The HyperTexts

Sins of the Saints: Christian Saints who Tortured and Murdered Innocents

by Michael R. Burch, an editor and publisher of Holocaust and Nakba poetry

Christians love to pretend that the Bible teaches them "wisdom," while the indwelling spirit of God helps them overcome the "lusts of the flesh." Thus, grotesquely overweight Christian evangelists like John Hagee insist the the Holy Spirit can magically change the "sinful" sexual natures of homosexuals, even though their life-threatening obesity suggests that the Holy Spirit has less influence over Christians than jelly-filled donuts. And how, pray tell, do Christians "know" that homosexuality is a "sin"? Only because the Bible says so. But the Bible commands and condones the worst crimes known to mankind: slavery, sex slavery, infanticide, matricide, ethnic cleansing, genocide, the stoning to death of boys for being stubborn, the stoning to death of girls for not proving their virginity by bleeding on their wedding nights, etc. How can any honest person pretend to believe a book that encourages or allows such horrors? The question is, of course, rhetorical. Honest people don't claim to believe that the Bible is infallible, because it is worse that Hitler's Mein Kampf in numerous passages. But if we are honest and admit that the Bible is far from infallible, why believe anything it says that doesn't make sense?

The Divine Oscar Wilde once suggested that "The only sin is stupidity." Because the "greatest" of the biblical and Christian saints committed sins of such grotesque stupidity that innocent people suffered terribly, and frequently died, it is impossible to credit the bizarre idea that such "saints" were being led and taught by an enlightened being called "God." Here are a few eye-opening examples:

King David, whom the Bible calls "the man after God's own heart," according to the same Bible was a mass murderer who killed every woman when he "smote the land." The Bible also says that David so despised the handicapped that he ordered the lame and the blind to be executed when he took Jerusalem from the Jebusites. Jesus Christ had compassion for the handicapped, so it is very difficult to understand how David epitomized God's heart, if Jesus was God or the son of God, as Christians claim.

Abraham, whom the Bible praises as a man of faith, had so much "faith" in God that he sent one son, Ishmael, to perish of thirst in the desert, and was ready to slit the throat of his other son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to his bloodthirsty God. Abraham also had so much "faith" in the powers of his God that he pretended his wife Sarah was his sister, then pimped her out to kings and pharaohs in order to protect his life and enrich his purse.

Moses, the greatest of the Hebrew prophets, in Numbers chapter 31 chastised his warriors for leaving women and children alive after a military victory. He ordered his warriors to slaughter the mother and their sons, keeping only the virgin girls alive ... obviously as sex slaves. In Exodus 21, Moses told Hebrew fathers that they could sell their own daughters as sex slaves, with the option to buy them back if they didn't please their new masters.

Samuel, one of the "greatest" of the Hebrew prophets, hacked Agag to pieces while he begged for mercy.

The Bible calls Noah a "righteous" man and says that God spared him and his family because of his righteousness, while destroying the rest of the world in a global flood. But after Noah landed on dry ground, according to the Bible he got drunk and had what sounds like a homosexual encounter with one of his sons. Since the Bible calls homosexuality an abomination and forbids drunkenness, it makes no sense for God to call Noah "righteous."

The Bible also calls Lot a "righteous" man, but he got drunk and committed incest with his daughters.

Sir Thomas More, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church and the author of Utopia, a book about establishing heaven on earth, had Protestants burned to death at the stake as "heretics" over points of religious dogma.

Robert Bellarmine is another Catholic saint, even though as Cardinal Inquisitor he presided over the trial of Giordano Bruno and concurred with the decision to have the great scientist and freethinker burned at the stake as a "heretic." Bellarmine also commanded Galileo to stop insisting that the earth moves around the sun, and if Galileo hadn't obeyed, he too might have perished at the stake. Bruno had gone beyond Galileo by hypothesizing that earth's sun is a star, and thus other stars might have planets like earth that harbored life.

Billy Graham is probably the closest thing to a modern-day Protestant saint. Southern Baptist fundamentalists hang on his every word and there is a nine-foot-tall statue of him standing in Nashville, the buckle of the Bible belt. But Graham is hardly enlightened. For instance, like Iranian clerics he insists that homosexuality is a "sin" rather than a biological sexual preference that some human beings are born with. According to Graham's medieval mindset, it is possible to "pray away the gay." Graham has also called homosexuality a "sinister form of perversion" and has worked to deny homosexuals true equality by campaigning against gay marriage. But if he was honest about the Bible's litany of errors and horrors, he couldn't use the "word of God" to determine whether homosexuality is a "sin" or completely normal for some people. It only by lying to his disciples, and to himself, that he can maintain the pretense that the Bible is a source of wisdom.

Martin Luther was the founder of Protestantism. He loved the idea of God's grace, but wanted to reserve it for himself and his followers. Toward that end, he said that Jews who didn't convert to Christianity were "devils" and that they could be robbed and their house razed and their synagogues destroyed. This set the stage for the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler was a fan of Luther and shared his virulent anti-Semitism.

John Calvin is the other primary founder of Protestantism. Like Martin Luther, he was a violent man who had no tolerance for people with contradictory (i.e., more enlightened) views. Calvin had Michael Servetus, a leading doctor and scientist of his day, executed for disagreeing with him about the nature of the Trinity. Servetus was the first European to correctly describe the pulmonary circulation system. Disciples of Calvin later erected a stele apologizing for his murder of Servetus.

King Henry VIII was called the "defender of the faith" and founded the Church of England. But he had several of his wives beheaded, along with Thomas More, the Catholic saint. Misery, as they say, loves company, and the two beheaders certainly helped spread more than their fair share of unwarranted misery, in the name of God and church.

Mother Theresa, another saint of the Roman Catholic Church, had pain medication withheld from dying people so that they could share in the suffering of Christ on the Cross. Is this glorification of suffering the "wisdom" of God, really? Sanal Edamaruku, president of Rationalist International, criticised her policy to withhold pain killers, writing that in her homes for the dying, one could “hear the screams of people having maggots tweezered from their open wounds without pain relief. On principle, strong painkillers are even in hard cases not given. According to Mother Teresa's bizarre philosophy, it is ‘the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ’.” Dr Robin Fox, a thoracic specialist and editor of the Lancet medical journal, expressed astonishment in a 1994 article about the poor medical care at Nirmal Hriday hospital in Calcutta, noting that a "the lack of good analgesia marks Mother Teresa's approach as clearly separate from the hospice movement."

Josemaria Escirva, another Catholic saint and the founder of Opus Dei, also glorified suffering, saying: "Blessed be pain. Loved be pain. Sanctified be pain ... Glorified be pain!."

A large number of Catholic popes have been beatified. But how many of them called it a "sin" to use condoms, thus condemning many true believers to contract AIDS and other terrible diseases? How many children died premature deaths because they followed the popes' orders and didn't practice safe sex?

Jesus Christ spent a great deal of time discussing matters of diet and Sabbath observance. But although he interacted with slaves and slaveowners, he never once condemned the institution of slavery or called its practice an abomination. That oversight resulted in many Christians believing that slavery was "the will of God" and consequently around the globe millions of people were enslaved by Christians. As Mark Twain pointed out, the Bible was used in churches and schools throughout the South to justify slavery.

Yahweh, also known as Jehovah, is the God of the Bible. But according to the Bible, Yahweh committed all sorts of sin, such as murdering children. According to the Bible, Yahweh hardened the pharaoh's heart to disobey him, and then when the pharaoh disobeyed him, Yahweh, murdered all the firstborn children of Egypt. This is just one of many terrible crimes the Bible attributes to Yahweh.

According to the Bible, the Holy Spirit murdered Ananias and Sapphira (Acts chapter five). The Bible says that Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom, because Moses had laid hands on him, but according to the Bible, Joshua was a mass murderer of women and children. Judges 9:23 says that God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. Also,1 Samuel 16:15-23 says that God troubled Saul with an evil spirit. And 1 Kings 22:22 says that God sent out a lying spirit to deceive human beings. Furthermore, 2 Chronicles 18:22 says that God puts lying spirits in the mouths of false prophets. So if the Bible is correct, the Holy Spirit is a liar, a deceiver and a mischief-maker. 

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