You are viewing an archived page on our old website. Click here to visit our new website.

Home | Join/Donate | Current Voices | Liturgical Calendar | What's New | Affirmation | James Hitchcock's Column | Church Documents | Search

The Skeptics' New Truth

by James Hitchcock
July 28, 2004

After Jesus' death His apostles immediately started to work falsifying His life, claiming, in order to give themselves spiritual authority, that He rose from the dead. They also falsified His teachings. His real message was that people are free from all religious authority and should look within themselves for truth. Human nature has infinite potential, if it is allowed to develop.

Instead the apostles made Jesus into a new religious authority. They invented the concept of orthodoxy -- that there are true and false beliefs -- and the concept of sin, as a way of controlling people's behavior.

All of this reflected a power struggle within early Christianity. Jesus had a revolutionary attitude toward women and a close relationship with Mary Magdalene, who was His chosen successor to lead His movement. But the apostles turned her into a reformed prostitute and exiled her to the margins, Peter and the other apostles then claiming Jesus' mandate.

Some of the early Christians tried to tell the truth, in documents like the Gospel of Thomas, but the orthodox believers discredited this as well, making Thomas into a doubter simply because he understood Jesus' real message, which was to look for God within yourself.

Over the centuries the church used naked force to impose its doctrines on an unsuspecting public. Even when the Protestants repudiated Catholic authority, they did not go far enough, not recognizing that the New Testament itself is the ultimate source of error about Jesus.

But modern scholarship has at last discovered the truth. The Jesus Seminar has found that most of the sayings attributed to Jesus in the Gospels are spurious, and Dan Brown's book, The Da Vinci Code, while allegedly a work of fiction, raises many "interesting questions" that have been suppressed for centuries.

Christianity, except insofar as it repudiates its historic self, is a negative force in society, especially in its repressive teachings about sexuality, which prevent people from finding their true selves. Christianity is dangerous especially because of its concept of orthodoxy. There is no such thing as ultimate truth, and those who think otherwise are fanatics who threaten a free society, as in the pro-life movement.

The above is a view of religion which any half-attentive person is likely to imbibe from even cursory attention to the way religion is now discussed among the "enlightened" classes. The media do not exactly endorse this view of religion, but they present it as "interesting" and treat its proponents with much deference.

There have been many assaults on Christianity throughout history, and we are now in the fairly early stages of a major new one. The roots of this assault go back to the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, when Christianity was condemned as a dangerous illusion discredited by reason, an assault that had direct results in the savage attack on religion mounted by the French Revolution.

Since that time there has been an uneasy relationship between belief and unbelief in Western culture, most "enlightened" people being skeptics, the majority of people at least nominal believers. Now, however, the skeptics estimate that the time is ripe for a new assault on religion.

This new assault is the most complete ever, in that it comes from all sides. Not only is Christianity superstitious and repressive, it is not even Christian. As it turns out, the skeptics are closer to the real teachings of Jesus than are the believers, and Christianity is by far the greatest fraud in all of history.

Small things often give the best insight into the life of a culture. Recently pop singer Linda Ronstadt told the press that "it's a conflict to me when I go to a concert and find out that somebody in the audience is a ... fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment". Linda Ronstadt does not a movement make. What is significant is that she would say such a thing, that the media would report it in a straightforward way, and that no one seems to think that it represents appalling bigotry. For the enlightened classes, it is now simply self-evident truth.

James Hitchcock, professor of history at St. Louis University, writes and lectures on contemporary Church matters. His column appears in the diocesan press. His two-volume book on religion and the Supreme Court has just been published by Princeton University Press. E-Mail: Dr. James Hitchcock
**Women for Faith & Family operates solely on your generous donations!

WFF is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible.

Columns copyright © 1995 - 2007 by James Hitchcock. All rights reserved. May not be reprinted without permission. (Permission is granted to download articles for personal use only.)

Voices copyright © 1999-Present Women for Faith & Family. All rights reserved.


All material on this web site is copyrighted and may not be copied or reproduced without prior written permission from Women for Faith & Family,except as specified below.

Personal use
Permission is granted to download and/or print out articles for personal use only.

Brief quotations (ca 500 words) may be made from the material on this site, in accordance with the “fair use” provisions of copyright law, without prior permission. For these quotations proper attribution must be made of author and WFF + URL (i.e., “Women for Faith & Family –

Generally, all signed articles or graphics must also have the permission of the author. If a text does not have an author byline, Women for Faith & Family should be listed as the author. For example: Women for Faith & Family (St Louis: Women for Faith & Family, 2005 + URL)

Link to Women for Faith & Family web site.
Other web sites are welcome to establish links to or to individual pages within our site.

Back to top -- Home -- Back to James Hitchcock Column Index

Women for Faith & Family
PO Box 300411
St. Louis, MO 63130

314-863-8385 Phone -- 314-863-5858 Fax -- Email

You are viewing an archived page on our old website. Click here to visit our new website.