Paine concludes the chapter with a paragraph on the nature of religion. The focus is on Christianity, but it applies to religion in general, if one reads between the lines.
‘It is curious to observe how the theory of what is called the Christian Church, sprung out of the tail of the heathen mythology. A direct incorporation took place in the first instance, by making the reputed founder to be celestially begotten. The trinity of gods that then followed was no other than a reduction of the former plurality, which was about twenty or thirty thousand. The statue of Mary succeeded the statue of Diana of Ephesus. The deification of heroes changed into the canonization of saints. The Mythologists had gods for everything; the Christian Mythologists had saints for everything. The church became as crowded with the one, as the pantheon had been with the other; and Rome was the place of both. The Christian theory is little else than the idolatry of the ancient mythologists, accommodated to the purposes of power and revenue; and it yet remains to reason and philosophy to abolish the amphibious fraud.’
As in Christianity, the same in other religions. ‘Accommodated to the purposes of power and revenue.’ An incorporation of power structures and economic rule, through which the gullible, the fearful, the faithful, the sceptical, all individuals of this world, no matter their disposition, are sucked into mass folly in the name of righteousness. The mark of corporate tyranny before the term ‘corporation’ was invented.
The conclusion is clear. Religion is, by and large, the most ancient, most powerful, most deadly corporate tyranny of all. Incorporated in ancient times, it still reigns supreme, its various branches still feuding with each other for a bigger piece of the pie. They do it on the backs, wallets, and livelihoods of the people they’re supposedly safeguarding.
If this was done by any other organization, I believe you’d call it a name. You’d call it criminal.
For the moment it’s called salvation.
The question is,
Who will save people from salvation?
From your Paine-riddled Spin Doctor,
Amen. Peace be Upon you. Mazel tov. Eyes open, mind sharp. And good morning.