

            This is further evidenced by the activities of Iskcon who very rigidly follow the teachings of Bhagavad Gita which predate John’s words by several thousand years. Even the most casual glance at the members of Iskcon will clearly show that there is no discrimination based on the body, ie. male/female high class/low class, higher caste/untouchable, nationality etc.

            Elsewhere in Bhagavad Gita Krishna elaborates that a person is to be judged by his qualities and activities, NOT his or her birth.

            If a prince behaves in a low class manner, he is low class, and if a rag-picker has the qualities of a transcendentalist, he is to be accepted as such.

            Let us discuss from the essential teachings of a faith, not simply from the activities of those claiming to follow them. In view of the Christian church’s ‘colorful’ background I am sure you will welcome the distinction.

            • Tony Francis says:

              Equality does not mean making everything identical. If God had such an idea for his creations, it would have been a very boring world full of Hydrogen atoms, or some other element. Or going a little bit deeper, it would been made of only electrons or only protons, because protons being so much bigger than electrons would amount to “inequality” in your sense.
              No church however fair or “equality conscious” is ever going to make male and female followers “equal” except by making drastic laws like castration for all males or mastectomy or similar procedures for all females.
              On the contrary, God has not made any time or location identical to another. All trees are different, even twins having the same DNA are very different.
              When we say we are equal in Jesus, it means that we will all be treated with equal importance when we are part of Jesus’ Kingdom or Body, just as in our body, the lungs and heart and liver are all important and support each other. One will not survive without the other. Equality does not mean that our lungs will be same shape and size and color as the heart.
              Also in a well administered country or kingdom, even a scavenger will be taken care of, and will get healthy food, healthcare and accommodation just as a minister or lawyer.

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