The HyperTexts

Joe Salemi, Mike's Salami and the Christian Mother-Monster

by Mike Burch

I am writing this essay in response to "The Puritan National Conscience" by Dr. Joseph S. Salemi.

Let me say, before I begin in earnest, that my real argument is not with Joe Salemi, but with the Christian Mother-Monster who, as soon as she bears innocent children, immediately damns them to an "eternal hell" for the "sin" of having been born human (or she allows her church to teach her children that they're damned at birth, which amounts to the same sordid thing).

Why did she choose to have children, if she believed for a second they might suffer for all eternity? Isn't it obvious that people who believe in hell should never have children? After all, if their children go to hell, it will obviously be their parents' fault, since the children didn't ask to be born or have any say in the matter.

When her children reach puberty and begin to experience what the Christian church ominously calls "lust," with the penalty for unrepentant would-be "fornicators" and "adulterers" being an eternal hell, the Christian Mother-Monster's evil, addled religion is bound to bring her children's suffering to full sizzle, like the proverbial fat hitting the frying pan. Since I grew up in a fundamentalist family, just one of many small victims of the Christian Cult of Hell,  my "salami" is tied up in this, in the most convoluted of all possible "thou shalt knots." The result is something akin to a burnt, burst bratwurst.


Do Christians mothers have any understanding of the rage at injustice they create in their sons, when they say, in effect, "You were born evil, fit only for hell, because of 'original sin.' If you're extremely lucky, God will 'save' you, but not if you do what comes naturally. Sex before marriage is 'evil,' but of course we don't want you to marry too soon, so you shouldn't have sex, look at pornography, masturbate, or fantasize about sex for a decade or more after reaching puberty." Such wisdom! Are they monsters? Or are they so oblivious to the facts of human biology and the errors of human religion that they assent to the torture of their own children? Or do they simply not understand Christian theology and what it does to children? According to Christian theology, every human child is chaff fit only for an eternal bonfire, unless he is "saved" by the Devil who created him with sexual desires out the ying-yang. Therefore, Christian mothers are telling their children that if they don't bow down to and worship the Devil, they will suffer for all eternity. Talk about a Catch-22 proposition! This Devil is certainly not "good" because his super-powers presumably include the ability to communicate, yet he demands belief in his person without bothering to communicate with children who pray to him. When I was a boy, I was faced with the choice of either worshipping this false idol (a "god" who is unable to speak), or going to hell. When I realized this strange "god" wanted me to give up my most cherished dream and fervent longing (being with a human Eve), my choice became obvious, and I chose to pursue Eve and go to hell. But the terror I experienced was very real, because the adults I trusted, including my own parents, assured me that the Bible was the "word of God."


When I reached puberty, I would lie in bed at night, weeping that God could be so cruel. And I soon realized that my mother didn't want me, but a carbon copy of the sexless space alien Jesus Christ. (Actually, I believe she really loved me, but was so terrified of hell herself, that she felt she had to choose Jesus over me, if forced to make the decision. But I couldn't oblige her, because it was impossible for me to "repent" of my desire to be with a human Eve. What a fucked up religion! How can a religion that forces mothers to choose a false idol or imaginary friend over their own children be considered "good"?)

Christianity fills young boys with deep shame for being what biology made them. Anyone who watches nature shows can easily see male animals constantly competing for the attention and affections of females. Stags, rams and bulls often risk death for the opportunity to mate. Only Christian "theologians" and "Christian" mothers could be so unwise as to believe the "Holy Spirit" cures sexual desire. Obviously, sexual desire is not a disease, but a biological fact and necessity. Because it teaches what is obviously not true, Christian theology is the cause of much spiritual sickness. Just look around and you can see it everywhere: in the anger, bitterness and hypocrisy of Christians. Why are Christian men so angry? No doubt, because their God is unjust, their religion is unjust, and their parents treated them unjustly from the moment they were born, demanding that they "be like Jesus" when their bodies demanded otherwise. Every Adam longs to find some desirable Eve to worship with many obscene libations ("obscene" only to people with religious misconceptions about sex). Sometimes an Adam may desire another Adam, but the problem remains the same: boys and men cannot "repent" of lust, because lust is hardwired into their genes. When popes, priests, pastors and parents insist that lust is "evil," and that sex outside marriage is "evil," and that hell awaits people who don't confess and repent their "sins," they set children up for emotional trauma when they reach puberty.

Even now, many years later at age 52, I can't help feeling robbed and betrayed. When I write such essays, it's in the hope that other mothers and sons won't go through the process that left me so at odds with my mother, despite her professions of "love" for me. Does she love me? Yes, I'm sure she does. But her ignorance of what her evil, moronic religion did to me is so profound (or she is in such denial), that when I try to explain why I'm so angry, she can't understand. She just says she will "pray" for me. How can I tell her that I want no part of her sexless space alien Jesus, who thinks sex is "evil," but that torturing people for all eternity over acts of physical intimacy is "good"?

Her Jesus has the ethics of a viper. In what cosmos is pleasure "evil" and torture "good"? Why should anyone suffer for all eternity for fantasizing about sex, or having sex? Why should anyone suffer for all eternity for anything? What about the sentence fitting the crime? And why should a couple have to marry before they determine if they're sexually compatible? Isn't it far wiser to "shack up" before marrying, than to marry and discover insurmountable incompatibilities?

But stupid ancient prohibitions about sex are one thing. Telling small children they may suffer in hell for all eternity, with no chance of escape or parole, is something else entirely.

The Christian religion would be a Cosmic Joke, if only it were funny, and didn't cause so many people such profound suffering. How can God be "good" if he sends people to an eternal hell for acts of sexual intimacy, whether or not they "repent"? The idea is so perverted, it should make mothers vomit, to think they let pastors and Sunday school teachers terrorize children with such evil garbage. But multitudes of churches, both Catholic and Protestant, continue the ancient mantra: "Sex is evil. Lust is evil. Adultery is evil. Homosexuality is evil. God is 'good' even though he tortures human beings for all eternity, for being the way he made them."

If Jesus was good, Christian theology turned him into the Devil the minute it postulated that he would be so petty as to send human beings to hell for not "believing" in him (why should they believe in such a petty being?), or for any of a multitude of "sins," none of which could possibly merit eternal punishment.

If a mother can't understand that she has no right to bear a son, then condemn him to hell because he was born human, and/or because at the onset of puberty he is bound to become a small cauldron bubbling with sexual desire . . . well, in my opinion, she ought to stick to a doll collection, or adopt neutered lapdogs. She has no more business breeding sons than I have breeding dogs, if I'm going to torture them for not being as mild as bunny rabbits.

The human male is an apex predator and, with the onset of puberty, a sexual dynamo. If this offends Christian mothers, Christian theologians and God Almighty, they need a reality check. Ironically, most human males do a better job of controlling their urge to rape every attractive female in sight, than women do of controlling their biological urge to produce babies the world could easily do without. If women must have babies, the least they can do is not torture them from the moment they're born, insisting that they be "like Jesus."  The Jesus of Christian theology is pure poppycock (pun intended). If he was truly human, you can bet your bottom dollar that he lusted for some Eve, or some Adam. If he didn't, he wasn't human. So why not be honest? If Jesus wasn't a horny devil, he was nothing like me. If he was a horny devil, he wasn't the sexless space alien of Christian theology. Either way, Christian theology got it wrong, just as it got "hell" wrong, and "salvation" wrong. If you bear with me, I will prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the Christian dogma of hell is non-biblical. If the church got hell wrong for two thousand years, should we depend on its "wisdom" in other areas? And what about this Catholic/Protestant thing . . . is either church "more correct" than the other . . . or are they both equally off their rockers?


Joe Salemi is an erudite, accomplished writer who is notin my opinionalways good at logic. Or perhaps Salemi is good at logic, and simply ignores any facts he finds inconvenient. In any case, Salemi makes what I believe are erroneous claims and insinuations in his essay. For instance, he says Christianity is not to blame for the infernal mess I mentioned in my essay "Christian Mothers and the Cult of Hell: What the Hell Are They Doing to Their Own Children?" According to Salemi the problems I mentioned are entirely due to "Low-Church American Protestantism." The obvious inference is that his preferred flavor of Devil worship (Roman Catholicism) is somehow above reproach, even though Catholic theologians have been condemning unbaptized babies to some region of "hell" or "limbo" (they constantly vacillate on exactly where their all-wise, all-loving God damns unsplashed babies when they die) for the better part of two thousand years.

Obviously, if the pope doesn't know what happens to innocent-but-unsplashed babies when they die, he doesn't know "jack shit," as we say down here in the Deep South. (Mind you, I'm not defending Protestants, who are just as batty; I'm an equal opportunity condemner of Devil Worship in all its nefarious flavors.) Salemi believes Pope Ratzinger/Benedict is the Vicar of Christ on Earth and is able to speak "infallibly" when the situation warrants it. But it's more than obvious that Christ never imparted an iota of intelligence into any pope whose name wasn't Peter Cephas (the rock). All the subsequent popes have clearly been dumber than rocks. This is easy to demonstrate, since Peter never mentioned "hell" in his sermons (the first two are recorded in the book of Acts), and yet no pope since Peter has been able to determine whether unbaptized babies go to heaven, hell or limbo. Jesus, Peter and Paul never mentioned infant baptism. So Salemi's "High Church" seems to be high indeed: as "high as a kite." If Jesus, Peter and Paul founded a true religion, how can it be that they completely forgot to mention the need for babies to be splashed with water, in order to avoid eternal damnation? If Jesus, Peter and Paul are not to be trusted, then Christianity is kaput, because the New Testament is without authority. But if Jesus, Peter and Paul can be trusted, then who can take Catholic theologians seriously, since they say something that no one in the Old or New Testaments ever said: that babies are in danger of eternal damnation. (As I will illustrate in due course, Jesus, Peter and Paul never condemned anyone to an "eternal hell," because the early Christian church clearly lacked the dogma of hell, which obviously evolved after the church centered in Greece and Rome after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70).

How can Salemi be correct that the pope is able to speak "infallibly" if after two thousand years of "brainstorming" the Catholic church has been unable to decide what happens to babies when they die? If Jesus can't be bothered to tell his Vicar something as essential as what happens to babies when they die, then clearly Jesus is the Devil, or his "Vicar" is out of the loop (or just plain loopy). Just think of the suffering of Catholic mothers, who have been alternately told that their babies went to hell, or limbo, as if salvation is a see-saw. Can this be the will of a loving, just God? 

Catholic theologians have been changing the "rules" of Christianity constantly, for nearly two millennia. But the evil morons obviously don't have a clue. Can an innocent baby be "saved" from the "wrath of God" without being splashed with "special water" by magical "priest"? No one knows! If a baby is sprinkled with special water by an magical but unrepentant pedophile, does the baptism "count," or does the baby go to an "eternal hell" because the priest was unpriestly? No one knows! Does salvation come via the grace of God, or man's faith, or magical sprinklings of water? No one knows! If all human beings are inherently evil, can everyone go to heaven, since God can't tell the difference between them, or is there some limbo-bar which slightly-less-evil men can wriggle under, and so squirm their way into heaven, while God is distracted by slightly-more-reprobate sinners? No one knows! The so-called "Vicar of Christ" is as clueless as all the other Keystone Kops of Christianity.

How can anyone take the pope seriously, or Catholic theologians, or Billy Graham, or Protestant theologians? If God wants us to know how we can be saved, surely he could explain the process, so that mothers could inform their children. But no one knows!

How can it be that God sent Jesus Christ to save Christians from a hell he entirely forgot to mention to anyone (even his best buds Adam, Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and Solomon), and then entirely forgot to explain to anyone how children too young to believe in Jesus can be saved? And lest Protestants snigger at Catholics, let me point out that Protestant theologians use the non-biblical "age of accountability" to "help" God keep from sending babies and children to hell. But Jesus, Peter and Paul never mentioned the magical (er, unmagical) age at which Protestant children are condemned to hell if they die unbaptized. So the pope and Billy Graham share the same affliction: God never bothered to explain to either of them how children can be saved. If someone asked Billy Graham the exact age at which a child must believe in Jesus and be baptized, he would have to profess his complete and utter ignorance. If someone asks Pope Ratzinger/Benedict whether an unsplashed baby can be saved, he can only wring his hands and profess to "hope" that God will be "merciful."

What morons! If God can't be bothered to explain clearly how children can be "saved" then obviously the whole thing is a great fucking farce. God never condemned anyone to hell. It was Christian theologians who condemned everyone to hell, without a clue as to how to "save" anyone. When they said all human beings were condemned to hell at birth, because of "original sin," and that salvation was by "faith," they inadvertently condemned their own children to hell. Since God, the Hebrew prophets, Jesus, Peter and Paul never mentioned anyone going to a place called "hell," much less babies and children, the Keystone Kops of Christianity obviously fumbled the ball entirely on their own.

Such are the perils of Devil Worship. Christian Mother-Monsters condemn their children to hell, but after two thousand years of "hard thinking," Catholic and Protestant theologians still don't have a clue as to how anyone can be "saved."  The evidence is obvious: infant baptism and the "age of accountability." Neither are mentioned in the Bible. Jesus never mentioned them. How can it be that the Savior of the World knew nothing about the process by which children can be saved from the "hell" his all-wise father never mentioned?

While I agree with Salemi that America's approach to sex is highly irrational, and that the American public fretting about the sexual hijinks of public figures is ridiculous, I think he entirely missed my main point. My primary objection is Christians condemning children to hell. Calling sex outside marriage "evil" makes hell inescapable for children once they reach puberty, since most of them will live a decade or more before marrying. Can any teenager be expected to "repent" of sexual desire for ten minutes, much less ten years? Even those who manage to abstain from the act (does this make them "righteous" or merely cautious?) are going to burn with longing. According to the "infallible word of God," Jesus said thinking about sex is the same as committing adultery. Well, I know damn well that all the boys I grew up with were thinking about sex constantly, once we reached puberty. Thus, our own mothers condemned us to hell, when they told us the Bible was the "infallible word of God."

I was too honest to lie to God (who according to Christians knew my every thought), and I sure as hell wasn't going to give up my most cherished dream and fervent longing, so if desiring sex outside marriage was "evil," my small goose was definately cooked. But the terror I experienced when I imagined myself suffering in hell was all too real. So please excuse me if I don't thank my mother, or applaud her religion. When she handed me a Bible, patted me on the head, and told me to read it, she unleashed all the demons of hell. Two of themGod and Jesus―immediately perched like especially ravenous vultures on my slender shoulders and began to peer suspiciously into my innermost dreams. I could feel their merciless, piercing talons sinking into the tender flesh of my neck . . .


Without hell, sex becomes what it should be: a matter for this life on this planet. But with hell stirred into the mix, faith becomes combustible and suddenly teenagers are faced with eternal flames should they die en flagrante. Life is hard enough for kids, as it is. So I certainly disagree with Salemi that the only insane Christians are American Protestants. Pope Ratzinger/Benedict (what a name; perhaps there is a God in heaven, after all) recently instructed Africans not to use condoms. Why? Because according to Catholic theology, sex is a "sin" unless the purpose is procreation. Therefore, the use of contraceptives is "logically" also a "sin." I once wrote a small poem on the subject:

Be fruitful and multiply .  . .
Great advice, for a fruitfly!
But for women and men,
Simple Simon, say "When!"

The so-called "Vicar of Christ" also calls euthanasia a "sin," as if God wants to force us to suffer unnecessarily, even when all hope is gone. So there is obviously a superfluity of insanity in Catholic circles. Should a false religion be allowed to force me to suffer?

I suspect that my anger and Salemi's may spring from the same source. Joe never fails to shock me with his hatred of anything having to do with Protestants. Since Catholics and Protestants believe exactly the same things (the only real difference is the method of "salvation," in which regard both Catholic and Protestant theologians are equally clueless), my educated guess is that Joe hates his religion as much as I hate mine, and that he uses Protestants as surrogates for his wrath at the injustices showered upon him during his boyhood by his religion, church and family. But I cannot speak for Joe, so let me speak for myself: Christians taught me to hate and despise God, Jesus and Christianity with great fervor, because as a young boy I was condemned to hell for having been born human. In my mind, I had to make a choice. I could choose to submit and accept the sentence imposed on me by God, Jesus, Christianity and my own parents. Or I could rebel. So I chose to rebel. My mother condemned me to hell because I was born human, and she preferred Jesus to me, her own son. What choice did I have? Rather than agree with her, I chose to disagree. She chose to have me. I had no choice in the matter. In my mind, she was clearly wrong. If she thought I might go to hell, she should never have had me. What right did she have to play God, with my soul? Why should I agree with her, or her religion? Now, if there is an afterlife and if faith has anything to do with what happens to us when we die, we may never see each other again. If there is no life after this life, or if faith has nothing to do with where we go, then the dispute seems unfortunate. But she imposed the terms on me. I refused her terms, as stupid, evil and unjust. If mothers want to have good relationships with their sons, they should consider my defense of myself. I refuse to accept the idea that I should be condemned to hell for the "sin" of being born human, and not being like Jesus Christ. Being compared to him only made me hate him, and everyone who compared me to him.

I suspect that my anger, and Joe's, and the anger of so many men who grew up in Christian families, has the same root. Our childhood religion leaves us very few options. We can meekly submit, or we can rebel. I was never able to submit to the injustices heaped on me by Christianity when I was a small boy. Now I feel like a tiger who's been backed into the corner of a cage by someone cracking a whip. I want to leap and rip out his jugular. Is this what mothers do to their sons, when they condemn them to hell? I think so . . .

In my opinion the Puritans are obviously not to blame for Christian Mother-Monsters condemning their poor, beleaguered fledglings to hell, like religion-besotted witches. At least 2,500 years before the first Puritans appeared, Moses commanded that girls who had been raped should be murdered or sold to their rapists (Deuteronomy 22). Moses also commanded that mature women and male infants who had been captured at war should be slaughtered, with only the virgin girls being kept alive, obviously as sex slaves (Numbers 31). The ideas that children should be murdered, or sold into slavery, or suffer the torments of an eternal hell for acts of sexual intimacy are obviously not  Puritan innovations. This of course does not excuse the fanaticism of the Puritans, nor that of our modern covens of child-abusers who call themselves "Christians," whether Protestant or Catholic. But Salemi's essay strikes me as being akin to Stalin accusing Hitler of mass murder, or vice versa. My lovely wife Beth is from Arkansas; we now live together in Tennessee. Joe calls these states "mental dormitories" as if geographic locations have anything to do with the various deep-seated errors and evils of Christianity. But my mother is English, and I spent my formative years in England, Germany, California, Nebraska, Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina. Everywhere I traveled, the Christian religion was essentially the same: God is good, human beings are "born evil" due to "original sin," sex outside marriage is a "sin," the only way to be "saved" is to bow down to and worship the Devil who made us, then immediately condemned us to death, etc., etc. 

The rot at the root of the Christian religion is everywhere the same, in my experience. To inflict it on young, highly impressionable children is the real sin. I have yet to hear a single Christian explain just how Jesus "saves" anyone. If he can save human beings magically without any effort on their part, by "grace," why doesn't he just save everyone magically? If human beings have to become perfect in this life, then obviously no one will be saved. If there is any "in between" then it's impossible to know if anyone is saved, and we might as well have a hell of a party here on earth, because who can trust a "savior" who makes "salvation" a guessing game?

According to Christian theology, Jesus was able to save the thief on the cross with a mere nod of his head. This is the basis of the famous "deathbed confession." When a person is faced with death, the ability of Jesus to save knows no limitations. But if a child should happen to live, all bets are off. Such are the "tender mercies" and "wisdom" of Christianity.

Who can believe such a bizarre religion originated with a just, wise, loving God? If, after two thousand years not a single Catholic or Protestant theologian has been able to give a coherent explanation of "salvation," and no one has ever been "perfected" enough for God to save them from death . . . should we continue to inflict "hell" on all earth's children? (Please keep in mind that all children grow up, if they live long enough.)


I believe I may understand why Salemi says what he does, but that's a big "may" and I don't think it's fair for me to presume to know what he believes, or why. So rather than castigating him, perhaps unfairly, I will aim my remarks at two people I know quite well: Joe Catholic Theologian and Joe Protestant Theologian. But since their names are a bit unwieldy, I'll call them Joke and Dope, for short.

Joke, the Catholic Theologian, is quite positive that his is the only "true faith." Dope, the Protestant Theologian, is just as sure that only he knows the "truth." Actually, they believe almost exactly the same things and are both mad as hatters. For many centuries now they've convinced otherwise compassionate mothers to turn on their children like angry harpies and condemn them to a "hell" that was never mentioned by the God of the Old Testament, the Hebrew prophets, or the great preachers of early Christianity: Peter, Stephen and Paul.

That an all-wise God never condemned anyone to hell is obvious. Please keep in mind that my arguments work whether or not God had anything to do with the writing of the Bible. If God had anything to do with the writing of the Bible, and he never mentioned a place called "hell," then obviously no one should believe in hell. Conversely, if God had nothing to do with the writing of the Bible, then no one should believe in hell because men made the whole thing up. If would only make sense to believe in hell if the Bible mentioned hell from the beginning, or if the Bible clearly explained how, when and why hell was created. But it doesn't, and this is easy to demonstrate, for the following reasons:

(1) Hebrew scripture (the Old Testament) has no word meaning "hell." The Hebrew word incorrectly translated as "hell" in the King James Version of the Bible is Sheol. But Sheol clearly means "the grave," not "hell," because Job asked to be hidden from suffering in Sheol, King David said God would be with him if he made his bed in Sheol, and the sons of Korah said God would redeem them from Sheol. These statements clearly contradict the Christian dogma of hell. Furthermore, Ezekiel and Saint Paul agreed that all Israel would be saved, but Israel himself spoke of joining his son Joseph in Sheol. How can all Israel be saved if Israel and his most sterling son are in hell? In each case, when the speakers referred to Sheol, they meant the grave. The grave would end Job's suffering. God would still be with David when he made his bed in the grave. The sons of Korah believed they would be redeemed from the grave to new life. Israel would be reunited with his sons in the grave. Even conservative Bible scholars agree with my conclusion, because the word "hell" has been removed entirely from the Old Testaments of most modern versions of the Bible, including the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), which was recently sponsored by the famously literal and conservative Southern Baptist Convention. 

(2) In the Old Testament, God never mentioned anyone going to hell, even at the worst of times. Hell was never mentioned to Adam and Eve (the original sinners), nor to Cain (the first murderer), nor to Noah at the time of the wickedness that led to the Great Flood, nor to Abraham and Lot at the time of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Hebrew prophets said Sodom would be restored at the end of time, but they never said anyone from Sodom would go to hell. Nor did God himself mention such a possibility when he spoke with Abraham about the fate of Sodom. (Of course non-Christians may dispute the fact that God actually spoke to Abraham, but this is immaterial to my argument. If God never spoke to anyone in the Bible, then obviously mothers shouldn't condemn their children to hell in the name of a false religion. If God spoke, but never mentioned hell to anyone, then obviously mothers shouldn't terrorize their own children while blaspheming the name of God.)

(3) If God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, there obviously was no hell at the time, because Moses never mentioned anything about hell, even when discussing the punishments for the most serious sins. Of course it makes no sense to discuss only the temporal consequences of sins, if they have far more dire eternal consequences. So obviously Moses, the greatest of all Hebrew prophets, knew nothing about hell.  Therefore, according to the Bible, hell clearly did not pre-exist, as it was never mentioned in chronologies covering thousands of years, up to the time of Moses and the writing of the first five books of the Hebrew Old Testament (which have been attributed to Moses, although this is improvable).

(4) But hell was never mentioned by the prophets who followed Moses, so clearly hell wasn't created later, either. How could a just God create a place of eternal suffering and yet fail to mention it to anyone? Hell eventually "pops up" in the New Testament in a handful of verses, without preamble or any explanation whatsoever. By the time those verses were added to the Bible, Christians had obviously come to accept the dogma of hell. This could not have happened in Israel at the time of Jesus and Paul, because people versed in the Old Testament would have questioned something so terrible, which had never been mentioned by God or the prophets. But there are no arguments about hell recorded in the New Testament, although other far less important doctrinal squabbles are mentioned (such as the ones about clean/unclean foods and circumcision). So it seems hell must have been added to the New Testament at a very late date, after Jerusalem had been destroyed in AD 70 and the Christian church re-centered in Greece and Rome, where people already believed in hell.

(5) This can easily be confirmed, because the book of Acts (ostensibly the self-recorded history of the early Christian church) never mentions anyone being condemned to hell, not even when Peter and Stephen addressed the men who had murdered Jesus.

(6) Furthermore, the earliest-written Christian texts (the epistles of Paul) never mention a place called "hell." Paul died before the destruction of Rome in AD 70, so his epistles were written during the earliest days of the Christian church. Paul claimed he received his gospel directly from God, not man, and he never mentioned a place called "hell." If Paul lied, why condemn children to hell in the name of a false religion? If Paul told the truth, then clearly God didn't tell him about a place called "hell," or Paul would have mentioned it and would have explained how and why hell came to be created. This would have been a stunning revelation, but there is not a word of explanation about the origins of hell in the entire Bible.

(7) The chronologies of the Bible end with the book of Acts. From the beginning of the chronologies of the Bible to their end, there is no mention of anyone being condemned to a place called "hell." (There are a few verses here and there which may be construed to be about suffering after death; these could have been added after the dogma of hell came to be accepted. But the question remains: why did God, the prophets, Jesus, Peter and Paul all fail to explain the creation of this place of suffering after death?) If the book of Acts is accurate, it seems obvious the early Christians were trying to convince other people that Jesus was the Messiah, because of the resurrection, but they were not telling nonbelievers they would go to hell. If there is a God, it seems God made sure hell was not attributed to him. If there is no God, why condemn people to hell in the name of a false religion?

(8) In his parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Jesus mocked the pagan Greek myth of Hades. The place Jesus described was clearly the pagan Greek version of the afterlife, because in his parable the abode of the blessed was separated from the abode of the damned by an immense chasm which the dead could chat over, but not cross. This bizarre place had never been described in Hebrew scripture, so Jesus left God out of the picture entirely and had the unclean Gentile beggar Lazarus rest in "the bosom of Abraham" (because the Pharisees used their status as descendents of Abraham to claim they would inherit heaven at the expense of the Gentiles). Jesus upset their applecart by putting the rich Pharisee in the fiery pit and the beggar Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham. This doesn't mean Jesus believed in the mythical fairyland he described; what he did is like someone telling a flat-earther, "Be careful not to fall over the edge of the world!" Ironically, many Christians now try to "prove" there is a hell by citing this parable, when in fact they have adopted the religion of the Pharisees (replacing Abraham with Jesus). But anyone who studies Hades (read the Wikipedia page) can verify that Hades was not hell. As with Sheol, Hades was the grave and everyone went to Hades. To say that someone would go to Sheol or Hades meant merely that they would die. To say that a nation would go down to Sheol or Hades meant that it would be destroyed. 

(9) The other word sometimes translated as "hell" in the New Testament is the Hebrew word Gehenna. At the time of Jesus and Paul, Gehenna was a fiery landfill where garbage was burned. But today Gehenna is a lovely park. You can find pictures of it on the Internet. So clearly Gehenna is not hell, either.

(10) According to the Southern Baptist Convention's version of the Bible, the HCSB, there are only ten verses that mention a place called "hell." Sheol does not mean "hell," so there is no mention of "hell" in the Old Testament. Hades does not mean "hell," so there is no mention of "hell" in most of the New Testament either. The ten occurrences of "hell" that remain are all mistranslations of Gehenna, which today is a lovely park. So according to the Southern Baptists, who damn billions of people to "hell" for not believing in Jesus, there is no "hell." Their God must be long-suffering indeed, to have put up with the blasphemies of Christians for so many centuries.

(11) The hell of the Greeks was called Tartarus, and this word appears in only one verse in the entire Bible. That verse is about fallen angels awaiting judgement, so according to the Bible, hell is not eternal and is not for human beings.

So there is no reason for Christians to believe in a place called "hell," much less to subject innocent children to such a horror. But over the last two millennia, hundreds of millions of Christian mothers have condemned their own children to hell, thanks to Catholic and Protestant "theologians."

Clearly, Joke and Dope convinced Christian Mother-Monsters to condemn their children to a fictitious "hell."  In his essay, Salemi blames everything on the Protestant Dope, but Dope was a latecomer to the Cult of Hell, having only popped out of the woodwork in his earliest human incarnation in 1517 AD, when Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation. Before 1517 AD, Dope's predecessor Joke had been condemning unbaptized babies to "hell" and "limbo," starting with his incarnation as "Saint" Augustine of Hippo, who converted to Catholicism sometime around 386 AD.

Now if Joke was condemning unbaptized babies to hell for the sin of having been born human more than a thousand years before Dope had his first incarnation, how can Dope be responsible for the fine fettle we find ourselves in today? Obviously Salemi didn't go back far enough in time, in his search for erroneous religion. Augustine had been quite happy to have sex with his mistress, until he converted to Christianity and decided God wanted him to be celibate. That's when "all hell broke loose," literally. Soon Augustine came to despise human flesh so profoundly, he decided it was a sin merely to be born! Then he deduced "logically" that all babies were bound for hell at birth, unless they were splashed with magical water. Suddenly an all-powerful God had no choice but to send innocent babies to a hell he had never mentioned, if they died unsplashed, thanks to the greatest of all Catholic theologians (Augustine is the patron saint of theologians). But of course he was madder than any hatter. What sort of God sends babies to hell on the advice of batty theologians?

Historian Thomas Cahill has called Saint Augustine the first medieval man. I agree, since his "theology" helped plunge Europe into the Dark Ages. His dark vision of human sexual desire, which he called "wretched sin," "the filth of concupiscence" and the "hell of lustfulness" would become enshrined in Christian theology long before the Puritans became tiny gleams in their mothers' eyes.

Augustine also helped set the stage for the Catholic Inquisition by saying violence should be employed against "heretics," even though Jesus had instructed his disciples to merely shake the dust from their feet upon leaving a community, if they were not accepted. How can anyone observe the life of Jesus and conclude that he advocated using violence to compel belief? The call for heretics to be abused was not an innovation of Dope, but of Joke. The furious dogmatism of the Puritans was born when Augustine and other Catholic theologians chose the path of vitriol rather than virtue.

Now mind you, I'm not excusing what the Puritans did, when they put hot pokers through the cheeks and tongues of peaceable Quakers. I'm no fan of the Puritans. I am merely pointing out that Christians were having hissy fits about sex long before the Puritans appeared. All too often "saints" of the Catholic Church like Thomas More burned Protestants at the stake like so much chaff. As a matter of fact, hundreds of years before there were any Protestants to murder as heretics, the Catholic Church organized the first Crusade against another sect of Christians, the Cathars, and slaughtered something like 30,000 of them. The first Inquisition was instituted in order to find any remaining Cathars and exterminate them. Catholics have murdered millions of people over the course of time, "in the name of God."

So how can Salemi say popes are able to speak infallibly? They don't know better than to murder other people over points of religious dogma. They don't know how babies and children can be saved. They think contraception and euthanasia are "sins." They are bastions of ignorance, not oracles of wisdom. 


But to be fair to Catholics, let me reiterate that the history of "men of God" flaying people alive over acts of sexual intimacy (or for just being born to the wrong race or creed) goes back at least to the time of Moses. Three thousand or more years ago, Moses commanded that girls who had been raped should be murdered or sold to their rapists. He also commanded that captured women and male infants should be slaughtered, with only virgin girls being kept alive, as sex slaves. King David killed every woman when he "smote the land" and he ordered the slaughter of the lame and blind when Jerusalem was taken from the Jebusites because he "hated" the handicapped. So much for David being the "man after God's own heart," unless God is the Devil.

No doubt someone will say, "Yes, but the New Testament is better." Well, for anyone with a heart capable of compassion and a mind capable of reason . . . no, it isn't. Here are some of the more reprehensible things the New Testament says:

Babies are "born evil" because of "original sin."
Rather than God being responsible for the state of the earth he created, man is responsible.
(Of course today we know that dinosaurs suffered and died long before man appeared. How can man be responsible for the suffering and death of animals which predate his existence?)
Children must "believe" in Jesus, even though he refuses to speak to them personally.
If they don't believe what the church commands, they will go to an "eternal hell."
They are supposed to give one tenth of everything they earn to the church.
(How convenient for the church's witchdoctors!)
God is able to forgive sins, by "grace."
Jesus forgave the thief on the cross, with a nod of his head.
But Jesus will not bother to nod his head at billions of non-believers. (Why?)
This means the saints of other religions, like Gandhi, will go to "hell."
Thus God is a hypocrite, since he commands men to overcome evil with good, and to forgive unconditionally.
Constantly, according to the Bible, God breaks his own commandments.
(And yet Jesus railed against hypocrisy. Is Jesus himself a hypocrite?)
Some human beings are "predestined for glory."
Other human beings are "predestined" to be "piss pots" and are created only for destruction.
Revelation says people will be tortured in heaven, "in the presence of the Lamb and Holy Angels."

I could go on and on. But the problems are apparent. Orthodox Christianity is a seriously fucked up religion.

Who can believe one person is predestined for eternal suffering, while another is predestined for "eternal glory"? That's the religion of the Pharisees, who claimed to be God's gift to the earth, the "Chosen Few." Is this what mothers should be teaching their children?

Christian theologians tell us that we are supposed to worship, praise and pledge blind obedience to God. But we know that good, enlightened beings (like good human mothers) do not demand worship, praise and blind obedience. Only arrogant, evil men demand such things. Yet Christian churches are flooded with hymns of fawning praise to God.

With so much suffering and death in the world, why would God want me to praise him? With the most glorious prophecies of the Bible still unfulfilled (such as the lion lying down with the lamb, which cannot be man's responsibility), why should I praise God? If I don't keep my promises, should I expect praise and fawning adulation? 

We are told that God slavered after the "sweet savor" of the flesh and blood of animals, like a wild beast. But six Hebrew prophets said God did not desire sacrifice. Jesus himself quoted Hosea, saying God did not desire sacrifice, but chesed [mercy, compassion, lovingkindness]. When Jesus opposed the big, bloody business of the Jerusalem temple, according to the Gospel of Mark, the priests had him arrested on trumped-up charges and summarily executed.

Who benefitted from the sacrificial system? The Levite priests, who grew fat on the sacrifices made "to God." Who wrote the Bible? The Levite scribes. Why does the Bible demand bloody sacrifices? The answer is obvious: because the Levites saw the opportunity to become rich without working like the common folk. Why does the pope live amid fabulous wealth? For the same reason. Why do Protestant evangelists live in million-dollar homes and wear Rolexes? For the same reason.

The Israelites claimed to be "the Chosen Few."  But today ten of the twelve tribes are lost. The main tribe that still  remains ("Judah," from which we get the word "Jew") went through the Holocaust. Is there any evidence that the God of the Bible exists, or is able to "save" anyone? Has Jesus ever saved a single disciple of his from suffering or death?

Does Jesus have any right to demand that I "believe" in him, when he is obviously unable or unwilling to speak to me, and explain why I should believe in him?

When I look at the carnage left in the wake of the Catholic Church, and the Puritans, and all the other sects of Christianity, what can I conclude but that such religions are lies, and the human race would be better off without them? Why should I believe in a "God" who is unable or unwilling to speak to me? Why should I teach children that if they don't believe what is obviously untrue, they will suffer in hell for all eternity?

Why should I listen to Joke and Dope?

The HyperTexts