Dear Editor,

The Plain Truth: The Resurrection ... the action of a man who volunteers to die for his fellow creatures is universally regarded as noble. The claim not to have "really" died makes the whole sacrifice tricky and meretricious. Thus, those who say "Christ died for my sins," when he did not really "die" at all, are making a statement that is false in its own terms. Having no reliable or consistent witnesses, in anything like the time period needed to certify such an extraordinary claim, we are finally entitled to say that we have a right, if not an obligation, to respect ourselves enough to disbelieve the whole thing.

Revelation: A further difficulty is the apparent tendency of the Almighty to reveal himself only to unlettered and quasi-historical individuals.

Of the thousands of possible desert religions, one branch happened to take root and grow. Passing through its Jewish mutations to its Christian form, it was adopted for political reasons by the Emperor Constantine. It then initiated a double change: the Christianization of Rome and the Romanization of Christ.

Jesus Christ: "There were many deranged prophets roaming Palestine at the time, but this one reportedly believed himself, at least some of the time, to be God or the son of God."

The virgin birth and the resurrection, even if confirmed, would not prove that Jesus was the son of God; nor would they prove the truth or morality of his teachings.

STUPIDITY: There is something frightening about stupidity, more especially about stupidity in its mass organized form. Everything about Christianity is contained in the pathetic image of "The Flock." Half the time when you meet people who say they are churchgoing Christians, they don't know what they're supposed to believe, they don't believe all of it, and they go to church for social reasons.

Almost all religions from Buddhism to Islam feature either a humble prophet or a prince who comes to identify with the poor; it is hardly a surprise if religions choose to address themselves first to the majority who are poor and bewildered and uneducated.


Joseph L. Koperna