HINTS TOWARDS FORMING A SOCIETY FOR INQUIRING INTO THE TRUTH OR FALSEHOOD OF ANCIENT HISTORY, SO FAR AS HISTORY IS CONNECTED WITH SYSTEMS OF RELIGION ANCIENT AND MODERN
It has been customary to class history into three
divisions, distinguished by the names of Sacred, Profane, and
Ecclesiastical. By the first is meant the Bible; by the second, the
history of nations, of men and things; and by the third, the history of
the church and its priesthood.
Nothing is more easy than to give names, and,
therefore, mere names signify nothing unless they lead to the discovery
of some cause for which that name was given. For example,
Sunday is the name given to
the first day of the week, in the English language, and it is the same
in the Latin, that is, it has the same meaning,
(Dies solis,) and also in the
German, and in several other languages.
Why then was this name given to that day? Because it
was the day dedicated by the ancient world to the luminary which in the
English we call the Sun, and therefore the day
Sun-day, or the day of the
Sun; as in the like manner we call the second day Monday, the day
dedicated to the Moon.
Here the name
Sunday leads to the cause of its being called so, and we have
visible evidence of the fact, because we behold the Sun from whence the
name comes; but this is not the case when we distinguish one part of
history from another by the name of
All histories have been written by men. We have no
evidence, nor any cause to believe, that any have been written by God.
That part of the Bible called the Old Testament, is the history
of the Jewish nation, from the time of Abraham, which begins in Genesis
xi., to the downfall of that nation by Nebuchadnezzar, and is no more
entitled to be called sacred than any other history. It is altogether
the contrivance of priestcraft that has given it that name. So far from
its being sacred, it has not
the appearance of being true in many of the things it relates.
It must be better authority than a book which any
impostor might make, as Mahomet made the Koran, to make a thoughtful man
believe that the sun and moon stood still, or that Moses and Aaron
turned the Nile, which is larger than the Delaware, into blood; and that
the Egyptian magicians did the same. These things have too much the
appearance of romance to be believed for fact.
It would be of use to inquire, and ascertain the time,
when that part of the Bible called the Old Testament first appeared.
From all that can be collected there was no such book till after
the Jews returned from captivity in Babylon, and that is the work of the
Pharisees of the Second Temple. How they came to make Kings xix. and
Isaiah xxxvii word for word alike, can only be accounted for by their
having no plan to go by, and not knowing what they were about.
The same is the case with respect to the last verses
in II Chronicles, and the first verses in Ezra; they also are word for
word alike, which shows that the Bible has been put together at random.
But besides these things there is great reason to
believe we have been imposed upon with respect to the antiquity of the
Bible, and especially with respect to the books ascribed to Moses.
Herodotus, who is called the father of history, and is the most
ancient historian whose works have reached to our time, and who
travelled into Egypt, conversed with the priests, historians,
astronomers, and learned men of that country, for the purpose of
obtaining all the information of it he could, and who gives an account
of the ancient state of it, makes no mention of such a man as Moses,
though the Bible makes him to have been the greatest hero there, nor of
any one circumstance mentioned in the Book of Exodus respecting Egypt,
such as turning the rivers into blood, the dust into lice, the death of
the first born throughout all the land of Egypt, the passage of the Red
Sea, the drowning of Pharaoh and all his host, things which could not
have been a secret in Egypt, and must have been generally known, had
they been facts; and, therefore, as no such things were known in Egypt,
nor any such man as Moses, at the time Herodotus was there, which is
about 2,200 years ago, it shows that the account of these things in the
books ascribed to Moses is a made story of later times, that is, after
the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity, and that Moses is
not the author of the books ascribed to him.
With respect to the cosmogony, or account of the
Creation, in Genesis i., of the Garden of Eden in chapter ii., and of
what is called the Fall of Man in chapter iii., there is something
concerning them we are not historically acquainted with. In none of the
books of the Bible, after Genesis, are any of these things mentioned, or
even alluded to.
How is this to be accounted for?
The obvious inference is, that either they were not known, or not
believed to be facts, by the writers of the other books of the Bible,
and that Moses is not the author of the chapters where these accounts
The next question on the case is, how did the Jews
come by these notions, and at what time were they written? To answer
this question we must first consider what the state of the world was at
the time the Jews began to be a people, for the Jews are but a modern
race compared with the antiquity of other nations.
At the time there were, even by their own account, but
thirteen Jews or Israelites in the world,
Jacob and his twelve sons,
and four of these were bastards, the nations of Egypt, Chaldea, Persia,
and India, were great and populous, abounding in learning and science,
particularly in the knowledge of astronomy, of which the Jews were
The chronological tables mention that eclipses were
observed at Babylon above two thousand years before the Christian era,
which was before there was a single Jew or Israelite in the world.
All those ancient nations had their cosmogonies, that
is, their accounts how the creation was made, long before there was such
people as Jews or Israelites.
An account of these cosmogonies of India and Persia is given by
Henry Lord, Chaplain to the East India Company at Surat, and published
in London in 1630. The
writer of this has seen a copy of the edition of 1630, and made extracts
from it. The work, which is
now scarce, was dedicated by Lord to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
We know that the Jews were carried captive into
Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, and remained in captivity several years, when
they were liberated by Cyrus, King of Persia.
During their captivity they would have had an opportunity of
acquiring some knowledge of the cosmogony of the Persians, or at least
of getting some ideas how to fabricate one to put at the head of their
own history after their return from captivity.
This will account for the cause, for some cause there must have
been, that no mention nor reference is made to the cosmogony in Genesis
in any of the books of the Bible supposed to have been written before
the captivity, nor is the name of Adam to be found in any of those
The books of Chronicles were written after the return
of the Jews from captivity, for the third chapter of the first book
gives a list of all the Jewish kings from David to Zedekiah, who was
carried captive into Babylon, and to four generations beyond the time of
Zedekiah. In Chron. i. I,
the name of Adam is mentioned, but not in any book in the Bible written
before that time, nor could it be, for Adam and Eve are names taken from
the cosmogony of the Persians.
Henry Lord, in his book,
written from Surat and dedicated, as I have already said, to the
Archbishop of Canterbury, says that in the Persian cosmogony the name of
the first man was Adamoh, and
of the woman
From hence comes the Adam and Eve of the book of
Genesis. In the cosmogony
of India, of which I shall speak in a future number, the name of the
first man was Pourous, and of
the woman Parcoutee. We want
a knowledge of the Sanscrit language of India to understand the meaning
of the names, and I mention it in this place, only to show that it is
from the cosmogony of Persia, rather than that of India, that the
cosmogony in Genesis has been fabricated by the Jews, who returned from
captivity by the liberality of Cyrus, king of Persia.
There is, however, reason to conclude, on the
authority of Sir William Jones, who resided several years in India, that
these names were very expressive in the language to which they belonged,
for in speaking of this language, he says, (see the Asiatic Researches),
"The Sanscrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful
structure; it is more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the
Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either."
These hints, which are intended to be continued, will
serve to show that a society for inquiring into the ancient state of the
world, and the state of ancient history, so far as history is connected
with systems of religion, ancient and modern, may become a useful and
There is good reason to believe we have been in great error with respect to the antiquity of the Bible, as well as imposed upon by its contents. Truth ought to be the object of every man; for without truth there can be no real happiness to a thoughtful mind, or any assurance of happiness hereafter. It is the duty of man to obtain all the knowledge he can, and then make the best use of it.
 In an English edition of the Bible, in 1583, the first woman is called Hevah.
The survey shows a giant step forward for Deism in the fact that it actually uses the word "Deist" and for the very significant raw numbers it shows as representing the number of people who are Deists. In reality, the number of Deists is actually higher than the survey shows because the survey uses an outdated definition of Deist. For a more accurate definition please see our Deism Defined page.
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