Christianity, Inc: A Pox On All Your Houses – Part II – Ed Firmage

Several weeks ago on April 25, the LDS Church joined other religious bodies and leaders in signing the letter “to protect and preserve the institution of marriage between a man and a woman.” You may read the Church’s full statement on their website.

Introduction here.

Follows is the second in a series of open letters by:
Edwin Brown Firmage (website, bio)
Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law, Emeritus
University of Utah College of Law Salt Lake City, Utah

Just what does the Bible teach us about love, sex, and family? Well, over thousands of years, about anything one could conceivably (no pun intended) want to know. A pretty graphic book, the Bible. Daughters getting dad drunk and themselves pregnant, for starters. But the very continuation of the species, I believe, was in their mind at least; at issue was issue. So lest we get lost in all this tangle, perhaps, at least for starters, let’s stick to the New Testament. A more slender book, and quite meaningless without the Bible, but let’s start here.

Dear bishops of Roman Catholic persuasion. Dear brothers and sisters of my Mormon roots. And Protestants (aren’t we all?) Chapter and verse, please. Bring your bibles. Mine is worn to a frazzle. But I’ve memorized most of it. Choose your venue: Rome, Salt Lake City, Geneva. Teach me, I pray you, just what did Jesus say about the family?

With one stupendous exception, just about everything Jesus had to say about the family can be subsumed in his challenge that we rise above, way above the politics and pettiness of family, tribe, and blood. In fact, hugely the statements on family values, made by Jesus Christ, the last time I checked still the founder of the faith, are negative. If loving one’s brother and sister are all we are about, then forget it, he says, over and over and over again. He was about a much higher vision. Not resisting this pun, he did have other fish to fry.

Mary and Joseph notice a bit late (by a day or two…. where is Family Home Evening when you need it?), that the young Jesus is not in the camel caravan leaving the holy city. Like god-fearing parents in Salt Lake City, or Rome, in Geneva, or the Mafia, they go in search of him. They find him in the temple, conversing with the priests, about the Law and the Prophets. Jesus is not quite yet a teen-ager when he tells his worried parents that he must be about his Father’s business. [Luke 2:41-51] His time was approaching. God help Mary when this young man reaches his teens. Joseph, an older man, likely in his fifties or sixties, is not mentioned again in Jesus’ life. Perhaps Joseph, seeing Jesus at twelve, has premonitions of Jesus’ teen-age years, and died. Mary, a young girl in her teens when Joseph, a man twice or thrice her age, asks for her hand, lives on in the scriptural record, to the end of the gospels’ account. Then through the histories, scriptural and otherwise, of the infant church, clearly as one of its central leaders.

When Mary and Jesus’ siblings want to talk to him, and send in their note into a room crowded with Jesus’ disciples, Jesus exclaims: “who is my mother? My brothers and sisters? Those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 12:46-50]

When a devout young man wants to follow Jesus, but piously asks first to be allowed to bury his father, who has just died, Jesus responds: ” Let the dead bury the dead.” [Matthew 8:20-22] Now, there’s a Jeremiad when you need one.

Jesus says that a man’s enemies would be those of his own household. [Matthew 10:34-37] Indeed.

He does not marry, as far as we know. Clearly, it is not his priority even though, of course, it was the standard social custom for the Rabbi, or teacher to marry, just as anyone else would do. Jesus says he has no place to lay his head. He lives the life of the penniless teacher, mendicant, itinerant, on the go. So too, his disciples. He says, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” [Luke 14:26-27] We soften these stern pitiless words at peril of our own souls. It would seem that the disciples leave their families to fend for themselves as they follow Jesus. They are fishers of men and women everywhere, through two thousand years and hundreds of thousands of miles, in time and space. Prophets and apostles in deed.

Yes, Peter had a mother-in-law and I assume, a wife. [Matt. 8:14-15] I had both, once. God help Peter, if he inherited a mother-in-law without ever having a wife. Did he abandon his wife? St. Paul, burned once, suggests that such might be a very good idea. [1 Corinthians 7]

Just like Joseph, Brigham, and me. I was called as a young Mormon missionary while on my honeymoon, which I spent, strangely, reading the “standard works,” all, for the first time, ever. The Bible, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Cover to cover. My eight children’s births remain a mystery. After the honeymoon (I was one of the last virgins on earth at my marriage), within weeks I was in Bradford, England. Then Aberdeen, Scotland, for the coldest winter of my life. What the Scots consider a roaring fire, in place of central heating, would not warm sushi. Then Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, and London. From London, throughout every little village and city in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Dublin and the Republic of Ireland as well. There to make Mormons of perfectly decent Episcopalians, Catholics, Presbyterians, and….well, the Welsh. For these hardy folk, they simply said, “no, I’m Welsh.” Somehow, we Mormons still obtained the Tabernacle Choir, almost exclusively of Welsh stock. But from Dan Jones, not Ed Firmage. I spent the first lonely month of newly-minted celibacy pondering just how I might throw myself under one of the very few automobiles in England in those days, just so as to be injured sufficient to be sent home, with honor intact, but not so badly wounded such that other portions of myself were still intact, allowing me once again to enjoy my wife’s favors. Not figuring a foolproof way, I remained. I’m a Libra.

By my reading, and I claim no infallibility, the only time the founder of the faith spoke positively of “family values,” was from the cross. To John the Beloved, and to Jesus’ mother, Mary: “woman, behold your son,” looking toward John. And to John, Jesus’ Beloved: “son, behold your mother.” [John 19:26-27] Church history and tradition join in informing us that Mary lived for the remainder of her yet long life with John. It might enlighten and intrigue us all to take a long hard look, with a magnifying glass, at the great artist’s rendition of the Last Supper. Notice Jesus and John. What great love.

My dear sisters and brothers of all faiths. I beseech you. Reconsider. Lest the present path lead us all to questions and precipices we may be well advised to avoid. While we still can. If we still can. The joker, in all this, is that we will only be sure, really sure, just how close to the precipice we are, after the fact, that is, in retrospect. Or are we indeed now plunging pell-mell over and down, into the abyss? A sobering thought.

Sisters and brothers, of the Book; and of all the holy books of all faiths. Truly we are all one. Whether we use the metaphor of DNA and a double helix, or the stories of all the mystics since time began and beyond the speed of light and looking back as it again overwhelms us. We are one. The one and the many. In all directions. Among all faith traditions. And among all those who think, not without a lot of evidence, that God, the very idea of God, is as very bad joke. NEVERTHELESS! We, like mountain-climbers roped together on the high Himalayas, or the Rockies, either make it to the top together, or together we go over the precipice. This life is not a zero-sum game.

Whether or not any religion, anytime, saves anyone else, it just may be that those we seek to save, if we are very, very lucky, or blessed, may just save us. We of the First World, so-called, may just be saved by our sisters and brothers in Chad. Or on Chicago’s South Side. Or in Salt Lake City. Our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Our divorced and remarried or never-married neighbors. Our friends from south or north or east or west of the border, whatever “border” means in this time. If we act now, in this Kairos moment. This moment in time, as Jesus says in St. Mark’s gospel, the first story of Jesus Christ: “The Kairos is among you.” That means now. If we now act, in charity, in love–shalom, salaam–without judgment. They may just save us.

Thus, we may be able yet to avoid such questions, as: just why do we need all you old men anyway? Personally, I was just made emeritus. That means I now teach free. I got fired. Though nicely done. The English, with their famous sensitivity, tell those in retirement that they have “been rendered redundant.” Just why, good bishops and priests and high priests, just why do we need any of you? To allow our speaking to God? And just why do we pay you tithes and offerings, when all scriptural support says “freely have you received, freely give?” [Matthew 10:8] Just how, and when, and why, did we invent a priesthood, anyway? With nary a woman, or a gay man, in sight? By my count, that’s about 58% of the human race, not represented. Didn’t our forebears have some words with Mother Church and Mother Country about this? Taxation without representation? And a Tea Party in Boston’s harbor? Didn’t the Protestant Reformation, birthed in part in Geneva, Switzerland, deal with some of these things? Is it time for another Reformation? Or Restoration, if you will? Perhaps, just perhaps, we might begin to meet this ideal by considering, always considering, a Reformation, or a Restoration, a once and future thing, never quite finished, or perhaps yet begun, always just ahead and a’birthing. A once and future Restoration, always, elusively always, just out of sight, around the corner, on another star. So, with Milton, Merton, and Dante, take me out among the stars.

Pace ‘ e Bene. – Ed Firmage

  1. #1 by DarkStar on May 19, 2006 - 8:05 am

    According to the associated press, the amendment to ban gay marriage passed throught committee and now moves to the full senate “where it stands little chance of passing.”I’m both pleased but also surprised by this statement. “No chance?” Why not?

  2. #2 by grokgov on May 19, 2006 - 2:04 pm

    Great diary —



  3. #3 by Nephi on May 19, 2006 - 5:55 pm

    And thanks to you, too, Greg. Your efforts are awesome!

  4. #4 by JTH on May 20, 2006 - 11:08 am


    Beautifully written, and an example to which we should all work towards creating: a world around the concept of love. At the end of the day, the GLBT equality movement is about love. The right to be loved and express love in a environment equal on all levels. There is nothing threatening about this idea. It will not cause the break down of the “traditional family.” It will give more infrastructure to everyone to build a family around the most basic human need: Love.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts ED. You’re my new Hero!


  5. #5 by TheGirlWho on May 24, 2006 - 10:26 pm

    Amen, Brother Ed…

  6. #6 by gary on November 2, 2006 - 1:47 pm

    i dont want to offend!!!

    do u not think it is possible the jesus was a con man after all it isnt possible to make a blind man see!
    couldnt jesus be a sales man after all he had one fish one loaf after sum haggiling cud get a donkey trade that for sumthing and so on untill he had enough, the is no time scale for that tale! and how can u possibly dissmiss all scientifical profe about evolution and the big bang theroy, the bible has no profe except a book writen 2006 years ago!!!

  7. #7 by Simon on November 19, 2006 - 7:05 pm

    If you will excuse my crude ability for bluntness, I find this page baseless. It has almost nothing to do with the subject at hand. It centers more around the writers jetsetting and personal accounts from his past then it does of making a point on what the bible has to say about marriage, family values, etc. Perhaps next time you could stick more to the point, and leave your boasts of travel at home. As for the rest of the comments it can thusly be answered with one word. . . . . faith. It is something that christians and secular people rely on everyday. You don’t have to believe anything but you still have to have faith when your driving to your employment that you will still have a job when you get there, for truly there is no guarentee. Science and religon have always and will always be at each others throats trying to prove the other false. Both sides have . . . . faith. . . . .that they are right. And techniacally the bible was not written 2006 years ago, that is impossible for that is when jesus was born. It would have taken a few years after the crusifixion before anyone could gather the accounts. Perhaps the world should try not seeing christianity as the nazi’s, and christianity should leave science to it’s own devices. Perhaps the greatest joke is on all of us. God is the great scientist?!

  8. #8 by Cliff - Founder, OneUtah on November 19, 2006 - 8:44 pm

    This site stands as a permanent record of the repudiation injustices given of faith and those who would argue with rational men, positions dependent upon it.

    The blog is a safe harbor of reason and scientific evidence against the indefensibility and hypocrisy of faith-dependant arguments or any other whose premise requires fiat.

    Is society so incompetent so as to be unable to design, facilitate and benefit from the civic discourse of thinking men without need of religious influence? Me thinks not.

    That society’s values sometimes parallel those of a certain religion hardly invites the assumption that a church should think itself necessary for the proper function of government or any society any more than to think itself superior to the sum of its members.

    Who dareth speak for The Lord?

  9. #9 by Jeanne on November 22, 2006 - 4:32 am

    Religion and science are actually working hand-in-hand. it was science who found those testaments right? it was actually shown in discovery channel how the scientists found the testaments. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and the big bang theory are JUST THEORIES… it is NOT YET A FACT. We should always remember that science is a continous self-correcting process. Scientists made a lot of mistakes so we shouldn’t believe them 100%. we must ask them questions! unfortunately, in science, after answering a question another question will rise. after reading the bible, isn’t it mystical how people who doesn’t had an interaction praise exactly the same God?

  10. #10 by tony on November 27, 2006 - 6:42 pm

    the kingdom of heaven is within you.

    sciences and religions are identical. pursuit of truth is the only motive. familiarize yourself with the finer aspects of big bang, string theory, evolution, etc.; evolution for example is not a destination, all beings are equally evolved, a continuous redifinition of the self. as one ages and experiences its life there is no doubt a redefinition and restructuring of the internal organizations. a consious being is not limited to what a human understands to be life. life existes in everything, the rocks, the trees, the land, the water; the universe is self aware.

    jesus’s messages are extremely simple. he was a great man who led a life of humility. he never identified himself as the son of god. the minds of men and the blinds of power had misconstrued the events of the past. when speaking of other people he would always identify them as siblings. at the same time he would describe others as an extention of himself, quantum physics in action. For what am i but an extension of you? you cannot pass through me so are we not connected? my mind presence will affect you no matter where you reside in this finite universe. god is watching you to learn more about himself.

    raw mathematics is infinite from any angle, any direction, any dimension; and infinite saturation of dimensions on a dimensionless field. choose a point and there is an infinite number of lines that can be drawn from this point, touching every angle in the specified dimensions (which also could be infinite). the universe however is likely not truley infinite. each of these infinite agle-lines likely extends out a specifeied distance then eventually collapses upon itself. on any length of any line are an infinite number of potential points. and number of universes can fit between any two or more areas. what we must accept is that reality is not what is happening to us, but rather the eventuality of what we are imposing upon one another. imaginary numbers seemingly do not exist (square roots of a negative number…what two numbers can be multiplied together and become negative?) however when two come together in the right way the pop back into existence.

    the final idea is that of shared experience. How is it that we all feel tegether in the same universe when there is so much potential (infinites) out there? if entire universes can exist on pinheads, why is it that we all have similar lives and are not alone? connectivity. something REMEBERS that we are all on the same level. quatum mathematics, although flawed, have very important messages to send to the human race. there is no reality other than that of the observer. take that same point i talked about earlier; say we draw 5 lines from that point, and call each 10 “units” long. then we stretch the lines to be what we would call 100 “units”. at this point we, the only observer, FORGET what we have just done (stetching) and decide to call the lines 10 “units” again. how are these lines ever TRULEY different from the originals? there is no difference. they are identical. there is not reality other than that of the observer. god is observing his existence though his universe, and we all feel a part of the same solution.


  11. #11 by tony on November 27, 2006 - 7:10 pm

    recognize yourself as an infinitly complex being and all things become possible. have you guys ever seen What the Bleep Do We Know? very interesting how the water particles exhibited a DRAMATIC chage through mind power alone. to the extend of looking sickly when it recieved negative energy, and forming beautiful crystals when sent positive energy (thank you, you are beautiful, etc.). we are 90% water. we create our own reality. some day soon the time will come for all humans to come together with a basis of awareness. the internet is sure to facilitate this movement. the accelerating rate of technology and energy (sub nuclear reactions. the bombs that we dropped on nagasaki and hiroshima during WWII are only blasting caps compared to current generation nuclear weapons. the are the exact opposite process. in fact, multiple fission bombs (WWII) are used to create the conditions neccesary to INITIATE the newer FUSION bombs (15 million degrees). we are literally taking the core of the sun and putting it on the surface of earth. look at a scale model of the sun and earth…not a good idea to mix the two. the sun would not notice if we fell in.) is pushing us all closer together. what would happen if we all took a minute just to look around? nothing. the world (paradise) would just be beautiful for a moment.

    our generation will define the rest of history, as have the generations before. alas, ours will decide whether the race, will continue at all. we can come together under a wordwide P2P communication community driven governmental system, where everyone has a VOICE and not just a VOTE, or we can enter 1984 style living. join me when the time is right, we can make it work. recognize everything as god and yourself, and you will no longer wish to destroy.

  12. #12 by Oljeg on December 5, 2006 - 12:58 am

    Maybe it would be a good idea to check out the book titled “The Secret Book of John”, which might shed more light on what is realy going on around here.

    Thank you

  13. #13 by Stuart on December 5, 2006 - 1:48 pm

    Creationism: Philosophy or Psychosis?

    The problem with mankind is that we took too long to develop the
    scientific means by which to fully examine and interpret the universe
    in which we evolved. Early Man had a rudimentary imagination long
    before he developed the complex means to prove or disprove the
    hypotheses his emerging cognizance frequently generated.

    For many, many thousands of years Man had no answers to the immortal
    questions of “WHY” and “HOW?” about anything! Unfortunately, by the
    time he did, folk-lore and superstition were rampant and endemic, as
    they still are in certain groups and individuals today.

    For millennia, uncivilized humanity lived and died, worshipping
    unseen, yet “all-powerful” spirits whom their primitive minds
    naturally reasoned would grant them personal safety, good hunting, or
    bountiful harvests. Even in later times, the semi-civilized Greeks
    and Romans still had more gods than you could poke a good-sized spear
    at! And why? The answer is simple…pure ignorance!

    Man’s earliest recorded history is steeped in mysticism, and
    superstitious ritual. But what is more amazing, is that we can still
    see that primitive, irrational behavior today. The organized
    religions of the world are a good example. All have rites and
    rituals, and all explain the existence of the universe through
    supernatural means. In ancient times, this was quite understandable,
    since primitive Man had no other plausible explanation that fitted
    his worldly observations… but not today! For the answer to why
    these primitive customs have survived in modern Man we need to dig a
    little deeper into Man’s history as well as his psyche.

    Over many millions of years humanity evolved the complex faculty of
    reason, yet early Man still had no way of knowing what caused the
    “miraculous” events his primitive eyes witnessed every day. The sun
    was a ball of fire in the heavens, wind was something he felt on his
    skin but could not see or touch, rain appeared from the clouds like
    magic. Sometimes fire and loud noises shot from the sky, sometimes
    the ground shook and liquid rock spewed from the ground, consuming
    everything…. little wonder Man’s ancestors were MORE than a little

    Today, most teenagers could explain every one of these mystic,
    supernatural events, in scientific detail! Early Man had nothing to
    work with but his imagination… and it was dangerous. Human and/or
    animal sacrifice was commonly practiced by most early races, as a way
    of appeasing the god(s). Many millions of lives were wasted for the
    sake of a bountiful harvest, a storm-free year, or luck in the hunt!
    The stone or wooden structures used for such barbaric rituals are
    still in evidence today, carried down through history. Even the name
    remains… altar… from the ancient Hebrew, meaning “place of

    Later, as science provided answers to Man’s time-worn questions,
    myths and superstitions fell left, right and center, vanquished by
    the relentless onslaught of knowledge. But still, a significant
    proportion of historically ( and possibly genetically) conditioned
    humanity steadfastly refused to buckle under the weight of mounting
    factual evidence!… Science took the mysticism out of folklore, but
    unfortunately, failed to take the folklore out of humanity!

    The perpetuation of superstitious Creationist beliefs has
    unfortunately been exacerbated by the occasional occurrence,
    throughout history, of certain vocal and zealotic individuals. These
    so-called prophets have been documented by many cultures, spanning
    various ages. But one disturbing thread is common… ALL appeared
    during times of social or political upheaval and ALL, (by way of
    circumstance and fanatical devotion), had the power to sway the
    beliefs of a large number of easily-lead, technologically-ignorant

    The events were ultimately exaggerated by the faithful, and
    chronicled or documented using the methods of the time. A few became
    preserved with such fanatical tenacity that they have survived to
    this day, confusing generation after unsuspecting generation
    throughout history. Yet, unbelievably, a large proportion of
    so-called “modern, civilized” people still indoctrinate their
    offspring by allowing them to be exposed to the historically proven
    dangers of superstition, under the guise of organized religion!

    Not satisfied with the tooth fairy, father christmas and the easter
    bunny,… creationists would have our children exposed to an even
    more insidious concoction… the so-called Christ/God/Spirit. A
    complicated three-in-one nightmare that is supposed to be
    all-powerful and loving on one hand, yet sends naughty boys and
    girls straight to hell when they die, if they were bad and didn’t
    believe in him/her/it!

    The psychological effect of all this spiritual and supernatural
    brain-washing has lasting and very damaging effects on the
    impressionable minds of young children. Luckily, most recover to
    some extent, especially if they naturally possess an enquiring mind
    and are frequently exposed to liberal doses of reality. Unfortunately
    however, some are irrevocable maimed mentally and spend their whole
    life in the service of a supernatural entity that has no substance,
    no observable influence, and communicates to them in ways that the
    non-initiated cannot understand.

    I would argue that the only difference between a mental patient that
    acts on the advice of non-existent “voices”, and a devoutly religious
    person (who morally does exactly the same thing), is that
    unfortunately, only one of the two is institutionalized for the good
    of the public!

    Psychotherapists agree that all true believers in any kind of
    inflexible doctrine… whether it be religious, political, social, or
    even artistic… are distinctly disturbed, since they are obviously
    rigid, fanatic and severely dependent individuals (Hoffer, 1951). And
    many liberal Creationists of various religious persuasions are
    distinctly less, but quite definitely, emotionally childish. For that
    is what religion essentially is… a childish dependency!

    And with regard to scientific thinking, it practically goes without
    saying that this kind of cerebration is quite antithetical to
    Creationism. The main canon of the scientific method is that at
    least, in some final analysis, or in principle, all theories be
    confirmable by some form of human experience, some empirical
    referent. But Creationism contends that its primary supernatural
    entity cannot be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt, or otherwise
    humanly experienced, therefore their god and the principles of
    Creationism are therefore distinctly beyond science.

    To believe in Creation, therefore is to be unscientific, at least to
    some extent. In fact, it could reasonably be contended that the more
    steadfastly Creationist one’s beliefs are, the less scientific one
    tends to be! Although a Creationist need not be entirely
    unscientific, (as for example, a raving maniac may not be either), it
    is difficult to see how he could be perfectly scientific.

    While a person may be both scientific and religious (as he may at
    times be sensible and at other times foolish), it is doubtful that an
    individual’s attitude may simultaneously be truly pious and

    To summarize then;- Acute religious belief is a mental condition
    brought on by socially transmitted feelings of self-uncertainty,
    inferiority (worthlessness), and a pathological un-willingness to
    accept one’s own mortality.

    The condition is endemic in the human population, due to an
    unfortunate evolutionary accident, whereby Man’s capacity for
    imagination evolved faster than his technological ability to
    adequately explain the natural laws of the universe.

    The condition is currently perpetuated, even in civilized cultures,
    by the early influence of young, susceptible individuals. Usually by
    the liberal application of word-of-mouth stories concerning ancient
    folklore. These stories are often based on ancient writings of
    dubious factual content, yet *are* actually purported to be fact!

    Such stories are cunningly designed to provide false hope, and
    promote complete dependency on the primary supernatural entity. Yet
    more often than not, they only succeed in a purely subliminal
    intimidation of the individual, since he/she is constantly bombarded
    daily with new scientific knowledge and a myriad of extremely strong
    biological instincts that invariably conflict with the unrealistic
    teachings of his/her belief.

    In all cases, religious indoctrination (and hence Creationism as a
    whole) is frequently reinforced by a variety of superstitious
    rituals, which have the overall effect of lowering the individual’s
    self-esteem to such an extent that he/she requires constant spiritual
    support and encouragement to function normally. (surprisingly
    analogous to a drug induced dependency)

    Affected individuals exhibit a variety of psychological symptoms
    which range from violent, schizoid paranoia to complete withdrawal.
    But, ALL known cases retain one common trait… an irrational and
    pathological rejection of anything which vaguely contradicts the
    victims chosen beliefs.

    For those afflicted with Creationist beliefs, there is unfortunately
    no current cure, save large doses of knowledge, which has marginal
    effect since in most cases the damage has already been done. The
    answer lies in prevention rather than cure.

    Luckily, as our scientific technology advances, we are coming to
    understand more and more about the universe every day. Our offspring
    are increasingly well-educated and, more often than not, rightly
    reject the superstitious beliefs of their parents or grandparents
    outright. As this healthy trend continues, religious beliefs will
    gradually die out. And then, like the dinosaurs, Creationists will
    no longer exist… removed from the face of the earth like nature’s
    other non-viable experiments… eradicated by the very thing they so
    vehemently denied… EVOLUTION!

    (References for this work available on request.)

    Thanks Ted Krapkat (RIP)

    gary – I also wonder was Jesus a salesman, con-man you make some good points

  14. #14 by Chris on December 6, 2006 - 10:20 am

    Faith or Gods gift of articulation. Why would he give me one and expect me to have the other. What happens when one contradicts the other. Talk about the infinite. Show me something finite. I suppose death will show us all what’s at the end of the road. Organized religion is more difficult to trust than any other finatical idea that does not allow for interpretation. So passionate we are when discussing religion and politics (as if they were not the same). So quick to judge anothers interpretation of his own spiritual significance. So slow to realize the importance of living by example and loving thy neighbor. As I grow, so does my understanding of the world around me. Dismissing the “possibility” of Gods existance is not a very intelligent decision, given the vast shortcomings of science. I’m more intersted in using science to understand Gods existance. Some will argue over his name. Others about his words. Of course the biggest debate comes from the questionable existance of his son. Not the man Jesus, but the God… Jesus. The fact remains that he was loved and admired as a teacher of God’s word. Held in high regard as the example of humility and humbleness. A protector of the meek and teacher to all. The facts are good enough for me. I’ll leave the Holy debate to the priest, politicians and Holy Rollers. This is a subject that I am not very well versed in so I will keep it short. Raising my family in a conservative fasion yet treating the outside world in with a very liberal manner. Understanding what works and what doesn’t work in this world. What makes sense and what doesn’t. Who to trust and who not to. Insuring that my children do not regergatate reteric unless it was concieved in their own mind. And hopefully concieved through the course of carefull consideration. Submitting my mind to the gain of new information and ideas. God, allegedly, gave me the power of reason. I don’ t think he’ll mind if I use it before I make my decision. It is not God’s wrath I fear… it’s mans!

  15. #15 by tony on December 6, 2006 - 4:40 pm


    there is validity to others reasoning no matter how fantastical.

    the mind can be thought of as an infinite dimension, capable of inflicting reality. to be real or created, one must presume origination from an idea. to acknowledge a thought, one must assume it has always existed.

    there is no true distinction between good or evil, there is only perspective from levels of organization. does magma seen evil from the perspective of a melting rock? it would certanly be from the perspective of a melting human. why is life in the form of carbon superchains (i.e. dna, organic chemistry) superior to all else that imposes its own existence (the land, the suns, the black holes of the universes)?

    i do not belive i will die. i do not beileve i am any more alive now than i have ever been. i can consume dirt, vegitation, rocks, or anything else i can fit in my small oraface, and the said item becomes a PART of me, inseperable from the rest, until its time to move on. nothing is lost. the universe will remeber every ripple eminating from your mind, every vibration from your body, and even the changes made while no longer constricted by your body, be though astro projection or bodily deconstruction (death). everything you do or think will affect the entire universe of connectivity.

    become observant, the universe (god?) will tell you everything about itself through any point within it, a byproduct of the infinitness. every possible point exists on a unique line to any onther point, and in turn its vibrations can be uniquely identified. i do beleive science has the theoretical ABILITY and not the physical MEANS to prove the existence of god (i could of course be wrong, would not be the first time). to prove the existence of god, one (life or machine) would need to feel its own presence with infinite precision, a feat with obvious complications.

    the universe will remeber everything you do, and others in the world/universe will be affected by all that you impose upon them, through thought or action. just be careful what you send out. of the infinite combinations, what do you want to be remebered for on this finite plane, even if the only one who truely remebers is you and the universe?


  16. #16 by tony on December 6, 2006 - 4:49 pm

    the reason…i say there is reason to others reasoning…haha…no matter how fanatical, is that it is their quantum ability to impose there reality on everyone else, no matter the validity. they have the power to influence others minds and gain power and momentum, even if their arguments are ridiculous/dangerous. there is no way to change their mind, or lower/shift their energy, without convicing them to do it themselves, or lowering their energy for them by killing/silencing them, but that of couse would be a dangerous idea, worthy of abolishment from my mind by choice.

    it is a community effort and responsibility to be activly knowledgeable of the actions of the human horde, and finds ways to preserve the natural chaos (or order, as all things are equally chaotic. some things are seemingly more organized when veiwed from certain perspectives, i.e. our own) that spawned everything we know. we can save the world and travel the stars should we decide to stop focusing on human ‘clans’ that are not our own (other countries). we are all one body, why would you want to hurt yourself?


  17. #17 by autumn on December 7, 2006 - 9:56 am

    Is it impossible to believe that Mary Magdaline is the holy grail? I dont think so, yet that is just my opinion.

  18. #18 by Ed Firmage on December 7, 2006 - 6:54 pm

    Hey, autumn. Take a good look at the photograph of the Last Supper. POX One. And juxtapose my words with the great painter’s strong not so subtle suggestion. And then make your choice. Yours is intriguing. Since I too find that romance impelling, I simply state where my head takes me, in text; and where my sense of romance and intuition take me, in the phtograph that, to put it mildly, contradicts my words. Biblical words are on both these sides and about 25,000,000 other sides, seven times seventy, like well, infinity. Cheers, Ed Firmage

  19. #19 by JoJo on December 12, 2006 - 4:55 am

    tony Says:
    November 27th, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    “jesus’s messages are extremely simple. he was a great man who led a life of humility. he never identified himself as the son of god. ”

    If this statement is correct, then who stated that jesus was gods son. I am unclear on this. i have done a vast amount of reading on this subject and still am no closer to reaching what i would call a satisfying answer. Please direct me to any information about the grail…please.

  20. #20 by gary on December 12, 2006 - 2:19 pm

    cleverly uninspired

  21. #21 by Lynette on December 12, 2006 - 2:30 pm

    One would think a comment coming from Chapel Hill (gary) might reflect some sign of intelligence, but then again legacy is no assurance of intelligence. Kinda like W. Bush. How horrible is that, to discover in your eighties that your son is worse than a giant disaster?

  22. #22 by tony on December 12, 2006 - 10:44 pm

    there was a meeting in the past where a king forced the bishops to come together and decided upon whether or not jesus was truley a divine being of some level, or whether he was only a man. despite all the controversy of the time and different known writings, at the end jesus was declared divine and the selections/pieces/scriptures/writing chosen to populate the bible were selected to reinforce this decision.

    some believe jesus was a high buddist priest. believed in the buddist ways of transiatory thought and being, in that all things are truely one, and the separation of thought/realities is only an illusion. quantum physics asserts this way of thinking.

    i will post links to harder information on what i am talking about, if i find any.


  23. #23 by Frank Staheli on December 13, 2006 - 7:38 am

    If the story is true of God appearing to a young boy (Joseph Smith) in a grove of trees and announcing that his companion was his beloved Son, it answers a lot of life’s questions, including a couple that have been posed on this thread.

    If we can solve the simple problems, it frees up a lot more time for us to move on to weightier matters.

  24. #24 by Cliff on December 13, 2006 - 8:04 am

    To say that there was a meeting “to decide” is a bit simplistic. It was more like a meeting to get everyone on the same page.

    As Christianity moved through the near East and into Europe and the extended Roman Empire, the Jesus narratives had to adopt the virgin birth, crucifixion and resurrection. The manger story is a beautiful fantasy.

    Mythracism, the dominant religion in Persia and throughout Europe at the time represented the biggest obstacle to the acceptance of Christianity.

    Eighteen hundred years before Christ, we find carved on one of the walls of the great temple of Luxor a picture of the annunciation, conception and birth of King Amunothph III, an almost exact copy of the annunciation, conception and birth of the Christian God.

    Mithra was a Persian god who was also a virgin birth, but was more than just a tribal god. Mithra was born in a cave and had twelve companions. Mithra’s birthday was also on December 25th. Both religions celebrate the resurrection at Easter. Much of what we know about Mithracism today came from the Christians. The prophet Zoroaster was also born of a virgin.

    Not only the idea of a virgin mother, but all the other miraculous events, such as the stable cradle, the guiding star, the massacre of the children, the flight to Egypt, and the resurrection and bodily ascension toward the clouds, have not only been borrowed, but are even scarcely altered in the New Testament story of Jesus.

    Such was the successful strategy discovered by the Jews hundreds of years earlier when conquering tribes discovered you could more easily rule if you could convince the conquered that they were really worshipping the same God – The One God.

    It was serendipidy really that Mythraicism was emerging from a Near East cult into a one God religion as Christians were struggling to assimilate in the Roman empire.

    The idea of the inerrancy of the The New Testament is unsupportable. A better comparison would be to The Iraq Study Group Report; designed to gain the widest possible acceptance across diverse groups through laborious debate among high councils consulting with on-the-ground actors.

  25. #25 by Lynette on December 13, 2006 - 8:27 am

    How convenient Frank. You could have also said, just believe and shut up.

    The operative in your statement is “If we can solve the simple problems”.

    The only ‘problem’ is that too many people want simple answers as is required for social organization much to the delight of the power structure.

    The only real question is, is it for good or evil? I think its fine to use stories and ritual to provide spiritual escape. It’s also good when people can gather and sing the same song.

    But when people eschew fact and the effort required to gain real knowledge in the interest of just being right and making someone else wrong, we have a problem.

    So here’s a “weightier matter”; the world is almost 4 billion years old and our children are caught in the middle of a tug of war between science and idiots.

    oh yeah, and the president is an idiot.

  26. #26 by Frank Staheli on December 13, 2006 - 9:04 am


    I apologize if I came across that way. Because I personally don’t “just believe and shut up” as you put it.

    I completely agree with your statement “when people eschew fact and the effort required to gain real knowledge in the interest of just being right and making someone else wrong, we have a problem.” There are a lot of instances of that on both sides of every major political issue in the United States, and some of them have been stated on this blog (and I may have provided some instances from time to time, but I hope not.)

    My point was not to say I am right and you are wrong. My point was to say that if Joseph Smith’s story true, it makes some things easier. We don’t have to wonder if Jesus is divine. We don’t have to wonder whether there will be a resurrection. We don’t have to wonder if there is a better life after this one in a world that has all sorts of problems. We don’t have to wonder if all the struggles we go through here and the things we learn and the people we love are all for naught.

    I agree with you in essence regarding President Bush. I wouldn’t say he’s an idiot, but he has caused a lot of problems for the United States. We would have been much better having someone else as president (that someone else, however, not being John Kerry–I’m not sure which if either could be considered “the lesser of two evils”.)

  27. #27 by tony on December 13, 2006 - 9:11 am

    Mythraicism…hrrm that is interesting i have never heard of that.

    yeah i suppose that is simplistic, i just remeber it from a thing i watched on the history channel the other day. usually history channel is fairly unbiased but sometimes they piss me off…

    this then is not the first time; history=history=history, so repetative you think we would learn; STUPID APES! YOU WANT TO LIVE FOREVER?…i remeber another account of religious alteration by a conqueroring/suppressive minority in order to gain control over another. i believe, although i may be wrong of the group although i am almost positive, that hinduism was fabricated for this very purpose. i dont even remeber the “leading” group that instigated it, but im pretty sure this occured in india. can’t seem to find any information on what im talking about…sorry for the lack of details, im just a poor college student. i like math.

    i am very excited for our future as we have never been connected so vastly as we are now. i mean look at us, here we all are having a discussion, nobody knows each other yet we all recognize each other’s minds and continue to come back to learn more. communication is key.


  28. #28 by tony on December 13, 2006 - 9:28 am

    i just think we should stop looking backward, even though there seems to be many crazy things that have happened in the past. all knowledge is available at any moment to any being. why cant i just pick up a guitar and start playing? i have no ailments to any degree, what exactly is preventing me? little else other than my disbelief that i could do such a thing. we need to stop raising children in the deterministic ways of the past in which the world is something on the outside that cannot be changed, and accept the quatum age as one step closer to truth, where everything in the world is touched by me through thought alone. and if is is so difficult to believe a thought can have such a effect, simply look throught history as various “insignificant” ideas manifest themselves in great figures and the world takes a dramatic sway one way or the other…i.e. Hitler, MLK, Ghenghis Khan, etc. when i say thought i mean the thought ITSELF changed the world, but the thought can achieve more energy if it is manifested into action…if it isnt though, it still affects the thinker dramatically, altering your nerual pathways and irrevesibly influencing similarly related thoughts and events of the future. if will never be for naught, as all is you. you are only helping yourself.

    the problem is that as generations pass to much is lost. a new generation is expected to absorb the previous as well as build upon for the next. expectation is the root of all disappointment. in the ages where is could take weeks or months to cross vast distances (if you were dedicated), is is no wonder much is either lost or altered. honestly i think the best thing we could do is use our newfound communication tools to gather the people of earth and cast away the teirs of government and organized religion, finding a way to use these systems to engage anyone who is willing into active political construction. sinister ideas will have dificulty surviving in such peer moderated environments. we must believe it is possible, or else we can never play the guitar.


  29. #29 by Cliff on December 13, 2006 - 9:36 am


    Name one reason Kerry would have been worse than Bush.

    Your just covering your ass because you can’t admit you screwed up when ya voted for Bush.

    This is the kind of stuborness that is symptomatic of the desease that allowed this guy into office in the first place.

    Its not really so interesting why you think Kerry would have been worth, because you can’t really make that argument. The very fact that you brought it up exposed the panties on your head.

    What’s more interesting (as I said in the top post) is why so many cannot come to terms with being utterly betrayed. Just saying Bush is an idiot doesn’t let you off the hook. We need to do some deep soul searching in this country and figure out HOW 59 million people got so stupid or righteous or tribal. Our democracy depends on it.

  30. #30 by Frank Staheli on December 13, 2006 - 10:45 am


    I have stated probably more than once on this site that I have NEVER voted for a Bush. If I haven’t shared my “two cars speeding toward the abyss” theory, I will now:

    If two cars are speeding toward an abyss, it doesn’t matter how fast they are speeding, they will both crash and burst into flames when they hit the bottom.

    Bush and Kerry of are of the same cloth. They drive “fast cars” and enjoy flirting with the “abyss”. They are insiders, and insiders, being the problems that we have right now, are not what we need to solve the problems that our country is suffering.

    The reason that MANY MORE than 59 million people voted for exactly what we don’t need escapes me, but campaign finance laws and media complicity, in my opinion, have much to do with it. To Bush and Kerry, it is all a game, and life is not a game.

    I voted for Alan Keyes in 2000 and Michael Peroutka in 2004. I don’t know as much about Peroutka, but he was more palatable to me than the Washington power players–George and John. Keyes is immensely more qualified to be president by virtue of the fact (1) he’s not part of the Washington power game, (2) that he understands Constitutional government, and (3) that he cares about the United States instead of being like those who care more about their own prestige and aggrandizement.

  31. #31 by Cliff on December 13, 2006 - 11:39 am

    Ok, so you didn’t vote for Bush but your attitude resembles that of many who did.

    To say, “Bush and Kerry of are of the same cloth” is such a gross gloss-over.

    They are nothing alike. Bush has been a drunk, a slacker a basic disaster in life. Kerry has been and conciencious hard working successful politician and activist his entire life.

    He is well-respected by many great men and foreign leaders. To equate them at any level is just plain disengenuous. You are being an anti-elitist or something.

    I think if you had given Kerry fair consideration you would have discovered that he really does care more for this country than power and was well qualified to effect real change and at every level, would have been a vastly better president than Bush, not to mention the benefit of balancing the Frist-Delay freak show.

    No independent candidate will ever be elected president in our lifetimes. To vote for one is like taking your ball and going home – impractical, ineffective, unproductive escapist, emotional and anarchical at its core.

  32. #32 by tony on December 13, 2006 - 1:06 pm

    very soon there will be no politicians to vote for, as everyone will exsts in the same fluxing web.

    you voice we become louder as others recognize your ideas and activity toword real progress. sound ideas propagate themselves.

    money is soon to become obselete as technology overtakes all that it is neccessary for. soon quantum reconstructive technologies will allow for super recycling. dirt=steak=processor. who should own such power? People. Community.

    democracy could not possibly whittle 300 mil. independent minds into two ‘lesser evils’. at the birth of this country each seat in washington represented 30,000 people. that number is now 600,000. washington has the explicit power to choose its own size. why would they ever want to make it bigger…? i should simultaneously be able to be a powerful voice of progression and also a poor man. if you’ve read any hitchhicker’s guide to the galaxy novels, the real ruler of the galaxy is a man on a deserted planet who has no idea he is the ruler of a galaxy. when they have real issues they come to him and ask for advice. vote for the one you want to speak for you, since that is all you can do right now, preferrably choose someone who can actually speak…

    cyberspace is the only place you can seat 6 billion comfortably and openly.


  33. #33 by tony on December 13, 2006 - 1:09 pm

    you must stray away from these ‘never’, ‘always’, ‘everytime’ words. they are the only probability (1 and 0) waveform certain to never occur; no pun intended…

    then only occur when an observer MAKES it happen. that is you. MAKE it happen.

  34. #34 by glenn on December 13, 2006 - 2:36 pm

    “No independent candidate will ever be elected president in our lifetimes. To vote for one is like taking your ball and going home – impractical, ineffective, unproductive escapist, emotional and anarchical at its core”.

    Well, have to start somewhere, no better time to start support independents, kerry is part and parcel of our governements’ bi-partisan failure, bush is incidental, kerry didn’t effectively challenge bush, ie he didn’t win, so what he would have done is pure speculation.

    I cannot think of anything more descriptive of what you wrote above Cliff, than to continue to expect the current Confederacy of Dunces to sort our countries’ problems out.

  35. #35 by glenn on December 13, 2006 - 2:44 pm

    “No independent candidate will ever be elected president in our lifetimes. To vote for one is like taking your ball and going home – impractical, ineffective, unproductive escapist, emotional and anarchical at its core”.

    Well, have to start somewhere, no better time to start support independents, kerry is part and parcel of our governments’ bi-partisan failure, bush is incidental, kerry didn’t effectively challenge bush, i.e. he didn’t win, so what he would have done is pure speculation. The fact that he has been a career politician puts him directly in category with bush.

    Is it not possible that there are as many people(esp. in Mass)that think johns accomplishments have had no positive benefits they would respect, just like progressives think about bush?

    I cannot think of anything more descriptive of what you wrote above Cliff, than to continue to expect the current Confederacy of Dunces to sort our countries’ problems out.

    It is anarchy indeed to consistently promote a form of representation that consistently reneges on its duty to do the will of people or fulfill their own sworn Oaths. If it isn’t anarchic, it is at least madness.

  36. #36 by Frank Staheli on December 13, 2006 - 3:49 pm


    I appreciate your comments. I submitted a reply (about how Kerry and Bush are the same) to Cliff’s statements to me, and somehow it got lost in the ether. But suffice it to say, I agree with your statements:

    “The fact that he has been a career politician puts him directly in category with bush.”

    “I cannot think of anything more descriptive of what you wrote above Cliff, than to continue to expect the current Confederacy of Dunces to sort our countries’ problems out.”

  37. #37 by Greg on December 15, 2006 - 2:27 pm

    Religion. Science.

    And ne’er the twain shall meet.

    ‘Nuff said.

  38. #38 by Alan Barnard on January 3, 2007 - 7:10 pm

    Gee, Ed, sounds like a career’s worth of academic liberal facsism has thoroughly twisted your mind. You have my pity, for you have not truth; you think you are enlightened yet you scurry in darkness. Trying to disprove, even to yourself, that truth exists and that true light exists is the ultimate of quixotic vanity and insanity. Hope you find your way home some day.

  39. #39 by don on January 12, 2007 - 7:54 am

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

  40. #40 by Anonymous on January 12, 2007 - 10:48 pm

    That isn’t even the original painting of “The Last Supper” and it was made about 1400 years after Christ was around.

  41. #41 by corrine on January 19, 2007 - 10:13 am

    how do they no that a “mary” was there

  42. #42 by Earle on January 20, 2007 - 6:37 am

    truth be said that what we look for is the truth, not wanting to be found so whats done is done MOSTLY everyone has a god ,so lets go on in peace and love NOT war and LIVE …

  43. #43 by Anonymous on January 21, 2007 - 6:28 am

    I would advise all of you to read “The Language of God” written by Francis S. Collins. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this author, he was the Director of the Human Genome Project.

  44. #44 by michael faour on January 24, 2007 - 1:37 pm

    What exactly is your point? Traditions, cultures and mores evolve over centuries–never mind, I’ve lost interest in this pap.

  45. #45 by Athiest on February 2, 2007 - 6:21 pm

    Wow you are so full of sh*t it is unreal. I haven’t even read all your article and don’t even know what I am doing here, suffice to say that you are brainwashed amd I hope you rot in hell, except of course that is as make believe as that freakin’ god you call, ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ or ‘The Holy See’ or whatever f*cked up sh*t someone powerful decides to make up; you f*cking bunch of ghost believing freaks. While you are living downright immoral lives to please some false idol, I will be living my life as a good person, for the genuine benefit of the world, and not just to secure my place in heaven. You shallow twat.

  46. #46 by Athiest on February 2, 2007 - 6:26 pm

    what’s more it is freakin’ terrifying the number of people who are commenting as if god actually exists! It’s fiction, ladies and gentlemen! Just look at the f*cking evidence. Think! The bible and religion as a whole makes no sense whatsoever! What were you taught at school? That was mostly right, and was probably completely verifiable. Don’t trust anything you can’t test yourself.

  47. #47 by 17 yr old irish on February 3, 2007 - 7:09 am

    i come from a jesuit school and am of a jesuit education i am only seventeen and i can straight away tell you everything you debate is immaterial. if a religion such as christianity can help so many people through charity, bringing communities together and it has been proven cancer patients with faith have a higher survival rate, then why do people persist on trying to publicly condem and embarrass it.
    jesuit education teaches us to worship god in our own actions through what we do i believe this abolutely, but have no belief in christianity just what christ symbolises.
    if you wish to study religion that is fine but if you wish to impose your ideas on religion upon other people you are no better than religion itself
    as for the written artcle above it is completely of purpose making absolutly no point about love sex and family within the bible it seems more like an excuse to impose flaws found within chrisianity upon other people but what do i know i’m 17

  48. #48 by Cliff Lyon on February 3, 2007 - 11:17 am


    Your interpretation of the study of faith, prayer and cancer is bunk. The only peer reviewed study actually showed that faith and prayer had ZERO correlation to outcome.

    Don’t be so self-deprecating. Being 17 doesn’t prevent you from demanding evidence.

  49. #49 by elliot r on February 5, 2007 - 10:35 am

    o my god

  50. #50 by Anonymous on February 8, 2007 - 1:46 pm

    God does not exist.
    Religion creates nothing but divison, tension, and turbulance in society. All religions are the same and the publicly scrutinized religions of the middle east(not to say that they’re right or good cause they are terrible) are not any worse than the god dam* catholics 400 years ago or any worse then the catholics are today, they are just more descret. Has anyone ever noticed that everyone in say religion A thinks that whatever religion B thinks/teaches is wrong and that they need to convert people from religion B into A along with everyone else, while religion B is thinking the EXACT same thing about religion A. Thats because religions are like politicians POWER hungry and with the desire to influence people and the world not only in faith but in daily workings and events of the world. Religion has no place in influenceing world government or affairs.

  51. #51 by Ioann Kannep on February 13, 2007 - 5:34 am

    Amen, brothas n` sistas

  52. #52 by Cas on February 21, 2007 - 5:45 pm

    When will people ralize that “god” lives amoungst u and I every day, but not in the form of a human, the name is well known and is life, period, all men come from a women, so shall life its self, Mother Nature should have more of a role in todays society than books which were create by man, you dont need a story to show you this when its apart of our every day life. If I a “child” in this world understands this I often wonder why grown ups with”wisdom” and experiance still show themselves as blind followers, and all i can come up with is that ignorant, uneducated people who let money influance their lives so much that they just need a hug. My question is, what can we do as thinkers to promote education so people understnd education, if the schools wont teach this way, then whats the point of life if we are lied to from day one. I personally am sick of all the secrets in life, the only reason the public cant understand most things is because they werent tought whn they were younger, But society has to controll dont they, and what is so ba about everyone haveing more knowlege, but fuck society and we need a new way of llife in this millenium. this is not the last of Cas.

  53. #53 by Cas on February 21, 2007 - 5:56 pm

    E-mail me

  54. #54 by big bad ass edgar on August 2, 2007 - 1:08 pm

    what if the girl in the last supper was holding a babyin her arms?????

  55. #55 by usa lemon law on July 12, 2009 - 6:16 am

    Christianity, Inc: A Pox On All Your Houses – Part II – Ed Firmage”we join the bad guys and beat up on those who most need and deserve our protection and fellowship”

    I think it is pretty interesting to see the church defining the family into such narrow terms.

    If plural marriage is a law of heaven, why wouldn’t Mormons want to try and pass that as law? It seems that they could join the crowd for gay marriage and then tag on plural marriage, too. It’s a win-win strategy 🙂

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