‘When I am told that the Koran was written in Heaven, and brought to Mahomet [sic] by an angel, the account comes to near the same kind of hearsay evidence and second hand authority as the former. I did not see the angel myself, and therefore I have a right not to believe it.’
A straightforward argument. Sadly, there’s no mention of the instructions inside this book, many of which are dubious, to say the least, like the Exodus declamation above.
Moving on to Christianity and the Virgin Mary:
‘When also I am told that a woman, called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not: such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it: but we have not even this; for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves. It is only reported by others that they said so. It is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not chose to rest my belief upon such evidence.’
It gets better.
‘It is, however, not difficult to account for the credit that was given to the story of Jesus Christ being the Son of God. He was born when the heathen mythology had still some fashion and repute in the world, and that mythology had prepared the people for the belief of such a story. Almost all the extraordinary men that lived under the heathen mythology were reputed to be the sons of some of their gods. It was not a new thing at that time to believe a man to have been celestially begotten; the intercourse of gods with women was then a matter of familiar opinion. Their Jupiter, according to their accounts, had cohabited with hundreds; the story therefore had nothing in it either new, wonderful, or obscene; it was conformable to the opinions that then prevailed among the people called Gentiles, or mythologists, and it was those people only that believed it.’
Harsh but accurate. The notion of deification is the product of heathen thinking.
Paine goes on to say that ‘The Jews, who had kept strictly to the belief of one God, and no more, and who had always rejected the heathen mythology, never credited the story.’
And neither did the Muslims, of course.
But, despite their apparent command of logic on this issue, the Jews and Muslims are able to hear what God says and know what he wants. They deem the idea of God becoming flesh and blood absurd, because God is beyond such mundaneness, a meaningless notion, they say, but when it comes to conveying God’s word with authority, they’ve got it covered. They consider God a ‘guy’, even though flesh and gender are beyond God’s nature, and believe they can hear ‘him’ loud and clear. The divine hotline that connects the ether to the mundane is connected to their ear, their brains.
Yep, God is beyond earthy manifestation, but he’s a guy, and he actively strives for daily audiences with his people, which he holds specifically with the ones who think he’s beyond the material world to begin with.
The ridiculous and self-serving clearly know no bounds.
From your outrageously irreverent Spin Doctor,
Watch this space for Part 3