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The

Jesus
ALSO BY TI M OTHY HUE AND nTH GANDY
The /esus Myslcries:
\Vas the Original/ems" a Pagan God!
'esus and Ihe Lost Goddess:
The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians
The Lau hin
esus
RELIGIOUS LIES
AND
GNOSTIC WISDOM
TIMOTHY FREKE AND PETER GANDY
&. Harm",,, Boob /New york
CopYIlgh, 0 1005 by T,mot hy F",x< and Petet wnJy
All 'Wt" .... ",<d_
I'Ilbl"hed in ' h, United S ... " by lU,mony Boot., .n imprut' oC ,It< Crown
I'Ilbl" hl,,! GIOUp, ,hVlSIOO oC Ranoom How<, In<., New Yort.
'"ww .Clownpubl"h",!-com
IUlmooy Book. IS. ".dom.a,t md ' h, IUltoorIy Boo .. colophon i
".<!em.". of R.an<lom Hous<, loc.
LI b",.,. 01 Coogr<1II C''']0,llmg_III_l'Ilbhw ioo Dot.
Frex<, TitlXlthy
Th, Ioup.ing iesu.: IOhgiow I"" . nJ C"".,k "i><lom I Timothy he nJ Pet ..
C.ndy._l" ed.
Indude. hlbbogr.p/ti,,1 ",f, rell' md 100e._
I. ClIOII, k i,m. 2_ Sptn, ualllf.. L wooy, Pe,... II. Title.
lOO5
lW'_932_ <lc22 lOOI01787!
ISBN 1-1[(().,8178_1
Prin' N in th, Unit"," Su,,,, 01 AIll<lk .
Deugo by S,m h M.y. Cubkin

Fin' Edi,ion
This book is dedicated
to all those who love
their enemies
Contents
Part I I .ltl
"
,
Coo'ti c 1'>i' ilual ,ty and Li lefal"t Re1iSion \
,
A ReI'3!Ou, D.,.ox 10
,
The VIb,dof God'
"
,
The IVKJSI Famom Man 'M1o N",,,,, Liv...J
"
;
.v.uhammad From I I C 10 IVKJbster 82

The Dream of Aw,klling 10>
Part II
Til'
B'
,
Hlp-Coo'i'
'"
8 No Reali ly V\o\loout fblarily
,n
,
The La'-"Pns kru,
'"
'"
The Wry 10 ",,",'aken 1m
"
Spirituality Without RdiSJOn
'"'
"
The 5'3 Idea
206
A \\br\:out no
No<"
216
rurtflo Readl"3 m
'''''''
m
VII! CO",I NTS
00
PART I
The Barhwarer
1
GNOSTIC SPIRITUALITY AND
LITERALIST RELIGION
The lWeI k,l1. but !he Spln! brings 10 Ii/<.
,
_PAU1. Lnu. 70 TH( Er""'A""
Wake up' Rome yoursd! from t he collective coma you mistake for
'",.1 life' . Soe t hrough the illusion of .eparat ene and recognize t hat
we ue all "ssentially one. Although we 'ppea, to be j""lat N individ_
ua l., in re al it y the", i . one .w.rene .. dre.ming itself t o be everyone
and everything. This ;. our .hared e ..,n,i.] nature. The . imple "",ret
to en joyi ng this dream we call 'l ife' i . to wake up to onenes . 11< _
C'U"". knowing you are one with ali, you will fi nd you,....,U in love
wit h .Il. You will fall in love with living. This i. 'he rne,uge of t ho
original Cfiri";am, who symboli. ed this aw. kenoo ".te wit h 'he
,
enigmatic figure 0/ 'the laugh ing Jesus',
Have you ever seen a picture 0/ le. u. laughingr Probably not , be _
c.u"" we h.ve inherited a diotorted lorm 01 Christianity creatod by
the Roman Church in the lourth century, which locu.e. exclu.ively
on Je.u. the ' man 01 ""rww,' . The im.ge that h. , dominated our cul_
ture i. that of a man heing torturro to death on. cro _ But the origi_
na l Chri .. ian. didn't . ee Jem. a. an historica l man who '. uHerro lor
our ,ins' , They viewed lesus t he mythic.1 hew 01 a symbolic
toaching story, which represents t he spiritual iourney leading to the
eXp<rionce of aw.kening thoy c.lled ' gno.is', or 'knowing' ,
The origin.1 Christians were impired men and women who ,aw
how good l ife could he il we would iust w.ke up .nd live in love,
They imagined a new world th .. would no longer he divided into
slaves or citizens, men or women, Gentile. or Jew . But in.dver_
tently, this band 01 non_conlormi ... gave birth to a toulitarian
regime that would rule Eump< with an iron Ii " lor over a thou.and
years, The result wa, not Heaven on Earth, but the Holy Roman Em_
pire. Tho dre.m hec. me. nightmare.
The Rom.n Church did all it could to .uppres. the teachings 01
gnosi' and the image 01 the I.ughing le.u . It succeeded 100 well t hat
it now .oems .trange to even sugge .. that Chri .. i.nity w originally
about .wakening, But in the middle 01 the twentieth century IOOme 01
the texts 01 the original Christi.m were lound in a c.ve near N.g
Hammadi in Egypt. In t hese texts the me.sage 01 .wakening i, pro_
claimed loud 3Jld clear.
Those who h".., realised gnosi. h,ve set them..,h'e , IT .. by w,king up
lrom the dream in which thoy lived and h"", become thomselves
agam.
How c.n you bear to be Ieep, when it'. your re.ponsibility to be
aw.ke; '
You aTO . sleep . nd dre.ming, Wake up.'
Listen to my teachings, which are p.:><I . nd p"ctic.I, md end the
,I""p which weigh .., heavily upon you'
People are c. ught up in mmy vain illu.ions and empty fictions, which
tormont thorn like , loopers pTey to nightmares, When thoy wake up
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
they see that.11 th .... dream. were nothing. Thi. i. the way it is with
those who have cast ignounc< .. ide, a. if waking from .Ieep. They no
longer...., the world .. real, hut like dr .. m .. nigh'- They value gIl<>-
. i if" wef< the dawn. Whilst thoy exist In a .... eof ignorance it "
.. if everyone i I""p, Expenenoing gII.,.i. i. like waking up, '
Such t eachi ngs of aw.kening are not exclusively Christian. Through_
out history men and women of .1l f.i th. have woken up t o onene ..
and love. Wo u.e the broad t erm 'Cnost ic' meaning 'knower' t o refer
to all .uch individua l. bee. use, . lthough they express their insights
in t he various language. of their diver.., cuhure., they all talk about
tho experience of .wakening or gIlo.i .
The.e chari, matic individual. oft en inspired the formation of
. mall eommunit ie. dedicated t o waking up, But, ironically, the more
.ucce"ful , uch group. become the more they turn into their oppo_
. ito_ What begins as a loose .Iliance of f""' _t hinking non_conformist,
degenerate. over ti me into . n organised, .utftoritarian religion, ""d
people end up completely misundcr"anding the origi n.1 m .... ge,
We refer to t his degenerate form of Gn05tici.m ' Literali.m',
Gno"ici.m is someti mes called ' the perennial philosophy' be _
c.use it bo. been found in .J] culture. ""d .11 time. _ It i. not that
Gnost ic J] s.y exactly the .. me thing. Tftey don't. It i. rather t hat
thoir teaching. are like fingers pointing from different perspect ive.
to the .. me experience oj gnosi s, Unfortunately, most people focus
on the finger . nd miss the point, Thi. is Literali.m_ Literolist reli_
gions Ofe club. for people who want to worship the finger of their
founder the One True Finger, but who have no understanding of
the experience of .wakening t owards which it points ,
T his book is a d.mning indictment of Literalist religion and a pa._
.ionate .ffirmation of Gnost ic .piri tua lit y_ Let', .un by clearly di._
eriminati "8 Gno",ici.m from Litera li, m:
GSO<YI G SPIRITUALITY ASD LITUALlST ULIGIOS
Gnostics teach t hat t he
imporunt thing is to wah up
and experience ~ o s i s for
ou .... lye .
Gnostic. interpret thoir
t .. ching. a ~ p o s " pointing
to the o. penence oIawa.erung.
Gnostic. "'" .ymbolic """ ble.
to communic.te the way t o
wake up.
Gnostics know that.ll boo ..
con .. in the worn. of men.
Gnostic. under".nd that t ho
way the wi.dom oI . wa.orung
is expressed must oomuntly
evolve to .ddre .. t he over_
changing human condition.
Gnostics want u> to t hink for
oUfl!elve., so that we become
more coruciou. and wake up.
Literali,,, te. ch that the
'mponant thing i. to blindly
belio .. in religioo. dogmas.
Literali"'..., t hoir t e.ching
lit erally the truth it..,lf.
Lne"lt", mist. ke Gnostic
myth. fOT literal accoon" of
muaculou. historical oven"
and end up lost in ir.-.t ional
. upeTStition.
Lite"h", believe that .. crcd
.cripture i. the Word of God.
Ln."lt", want . fixcd canon of
>eripture which h bsolute
authority for all time .
Lit."h", want u. to believe
what thoy believe, so that we
wijj join their cult.

THE LAUGHISG lEW.
Gnostics unde"und that life
it .. U i, a process 0/ awakening.
Gnostici.m i bout waking up
from the iIIu.ion of
",,,,,aten,,,. to onen",. md
love.
Gnostici.m unite. us,
Literali,,, believe their
p_rticuw religion i. t he only
way to t he truth . nd condemn
everyone el.e .. 10" in
diabolic.1 erro,.
Literalism hep> u. a.t""l' in an
'us ,-e"", them' world of
division and ron/lict, inhabited
by t he 'chosen' and the
'damned'.
Literall.m divid .. 01.
Throughout lii"ory Gno"ics have coasele .. ly exposed Literalist .. Ii_
gion as a pemicious ""uree 01 ignorance, division and suffering. Thi.
Gnost ic me . .. ge h .. never been more rdevant th.n t oday. The three
gw .. religion, 01 the West_fu<Lti.m, Cliristianity and Islam_ore on
a collision course t hat th,e. ten. the security of t he wliole world,
T.king religiou, myth, literally is the root c.use 0/ t he problems in
the Middle LIst which 100 to 9/11 and a host of otlier .. roci ti ... ince,
But t here is nothing new about , eligiou. violence. The present con_
lIict i. just the continu .. ion of a long .nd grue""me hi"ory of ki lling
and dying lOT God,
The burning of Cliristian. by Pagan, . s H.ming torche. to liglit
tlieir g.me" The brutal Cliristian revenge on the Pagan . The rdent _
Ie .. persecution of the few. by Ch, isti. n., The ,-iol ent eX!",",ion 0/
the Muslim empire . nd the bloody conquest 01 [ndi ., The barbaric
cru,ade. hy Christ i.n. against the Muslims . The hOlro" of the [n_
quisition, The genocide of indigenous people in t he New World, The
m ... buming' of witche . All were motivated by the de.ire to ple. se
God. All were justified with ,clerenc" to ,acred texts th .. not only
<ondonOO .uch hehavioUl but dem.ndOO it. T hese evils have not DC_
GSO<YI G SPtRITUALlTY ASD LITUALlST ULIGIOS
,
curred becau. e the perp<trotor. were bad people, but becau"" tbey
were in the grip of very bad ide ...
The Baby and the Bathwater
Tbe time bas come to .. y enougb of tbi. madness and eon.ign Liter_
alist religion to the garbage can of history. But we mu" be careful not
to throw out the baby wit h the bathwater. Religion i.n't all bad. It
has answered the profound human ye.ming to underotand the my._
teries of life and death. It has inspired people of all culture. to create
subli me works of art, gloriou. cathedra l. and temple., tramcenden
.. I mu.ic and song . It has this power bec.U5e at its heart i. Gnostic
spiritualit y. In this book we want to re,eue the teachings of gno, i.
from under the accumulated debris 01 religious dogm., 50 t hat we
can ;ett iron outdat ed re ligioU! Literoli.rn but retain and revivify the
perennial wisdom of awakening.
Let'. stop blindly believing in old books and li!ten instead to tho
heretic.l voices th.t have been drowned out by the cacophony of Lit_
eralist war crie . Just imagine for a moment that what Gnostic. have
been t eHing u. througbout the .ge. is true. We appe"' t o be .epar .. e,
but essentially we are all one. The awareness that i . comcioU5 in you
i. the s. me awareness that i. con.cious in everyone. And if you
recognise t hi., you will find yourself in love with all.
Imagine what would happen if we actually began to w.ke up and
live by the Gnostic te.ching. 01 onene .. and love. !f we started to
trul}' love our neigbbour., and even our enemie., because we recog
ni.e that they are actually expressions of our own deeper , eU. II we
.aw through to the ",.lit y that t here are no Jew., Christian. or MU5_
lim . There i. no 'us versU5 them'. There i. only u . This i. the Gnos_
t ic vi.ion that has inspired u. to write thi s book.
In Part i, 'The B .. hwat er: we undertake a rdigioU5 detox to fl u.h
the poison of Literalism out of our system. We take a good hard look
at the supposedly 'sacred' scripture. of Judai.m, Chri .. ianit y and
i.lam, and demonstrate that the. e toxts are far from divine. We . how
that they were not written or impired by God, but created by men.
And oft en by the worst kind of men. Politicians dre.sed up as priest' .

THE LAuGHISG lEW.
In rart 2, ' The B.by: we bring ancient GnOl!tic teaching> to li le, using
modern language free from worn_out religiou. jargon. We give the
timeless wisdom of . wakening a make-<>ver for the twenty_fir>! cen_
tury, so that you can ex!",,,eflce gno.is, here .nd now, you Tead
this book_ We want you t o got the joke and unde,-,;t3nd lOT yourself
why the GnOl!tic lesus laugh .
GSO<YI G SPtRITUALlTY ASo LITUALlST ULIGIOS

2
A RELIGIOLIS DETOX
The inhabitants of 'he ,"rth Of< of ",,' mllS,
Tho ... with brains, but no rdlgion,
and 'h"", with but no b,ains.
_AOU'L_ALA AL "''''AHI, TINTH_CINTURY ['LAMIC pon'
'AIlQhu Akbar'! The muenin cries 3 wake_up ",,11 to the world. The
p .. ye, reverberate. through your ho.d the plane plunges ,oward.
the e.rth. ' There i . no God but Allah' _ Oh the divine "" .... y of fin.l
surrender t o the holy, triumphant, gJorioU5 will of Allah' 'Surrender'
i. the true moaning of ' [. l.m.' A true Muslim i . one who has surren_
dered hi. enti..., being to Allah. And whO! greater surrender could
thore be than to .hed one's blood in the great iihad1 To become a
m.nyr lor Muhammad, may ble .. ings be upon him' One [an thought
before tho inferno 0/ hell around you, The unbelievers who
de,erve t o die will boil in the flame s, but you will be tr.nsfigured in
glory' Noi .." Screams. Pain, It i s done, 'God i. great "
The Nightmare of Religion
9/1 1 was a w. ke_up call to the world, We need to w.ke up from the
nightmare of rel igion . Becaus. it was not iust Literal i.m
which led to the horrors 019/11 and its bru .. 1 after math, Jewisb and
Christian Literalists .Iso their p.rt . Let '. look at thc religious
m.dness that ha. led to our present world cri.is:
On September I I , 200 1, Islamic Literali, .. , believing they
would each be rewarued by God in the with oeventy_
two virgin. plu. ITOe p ... e. to Heaven lor their entire family,
m.rtyred them.elves murdered thou .. nd. 01 other peo_
ple by crashing iets into the twin towers in Ncw York.
The.e Islamic Literalist. were angry .bout the appropriation
of Palestine by [ewi. h ... , whose sacred texts declare
that God beque .. hed t his land to t hem.
The upri.ing provoked when the Isr.eli
prime minister w.lked around t he AI_Aq .. mosque in Jeru-
.alem. Thi. i cred .ite to b!.mic Literalists bec.use
Muhamm.d stoPJled thore one night to meet Abraham,
Moses and Joous, whilst on 3 trip to Heaven on magic lIy_
ing horse.
To support the Palestinian upri.ing,. bl.mic Literali ... at_
t he U.S. bee.use Christian Literal ist, in America
strongly support the ex!",nsion 01 Israel. These Christian Lit _
eralist, believe that only when the Jew. h.ve returned to the
'Holy Lind' will Christ come again to bring the end 0/
the world, which they fervently hope will happen IOOOn.
In response t o the brutal by 1.I.mic Lit eralists, the
Lito .. list president 01 America, ignoring the New
Testament in junction to ' love your enemi",' and 'turn the
other cheek', announced a 'crusade' t o protect the 'civi _
li.ed world', Terrifying their people wit h thoughts of crazed
A UUGIOUS DOTOX
"
religious extremist. armed with weapon. o( m ... de. truc_
tion, crazed religiou. extremi ... who were . rmed
with weapon. o! mas. destruction unleasheJ Biblical 'shock
. we' .
In reaction 1.lamic Literalists, ignoring Mohammad's advice
to 'repa}' evil with g<>Od because then someone who was your
enemy will become your friend', "a .. ed cutt ing people'.
he.ds of( on the Internet .
And on and on it goes . Yet , in the midst o( thi. tragic brce
which is tearing the world ap.rt, all the.e dif(erent religiou.
Literali". lind consolation in something wonderful that al_
low. t hom to withst.nd the endle .. cycle o( ... noring. T hey
are absolutely certain they are pleasing God.
Lite ralist religion is the greate" t hreat to world peace in the twent y_
first century. In all o( the world's t rouble hotspots_the Balkans,
Chechnya, Cyprm, 0" Timor, Inoonesi., Northern Ire_
land, Nigeria, l'ale"ine, the Philippine., Sudan, the Middle East_
religion is either t he root cause o( the trouble or one o( the main
contributing b cto ... In the West, we are told the danger is 'Islamic
Fundamenuli.m', but it i s religious Fund.mentalism in.1I its (orm.
that is the problem. And 'Fundamenulism' is no more tb.n a new
name (or the extreme religious Liter.li. m that has bedevilled us (or
centuries. The divinely sanctioned violence thot threotens our world
today is not a new phenomenon. Throughout history religious t error_
ism h.s been the norm,
Religion Is the Devil's
Greatest Achievement
In our previous book 'esus and Ihc Lost Coddes<, we concluded that
religion is the Devil's greatest .chievemont. We wt're being deliber_
ately provocat ive, o! course, bec.me we certainly don' t think there i.
>orne evil mega_being out there orchestrating all this chaos, But our
point was soriou., In our Western spirit""l mytholog)l the diaboJus
"
THE LAUGHISG IESU.
or Devil is the divider. He symboli..,s .11 that ,epa .. tes u. in strife
and prevents us uniting in love. And nothing is more horrenoously
divi.ive than Literalist religion. It i. now, and .lw.y. has been, a di._
bolieal force of evil in the world.
It i. easy to blame the current crisi, on mad Mu.lims ""d to forget
the horrors the West has perpetrated t hroughout history in the name
of Christianity. Let us not forget the unspeakable suffering inflicted
on Musli m. and Jews during the Crusades. When Jeru ... lem fell to
the cru.aders they butchered more than ,,-' venty thousand Mu.lim.
in the Al_Aq mo.que alone. They also burnt thousand. of Jews
alive in their .ynagogue . A Christian chronicler recoru. 'our t roop.
boilcJ . dults in cool<ing_pots and iml"'led children on .pits .nd de
. ,
voured them gtllled'.
Let us recall the t hou,ands of men, women and children con_
demned for here.y .nd burned alive by the Inquisition. Let us hold in
our hearts thOS place<! in the Torture Chair, with its wrought _iron
mech.ni.m for clamping the head still to enable t he inquisitor to re o
move the heretic's tongue or teeth wit h ea.e, and its cunningly de_
.igned .eat that allowed the insertion 0/ torture instruments into the
anus or vagina of the victim.
Let '. not forget that t he Catholic Church created the Inqui. it ion
in order t o ethnically deanse Sl"'in of hundred. 0/ thou ... nds of Mu._
linn and Jew., which it did with unimaginable brutality, The Inqui .
s ition t hen planned t o put to death the t hree million inhabitants 0/
the Netherland imply bec.use they h. d become Protest.nts, but
fortunatel}' it fai led. One writer of t he time declared t he Inquisition
to be ' wild monster of such terrible mien t hat all 0/ Europe trern
,
bles at the mere mention of its n.mo',
But it was not just Europe that trembled before the torturers 0/ the
Holy Inqui.ition. When Columbu et out in his little boat he had
red cru der eros..,s stitche<! to his sai)" Columbus may have diocoy_
ere<! the New World, but this w.s just a h.ppy .ccident. He was actu_
ally looking for a way to ""il.round the world and attack the Muslim
empire in the ",or. When he disco,'ered the Americ.s inste.d, Colum_
bu. wrote that he had found enough gold to recapture foruMlem, In
the New World the Spanish Inquisition repeated on an even grander
sc.lo the genocide they carried out so effect ively in Europe, Hun_
dred. of thousand., probably millions, of innocent indigenous Ameri
A UUGIOUS D[TOX
c.n. peri.hed in unimaginable pain and .uffcring, They were burnt
alive or tortureJ to death as a gloriou. testimony to the triumph 0/
Christian ity throughout the world.
u,t us remem""r the relentle "" .. ecution of the Jew, by Literal_
ist Christian . Throughout Christi.n history fews have been rou _
tinely burnt alive by ze.lous mob. with the full ble5Sing of priest.
and po""s, h wa. the Catholic Church in the thirteenth ccntury who
first forced the Jew. t o live in ghetto nd t o wcar 3 yellow badge, a
policy that the V .. ican was "ill enforcing in the ni neteenth century,
In Lostern Euro"" the Inqui,ition u""d oven. to burn heretics, who
were rub""d wi th grea.., and roasted alive. All that changed in t he
twenticth century was that t he proce wa. industrialised,
When the hocist nd Nazi. started persecut ing the lew. by hu_
miliat ing them, depriving them of all rights, herding them into ghet_
tos, killing .nd burning them, they were only doing what the Church
had done for cent uri"",, When they introduceJ their racial puri ty law.
they argued that they were merely following t he lead of C atholi _
ci,m'. most respected religioU5 order, the Jc,uits_ A. a mem""r 0/ the
F.sei., Grand Council in haly announced:
It comfort. our JOul. to know th .. il, Catholics, we became .nti_
Semitos, we owe it to the to. chings thot the Church h. s promulpted
o
over the p ... t went y ntune.,
u,t's not forget t hat the Nazi SS who the lew. h.d
emblazoned on their ""It buckles the word. 'God i. with us' ,
To tho.e of u. not afflicted with the insani ty 0/ religious Literal _
i.m, it seem. impo5Sible to understand how human ""ing. could in_
flict . uch horro .. on other human being', But to those unfortunate
enough to "" in the grip 0/ religious madne .. , the,e terrible crime.
' g.i"'t humani ty are seen in an enti rely different way. They . Te
righteoU5 .cts, required by God .nd justified by .. cred .cripture,
The burning t o death of heretic. was justifieJ by a pa.sage in The
Gospel of fohn , which state.:
"
He who 00e. not abide in me i, cast off withered branch;
men gat her t hese bnmch .. , throw them into the lire and they are
o
consumed.
THE LAuGHISG l EW.
The persecution 0/ the Jews w legitimised by the New To".ment,
which m. h. it quite the Jew. were re.pon.ible for
Christ, were born of t he Devil and constit uted .ynagogue o' Sat"".
T be planned de.truction of . J[ Europe'. and the "",so
murder of indigenous Americans was legitimi.ed by the Old Te ... _
ment, in which God orde", hi. chosen people to butcher all tho.e
who in their divinel}' ordained way. God .pprove. of ethnic
de.ming. It y. so in the Bible !
Fundamentalism
In 2000 we wrote in the concludingch.pt er of our book lesu, and Ihe
[0<1 Goddess:
F""ling threatened and ,-ulne"ble, bot h Christian and Islamic Fund._
mentalis .. are growing edgy and excitable, and could do with a di_
vinely "mctioned ""u p to relie,-e t he tension. There i. nothing like
holy conflict to !l"lvanise support for religion_and FunJ.mentali."
know it,
Our book hi t the shelve ... planes hit the t win towe"" We are not
prophets. It had been glaringly obvious for yea" the reli_
gion. of the Western world were set on 3 colli . ion course, became
these faith, are becoming increa.ingly Fundamental i,,_
l.t.mie Fundamentali ... con.ider none of t he existing Mu.li m
to be I.l. mic enough, not even Saudi Arabia, where Shari'. law
demand, amputation for . i mple theft, public beheading for adultery
and ""ntence. corrupters of the state to partial followed by
crucifixion. Some Christian ... liave aligned them_
. elves wit h the Foscists and White Supremacist. ""d advocat e the
wholesale munler of Jew" blacks and homosexu.l._ The born_.gain
Christian Timothy McVeigh belonged to thi. particularly n."y
of Christi an Literali.m and until 9/l I held t he record for the
largest peacetime bombing of civilian. in America,
Some Jewi.h Fundamenuli ... condemn the very exist ence 0/
modern Israel a. sacrilege because they believe th.t only the Messiah
should found . new Jewish .tate, They have several attempts to
A UUGIOm DOTOX
bomb the AI . Aq M<>S<jue in Jeruoalem, because they want to huild
the Third Temple on ito ruin . Their hero i, a Jewish sottler who
entered the shrine of Abraham at fTiday p"ye" and opened fire
on Muslims with. machine gun. Anot her Jewish Fundamental_
ist gunned down the Israeli prime mini ster for even daring t o talk
about .wapping some of the Jew's s.cred land for peace wit h the
Palestinians.
What eau.e, Fund.mentali, .. of all religions to be so extreme i.
that they have an .bsol ute certainty t h .. they.,e right and everyone
else i, wrong. And t heir .b""lute ceruinty come. from the fact that
the}' believe t hot their opinions are God's opinions. Human opinion.
are relat ive, but God's opinion. must , by definition, be . bsolute. There
c.n be no argument with God. God', low, must be enforced. End 0/
dc,bate. Thi. i. why Fundamt'ntalism, like Fasci, m, has nowhere to
go but war.
The great irony i. t hat Fundamentali"s of different persua,ion.
share mucb in common. Their vi,ion of life and how t o live it i.
driven by the .. me need, and neurose . What they hate in the other
i projection of what they hote in themselves . !I they had been
brought up in a different culture ,hey would be Fundamentalists 0/
another persua.ion. Thi ' w., dramot i""lly illu",.ted alter 9/11,
when Christ ian Fundamentalists declared that the .ttack on t he
twin towers was di,-ine retribution on America for tolerat ing femi
ni.m and homo,exu.lity. It bec.me immediately obvious thot the,e
so_""lled Christians had more in common wit h the Taliban t han
with the rnaiority of compassionate reople in their own country.
Two of the most prominent voices 0/ Americ.'s religious right,
televangeli.ts Jerry Folwell and Pot Robertson, declared live on TV
th.t God allowed 9/ 11 to happen bec.use he was 'mad' at America.
F.lwell declared:
P,-&,n. and the abortionis .. and the feminist. and the gaY' and the les_
bi.ns .. . all of them who have tried tO se<ularize America, r point t he
linger in the"lace and , ay 'you helped this h.ppen'.
At the end 0/ Folwell's rant , Robertson re.ponded, 'Well, I totally
,
concur'. So if you were wondering where God was on the morning 0/
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
9/1 1, now you know, He was up there in t hO!e planes helping Isl amic
extremi"s commit mass murder becauoe he'. mad", America for
being"" tolerant'
Fundamentali.,. hote the modern world, But thi hould not sur_
prise us. Literali.,. have con,istently opposed progres . The Church
opposed the .boli t ion of slavery be""u,e it i, legitimi,ed in both the
Old .nd New Testaments. It opposed the introduction 0/ anaesthetic
during chi ldbirt h bec.use t he Bible says t hat women ore moant to
suffer whilst giving birth. It opposed the introduction 0/ inoculat ion
because it is up to God to decide who live. and who die" Today the
Catholic church condt'mn. t he use 0/ condom., which has led to m il_
lion. contracting AIDS, dogm. which is the cause of .0 much
avoidable ,uffering t hat it must rank one of tbe greatest evils 01 all
time .
Yet Fundament ali.ts aren't opposed to all that modernit y offers,
Alter all, Fundamental ist. 01 all penua.ion! are more t han happy to
arm them,elves to the teeth with the poison fruit 0/ modernity;
deadly weaponry. The Taliban m.y have detested video players, tape
recorders and t elevi.ion., but they liked nothing bett er than riding
into battle on t be back of a Toyota pick_up armt,d wit h a Kala.hni kov
rifle,
ReligioU5 Fundamentali.m i. an ination.l pathology which lead.
otherwi.e decent men and women to become enemies 01 open
mindedne and big_heartednoss, and enlist in the service oj divinely
.anctioned bigotry. Fundamenuli!JJl create. dangerously ..,If_righteou.
people who turn against t hose who e,pouse t he truly spiritu.1 value.
o! love, t olerance and understanding, Fundamentalists particularly
loathe members 01 their own faith who suggest dialogue with the
other. A Hindu Fundamenuli .. murdered Mohand .. Gandhi . An 15_
lamic Fundamentalist murdered M.lcolm X. A Chri"ian Fundamen_
tali" murdered John Lennon, A Jewish Fundament ali .. murdered
Yitzhak Rabin,
But Fundamenta li". aren't just mon"e"" They are oiten moved
by their strong religious convictio", to great generosit y and corn_
p ... iofl. But this is . trictly l imited 10 'u,' and not ' t hem'. Belore the
Isr.di army a ..... inated him, tho wheelchair_bound Sheikh Ahmed
Ya"in w.s t he " piritual ' impiration of Han,.s, the Pale"inian
A UUGl oUS D[ToX
"
te"orist/liberation group ldelete .ccording to your prejudice'l, and a
well_re.p<-'Ct ed ligure within hi. own communit}, ",.ponsible lor set
t ing up schools and social progra mm.,., But he w 100 re.ponsible
for the murder of Israeli children.
Fundamenuli.m i. a fundamental mi.understanding 0/ history,
spiritu.lity and the nature of reality, which c.me. ordinary people to
commit t errible acts for pious ""50m. T his i. the story of. kind ""d
thoughtful gentleman c.llcd Anwar Sh.ikh. Now in hi. ""ventie., he
i. known for hi. books that criticise the Our'"". For this brave work
he has been branded .n 'po"ate who ' de,erve. to be killed' by b _

I.mic Fundamentalists. But in 1947, during the p.rtit ion of India
and p.kistan, Anw .. W3S himself a young Idamic Fund.menta list
possessed by religiouo zeal. Det ermined to please Allah by revenging
the murder of hi . Muslim brothe .. , he went into the s" ",," 0/ Lo _
hore .nd b. "ered to death three innocent Sikh., t wo with. club .nd
the third with a .pade, He writes:
You know> madn"" gripped us in 1947. A madne .. . I was a part of it .
When I w ... killing them .ll l could t hink 01 was revenge . I knew I w ..
destin"! for the I,Jamic poradi .. , where >co",. 01 Houri. were waiting
for me, S-eventy virgi ... with upright brea ... and Allah would give me
enough virilit y lor eighty.four y"". What more could> young man
want' So )"" _, not only ",as I unal .. id, but even Ie<>king forward to
continuous sex in H .. ven. You don 't h<lieve me, PI .... belie .... me. I
belioved it at tlie t ime.] was young and imp", .. ionable.
] kept t hinking. as] "ill do, tru.t] h ..... destroyed three innocent
lives . They might ru.ve been .Iive had it not h<en lor me. I don't even
know who t hey were, And] h<gan to think. All tluo ru.pp"ned because
01 religion. ] ru.d never p,'en up ",admg t he Our'an. Now ] read it wit h
wide.open e)' ... One day I read somet hing] h.d ",ad hundred. 01
time. h<for<: '0 llelievefS, do not walk in frotl t 01 t he prophet. Do not
.. ise your voice . bove hi.,' And I .. ked myself why' Why should
AII. h rai", one human abo .... otho .. ' Well, once you .. k why, you can
neve, "Of' . The s]><11 w.s brohn.
Wru.tever ru.pp"n, now] will die confident in my hum.nist and ra_
tion.list belief., and if my writing. h,,'e weaned even 1 few dozen
pe<!!lle .w.)' from religious ru.tred . nd lanat ici,m [ 1",,1] will ru.ve par_
tially redeemed myself, even though nothing, not hing can hring my
THE LAuGHISG I[SU'
thr"" vic tJm. back to hfe. I worry for my",lf. I worry for
l<:<>k what did to oach other with our hare h:md., With nuclear
"",apon. they <ould d, ,,oy evorything in the name of reli,o;ion. They
might, you know. They might '
Armageddon
Anw", Shaikh's plaint ive warning nero. to be heard, Fund._
menta li ... could indero destroy the world. In l.t.mic Fun_
damentali .. . 00." that in ten }'e.,. time they wi ll control tho army
"
and 110 command nucloar we.pon.. But we don' t nero to w.it for
Fundamen .. list. to get their fingcrs on the nuclear button, we've h. d
that for decade. in tht, U.S,. where Christian Fundamentali .... in_
cerely believe that their divine mi ion i. to co-<>pe"'te with God'.
great plan for the end of tho world. which they interpret a. a coming
nuclear holoc.ust,
One week before announcing hi. candidacy for president in 1980
Ronald Reagan told a reporter, 'We may be the gener.tion th.t .oe.
Armageddon'. Jerry Folwell told. "'porter that Pre.ident Re.gan
agreed with him on Bible prophecy . nd had said, 'Jerry, we ore hcad
ing very fast for Armageddon now'. Roagan' . Secretary of Defence,
C !"'r Weinberger, told .. udents .. Harvard University: ' I h.ve read
tho Book oj Revelation, and. ye., J believe the world i . going to
" end, .. and e,-ery day I think th.t time i. running out', At thc time
Weinberger was head of t hc Pentagon and .econd in command of
Americ. 's nuclear we. pon . Such beliel. hy those in po .. "ssion of
.uch rai,e. the .larming possihility of the Biblic.l
wdming of the end of the world becoming a seli_fulfilling prophecy,
A recent "'po" showed that almost four out of ten Americans be_
lieve that whon the Bible prO]lhesies that the Earth will be destroyed
"
by lire, it 's predicting. war. But, .ccording to some Chri. _
t ian Fundamen .. li .... this glorious day can't come until the few.
who we", .c.ttered throughout the world .re re_establishod in tho Old
Testament Kingdom of David. Then a ple. sant plain outside Jeru-
.alem called Arm.geddon will become the .ite of the 1. " great battle
good and evil and Je.us will come .gain to W"'P things up.
The de.ire to hell' fulfil Biblic.l prO]lhocy Christian Fund.
A UUGIOUS DOTOX ..
menta Ii ... in the u.s. t o form an unhol}' alliance with Jewi. h Fun_
damenuli"s intent on ", _esuhlishing t he mythic.l Kingdom of David,
But this alliance only goes so far. For Fundamenulist Christian., once
the Kingdom of David is re _establi.bed the new. i. not 50 great for
the Jew . Wben the End Day. come it i . only Cbriotiam lof tbe right
of coursel who will a.cend to Heaven. The Jews, like
the re" of no, must convert or burn.
Christian Fundamenta li ... are increasinglv apocalyptic. Left Be-
hind i. one of a series of books that exploit the Fundamentalist
belief t hat we are heading for ' T he Rapture ' . Thi. i. the moment
when .ll born_again Chriotiam will be lifted off planet Earth to
Heaven. Whi le this may sound like the plot oj a sci_Ii B Movie, the
authors are deadly . eriou. and have sold over . ixty million copies in
the U.S. On what remain. of t he blasted and radio<oct ive planet Earth
'gentle lem. ' will.or up hi. torture c.mp c.lled Hell. Here t ho.e of
no who are unfortunate enough to have been ' left behind' wi ll be tor_
mented for eternity. In the light of thi. it come. a. no smpri'" that
Christian Fundamentalist politicians see no point in cooperating to
prevent glohol warming. They believe it i. going to get a lot hotter
than even the environmentalists can imagine'
It seem. incredible that people can get aw.y with . uch non>eme
in t hi . d..y and age, e.pcci.lly a. Christianity ha. been bleating on
th.t 'The End i. Nigh' for two thousand years and it still ham't hap.
pened, In the go.peh Jesu. repeatedly . .. ures his disciple. that the
end of the world will come in their lifetime, But here we .. e two
thou .. nd }-ears later and none of the thing. that Jesu. predicted have
"
happened, To cont inue to peddle thi s prophecy when Je.u. himself
got it wrong doe.n't make . enoe, But, then, Fundamentalist. don't
need things to make ,enso, They have willingly abandoned rat io_
na lity in favour of blind fait h in old books.
Literacy, Literature and Literalism
Fundament ali.m manif"sts in many dif]erent forms, but it can be re_
duced t o one very . imple idea, Sacred scripture is t he infallible Word
of God, The name 'Fundamentalism' was coined after the publica _
TH[ LAUGHISG I [W.
tion of. book c.lIOO The Fundamentals, by a group of conoervative
"
Americ. n priest' in the early twent ieth cent ury. The book'. centr.1
axiom i . that e,'erything the Bible , ay, i, true, historic.1 and has lit _
erally happened de.cribed. It i. not pos.ible to believe . nything
less and st ill be a Chri .. ian. Viewed in thi' way Fundamentali.m i.
cle.rly not new, for this could h .. dly be described., novel w.y 0/
viewing the Bible.
Christian literali ... have taught for centurie, that the Bible i, lit _
erally true. For nearly two mi llenni. the Church eontrollOO every .,_
peet O/.n individual', life, right down to what they were allowed to
think, and justified t hi' with relerence to '",cred ,cripture'. As every
other way of I""king at life had been violently ,uppre, .. d, there was
no alternat ive to the Christi.n worldview. There was no way out 0/
the circular thinking that "ates; 'Everything in thi s book i. true.
How do I know! Because it .. y. so in this book'.
Prior to the invention of books, in or.1 culture. tradition, under _
went .ubtle cMnge, a, they were transmitted, ju" as in the game 0/
Chine .. Whispe r>. Change was inevitable if only bec.use of the im_
perfection of human memory. Outdated, inappropriate or irrelevant
ide .. could be discreetly dropped .nd new on .. incorporat ed. But
with the invention 0/ writing thi' flexibility was lost . When tradi _
t ions carne to be ' written in stone', they be<:ame immutable_
No "",ner had hum.n. begun writing than God Himself "'''00
publishing. literalism', big idea w., born. God write. books. He
might occ ion.lly use a ,ecretary, such . , MDSe. or Muh.mmad,
but nonetheless he l ike, t o communicate with hi ubjects via the
written word. A new genre called 'sacred scripture.' w .. crea,,>d. S. _
cred scripture. are ,peci.1 and off_l imi .. t o the kind 0/ crit ici.m t hat
might be appliOO to . ny other piece of literature.
Hum.n beings h.d long known that word. wete power, but when
they invented writing they learnt that the written word can wield
power for eternity. literalist religion i. fixat ed by t be written word.
Mose. came down the mountain with written law . The Jews are
known os the People of the Book. Christi.nity fomou,ly declare" 'In
the beginning was the Word, .nd the Word was with God and the
Word was cod' . Muhammad wa, illiterate, but AII.h brought him a
written mess.ge, ""d ta ught him t o read and write.
A UUGIOUS D[TOX
"
It soon became compulsory lor every religion to have its .acred
toxt .nd t hey quickly multipl ied. A, long., people lived inside. her_
metically sealed culture, with only ono religion and one .acred t ext,
everything was fine_ But whorever cultures collided it IIOOn became
apparent that there were many dillerent s.cred scripture'! inspired by
m.ny dillerent god, ying 01 contr.dictory things. By defi_
nition only one 01 these religions c.n be the one truo religion. But
which one!
It i, to pro vent people .uch questions Fundamen .. li ...
to enlorce tho re.ding 01 only thcir hook. This i s an old
ploy that h.s been used by Literalist. lor millenni a. Thc Roman
Church "",de huge bonfire. oIl" gan libraries and destroyed .11 the
works 01 those 'heretics' who h.d the .udacity to c""lIonge thorn. It
continued to use Lot in lor centuries aher it ceased to be the I.ngu.ge
01 the people to ensuro no one ,potted the incon.istencie, with
which the Bible is riddled. To guarantee that tho Church', interpreu_
t ion 01 thc Bible would not be questioned it m.de ilIogallor any_
one but clerg)l to ",.d it . Any laYl"'rson caught in pos .... ion 01 a
Bible w.s executed.
It was only aher the Protestant Reformat ion that the Bible was
tr.n.lat ed into the common tongue, due to the horoic struggle 01
b .. ve who laced torturc execution lor their ellorts.
The loundation stone 01 t he Reformat ion w the right 01 all men
and women to re.d the Bible in t heir own The out come
was euctly as tho Church h.d When people begoon t o study
the t exts lor them,elve. the idca that the Biblc was the inbllible
Word 01 God be""me increasingly questioneJ . Now, three cen_
turies 01 c .. dul scholarship, it h., become obvious thot thc Bible i.
actu. lly just .nother eclectic, contradictory and quirky piece 0/ ar_
chaic lit e'"ture.
Therapy for the Western Soul
It is t imo to break tho sl"'l1 01 the written word. S.cred te xts are
meant to be just the media. but with the h .. be _
como t he rne .... go. The, e so<all ed ',acred scripture.' are dangerous
THE LAUGHISG IESU.
documents t hat have held u. under their thra ll for t oo long, D<votion
to a book i, . imply anot her form of idol. try. These books are not t he
Word of God, they are the words of men, and often men with a
!",tendy political agenda. It is time we woke up from the night mare
of Litendism, and even some within the Chri"ian Church .. e begin_
ning t o admit . s much. The Reverend John Shelby Spong, Bishop of
Newark, writes:
J look at the . uthonty 01 t he Scriptures asone who n.. be<n both nUl_
turod by and t hen disill usionod with t he lite" l Bible. My devotion to
the Bible was so intense t hat it led me into a study that finally obliter_
ated an)' po"ib,lity that t he Bible could be telat od to on lite"l basis.
, , ,A lit eral Bible p",,,,nts me wit h lar more problem. t n.n as",". It
oIfe" me. GOO J cannot res!""t, much Ie .. wo"hip.
"
Our s. cred t exts purport t o be t he collective memories of our deepe"
!"''', They claim to tell us who we are and where we came from,
They repre. ent our collective identity a urely as our individual
memories represent our individual ident ity. Now imagine for a mo _
ment that you woke upone morning and everyt hing you thought you
knew about younelf w., untrue. Your name was not your true n.me,
Your paren" were not your real !",rents . Your whole identity was a
fabri""tion, Thi' i . how it i. with our oocalled sacred te , .. , for t hey
are not what they purport to be, They have been wi lfully distorted,
badly remembered and wrongly interpreted. They have m.ngled our
memories and t he outcome has been dioastrou . We are vict ims 01 an
enormou, 'Fahe Memory Syndrome' and are in desperate nee<! of col
lective t herapy.
People go into the,"py bee. use they can no longer go lorward in
their lives . T hey often di,coYer t hat their present problenu ari .. out
of 1"" trauma, and that in order to go forward they must Ii"t go
n.clt, We .ugge" t hat the same bolds true for cultures. We must lace
up to the t ruth about our past, We have a terrible hi"ory of religious
int olerance and have inflicted the most atrocious .ufferings on our
neighbour. in t he name of God, If we don't learn from our mistakes,
we will most certainly repeat t hem,
The horrors of 9/1 J rove.le<! that Literali.m remai ", rife in the
A UUGIOUS DOTOX
world. Our response i. to mount 3 full _sc.lo a ... uh on the pernicious
ide. th .. God write. books. Armed with the latest discoveries from
modern historian. and archaeo]ogi"., we intend to undermine the
very foundation. of Literalist religion. In the next three chapters we
will demonstrate that t he ' .. crod scriptures' of Jud.i.m, Christiani ty
and lslom are not speci. ] ' holy' books. They are ju", books.
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
3
THE WORD OF GOD'
God', Blbl<! Look a! j! .
It "'," mad. os a 1]< by ,h. lois, pal of scriba.
_Tif' O D ~ Of /E"MI AI,"
Six thousand yoars ago God cre.ted the un; ,-e,,,, in six days and then
took. J.y off. He m.de Adam out of dust and bre.th, and then he
made Eve from Adam', rib to keop hi m company_ God kept Adam
and Eve in a ganlen, but one J.
y
thoy broke tho rule. '" he h.d to
kick them out. Adam and Eve had kids, but one of them ki lled hi.
own brother. This wa. just the start of a serie, of di ppointrnenu for
God. In fact, human being> turned out t o be such a bad ide. t hat God
.ent 3 flood to destroy t hem. Noah and hi. family were .. red, .nd
when 'ho flood receded they went forth and peopled the unh.
In 2000 BeE Noah', descendant Ab,..h.m movN t o Can;o.n, where
he became the founding patriarch 0/ the f.wish people. But a lew con_
turie. later t he few. were enolaved by the Egjipt ian._ Then, in an
event called the Exodus, they miraculou. ly escape<! from Egypt under
the leadership of Mose . The Jew. now w.ndered .round the de.ert
for forty ye.rs before fin. lly ."iving b. ck at t he land that God h. d
promi..,d them in Palestine. Unfort unately, this w occupied by
Canaanite" but with God'. help the fews managed to de .. the l..,d
under t he leadership 01 fo. hu._
The Jew. went on to creat e a powerful .... e under King Saul ..,d
hi ucce5Sor, King David, who ruled a united monarchy t hat in_
cluded both the north and south of Pale<t ine. Da vid's kingdom
reached a ll the way to Egypt in the south, the Euphrat es in the ea ..
and S.mari a and Galilee in t he north, David'. son Solomon built a
l.vish t emple t o t he God who had m.de the Jew uch a big .ucce .. ,
Solomon w really clever. But sadly he lorgot that the fews were
'pecial because they only worshipped the one t rue God_ Angry at
Solomon lor worshipping other god. , God puni.hed the Jews by al _
lowing the Babylonian. t o en.lave them. About fift y years lat er he re _
lented ""d the fews returned to lerusalem where t hey bui lt another
temple. And here they li,-ed in happy prosperit y right down to the
t ime of Alexander the Great ,
The sacred script ure that Jews ""ll the Tan.kh and Chri5tian, call
the Old Test.ment tell. the story 01 the Jew. from Adam t o Alex.n_
der, The message is clear, The fews arc an extremely ancient ""t ion
with . well_documented history going back millennia. Thi' clai m i.
confirmed by the fewi,h calendar. In Europe at t he time we are writ _
ing it is tfie year 2004, but in lerusalem it is a whopping 5764, To put
this date into perspective, thi' puts the beginning of Jewish history
over t hirteen hundred yea rs befure the Egyptian py .. mids, It', all
,-ery impressive, unt il you start looking for t he evidence to justify it .
Travellers to Egypt will h.ve seen the v." te mple nd impre.sive
monuments t hat litter the landscape, Texts, sculpture and "'telacrs
testily to a sophisticat ed culture that re.ll}' did endure for millennia ,
Much the same can be said for Mesopotamia, the so_called ' cradle 01
civi li tion'. So, what have we discovered in Palestine that date.
from the .. early period.! Nothing but the typical garb.ge .nd pot _
.herds of a few wandering nomad, ""d !"'sto .. li ....
It ha s someti me! been argued that Palestine was invaded.., often
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
th.t nothing .hoveground h.s survived. Howeve" sub_surfdee in_
vestiga. tiom h.ve al.o revealed nothing of signilic.nce, No grand
p.l.ce" t emples or dressed stone buildings t h .. would justily the
claims 01 a grand empire centred in lcru .. lem h.ve been found, II
they had they would now be on the immensely lucrative Bible_
tourist traiL But they aren' ..
It h .. bcen obvious lor centuries th .. stories such as Adam ""d
Eve are myth. with no ba.is in history. But what ahout t he rest of
the T.n.leh' I. that historyr The evidence suggests not. R .. her t he
Tan.leh i collection of myth nd legends . And to be lair to
the Tan.leh it ncver .ctually claims to be hiotory, In lact }'OU won't
find the word history anywhere in its page" becauoe the word did not
even exist in Hebrew. We have projected back onto these ancient
texts our modcrn ide a of history as distinct from mythology, a con_
cept th.t simply did not exist or the time_
T homas T hornp><>n, profe.sor of Old Testament studi .. at the
University 01 Copenh.gen, writes;
ToJ.ay we no longer have. histOIY oIl"ael . Not only have Ad.am and
Eve and the flood story p . ... d over to mytholor;y, hut we can no
longer t.l k about a time 01 the J"t riardu. The .. image. h,,'e no place
in de><ription. 01 t he re.l historic al !"st . We Know t hem only as story
and what we know about .uch ",orie. doe. not encourage us to treat
them a. il they wore or were over memt t o b. historicaL There i. no
evidence 010 Unit "" Monarchy, no evidenoe 01. capital in form. lem
or 01 . ny coherent, unifi"" political loree t hat dominat"" western
Palestine, let alone an empire 01 t he size tho legends describe . We do
not have eVIdence for tho existence 01 kings named &ml, David or
Solomon, nor do we have evidence lor any temple., Jeru .. lem in thi.
ead y p<riod:
[st.ol Finkehtein, director of archaeolog)l" Tel Aviv University, ""d
hi. co_writer, Ne il Silbe,man, de.cribe the Bible .. 'no more hi"ori_
c. l that the Homeric ga 01 OJys><n> or Acne.s ', founding 01 Rome,
The bibbc.l narrative is so thoroughly fiUe<! with inconsiotcncie.
and anachroni.ms , , . t hat it muot be conoidered mo,e 01 an histori _
,
c. l novel th.n an accurate historical chroniclo',
THE W O ~ D OF GoD'
The Tanakh's A-List Celebrities
,-"t's have. look at .ome of the heroes of the Tan.kh t o..,e if there i.
any evidence of them act ually being re. 1 historic.1 ""ople.
Abraham
Abrah.m i . con. idered to be the l7".t patriarch of the Jewish nation,
He is . Iso.n important figure for Christian nd Mu.lim . Evidence
for hi. ~ i s t c n c e i . crucial to the ide. thot t hc.e three religions might
all be 'Son. of Ab .. ham', a. i. often cl.imN, According to Biblic.1
chronology Ab .. harn moved to C. n .. n about 2100 BCE. But this i.
impossible a. Abraham is said to have corne from the Cb.ldean city
of Ur that did not exist unt il . fter lOOO "CEo Prior to thi s dote there
were no Chalde.",. Gene,js tell. u. that Abraham'. son I.aac sought
help from Abimelech, the king of the phili .. ines, yet the Philistine.
were not. pre.ence in the are. until after 1200 BCE. And alt hough
the camel is mentioned frO<Juently in the ",orie. of Abrah.m and the
other patriarch., the domest ication of the cornel did not h'p""n unti l
around lOOJ "CE, The c.mel caravan described frequent ly in the
T.nakh, with its corgo of 'gum, balm, and myrrh', did not become
wide'pread unt il the eighth century "CEo
Moses
Thero i . no evidence for the existence of Mo.e . Although he i, por_
trayed on influenti.1 member 0/ t he Egypt ian roy.1 household, he
i. not mentionN in .ny Egyptian record. Nor i. there .ny evidence to
s upport the idea that the Jew. were ever held c.ptive in Egypt or that
they m.de on exodus from the country under Moses' command, The
Egyptians chronicled their history in great detail but make no mention
of .ny capt ive Jews . Among .. the hundreds of thous.nd. 0/ Egypt ian
monumenta l inscription., tomb inscription nd papyri, there i. com_
plete silence about the '600,OOJ men on foot , be.ides women and chil o
dren' who The Book of Exoou, tells u, esca""d from Pharaoh'. armie,'
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
The story of Mo.e., with its mdny miracle., has ail the hdllmarko
of a myth. The .ccount of M<>s<s' birth i. a retelling of t he myth of
the birth of Sargon tho Great, the king of Akkad, which i. known in
number of variation. from the early sixth century BeE. Like M"",.,
tho child Sargon i. '..,t in a basket of ru.hos' and 'c.st into tho river',
from which he i. later rescued by an influential woman, Similar
Greek stories tell of thc child Dionysu. conlined in chost and
thrown into tho river Nile. The.., probably all go back to Egyp_
t ian stories which tell of Osiri s conlined in a chest and thrown in
the Nile.
Joshua
According to the Tanakh Jo.hua is the great general wbo leads the
devastating invasion of tbe 'Promised Lond' 01 Canaan, but evidence
lor this is non_existent . Indeed, the invasion of Canaan by lew. e. _
c.ping tho Egyptians is an historical impossibility, From the four_
t"ent h to the twelith cent uries BCO, when the exodus i uppo.ed to
have occurred, Can.an was a province of Egypt , so the Jew. would
not h.ve e.ca""d from Egyptian rule at all, but merely p ... ed from
one Egyptian territory to .nother, The Book of lashua, which rolates
tho lew upposed inv .. ion of the Promised Lond, m. kes no ment ion
of [gl'pt ian. in Canaan, when the .re. should Mve been cr.wling

wit h them.
In i999 Profe.sor Ze'ev Herzog of the University of Tel Aviv' s in_
stitute of Arch.eology puhlished an article in the is .. eli news!",,,,,r

Ha'arerz, entitled 'Deconstructing the Wails of Jericho' . In it he de_
clares that the exodus from Egypt , the inv.sion by J",hu nd t he
Iomous walls of Jericho are all without historical found .. ion, He
laments:
These r.ets have been known for years, but !:o .. ..,l i stubborn people
and nobody wants t o hoar . bout it
Although hi. views are widely . Mred in the academic community,
Herzog's article caused. furore, with ",cular Israeli . responding t he
THE W a ~ D OF GOD'
most violently. The re. son is . imple. They immediately recognised
that the modern stat e of Isr. el would be seriou.ly compromised if ito
claim to the land turned out to be based on . mere myth.
David
Wh.t .bout Davidl Did he exi .. ' In 199J an inscription was found at
Tel Dan that referred t o. 'king of the dyn.sty 0/ David' . No previous
rderence to David h. d ever been found outside of the Tan.kh. The
lindi ng became world news ond made the front p ~ g e of the New York
Times .nd the cover of Time m.gazine, Here, .. last , was the first
ever independent vtrification 0/ one of the Bible's l .. ding players,
Here w evidence f01 the historical existence of King D.vid, who
ruled over the uni ted mon .. chy of Isr.el .nd Iud .. , The famous
singer of p.alm., .layer 0/ Goliath .nd forefather of resu., But ten
years of careful im'estigation h.s revealed tMt the inscription i . not
evidence for t he existence of D.vid at alL
F01 a start, the tr.nslation 'king of the dynasty of David' gives you
an impre .. ion of an imposing imcript ion that might have .domed a
might y p.l.ce. In fact it is IICribbling of six letters on a piece 0/
stone_bytdwd, The first word claimed to be ' king' has been , econ_
structed from just one letter, 100 it could .ctually me.n .n}' number 0/
thing . A. there are no vowel. in written Hebrew the .. Mve to be in_
serted, which leads to mAny possible tr. nslat ions of the inscription,
The word tron. lat ed 'David' could also be tran. lated ' belovtd',
'uncle' or even 'kett le, ,' 1t could equally be the name of a place called
Beth Dod. Another recently di.covered inscript ion has .lso been de_
clared to refer to the ' House of David', hut the Hebrew on this in_

cription is different from the one at Tel Dan. What i. going on herd
The problem i. that when ..,mething i. discovered that could, at a
stretch, be seen u co, roborating oomething in the Bible, whole
bunch 01 a p, iori belief. ensure that the evidence i . made to fit the
theory, One modem scholar considers t he idea that the Tel D.n in_
script ion ro/.rs t o David as just wi , hful thinking. d .,ic c. ,e 0/
scholars working hack lrom the Bible rather t h3I1 lorward from the

evidence. Another schol .. i . ' convinced that the publi shed frag_
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
men .. in fact belong not to one but to two different, ",latcJ inscrip_
"
t ions '. Other scholars have found indicotions thot the inscription.
are forgeries and the whole . ubject i. now under investigation by the
Is .. di Depanment of Ant iquities. The antiquities market i . httercJ
with mch fakes because there are so many wealthy and powerful
groups with a de,perate de.ire to prove that the Bible i. true. Any di. _
covery that appears to val idate the Bible is guarant eed to make world
news, but when it is lat er debunkcJ it rarely makes the back p'ges,
Even if David did exist he cannot pos.ibly h.ve b ' n t he mighty
king described in the Tanakh. At t he time when he is .. id to kve
rulcJ over a large and IIOphisticat ed civilisat ion, the real world 0/ or_
chaeology M ' revealed 'only a few dozen very sm.ll s""ttered Mm
len and village.' supporting far mers who ' numbered hardly mo",
" ..
than two thousand persons'. If David """ t cJ at all he can have been
httle more t han a hill country chieftain. A. one recent commentator
observes:
The chief di .. gr""ment nowa<L.y> i, between those who hold that
DavId wa petty hilltop chieft1Jn wh""" writ extended no more than
few mIle, in any dir""tion, and. ,mall but vocifewm bando! 'bibli_
c,al minimalist, ' who maintain that he nover existed at aU"
Solo mo n
So what about David's son Solomon! He i aid to have had a harem
of three hundrN concubines .nd ""ven hundred wives, which in
cluded Egyptian, Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Zidonian and Hittite
prince.ses. According to the Bible he ruled a va .. empire. He had a
neet of sh ips that tr.ded with the Egypt ians and Mesopotamians on
equal ter ms. He was so wealthy that hi . IIOldi e", had shields of gold,
He w.s so famous for hi. wisdom tMt even the Queen of Sheba paid
him a vi sit . He .pent thirteen years bui lding a pa lace to hou"" the
Ark of the Covenant, and embelli.hed it with gold .nd precious jew-
els. Surely somebody somewhere should have heard of him.
Yet thore is no evidence for t he existence of Solomon. It i s ""id
that he was marriN to the daughter of an Egyptian pha .. oh, but no
THE W O ~ D of GoD'
reference to this dynast ic alliance has been found in .ny of the Egyp_
t ian records_ Hi , name i. not mentioneJ in any contemporary Middle
Eastern text, But none of this should surpri.., us, a. at t his time
ferusafem was not the capi .. l of. vast empire, It was actu.lIy iust a
. mall vill.ge.
Around JOOO "n the highland. of ludea conta ined no public
bui ldings, p.lace., "ore_hou.e. or temple . Sign. of .ny sophisti _
cated kind of record keeping, .uch a. writ ing, seal. and seal im_
pression. are a lmost completely .b,ent. Almost no luxury items,
importeJ pottery or jewellery h.ve been found, The population 0/ the
entire region c.n have been no more than lorty_five thousand people,
Wh"""er was living in the Palestinian highlond. at thi s t ime, t hey
were not the people the writers of t he Tanakh have put there,
The Myth of Return
The Tanakh would h.ve u. believe that there once was a mighty
kingdom 0/ Israel with ito great capi .. l feru.alem. But there i, very lit _
t le evidence concerning either hrael or Jeru.alem. Thc first wc hear 0/
ferusa lem i. in Egyptian curoe tex .. dated from ISJO to 1770 "CE,
where it i . listed among ""veral town. in Palest ine together with the
na mes of their chieftains_ Our eorliest mention of Israel i. in the '0_
c.lIed 'Israel Stele' of Ph. Taoh Merneptah, dated from 1207 "CE. It
"
.ay. simply; ' Israel i. desolote; its seed i. no more'. There i di.pute
ahout whet her the name 'Israel' role .. to. people or . imply. person,
but it i. ironic that our earliest mention of Israel t ell. us thot \sTOol no
longer exist.!
A li ttle later we have an inscription from the t ime of Pharaoh
She.honq, c, 945 t o 924 BC. , .nd . little later an inscription of Shal _
mane.er lll, c, 853 "n, which refe .. to a land of sir-i/-/a-a-a, " This
meagre handlul of inscription. might a. well be ahout la-la-land lor
all that they can tell u. about the Israel of the Tanakh. Additionally,
none of the .. inscript ions was found in Palestine or w written by
thc people to whom they refer, which would at lcast be evidence 0/
their own high culture. Instead t hey were written by their tr.dition.l
overlord. and describe village. in irnpoveri,heJ region. under their
control.
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
There i further problem with the name. 'Jerusalem' .nd '[".e!',
Their derivotion tolls a history thot is completely at odd. with the
Tan.kh, The word Israel means ' fighter for El' who w a Can.anite
god. Jeru lem is name<! another Can nite god called Shalem,
But .ccording to the Tanakh, the C. "".ni'e. were the deadly ene_
mie. of the Israelite . What i. going on herel The an.wer i imple
but .hocking,
All the evidence now points to the. Israelite. be ing indigenous in
habi .. nu of Canaan. The Biblic.l storv that they arrived in Palestine
lrom Egypt i myth. The l".e!ite. did not come from .omewhere
else, they were . lroad}' there. Thi . view i. now widely .hared by
.chola ... . One modern archaeologist state. :
The ls",elite. ne\'er were in Egypt. They never came from . bro.ad. The
whole chain i. broken. It i. not an historical one. It i. a
reconstruction, ,01 . history tft.t never happ"ned."
Reliefs at Karnak in Egypt do not .how .ny distinction of h.irstyle or
clot hing bet ween [".elites . nd C.na.nito., so tho Egyptian. dearly
did not discriminate between the two. The evidence from digs all
over Palostino ha. revealed e.mle .. continuity between the two
cu ltures . We cannot point to. Can.anite l.yer hore .upeTSeded by an
[sr.eli te l.yer there. The ["aelite. emerged from the indigenous
C. na.nite nd were not inv.de", as tho Tanakh claim .
The story of the Jew. return from capt ivity in Egypt i. a myt h,
And so i. the story of their return from captivity in Bab}' lon, Al _
though we now con.ider the Jew. and lSI.el ites to be the .. me, in .n
cient times they were two dist inct people. and bitter enomie . The
Israelite. lived in northern Palesti ne .nd had their capital at Samaria ,
The Judean. I . k . . Jew.) lived in southern p. le"ine and had their
c.pital at Jeru.alem,
When the Assyrians invaded Palestine in 7JJ BC the ls,.elite, re o
. i!1ed and were ruthlessly puni, htd. Their city of S.mari. w lev_
elled to the ground and the population uken int o . lavery. The
lude.ns, however, offeroo the Assyrian. their .upport, .nd .fter Israel
wa. liquidate<! ludea began to flouri.h a new Assyri.n provmce,
The population of Jeru lom increa.oo t o ",me fifteen thou.and
people.
THE OF GoD'
A century and a h.lf later A .. yrian power began to crumble and
the Babylonian. took control 01 the Assyrian empire, including
Pa le .. ine. In 587 BCE the Babylonian. destroyed leru.alem and its in_
habitants were deported into . Iavery. The ludean. la.k.a. lews l met
exact ly the .ame late as the Israelites la.k.a. Samaritansl. The .. ate 01
ludea ceased t o exist a. t otally as that 01 ber lormer rivallsrae!'
In the mid_liltb cent ury the Persian ucceeded tbe Babylonian.
and t ook control 01 Palestine. The Bible recounts that the Persian
king allowed the hraclite. to ret urn lrom exile in Babylon to
1eru .. lem, but t his cannot be true. II the Israelite. had returned
'home' it would have been to thoir capiul cit y 01 Somari a and not
leru ... lem' As a mooern scholar write.:
II'lt.tever people were tran'pofted or ret urned to Pale"ine they eer_
tainly were not I"aelite .
,
No empire would h.ve .1I0wed 0 people to return home, os this
would have defeated the whole purpose 01 deportotion. Removing
whole peoples and re.ettling them elsewhere was a bru .. 1 but rou _
tine practise in the .ncient world that allowed empire builders to ex_
ercise total control over their .ub;'c ... There i s historical evidence 01
157 acts 01 deportation lrom the Assyrian period and J6 lrom Baby_
lonian records. Atoui 01 over a million di.placoJ people hos been
c. lculated lor this brief period.
The ' Return 01 the Israelit"" i s a legend. The Israeli t e. ond the
lew. were both deport ed around the ancient world during thi s period
and where they went we Mve no idea. Other peoples were ..,,,loJ
in the area and adapted some 01 the indigenous mythology to legit i _
mise their cloim. to the land. Their de.cendants would lat er corne to
think 01 themselve. u [sraeli ... and lew., but origina lly they were
neither.
The Jews and the Greeks
At the end 01 the lourth century BCE Alexander the Great
Pa le .. ine and the Persian overlord. were replaced by Greek over_
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
lon"- Prior t o this, in tho fift h and fourt h centuries BCE, .urvey data
from ..,ttlemen .. shows tMt the popul.tion of w. s only thirty
thou .. nd people, The groat schobr Bickerrnan descri""d Jerusalem at
tho time of Alexander 'tho obscure .hode 0/ an insignific.nt
"
tri""'. T his expbins why there is no mention of the lews in .ll 0/
the Greek texts prior to Aleunder. The Creeks were fascinated by
.nd delighted in reeording their funny little habi .. in
numerous works. They would undoubtedly Mve reeorded IIOmething
about the Jew. had they been significant , but .s one scholar writes:
Nothing.., far ha, di.proved t ho cont ention that t ho da",ic.ol Grk,
did not evon know the name of the Jew . "
Evon in the fint century CE tho jewi sh historian Jo.ephus was un.ble
to lind rderence. to Jews in Creek literature ""lore Aleunder t he
Great. As . modern schohr explaim:
In real ity, we may ronclude lrom this t h .. t he politioal and economic
. ignifioanoe of the litt le temple . tate 01 Judea in t he hi ll_eount ry be_
tw""n the o.,.d S.,. m d the cru,tal pui n wos te<>slight to attract t he
attention 01 histori.ns. Why should. Greek .uthor, at a time when
tho whole bhulou, Orient w.s open to hi. inquiry, conoentr .. e on a
Lilliputi.n pia"" in the .rid mountains; -
After t he death 01 Alex.nder in 325 BCE his general Ptolemy ruled
Palestine lrom Egypt. The next century .nd a hall saw momentous
change in p. le5tine a. Creek technology .nd customs were intro_
duced into the region , Coinage replaced barter. Agriculture wa, revo_
lutioni.ed by artificial irrigation, waterwhods, the plough, the
wine _pre .. . nd other similar i mplements. Now Jerns.lom ",ally did
""como . city 'skilled in many eralts', as one 0/ the Jewi.h write," 0/
"
the time puts it . In this , arne period there w an explo.ion 01 lew
i.h li terature. For the lint ti me in the history 0/ thi. region we have
tho ""ginning> of . high culture c.""ble 01 creating and .ustaining a
literate d ....
A. ""Ii .. a flouri.hing Hellenistic city there w., a gymn ium, or
Greek uni,-enity, in the middle 0/ leru,alem from at least the cond
THE OF GOD'
century RC. The Book of the Maccabees tell. U5 that it wa. "" popu_
lar thot the priests would hurry off t o study there, ignoring their
"
prie.tly duties , In the gymnasium Jew. received the stand .. d Greek
education, copying out p''''''ge. lrom Hornor and I'Ioto, and studying
the historic, 01 Thucydide. and Herodotus , The eastern Mediter_
.. nean was la .. losing its "at us as . cuhun,[ de.ert ,
From the beginning 01 the ..,cond century BC< Palestine proouced
many famous philosophers, poets, satirist, and rhetorician., some of
whom e,'en bec.me friend. and .dvisors to influential Roman "at e._
men, such as Pompey, Brutus and Cicero. The Jews had finally ar_
rived on the world ... ge as a sophisticated people. But, ironically,
they had only achieved this through an Nucation that was thor
oughly Greek,
Almo", alJ 01 the lewi . h literature produced in thi s period is writ_
ten in Greek. The Jews wrote in Greek .nd thought in Greek. And
yet the lew. were not Greeks and never could be, no matter how hard
they upired. The Greeks had divided the whole world into two mu_
tually exclu.ive categories: Greeks and krkrian. , In re' ponse, the
lew. divided the world into Jews and Gent iles, and produced. body
01 literature that proved, at lea" t o their own sat i.faction, that the
lew. were not only equal t o the Greeks, they were better.
The Jewish Fantasy Factory
No sooner had the Jews ... imilated their Greek education than they
began to give a novel account of how they had come by it , They had
not learnt from the Greeks, It was the other way around. In 220 BCE
the Jewish writer Herrnippus reconled hi s opinion t hat Pythagoras,
the first man in the Gn..,k world to be called. philosopher, h.d actu_
"
ally acquired all hi. wi.dom from the Jews. Ari"obulus, writing in
the middle of the second century BCE, added that Ploto had borrowed
"
hi. idea. lrom Mo. e., In the first century C. Josephu. claimed that
'the wi..,st of the Greeks', including I'Iato, l'ythago .. s, Anaxagora.
and the Stoic., had 'learned their concept ion. of God from principle.
"
with which Mo.e upplied them'.
But how could Greek phil0"'l'he", h,,'e had aceeo. to the Hebrew
TH[ LAuGHISG I [W.
Scripture. centuri", before they were tran.lated into Gr""kl Aristo_
bulus assures hi. ",aders that the.e hooh were avail.ble in Greece,
"
but there i. no evidence of thi . The fint quotat ion of the Tanakh by
a Greek write, can be dat ed t o no earlie, than the middle of the first
"
century n, Indeed, the Tanakh .ay. itsell that Greece W35 one 0/
the n .. ions that had not heanl oj the bmc 0/ the Lord."
According to the Jewish writer Eupolemu., however, the Greeh
even owed their knowledge oj the alphabet to Mo ... , He had taught
it first to the Jcw., who thcn .. ught it to the Phoenicians, who in
"
turn taught it to the Greeh. Artapanu., .nother Jewish writer, tell.
u. t hot Mo.e cquired the name Mousaios from the Greeh, became
the teacher of Orpheus and conje"ed a whole h()St of benefits upon
mankind, including the invent ion of ship., mechani.ms for stone
construction, we'ponry, hldraulic engine., implements of warfare
and, 0/ cour><, philo.ophy. In Egypt M", .. .chievemen .. were even
mo", .pectacular. He taught hieroglyphic.!! to the Egyptian prie .... di_
vided the nation into the thirty_.ix nome assigned to each the god it
was to worship, and was named 'Hcrme. ' becau.e of his ability to in_
.. "
terpret .. cred wntlflg .
During the Hellenistic period the", w no end to the jew. ' de light
in rewriting history and playing one_upman.hip with the Greeks,
Eg}'ptian nd their other powerful riv.i . The whole of the Helleni . _
tic world was obse .. ed with astrolog}' , and according to Eupolemus it
was Abraham who discovered it . He taught it to the Phoenician., ex_
plaining to them the movements of thc sun and the moon and a host
.! . .
of other matters. Abrah.m also tourneyed to Egypt and dwelt wuh
the priest. 0/ Heliopoli., where he taught them about a.trolog}' and a
"
range of addition.l . ubiccts, In Artapanu. ' vt'l'Sion 0/ thi s tale, Abu_
ham becomes the mentor of t he pha",oh h,mself.

Thc.e are not the only f.nustic ",orie. cooked up by Hellenistic
Jew. to make them.elv .. f",,1 good. Josephus tell. the wonderful
story of how. when Ale xander arrived in Jeru ... lem, he w so dazzled
by the sight of thc jewish people clad in their white garments that he
fell to hi. knees in front of the High Priest. Turning to his a"onished
generals he cxplained that here was the man he h.d ..,en in hi. dre.m
"
in Macedoni. who h.d first urged him to conquer Pe"io, T he dumb
. truck Alexander i. then shown The Book of Daniel. which h.d
THE W O ~ D OF GOD'
"
miraculously predicted tho fan of Pe .. i . at the hand. of. Gre;,k. It'.
a cracking t alo and h.s been bdicved to be tr ue throughout Christ ian
hiotol)', But it i . e nt irely without hi!toric.1 foundation. Nowaday,
no ""hoi .. h ... good won! to .. y . bout it, with verdicts ranging from
"
'.ill}" to 'outright f.bric .. ion',
In het AlcK.nder never went to Icru .. lem. Greek historian. m . ke
"
no mention of any . uch vi,it. And Alexande r could not have been
shown The Book of Daniel. as it was not writte n until a century
and a fyli aftcr his death'- Although Daniel cl. im, t o be written
in the sixth century seE, it w ... ctually compo.ed centuries later.
The l'ag..n ochol .. I'orph}' ry first dcmonstra'cJ this in the third cen_
tury CEo Using careful text ual an. ly.i. he demonstrate<! that Daniel
was written in the second century BeE, during the lewi.h M.ccabean

revolt, Today it i. accept ed that Pmphyf}' was right.
The Book of Daniel i. a t ypic.l example 01 a genre called
'prophecy alter the event'. In thi. geme the appearance i. created that
a text h", uncannily predicted the luture, in this c .., the triumph 01
Alexande r, but actu.ll" the prophecy has bet'n written centuries .lter
the even .. it pretends to predict h. ve .ctu.l1y happened, The real ref_
erence oI.uch 'prophecie. ' i. to the present. T hey are me.nt t o im_
pre .. the readership 01 the ti me and give a brand_new te xt an .ura 01
antiquity and . upernatur. llegitimacy, Thi. genre became extremely
popul.r in the jewi.h lanta'y factory, and was later used by Chri. _
" t i.ns t o great ellect,
Another I.mou, story created by Hellenistic lew. relate, how the
Greek version 01 the Hebrew Scripture, e.me t o be written, A Jewi.h
text ""lled The Lelte1 of Ansteas explain. that Ptolemy I .ent a me._
.. ge to the Jew. saying that he wi,hed to .dd a Greek translation 01
the Tanakh to hi, illustrious new library at Alexandria. The Jew. re _
.ponded by sending seventy_two lamou age. who immediately ,et
to work and mi raculously produced seventy_two identical Greek
tex .. , t hus de mon .... ting how f.ithlul the transl . tion was to in He _
brew original. It carne to be called the s.,ptu.gint, after the seventy
. ages, At the conclusion 01 a week 01 Mnquets held by Ptolemy in
honour 01 the seventy_two Jewi.h ge., the Greek phi losophers
erupted into .pplau.e proclaiming that the Jews far exceeded them in
"
edue.non .nd eloquence.
THE LAuGHISG IESU.
Although it hao been bdieved to be true throughout Christian hi . _
tory, thi s .torv i. now considered by ""holu, t o be no more than a
"
'picture"lue legend' . Indeed, not only is thi s .. ory a myth, the text
that first recoun" it i. a forgery' The Letter of Aristcils w.s .urib_
uted to a Jewi . h scholar of the thi rd century HeE but wao act ually
writt en c, ]3() BCE by an Alexandrian Jew.
Like all the jewi,h liter .. ure produced in thi ' period, the myth of
the creat ion of the Septuagint demons .... es 3 newfound jewi . h self
conlidence .nd self-<:onsciousne .. , and. delight in oetting fantasy
and prop.ganda in the gui,e of history. In hct , as one IICholar notes
about Jewish literature of the period:
It i. precisely where the story prents it .. l! .. t he most ' history. loke'
that it i. actually most fictional_a point well worth
It i, ab.unl to Ire" the myth, and legend. turnoo out in this Jewi sh
f.ntuy f.ct ory as h.ving anything to do with history. And this
. hould make u. t hink twice about the veracity of those other Jewi sh
texts that we now think of as ' croo scripture' . Because the T.ruokh,
which .. ill command. the respect of million., was put together in
the .. me period and prob.bly by the ""me . uthors.
When Was the Tanakh Created?
Alter centuries of foreign rule the Jew. saw .n opportunity to achieve
their independence. In 161 8eE the Jewi. h leader Judas Maccabeu.
made . n alliance with the Romans and led. ",bellion against the
fews ' Greek rulers, T hi lliance with Rome would eventually turn
Judea into. vas",l ... te of Rome, when the Rom.n. unde r Pompey
took cont rol of Palestine in 67 Be., But in the intervening century,
there was a tremendous outburst of jewi.h nationalism,
Jud Maceabeu. and hi . lOOn. e,tablishoo t he H .. monean dynasty
that ruloo Jude. for the next century. In 164 BC. the temple in
Jerusalem wa. rooedic. too, after which. whole new era was de_
elaroo, a new calendar cro .. ed, and . military programme for the ex
pansion of lewi . h territory began. During this period, the collect ion
THE O F GOD '
o( text> we know as the Tanakh lo,k.o, Old Test.mentl was written,
compiled and extensively eJiIt'd, to seIVe a. t he mythological ju"ih_

cation (or the Hasmonean de,ire t o rule.ll o( l'aleot ine_
T he Ho,monean. constructed a history that port.-.yed themselves
as descendant> o( an ancient people who were bequeathed this whole
area by God himself, They were the heirs o( King David, who h.d
once ruled over both northern and southern Palestine, Their ancestor
Solomon was an emperor as i mportant as Alexondor, lOM' phu. relates
the legend that the Ha,monean le. der Hyrconm (ound the money to
p.y hi . army by opening the ' UPPO'N tomb of King David, where he
" miraculously discovered t hree t homand talents o( .ilver. So i(
David himself was paying for the re_e.tabl i,hment o( his myt hic.l
kingdom (rom be}'ond the g:rave, what 'braelite' worthy o! the name
"
could rduse t o join his army'
[t is in this period that the ter m '[ ... d ' (irst .cquires . political
and religious connotation, What marks the language of the T.n.kh i.
its .elf_conscious ethnicity and n.rrow sectari.ni.m, both o( which
were pronounced feat ure. o( the Ha.monean dynasty_ Several schol _
ars now consider that t he Tan. kh wo, produced by a 'T.lib..n_like
" Fundamentalist core o( religious bigot>'_
When the Hasmone.no inv.ded their neighbour. they (orced non_
lew. to conven, requirin5 adult male. t o be circumcised in order to
become 'true Israelit e.', The whole o( Gali lee was (orcibly con_
vt'ned in 100 BCE. In the s.me period they conduct ed campaigus in
Tran.jordan, ldumae. and S. mari., butchering the populations or
(orcibly com'e rting them into Jew. _ At thi s s.me t ime thous.nd. o!
Greeks and Hclleni'N Jew. fl ed P.lestine in the face of the Jewish
T.liban, which i. why so many Jewi,h philosophers ended up It'ach_
ing in Rome .
T he Ho,mone.n. creoted the .torie, in the T.nakh to justify their
brutal behaviour. The ethnic cleansing of C anaan by lo. hua, during
which ' t he brae lite. left no breat hing ' hing alive', legit imised the
kind o( practise. that were actually being c.rried out on t he ground,
l"""Phus re lat es stori .. of the m ilitary conquests of the Hasmonean
leader H}'rcanu. in langu.gc that perfectly echoes the storie, in
2 King' .bout the foreN conversion o! enti re populations by the lcw_
ish King lo.iah ,
THE LAuGHISG l EW.
"
, a o " J O < n O M . H . 1
, t Y o ( o u a u p
a , l ' . , u n e p " ' " , " o d d n . ' . ' 1 ' J o . . " " d J o ' l '
- I n ) Y M ' l U 1 . , . . W O J l X ' ) 0 . 1 . p u n q A q . a ' p , S
" - 0 . , ' < l X " ) 0 . ' 1 , . u " j < 1 W , U ' ' ' ' 1 < Y . > U 1 u p , , . . . J d . ' n " u e L
" P " ' l l m u a , J o . r o l l a < ! " A O ' 1 0 . ' 1 . . . . w " ' l
' O f ' " " . 0 0 ' M ' I X " J 0 ' l ' o . ) o . " ! " ' p u n t : ( " P I I " ' . ' p a u
) 0 . A Z U " ' ! , u r a , l ' U 1
" P p u o M " ' 1 ' H ' ' 1 ' ' " ' " . , . , : l l I n < " u a r l A ' " I L
' < ] l J a t p 0 ' " 1 ' . l " u n ' H e u P L ' ' I ' ' .
' p n . o u . P M " " ' 1 ' ' " ' I ' u a r ' " " J ' ' l u n J " " ' U . . : ) g A m ' l l " ' ' ' ' I
" l ' U l l I O l l " ' " A l l o m a e ' O M " A m , u a , p u o " " . " l ' U l l I O l l " ' " " ' I
0 . , . w ' . p ) 0 . ' f O O l / " " ' l . L l j l I n 0 ' l l ] Y 1 ' " ' 1
M a u . , " ' " I f ' q . , e . . a l p U 1 , . 0 . 1 U ' ' ' ' I P " ' 1 , u o " " I l O ' > < ' ' 1 ' ) 0 . ' U D ' 0 ' 1 '
' ' I X , , , j O . n O U O A 0 , , ( l u O " ' p I ' I ' . a I O l d " "
j O u O " " I l < Y . > a A " O ' " O I : p n o p u o a A ' " U l J o P A U O J O U o " U ' W
o u " ' l O W ' p o u a d U O ' U O W ' . H u , U ' " " ' " j o , ( 0 0 1 1 a ' l l .
a l j v M . a N
U l ' M O U U O ! " p u o x o I V " ' 1 ' " ' 0 " o p m w l 1 ' 1 ' ' 1 O J d
0 , A q P l o , u " " ' l P " ' 1 0 ' 1 ' " . a " " w a w . . a ' l ' " ' I A l l o " < 1 ' 1 ' P l n o ; : )
' m i l l 0
"
' 1 " M , d ' I ' . , A . : l U ' 0 ' 1 0 ' 1 ' " ] J i l l . \ . J . . . . ' > . \ 1 0 < ' 1 1 0 . \ ' O J . . . . , , n , ! ' m w
' I " ' " , d ' l ' ' 0 ' 1 0 ' 1 ' " U O W O M . . u . " " p u o ' 0 . 1 " ' 1 ' ' 1 ' 1 1 ' " " ' N
0 , w , ' l ' ' ' ' . O W ' < o " u o ' P ' W
a l . w ' I n p . a ' l ' , ( l u O P O J " t f l n o l ' ' . ' 1 A u r n ' . M
0 O , U l " ' O W ' 0 ' 1 " l d w n a l O j - ' u ' w
- U Q J ' A U O J O " ' 1 ' ) 0 " n p o , d 0 n o " " u ' ' 1 ' " a s u , .
' ' 1 ' ) 0 " ' l u m p J O , u ' H a d O J ' , < O U l q n , u o ,

" ' ' I " l " w o p . : > U l I " " , ' I ' ' ! . . . . ' 1 ' 0 ' : > . > < 1 . , ' ! , p , A o I u , ' A O ' ! 0 1 p ' ' ' ' . . . n , e u
- u o J ' w ' ' 1 ' J O , u " - ' I U 1 O J a " , u " P I ' ' ! ' p u . n o W O M
J l . , ' l ' " 1 ' ' 1 ' " ' p . : > ' J " m , ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' " ' 1 d 1 . ' ' ' ' 1 ' 1 A I , n o d , j O ' p O J p u n ' l
P " ' 1 1 0 ) ' s n o . u u o ! "
' A ' " p u a l l ' l . O M A ' l a m , 1 0 1 " , , , " d o ,
In the seventeenth century CE James Ussher, Archbishop of Ar_
m.gh and 01 Alllreland, calculated the dat e 01 the
of the world to be Sunday, 3 October 4001 BCE. U .. her's conclusion
included in the Authorized Version of the Bible printed in 1701
and came to be regarued a> Bible Truth. The Archbishop further con_
cluded Adam .nd Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday,
10 November 4004 BeE, .nd t hat Noah's ark h.d landed on Mount
on 5 M.y 149 1 "n, which w ' a Wedneod.y' . Archbishop
U .. her made his 'discovery' by together the t ime period. t hat
are recorded throughout the texts 01 the T.n.kh, So care_
fully, in lact , that it is a. if someone had Ielt. tr.il t hat
might , foirly be followed_ Why would someone do tMt !
Hellenistic hi.totians of the period believed t hat a ' Great Year',
four thou>and yea .. in length, w coming to an end .nd. New Age
soon to begin, He.-.clitu., .nd the Stoic philo.ophers h. d
preciictt'd it . Virgi l and Cicero lamented that the world h.d become ""
awful it was long overuue, The Tan.kh, being a product of this environ_
. - "
ment , abo oonce!ve. of a 'Great Year' 01 four thousand year> In length.
The Tan.kh'. Ye" begins with Adam .nd culminates in t he
New Age of Jewish independence by t he H.,moneans ,
Arohbishop Us.her Md followed the tr. il back to wh.t he believed
w. s t he date of the creation, but this w not the purpose of the
Tan.kh's compile,,_ The cre.tors 01 the chronology want ed their
readers to follow it forwaru from the dawn of creation to their own
time, which they conside.-eJ to be the ' Ye .. Zero'_ Here i . t he
chronology of the Tanakh a. calculat ed by modern
Adam
Birth of Ab .. bam
Entry into Egypt
Ixoom from Egypt
Solomon', temple
Ixile to &bylon
Return t o Jeru .. lem
Rededication 01 the temple
4164 rICE
2218
1918
1498
1018
, ..

The 'Groat Year ' 01 the T.nakh terminates in the very year that t he
temple in lerusalem w. , rededicated after Juda. M.cc.beus .eized
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
power. The thsrnonean. began. new c.lendar in this period bec.use
they .. w themselves a. the c","oro of. New Age.
Contradictions in the Tanakh
The Tanakh d .. ws together fragments from a common lund of Pale. _
t inian, Egyptian .nd MellQpotarni.n lolk tr.dition. thot had origi .
nated in I'ale .. ine o,'er cent urie . The.., fragments were thon
.. ",mbled and t,dited into an extended pseudo_histori",,1 narrative by
a group of nation. li stic, religious .ectarians. Bm the H moneans,
like .Jf cre .. oro of prophetic literature, were only interested in hi. _
tory if it could be made t o .erve their int o",st. in the present, ""d
. 0 they f.bricated. past that m.de tho pre.ent .ppear inevitable. But
their "".u.l disregard for history bequeathed u. a collec tion of toxts
that .. e riddled with problems .nd inconsistencies.
T.ke the lirst live books of the Taruokh, known .s the Books 0/
M"""., A. early as the twelfth century CE lewish rabbi. h. d ex_
pre .. ed grave doubts thot the.e texts could actually have been writ_
ten by Mose . The lewi.h .cholar Isaac ibn y.,hu.h noted that. Ii ..
in Genesis n.med kings who lived long .fter Mos<s was supposed to
have lived. Abrah.m ibn h.r. pointed out that .everal "" ... gos re _
lerred to Moses in the third perlOOn, u.ed term. that Moses could not
have known, dc.cribed phces tiYt he didn't visit and used langu.go
"
lrom .., entirely dil/erent period. Later on Hobbe. and Spino.:a Tn<ide
.imilar ob,ervations. Spinoza was thrown out of his .ynagogue for
observing t hat Mose. could not po ibly Ii.ve written the account 0/
hi. own deatli l
By the lote nineteenth century the .chool of Biblic. l study known
as 'Higher Critici,m', relying on linguist ic and toxtu.l .naly.i., came
to the conclu.ion that the Books of Mo""s could not have been writ_
ten by Mose . !n the first eleven chapters of ' he Books 0/ Mo.e
chola .. found two creation stori es, two stories 01 the flood and two
dil/eront accounts of how 'he nation. spread over the face 0/ the
Earth. They ,hen noted that the"" doublet storie. had two dilferent
name. lor God: El and Yahweh. Cle.rly two originally .o""rato tradi
t ion. h.d been combined. The thesis that the Books of Mo. es were
THE W O ~ D OF GOD'
created by merging separate document> is now .Imost univer .. lIy ac_
cepted. A, one modem .eholar write.:
There i. honlly. biblic.ol scholar in the wmld actively working on t he
problem who would claim th .. the Five Book, of M.,... werE written
by Moses_or by .ny one penon."
Thore other seriou, problem. with tho
of tho Books 0/ Moses . For example, God t ell, Mo, .. that the
patriarchs knew him only under the name El Shadda;, which is d ref_
. "
erence to the god EI and means 'El t he AlmIghty', And EI w t he
god 0/ the Canaanites, who were the suppose<! enemies of Mose, and
loshu. ! The Bible red.ctors found t his emkrra .. ing .nd created their
own story t o explain it. After t he exodus God explain. to Mo"", t hat
he no longer like, the n.me EI and would rather be c.lIed Yahweh
from now on, But if the name Yahweh Wd . unknown to the Israelite.
until .fter the exodus, how do we explain the n.me 'jo.hu.', which
mean. is s.lvat ion'! lo.hua was born before the exodus
beg.n, so could not have been c.lIe<! by a name thot ",fers to
'Yahweh'.
A. ""hola .. continue<! to study the T.nakh in ever_greater derail,
the repetit ions . nd contradictions multiplied to absurd proportions,
M<>Ses climb. Mount Sin.i at le.st eight different t ime, . He receive.
the Ten Commandments ot Sin.i in Exodul .nd thon all"in at Horcb
in Deuteronomy, The stone .. bier. are written by God in Exodus
chapt er 31, but engravod by Mose. in chapter 34, There are three
v .. i.nts of M"",,' farewell speech. We have three different stories of
leru",lem', conquest in three different books, and only one is under
the le.dership of David. There are three . ccoun .. of Saul'. and
three of Goliath'" The /look of /erem;dh gives an .coount 0/ t he en_
tire populat ion going into oKile three time. ! According to one
.cholar" without all the.., variants, the t ext would be half its present
lengt h .
THE LAUGHISG lEW.

, a o " J O < n O M . H . 1
- u t " ' I 0 , . ' u o , . ' a W l ) U I - A , , ( l Q o ' l D O , ! ' " p u e "
( " " O " P ' u . " ' I P l O : > " ' ' 1 ' w " ' l P " ' P P l < n ! " " " I " A ' D ' 0 ' " ' I ' . ' ' I '
' p n l l U 1 I n , ! ' . o D o f . u . ' P U I ) O " ' A D I , U l o d d . , p 1 1 ' M " M O U ' ! : a M - a I d
- u m " A 1 O ' ' ' ' 1 U 1 o ; " " p a , D O S , . a p r o w ' ' 1 ' I " a u o 0 , 0 0 1 1 1 " " a ' l L
- . a l I . m , ) o . b d w a A , . n l o u . . . ' A " ' 1
" " I " , u l l " j " d ) 0 ' I d o . : > < l ' ' ' l ' l P l l ' P U l l a M . ' P l o ' ! " ' ! p u e 0 1 ' A w ' ' 1 d , " l ' 1 I n
O I l ' " ' I 0 , . ! t p p " ' p , " u o : > A o t p p o S J 1 a l p J O O D ' p e w
, u . " " < 1 a ' l l ' ' ' I ' J O P ' A O M a u J l ' ' 1 ' , p a l d 0 , . \ . . [ 0 1 < a ' j l a U I l
- " I " d ) O " I d " " d " P ' A " u " P u , , , , . O I l ' U 1 " . ' " , u . " " d o ' P 0 ' ' 1 . . . . ' p o u
- > < I " ' 1 , O U O l Y ' " 0 1 w ' q n J a , . p J O . ' X U I ' I d . O M , p u e ' \ , . U . ' I l l ' "
. \ . . [ o o " u o , P " " 0 ' [ " , u n ' ' ' I " d ) 0 " 1 < 1 < > < > < 1 o ' P O S - , . 0 , . ( q ' . ' u
. , x U l ' l d . ! f u , o " ] d p u e ' ' I ' . U . J O > < > < t U 1 p u n o l [ > O S " " P
1 0 ) u . . . . o u ' l I I ' ' ' ' " 1 0 M 0 ' 1 ' " ' o o . u d A l l ] " ' . " l d 0 , p , t d . . " p A . I . n " u e ,
' l l O C ( e A W " e p a , e ' D O U l " ' I " d U l , ( d o . > < ! ' ' I '
' ' I ' U l " , ' " , u " " d A S 3 ' ' I ' u ' ' 1 ' " . u O l < ' ' 1 U l , m o d e ' V
' 1 0 ' 1 " ) ' ' 1 '
A ( l u e " u o , 0 1 m q 0 > 1 0 ' 1 ' o u p e " P U U ( - ' , U U I l l - O U ' " l ' U l " ' ' I ' "
' ' I ' ' e l U u " ( ( 1 1 l l ' ' I ' " A O , a 1 1 d l l l ' u . . . . . . ' ' ' ' ! ' 1 u o l p u P ' P " ' l
A ( P I ' ' ' ' . . . " , o d J O " u e l " q . v - ' u " " " I l n q e , . I I p a u " " "
p u P U l 1 1 " ' , w o l l p u e ' e "
- " d ' U O ( A q " 1 l ' e u A " ' P l ' O M , U . 1 I ' U P " , , , , o d , " a . I l I ' ' 1 L
' p u n r u l l , ( " p q l u o u e l l l , a d e , e " , U e w . < I ' l l - ' U " " l " d ) 0 A J Q ,
- " ' I p ' ( q n o , " ' ' I ' p u . , . , . p u n 0 , . , A " l < A I l l " ' 1 ' 0 , ' ' 1 L
' , , ; o r J O A O U ' P ' " ' ' I '
, m e , , , , ! ' " z P N " P ( ' 0 ) 0 , P " " u A u e n " e
I , U O P ' ' ' ' , n f f , n d " , . U O I l l ' 1 " " 1 a t l ' p u e l O O J l ! ' f f u P ' I '
p e w p a u " , p d P ' I , U ' M " ) 0 - U O l l e u
- ' l d x . , n 0 ' l l l ' " P ' ' 1 ' ' U P A ' A " ' 1 0 , " p a d d e V " ' ' 1 ' p u o ' " . u P " ,
- , u n ' ' I ' ' ' ' ' 1 ' D . O p ' ' 1 ' ' J O A ' M 0 ' l ' ' ' ' 0 1 U I p ' A m e
A , ' 1 ' u ' ' 1 ' " U I " P ' U e " U l p u e I l l m ) s ' 3 U I 1 ' P U " M
' 1 0 ' 1 ' u o w ' ' 1 ' ' I l l ' " , n o q p V . ' ' I ' , A U ' I 0 , p , e . o , e
' ' l l ' . . . o w ) 0 ' ' ' 1 ' 1 0 ' 0 " ' , ' ' 1 ' p , m e , u l Y . > A l P " " o d d n . ' 1 " ' 1 ' " . n o
" ' I ' 0 1 p " p u n ' l O M I O J " " ' ' 1 L ' , u " " . A 0 : J a ' l ' ) o
, , " 0 1 , P " I l P : > - O < ' ' 1 L - , . u " , u a o 1 0 1 ' P l n d o d ' ' I ' p a l I d
- u , A ( ' ' ' I P ' ' ' ' U . e ' l ' " ' 1 ' . , u , , . A w ' ' 1 ' ) 0 ' u o p a . o d
- 1 l l 1 Y . > ' P ' " ' ' I ' ' 1 " ' 1 ' " U l A p " , P ' P Z " ' 1 d p q ' ' I '
j l S 0 1 J a A a N S C M l I J V
corpora'ed in'o 'he Tanakh and 'he contradic,ion be,ween ,hem
wen' unresolveJ,
Exacd}' 'he s.me consideration! leJ 'he creators 0/ Biblical
mythology to con.truct ' wo great lc.ders to be patriarch, of 'he fews,
Abraham comes from Mesopotamia .nd Mo, es from Eg}'pt. 80th
were useful t o have in the archive, to plea,e ei,her !labyloniam or
Eg}'ptians, depending on who was in 'he u cendancy. In 'he same
way, whcn Rome beg.in breathing down Judea" neck and an alliance
with Greece seemcd like. good idca, a diplomatic correspondence
wu produced from the arch ives .howing that the fews and the Greek
Spart.n. were rela' ed, a. both were descended from Abraham."' It
was absolute non.eme, 01 cou,..." but de.pernte ,imes c.n for desper.
ate measur,""
The First Monotheists?
Tradj, ionally we are told 'hat Judai ,m brought the doctrine 0/
monothei,m ' 0 . poor benightod humanity for 'he first time, But this
i. merely lewish and Chri st ian propagand . Nowhere in the whole 0/
the Tanakh is ,here an unequivocal "at ement of monotheism. Cun
ni ng eJitorship .nd tr.mlation has disguised the fact , ha' thore are
an embarr .,ing number oj gods running around 'hc Bible. The sto_
rie, told in t he Books of Mo, es refer t o the god, El .nd Yahweh, bu,
El i . sometime, masculine, sometime. feminine and somct ime.
plural. The Jamous opening word. of Genesis. Jor cxomple, spe.ks 0/
god. in 'he pIUT. I: ' In ' he beginning the gods cre .. ed t he earth'. Ar
chaeologists have . 1,0 dilOCoverod a plurality of Yahweh" We know a

y.huor Y.u of Nebo,' s well ., tho ym weh. ofTeman .nd Samana.
A. one schol., .. ates;
The names u ...! for God in 'he Bible are a strange mixture 01 , hings.
It', if t he biblical . u, hor> ,(temp'ed ' 0 ' Mimil"e all ' he diJJeren,
name. Jrom 'he loc. l un ni culture m d tran.!.'e t hem in'o low_
i,h
The jewi . h prophets repeateJly condemneJ 'heir for worship_
ping o, her god, ,h.n Yahweh, suc h as !la.l, Ammon, Chemo,h ""d
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
Tammuz. Archaeulogy has discovered Gretk deiti .. such a.
Herade. and many others were aho worshipp<d in the re _
"
gion. Jeremiah laments that the number of god. wo .. hipp<d in
ludea equaHed the number of her citie., and the aha .. in Jerus.lem
. "
equalled the number of . .. Hs m the bazaar. No wonder Yahweh was
.uch a jealous god. He was up against. lot of comp<tition,
So how did we ever come to think of t he Jew, as monotheis .. ; The
Tanakh was put together in the Hellenistic world when the most im_
portant idea shaping men's ""rcept ion of the di,-ine was Greek
monothei,m. It was Voltaire who first suggested that there was 0 .e_
eret monotheistic cult amongst the Greeks thot predated Jewish

monothei,m. He was both right and wrong. There was .uch a cult,
but it was hardly 0 socret,
[n the .ixth century BCE Herachtu. wrote .bout the one God
who ""me caH Zeus, but who Joe, not mind being caHed by ot her
"
name. . Pyth.goras, Parmenides, Xenophanes and. mult itude of
ot hers made similar statements. Much of Plato'. ht erarv output is
an extended eulogy and defence of what he call, 'the One', which
he equ",e. with God .nd defined a. 'Being', The Stoic and Cynic
philosophers also argued that the popular gods were many, hut the
"
true God was One. [n a W'y, t oe. 1l this Greek phi losoph}' monothe _
ism i. misleading, bec.use it i, actually more sophisticated th.n that ,
h i. Moni"ic l'olythei,m. The belief that .11 gods .re merely the
many m.sks of the one supreme and univer",l God.
T his philosophy w., streets ahead of the Jews, who were still
mired in the primitive mind_set that the n.me of one'. god should be
disguised for lear thot one'. enemies might do magic with it. When
the god of the Hebrew Tanakh gives hi, name to Mose" he relen to
himself crypt ically., YHVH, which i. elaborated b}' the insertion of
vowel. into either Yahweh or lehovah. The product ion of the Septu_
agint oHered the lew, an opportunity to bring Yahweh into hne with
Greek conception. of God. In the Septuagint God now ,poke in
Greek and c.lled hi msell 'I a m who [am'_ Thi. i. a clever word_pl.y
on the lirst_p<non ,ingular of the verb to be, which equate, Yahweh
with the God of the phil"""phers who i . Being, The Sept uagint '1'1. _
"
tonized the Lord him sell', as t he Jewish scholar Bickerman pu" it.
I""ephu. daim. t hat M05e. talked of God in thoroughly Platonic
term. a. the 'One, uncreated and immutable to all eternity, in beauty
THE of GOD'

s urpassing all mortal thought', But the.., noble ""ntimon" arc im_
possible to reconcile with the iealous, parti,an and crud Yahweh we
ac.uolly find in 'he Tanakh. Despite )o><phuo' attemp .. to Plat on; ,.
Yohweh, he is rcally just a tribal deity who represents the crude
. ell_inter ... 01 nat ionalistic people. Whe",., 1'1"0 had genuinely
elaoor .. ed an irnl"''''oIY], univer .. 1 God, the Jews had mt'rely ele_
voted their trib. l deity into 'he only face 01 Goo, complete with
all hi . r3tfier unpleasant I"'",on.lity problems . This was not a great
step iorward from Pagan pfii lolKlpfiy. a. we arc traditionally told. It
wu a monumcn .. ) step backwards 'hot has left us with a god who
resembl e. 'he Thovi].
Mrs God
A fin.l n. il in 'he coffin for ' he ide. that the Jews goovc us mono_
,fic; , m Ii., been 'he discovery in recent yen, of Mrs y.fiwcfi. The
commone" re!igioU! ohj""ts found in . rehacological .ito. through_
out Israel are .mall female figures, of which some three thou nd
have been found. In the lat e 1960s at Khirbet el _Kom near Hebron an
inscript ion from the eighth century HeE w discovered that "Iked
of Ymweh 'and hi s A. herah', In the 1970. .nother w discovered
in Kuntillet Airud in the Si""i . These inscription. confirmed that
the "",ueUe. were depi ction. of Yahweh' s female consort c. lIed
,
A.herah,
It .cem, . stoni.hing that the l".elite. were worshipping Mr ""d
Mrs God be""use the Tan.kh .eem, to mal<c no mention of God
de ... lIut actually A.heroh i. mentioned almost forty time., . !t hough
one would never su.pect these were rderence. to Goddess. A. a
modem archaeologist write>:
The u t er Bible scribes h.ve .y"elll<ltically written Ailierah out .. .
godde ... They di.guised her p " ' ' ' ' n c ~ in the text ."
Wherever the origin. l text referred to ' A,herah' tran.lotors have ren _
dered t hi' as 'the A'her.oh', as if the n. me referred to a sacred object ,
not. personal Goddess. They turned her into it . Thi . problem was
THE LAUGHISG lEW'
compounded by the of the King J.m", Bible, who had no
ide. what t he word rderred to and it wu ""me
"
kind of sacTed grove_
Some schola .. h.ve .uggest ed that a trace of the A,herah cult
lived on in the female figure of Wi..Jom, who .ppears in ,eve .. 1
books of the Tan. kh. The Godde .. ' Wi..Jom' i. the Jewish version
of the Greek Godde Sophia, who.e n.me means ' Wi,dom'. She
the Godde honoured bv the 'philosophers' , or ' Io,""rs of Sophia'. But
the figure of Wi,dom in the Tan.kh i mere . hadow of the mighty
figure of thc great Goddess who was worshippe<l t hroughout the
Medit e".ne.n a. A,herah or Aphrodi t e or The creators of t he
Tanakh .N out to dimini,h t he importance of the Godde ... For ex_
ample, turning the gre .. myt h of Ishtar .nd her con""n Marduk into
a .imple story about a Jewi.h couplc callcd E .. her ""d Mordecai.
The 'Good' Book?
Modern .. ,eorch has now .hown that the Tanakh I . k . . Old Te.u_
mentl i. not"" accurate account of historical events. But c.n we .. ill
continue to . ee it a. the 'Good Book', as we have for cent une., ""d
use it.s the ba. i. for. moral code? Surely t he .",wer i. emphatically
'no'. Do we really w.nt to carry on worshipping. God who le _
gitimised the clearing of C""un by the total ext ermination of every
m.n, woman, child .nd anim.1! The Tanakh is r .. ely moral or . pin_
tu.Hy uplifting. It i. a hi"a"e and contradictory collection of tcxts
sembled by t he btu"] .nd bigoted Ha.mone.ns, and it re _
H""r. t heir v. lue. perfectly.
Dubiou. ethics and loose morals are littered throughout the Bible.
T.ke the story of N""h, whom God . aves after drowning the rest of
hum3Jlity but who turns out to be not hing but a vindict ive drunk!
After the flood, No.ah, ,]w'Y' panial to. drink, pa .. e. out naked on
the floor. One of hi . !lOllS, Ham, accidentally come cro .. hi . fat her
and goes off t o t cll his two brot her., Shem and Japhcth, who return
and re.pectfully cover their father'. n.kedne,,_ When Noah regoin.
consciousne he curses Ham'. lIOn Cana.n, declaring that hi. off _
. pring would ever after be slave. to Shem, Japheth and their de,eon_
THE OF GOn,
dan", So ' he moral of the story is that the Canaanite. deserve '0 be
punished beeauo< their ancestor'. father >ow Noah nakeJ ' The mod_
em conflict be,ween Jew. and p. l""inians i. rooted in the 'pi,eful
behaviour of a drunk for whom God had an inexplic. blc fondness,
Tha" . no' moral. It's mad,
And wha, exactly i. 'ho moral le.sen of 'ho story of Abraham [ Hi
on !s.ac w.s conceived when Abrah.m w. s a hundred and his wife
ni ne'y_nine, But aftor the miracu lous birth of their much_longed_for
child, God t ell. Abrabam to bui ld an ahar of we>od, , ie up his son, lay
him on t he pyro and slit hi. t hroat . As if t ha, wasn't . ick enough, just
a. Abrah.m is .bout to carry out t his dre.dful instruction, God tolls
Abrah.m that it w.s.ll just a trick to t est hi. fideli t y' Whot kind of
God i. thisl Fortunat ely, if anyone t oda}' declareJ , hat 'hey were
about t o slit their child's throat on the in.tructions of the Lord t hey
would be immediotoly arrested.
But God was hardly more ple ant to Abraham'. other child ish_
mael, whom t he patriarch had previously f .. hered on Sarah's maid_
. ervant Hagor. Je. lous of Hagar . nd I.hmael, Sarah urge. Abrah.m to
abandon them in the de",,,, Incredibly God t binks this i good idea,
Abraham ta ke. Hagar and Ishmael in'o ' he wi lderne where he
leaves them to die. A miracle .aves them and lshm.el g"'" on to be _
come the ancestor of aU the Arab . We could look long and hard to
find any moral sense in any of this and still corne up empty_handed,
But .s a w.y for Jew. t o denigrat e Arab. its mess.gc come cro ..
loud and clear . The Arab. are descendants oJ an out cast bastord
whom God himself abandoned to hi . fat e in the de.ert,
What about God's beloved King Davidl Tho lews regard him as the
gro.test king of Israel. The Christian. consider Jesus to be of David'.
line. The Qur'an .. y. David w. s an exohed prophet, given command
by God over the mountain., the bird. and the rising and setting of the
"
sun. Yet David'. mora l standards are decidedly dubiou. _ One day, as
David aro.e from hi [temoon n.p and wandered up onto the roof of
his palace, he . potted Bathsheba, the wife of one of hi. generals,
bathing in her hou",. o.,.pitc the Biblical injunction again .. adul _
tery, D.vid ..,duce. her .nd she faUs pregnant, David then sends
Bathsheb.'. hushand to tho batt lefront with express orden thot he be
exposed to maximum dange r and he is duly .Iain_
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
The prophet Nathan denounce, David lor hi, behaviour and, al _
though David at lirst explode. with rage, he subsequent ly repents.
But what Joe. he do to cleanse hi . guilt' He . leep. with Bath.heha.
again' Yahweh did not .llow B>thsheba', Ii"t child to live as a wav 01
punishing David. But the second child, Solomon, lived t o become a
great king. So God kills an innocent baby to puni ,h its lather, but
ble .. e. David'. other bastard child by giving him a life 01 luxury.
Thi . i . not ethic . I" infanticide. And it hardly .upport. the 'Iami ly
,-.lues ' that religious fundamental i,,, "" vigorously e,pouse'
Immorality i. rife throughout t he Tanakh. God goes to the ex_
tr. ordi""ry length. of destroying t he cities 01 Sodom . nd Gomorrah
because of t heir iniomou. degeneracv, and onlv Lot .nd his family are
thought worthy of saving. But immedi .. ely .Iter this we are told how
Lot', daughters get their lather drunk, ..,duce him, become pregnant,
and wt then raise. hi. daught e," sons .. hi. own. Jl thi s i . the new
standard 01 morali ty that God wanted to rai.., out of the . sh", 01
Sodom and Gomorrah, why did he bother destroying the.., cities in
the fir" place'
What about the Ten Commandmen"; These are held up a. some
of the gre ... >1 mo .. 1 "atute. of all time. Yet they app<ar embarra,, _
ingly naive and ,implistic when set b..ide the gre. t Law Code. 01
Hammurabi in Mesopotami. or the Negative Confession of the Egyp_
t ians. They begin with the decla .. tion 'Thou ,h.1t have no other God
but me', but as t his God i. the capricious trib.1 deity Yahweh who le _
gitimi"". the genocide of all who oppose him, thi s rathe, preclude.
trying to derive .ny kind of mo .. 1 sen.., from the other nine.
The rea""n we .hould h.ve no other God but Yahweh i. b.cause,
a. he op<nly admits, Yahweh i. prone to je.lousy. But i.n't iealou,y a
mortal . inl The commandment not to kill appear> to have had no ef_
fect on the maiorit y of the Tanakh'. leading ch .. actets. But, then, we
can hardly expect conoi"ency from them when God him..,J/ ignore.
hi. own comm.ndment on. , egul .. ba,i . That <till leaves u. with a
few .. lvageable commandments, mch a. not coveting one', neigh_
bour', ox or a ... but thankfully such crimes are no longer. mator
problem in the modern world.
SI
Nationalist Propaganda and Gnostic Myths
The Tanakh la.k, . aid Testament ! h .. been a part of our culture for
'0 long t hat we ore incapable of applying the .. me critical .. andard.
to thi s coileetion of old booh that we would to any other piece of an_
cient literature_ After . fl, if we found the.., tnt> today, would we for
a moment believe that No.h and hi s wile had ",.lly herded .il the
world', anima!. onto their little oo..tl Or t hat Jo.hua h. d brought
down the waH. 0/ Jericho with a trumpet ! Surely not ! We would read
them a. we do t he epic of Gilgamesh or the story of I\eowulf, with
the unde ... . nding t hat anything that i. remotely historical is al most
complet ely burieJ beneath layers oi mythologic.1 .ccretion . We
would certainly not be in the ab. urd situation we are tocby, where
the Holy Land i . crawling with weil_funded expeditions intent on
finding lost arh or magic.l trumpets '
Two t hoU5and }'eato .go a Jew born 0/ the tribe of Benjamin, who
had been circumci,eJ on the eighth day, and was once a zea lou.
Phari,ee, de.eribed the sacred teK," of ludai.m a. 'crap' that were 100
" --
outdateJ they would soon be redund.nt_ We know h,m a. s.mt
Paul. But sadly, although Paul was right about t heTanakh being crap,
he was wrong about it becoming redundant. Instead, the Christian
movement he helped inspire degenerated int o a Literalist cult that
adopted t hi . crap as its Old Testament. Thi. dis.ster w further
compounded when another religion arose c.lIed IsI.m, which based
it",,1/ on the .. me old crap, As now .Imost h.1I of the world', popul._
tion c.il . itself Jewi,h, Christ ian or Mu.lim, this Ita, left u. up to our
waist. in crap,
Yet P.ul didn' t see lewi,h Scripture as iust 'crap', Jewi. h Gnostic.,
.uch a, Paul of TatoU5 and Philo ludaeus, viewed important section.
of the T.nakh as profound .ilegorical myths_ They were able to inter_
1'ret these texts in thi s w.y because part. of them wt're originaily
Gnost ic teaching storie" which answered the human need to under_
" and where we have come from and what life i. all about . The
Tan.kh, like '0 many sacred texts, offers u. distortt-ci versions of a lle_
gorical myth. overlaid wit h other materi.1 included by religious Lit_
eral i,ts for politic.l purpos<s_
lewi sh Gnost ics interpreted the books 0/ Genesis and Exodus, for
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
example, as complementary .ymbolic storie . Genesis wa een a. an
allegory of how human beings becamo lost and exiled in t he world,
whilst Exodus wa oen as an . llcgory of .wakeni ng to gnosi . Gene-
sis was int erpreted a mystic.l eo.mology, in which oat ing of the
fruit o( t he Tree o( Good and Evil represents the (.11 (rom a prim.l
onene.s into a ... te of du.lity. Exodus w.s understood . s an allegory
of aw.kening in wh ich c.ptivit y in Egypt .ymboli . e. being lost in
tho world, the cros.ing o( thc ReJ Soa repre.ents the proce.s o( initi.
t ion, the (ort}' years wandering in t hc dc,ert repre.en" t he spiritual
work o( w.king up .nd the arriv. l in the Promised Land repre.ents
the exp<rience o( gIlo,i .
It i. t ypical of Gnostic. t o try .nd re_awaken their religiou. tradi
t ion by bringing out the mystic.1 mcaning hiddcn within .. cred
scripture. The P.gan philolKl phers did thi s wi th the myth. o( Horner
and Hcsiod. Jewish Gn()Stics did it with the Tan.kh. Somet ime.
Gnost ic. may have projected onto texts mystical rne3Iling t hat was
never there, but o(ten they recovered ancient truth. encoded by other
Gnost ics before them. The Gnostic . gcnd. t hroughout history has
been to .how Litera li st interpretation. o( .acred scripture to be ' crap'
and to revivify the t eachings of gn",i. that these myt h. originally
articul.ted,
THE W O ~ D OF GOD'
4
THE MOST FAMOUS MAN
WHO NEVER LIVED
Thmgs 'ha! you'le Iiabk
To read in 'be Bibl,.
/, ain', nec,mlIlIy so.
_ C ,O. C' G n.KWI N
Once upon a t i me a bright new star appeared in t ho he.vens, It trav_
elled acro .. the sky .nd c.me t o rest over 0 little stable. An angel ap_
peared to .hepherds in a nea rby field and told them t hat the Son 0/
God w.s about to be born. Whon they went t o the .tabl. t hey found
a b.by who had ju>t been born to a Jewish girl who was still a virgin.
The mi ... culou. baby wu c.lled k.u .
A, tho age of thirty le,u. w., Mpti . ed and 'he voice of God an _
nounced t o everyone that fie was God's only son and God was very
proud of him. le.us .." out to 'each P<'OJlJe .bout cod and clio
twelve people to be hi. special disciple . [ems ""rformed monr rni .. _
cle . He , urned water into wine ... marriago. He walked on water,
stilled great .. orm., 1<><><1 lor thou.ands out 01 nothing, he. led
many J><-'OJlle and even brought some back lrom the dead.
le.u. rode into leru .. lem on a donkey .urrounded by hi, cheering
,upportors, In the city he criticised the Jewish religious leade ... a.
hypocrite . They were luriouo and reported him to the Rom.n. who
put him to death. But after three d.ys he resurrected. Later he .,_
cended into Heaven, hut not belore promising that he would come
bock soon to punish the baddies .nd take the goodies to He.ven,
where they would live happily ever . fter,
Imagine, il you c.n, that you had never he.rd thi s story before, Ar_
chaeologists h.ve just di.covered . n ancient toxt which t ell, this
miraculous .. Ie in. cave in Palestine. Do you think it would be read
today as .n historical record 01 things that had actually happened!
Wouldn't it be treated.s another ancient myth, like Adam and Eve or
1.5On .nd the Argonautsl The Je. u. story has the hallmarks 0/ a
myth, And the rea""n lor this is quite . imple. It i. a myth. Indeed,
not only i, it a myth, it i. a Jewi.h venion of a Pagan myt h '
The Dying and Resurrecting Pagan Godman
The earliest religious texts in the world come lrom ancient Egypt
and tell the story 0/ Osiri" O.iri. i. a god who bec.me a man and
wandered through Egypt teaching the people about ...,ligion and the
right w.y to live. He was put to death by the lorces 0/ evil, but was
mogic.lly restored to lile and into Heaven to become t he
judge 0/ souls in the afterlile. Egypti.ns believed that by worship.
ping Osiris and following hi, t eachings they too would enjoy etern.l
lile.
Over the next two thous.nd yen, culture. throughout the
Mediterr.ne.n adopted this myth, with its promise 01 immortality,
and m.de it their own. They .ynth",i""d sophisticated Egypti.n .piri .
tuali t y with their own indigenoU5 mythology to create the various
'mystery religiom' 0/ the ancient world. hch myst ery religion taught
its own version 0/ the myth 0/ the dying and resurrecting Godrrum,
who w.s known by different name. in dillerent places, In Egypt,
where the mpteries began, he was Osiri . In Greece he becomes
THE MOST FAMOU ' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
Diony'us, in A.ia Minor he i. known a, Atti., in Syria he i. Adonis,
in Persia he i . Mith .. s, in Alexandrio he is Serapi., to na me a few.
The my"ery religion. were immen.ely popular in the ancient
world. Mo" of the gre .. philosophers and statesmen of ontiquity
were ini tiate., including. number of Roman ernperon, Initiates 0/
the my"eries leamed that the myth of the Godman was. giant alle _
gory, every element of which could be decoded to reveol profound
spiritual truth. that lead to the experience of gno. is, T hc,e are ""me
of the aliegoric.1 stories told .bout t he Pagan Godman in his many
different gui..,s . We think they wilillOund familiar:
Hi . father i. God ond hi . mother i,. virgin girl.
He i. hailed by hi. followers as the saviour, God made fle.h
and Son 0/ God,
He i. bom in a c.ve or humble cowshed on the twenty_fifth
of December in front of shepherds.
He surround, himself with twelve disciple .
He offers hi. followers the chance to be born aga in through
tho rite. of bapti, m.
He miraculously turn. wat er into wine at 0 marriage
ceremony.
He ride. triumphantly into town on a donkey while people
wave polm leaves to honour him.
He attacks the religious authori ties who set out to
destroy him.
He die. at Eoster time as a .acrifice for the ,ins 0/ the world,
IIOrnetime. through crucifixion.
On the thin! day he ri se. from the dead ond ascends to
Heaven in glory,
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
Hi. followe ... . wait hi. return . , t he iudge during the
Last Days.
Hi. death .nd resurrect ion are celebrat ed by a ritual meal of
bread ""d wine, which symbolise hi, body and blood.
By .ymbolically ,haring in t he suffering and death of the
Godman, initiate. of the mysteries believed they would .lso
,hare in hi . spiritual re,urrection and know eternal Ii f .
Thi ' i" of course, the .. ory that we now think ol.s the life 01 Je,us.
But .!though the similaritie, between Pagan myths .nd the story of
Je,us often come . , h<>ek to people today, in the .ncient world
they were obvious t o Pagan. and Christians alike. Pagan. TOpeat _
edly accu",d the Christi.n. of pl'giari,ing the myths of the myst er _
ie,. The way early Chri"ians re'ponde<! to t hi' critici.m i. highly
reve.ling.
By the end of the .econd century we lind the Chri .. ian movement
divide<! into two opposing c.mps, which we c.1l Gnostic. and Lit er _
ali" . What divide. Cnostic Christian nd Literali" Chri"ian, i.
the different ways they explain the similarit ies between the Jesu.
story and Pagan mythology. The Gnostic expJ.nation is .traight _
forward. Jesus i . the Pagan dying .nd resurrect ing Godman under a
new name. The Gnost ic. e,'en roJer to leoti! using t he names of the
,
Pagan Godm.n, equating hi m directly with ' Atti,' . For the Gnostic.
the Jesus story i. an allegoric.l initiation myt h, based on ancient
Pagan myth .
Earl y Literalist Christian., sucli . s Justin Martyr and Tenullian,
have . much more convoluted explanation. They cl.i m that Jesu.
wa. a real man who actually lived out the myths of the Pagans.
While the P.gan storie. of the Godman .. e just myth., the Jesus
story i factual account of miraculous events. The Litoral i". ex
plain that the Devil , knowing t hat Jesu, was going to come in the
llosh, create<! the Pagan myth. 01 the Godman in .dv.nce in order to
deceive the laithlul and lead them .stray. Justin irdorm. u. that the
Pagan storie bout the Son 01 God, who was born of a virgin, rode on
an ''', and who died .nd .scended to Heaven, liad be;,n put about by
,
'wicked demon. '. Tenullian agreed that the Devil, 'wh"", business
T HE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
i. t o pervert the truth', had copied the . ac .. ments, the ble .. ing of t he
bread, b.pti .m for the forgivene .. of sino and even the symbol of the
,
resurTect ion itself.
From the late second century onward. there was an .lmighty bot _
t le for the IOOul 0/ Christianity_ On one . ide were Gnostics who ar _
gued that the Jesus story w a giant .Ilegory, every deuil of which
could be decoded to rcveal profound mystical teachings about gnosis,
On t he other side wa. a vociferous band of Literalists who taught
that the Jesus story was hi",ory, So who is right? The Gnostic Chri . _
t i.ns or the Liter.list Christians! Is Jesus a myth or a man!
The Invisible Man
Is t hcre anv hi storic.l evidence t o make us believe that t he bnt.sti_
c. 1 ",orie. of Jesus in the go.pels are f.ct rather t han fiction? Jesus is
said to have miraculou.ly fcd thousands of p'-'O]lle .nd raised the
dead, Wfien he w crucified. great unnatural darkne .. is said to
have covered the Iond, the whole earth quaked ""d split open ""d the
dead came out of their graves_!1 such dramatic occurrences h. d actu_
allv happened they would surely have been mentioned by one of the
m.ny hi",orians of the time. Yet none 0/ them d"" "
The Rom.ns kept deta iled legal records, but no record 0/ the trial
or crucifi Ki on of je.u. h.s ever been found, Liter Christ ians forgcd
such documents, but these have long been known t o be fakes . In f.ct ,
from the hundreds of books written during this cxtreme ly literate pe _
riod in history, only a fe w fragmcnts of t e ~ t .re brought forward a.
possible evidence for the historical Jcsus, But none of them stands up
to scrutinv,
From .Il the Rom.n authors there are three . mall pass.ge. in
Pliny, Suctonius and Tacit us, which Christian apologist. claim a.
proof of the existence of Jesus. But the.., .uthors were writing in the
. econd centurv, long after t he supposed life of lesus, ""d all they ac_
tu. lly tell u. is tMt a few Christ i.ns existed in the Roman world at
this t ime, which has never been in doubt. The reference in Pliny i . a
trivi.l footnote in. letter about IIOme Christian t rouble_makers, Sue _
tonius actuallv rders to ooflleone called 'Crestu.' and the Tacitus
p .... ge i. now con.idered by manv schol.rs to be a forgery.
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
So what about Jewi . h writ ers of t he t ime! They .hould be more
interest"" in such. famous Jcw a. lems, hut here the .it uation i.
even worse. Philo should mention him, a. he lived at exact ly the
. ame timc that le.u. i. d aim"" to h.ve been 5tirring up t rouble
in Jeru,alem, And yet in his numerous bool", he makes no mention
of le.us or any of the events deocrib"d in thc New Te"ament. The
one Jewish historian who does ment ion lesus i . Josephu.,
In single pa .. groph in his many works he makes what at first
. ight ",ems to be a glowing reference to lesus ' the MC5Siah' , But over
two hundred years .go the great ,cholar Edward Gibbon in The De-
cline and Fall of the Roman Empire dismissed this passage as a 'vul _
,
gar forgery', He demono".ted that the I"'" .ge was not to be found
in lo.ephu. at the beginning of the third century and must have been
in..,rted into t he t ext ea rly in the early fourth century, after Chri . _
t iani t y had been made t he religion of t he Roman Empire.
The passage i, an obvious interpolation becau,e when it i. re_
moved t he origi na l t ext flow, easily .nd m. ke. more ..,nse, The
. entiments it expresoes arc entirely out 0/ keeping with Josephus'
views on the Jewi.h m},th of the Me .. iah.lolOOphu. wrote hi. works
after t he destruction of lerusalem in 70 CE by t he Romans, which he
blam"" entirely on the many would_be Me .. i.hs running around
Palestine in the years leading up to the disaster. Josephus d.mned
the", Messiah. a. ' religiouo bandits' who h. d whipped up t he people
into a Mei.nic frenzy and deluded t hem into believing t hat t hey
could de/eat t he might 0/ Rome,
After lerusalem w. s destroyed Josephus .bandoned the Jewish re _
ligion completely and went to live in Rome. There he wrote books
that we,e . ponsored by wealthy Roman. and we,c intended as a
warning to the [a5t against further pointle .. re.istance, and eope _
cially about t he dangers of listening to that wefl_worn Jewish
prophecy that the Messiah would arise out 0/ Isr.eL Jo""phu, even
provoke. Jewish religious zea lots by .... ing that in his opinion the
myth of the Me5Siah had indeed been fulfilled, not by a lew but by
the Roman gene,. l Vesp .. i.n, who was made emperor whilst be.ieg_
ing )eru .. lem! So it i imply impos. ible that Josephus could have
,aid t he things about le,us that t he forger of the /o.ephus p .... ge
claims.
Outside 0/ the fabulous tales in the New Testa ment, these are the
THE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
only piece. of ' evidence' that schola .. have ever found to t estify to
the sUPP"'ed life of Jesus. As t he Protestant schol., Albert Schweit _
zer wrote in hi. book The Que;;1 of Ihe Hisl oricallcsus:
There;' nothing more negat ive thon the ",. ult of the critical study
01 t he life of J<>u . . _ it ho. h Uen to pieces, cleft and di.int eg,.ted by
the concrete histOTical problem. which came to the . urface one .fter
another'
In the 1970. a Carmelite nun c.lled Phyllis Graham left her order
and wrote. book called The 'esus Hoax in which she explained why

she h.d come t o the conclusion there w.s no historic.l Jesus . Sadly.
like the va .. m.iority 01 converts, .he did things the wrong way
round. She spent. lifetime as a be liever and (hen went l""king for
evidence to . upport her fai th in the existence of Jem. the man_ She
found none. For her the Je>sephu. pas .. ge i . a vital piece of evidence,
but not in the way that its c",.tor meant. Rather than proving the ex_
istence of the historical rem. it i . actually damning evidence t h .. he
never existed. The forger only . ucceeded in proving t hat even at this
very early date Christiano could find no more evidence lor je.U! than
scholars can t oday. and so they m.de it up. Making thing. up i
omething Literalist Christian. ar< very good at .
In 2002 it wa. announced that an o.suary had been discovered
which claimed to have once hou.ed the bone. of 'James son 01 Joseph
brother 01 roous ' . Jesu. i . said to have had a brother c.lled James who
ran the Jeru.alem Church. The ossuary bec. me world news. For Lit _
eral ist Christians, aware of the lack of evidence for the nistence of
Je.us, it was almost too good to be true. And. indeed, it wa . When
independent experts st udied t he ossuary t hey di.covered that . whilst
it w indeed from the fir., century and belonged to someone called
Jame>, the word. 'brot her of Jesus' had been added to the inocript ion

in the third century. The ossuary was . cre.tion of the holy relic. in_
dustry, which traded endle .... cred artefac .. , . uch as . plinters of the
'true cro .. nail . used in the crucifixion,' large number of foreskin.
purporting to have once be;,n belonged to Jem. and even hi. umbili_
c.l cord! The os.uary was announced to be . fa ke. But thi., of course,
did not become front _page new. around the world_
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
Paul's Mythic Christ
The tradi t ional history of Chri!ti.nity cannot convincingly expl.in
why t he lesus story is.., simil" to ancient Pagan myth . Nor c.n it
expl. in why there i . no evidence for the historical lesus, However,
there i,. solut ion t hat dispose, of hoth these problem. in one stwke,
The Gnostics were right. The lesus story is.n .llegoric. l myth , This
simple explanation al.., .olve nother problem that has troubleJ
scholars for centuries, Why doe, Paul ne,'er mention .n historic.l
lesus in his lettersl
Although schoJ. .. have now dismissed . lmost h.lI of Paul's let_
ters a, forgeries, hi uthentic lette," are the earliest Chri!ti.n docu_
ments we po .. e .. and prewte the go.pe l. by m.ny decades, They
. hould be full of storie, about the life of je.u,. But t hey aren't. Paul
never quotes Je.u nd never ment ion ny dcuils about his life. He
neve, refers to Je.u.' miraculou. birth. He doe,n't tell any ""ecdote.
about Mary and I""eph. There is no mention of .ny miracle" No
wat er into wine, no walking on water, no miraculous meals or extr._
ordin.ry cat ches of fi,h, There i. no Sermon on the Mount or Lord'.
Pro}'e!. There is no agony in Geth.eman., no tri.l, no flogging. no
crown of thorns, no thieves crucifieJ with je.us, no weeping women,
nothing about the place or time of execution and no Jud., or I ~ l " e ,
Many Christian scholars have pondereJ over the 'sc.ntine" of
Paul', lesu. t .. dition', which they h.ve described '.urpri. ing',

'shocking' and . 'm.tt er of .. rious concern' , We .grce that it i, in_
conceivable that Paul would not have talked .bout the life of Jesus if
he had known of one, In our experience of cults, followers of re
cently dead t eacher can't help but enthu.e about how wonderful t he
m.ster w.s, what he did and what he said, But as one schol .. writes,
Paul', complete ,i lence on t he historic.l Jesus 'remain. a problem
only for tho"" who insist that there was .n historical je.u. to be

.. lent about',
From the Literalist pe",,,,,ctive the absence of an historic.l je>u.
in Paul's letters i maior problem. But from the Gnostic """,,,,,ctive
it ma ke. perfect sen"" Paul i Gnostic and hi. je.u. is the hero of
an initi.,ion myth, Thi. idea .eem hocking becau.e tod.y Paul i.
regarded a b"stion of Literalist orthodoxy, But in the first two cen_
T HE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
turie. P.ul w honoured by Gnostic , their ' Great A"",tle' and
revereJ . s t he foundi ng father of Chri .. ian Gnosticism. The Gnostic
m."er V.lent inu. t ell . us that hi. t eacher had received the te.chings
of gnosi. directly from Paul. Indeed, ""vend previously un1rnown
Gno"ie works att ributed to Paul were found in the library of Gn05tie
texts discovered .. N.g Ha mm.di ,
Paul's authentic letters are full of thoroughly Gnost ic ideas and
terminology. He tell . us he experienced Jesu s. vi.ion of li,'t and
everything he know bout Je.us came through 'revelation'. When
Paul tells u, 't he .ecret ' of Christianity, it h.s nothing to do with an
historical Jesus, The great ..,eret of Christianity, Pau l declares, i . t he
"
mystic. l revelat ion of 'Christ in you'. For Paul", for later Gnostics,
the Christ "'preoents the one awareness that i. the true identity of all
of u" Paul's me".go i . the perennia l Gnost ic mess.ge, We
are a ll one, He te.ches that when we are 'bapti",d into union with
[e. us , , . there i. no .uch thing as Jew and Greek, . lave .nd Jre eman,
"
m.le .nd fern. Ie, for we are all one person in Christ Jesu,' ,
The only elements of the [ .. us myth t hat P.ul mentions are
Christ's de .. h .nd resurrection, which Paul understands as symbolis_
ing the process of initiation, By .haring in Je,us' de .. h and re.urrec_
t ion initi .. es .ymbolic. lly die to their 'old ",If' and re.urrect 'in
"
Christ', P.ul reminds hi, students 'the per>on you once were has
been crucifieJ with Christ', "
The Chri"ian Gnostics repe",edly .. tacked Jewish Literalism, de _
claring t h .. the God of their .piritu. l Jesus is not the God of the
T.n.kh, who t hey derided a, a f. lse god and c.lled an 'ext ermin. _
"
to,--', Paul . Iso displ.y. contempt for Jewi . h Literali . m, declaring
[ewi.h l.w to be curse that has .e",ed only to keel' the !"'OVle

down, He oppo,e. the very idea of Literalism, declaring. 'The letter
kilfs but the 'pirit give. life',
"
Genocidal Joshua Becomes Gentle Jesus
It '. not looking good for the Literali". , The story of lesu. i, ex_
tremely .i mil .. to .ncient Pagan myth., There is no e,-idencc lor the
exi"encc of fe. uo a. an historical fi gure, And Paul, who. e letters are
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
the earliest Chri .. ian documents we po .. e , i. cloarly Gn"'tic
who regards the [esus story as a mythical .llegory encoding my .. ical
teachings, The Gno",ic. are clearly right to claim t hat the Jesus .. ory
is an allegorical myth. But how and why w .. it creat e<!!
In the same way that .uthors t oday write novel. to communicate
profound ide." autho .. in the ancient world compo,e<! mythologic.l
storie. to communicat e ideas. Myths were not ""en.s untrue.s they
are today. Rat her myths were. w.y oj conveying spiritual truths in a
for m that worked on many levels. The Greeks had brought myth_
m.king to a high .rt, and Helleni.ed Jew. had be<:omc equally fluent
in tho medium.
[ewi . h Gnostics of the first century CO were extremely influence<!
by Pagan spiritu.lity. The Therap<utae, for example, were a group 0/
mystic.l Jew, who practised their own ,"wi,h my .. erie. baoed on an
allogorical interpretation 0/ the myth. of M""e nd Joshua, But the
Therap<utae were . 1", followe .. of t he great P.gan .. ge Pyt hagoras,
Philo, who tell. us about the Therap<uue, was known as both Philo
the Jew and Philo the Pythagorean.
Synt hesi.ing Papn .nd Jewish myt hology ob..,ssed jewish Gno._
tic. , such ., Philo and the Therap<uue. We pos.e .. a lnge number 0/
texts by jewi.h write" that combine themes from Pagan .nd Jewish
mythology. It i, out 0/ thi' eclectic environment that a new myth
ari,es which synthesise, the Pagan myth of t he dying and resurrect
ing Gooman with the kwi . h myth of t he Messiah, Two centuries
e.rlier a Jewish author h.d written t he fi .. t_ever novel, which i. an
"
allegorical story that portrays Judai,m as a m}'stery religion. Now
the Je,us story was creoted as an allegorical novel which portray. the
Messiah a. tho hero of a Jewish mystery religion.
Many Jews of this p<rioo were anxiously .waiting the return 0/
their great Messiah Jo,hua, the nation.listic hero of t he Tanakh who
Ie<! hi, people to the Promise<! Land. They hoped that [""hu. would
deliver them from the oppre .. ive Rom.ns who now ran Israd. The
word 'Me .. iah' means '.nointe<!' .nd ",fers t o a king or . piritu.l
leader. Tran. lated into Greek' Messiah' become, 'Christ' and 'Joshua '
becomes 'Jesus', So these Jews were waiting for the return of their
Me.siah [oshu. or Chri .. [esus,
Translotors of the Bible always use the Hebrew name 'Joshua' to
THE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
rder to the hero o( the Old Testament, but the Greek translation
'Je.u.' when rderring to the hero o( the New Testament . This . Ieight
o( hand has prevented u. (rom re.li.ing that the Je.us o( th, New
Testament i imply the Joshua o( the Old Testament in new dis_
gui. e . In the . econd century BeE the Hasmonean. had cre",ed the
lem. 0/ the Tanakh to (it their nationa listic agenda. In the /irst cen_
tury CE mystical ]cwo created an . Iternative Je.us to (it their Gnostic
agenda.
The origin.1 Christians wore Jewish Gnostic. reacting against the
b""t ic. ll ewi. h Literali.m o( the Ha.mone. n . Ha.mone,n religious
bigot ry h.d made the Jew. extremely unpopular in the .neient world,
At the time Paul was tr.velling through the Mediterranean with hi.
me"age o( love, hatred of the lew. kd become wide.pre.d, Greek
and Rom.n authors .. that time routinely de. cribed the lew. as the
most .nti_social of.1I races, They were id to despi.e the rest 0/ hu _
m3Jlity, (rom whom they .eparated them""lve. with the most ridicu _
"
lou. dietary low nd sU,f'""i tions. Cicero described Jud.ism a
'krkrouo super.t ition' . In the (ace o( this rampant anti_Semitism
lewish Gnostic. such os Paul hoped t hat their le.u. mystery rel igion
would bre.k down the w.lIs that divided Jews and Gentile .
In the hands of the Gnostic. the genocid. l Jesus of the Tan.kh i.
tr.n.formed into the gentle lem. of Christianity. Their new Jesu. i
free_thinking, comp ion .. e Gnost ic superhero, who i. bot h the
Icwi. h Messiah ""d the Pag.n Godman, He i . not. xenophobic p._
triot who conque", hi . enemies with extreme brutal ity, l ike the
genocidal lesus, He i. a paci(i" . dvDe.ting non_violence. He doe. not
invoke the I.w of Tal ion found in The Book of Exodus, which de
m.nd. 'an eye (or an eye and a tooth ior. tooth', " lmte.d he pro_
claim. the message of Socr .. e. that we .hould love our enemie .
T hi . lesus come. to bring persona l not national , alvotion. Hi. God i.
not a narrow ,ectarian bigot who lov,," only lew. , but a unive".1
God of Jew. and Gentiles al ike, A God of love, A Gnostic God.
The go. pel story i . a crit ique 0/ Literalist Judaism. Its hero i. a
lewish heretic who i. forever critici.ing the religious authorities,
c.llinli, them vipers, .nd declaring the God of the Tanakh to be the
Devil. He const.ntiy breaks I.wish religious law nd encourage.
hi. di.ciple. to do likewise. He hangs out with all the wrong people,
,uch as prost itute., tax collectors, lepers and the di.]>OS.e ... d. He
THE LAuGHISG I ESU.
acm..,. the 'teache ... of the Low' of having the 'kev. to gIlo. i.' but
of not entering in them.elve., and not allowing others to enter in
"
either. Thi. Je.m .peaks and acts like a Gno"ic, becau.e he is their
literary mouthpiece.
The new Jesu. story was not created all at once but grew organi_
c.lly over time. In the early first cent ury Paul ha imple myth 0/
[e,us. From the ",me period. we have The Gospel o{Thomas, which
consist. of wisdom s.yings put into t he mouth of Jesus. Within a
generat ion the Jesus story had become progress ively fleshed out with
more .nd more allcgorical motifs drown from Jewi.h and P.gan
mythology. Other characte ... , .uch. s Mary, Peter .nd Judas, were in_
troduced, all of whom the Gnostics rcgarded pl.ying a .ymbolic
role in their great J>oIrable 01 initiation. By the middle of the second
century the story h.d developed into a profound and complex a lle_
gorical novel . et in r.le5tine, But once tho symbolic.1 story of Jesu.
had become a quasi_historic.l narrative, it was only. matter of time
belore p'-'O]lle "aned .. king it literoJly.,. record of actual evon" ,
The Literalist Heresy
In the fir" century c. the [cw. were consumed by a cri.is cre",ed by
religious extremi sm, Jude. Wa5 now. Roman province and Jewi.h
zealots claiming to be the Messi.h we", con.rand}' lcading futile re_
voh . In 70 c the Roman army l.id siege t o Jeru .. lem and destroyed
the t emple. In IJ5 c another revolt broke out that 'p",ad t o cities
throughout t he Greek .nd Roman world, whe", Jew. lOS< up and
m ... acred thoir neighbou". Thi' time Roman revengc w., total.
leru .. lem w., dismantled stone by stone and another w.ve of en_
,l.ved Jew. was dispe"ed throughout the Roman Empire.
After the de"ruction 0/ Israel it wa. obvioU5 what Jewi . h religious
exclusivity h.d rea lly achicved. The gen()Cidal [ems 01 the Tanakh
had not returned t o lead t he Jew. to vict ory over their enemie . In
bet he h.d not appeared", all' Belid in t he Me.si.h had not deliv_
ered tho Jews from oppre"ion. Quit e the opposite. It had led them to
be exiled from their Promised Land into slavery .mong .. the l"gans,
[ewish Literali.m had failed.
In the I.co 01 thi' desperat e predicament, thc cult of tho Gnostic
THE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
Je. us provided ""me hope and rea.mrance. Gnostic Christiani ty
began to uke off .mongst lew., who were now di.perscJ .round the
ancient world. And Gentile. incre .. ingly embrace<! it as well, iu" as
Paul h.d hoped, But when Chri stianity reached Rome, it underwent
a dramatic transformation.
In the .econd century the Rom.no finally felt .ecure enough to
tolerate diversity . nd Rome wit ne .. ed the proliferation 0/ a bewil _
dering variety 0/ cults and philosophie. , The city became a magnet
for w.ndering prophets from all o,'e r the Near East. There was
money to be m.de out 0/ the my .. erie nd soon . ,,,ires of wandering
miracle _workers m.ki ng a mint out of the gullible bec.me a popular
literary genre.
Strange beliefs and exot ic religions were no longer the preserve 0/
the poor. Ju .. a. Hollywood stars t<><lay traip,e from one new cult to
another in .earch of somethi ng more tIYn money . nd fame, so rich
Roman 1", liked to spend their lei,ure ti me dabbling in the mystery
religions 0/ the mystic East , Wealthy aristocrats, polit ician. and even
emperors became init iate') of various cult. of the dying and re.urrect_
ing Godman. Mark Antony chooe Dionysus his ""tron deity.
Claudim favoured Aui . Ve.p .. ian worshipped Se'"pi . Domitian
honoured Osiri . , Even a god worshipped by the Persians, Rome 's bit
terest enemies, found imperi. l favour when t he emperor Commodu.
was initiated into the Mysteries of Mithras,
Many Gnostic masters moved to Rome in the middle of the .ec_
ond century to set up school . 0/ philosophy. At t his t ime. Christian
phi losopher c.lled lustin .Iso moved to Rome. He had been reiected
by both Pythagore.n .nd Platonic .ch<>ols 0/ philosophy before he
moved to the big city and, de.perate to be accepted a. a philosopher,
he set up his own Christi.n cult. It i . in his writings we hear for the
/irst time that lesu. was a re.1 man who had been put to deat h by
Pontius Pilate. Justin i. the /i", of the Literalist Christi. ns.
Literalist Christianity was iust another minor cult compet ing for
adherents in the overcrowded . piritual marketplace. But it came up
with a new marketing angle that gave it .n edge over the other cults
of the dying and resurrecti ng Godman. It claime<! that whi le the
Pagan stories were just myth., Jesu. h.d actu.lly come and lived out
these myths in the flesh. The Son 0/ God, so lovingly described by
TH[ LAUGHISG I [W.
the Pagan phi l<>sophers, and the Messiah, "" de'perately awaited
by the Jew" h.d inc.rnoted in one man, in one pl.ce, at one time.
Thi . w revolutionary new claim.
Pagans, of course, cont inued to complain that the Jesu .. ory h. d
been plagiari..,d from Pagan myth" but this only drove the Literal_
ists to rebut such charges by fle,hing out the n.rrative 0/ the Jesu.
"Dry wi th more and more pscudo_hi .. orical detail , _ Of cour"" it
helped that there was no w.y of knowing what had re.lly uken place
in Jerusalem more than century and a hal f ago. !ermalem was an in_
significant pl.ce a long w.y from Rome. Noone cou1d check the Lit_
eral ists' wild claim. against the facts on the ground, bec.me the
ground had been utterly razed. Ju" a few yea" befoTe Justin arrived
in Rome the city of lerusalcm had been re _founded . s a Roman city
lrom which 1ew, were forbiddcn on pain 0/ dc'ath.
lu .. in not only gives u. the first evide nce of Lit erali .. Christianity,
he . 1"" giv,," u. the first indicatio", of a rift between Gnostic. and
Lit e .. li .... Gnost ic. were a problem for Lit e .. li.!> bec.use they kept
undermining their new cult ', advertising camp.ign by d.i mi ng t hat
le.us wasn't really. man, but t he hero 0/ an allegorical myth_ lustin
pu!> down Gnostic. by accu,ing them of a variety of dirty tricks,
such a. gaining . dherents by seducing women. He cven . CCllOe. the
Gnost ics of c.nnibalism!
Litera li ... do all they can to portray the Gnostic. as fringc heretic.
and t hem..,lve,.s the C. tholic, or 'unive".l ', Church, but thi' i. ac_
tu.lly a complete rever .. l of the truth. For the first three cent uries c
Lit erali .. Chri .. i.nit y was the fr ingo sect and Gnostic Christiani ty
wa. far more popular, which is why Lite .. li ... spent"" much time
attacking Gnostics. And why Gnostics could rarely be bothered to
fight back.
By the time Justin w. , writing in Rome, Gn05tic Christiani t y had
spread throughout the ancient world. In Egypt, Syri. and Asia Minor,
the first Christ ians we know of are all Gnostics. In 110 Cl Cor_
poerate, founded a Gnost ic sect in Alexandri._ In 117 CE Basilid ..
beg.n anot her school in Alexandria. Around 120 CE, Cerinthu. wa.
writing in the city of Ephesus . Valentinu. studied in Alexandria be _
fore gning to Rome in 130 c to set up his schooL In 144 Marcion,
who .lready had t housands of followe" in the East, aho came to
T HE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
Rome, followed in ISO by Marcus, By the thin! cent ury Mani had
founded a Gnostic church who"" inlluence woufd eventually reach
from Sp.in in the We .. to China in the Eost.
Pagan write .. testify to the popufarity of Gno"ic Christianity,
The philosopher Cd. us t ell . u. about many different Gnostic Chri . _
tian group. and their texu, but he know. nothing of Literalist Chri . _
tian. and t he books of the New Teotament , The Pagan philollOpher
I'lotinus tells us thot some of his friend . .. e Gnostic Christians and
mentions their texu, some of which have been found at Nag Ham_
madi, but he al.., has no knowloJge of Literali" Chri"ianity or any
of t he New Testoment gospels ,
The popularit y of Gnostic Christi.nity i ttestoJ t o by Literalist
Christians themsefve., A letter attributed to I'olycarp admits t hat
'the great majorit y' of Chri>tian. don't believe t hat Jesu. existed 'in
"
the fle.h'. Tertullian bemoans the fact that Gn05tics fill ' t he whole
"
univer",,' , Even the great her"", of early Literalist Christianity were
just going through a phase, Justin'. star pupi l T .. ian gave up on Lite,
ali.m and went off to join the Gnostics. A. did Tertullian, who even_
tu.lly condemned the Literalist Boman Church a n organi"' t ion
of ' a number of bi,hop" rather than 'a .piritual church for . piritual
"
people'.
Mathew, Mark, Luke and John
In Rome. generation after Justin, the Literali st Bi.hop [renaeus was
han! at work composing his m."ive work Against Heresies to
discredit his Gnostic riv.ls. He rambles on for volume after vol_
ume deriding their .llegoric, l interpretat ions of the fesus story as
'c .. ftify_construct ed plausibilitie.' designoJ to 'duw aw.y the mind.
of the ine xperiencoJ and ta ke them captive'. Gnosticism i. a con.pir_
acy to deceive t he faithful by ' drawing them .way unde, a pretence of
s uperior gnos;s,. J] [n response Gnostics accuse Literalist. of .. tting
up an 'imitation church', bec.use t hey h.d replaced the Gnostic un_
Je"'tanding of the Je.u. myth a. a spiritual parable with something
"
utterly ban.f, but beguilingly simple,
According t o Literalist 11 you needed t o do was believe the Je. u.
THE LAuGHISG IESU.
story was true .nd you would be .. ved. The problem w th.t there
were dozens of Chri .. ian go'pei. in circulat ion, ,,",ny 01 which have
now been lound at N.g Hamm.di, which clearly portrayed Je.u. a. a
mythicalfigore, In respon'" [renaeus .uddenly produce. four g<l"'l.
which tell the Jeous story a. an hi>torical narrati ve. He claims to
have lour eye_witne ... <count> of the life olle,u" which he .ttrib_
ute, to M.tthew, Mark, luke and John, and he rejects all the other
Christian go.pel s as .puriou"
No one before Irenaeu. had ever claimed that thero were only four
genuine gospet.. A generation earlier lustin never mentions Mal1hew,
Mdrk, Luke and lohl!. But [",n,eu ..,,, out to establish t hese four
go,pels as the definit ive Christian canon . nd the ba. i. for what will
become the New Te"ament. Hi, argumen .. , however, are somewhat
tortuous:
It is not .,.,..i ble th.t t he gospel. <:.an be either more or fewer lJl num_
ber tban they ore. fur, since there . r< four mne. of the world in which
we li><, .nd four principal winds, while the Church i. >cattered
throughout oil the world, .nd the 'pill.r .nd ground' of the Church"
the ~ 0 ' 1 " ' 1 .nd the ,pllit 01 life, "i. litting tbat ,he . hould h.ve four
pill." . bre.thing out immonolity on e,'ery . ide, and vivifying men
.fre,h, H
Irmaeus' rhetorical gJ.'mn."ic. m.y well have convinced other liter_
alists' but all they really tell u. i, that hi. 'four go.pe l ' project w a
novel ide. that needed some desp<' rat c defending. It .. ill needs de._
perat e defending t oday bee.use hola .. h.ve demonstrated that not
one of the.e g<pet. i. an eye_witness .<count of the life of [e,u..
Scholars regard The Go<pei of Mark a, the e .. liest of the gospels.
But careful analy. i. of the t ext has reve.led th.t it i. not one man's
account of hi .. orical even ... It i . a cut _.nd_!", .. e creation put to_

gcther over time from pre_existing ying. and te.ching storie.. In
Mdrk the .. fragments have been woven together into. narrative that
has been sexed up with some ..,emingly historic. l .nd geographic.l
dNails. But whoever did this made . Il sort, of mi . .. ke. due to what
"
one scholar calls '. !'mentable ignorance of Palestinian geography' .
Matthewand Luke are likewise not eye_witn .. , accounts of [""u,'
THE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
lile, When scholars Ii,..t put Matthew, Mark and Luke .Iongside one
another they not iced that large ,ect ions 01 Matthew and Luke had
. imply been copied verbat im lrom Mark, Other sayings and .. orie.
have been added l rom other sources, lor exomple t he virgin birth .nd
the re,urrection, but ba,ically Matthew and Luke are just Mark with
extra lries .
The Gospel of fohn i. written in. complet ely different "yle from
the other go.pel. and tell signilic.ntly different version 01 the life
of lesu" This gospel is actu.lly .ttributed to the 'Beloved Di,ciple',
Based on childb<>Od memory [ren.eus claims the Beloved Disciple
i. lohn. But is t hi' right ? In other Christian texts found .. Nag Ham_
m.di it is Mary Magdalene who is referred t o . , Jesus' Beloved Disci _
ple. And scholars h.ve .hown that crude alteration. have been made
to the go.pel to make John rather than Mary the .uppooed author. [n
the origiru<l t oxt it was not lohn who was portra,red .s intimotely
lying across lem,' lap at the last supper, but Mary,
[re""eus has changed the sex 0/ the Beloved Discip!e to meet t he
marketing need. of hi , lit eralist cult in Rome, because the mirogy_
nist Rom.ns would never be impressed by. book written by a mere
woman! At the . ame time t hat lrenaeus i. writing, the P.gan
philosopher Col,us only know. of Christi.n go.pel. which are.1I .t _

tributed to women. But lrenaeu. clai m. t here are only four go.pel.
and t hey.re written by men'
The author 0/ the misnamed Gospel of fohn .ttributed t his work
to the Beloved Di,ciple who i, Mary_ In t he ancient world spirit u.1
liter .. ure was routinely .ttributed to mythic.! figures, Mary i. an
immensely important figure in Gnost ic myt hology, bec.use ,he i.
le,us ' con.ort and repre",nts t he Christian Godde" Sophia, literal _
ist Christian. have completely erased Sophi. from Christi.nity, but
,he wa. once as irnporunt . figure.s lem, himsell.
None of lrenaeu,' four gospels are act ually eye_witness accounts
of historical events, The great scholar Rudoll Buhm.nn devoted hi.
whole Ii !e to .. udying these gospels, but he eventually concluded
that t hey could t ell us 'almost not hing concerning t he life . nd per_
sonali t y of le.us, since the early Christian sources .how no interest

in either .nd .re, moreover, fragmenury and olten legendary', Now
we are in a po.ition to go furt her than Buhmann and conclude t hey
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
c.n tell us nothing .. all about an historical le. u. becau>o no .uch
man ever existed. The four go.pels ore literary creat ions designed to
serve a. the foundation texts for the Literalist Church oj Rome. They
are Gnost ic myths embdli,hed lat er by Lite .. li.ts to fit their agenda
of creating an authoritarian religion.
The Acts of the Apostles?
If le.us re.lly was an historical figure, what happened to his disci _
ples' To an.wer t hi' question lrenaous produce. another new text
which no one has previously mentioned, called The Acts of the Apos-
tIel, And what do the apostles d01 They att.ck Gnostic. of cou .... '
Many Gnostic. traced their tradition to tho fi ... t_century s.ge Simon
Magus. Acts portrays lesus' disc iple Peter humi liat ing Si mon. lre_
naeus q uotes from Acts., proof that Simon had been .hown to be a
fraud by Peter, A generation earlier, Justin had al.o attac ked Simon,
"
but he didn' t bolster his .rguments by quoting from Act.., Why1 Be _
c.use Acts didn't exist in lustin's time. Gnost ic Christian. refused to
acknowledge Acts as scripture and you can..,., why, It i crude
piece of anti_Gnostic prop.ganda forged in the I.te ""cond cent ury,
Although its t itle .uggests th .. it i. going to tell us what happened
to lesuo' di,ciple" The Acts of the Apostles .ct ually tolls us nothing

about nine of them except their n.me" Thor i, bo.>eause tho real Lit_
eralist agenda in forging Acts is to establi.h the identi ty of Peter, who
they want t o clai m as the founder of their Lit e .. li" Church. Literal_
ists needed an apostle of their own with the dout to rival the Gnos _
t ic.' ' great .po.tle' Paul.
T he Literalists could not ignore Paul becau>o he w. s too well
known, so in Ac(s they ,et .bout turning him into. Liter.li" .nd
m.king hi m subordinate t o Peter. They did thi. by making use of the
f.ct that Paul say, himself that ho h.d nove, met Je.us. Acts now
makes it a condition of being an apostle t hat you need to have met
"
lesus, It was a simple ploy but it effectively put Paul ""d aU tho,e
misguided Gno.tico who followed hi m firmly in their place, So now
Peter, the suppos.d founder of the Litcnli" Church, is a t rue apostle,
although in fact he i . not an historic.1 figure at all. And Paul, the
T HE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
"
hero o! the Gn"' t ic., i. not. true apostle, .!though in hct he was
one o! the founders o! Christianit y_
Acts was hbricated t o ,uggest that Paul and Peter h.d met in
Jerusalem .nd that P.ul had .ccepted Peter' uthority, Actually,
however, .lmost ever},thing Act:!" ",y, Paul connic," with what

says about him>eU in hi. lctters, And Paul never mention.
meeting anyone called Peter. The Literal i,ts' solution w two clever
piece. o! editori.l tampering, One with Paul '. Lettel to rhe Galdtians
and one with The Go'pel of /ohn,
In hi . Leller to rhe Galatians, Paul mentiono Christian he met
in [cru .. lem c.lled Cephas, With imple int erpol .. ion one o! these
reference. to Cephu wa. changed to 'Peter' , It i. an
to the text in the next sentence P.ul immediately revert.
back to talking about Cephas. Nonethele .. , it was enough to identify
Ceph.s .nd Peter a. the . ame penon.
Peter w a centr.l !iction.l character in the [e'u, myth. T here aTe
over ISO rderences to 'Peter' in t he New Testament , In The Gospel
of fohn one o! t he,e been changed to read 'Cepha.' .nd an editor_

i.l voice helpfully points out ' thot i. Peter' , From t hen on Ceph i.
never mentioned .goin,
T he name Ceph ppears only once in t he whole o! the New Te._
t . ment and the name Peter .ppears only once in all the letten 0/
but these two simple interpolations were enough to ident ify
the myt hic.l !iguTe Peter with the historic.l person Cephas. Thi.
connection t hen 10rlllcd a !ounwtion lor Acts, which .how. t he

Gnostic apostle P.ul .ubordinate to the Literalist .postle Peter.
Other adiustments were m.de to Paul'. letters that .chieved a
gre.t deal with t he minimum o! .. mpering. [renaeu. and Tertullian
both quote Ga/alians but omit the word not in kcy pa .. age, In t he
original letter ""y. that he does 'not' .ubiect him..,U to the
authority o! the Christi.no he met in 1cru lem, but in the new ver_
.ion he accepts their authority, which hts the Lit cralist agendo per_
" , -
leetly, Now they could claIm that Paul met Peter la. k_a. Cepha.),"
Jerusalem and .ccopted the authority o! Peter, It i. a story that i ... ill
believed today, but none 0/ it i. true_
In the years following the creation o! The Acrs of the Apmtics leg_
end. about Poter multiplied exponenti.lly. Dram .. ic stories were
"
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
compo,ed relating how Pete, founded the Literali!! Church in Rome
and w., ",. rtyred by being crucified upside down. But despite their
creativity and ent ert.inment value, the. e l""ta.ie. were invented
too late to be included in t he New Te.ument.
The Literalist Paul
Not only i, lrenaeu. t he lirst perron in history to ment ion Matthew.
Mark, Luke and fohn, and The Acts of the Apo,lles, he also claim. to
be in po"e"ion 01. number of letten hy Paul which have not been
heard of previou.ly. In t he", letters, which are know t he ' 1"'_
tor.l.', Paul has been tr.nslormed from a Gnostic into a Lite,alist. Of
the thirteon lette,., attributed to Paul in t he New Testamt'nt, t he
three letters that arc most widely di.mi .. ed by scholars a. forgeries
are the p .. torah, which Gnost ic. at the time .150 ",fused to ac_
. "
knowledge .s . uthentlc,
Tbe pastorals received t heir n.me because their purpose i. to pro_
vide 'p. storal' rule. lor guiding the orgonis>tion of t he Church. But
the genuinc Paul ,how. no interest in such matteT., because when he
was writ ing t here w .. no church 0/ bishops and de.cons t o orgoni .. '
What the p."oral. actu.lly show u. ore t he aims and .mbitions 0/
second_century Literal i"s, such ., lrenaeu" who were des!"'ratc to
. et up ., an authoritarian church, and prevent their mcmbers from
wandering 011 and ioining those dreadful Gnostic. ,
[re""cm' rna .. ive work .g.inst heretics quot es lrom the pastor.l.
where Paul, the great hew 0/ the Gnostic., is supposed t o h.ve given
"
a warning against ' the gnosi. f.lsely so-called" Although the genu_
ine P.ul only ever rcie" to. myt hical jesus, the Paul of the pastor.l.
has a very concrete [oms proudly loying out hi, legal dele nee in front
" ofl'ontiu. Pilate, The forger of tho p terah also took the o pportu_
nit y to h.ve wipe .. women.
Tbe Gno"ic. were famou., or infamom if you were a Literalist,
for the equality they allorded women. Not only did Gno"ic women
preach, haptise and celebrate the Eucharist, many Gno!!ic group.
were even ruorned .fter women, . s were m.ny Gnostic go.pels . Lite,
alist. , .uch ., lrenaem and TertulJian, were outraged. They found it
T HE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
shocking that Gnost ic women could 'engage in discu"ion ' and even
"
act a> hi.hops, Their mi,ogynistic opinion. are now put into the
mouth of Paul in the I"'storak
Let the woman learn in , ilence wit h . ll . ub;ection.
I ,uffer not a worn.., to t each, nor to usurp .ut horit y over the m. n,
but to be In . ilence.*
T he pastorals effectively Romani", Paul. In Roman societ y the idea
that women were equ. l to men w impl,' unthi nkable. The no_
t ion th ... woman might be t he leader of. religiom IOOct wa. noth
ing Ie .. than ,""cri legious, T he righu oj Roman women wit h regard
to religion were . imple. They had none. They were forbidden from
offici .. ing in religious rit e. and Rorrum law demanded that even
th""" Eastern cuI" that were tr.ditionally led by a priestess put a
m.n in chorge instead. By cre .. ing t he misogynist Paul of the pao-
tond., lrenaeu. make. hi . Literalist Christianity acceptable to a
Rom. n audience,
T here still remained the problem t hat the re. l Paul doe.n' t men_
t ion an bistorical lem" But once . g.in t bc ",lution W3S simple. Place
Pau!'. letters after t be gospels. Now when readers come t o P.ul t bcy
naturally a .. ume thot be i. tal king about t be historic. 1 je,us por
tr.yed in the earlier books, Mooern .pin_doctors could learn. thing or
two from tbese Lit e,.li.,, 1 You've got to admire their ingenuit y.
The 'Holy' Bible?
In the battle lor authority texts were weapon . In t he third cent ury
CE the boly lorgery mill of Literali st Christiani t y continued to churn
out documents t o add to the New Testament. More letters were cre
at ed that portr. } P.ul a> a Literalist, . ucb a> 2 Thessaloniam and
3 Corinthians, " Letters were .1", forged in the name. 01 Peter .nd
fohn, The Second Lertel of fohn give. up all pretence thot it i. trying
to communicate . nything . bout Je.u . It . ",Ie purpose i. to .tt.ck
the 'man,' deceive",' who 'do not acknowledge fe.u. Christ a> com_
o
ing in the flesh',
"
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
During the first three centuri", n every book t hat now m.ke. up
the New Te.ument was hailed by someone a. ucred scripture and

derided by someone eI,e as a forgery. Neverthde .. , over time, t he
New Te .. ament c.me to be seen . s the definit ive Christian canon,
Literalist Christians .1. 0 adopted the Tan.kh, which had be;,n so vo-
ciferously rejected by the original Gnostic Christians, .nd made it
their Old Testament , .Ibei t with an important ch.nge to suit their
own purposes.
The Tan.kh i . .... nged in throe sections: the Pentateuch, t he
Prophets . nd the Writings. Literali .. Christian. reversed the order 0/
the Prophets and the Writing' so t hat the Old Test.ment .ppears to
be one long preparation for Jesu" who w 'born of David'. line'. The
Old Te.tament end, with the prophecy of Malachi , 'Lo, ! will .end

the prophet Elij.h to you', which leads into the .ppearance in t he
New Test.ment of John the B..ptist, who i . claimed t o be Elijah come
ag.in to prepare the w.y for le.u. ,
Adopt ing the Tanakh as their Old Testament served two pUrpD,e.
lor Litera li>! Christian., It made Chri5tianity appear to be the contin_
uation of a venerable tradition, which was vital when Rom.n law
would .Ilow the pract ice 0/ . faith only if it could be shown to be .n_
cient. And later, when the Church bec.me the offici.1 religion of t he
Roman Empire, it provided ,criptural justific. tion for t he brutal re_
pre .. ion 0/.11 oppo.ition, just a. it had for t he sectari.n H.smonean.
who created it,
The process t hat the New Tes .. ment w.o uncannily like
that which produced t he Old Testament. Both were put together by
Literali". intent on cre .. ing and mainuining their own
power and .uthority, Both conuin t he rem.ins of Gnost ic myth.
which have been buried beneath .ccret ions of politic.l prop._
gand., Both are riddled with and anomalie, bec.me
the}' h.ve be;,n .!tered and .mended by so many editoria l hands. The
Lite .. Ii ... ' Bible is not holy script ure. It' n unholy me .
Glorious Gore
By the middle 0/ the third century t he Roman Empire was on the
verge of collap ... The Persian. lrom the e.st and t he bOl
T HE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
b.riano from the north, For t he Ii"t time in hi .. ory a Roman ernp<ror
was killed in hattie and .nother w capt ure<! .nd wed in captivity,
Plague devastat ed entire region . In this 'Time of Ch.os' . n manner
of , up<,.,ition. widofy, including Litoralist
which cl.imed that the end of the world w.s nigh, This now ..... med
not only po .. ible but extremelv likely.
the emp<ror Diodetian imposed oroer on the empire,
To the gods, whose neglect he believed h.d caused the e","os,
the emp<ror decreed that everyone in t he Roman army should m.ke
a sacrifice for the hedhh of the emJ>Cror and the empire, Many Chris_
tians. who now formed a . ize.hle minoritv in arm}', re_
fused. In re'pon"" Diodetian ordered the de"ruetion 0/ all churches
throughout the empire, the imprisonment of leading Christians, and
decreed that all Christians were to offer sacrifice t o the Roman gods
or be put to de .. h.
This was not the first time that Christi.no h.d been J>CrM'Cuted by
the Romdn., hut previous J>Crsecutions had been short_lived and not
widely enforced, Under Dioclet ian the p<",,,,,utions were brutal, but
counterproductive. A. the modern world i . discovering. there i.
nothing like J>Crseeution to whip up religious fanatiei.m, T.king out
religious ext remi sts m.y .oem like an ed.y solution, but every mOT
tvr-'s de .. h inspires a hundred more with the de.ire to emulate their
devotion. As Tertullian h.d written at the t ime 0/ tho J>Cr..,cutions a
century before Diocletian:
The more yoo mow m down, the more we grow. The blcod of the mar_
tv .. is t he seed of t he Church."
Literali .. Christi. os, like .0 many other religious extremists since,
embraced the opportunity lor martyrdom enthu.iast ically. They ide_
. li . ed their marty" .s spiritual athletes and holy w.rrio.-., They
believed th .. ' t hrough . uffering for one hour-' it w .. poo.ibJe to 'pur.
cbase eternal lile' . The Literalist Cyprian vividly describe. the delight
01 the Lord with 'the sublime, the great, the acceptable .pectacle' 0/
'flowing bl<>Od which quenches the l1.m .. and the fir .. of Hell with
"
its glorious gore',
Gnostic Christians saw Literalist, as fanatics le.ding the gullible
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
to point le ... uffering wit h fal .. promi.., . They viewe<! it 'foolish ' to
actively seek out martyrdom as a quick way int o Heaven, because
they believed t hat lvat ion come. only through the reali,ation 0/
gnos;., The Testimony of Truth declare. that those who t each that
God de. i",. ' human . acriliee' are making God into a cannibal. Liter_
ali .. Chri .. ians are ' the one. who opp"''' their brothe ... ' by encoUl_
"
aging naive fellow believe ... 'to the executioner'. The of
Perer exp", .. es particular horror at Literali .. delight over the . uffer _
"
ing 0/ 'the little ono. ',
Gno .. ic prote .. s made little imp.cr. Once marty" were gua .. n_
teed a ploce in Heaven, Literalist Christianity bee. me. ma .. _m icido
cult, with .dheren .. actively .eeking death, lt is interesting, how_
ever, that t wo oj the mo .. vocal exponents 0/ martyrdom, ]renaeu.
and Tertullian, manage<! to avoid this fate them.elv", _ Funn}' how it
i. alway. the foot soldie rs of a movement from whom martyrdom is
require<!, not the leaders who are urging othe .. on to thi s glorious
.acrifice.
The Unholy Roman Empire
When t he emperor Dioclct i.n died, Literali .. Christian. experienced
a complete reve"",l of fortune, The bishop uddenly found thern_
. eh'e. out of i.il and running the empire_ T here was a new military
dictator in charge c.!led Con"ant ine, And he adopted Christianity as
the religion of t he empire. What made Constantine choo"" Chri._
tianity and not one of the other cult. of t he dying and re,urrecting
Godman adopted by hi. predecessors! Perhap. it was because his
mother was. Christian. After all, one ,hould never underestimate
the influence oj. mother' Perhaps, a. an autocrat himself, he w., .. _
tracte<! to the authoritarian nature 0/ the Literalist Church. We can
at lea" di.mi" the fanusy creat ed later by Literali.ts t hat [esus had
appeared to Constantine the night before. great batt le and guaran_
teed him victory over hi. enemies_ It ,,,,,m. unlikely that resu., the
'prince of peace', would approve of. vicious tyrant like Constantine,
Constantine planned to u.e the organisat ion of the Liter.list
Church to help him unite and control hi. empi"'_ T he problem was
THE MOST FAMOU' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED n
, n S 1 '
" '
' I l l ' " P ' W I Y J O m o ' J O A U u . s " d p u p
l l ' ' l ' m " , ! " ' 0 ' ' U " " ' ' ' ' l : : 3 u " w o l l ' ' 1 '
J O . . . . J O ' ' I ' W O l d
' p " , u m q p u " ! " ' u u " ' I " , . . . . . , u n o " " 1 1 " ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' 1 1 l A ' l M
' l i n " . , u o u o d w , , . . , W H O I I ' , . I I u o A I " 0 1 p o ' l
n " ' O J u . l l ' ' ' ' l : : ) J O J O U O ' " P
. " m o J O " ' ' ' ' I ' ' 1 ' ' W ' O J ' I o o q , . n ' q > < n 3 : l O A u " i l l o l l u e u e ,
, u 0 ' l , n . ' ' I ' J O ' P a o u , w 0 , ' . ( , . , u " J J O
" ' I ' u " u o , . u o : : ) J O l I o " , o d , n " " " U o r l D I D " ' I ' " . ( " u o " ' ' ' ' l : : 3
J O . u d u o ' ' I ' J O u . " . m " . , . " . A l O ' ' ' ' 1 . " ' I m i l " P ' n ! { J
a ' l l f O A 1 0 I S l H J o " u a n l J U ! " O J ' " O I J O , m q " " " 3 : d 0 ' l " 1 1
. m q " " 3 : t u O l ) J O A U . . . . . " A ' U P ( n D ' " n O A
m i l p u . , " ' I ' , 0 . . ' U ' A l : < J 0 J ' A l O : > . : > J J ( 1 " l O A p u p " ' l
0 ' 1 ' " " " " ' 1 ' H " u o p ( n o , o s ' P " , ! ' 1 I U ' P " ' I
( u u n ! " ' , u d . q u n p ' U l . i l l " ' H U O I " ' I p u p p " . " " H n .
, A 0 ' l 0 , . ' ' ' N w O ' J " , w 0 ' l p , u m , l i 0 H - , , , ' u o w " ' . M ' " m ; x ! l l l '
u . i l l o l l , " o w ' " ' u " U " , . u o : : ) A " ] . " U l , n i l ' ' I ' ' . ' u o
A J U l . " ' : : ) , " o w l Y " , U l . ' , . , O J ; x ! w , " " , o , d
' 1 " ' 1 ' " ' u o r j P 1 0 a ' U . " O J ' " p u . " q d . d O l q ' , ' U l I U O , . U 0 : : 3 , u r " , " ' ! ' m q
- " " 3 : - u o m ' " . " I N ' P ( p u p ' . M
p m ' " a ' l ' A . ' " p ( n < Y . > ' ' 1 ' ' O , P '
A U O W 0 , u o " , . o d d o U l a ' U O l ' J U O ' a ' l ' , 0 p a A U l " , m q " , n 3 : d 0 ' l " 1 1
- A ' 1 " " P ( I O " " ' ' 1 '
" " ' 1 , , - , n q ' U l p " e a d " , H ' " ' ' I I ' A ( q l P ' 1 > U l ' l O A ' a , l O ) A q
A , m " U ' ' ' ' l : : 3 U O p , . o d W l p U O J O , a d w , U P w o l i , , , o d , , p "
' . M p o o , : : ) u e a " N ' ' 1 L " J o m w " , o 1 l d i l l a i l l O J ) p ' ' 1 " u . q a " " ,
P " " j " 0 ' l M , . 0 ' l L - . " , n l I , . , u " U O , . U 0 : : 3 , . l U ' l U U l . " " U ' ' 1 " A O ] ) O
' ' 1 , U O W 1 0 ) U O A e " 0 , P ' " A U l " " M 1 " ' , 1 > " " U a ' l ' 0 , d n t d " 0 ,
, . 0 ' l L ' ' P ' " p U p , r u l . ' ) O " " n ' 1 1 1 M , W O " ( q n o l l
a ' l ' u o p , r o d i l l ' p u p . ' > I N , . p > < O d w o , . " . . . . " I J " " " l Y
' " p u . A l l u n
P O l u o " " H " U O l l " a d 1 1 " , w n q A ( d i l l " a u " u o , . u o : : ) - , u . u , u ' I : : ) . . . . o J
- ( ' J l l ' ' l ' , " " , , 0 ' U O l l , , ; x ! ' I l l ' " J O , a d w a a ' l ' P - ' ' ' ' I t u o q 0 ,
m 1 1 " ' 1 A ' ' l ' u 0 ' l ' p ' A m d o ' l " q ' ' 1 ' J O U O < > < o u l l l H - A " U . " ' ' ' ' 1 : : 3
J O ' ' l 1 x ' J O J . " ' N m a , U 0 1 ' ) U O ' u o " " , ' l : : ) , ' A ' ' ' ' ' ) 0 ,
. d o ' l " q u . u ' ' ' ' l : : 3 ' " A U ! 0 , ' " U O l l n ( " " " H - A " u . " " , ' l : : ) ) O
- " ' I " u , . " ' l , O U O ' u o ' l 1 1 - " u " " ' l P " ' l , u e l " u ' l : : ) , e ' l '
tament that repudiated heretic. and the Old Testament that legi ti_
mise<!. 1IC0rchcd_e.rth policy .gainS! all oppo. ition, the Holy Roman
Empire enforced Chri .. ianity with unholy violence, But Lit era li ..
Christians did much more than eradicat e all other rel igion!, They
destroyed civili ... ion itself. Christian. had long dreamt about the
apoealyp"" and they now succeeded in making it. re.lit y.
heryone know. that the barbarian. destroyed Rome, but few
know that these barbarians were Christian . In the fifth .nd si xt h
centuries band. of bl.ck_ robed Christi.n monks roomed unchecked
throughout the di.integrati ng empire, I.ying waste to the wonders 0/
Pagan ci vili.ation, A Pagan writer of the time de,cribed thcm a.
'monks who re.emblc men but live like pigs' and laments that ' any_
"
one who had a black robe h.d de,pouc power' .
Like the Taliban, who dynamited .ncient statues of the Buddha in
Afgh. nistan, Chri stian monks dcstroye<! .ncient Pagan t emples t hat
had stood lor thomands of ye ... , Their priests and prieste.IOCs were
exile<!, murdered or . imply chaine<! in their .anct narie. and left to
" arve, The wealth of the temple. was shared out betw""n the em_
""ror and the bi'hop . Philosophcrs and heretic. were murdered or
exi le<!. Great librarie. were torche<!, And while the literature of .n_
t iquity was being consigned to the fl a mes, Augustine declared the
triumph of Literalism writing:
Nothing i. to be .epted except on the . ut hOlit), of s<,iptwe, since
great., is that autho,ity t han .l1l"'wers of the human m i n d . ~
Lit e .. list Christian. believed that by reve,ing the Bible a. the inl.lli
ble Word of God they would u.her in a new age of Christ i.n enlight _
enment. But they were completely wrong. In fact the lights went out
all over Euro"" .nd the We .. , everted to brutish l ife 0/ ignorance
and .u""wit ion. Literali" Christians ho""d to bring .bout the King_
dom of God, but they actu.ny cre .. ed the thousand yea" of misery
that we call the 'Da,k Ages' .
THE MOST FAMOU ' MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
A Question of Competitive Plausibility
If you tell. lie enough times, p""ple will end up believing it. This i.
with Literalist We ore so
with 'he story of Je. us we ore unable to treat it in 'he .. me way
a> other simi lar storie. , But look at it with an open mind .nd the
[e,u. story i. obviou.l}' 0 myth. Are t he go,pel, really eye _witne .. ac_
counts 01 the lile 01 a miraculous dying ond re.urrecting Godman!
No. There i, no more evidence lor the e1i"ence 01 je.us than there i.
lor Mose" Joshua, Solomon and . ll the rest . All are Jewish lit _
erary creations_ The Jesu. story i ymbolic allegory based on an _
cien' Pagan m},ths. It i. just as much a I"'rable a, the many I"'rable.
it con .. in . Looking for 'he real Jcsu. i, fut ile a. looking for the
real Good &'maritan,
Today there are ",me twenty thouS;ind different Chr isti.n .ects,
Nearly.ll 0/ ,hem are Literalist and regard the New Test.ment, cre _
at N by t he Roman Church, a. on . uthent ic account of the life 0/
[e,us, When .. ked why they .. e however, most people
, ay it i , becau>< they experience a I"'rsonal inner relationship with
[e. u., The great irony i. that 'his i. an excellent reason ' 0 be a Gno, _
t ic Christian, no' a Literalist Chri stian. The Gnostic. >ow [e,m as an
inner ' piritua l figure, who repre..,nts t he Christ within us alL When
people oxl"'rience al"'",on.l rel.,ionship with Je,us they a re act ually
following in t he tradit ion of the Gnost ic Christian._
A spiri, ual experience of the inner le.us i,n' t 0 good rea.on t o be a
Lit e .. l Christi.n, bec.use it doe.n' t prove the existence 0/ Jesu. the
man, any more than an oxl"'ricnce 0/ an inner Kri , hna or Osiri.
prove. that the.e other Godmen really existed, The only valid re.son
to become a Literali .. Christi.n, and st.ke the /ate 01 your Nern.l
,oul on 'he gO' 1"'1 storie. being historically i. to seek out
the evidence that je.u. really did re,urrect lrom the dead, And there
,imply i. n' t .ny,
In our previou, boob , The lesus Mystelies and lesus and the Lost
Goddess, we set out in much greater detail the evidence for the the _
,i . we have explored in this chapter. Ever . ince we have receivN
c_m.ils lrom readers every day, Many come from ex_Fundament. li,ts,
thanking us for setting them free and ol"' ning their .piritual hoti _
THE LAuGHISG l EW.
zon., Others have e ~ p r e , " " d outrage at our revi. ionist histol)' 0/
Christianity, But i. our t hesi s .., outrageous! We think not. Rather it
is t he traditional theory of the origin 0/ Chri!tianity t hat is outr. _
geou., comp. red to which our. i . quite ",.sonabl e,
To. Christ ian policem.n wbo . _mailed us stat ing t bat we could
not I"".ibl}' be right , we replied wit b tbe suggestion tbat we .imply
think in t erms of compet it ive plau.ibility, T his approach, we felt,
should . p!"' al to policeman, schooled in weighing evidcnce. Our
thesis i. th .. Christi.nity emerged organic. lly over t ime d Gn"'tic
synt hesis of Paganism .nd ludai.m. Lit e .. li .. Christian. believe t hat
it all began when a virgin gave birth to thc Son of God, who w.lked
on wat er and c. me back from the dead. We suggested th .. if wit _
ness in a court 0/ l.w t od. }" cla imed t hat . uch a story really hap_
pened, their ca." would be thrown out nonsense. We did not
receive a reply,
THE MOST FAMOU. MAN WHO NEVU LIVED
5
MUHAMMAD:
FROM MYSTIC TO MOBSTER
1'0'0< 10 ,hem who fako Scripture>
and soy Thi,;, from God'
sa 'ho' 'hey migh, 'OIn rom" prof, hueby
_ nl[ u ~ ' AN'
In t he beginning All.h ere.ted the l ight of Muhammad out of which
he then created t he world. Muhammad was 0 prophet from the b<gin _
ning of time, even b<fore Adam was made. When Muhammad was
born in Mecca in 570 CE he w.s alre.dy circumci..,d and deuchcJ
from the umbilical cord. At hi. birth the whole house filled with
light .nd the . ..... bowed down if they were about to fall to Earth.
In Iron the fi,e_worshippers ob,erved that their temple hearth, which
had been li t for. thou .. nd yea", had turned ice_cold.
At the .go of forty Muhammad went off t o meJi'ato in a cave on
Mount Hi .. near M"""", Here the angel Gabriel .ppe. red to him
with. written me ge from God and ",id 'Read' , But Muha mm.d
w ~ . illiterate. Three time. t he .ngcl..,i.eJ Muharnm.d by the throat
and oruered him to read, and three time. Muhammad told Gabriel
that he could not . Muhamm.d w. , '0 up,et by Gabriel'. vi.it t hat he
tried t o commit .uicide. It wa. hi. favourite wife, Khadij., who fi _
na lly convinced him t hat he was indeed God'. chosen Prophet.
Muhammad began receiving more and more me ... ge, from God
which eventually bec.me the Holy Qur'.n, and the Prophet e .. ab_
li.hed t he one t rue religion of Islam, which . upeneded and com_
pleted t he revelation. of all previous prophets. Wit h God penonally
directing him, Muhammad inspired an Islamic community of pious
Mu.lim. t hat grew in power .nd influence_ In few short yean
Muhammad became a great military leader, ddeating t he enemies 0/
God and establi'hing an Islamic empire, '!slam' mean. 'surrender',
and through Muhammad, God caH. on all humanity to surrender to
hi. divine will and recogni .. his chosen Prophet.
At the end of his life Muhammad left Arabi<> at night on a flying
hor .. , He stopped off at leru,alem where you can "ill .. e hi, hand_
print and the hoo/print made by hi, ho"e miraculously preserved at
the Dome of t he RodL In lern.alem he met up with Abraham, Mose.
and le,u" who acknowledged that Muhammad was the last 0/ t he
prophets .nd that hi . new religion was not iu" a cont inu .. ion 0/
theirs but even better, Finally Muhammad ascended into Heaven
where he now . its on the right hand of God and iudges who de,erve.
et ernal l ife.
It'. another great story, but is any 0/ it truer Yes ' At last, unlike
Abrah.m, Mo,e., Solomon, [esus, Pet er and.H t he rest, Muhamm.d
wa. indeed .n historica l figure, Unfortun .. ely, when we tell you
what the historic.l Muhammad was actU;Olly like, you may wish t hat
he h.d never exi .. ed.
According to my .. ical Muslim. caHed Sufi" Isla m began with a
,m.ll circle of Gno .. ic. that formed around Muhammad, who w.s an
inspired prophet channelling divine wi,dom, But in few years he
bec.me t he most powerful m.n in Arabia, theologically, soci.lly and
militari ly, Muhammad was a mystic who became a mobster.
Muhammad used hi . self_proclaimed " .tus as God's me"enger to
the Arabs to unite previously warring local tribes into a powerful
umma, or community_ Members 0/ the umma pledged to stop pillag_
ing one anot her, which had been a common practise for centuries,
and banded together to kick the hen out of.H those who refmed to
MUHAMMAD: F ~ O M MYSTIC TO MOBHH
.ign up to Muhammad'. Islamic a l l i a n c ~ . T hc cult became .n army
and then an empire, with Muhammad os God'. chosen military dic_
tator, If the hi"ory of Chri .. ianity demon.trate. how t'galitarian
Gnoot icism can degenerate into.n authoritarian Literali st religion in
a few ""nturi .. , then t he hi>tory 01 ]slam . how. that the ,arne
process can happen in. few dec.de .
Tbe Gnostic Mubammad
Muh.mm.d grew up among Jew. and Christi.n. whose influence on
him was profound. But the Judai.m .nd Christianity that Muham_
mad encountered in the Arabian Peninsula were not th05e that we
are now f.mili .. with. Many of the storie. in the Our'.n about the
Hebrew prophets and Je,us are quite unlike tho,"" we know from the
Bible, So where do those storie. come from! Muh.mm.d was .aid to
have been . hocked when he leamoo that Jud.i.m and Christianity
,
were .ctu.l1y difJerent faith" How could be conJuse the.e two very
different religious tradition.!
T be great scholar Adolf von Harnack provide. the answer, Wbat
Muhamm.d .ctually encountered in Arabia wa, a form of Gnostic
ludeo_Christianity. wbicb the Prophet tr.nsformed into t he religion
,
we know a. hla m. Judeo_Christian Gnostic group. ouch a. the
Ebionit e, and Elch .. i.,es flouri,hed in the region in which Muham_
m.d was born, and their influence on Islam i. obvious.
T he,e Gno"ic sects were f.mous for t he prominence they gave to
the role of prophcts and for seeking mystical vision. out in t he
wilderne ... So when Muhamm.d sought revelations in thc wilder_
ness he was foJlowing well_e". blished local tradition, And when
he begin. receiving mess.ge. from God, it i. no surpri"" to find that
they include many Gnost ic motifs .
The most striking evidence of Gnost ic infl uence on Muha mm.d
i. the Our'.n's treat ment of Je.u.' de .. h.!t .totes:
Theydid not kill hIm, and they dId not crucify him, but on< wa. made
to _1'1"''' to them like him'
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
Thi' ide. is entirely heret ic.1 for Literali" Christian. , but i. fund. _
ment. 1 to many Gnost ic t ex .. in which it i. only Jesu.' "pre .. ance'
th.t is crucified, Thi' . eemingly strange ide. i . actually . common
.Hogory encoding profound te.chings about aw.kening to gnosis.
Another example of Gn<>st ic influence on Muhamm.d i. hi. deci_
.ion to m.ke leru,alem the focus 0/ wo .. hip for Muslims, .!t hough
he later changed thi s t o Mecca. Where did the ide. of m.king 0 par_
ticular city the foeu. of worship come from? Not from lud.i.m,
There i . no evidence that Jew. ev .. proyed tow .. d. Ioru.alem, Nor
does it derive from Literalist Chri .. i.nity. Chri"ians proy f.cing
e ... , toward. the rising .un. The pchasiat e. Gnostic., fiowever, did
/ace leru.alem when they proyed.
Muhammad originall y followed the Gnostic.' egalitarian example
in hi. treat ment of women. There was. striking equ.lity of the sexes
in the e.rly Mu. l im community. Women were amongst Muham_
mad'. dosest followeTS, they t<>ok p.rt in puhl ic life, and even fought
alongside men in battle. Muhammad forbade t he killing of girl chil o
dren, or regretting that they were not boy. , and gave women lt'gal

rights of divoree and inheritance centuries before the West . S. dly, all
this eg.litarian Gn<ticism didn't I." long. As Muhammad ch. nged
from mystic to mohster, hi. revelat ions from God bt'gan t o take on a
more authoritarian . nd pattiareha l tone,
Channelling God
Muh.mm.d's fir .. ' revelat ion' happeneJ in 610 CE and the I." oc-
curred just beiore his death in 1>.32 CE. The contents of the Our'an
were thm revealed piecerne.1 ov .. a perioo of two decades. But the.e
revelat ions were not collated into. book in the lifetime of Muham_
mad. It i. said that hi. followers, known as the Comp.nions of the
Prophet , recorded Muhammad's revelation. on anything th.t came
to h.nd, such a. scraps of parchment and leat her, stones and palm
leave., even camel ribs and should .. blade . The.e fragments were
neither numbered nor dated, but . imply depo. ited in variou. recopu_
cleo without any regard to chronology or system,
All the scraps began to be compileJ into the Our' .n under the
MUHAMMAD: F ~ O M MYSTIC TO MOBHH
direction of Muhammad' ,m_in law Uthman around 660 CE, S<>rne
.cholars ha,-e conduded, however, thot no definitive version of the
,
Qur'an exi!ted until ao late . , the tenth cent ury, Abo over thi s
period ot hcr . ayings and ",orie, .bout MUMmmad, caned H.dith.,
were coliectcd to supplement the Our'an. Most of the !,,-'Ople who
had suppoo-edly .-ecalied the.e .aying. and storie. had died in bot _
t ic during Muhammad'. lifetimc, .0 they Ole at best second_hand
accounts. De.pite thi. , however, the Hadit hs were declare<! to be
'authoritative',
Both the Our'an and Hadith. were chaoticaliy t hrown together
over t ime, and so are fuli of the tyl"" of errors, omi ions and inter_
poht ion. found in an . acred script ure . MuMmmad'. first revd.
tion, for ex.mple, . hould be at the beginning of the Our'an, but i.
,
actu.liy found at the end, What el oe might have happene<! i. any_
one'. gue ... Many scholars h.ve comment e<! on the fact that the text
i. often ambiguou, about who i. act u.liy ta lking. Somet ime. God
.eem. to talk .bout himself in the third pe",on, in other place. u 'I',
and in other p!ace. loometime. in the samc pa.sage'I " 'we'. Many
have ridicule<! t he Our'an because God i. even made t o swear by

h,mself'
The Our'an realiy i bit of me . But, given how it wa. put to_
gether, we .hould not be . urpri.ed. Yet, surely, if the Our'an i di_
vine book, w.sn't it the Prophet'. dut y t o compile it during hi.
lifetime! After ali, the.e me.sage. arc .upposed to be revelation.
from God' Many A,.b. critici.e<! t hc Our'an when it wa. first cre_
at ed because t hey argued that . genuine book from God would be re_
"
vealed as one picce and would not be so repetitive. These early
crit ic> of Islam are right. The Our'an i . extraordinarily repetitive, and
often .bout the most unimportant thing., S<> much so that one be _
gin. t o wonder whether Aliah has Alzheimer's .
The Our'an m.ke ome impressive cl . im. about itself, It "ate.
"
categoricaliy, 'Tbi . is the book wherein is no doubt '. Yet even this
" . t ement i" eil i. open t o doubt. It can't be a revelation lrom God to
Muhamm.d, because in Muhammad's lifetime there was no 'book',
as the Our'an h. d not been compiled. In fact t he Our'an makes no
sense right from the start . Ouite fiteroliy ' It ol"'no wit h the word.
,
'AUF LAM MIM', which don' t mean anything, Not even Muham_
m.d him .. lf understood their meaning. It i . odd for God to begin hi.
THE LAUCHISG l EW.
definit ive Word with ambiguity, but this i. typic.1 0/ the hoeus_
pocus that accompanies the cre .. ion of so-called ' .. cred' texts.
The Our'an claim. that God is absolute, docs not include anyone
in hi, government, and that no man', opinion. or word. form part
of t he Our'an. Yet Mu. lim scholars acknowledge that at I .. " fifty 0/
the second c. hph Urnar' , ide., were incOJporated into the Qur'an.
These include ordering women to wear veil" which was a cus-
tom copied from the Byzantine Christians, and other doctrines that
have had a profound impact on Islam. Yet , de.pite these anomalies,
the Qur'an declare, itsdf to be free from inconsistencies. !t a.ks
rhetoric. lly;
Why 00 they not ponder the Our'anl If" h.d been from other than
"
God ,uroly they would h.ve found in it much incomi"enoy.
Anyone who actually ponde .. t he Our'an, however, soon discovers
that it i. so riddled with inconsi"enci .. th .. all its m.ior doctrine.
are self.contradictory. Proof, .urely, that it was not written by God!
Th.,e inconsi"enci., reflect Muhamm.d'. journey from Gnostic to
know_alL For example, the egalitarian Muhammad has God declare
that Mu.lim. must remember that no hum.n being i . God, so men
and women should be iust with one another. A few lines lat er, how_
ever, we get a completely different me ge from the authoritarian
Muh.mmad:
Mon have authority over womon be<ause God has m.de tho one .upe_
riOT to t ho othor ... G<od womon are obediont .. . A. for t h"", from
whom you fe .. disobedience, .Jmoni,h them, fors.ke thorn in bed
p .. t and be.t thorn."
As Muhammad change. he i, forced to revise many of his 'revela _
tions' to suit his new agenda. The Qur' an itse lf tells us that ..,me 0/
Muh.mmad', followers regarded hi . meddling with the revolation.
a. nothing I ... t han forgery . !t say. defensively:
And whon we > vo..., In t he place 01 .nothor v .... _.nd
God know. verI' woll what Ho i ..,nding down_thoy "y 'Thou.rt.
"
mere forger'.
MUHAMMAD: MYSTIC TO MOBHH
luckily God provides Muhammad wit h .n an.wer to the criticism
that he is changing the nature of hi s revol.tion s he goes along. The
argument i. a familiar one used by religious Literali". through the
centurie. _ God can do .nything he w.nts, including contr.dict ing
himself, and you . hould iu", t rust t he Prophet blindly, becau"" doubt
is b.d_ The Our'an affirms;
Wh .. tevor verse Wo abrogolte or ca" into oblivi()fl, We bring a ""t_
tor or t he like of it. Knowe" thou not that God is powerful over

But how can the Qur'.n truly be the unchange.ble . nd eternal word
01 God, il God Him.ell had t o change cert.in ve",es during the life_
time 01 Muhammadl Surely God would get it right first time'
l.t. mic Gnost ic. interpret much 01 the Our'.n a. myth encod_
ing mystic. 1 t .. ching., and they aro probably right to do so with
Muhamm.d's early revelation. . But ., the new cult of Islam grew in
pow"" Muhamm.d, like so many ..,If_proclaimed prophets, lost the
plot and ... rted believing hi . own publicity. As time went by the
purpose of Muham"",d's divine revelat ion ""m incre ingly t o be
.imply to aggrandise himself and justify his politic. l ambitions.
When the.., 'revdation.' are placed in their historical context it
becomes ohviou, what was really going on . Muhamm.d m.de self_
. erving deci.ions . nd t hen Allah would helpfully revc.1 new revela_
tion that endorsed these dcci,ion .
Muhamm.d even use. hi uppo,edly divine revelat ion. to sett le
"""on.1 grudge,. Hi . paternal uncle Abu Lah.b regardt'd Muham_
m.d ., an impostor and would follow him around interrupting his
preaching .nd calling out to t he crowd, 'Do not believe this impost or,
he is a liar' . Abu Lahab's wife w equally hostile t o Muh.mmad.
Not .urprisingly, according t o Muh.mmad, God Him,elf couldn't
abide Abu Lahab . nd his mischievous wife, .nd devised a gri.ly pun_
i.hment for them. The Our'an st",o. :
Perish t he hand, of Ahu Lth. b . . _ he ,hall roo" " a flaming hre and
hi, wife, the carnor of the hrow<Od, upon her nock a rope oi p. lm_
,
-c "
lUre .
THE LAuGHISG I ESO.
Call u. cynics if you like, but we can' t help thinking it odd that God
wastes hi. time abusing Muhammad's uncle when he could be an
nouncing ""mething u.dul .ucb os the cure for leprosy.
The Godfather of Islam
However benign Muhammad's original intentions m.y have been,"
hi. ambition. increased hi gend. became more and more sectarian,
Muh.mmad w member of the Qure.h tribe, He fi r" s<t . about c._
t ablishing the Qure.h tribal deity called 'Allah' the only God ""d
the Ouresh os God's favouri t e people, Even before Muhamm.d t he
Quresh were known a. the 'people of Allah', but at this time Allah
was merely one of 350 statue, o' t he local god. of the Arabian Penin_
.ula di.pl.yed within the shrine 01 the K.'ab. in Moec., Muha mm.d
changed .11 tk .. He e .. ablished "" Arabic dynasty ruled by t he
Quresh and endorsed by Alloh the one t rue God,
Muhamm.d built his dyn .. ty by making ."ute famil}' alliances
through marri.ge. The four cal iphs who succeeded Muh.mmad were
related t o him by marriage .nd for conturie, oftcr Muhamm.d all
c.liphs carne from t he Qure,h family. This w.s clearly Muh.mmad's
int ention, as his sayings m.ke clear
The prerogative to rule ,1..11 remain vested in the Qu",sh, and whoso-
ever" hostile to them, AII. h ,1..11 """'oy him.
The nght to rule ,1..11 belong to the Qur",h even if only two men
, -, "
eXIst, .... ,
Having exalt<..J hi . own people and their tribal deity above other A .. b
tribes and their god" Muh.mmad now",," about exalting the Arab,
generally .hove all other peoples, Muhammad h God declare; ' You
"
are the best nat ion ever brought fort h'. Despite the protestations of
later Muslims that this verse 01 the Qur'.n rders to t he interTl<Otion.1
community 01 Muslim" this cannot be true, bee.use when Muham_
m.d received this revel .. ion there was no internation.l community,
just Arab Muslim .
MUHAMMAD: F ~ O M MYSTIC TO MOBHH
Muhammad i. above .ll .n Arab nationalist promoting pecifi _
c.lly Arabic religion. The Qur'an 'By the Clear Book, behold,
we have made it an Arabic Our'",,', It i, lOT this rea50Tl th ... 11 Mu._
lims to this d.y must learn Arabic in OTder t o be ble .. ed. lndeeJ, not
only ore the Arob. God's chOSn people, to wh"m he ..,nt his greatest
PTophet, God ha. even chosen Arabic a. tho language to be spoken in
Heavon. Muhammad "ates;
lc>vo the Arab, 1m tluee """,no, became I am an Arab, the holy
Our ' an i. in Arabio, and the tongue 01 the dwello" 01 p. radise .h.1I
, I"" be Ar.bio, "
Tho Prophet i. explicit t hat 'Love 0/ one'. motherland is an integral
"
p.rt 0/ la ith', Are these truly divine revel .. io,," lrom the one God,
or do they moroly expre .. t he n .. ..,ntimen" one would ex_
pect hom the prophc< 0/ Arabic tribal deity c.lleJ Allah '
Muhamm. d's nation;olisl11 gave Arab, vi.i"n "f themselves
something g:reateT th.n just. bunch of sepaTato tribe. continually at
war with ono ""othor. But, s.dly. no 5OOnor had the Arab. experi_
encod the elat ion 01 tr.nscending their naTrow tribal identiti.,. into
an 'm' th.n the Islamic umma degeneTateJ int o t he vio_
lont sectarianism 01 'us vorsm them'. Like so m.ny otheT nat ioIYI _
ist ic .nd Teligiou.ly big"ted communit ies, Muhammad's Mu.lim.
weTe hold together by one thing, They were united
agoi"'t theiT enemie. ,
Over period 0/ twenty ye.rs Muhammad led eight y_two attacks
his neighbou.-. in the Arabian Peninsula, That'. one .. tad,
eveTY .ix weeur Other Arab. , lows and Christians were ruthle .. ly
pl undereJ to build the we.lth .nd power of Muhamm.d'. umma, But
this was n" longer iu" the u,ual b.nditry that was cu"omary for the
time. It was now legitimi..,d by Muhammad', revol .. ion. hom God,
It was God him.elf who now deolared, 'ot of what you have
"
booty'. In a chapteT 0/ the Ouran called 'Tho Spoil,' it i. God who
prevents from ,howing meTCY to his capt ive. by
It,. not for my prophet to h.ve prisonors until he make wrdo . laugh_
te, in the
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
A conquered people's wealth, women and chi ldren were distributed
amongst Muhamm.d .nd his companions_ The Muslim policy of le _
gitimi . ing unlimi t ed concubine" in addition to the four wive. per_
mitted by God, meant that the population growth of Muh.mmad's
followers was exponential. Muhammad him,elf had either nine or
twenty_..,ven wives, depending on which story you believe_ This was
possible because God had conveniently given Muhammad 3 special
di.pen .. tion:
Prophet, We have m.d. lawful for you the wive. to whom you hove
granted dowries and the .lave_girl. whom God h given you . s boot)'_
The daught ers of your pat ernal and malemal uncle. and 01 yow I"'t-
nal and maternal aunts who fled with you_ And any believing women
who gi,-S henelf t o the Prophet and whom the Prophet wi.he. to take
In ma"'''lle. This privilege i, you" alone, being grant ed to no oth ..
belieyo" U
A. the military powe, 0' Muhammad', umma g,ew, so did the ambi _
tion, of its leader, who now declared;
Every Prophet IS ,ppolnted for his own nation, but I hove been ap_
pointed the Prophet fu, all nation .
Convinced of hi, divinely ord.ined mission, Muhammad b<gan to
,end armies to foreign l.nd. with three 'imple instructions;
t . Invite people to join Islam.
1. Jf they do not accept the}' mu" . urrender and pay tribute_
3. Jf they do not they must be attacked.
'lsl. m' may have originally meant myst ic.l ' surrender' to the will 0/
God, but now it carne t o mean . imply 'surrender or die'. A. Muslim
te,ritory eXl"' nded it became . imply impf3ct iC31 to m .... cre all tho,e
who would not convert, and so the i mposition of tribute money,
which was simply 3 tn on unb<lievers, became policy throughout
the A .. b empire. Muhammad h.d created a holy protection racket
with himoeU a. the divinely appointed Godfat her. In the light 0/ this
MUHAMMAD: F ~ O M MYSTIC TO MOBHH
it is perh.p. not .urpri . ing that the word mafia is now thought by
"
some scholars to be of Arabic origin.
Muslims, Jews and Christians
In the early d.y. of hi. mi ssion the m}stical Muhammad did not soc
himself in opposi tion to Jews and Christi.ns. Quite t he contrary. He
portrayed him.ell . s continuing t heir prophetic traditions and hoped
th.t Jew. and Christians would come to accept hi m.s tho Messenger
of God. Muhammad didn't clai m [<I.m to be a new religion, bec.use
he .aw himself as . imply bringing faith in the One God to the Arab
people, who had nevcr h. d . prophet before. He honoured le.us, but
not as t he Son 0/ God, For Muhammad Jcsuo w precunor to him_
Ii, a prophet who h. d .. ught t he .. me religion. The Qur'an .... es;
He IAll.hl ha. l.id down for you the ",Iigion that He charged N"",h
wit h, and that We IAllahl have reve.led to t h"" . nd that We charged
Abrm.m, M"""s and les", wit h.
M
To begin with, Muh. mmad aclmowloogod Jewi.h cl.ims of superi .
ority, b<causo they had a venerable prophetic tradit ion and .Ire.dy
worshipped one God, The Qur'an has God proclaim:
Children oi brae!, ",member My blessing:> wherewith [hlessed you,
.nd that [have exalted you .bove.ll
At t his time the mystical Muh.mm. d decrees that there should b< 'no

compulsion in m.tters of religion', But a. he realizes that I>l.m is
not going to b< willingly embracoo by Jew. and Christians, Muham_
mad ch. ng", . Now he sets out to exalt Isla m .bove all other faiths,
The Qur-.n boldly a .. ert.:
"
The true reltgion 01 God is blam.
x
It is He IAliahl who h .. sent his Me .. IMuhamnuJj with t he
guidance and the rEligion of truth, t hat he may uplift it . bove every
rcligion, H
THE LAuGHISG IESU<
PortTaying Islam a. a new religion g<lve Muhammad t he opportunity
to revi.e the .. orie. told in t he ludeo_Chriotian Bible to suit hi. own
nation.listic agenda. The Biblical story of Ab,..ham wa, in particular
nee<! 0/ an ove,Mul. The tribe of the Qure.h, to whom Muha mmad
belonged, claimed to be descendan," of Abraham' on Ishmael. The
Qure.h believed that Ah,ma m and Ishmael h.d come to Arabi. in
ancient times t o ",build the Ka'ab . Needle .. to y. the Bible make.
no ment ion oj .ny of this. What t he Bible doe ... y about bhmael i .
entirely dcroll"t ory.
According to the Bible, Ishmael i. Abraham', .on, but not born in
wedlock to hi . wife Sarah. Ishmael i . the child of Abraham and
Sarah '. ' bond,woman' Hagar. Ishm.el, to put it bluntly, i b."ard.
T he mess.ge of the Jewish .. ory i . that Arabs are dc>cen<imts of the
b."an! ron 0" . lave. According to the Bible, God prole .. Abraham'.
legitimate ron !s.ac, who i. the anceotor of t he lew., and t ell. Abra_
ham to .b.ndon Hagar and I.hmael in the de""" t o die. Obviously
Muhammad could not otomach any of t hi.,
Muhammad needed to incorporat e the storie. 0/ the Bible into hi.
teachings, 1><c.use thi . gave t hem .n aura o' antiquit y and roligi_
ooity, but he needed them to be different in important wav . So
he changed them. De'pite previously acknowledging the Bible t he
Word of God, he now provides a completely different version o' the
story of Abraham. But it i. not Muhammad who i . changing things,
Far from it. Muhammad i impl}' setting things straight . According
to hi. revelat ion. from God it is the Jew. and Christian. who kve
perverted t he Word o' God. Of course t his completely contradicts an_
other of his revelation. that ... erts 'No man can change the Won! 0/
~ " "
Guu.
T hrough hi. revelation. Muhammad did exactly wh .. other reli_
gious extremis .. h.d done be'ore him. He appropriates the mythical
hgure. of t he past 'or hi . own end . He even g"'" so far to claim
that Abraham was not. Jew, but rather. Muslim. Indeed, it was
Abraham who had first given the followe", o' Islam the name 'Mu. _
"
hm.', Muhamm.d claim. t hat it was not Isaac who was offered a. a
"
. acrifice to God, a. it S'v' in the Bible, but rather l.hmaeL And it
was not the Jew.' ancestor Isaac who was God'. favourite, it was
Muhammad'. ancestor Ishmael. The essential message of Muham_
m.d'. version 0/ events i. this;
MUHAMMAD: F ~ O M MYSTIC TO MOBHH
The t wo t ribe. t h" God cho.e . s t he be" we", the dellCend. nts 01 I>h_
mael and I> . ao. God pre/euN tho children 01 Ishmael . Thon GOO ''''_
"od Muhammad in the ,hosen tribe 01 t he Oureili [the descend.an .. 01
Ishm.ol[ . And th<n h. ch"", hi. b mily a. tho best among the Oure>h
famili .. on" C"'''N Muhammad t he best of .11 men.-
According to the Bible, God made the Jew. hi. chosen people become
of willingness to ,acrifico hi, son [ .. ac_ Muhamm.d's radi _
c. 1 re_write undermine. t his claim complet ely and m.ke, the Arob.
God'. prefer red tribe. Tho Bible . nd the Our'an are botb . upposedly
the Word of God. So whicb one is telling the t ruthr The Jew. h. d
no doubts. The Bible w., true and Muh.mm.d wu a fohe prophet.
As far as tbey were concerned Muhammad cou ldn'. be genuine
prophet, bec.me tho era of prophe<:y w o,'er .
It i. ",id tbat tbi. rejection by the few, was one 0/ tbe great .. t di._
appointments of Mubammad', !ile. From this time on, Muh.mmad',
attitude to t be Jews He now produced rovelat ion. from
God th .. overturned earlier re velations. The few, were no longer a
ble .. ed pe';,"le_ Thoy were 'cursed' and '.h.1l not have M re in the
Kingdom'. T he Our'an'. explan3tion for this ch.nge of heart is . im _
pie. The Jew. had not .ccepted Muhammad., God's prophet.
Muhamm.d .ymbolised his rejection of t he fe wi.h tradi tion by
changing t ho direct ion of worship from Jerusalem to hi, horne city 0/
Mecca. Even >orne of Muhammad', foilowen were confused by this
'hift, but Muh. mmad produced a revelation in which God an,wered
them, .. ying:
Th. fool mong the pe<I!lle w.lI .. y 'what h. s turnN t hem from t he
direction they were h cing in their pray.rs .fo""ime" But to GOO
beloo.g the ea .. and the west. He guide. whomsoevor He will to
straight ",t h. We have seen you [Muhammad[ turning yout face .bout
in the Hoaven and now We surely turn you to a diroction that .h.ll
.. tisfy you [Muh,mmad[. Turn yow face tow"-'!. t he Holy Mosque
[Ka'ab.[ and whor<ver you are, turn your face. tow.rd.
Thi' explanation Jo.,n't make .ny .ense. Ii both t he Eo .. and the
We .. belong equ.lly to God, why change the direc. ion! What the,.
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
ve",e. re.Il}' show is that Muhammad had m.de the decision to
change the direction of worship bec.use he had been rejected by the
few" and that his deei.ion was lat er legitimi.ed by ' revelation'
from God.
w now treated a. so ,acred that people were forbidden
from defecat ing whilst racing in the direction of the city. All who did
were infidel . The same was not true for once hoi}' fem",lem, A H._
dith record. one of Muharnm.d'. companion ..... ying;
Poople .. y that whenever yoo sit for .nswering the call of nature, you
.hould not f. ce feru .. lem. I told them, one< T went up t o the ro:>f 01
our hous< and [ .. w God'. M .. senger . ... wcring t he c,all of nature
whife sitting on two bncks facing lerw.olem, M
The t .. n.formation of the Muslim,' .ttitude ,ow.rd the few nd
fermalem could not be more explicit; ' [ .hit in your general direction',
Holy War
A. Muhamm.d becomes convinced th.t it is hi , divine mission to
irnJXlsc [. Iam on the world, hi. messages from God become more .ce_
uri . n and violent:
Oh ye who beheve' The non_Muslim are unc!ean,Q
Surely the worst of be.". in God's ' ight are the
Humiliate t he non_Muslim. to ,uch an extent that they surren<kr and
paytribute ,U
Oh ye who behe .. ' Murder t hose 01 the d"behevers ... and let them
find h.r:iline .. in
Muhammad creat .. a divi . ive world in which Mu.lim. are to be
treated one .... y and unbehevers another. The Our'an .. ates; 'M05_
"
lim. are hard ag.in" the unbelieven, but merciful to one another.
MUHAMMAO: MYSTIC TO MOBHH
To be. is t o be in 'Goo', party' and to be an unbeliever i. to
be against God. Indeed iust to be friendly with an unbeliever i, to be
an evildoer. [ven il th .. person is . dose relative:
o believers, uk. not lew nd Christian fri end., thoy .re lriend. of
.. ch oth .. , whoso 01 you make. them hi. lriends i. one 01 thorn. GOO
gwde. nC>! the p>plo of t he
o beliove", do not treat )"ur I.,he" and brC>!hors )"ur fnends, if
they prefor unbehef to belief. Whosoever 01 you take. t horn lor lriends,
they ore eVII .doe .. ,-
Mushm. oro the p>ple who 00 not love myone who 0f'!'0'<" God .nd
hi. not oven il they ,..ere their I.,hor, or their oon., or their
brothors or their dan'-
Consumed with religious mania Muhammad begins to cl.im that God
wants Mu,lim. to wage . jihad, or holy war, against all unbelieve",:
o Prophet, urge on the believers t o light, il there be twenty of you, pa_
tiont mon, they wIll ovorcome t wo hundred. II thore be . hundred of
you, they will overcome a t hou .. nd unbelievo".

Now Muh.mmad unle he oavage policy of et hnic clean.ing that
eventu.lly loJ to t he expulsion of all few nd Chri5tians from the
Arabian Peninsula , Muhammad declares:
o ye ",mbly of lew., . . you .hould know th .. the .. "h belong. to
GOO .nd Hi. M .. ..,nger, and I wi.h th .. I . hould ""pel you lrom this

1 will expel the lew. and Christian. from t ho Arabi. n Poniruul nd
will not le.ve .ny but
Muhammad'. vengeance on tho fews lor not accepting Islam was l""-
ticularly brutal. The lewi.h Banu K.inub tribe had once entered
into an alliance wit h Muhammad, but now lell into disfavour with
TH[ LAuGHISG I[W.
the Prophet, Aher a long . iege of their town by Muh.mmad's .. mies
they . urrendered_ Muhammad wanted to execute all ""ven hundred
of their IOOldie ... One of his companion., however, begged for them to
be treated with mercy, so instead the tribe wa. banished from Arabia ,
The [ewish Banu Quraiza tribe were not so lucky. The angel Gabriel
told Muh.mmad to destroy t hem entirely. Eight hundred [ewi.h men
were . laughtered, their women became concubines, and their chil _
"
dren slaves.
The Banu Ourai"" were taken out from their fortress and penned
up in separate yards. During the night the Mu.lim. , at t he command
of the Prophet, dug a long trench . A. d.y broke Muhammad said his
puye" to 'AlIah the MeTCiful, the Comp."ionate' and took. soat by
the pit t o ,upervi,e the operation, The Jewi. h men were brought in
group. of five or . ix with their fiand, t ied behind their backs . They
were ordered to Ii. down wit h their head. stretched out over t he edge
of the pit. Muham mad's companions Ali and Zubair then dec.pitated
them with ,word . By dusk the job w., complet<-d, Among the [cw_
i.h women who fell to t he Muslims a, .poi l. of war was an enchant _
ing beauty of twenty_two called Rih.na. Her husband, parents,
friends and relation! h.d just becn m."acred at the Prophet'. com_
mand, but despite her grid Muh.mmad immedi3tely propo,ed m3f_
ri.ge to her, Rih.na reiused hi . offer, so the Prophet simply took her
as another concubine.
Muhammad w., now the leader of the most vicious gang in Au_
bia, and all those katirs, or infidels, who dared opposed him met a
grisly fate :
The only reward of t h"", who make w .. on All.h and Hi. Me ... nger
and strive riter corruption in the land will be t hat they will be killed
or crucified, or ru.ve their h.nd nd feet on .hemate .ide. cut off, Of
they will be e. pelled out of the land. Such will be t heir .. d.ation in
the world. And in tho Here.fter theirs will be an . wful
The ex_Muslim Anwar Shaikh, who a. a young m.n was a religiou.
zealot who kill ed non _Muslims, write, with "" ion against what he
"
call, Muhamm.d's 'doctrine of extreme !IOCi. 1 con/lict ' , He state.
bluntly:
MUHAMMAD: MYSTIC TO MOBHH
The whole purpos< of the Our'.n is t o ,.i .. a kafir_hOl ing community
c,allod the Muslims, who mu>! be indoctrinated with tho .pirit 01
,ihad '0 make ,hem a domin"'" force, I"'rpe,u,olly re. dy '0 glorify
All. h and Muhammad by murdering, plundering and .ublugolting non_

Muhammad the Megalomaniac
Prophets are dangerous people bec.use they profe" to .""ak for God,
which give. them a claim '0 .boolute authority. I'rophoth<>Od i . a
form of idolatry. because the prophet corne. to represent God in the
.. me w.y as "a'ue. Living prophets are far more dangerous , han
.. one .. atue., however, bee.use prophets are people with 'heir own
""rson.1 agonda . Poople with. puffed_up .onse of their own 'ignifi _
c.nce, who really believe tha, ,hey can tell o,hers wha, God ' hinKs,
People who become inna' ed with their own delusion. of grandeur
and dem.nd tha, they ,hem""lve. be ,reated like God, People like
Muhamm.d.
At 'he , imo of Muhamm.d there were ""vera l o,her propheto w.n_
dering around A .. bia, .uch .s Al _A. w. d, the Veiled Prophet of
Yemen; Talih. , who claimed to have the power of divination, ""d
Musailima, who wa aid to perform miracle" But Muhamm.d
m.ke. it clear th .. he i , .bove them . J], Indeed he i. the greatest
prophet of.n time. Greater than Mose. and the o,her propheto of the
lew. , Gre3ter ,h.n le. u . His revelation. superseded all others before
him .nd will never be superseded by .nyone after him_ He decl.re.
himself to be the last and greatest of t he prophets, Hi, .ense of self_
importance truly know. no bound .
I,).m is personality cult creat ed by Muhammad to eulogi ze
Muhammad, According to Muhammad tho way to salvation i. to
imitate Muhamm.d. Yet ,here is no suggestion that ""yone could
ever be equ.1 with the PTophet himoelf. Muhamm.d eKpects hi . fol _
lowe" to follow, a. tho Our'. n make, plain;
o Beliovers, 00 not w. lk In fron' of t he Prophot. Do not ,.i.., your
voice above hi,"
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
In the early d.ys the mystic.1 Muhammad nuke'! it clear that he i.
not divine. He i. not the Son 0/ God, u Christi.ns cI.im lem. to be,
But as the cult 0/ Muhammad grows God gradually reced .. furt her
and further int o the background .nd the Prophet take. centre stage,
While still claiming t o be God'. ,lave, Muhammad act ually become,
the n,,"er,
Despite the Our'.nic injunction that no one .hould be .,soeiated
wit h Allah, prai'ing Muhammad become. an integral p.rt of every
Mu.lim'. daily praye ... The basic Muslim confession is the shahada,
which include. the name of Muhamm.d along.ide t hat 0/ Allah. The
Our'an i. unequivocal that obedience to both i. required;
It i. not for any believer, man or woman, when Allah and Hi. Me...,n_
g<r have decfft!. matter, t o have the choice in t he allair. Wh"""" .... r
disobey. Allah and hi. Meu<nger h ... gone astray into de ..
A. Muhamm.d'. meg.loITt;inia grow., the whole rdationship be _
tween God and his Prophet is stood on its head with the .,atement:
One may be negtig<nt toward. God but one must be re.pectful toward
Muhammad."
At the end of hi. life, we aTe told, Muh.mmad miraculously .. _
nded to Heaven, where he now . its on God's right hand wait ing to
judge u, .1I . Wi th this myt h tho transition from humble prophc< to
divine ,uJ>Cr-be ing is completed. Muhammad finally usu'p' God'.
power .Itogether, bee.use it i, no longer God who hold. the key. to
Heaven. It is Muhammad,
The Our'an may h,,'o previously taught thot at the time of judge-
ment 'no one sh.lI be able to benefit someone else bec.use the com_
mand .hall belong to God'." Now we are told that Muhammad can
intercede on our beha lf and that the Prophet" intcrce .. ions are bind-
ing on God. So it i. Muhammad who will decide who i aved and
who is dammed, because God must be governed by Muh.mmad'.
opmlon,
And Muhammad'. opinion i. cle.r. It doesn't m.tter how much
you believe in God, or how good you h,,'e been, if you reject Muham_
MUHAMMAD: MYSTIC TO MOBHH
mad you're an inhdel destined for etema f damnat ion. Although the
Qur'an had dearly stated that 'God i, the Ma5ter of the Day of Judge .
ment', now Muhammad i. more powerful t han God, becau>e God
doesn't even h.ve the power to ve th",e who believe in him from
HelL The criteria for gett ing into He.ven i. not .ub>etvience to God,
but to Muhammad. The . etvant h become the m.ster. The Prophet
h becom. God.
Heaven and Hell
Fear i. thc b ic tool of Literali st r.ligion .nd there i. no f.or great er
than the fear of death, except the fear of God'. puni.hment .fter
deat h. Like"" many self_proclaimed prophets, Muhammad u.." a
crude caITot _and_stick t echnique to bring l"-'OJlle into line, promising
a wonderful afterlife if t hey belicve and terrifying them with t he hor_
ro.-. of Hell that aw.it all unbelievers. The Qur'an . "er":
\Vho<ver de.ire. a religion other th.n I,lam in the next world he .hall
b. .mong the l " " , r s . ~
The unb.lievers of the P..,ple of the IIook Ilow. and Crui.,i., .. I .nd
the idolaters shall be In the Fire of Hell, therem dwelling for ever-
Surel)' those who disbelieve in Our ,ign. _WeIAll.hj .h.ll cert.inly
ru .. t them at fire . A. often ., their .kin, are wholly burned, We
,h. ll give t hem in exchange other .kins, that they may ta"e t he
puni,hment."
Muh.mm.d doclare , t hat anyone who has heard of Islam .nd not
converted [which mean. about four_fift h. 01 hum.nit y a. it i . now
constituted' ! will be tortured lor et ernity in the m",t horrible way.
imaginable:
A, lor the unbelie,'ors, 101 them garments 01 lire .hall be cut, .nd
there , h.ll be poured o .. r their head. boiling water whereby whatso-
ever i. in their . Women nd their ,kim .h.ll b. melted. For them
.00 THE LAuGHISG lEW.
await h<>okod iron rod . A. ofn t hoy de.ire in t hoir mgui.h to
como forth from it, they . h.ll he ",>torN into
Tho dwell<r ai Hell i. gi,-en to drink oozing pm, whioh he gulp. ""d
<:.an .,:.roe ,wallow. Death oome. upon him from ev<ry .ide, yet he
<:.annat dio_ And still before him Ii .. harsh
In tho light o' thi' it i, astonishing that .11 the chapte .. of the
Qur'an except one commence with <[n the name of Allah, the Mer_
ciful, the Compassionate' r Yet Allah i. compassionate to those who
do wh .. they.,.., told and follow Muhammad. They will be .dmit_
ted to paradise:
Wh"", obey. God and hi> Messenger, He will admit him to the gar_
dens [of p.a",dise[_M
Surely tho pio,," .hall b. in bliss, upon eoucho. gazing_ You find in
their h ees . hining bli" a. they aro oHerN t o drink 01 wine ",aled
wit h
Surel)- for the God_fearing awaits a place of ""urity, ganlon. and vme_
yard. and maidens with . welling bollOm .
M
Other .. r ings give detail. of the ever_young houris, or virgin., that
will be avail.ble to all men in par.dise:
A ham; i most beautiful young woman with a transparent bod)'_
The marrow of her bon i> vi,ible like t ho intorror lines of "" .. Is and
rubie .

A i> a girl of t ender age, h .. ing hrge "'ing broa", which are
round, and not inclined t o
Every m.n who onten paradise will be given .eventy_two of the.e
houris and, no matter at what . ge he die., in par.di", he will be a
thirt y_year-old with the virility of. hundred men. For th""" of. dif_
ferent ..,xu.l I"'nua.ion thero 3<e . 1", beautiful ever_young boy.
MUHAMMAD: MYSTIC TO MOBHH
'"'
'pretty like peaTl. ' wh" weaT .ilver bangles_ On t op "f all thi. the in_
habitants of I"' radi.e receive winged h"roe. m.de "ut "f rubie. that

wIll fly them wherever they want to go.
And yet, for all this talk "f rew.rds . nd punishments, Muha mmad
i. actually 3 determini ... One ,aying stat e. that f"'tv day. after a foe_
tus is f", mod in its mother'. womb 'God send, his Angel to it with
in.truct ions concerning f"ur t hings, hi, l ivelihood, hi. death, his

deeds .nd hi s fat e'. Other savings expl.in:
God ha. fixed the ,'ery portion of adultery whi ch a man will indulge
in, .nd which he must of neceuitv commit ."
Whomsoever God le.d tray, no guide has he, hut whomsoever
God guide . , n"ne ,h.1l Ie..! hIm ' ''''y. I. n"t God all_mighty, . 11_
vengeful' "
The Qur'an m.ke. it quite clear that it i. God who lead. someone to
1.lam or away from it. Yet in the very same ve",e God h"ld. unbc_
.,
lievers c(}lllp!etely re.pons ible for their own .ct ions, How C<i n God
appoint 3 Dav 01 Judgement to trv p<'<'ple for a de!tiny that he has al _
lotted to them r Should it not be Muha mm.d'. Allah who is tried for
t01menting some people unjustly .nd lav"uring othen undeservedl
v
!
It doe. n't m.ke ",nse. But , then, religion seldom doe .
Muhammad's Legacy of Hate
Muh.mmad claimed he was bringing ' new and bett er religion to hu_
manit y. But actu.lly it was iust the same old nonsense wit h a t"uch
01 Arabian .pice. lust li ke the Tan.kh and the New Testament , t he
Our'an was put t ogether by religi"u. extremis .. t " lulfil their ,"c_
urian . gend.s. And like t he .. other ' sacred scriptures' t he Our'an
c"ntinuco to be a source 01 conflict and divi.ion today, especia fly in
the ",,_c.lle<! Holy Land.
Despite changing the directi"n "f worship from Jerusalem to
Mecca, Muhammad did not ent irely ren"unce his claim upon jeru-
salem. Although there i. no evidence that Muhammad ever vi.ited
."'
THE LAuGHISG I[SU'
the city, a mythical story .bout hi . night Hight to jerus.lem became
incorporate<! into t he Our'an . Thi. enmred that jeru,alem hec.me a
.. cred place to Muslims, and hence gave them a divinely legitimised
claim on the cit y. The ",.ult i. that lews. Christi.ns .nd Muslim ll
now regard Icru lem as their . acred city. which has led to centuries
of diabolical.uf(ering_
Inspired by Muh.mmads teaching th .. t hc D.y 0/ fudgement will
not come until the Muslims have destroyed the lew Islamic Fund. _
"
mentalists .re .. i ll butchering fcw. , And Jewi.h Fundamentalists.
who w.nt to appropriate Arab I.nd to re_estahli.h the mythi",,1 King_
dom of David. are murdering Mu.lim . And Christian Fund.mental _
i .... who want to re_est.bli,h the lew. in 1 ... eI bec.use it i. a
pre _requi.ite for the Second Coming 0/ Christ. have ar med the lew.
to t he teeth. Today leru, alem i, a <tick of divine dynamite threaten_
ing to expl<><ie at .ny moment, And the.e religious Fundamen .. li ...
are convinced that it i. all part of God'. plan that it doe. explode'
The cri sis h heen exacerb .. ed by the Muslim helief t hat. hecause
the lew, had becn cur'se<! by God. they would ncver he allowed to re _
turn to lem lom .nd form a government of their own, When in hct
the lew. did return to Israel and form their own government it . truck
at the very r<>ot of I.lamic tradition, Who i. right ? Mo,e., who
claimed that Israel i. tho land promised to t he low' b}' God. or
Muh.mm.d. who a .. ert. that the few. h.ve hecn cursed hy God and
a. a remit c.nnot return to ferusalem'
"
Thcre are IIOme in the Mu. lim world who would r .. her.eo all the
fcw. in I.rael driven into the sea than have their Holy Our' an proved
wrong. T here ore .omo in the Jewi. h and Christ i.n world who want
to see all Arab, driven from Israel in order t o prove their heloved
Bible right. There .re m.ny more throughout the whole world who
want to see all these Literalists give up their dcp<ndence on t he divi _
. ive ' , acre<! ,cripture,' that iustify their appalling behaviour. Will
this ever happ<n'
We believe it will. But the West i. ahead of the game. Western
,chola .. have been criticising the ludeo_Chri<t i.n Bible for three cen_
turie. _ The Muslim world h., barely begun to .n.lyse the Our'an
crit ically_ The We .. is .lowly pulling itself out of thc mo .... 0/ Liter_
alist bigotry and establi'hing a new tradition that encourage. indi_
MUHAMMAD: F ~ O M MYSTIC TO MOBHH
not collective obedience to religious .uthority. A tradition
thot views doubt as better th.n blind beli ef.
Whilst the authority of the Qur'an remains unquestioned by the
Muslim world, t he ,""cular liberal values of the West will be reiectN
u the work of the Devil, just as Muhammad would have
Thc Our'an is dear that salvation come, not through thinking
for ourselves but by imitating the great dictator Muhammad, This
is why Mu.lim Fundamen"lists believe it is their duty to walk,
"
"lk, eat, drink, dre .. and think like Muhamm.d. And m.ke war on
infidel. just like Muhamm.dt
In the name of 'Allah tho Compassionat e' Muh.mmad h be_
queathed the world. legacy oj hatred. He h.s inculc.ted into hi.
followe .. an 'm versus them' mentality, which has left pious Mus_
lims perpetually at war with thc rest of humanity, Semtex h. , re_
placed .words, but Islamic religious zeal and t he suffering it c.me.
remains the same, Now we have the chilling .pectre of Os.m. Bin
Laden living in a cave, like Muhammad, still urging young men to
rna .. murder of infidels, like Muhammad, and still promi.ing ever_
la"ing sex in Heaven .s reword lor martyrdom. A. the Muslim
writer l .. had Manii puts it in her book The Trouble with Islam:
I" like a pe'P"tu.ollicense to ejoculate In exchange for a willingne ... to
detonate
"
Why .. e t hese young men so eager to nchange thcir lives for empty
promise,; It i. because they have been b .. inwashcd into belicving
tho Our'an is an authoritative s .. rement of God's opinion . And t hcy
are sure that Muh.mm.d is in Hcaven, sitting on God's right hand,
waiting to judge how faithful they h. vc been to his commandments.
01 course Christian Lirerali"s know this can't be true, because it i.
fe, us who i. sitting on God'. right hand, Perhaps it i. bec.use all
these prophets are sitting on his hands that God i. unable to do any_
thing to stop the mi.ery religion is c.ming in his world'
THE LAUGHISG IESU.
6
THE DREAM OF AWAKENING
History i< " dT, ,,m 110m whicn I am " ying to awoke.
_ JAM" loyc" ULn,,,
After many y e ~ r s studying t he great religions of the world we have
developed an .Imos' .Ilergic reaction to t he downright gobbledegook
contained in their ,upJ><>S<dly sacred texts . Our studies have forced
us to conclude t hot , he,. book. cannot po>.ibly be the ' Word 0/ God',
In lact, if we were God'. lawyers we would acivi .. suing for mi"epre_
.enution and defamat ion of ch.rocter. But doe. , hi , conclusion ren _
de. , h texts completely worthle .. ! 01 com"" not. After an , we
accept that the wonh of 1'1010, Rum; and Shake.peare no iu", t he
words of men, but we consider t hem sublime for all that .
We are not .. ring for. moment that t he Taruokh, New Testament
and Our'an don" conto;n moments of beauty. insight and wisdom. It
i. iust that we cannot, and dare not, ignore the dreadful pass.ge. 0/
int olerance, bigotry and Mtred that they al"" conuin. We can no
longer go on pretending that religiou. t errori". are perverting the
'true' mess.ge of their ,""cred texts when the tex," them..,lve. create
an us_ve .. u. _them world and incite their readen to divinely ,anc_
tioned violence .
The problem is t hat Literalist religion. expect t heir followe .. to
accept their sacred scripture. on an ' .H_or_nothing' ba.i,. Despite
this. 0/ course, most believe .. cherry_pick thc p.s .. ges they like ""d
simply ignore the one. they don't . Don't get us wrong, we are grate_
ful for this' Ii lews, Christian. and Mu.lim. were to c.rry out what
their scripture. demand in the .verage modcm city there would be
ab,olute anarcby. But how long will this era 0/ tolerance l. stl For, in
our reading of bi story, overy culture has its equivalent of tbe Taliban
waiting in the wings, dre.ming of return to ab. olute power .nd
plotting their theocratic coup.
We must .pply our God_given gift 0/ di,crimination to .H scrip_
turo. and recognioe they are "" internally riven wi th iHogic.lity ""d
inconsistency that they h.ve m.de u. mad. For ex.mplo, in the
go,pels le. us ,ays, 'He who is not .goinst me i. for me'. But he al""
says, ' He who i. not for me is against me' . The first i. egali .. ri.n ""d
inclu.ive. The second i. narrow_mindcd and exclusive. They arc mu_
tually contradictory. "" believing both make. le,us a madm.n ""d
our", I ve. .c hizophre nic.
We .. e not .. ying that thcre are not IIOme inspiring pas .. ge, in the
New Tc"ament . T hc commandment to love one's enemies i. im_
mensely profound. Doe. it make this t e.ching .ny Ie .. profound if
lesus didn't actually exist! Of course not . There w.s never a Hamlet,
King Lear or Pro'pew, but we "ill love Shakespeoro. His insights
int o the human condition wiH be ",levant ., long there .. e hu _
man beings, as will those that oem""ne put into the mouth of thoir
hero Je.u .
During our liletime tht wisdom oj t he world has become avai l.ble
at the loc.1 bookstore and can be downl",ded from the Internet.
Surely it would now be ab,urd to continue confining ouroe lves to one
tr.dit ion or to one ,""cred t ext. It'. time to face up to the f.ct that no_
body c.n be right about everything. T he lirst hall of Plato's Timaeus.
THE LAuGHISG I ESU.
lor ex. mple, is a fascinat ing insight into the cosmology and my><i_
ci,m of the Greek esoteric tradition, But the .econd h.Jf is quite
frankly laughable, Anyone wit b modicum 0/ modem knowledge
about buman anatomy will realise tbat Plato i imply wrong. Like_
wise, t he Bible may contain gr ... wi, dom but, unaccountably given
its supposed omni.cience, it has nothing t <> ""y about quantum
physic . An}' boDk is merely a product 01 its time and place,
There are so many excollent boDh out there that it i . plain mad _
ness to rem. in fixat ed by one te xt. In our opinion, the Upanishads,
the Tao Te Ching and the Crest lewe! of Wisdom Ole much better
than the Bible_ And if tbe.c are too Eastern for you, t hen look at t he
ancient philoo.ophers .ucb as Plato and Plotinus, Check out the sub_
lime poetry of tbe Sufi . , such a, Rumi and Hafiz, Dip into the tr.n_
. cendent.l wisdom of the mediev.l Christian mystic Meister
Eckhart, And il t he .. are too old or too loreign, try Walt Whit man' ,
"atic poetry or T. S, Eliot'. Four Quartels. because the"" two
authors are much more myotic.l than either M",es or Muhammad,
But whatever you choose 3. your source 01 inspiration, remember it
i. only a boDk. And that includes the boDk you are ",.ding right now'
T he modem world offers us so many sources of inspiration to
choo"" from that it has creat ed what i. often dismissed as a 'spiritual
,up<rmarket' . But what'. wrong with , up<rrnar kets' When we were
kids t here were only religiou, comer shops oHering a limited choice
of dusty products that were well p'" their .ell _by d .. e, Now we can
pick and choose t he .pirituality we prefer. We can .ay we like t his,
but we don't want that. Fonustic! Let'. not crow about it. Let'. cele_
brate it. ft' gigantic step forwanl from the day. when the Church
ran 3 monopoly on Truth,
Recovering from Religious Insanity
The world h moved on, but Literalist religion is stuck in the past,
Unlike just about every other aspect 0/ hum.n cult ure, where new i,
sexy and old i, outdated, in matters of religion old i. holy and new i,
hereti""L Muhamm.d expressed this back wanl _looking attitude p<r_
leedy when he announced;
TKI DUAM of AWAUNtNG
'"'
!lewa .. 01 new things lor every now thing i. an innov.,ion and overy
innovation i. a mi.,.ke'
The very nature of lile i. thot things constantly change, but Literal _
i.ts don't like change, Things were better in the good old days, when
religion dominatc><l our lives , We n""d to go back to how t hings were
in Muham mad's time. We need to go b.ck to the days of the early
Church. We hove fallen from. primordial potadi.e and are heading
lor the terrible punishment we desen'e, The future we are ofJered is
Armageddon, m ... de.truction, divine retribution, l ire and brim _
stone, Are these really the im.ges we want to be fi lling our chi ldren's
head. with!
You can tell when pirit u.1 " adit ion h succumbed to Literal _
i.m because it stops changing. People repeat the s.me old creeds, per_
form t he .. me old ritua l nd wear the .. me old costumes, .Ithough
they no longer h.ve any idea why, The Ha.ids began as vibrant
movement of [ewi.h mystic. and free thinkers in eighteenth_century
Poland, Bm few centuries lat er they have become. Lite"dist cult
to be seen performing their devotion. at the Wailing Wall in
[eru",lem, st i ll wearing eighteenth_century Poli sh dress d"'igned for
the ostern European chill, despite the fact that they now live in the
burning he .. of t he Middle 0". Liter.li." cling to whatever gave
them their identi ty in the p. st, no matter how mad it now m.y be,
Religion i. obviou,ly cra"y. Yet, for some rea""n, there i feeling
th .. we .hould res!,,-'Ctiully avoid criticising this c,."inc .. bec.use it
i. a m.tter of 'faith'. Why1 We don' t feel compelled to .how this sort
of unquestioning deference in mattors of politics, .cience or .nything
else. The time h come to announce that the emperor is wearing no
clot he. , Literali" religion deserves to be ridiculed, not respected, It i.
irration. l, immoral .nd outmoded. And hy5teric.lly funny,
Religiouo Literalism is b.d ide. poorly thought through. Chri. _
t i.n Lite,.Ii.,", for example, procloim their oppo. ition to P'gani.m,
yet celebrate Eoster, which i. na med aft er the P.gan Goddess Eostre,
And they don't celebr .. e this most imporunt of fe. t iv.ls on fixed
date which marks the crucifixion of lesU!, but according to. P.gan
lun .. calendar. Even more .b.urdly, they mark this holy day bye ...
ing eggs, symbol of the Pagan godde'Ss, Why don't we have choco_
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
late crucifixe. ! Aftor .11, Chri>tianity i bout eating the body 0/
Christ. Although it might be a bit of a problem deciding whicb end
to .. art!
Literali.", i. bonke .. , If we told you that a friend 01 ou .. h. d been
born of virgin, could walk on water and had come back from t he
doad, who but the truly demented would believe u.! Yet billion. hap_
pily believe this ba.ed on. bizarre old book_ If we were dealing with
an},thing other than religious belief, such irration;oli t y would be
grounds for a diagnosis of menul illnoss,
Religious m.dnc .. cau""s seemingly intelligent people to turn the
truth inside out to fit their dogm _ Crown Prince Abdull.h, a mem_
ber of the despotic ruling aristocracy in S.udi Atohia and.n Isl.mic
Lite .. Ii", recent Iy announced;
Saudi Arabi. has. constitution inspir<-<i by Allah and not drawn up by
man_ I rio not believe that there is any Arab who belie .. s that t he
Our' an contain. a . ingle IDOpMle which would p<rmit an injustice to
be done_ If there i. any truly domocn>tic system in the wOTld, it i. t he
one now existing in Smdi Arabi. '
So democracy i. not .bout the will 0/ the people, but about following
divine revel .. ion .Dd being ruled hy a king! It i. h .. d to know where
to begin with someone who i. willing to distort the meaning 0/
words such .s democracy to .uch an extent , in order to justify his
religious preiudices and vested sell_interest_
But it's not just mad Muslims who don't seem to rc<ogoi.e t he
obviou.ne .. of their own hypocrisy, The m.jority 0/ American Chri._
ti.n Fundamentali . ts, who won hip the 'Lord' and look forw .. d to
the ' Kingdom' 01 Heaven, .. e . upporters of the 'Republic.n' p.ny,
Isn' t republic.nis", about .bolishing kings and lords' Irony, confu_
sion and willful .df_dc<eption become 00 ont ""gled it i. difficult to
see where one begins .nd the other ends,
Many Literalist leaders ..,em . dept at fitting their faith to their
person.l .elf_intere,,_ Fundamentalist figure. in t he U,S" for eum_
pie, don't actu.lly tum the ot her cheek, or love t heirenemie. , or give
all their money t o the poor. They build big evangelical organi.ation.
with themselveo at the top. They preach morality ""d approve tho.e
TKI DUAM OF AWAUNING
who bomb abortion clinic. and wage war. They are exactly the!Ort 0/
hYf>OCrite. that jesus condemm in the go.pels .
The irony i. t hat the most extreme Fundamentalist. are act ually
only one ,m.ll step .way from waking up. They ore .lready com_
pletely convinced that everyone el,e'. religion i. utter nonsense. All
they need to do now i. re.li.e that IKl is their own' But, for Fund._
mcntalists, this .mall stcp i. a giant leap int o the unknown, requir_
ing a genuine faith in thc mystery of existence, which they have yet
to find. Fundamentalist. need to be certain they know the Truth, be _
c.use t he only alternative they ,ee i. t erri fying. Fundamcnuli ... are
'us' at our most lost_ As thc Christian Gnostic Theodotus put it
many centuries ago;
Those who are rno" .. l",p think they.re m03t awake , being under
the power of vivid and fi xed vi,ions, so that th"", who aIe most igno-
",nt t hink thoy know rno>t, '
Yet it i. often becau,e they have had a genuine experience of awaken_
ing from the illusion of separat ene .. t hat people embrace Fund.men_
uli.m, Make no mist.ke .bout it , at Fundamenulist meet ings
people experience oomething special. They feel rou""d from t he
everyd.y numbne.s we call 'normality' and begin to feel .live .gain,
Tbey are having transpersonal experience . But, then, IKl were people
at the Nazi Nuremberg .. nics . They .Iso transcended their ><n.e 0/
being an isolated individu.l, but unfort unately became caught up in
the gre .. er limited identity of being 0 German. In t he me way, reli_
gious Fundamentalist. experience the relief of transcending their per_
son.l identity, but become embroiled in the larger limited identity 0/
being. Christian, Mu.lim or whatever.
M..ny forward_thinking people are depressed by the ri.e of modern
Fundamenuli.rn, which threatens to take uo back to the Dark Age.
when religion ruled the world with an iron fist, But Fund.mental i.m
i. not to be feared, because it i. nothing m'w. What i. new i. that 100
many 0/ us now no longer IOCe such bigotry acceptable, What ha.
changed i. that t hroughout large ""n. of the Western world, e.pe_
cially Europe, new way. of thinking Mve ste.dily eroded the totali _
tarian regime that wa, Christendom, This has re.ulted in the demi,.
""
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
o( org.nised religion. But it has also revealed. I." rump o! believers
who are desp<ratoly holding on to a m edieval worldview who.., day
has long gone,
[t i. only bec.me new w.ys o( looking.t the world have become
so popular that we have (elt the nee<! to give a name to the old w.y o!
seeing things .nd call it 'Fundamentalism' . But creating a new name
creote. the erronoom impre .. ion that this was a chri stening when in
bet it w.s . !une,.L Fundamentali sm is not proof o! the power 01 re _
ligioU! Literali.m, but ,.ther o( its we.kne.s_ Fundamentali.m is
religiouo Literali.m in the throes o! de.th, not the hrst Hush o( youth,
Fundamentali.ts are !ighting . defensive rear_guard b.ttle . gain .. t he
modem world, bee.use they know they are losing the war o! ide.s,
T he moment. set o( bel ie!. is thought o( as a 'tradition' that need.
saving, it is already doomed.
When George W, Bush ",.ponded to t he t,.ge<!y o( 9/11 he used
Biblical language to declare 'you are either wi th us or against us', We
feel t h .. he i . right , but not in the way he intended. The choice we
lace right now is to be with Gc'Orge Bush, Osam. Bin Loden and all
tho.., religiou. Literalists who choo,"" to p<rp<tuate division through
violence and hatred, or to wake up to oneness and choo .. love and
!orgivene .. , the Gnostic> have taught (or centuries. Are we (or
George .nd Osam. or against them' How we make thi . choice will
dehne the world we co-cre .. e in t his new millennia .
The Heretical Heritage
T hroughout history, Gnostic. h.ve pre,ent ed the po"ibi lity o( awak_
ening to gno.i. as an alternative t o religious Literali.m. Gnost ics are
. lways outspoken critic. o( the outdat ed ".t us quo, which forever
gets them into t rouble. T hey are branded heretics and pe"ecuted
horrihly. But through their courage the spiritual heo" 01 religion has
been kept beating through the ages, The grea t scient ist and 1"", _
thinker Albert Einstein writes:
The religious geniuses of all .ge. have been distingui'hed by the kind
01 religious feeling which know. no dogma and no God oO<loeiv.d in
TKI DUAM OF AWAUNtNG
'"
man'. im"8"; so th.t there cm b< no church whose cent",l te.ching
" "' sed on it. Hence it .. proci .. ly . mong the heretic. of every . ge
th.t we find mon who were filled with this highest kind of religiom
f""ling .nd wore. in m.ny 0 . .... re!l"rded by thoir contompo.-.ril ..
.. heists. sometimes .1.., . .... ints . lc<>ked .. in this li#lt men like
o.mocrituo. h anci. of Assi. i and Spino .. >Ie closely akin to one
,
anothor.
Gnost ics come from all sorts of different backgrounds but form one
tradi t ion of aw.kening. In the West this tradition has been c.lled by
m.ny name such a. Pythagoreani,m. Pl"onisrn. Mysticism. Eso_
torici.m. t he Perennial Philosophy and. b<wildering number of
ot her things. We c.1l this tradition 'Gnostici,m. bec.use it teaches
tho philooophy which lead. to &nosi . , or awakening. The different in_
dividuals who make up t his tradition didn't .11 use this n.me, of
course. but grouping thorn together a. Gno"ic.'. in this broad ..,nse
in which we use the word, en.ble. u. to treat this important move
ment in the evolution of ideas a. one identihable tradition.
Literalists teach blind adherence to their religion, but Gnoot ics are
edectics who ..,ek out wi,dom wherever it can b< found. They em_
ph i,e that only by thinking in new way. will we become more con
.cious. It i. no .urpri"', t herefore. thot in t hose period. of history in
which Literalist religion has dominat ed we have becomo consumed
by violence or simply .tagnat ed. Bm for tho .. brief moments when
Gnostici.m has flouri shed, we have enioyed a flowering of culture
and wisdom.
History <epe ... itself. albeit with subtle twist ... every tnrn. One
pattern di,cernible in the ch.ot ic unfolding of even .. i. t hat thero are
period. whon humanity .oem. to wake up. Like a bright child we
"art .sking some interesting questions. And. as in childhOC>d. the.e
intense bur, .. of enquiry .re often accompanied by explo.ions of cre._
t ivity. At .uch t imes anything .""ms possible .nd there 'ppea" to
be no limits t o the human imagination. The remlt i. m ually. spec_
.. cular bl",.oming of culture. And t hi hould be no . urprise, be_
c.use what is culture but the measure of humanity' s i magin .. ion'
S.dly, the.e erupt ions of .wakening arc foll owed by long period.
when humanity . uccumbs to the toulitarian grip of dogmat i.m 3fld
THE LAUGHtSG l EW.
orthodoxy. Culture decline. and usu.lly goes into reve,...,. There i.
much ulk about ... dition and going b. ck to b ies, Few origin.1
works are created the climate i . simply too dangerou. for them to
apJ><a .. Culture become. merely t he rOJ><t it ion of forms of expre. _
sion. declared safe by the monarch, or the mull.h., or the mo .. 1
m.jorit y_
Although t he average citizen does not have a clue a. to what 's
really going on, it is .houted loudly from every 'y""gogue, church or
mosque that somebody somewhere i. absolutely certain. They have
the ear of the Almight y. They have all the answers in their big black
book. Consequently no one else needs to worry thoir head. about
the,"" things, In I.ct, it'. better if they don't think about t hings at .n,
And so, with nothing to think about , everybody !lowly nods off.
Th .. i. unti l another meddling Gnostic phi losopher pops up with
childi,h quostion uch a. 'Where do we come fromi', 'Is t hero a
God" and ' Why is the emperor naked!' And thank goodne .. they Jo,
There has to be somcone to stand up to all tho.e know_it_all . shout _
ing int o their megaphone. , 'Thi . i. how it i. _ Thi. is who you ve,
Thi. is wh.t you should do" What we h.ve found ",marbble i. t hat
thore h.ve been so many prepared to take the appalling risks of con_
fronting the men with the megaphono" And we .hould be eternally
grate/ul to t hem, becau.e they h.ve sowed t he seed. of.ll that i. be ..
about human culture_
One 0/ t he groatest explosions of cult ure h.ppened in CI . "ic.1
Athens , For a brief moment in the middle 0/ t he fifth century HeE,
there w an outburst of froe inquiry, during which philosophers .t _
tacked the religion of Greece and ridiculed a Literalist inteIJlretat ion
of t he worh of Homer and Ho.iod, which was the Greeks' Bible,
Socrates .nd Plat o taught the J><ronniaJ Gnost ic phi lo.ophy that all i.
one, .nd lombast ed Homer and He.iod, aecu.ing thorn of attributing
to the gods 'everyt hing t h .. i sh.me and reproach .mong men,
,
ste.ling and committing . dultery .nd deceiving each other' ,
The Greeks were now thinking in startlingly new ways .bout the
TKI DUAM OF AWAUNtNG
goo. , creation and what it i. to be human. The old ideas could not
contain t he outpouring of intellect ual energy and broke a!"'rt . lIut
look at the new ide that were created: democracy, phil""'phy, sci _
ence, education, literoture, theatre, mothemat ics, .rchitecture, sculp_
ture, mu. ic, sport; t he list g""" on and on. The .ccompli.hrnents
of the Greeks ~ r e awe _in.piring and their civili.at ion formed the
blueprint for our modem world. Thi. vib .. nt, questioning cult ure
produced incredible wondors and then utterly coll.p..,d when it suc-
cu mbed to religious dogmat i.m.
At the end of tho fifth century the ou>ted Oligoorch. re. umcd power
and init iated. react ionary backlash . Tragic.lly, but typically, t he
princi!", l victims were the very people who had inspired the cultur.l
renai .. ance in t he i irst place. The brilliant .nd eccentric philollOpher
Anaxagoras, advisor of the gre.t leader of Cla .. ical Athens, Pt'rieles,
was indict ed for heresy and sent into exile . Xenophane. was indicted
lor impiety and banished from Athens . Hi. crime ! Expres. ing bla. _
phemous sentiments such as ' If cattle and horses had h.nds t hey

would draw the form. of their gods li ke horse nd c.tt le', and
No one know. 01 will ever know, t he truth about t he gods, for ovn if
you did st umble on t he truth, you would not know you had'
Protagoras, the phi losopher who famously made man ' t he me.sure of
all things', was indicted for here.y. Hi. book w burnt in t he .treet
and he drowned whilst trying to escape his persecuto,, _ Socr .. es, the
most celebrated philo.opher of them all, was condemned and exe_
cuted. The.., .re iust some of the famous vict ims of the intellectu. l
purge c.rried out by the Thirty Tyrants who now ruled Athens. An_
other fifteen hundred free_thinkers and pftilosophers aho peri.hed
in the reign of t error. Athen. h.d successfully cut off her own head.
It was a horrible scenario, but one that history would repeat time
and .gain .
Alexandria
The Athen. experi ment was ruthlessly crushed, but Gnostici,m
lived to inspire . nother great renai"ance of wi,dom and culture in
'"
THE LAUGHI SG l EW.
Hellenic Alexandria from the thin! centul)' BC . Hero the .piritual
wisdom of the world met and was synthe.ioed into new dynamic
form. by eclectic Gnostics. They merged Greek and Egyptian philos_
ophy to c","e the Hcrmetica, Greek, Egyptian and Mesopotamian
influence. flowed together to create The Chaldean Oracles, Greek
philosophy syncreti.ed with lewi.h mythology to creat e Christi.n_
ity. Alchemy, Buddhism and every other .piritual tradition through to
ZOlThistriani. m were openly practiced and di.eussed.
The great library of Alexandria w.s sa id to contain half a million
scroll., including work. by writers such a. Euclid, ArchimNes and
Ptolemy, who all worked.t the library. It also contained the books of
Aristarchu. of &imos, who demonstrat N thot the Earth i. one of the
planets and orbits the .un, And Eratosthene., who calculat ed the
obliquity of the ecliptic and the diameter of the Earth with an error of
Ie .. th.n I percent . And Hipparchus, who determined the precession
of the equinoxes, the . ize of the .un, and e.lculatN lunar eclipses,
And Appolonius, who produced a .rudy of conic sections fourteen
hundrN years before Kepler re_discovered this vital t ool for ealeulat_
ing the orbits of the planets.
The . cientist Carl Sagan argued that if human progre.s had not
been interrupt ed by the Dark Ages, the medieval period 01 cathed .. 1
building might instead have witnessed the beginning 01 t he Space
Age. But this didn't happen. When Literali" Chri"ianity became the
religion 01 the Rom.n Empire the world went m.d again, Free en_
quiry was olfiei.lly terminated and t he great l ibrary was put t o t he
torch by rampaging bands 01 black robed monk.. Augu .. ine con_
structed the first ever legal .. gument that the stat e had the right and
dut y to enforce religious orthodoxy on its .ubiects. Augustine's oppo_
nents denounce<! the 'unholy alliance' between Catholics and the
Roman Sute, but they could now be legally suppressed with violence
. ,
tf noce .. ary.
Baghdad
With men like Augustine now firmly in control, t he philosophe ..
moved east, and the Mu.lim world was the beneficiary of this brain_
drain. In an astonishingly short period, beginning in the eighth cent ury,
TKI DUAM OF AWAUNtNG
the influx of Gnostic . pirituality and ocience tran.formed Islamic
culture into the greatest ci,'ili .. tion in the world. The philosopher_
. cient ist Thabit ibn Ourra of Harran writ es:
We . '" the heir> and pr"P'goItOTS of Pagolni, m. Who else h,,'c civilis..!
the world and built cities if not the noble nd king> 01 Pagani.m'
lI'ho else h.ve set in order the harbour> and the rivers' And who else
have taught the hidden wisdom' To whom el "" ha. the Deit ), ",,'caled
it",]f, gi,'en oracl .. , and told .bout t he future, if not t he famorn men
amongst t he Pagolru' The PagolfU have made known all 01 t hi . They
have discovered t he art 01 healing t he body, t hey h,,'c .00 made
known t he art 01 he.llng t he >oul, they h.ve fillcd t he earth with set _
tled form. of government and with wisdom which is the highest good.
Wit hout Paganism the world would be empty and miserable'
And he was right. Without Pagani.m t he Western world really had
become empt y and mi",r.ble, But the lights went out in Europe,
they began to burn even more brightly in the East. I.l.mic culture
was still young and anything .eemed po .. ible, The fruit 0/ this ope n_
mindedne .. , al w.y., was high culture.
In t his period Iloghdad sow renais .. nce in which literary crit i _
ci.m, phil"""phy, """try, mathemat ic., astronomy and medicine
flouri.hed a. tliey once h.d in At hen. and Alex.ndria, B.ghJ..d had a
thousand phy.iei.ns, a iree ho,pital, regular postal service, and
o
b.nks wit h branches as far afield . s Chin.. The first university,
c.lled the House of Wisdom, was e"ablislied here, where Greek t ex ..
on astronomy, navig:rtion, geograpliy, mathematic. and medicine
were translated into Arabic. Mu,lim scliolars built on this found. _
tion and went on to make more scientific di.coveries during this
"
period t lian in the whole of previou. ly recorded history.
Mystic.] sects, .uch as the I. maili. , uoed mathematic. and sci _
ence, iu>! like t lieir Pyth.gore.n forebe.rs, a. a means of aw.kening
the human mind to a sense of transcendent wonder. They .tt acked
Lite .. li .. religion, arguing tliat no revel.tion could ever be definitive,
"
since God was .lw.y. greater th.n human thought. Another ""ct
c.lled them.elves the Faylosuh, from the Greek philosoph" which i.
also probably t he r<>ot of the name 'Sufi' commonly given t o Islamic
,,.
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
mystic . Drawing their inspiration from the hundreds 01 Greek
philosophical toxts now the Faylasufs tkt human
beings could transcend the apparent ,eparatene .. of things and expe_
rience thot all i. one. They a .. erted that this philosophy w., the
original religion of all other religion. were in.de_
quote versions of the true t eaching .
Y.qub ibn [sh.q al _Kindi taught that Musli m hould .""k truth
wherever it was t o be lound, even from loreigne .. with a different re _
ligion. The teaching' in t he Our'an were parables 01 ab.tract philo_
sophical truth. to make them .<cessible to the ITl<tS"'S. Revealed
religion was t hus the poor man's phi lo.ophy. Abu Na .. al _Farabi
went further and argued that philo'ophy wa. higher t han revooled re _
ligion_ He argucd that religion was really iust another mean. 01 con_
trolling the masse. and .hould be viewed as a branch 01 politics.
Muid .d_Din ibn ai_ Arabi urged Muslim. to see all faith
equally valid, to be ot home in a synagogue, mosque, temple or
church, lor u the Our'an ... te., 'Wherever you turn there i. the lace
of God'. Vahya Suhrawardi made it hi . life 's work to trace [.l.m back
to what he c.lled the ' original oriental religion'. This wioJom, he
elaimt'd, had lirst be;,n reve.led in ancient Egypt and transmitted
from there to the Greeks by Pythagora, and Plato. From the Grcd" it
had bcen passed through uccession of sage. until it h.d reached hi.
own m.ster, Al Hallai.
But by this time t he Muslim world wa. sinking into orthodoxy. At
the end 01 the tenth cmtury Suhrawanli wa. executed for heresy and
Al Hallai wa. crucified by a mob pos.essed by religious .:e.L Islam
wa. now set on the me dismal trajectory thot h.d previou.ty been
followed by Christianity. It cr.cked down on di .. ent .nd purgcd the
'"erY qu.lity that had madc it greot: openn" .. to new ide ... Now it
deluded it",lf into t hinking that only the Our'an could provide
everything needed to construct a just and orderly oociety. It w .. de_
elared that 'the gate. of independent thought are now closed' and it
"
became a c.pital offence to critici .. the prophct Muhammad.
[.t.mic culture made a huge contribution to t he human advent ure
before it lell asleep sometime in the Middle Age. _ The lat e 01 Isl amic
culture demon. trate. once more the lolly 01 basing. society on 're,-c _
lation' . Requiring pe<>ple to obey antiquated laws t hat bear no rele_
TKI DUAM OF AWAUNtNG
vance to current lOOC i.l problem. condt'mn. them to live at the same
int ellect""l and cult ur. llevel . s t hey did hundred. 0/ years earlier,
Mooern Musli m women in Muhamm.d'. homel.nd .. i ll havo the
, arne legal rights ., a camel. And Fundamentalist men are still be _
heading their victim" de'pite proudly bearing their K.l.,hnikov ri_
fle. on their . houlder., because t hat'. how Muh.mmad did it . And 100
the l. l. mic world remains lost .omcwhere in the mediev.l period,
dreaming of past glories and . noring aw.y under the _rific spell of
Lite .. li.m,
Rorerx:e
A. the Islamic world to noo off, Europe began t o awaken from
its . lumber, Just a. the rise of Literali,m in the West led to .n ex_
plo,ion 01 Gnostici.m in the East, "" the degeneration into Literal_
i.m of the [. l.mic world initiat ed a re""iss.nce of Gnostici.m in the
We.t. The Moor> 0/ Spain reintroduced the West to
Alchemy .nd a ho .. of other long_lost tr.dit ion . Jewi. h Gnosti_
cism re_.urfaced in the form of Kahb..lah and Christi"" Gnosti cism
re_appeared in the form 01 c.th .. ism, All of these hidden "re.m.
eventu. lly bubbled up in Florence.
[n [453 the Byzantine ochol .. Gemistu. Pletho arrived in Florence
and announcN to hi . astoni . hed listeners that the religious decep_
tion of Mo..,., fcm, and Moh.mmcd w., at an end. I'hilolOOphy was
here to t ake its place. One of the member> of Pletho's .stoni. hed
audience w.s the we.lthy b..nkerCo.imoMedici, who sent hi . agents
to .eek out .ncient phil osophical works, Within a fe w ye. " he h. d
recovered t he works of Plat o, Plotinm, Ia mbl ichu., Porphyry 3Ild
other Gree k philo,opher>, playwrights .nd hi .. orian., as well.s eso_
teric t exts l ike The Chaldean Oracles, Hermerica and Pica/rix, No
Europe.n had .poken Gree k for centuries, but now Co.imo .pon_
oored his protege Marsilio Ficino to learn the language and translate
hi. new .cqui.ition._ He creat ed a 'New Plat onic Ac.demy' in Flo_
rence b"..,d on the origin.l Academy that h. d been dosed by the
Christian emperor Justinian in t he 'ixth century.
[n thi' tiny city the We .. ern world .uddenly regained rome of its
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
memory, When the works 01 the Pagan philosophers, that had been
boni. hod lrom Europe for a thousand years, came flooding back into
Florence, they blew people" mind., Wd. it just accidental t hat 100
many geniuses were working in Florence in ono brio! period in the
fifteenth century? Of course not , Leonardo d. Vinci, Botticelfi,
Michelangelo, Raphael , Brunelle.chi, Ficino .nd many others were
all p.rt of a Gnostic revolution which unleashed the natural ere. _
t ivity of .ll it touchcd.
pico dell. Mi randol. was the t alented pupil of Ficino who, at only
twenty_four yea .. of .ge, w proficient in Greek, Lati n, Hebrew and
Arabic. In 1487 fio invited scholars from . J! of Europe to come to
Rome for great dcbate, In nine hundred propo.ition. , he cl.imed
that Christiani ty, Islam, Judaism, Platoni,m, Hennetici . m, Kabbalah
and Alchemy were all parts of one phi losophical " adition, Charged
with youthful ide.lism, he rode around Romc posting hi. invitations,
But .J! he actu.J!y succeeded in doing wa. a lerting the Church .u_
thontie. to what h.d been going on in Florence. The Pope put an end
to any idea of a 'great debate' and Pico wa. forced to flee lor hi. life,
Florence had done well to . u ... in its ren.i.""nce for thirty ye . rs,
equalling, but unfortunately not exceeding,. the Athenian Renai._
sance on which it modelled it""l!. But the forc .. of reaction were
gathering in the wi,,&,. In 1492 the Roman Church, in league with
the King oj France, l.id w.ste to the city, The ' New Learning', the
revived 'Gnostic' knowledge wa. called, h. d ari.en at fortuitous
t ime, however, The invention of the printing pre .. enmred that, try
as it might, Rome wu .imply unable to stop the tide of books t hat
spread thc .. ide.s t hroughout Europe,
Within a few years tho Poli,h astronomer Copernicus publishcd
hi. theory that, contrary to appe .. ances, it w.s act""lly the I.orth
th. t revolved around the sun. He aclrnowledged hi. debt to the
Pyt h.gore.n. , saying that they had given him the courage to con. ider
" this idea seriously, In the last years 0/ the . ixteenth century the Ital _
ian astronomer G.lil,'O agreed with Copernicus .nd ini tiat cd the first
m.jor Mttle of modern times between religion .nd science.
In a superb i ll ustrat ion of t he madne .. of Literali,m, the Church
conde mned the theory that the Earth revolved around the sun be _
c.use it contradict ed two verses of the Bible, Again .. Copernicus and
TKI DUAM OF AWAUNtNG
wealth 01 observation. with the newly invented t elescope,
the Church cited proof that Galil"" w., wrong The Book of
"
loshua, wh ich claim. that r",hu. cau,ed the .un to .. ""d "ill. II t he
Bible stated thot Jo.hua c.used the . un to stop moving, t hen dearly
the Earth didn't go around the .un! On the ha.i. of this .Murd argu_
ment Galileo w led down into the dungeon., .hown the instru_
ments 01 torture by the Inqui.ition .nd advi . ed to re<:dnt.
Galil"" must have been aware of that other gre .. philosopher_
.cient ist, Giordano Bruno, who had met hi. end in t his awful place.
Bruno too h.d been a devotee of the New Learning, raced dwund
Europe arguing with t heologian. , writing boob .nd founding little
group. of e.oterici.,.. When he returned to Rome he w chorged
with here.y because he believed that the universe was infinite ""d
that there might be other world. out there .part from our own. Al_
though he was imprisoned .nd tortured lor eight years he refu.ed to
recant, so in 1600 he w led out into the campo del fiole and .et
alight. Ga lil"" did ree.nt and escaped being burnt a live. But he h. d
"ill initiated. new way of thinking which created the modern world
and which 1<.J to the demi.e of the tota litarian power of t he Church.
A New Gnostic Renaissance
We are currently cxperiencing. new Gnostic renaissance. With t he
decline of the power 01 Literalist religion .nd the modern climate of
free thought, Gnostic ide .. are becoming discu.,ed a. never before.
More and more people are r .. li.ing that Gnostic teachings of awak_
ening.,e to be found at the heart 0/ .11 the .piritual tradition. 01 the
world, from Alchemy to Zen. They form . perennial wi.oom that i.
our universal hum.n inheritance. Only by recogni.ing and valuing
this inheritance c.n we avoid the nascent Gnootic renaissance we are
witnessing today being cru.hed by t he force. 0/ reaction," has hap_
pened in the past.
[n Part I of thi' book we have focused on t he nightmare 0/ Literal_
ist religion. [n rart 2 we want to explore the Gn05t ic dre.m 0/ wak_
ing up. To effect a genuine cure for the madness thot i. Literali ..
rt'1igion we need to dearly t he living wisdom of gno. i.
from the religious calcification. that have been .uffocdt ing it for cen_
[20
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
turie . Then we can di.pen.., wi t h the dogm.s that divide u. and pre_
serve the wiNom ' hat unite. us. We c.n t hrow out the bothwat er
and keep the baby'
Gnostic phil"""phy i. not an intellectual theory about re.lity. It i.
a w.y of thinking de.igned to help you experience realit y for yourself.
T he problem i. that when Gnosticism c.lcilie. into a dead t u dit ion it
degenerates into either dogmat ic religion or esoteric mumbo_jumbo.
It become. either metaphysical religious a .. ertion. t o be blindly be
lieved or incomprehensible esoteric ramblings that lead u. nowhere
but round .nd round in the maze of aTe.ne gobbledegook. In both
c .. e. it become. divorced from the real experience of living .nd lo.e.
its power t o transform and .waken u .
For Gnost ic teachings to retain their tr.n.format ive power, t hey
must be continu.liy brought to life by being ",_im'ented ro address
the ever -changing experience of being alive. A. Corllung writes:
All old trut hs wmt a now interpretat ion, so tft. .. they con live Oft in a
now form. We need t o .. I:e t he .. t hought. J.orm., th..t have become
h"torioally fi xed, and molt them down .gain m d pour them into t he
moulds of immod ... t e oxperienoo."
A. things age they change. Too.y, for example, we c.n't hear t he
mu. ic of Beethoven a. it w heard when he wrote it. Then it i. was
edgy, innovative and confronting. Now it i. familiar, cla ical ""d
comervative. !n the same way, .piritu.l teachi ng., which in the past
were the cutt ing_edge of conociou.ne .. , C3Jl seem safe and dated
today. To be an authentic part of the Gnostic tradition we need to re o
ject tradit ion' We need to be im.ginative. We need to cre.te a new
l.ngu.ge with which to diocu .. the old problem. in a new way.
Whilst the simple me"age of .wakening remains oh>cured by
mystifying mumbo_i umbo, Gnostici.m c.n . eem to be.n inacce .. i_
ble, ab"tuse philo.ophy. But.s an early Christ i.n text boldly a .. erts,
"
' T here i. nothing .bout the Truth which i. truly difficul". In ourex_
perience this i . right. Gno"ic philosophy i. e"entialiy . imple .nd
points to a natural state 0/ .wakening avail.ble t o ali of u . So, we aTe
going to use mooern langu.ge to w.ke u. up by point ing to the . im
pie Truth.
Gnostic. who have lived at different time. and in dilferent cuI
TKI DUAM OF AWAUNING
turos u . ~ different im.ge. to help u. undo ... tand Gnostic teachings,
But t he .. diverse an.logios often confl ict and br k down, which can
confu. e the simplicit y of the e,sential Gnost ic message, So, w. aTe
going to concentrate on one very powerful metaphor which i. simple,
dear, consistent .nd used by Gnostic. t hroughout history. Life i. like
a dre.m and gnosi. i. like waking up.
Most people have had oxp<riences of aw. kening. but h,,'o not h. d
tho nece .... '}' understanding to give t heir exp<ri.nc context, and
Mve therefore ended up ignoring or forgetting them. Our hop< is to
give you an intellectu. l understanding of gIlosi. which can both help
you taste the aw.kened state right now and give you a context for a
continuing exploration of gnosi ' in your Iii . Ii you h.ve been con
sciously on tho journey of aw.kening for some time, we hope t hat
the id s we will explore may help dar ily your undorstandingof gno_
,i. , so thot you can avoid gotting caught up in unnecossarily compl ex
'spiritual ' concepts and wake up more easily.
We don' t want you to study our ide.s and iust .groe with u . We
cert.i nl}' don' t want you to adopt what wo say on blind f. it h or be_
c.use of the insidious .uthority 0/ the written word, That i. what
leads to Literalism. Wo urge you to check out what we havo to say
against the only genuine . uthority, which i, your own .xp<nence,
We encourage you to take what works for you ond le,,'e the "'''. al _
beit wit h the proviso t hat something may make mo", sense later,
T he Christian Gnost ic Theodotus teaches;
All people, .ccording to thoir .. age 01 developm.nt, ""' .... the gIlosi.
in way 'pecial to them",lvos ,"
If thi s phi losophy of gno.i. reson .... with you a. deeply a. it doe.
wit h us, we w.nt you to make it your own. And to pa .. it on in your
own way t o orho ... , who will in turn make it their own. Only by
transmitting the experience of gnoois from consciousnc .. to con
. ciomne .. , like the Olympic flame pass.d from t orch t o torch, can
Gnost ic philosophy be kept genuinely a live.
Although we gratefully .cknowledge the inspiration of the great
Gnost ic masters who kept the fLome 0/ thi s tradition .live and !"'.sed
it on to U', we aren't going to pre, ent Gnost ic philo,ophy a, they ex_
TH[ LAuGHISG I [W.
I T <
C l N I N U V i I \ V W
i d n " ' 1 P l " A ( ] U l l U ' ' ' ' , m P l l l ' J a l I . . . ' l l l ' ' I ' ' . . . . . a u > q
" O W W . I 0 I " l ' ' , n a - . ' i l l " M a u 1 0 J A P I " . " a u . U 1 ' u p U . ' S J a p
- u n 0 , ' A e " . , ' " , . 1 0 . a u . . . . P ' ! l ' ' ' ' P " P n o A " j J o
0 , , [ " . l I m " ' ! ) o u 0 1 " , o o " l ' U I o n l n d . " " . n l L ' P l m " , " 1 ' ) 0 ' U O l l l p
- e l l " 1 ' I I " ' ' ' ' ' ' I " p u e l I u u o 1 d x . " A ' i m o , u > d .
O A " ' ! ' M ' " ' ' 1 ' ' ' ' ' . l I m " ' ! " e w " , ! ) o ' 1 " ' " O I l ' " " p r e 0 , p , u l / , . , p < 1 ' " ' I '
l I U l U ' ' 1 " ' ' ' . 0 , ' p O J d d e ' A I W A O U U l u e " J J o m I l l e . . . O M ' l U " . . . . . . , . o j
a l i e n l l u e 1 " ' . u O l U l " p < > , e ( n w m l ' " p u e U O l l ' p e " " ' I ' p . , u ' ' 1 U l . ( ' ' 1 '
" n l - ' j d w u . J I ' ' 1 ' M o n o l 0 , l I U l O l / " 1 > \ , n \ ! - " o d ' ' I ' U l 1 " ' , . a J d
00
PART II
The Baby
7
HIP-GNOSIS
W.
(,bo, iudlVi<ibI< divlJ)jty 'ha! ap<'lQre, in us!
hav. dr<amed 'be world.
-foRcE Lu!> OTH"
Gnost ic philosophy i. extreme 'ports for tho mind. It i. for tho.e
who reli.h t ho rush of exhi laration a. they ["", f.ll into uncertainty.
T he buzz of . Iert concentration os they ,cale the mountain of imagi _
nation, .ecking out a higher view. The thrill of .nticipation as t hey
wait t o ride a ,well of imight., it .urges up from the depth . Alway.
hoping for the big one. Gnost ic philosophy isn't s.fdy ,heore,icaL It
i.live and dangerous . It i profound exploration of the grca, my".,_
ie. of life and de.th. An heroic adventure to excite the >ouL Some
people dismiss all phiJol<Ophy as .h"Tact and irrdevant. But Gn",';c
phi looophy can utterly transform our understanding 0/ who we are
and wha, it i . to be alive. What could be more concret e and ",levan,
,h.n ,hat;
At the he.n of Gnostic philosophy i. tho outrageous claim that if
we experience the stat e of gno.i. we will recogni>e that life i. a
dream. Thi . idea challenges our rno" fundamental a" umption.
ahout who we ore and whO! life i . At lirst it m.y seem even "",d_
dcr t han the maddest of Literalist d.ptrap, The Christian Gn05tic
T heodosiu. acknowledges;
I know th .. t he t .. ching. 01 gIl",is are a l.ughing_stock to most pe0-
ple. Some "'0 s,",d od by t hem", when a light .uddenly ,lluminate.
the darknoss of a drinking ruty. But t he truly blossed are those who
runse themselves from . 11' .nd rai.e their eye. to the truth.
Is gno. i. just another mad ancient theoryl No. Gno.i. isn't . theory
at .IL It'. an experience, T hc Gnostics aren't t rying t o persu.de u. to
.dopt their opinion that life i tire.m. They want to use philosophi _
c. 1 ideas t o wake u. up, so we see for ourselves tho true nature 0/
real ity, T hc Pagan Gno"ic Plotinus t e.ches;
The aim 01 philwophy i. the .. me .. someone who wishes to shake
oIf t he fanu.i 01 a dre.m and bring to.n aw.hnod state the aware_
ne .. wh,ch i. cre.ring them.
The job oj tho Gnost ic philO5Opher is to ' wake people to the vi.ion',
And this i. what we want to do right now, But before we begin our
journey of .wakening it i. important t o cleor up some common mis_
understandings, which may prevent you grasping the "ssential .im_
pl icity of Gnostic teachings,
When we .. y that life is dre.m we oren't di.missing the world
as an irrelev.nt fantasy. The world is beautiful beyond word. to de_
scribe, Gnos;s isn't rejecting life.s some oon of pernicious illusion.
It i . n't ahout denying the horrors and wonders of existence. It i.
simply ..,eing thing. as they are, And this is not an experi ence 0/ de
tached indifference to life. It i. appreciating how m.gic.l and myste_
rious existence re.lly is . It is when we oro unconsciously engrossed
in the life_dream t h ~ t it become. a nightmare. But when wo w.ke
up we lind ourselves in love with life in . 11 its . we50me, multifari
ous splendour,
128 THE LAUGHISG lEW.
When we oay that gnosi. i. an experience 0/ .wakening, we don't
mean it is the s.me a. waking up from. dream in the morning. when
the dream_world di.appears .nd is replaced by this world, The experi _
ence of gno.is doe. not entail entering some . upernatural orate in
which your everyday life no longer exists. It doe. not involve . tr.nge
vi.ion. or paranorm.1 obiliti .. ,
Gno.i. i. 0 natm.l st ate compa,.ble to the experience of lucid
dreaming. Lucid i , t he experience of dream ing, but con
sciously recognizing that you are dreaming, Gno.i. i. the experience
of ' lucid living' . It i. being conscious that li fe is drea m right now,
When you dre.m lucidl}' thc dream doesn't stop, but you are no
longer unconsciously engrossed in t hc dream. In the .ame way, when
you experience lucid living t he life_dream doesn't stop, but } 'OU are
no longer unconsciou.ly engru .. ed in the li fe_dream,
u,t us lll.ko this ab.olutely clear, W. ore not suggeor ing thot t he
pe=>n you pre,endy presume yoursel f to be is imagining the world,
Quite t he oppo.ite. We are suggest ing the penon you to
be i. part 0/ t he life_dream. When you dream lucidly you recognise
that t he person you appear to be in your dre.m i.n't t he re.1 you, be _
c.use you are the dreamer. In the .. me W'y, when you live lucidly
you recogni.e that the person you .ppeor t o be right now i. not t he
real you, bec.use } 'OU are t he Me _dre.mer which i. dre.ming itsolf to
be everyone and everyt hing,
Knowing Now
How can we check out t he not ion thot life i. a dre.m' Dre.m. exist
only in the moment they Ole being dre.mt. To di.cover if li fe i. a
dream, therefore, we need to investigate our experience of the pre. _
ent moment. T his i. the ""cret of waking up. Gnost icism is an inve. _
t igation of t he now. To experience gno.is you need t o ex.mine this
moment closely .nd unde",rand it in. remarkable new way.
Focus your .tt ention on }'our experience of this moment, What i.
different .bout thi s pre..,nt moment from every other moment you
Mve experienced or will experience! T here are, of course, an infinite
number of things which m.ke each moment unique, but there i.
Ht r' GNO'"
something obviou.ly diffe",nt .bout the now, The pre..,nt moment
exis ... The past h.s gone and the fut u", i. only a po .. ibility, but
the present i. a reality you are act ually experiencing, To understand
existence you must pay attention to what ""is" and examine this
moment,
T he wordgnosis i. u,ually tr.nslat e<! a. 'knowledge', but it i. bet_
ter to think 0/ it a. a stat e of knowing. Gno.i. i. not information like
the 'knowledge' you picked up at school. Gno.i. i. not a theory about
life which you can learn. Gno.is i. a state of awakening that ari,e.
when you examine the pre.ent moment and become cOn5ciou. 0/
what you are actually knowing right now.
Most of the things we cl.im to know .. e actually just opinion.
which we believe-. To experience gno.is we nee<! to differentiate be-
lieving from knowing, It is pos.ible to doubt.11 our beliefs, but what
we are knowing is self_evidently cert.in in the moment. We don't
have to give up our opinions to experience gn<>sis , They may be uoe_
ful, be.miful, valid opinion5, But we do nee<! to discrimin .. e them
from what we actu.lly are knowing now.
Literali. m i . b ed on the belief that history can .. ve us . The
b.,ic teaching 0/ Literalist Christianity, for example, is that if you
believe in the death and re.urrection 0/ le.u. you will go to Heaven
when you die, But .lthough it i. possible to believe passionatel}" that
leous died .nd re.urrecte<! for our . ins, " mi llions do, it is impos.ible
to know this, because it is not h'ppening right now, And all we actu_
ally know is the now. Gnosticism i. rooted firmly in the reality of
this pre.ent moment, It doe.n't te.ch that history can save you,
Rather, it sugge ... that history i. the problem. History is . story we
tell . bout the past to explain the pre.ent. The problem i. that when
we are bu.y believing t hat we know what isgningon, we never really
" and back from our opinions to look at ",.lty with.n open mind, 110
we become unconsciously engrossed in the life_dream and don't
wake up.
Make no mistake about it, all the ideas about history that we have
previoudy explored in thi . book h.ve nothing to do with gno.is,
They are just opinions about the past. Good, well _evidence<! opin_
ion., but opinions neverthele ... We can' t know them to be true, be
c.use the put has gone. All we are left with arc bits .nd pieces 0/
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
evidence from which we can put together the best available theoreti _
c. 1 understa nding. lIut we .re now leaving opinion behind.
The Mystery of Existence
What are you knowing right now? II you I"'Y . ttent ion t o your imme_
d iate experience of re.lit y and .sk yourself this question you will re o
aliso that most of what you think } 'OU know you really don't! Life i.
extremely mysteriou . What i. thi . moment? What i. it to be .live?
Completely focus on the now and you will feel a ru.h of excite ment
a. you become conscious o f the .wesome mystery of existence. Step
out of the world of your preconcept ions and become conscious 0/ re_
ality lor o nce. It i. something moot 0/ us so rarely do it can be liber_
ating .urprise.
We are usually "" engro ..,d in the storie. we tell about li fe t hat
we don't notice something extremely important .bout our predic .
ment. We don' t know what is going o n' We a re 50 bu.y pret ending
that we know who we are and what life i. tkt we somehow rrum age
to ignore the shocking truth. We don't understand life at .11, We a re
so lost in our concepts a bout life that we rarely give our open_minded
attention t o the mysterious experience of living here and now. We
are eating the menu not the meal. No wonder we so olten find life
krd to .w.llow.
When we confront existence without our h.bit""l as.umption.
we see our beliel. for what t hey are. Storie . Concepts. Words . And
we see that the storie. we tell about life are not life itself. Life i. infi
nitely enigmatic, Tlte word lMIily i . not reality. We don' t know
WMt re.lity i . Thi. radical not_knowing is the first step toward.
genuine knowing. This reiect ion 0/ our theories a bout life in lavour
of becoming conscious of the mysterious experience of living in this
moment is the prerequi.ite for gnosi.,
Most people have experience<! a t least brief moments when they
have found them..,lve. catapulted into the myst ery 0/ the moment.
Anyt hing ca n trigger thi . Oiten it i. confronting death. Someone
clo,"" to you die>, or you . re di.gnosed seriously ill, and s uddenly
you are face_to_lace with t he fact tltat you reall}' don't know what life
Htr ' GNost'
'"
is. u,t alone what death is' Or it may be moment of exqui.ite
beauty which does it. You oll in love or give birth to. chi ld, and sud_
denly you remember the miracle of exi!tenee.lt may be a wal k in t he
mounuins or the feeling of the sun war ming your back. Or it m.y
happen for no obviou, reason ... ll. Whatever the apparent cause,
most of us have h.d moments of overwhelming wonder or overpow_
ering terror in which we h.ve suddenly become conscious of the
some mystery of existence.
If, whi lst reading these words, you have been able to put your
opinions on one side become conscious of the mystery of this
moment, you will alre.dy experienced a radie.l shift in con_
sciousne . !t will feel .s il you previously existed in some sort of
semi _eonsciou. trance, in which you were so mesmeri,ed by your
ide.s about life that you hardly noticed how miraculou. ly strange it
i. to be .live. How mind_blowing it i. that you exist at alL The my._
tery of exi"enee will be soobvious it will . ""m astoni,hing t hat you
are u.u. lly oblivious t o it . You will re. li .. how unconscious you nor_
mallyare'
If you become conscious of the mystery of thi s moment you will
begin to understand why the Gnost ic. comp ... life to dream .nd
gno,; , t o waking up. Becau.e you will feel as if you have awoken
from some sort of uneonsciou. stupor. You will have begun to rouse
you.-... lf from the collective coma we mistake for 're.llife' by becom_
ing eonsciou. of reality itself. You wi ll understand why Plotinu.
teaches: 'It', a. if we .leep through life and take t he dream world on
complete tru,,'.
Know Your Self
If you free you .. eU from the prison 01 your opinions .nd come into
the mystery of the moment you will enter a state of profound and lib_
erating doubt. Then you will be able to examine your immediat e ex_
perience with fre,h eye. t o ,ec if there i, anything about which you
c.n be genuinel}' cert.in. We can't do t hi ' for you_ You must do thi s
for you"",lf. But we con point out some things . bout the nature of
the moment that you may have missed. And t his m.y lead you to
THE LAuGHISG IESU>
appreciate the moment in a radic. ll y new W'y, We can bring to your
attention IIOme things .bout which you are .bllOlutely cert.in right
now, And becoming conscious of the.., . imple certaintie, is the state
of gn",i., or knowing.
What are you knowing nowi !I you focu. your . " ention on t he
mystery of t he moment you wi ll feel profoundly .live, bec. us< you
will become acutely conscious of the fact th"l you are, You will
recognise .omething .bout which you .. e completely sure. Yon exist
right now This i. not an opinion, It i. sell_evidently true .nd be _
yond doubt. It is something you .. 0 knowing as your eyes pass
aero this page.
T here i. one thing which i, alway. now, Yon .. e .Iw.y. now, But
what i. t his 'you' which i. al w.y. nowl Gno"ici.m i . an explorat ion
of what you are in this moment. Above the famous Pagan Oracle 0/
o"lphi were written the words ' Know Your Sell.' T hi. is the peren_
ni.1 Gnost ic challenge_ T he Chri"ian m.ster Silvano, urges us: 'Be _
fore everyt hing know your sell.' So wh ... re youi The common ..,me
reply i . 'I am. pe",on'. T hi. i, cert.inly what you "ppear to be. but
tho Gnostic. suggest it i. not wkt you really dU.
In t hi . moment you know t hat you exi.t. And you also know
something el"" equ.lly obvious and just ., profound. You know you
are experiencing something. !I you were not experioncing .nything
you would be unconscious and you wouldn't know that you exist, So,
you know you .. o an experiencer of experiences, You arc awareness
wit ne .. ing. flow of experiences we c.1I ' life' .
In The Gospel of Tho",,,s Jesu. promi,es;
I will ,o"eal to )'ou what no oye can ."",
",ft.t no eor c.n heor,
",ft.t no ft.nd oan touch,
wft.t cannot be i m . ~ n e d by the mind_
Wh.t i . it t hat you can't hear, t ouch, see or imagine ' It ,. awa",ness
which is wi tne"ing the . eeing. hearing. touching and im.gining,
T he mess.ge of the Gnostic. is that if you re.II}' come t o know your
sell you will discover you are awarene .. ,
What is aw",en . .. ' You can't experience a w",ene .. with your
Hl r- GNOSl'
. enoe. or imagination, becauoe it i. what i . witnessing your oen _
t ions and im.gining . The Pago<n Gno .. ic Porphyry teacheo:
Il'lt.t I .. ""n have we learned from t hose who hest und .. stmd the
human condition' Surely, that you must not thmk 01 me as this reI-
""" who c. n be t ouched and gra.red b)' the sen.,,,. but my t rue .. If is
",mot< from the body, without colour and without ,hape, not to be
touehod by human hand .
1'1"0 teaches t hat to wake up we need to distinguish the ineffable,
unchanging presence of ow .. ene .. from our expel ience. which are
alway. changing. Examine the reality of right now. What you aTe ex
periencing i, never the same from one moment to the next. Aware _
ness i . the permanent backg:round of the fl ux of oxpelience which
wit ne .. e, all the changes . It is t he samc now . . and now ... nd
now. It i presence which is alw.y. pre, ent, The 'you' which is al _
ways now,
I and It
We would like to "'Jlgest that you have a dual nature. You appear to
be. person, but you are .wareness. What we .. e pointing out i. actu_
ally ohviou . You are both an object and a . ubiect . Objectively )'OU
are. physic.1 body. A thing in the world, But subjectively you .. e not
a thing at all, You .re awareness. Lucid living is recognising t hot you
can see yoursdl in two entirely diffe .. nt w.y. in this present mo _
ment. You .. e both an ' I' ""d . n ' it', Focu. on the reality of this mo _
ment and discriminate what you r ~ from wh .. you appear t o be.
What you appear to be is constantly ch.nging, but what you are i.
never_cb.nging, Your body is in perpetu.1 motion . Your thoughts are
constantly coming and going Over your lifetime the penon you ap_
pear to be h.s been tr.n,formed .Irno" beyond recognition. But don't
you have the .ense that the re.1 ' you' is the same now as when you
were eight een or eight r What i, this unchanging self' It i, the wit _
ness of your ever_changing appe.rance: a warene .
We experience t he knowledge of being .wareness.' the feeli ng 'j
am', If you ex.mine your sense of '] .m' you will , ee t hat Ithough
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
obviou., it is completely indefi n.ble. T here is nothi ng you can say
about the T, except t h .. it witne.se. all the ch.nging of the
penon you appear to be. Most of U' , however, habit ually ident ify
we me with wh .. we appem to be .nd bElieve 'j am a person',
A. experi ment, let go of t he ide. 'lam a person ' and discrimi",ne
the ' j' that you are from the pe",on you appear to be,
When you dre. m at night you have two aspects to your identity,
Your . pp .. ent nat u", i. the person you . ppear to be in the d...,.m. But
your e mti.1 nature i. awareness within which the dre.m is ari,ing,
Lucid li ving i. being conscious t hat you also have two . spects to
your ident ity right now. Your apparent nature i. the p<non }'OU ap_
pear to be, but your essenti.1 nature i. awareness which is witnessing
all you experience, Right now, just when you are dre.ming. }'OU
ale awa..., ness appearing to be . person ,
When you are ab. orbed in a dre.m at night the experience can
somet ime ..,em terrifyingly 'real', becauoe you believe yourself to be
your dream_p<rllOn. wrestling with your dream _drama., and you a...,
unconscious of t he lact that you a", the dreamer. [n the .. me w.y
when you are engrossed in the experience of li ving, life se;,m. very
'",. 1', because you iili'ntify with your life_penon. wrestling with
your lile-drom , and you . re unconscious of the f. ct that you a...,
awarene _
II you become conscious of your e"ential nature awa..., ne",
however, your appreciat ion oj reality will be profoundly tran.formed,
You will..,e that the person you appear to be i. not your e ..,nti.1 n. _
ture, It is wh .. the ancient Gnostic. c.1l your eidolon, An ' image' or
'appearancc' , It i . your nature within the life _dream. H you
recogni.e t his you will unde",,,,,d wh}' I'lot inu. t eaches;
Those who identify the body with reol being are like dreamers who
mi. uke figments of their sl""ping y"ion fOT ,e.lity,
Waking and Sleeping
It m.y help you to different iate your ... nature from your ap_
porent natu..., if you consider your everyda}' experience of waking ""d
sleeping, When you go to . I<'tp" night and wake in the morning you
Hl r -GNo,",
'p"".r to be body that is oometimes conociou. and sometime.
unconscious, T h.t's how it looks to others [rom the objective it
",,"'pective. But that'. not how it i. [or you [rom the subjective
I_perspective. What do you eXJ><rience when you go to sleep!
When you . leep yOUT body and tho world dis,pJ><ar [rom . ware_
ne .. and you find you.-..elf in di!!erent world in which you m.y
""ar t o be different J><rson, This is state of . warene .. we call
'dreaming' . And then thc dre.m_world di p""a,-,; .nd you don't ex",,
ric nee .n},thing. Thi. i state of unconscious .warene .. we c.lI
'deep sleep' in which you don't exist a. a "",,"on .n, And then you
w.ke up . nd t he body you to be now the world it inh.bits
reapJ><""
From the objective it _persJ><ctive you to be body that
i. oomctime. conscious, But from the subjective l-J><"J><ctive you
are .warene .. which i. sometimes conscious of a body. From the
it_""TSJ><ct ive you ap""ar t o be a body within which consciou.ness
comes . nd goes, But from the I_"""""ctive it i. the other w.y
around. You are .warenoss within which the body come. and goes,
And you oxJ><rience this every day.
When you ident ify with your dream.""non. in a dream at night
you become engr",sed in the drea m. But if you become conscious
that you aro .warene imagining it..,U to be your dream_""rso .... ,
you st.rt to lucidly. In the same w.y, if you ident ify with the
"" ... on you ap""ar to be right now, you will remain lost in the !ile_
dream. But if you become conscious of yOUT esoenti.l nature as
awarene.s, you will .. art to live lucidly. Then you will understand
why Plotinu. t e.che.:
The true waking is not of t ho body, but [rom the body. Anythingel..,
i . ;ust 'I" ... from sloop to shr.
The Timeless Emptiness of Awareness
When you dre.m at night you .ppear to be your dte.m_pe....,na
which exist . within your dream world. But i[ you dream lucidly you
becomo conscious that you .. e the dreamer and your
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
exi". within awarene ... In t he s.me W'y, when you arc engr",sed in
the liIe _dream you .pp<ar t o be a person within the world. But if you
live lucidly you become conscious t hat }'OU are awarene and t he
world exists within you. If you adopt the I_perspective of your esson_
t i.1 nature this will become obvious.
Everyt hing you are conscious of oxi ... a. a How of app<a rance.
within .warene ... All that you ..,e, hear, taste, smell and toucb ex_
i ... within .wareness. The though .. you are thinking right now exist
within aw.rene .. , Your bod}' exi." within .warene ... This book ex_
is .. wit hin .warene ... T he world exist. within awarene ... If it did
not exist within .warene .. you would not be .ware 0/ it ,
A. a body you are an object which exist. in the world, but as
awarene }' OU are an infinite emptiness which contain. the world,
Becoming con.ciou. 0/ your essential nature turns reality in.ide out ,
Quite li terall y' From the it_perspective .warene .. seems to exist in_
side the person you appear to be_ But from t he I_perspect ive aware_
ness IS an empty presence within which the whole life_dre.m ,.
am'"g,
If you can get this you will also .ee somethi ng else equ.lly a. _
tounding, Your e .. entiaJ n .. ure 'i . not at all in time or place, but i.
purely and .imply in eternity', as Meister Eckhart puts it , A. aware _
ness }'OU don' t exi" in t ime, Time exists in you . You are awarene ..
witnessing the flow o' appearance. we call 'time'. Try it out, Be the
t imeless presence oj awarene .. witnessing appearing to be a p<rson
in t ime.
If th. t seems far out, there's more. In The Gospel ofThomaJ, Jesus
proclaim. th.t if you understand the teaching. of aw.kening you will
'not .. ste deat h'. But WMt doe. it mean ' Will gnosis m.ke you im _
mortal' No. Gnosi. is becoming conscious that you are alre.dy im _
mortal and .Iw.y. have been. Awakening i. the di.covery 0/ what
the Christian Gnostics call your 'unbornne ',
If you become conscious 0/ your e .. ent ial nature as .wareno .. you
will .ee that you can't possibly die, became }'OU were never born,
You are awareness which witnessed t he birth of the body and which
will one d.y witne its death. But awarene .. doe.n' t age and die, It i
permanent pre.ence within which the life _dream i ri.ing, The
body i. mortal because it exists in time, and everything in t ime has a
Hl r- GNOS!'
""ginning and an end, But ruur e .. ential nature a. awarene.s doe.
not exist in time, lt i. unborn and undying. A Christian text called
The Treaties on Resurrection a,ks, 'Are you_the real you_
.omcthing that can decay" Il<come con>ciou. of }'our essenti.l n._
ture right now and an,wer this que!t ion for yourself,
One Awareness
If life i. like a dream, isn't it bit of. coincidence thot we are
the s.me world into existence! How c.n we understand
thi.! The Gno"ic explanotion i. an .stoni.hing imight into the n.
ture 0/ reality. Although we to "" "'parate individuals within
the life_dream, there is only one awareness dreaming the life_dream,
Your e.""ntial nature i. the .. mo everyone el,o's essent i.l n3ture,
We ap!",ar to "" many, but e,sentially we are one,
This m.y sound outl.ndi.h, but it i. the extraonlinary me .. age
taught by Gnost ics from .11 culture . Tbe original call
our shared essent i.l nature 'the Christ within'. Buddhi. ,. call it our
'Buddha_Nature', Hinduo c.1l it tbc 'Atman'. You call it '[' and so doe.
everyone else, And we .11 exp<rience thi. 'I' as the utter certainty
that we exist, It i. our being. It i. what we ore.
From the p<rspective of t he w.king state it i. easy to understand
that in. dre.m 3t night e,'erything and everyone in the dre.m is an
expression of your dee!",r nature as the dreamer. In the same way, we
to .uggest, thero i. one awarene dreaming itself to "" every_
one and everything right now, We are not s.ying that you as an indi o
vidual p<rson are dreaming the life_dream, ""cause as p<rson }'OU
are part of the dream, as is everyone else, We are .ugge"ing that the
awareness which i. comciou. through each one of us i . the same
awareness exp<riencing the life_dream from different p< .. pective .
Check it out for yourself, If you examine your apparent n3ture as a
p<non you will see that you ore obviomly different from everyone
else. Your body and p<non.lity h.ve distinctive ch .. acteri"ic.s, You
inh.bit unique place in space and time, No one ehe i s having ex_
actly the exp<ricnce of life thot you are having. Now ""corne con
. ciom of ""ing ... Is your e .. ential nature different from
'"
THE LxUGHISG lEW.
.n}'one else'. e,sent ial nature1 No. You are a t imeless p resence wit _
ne .. ing the flow 01 time. And"" i. everyone el.." A. a warene we
a re indistingui . hably o ne.
T his i, the paradox 01 our predica ment. A. awareness we are one,
But what we are conscious of d ille"" We are o ne awarene e xperi _
e ncing d ifferent perspect ive. on the lile_dream. Our diverse apl"' rent
natu",. a nd our shared es>enti.l n .. ure are pol .. oppo,ites, As I"-' r -
sons wit hin the lile _dream we are m.ny, A. awarene we are one,
T he word person come. l rom the ancient Greek word lor a mask, A.
diverse persons we are dillerent masks being worn by t he one aware _
ness, which i. unchange.ble, indivi,ible, timeless being', a. Ploti nu.
puts it.
We think 01 ourselves a. 0 .omc one, A discrete individual. But the
penon we appear to be i . actually a complex group 01 ever_changing
qu.lities , Ex.mine the person you appear t o be and you will see t hat
your body i . m.de u p 01 myriad organ. and limbs, Your personality i.
a compo.ite 01 diHerent character traits, memories, de.ire. and leo",
A pero<>n you are a mutat ing matri x 01 coalescing characteristics,
Yet , you know that the e.""ntia] you which witne ..,s all 01 t his i. an
indivisible unity. That'. true, i.n' t itr What give. you thi s .en 01
being an individual i. not your complex personal nat ure but your e. _
.ential nature a. t he oneness of awarene ...
You Are the Universe
On the surface you appear to be separate from everyone eI.e, But if
you stop l""king at life s u perlicially you will recognize t hat beneath
the . urf.ce we are all conne<:ted li ke islands. If you plumb the depth.
of your ide ntit y you will d iocover t hat you a re t he life dreamer. The
source of t he life_dream, T his i. why Simon Magu. teac hes that
wit hin eoch of us 'dwell. the infinite power' which i. 'the r""t 01 the
universe' , And why The Gospel of Philip t eaches:
Whoever has not known him",lf ha . known nothing. but he who h ..
known himself ha., at the .ame t ime, a l r o ~ y ochieved &DOsi, 01 t he
depth of all things.
Ht r' GNOst'
And why Mei"er Eci"Mn teaehes 'Our true " I" i, God'. And why
Clement 01
The g:reate .. 01 .U le.son. i. to Know your ",11, because when you
know )'Our .. 11 you know God.
Most Gnostics h,,'e live<! in cult ure, where the only voc.bulary .vail _
to discu" the.., has been 3 religious vocabulary, 110 t hey
Mve used word, like 'God' to point u. to the one aworene .. which
i. dreaming the lile_dream, We ore Irequentlv uke<! if we believe in
God. Our answer i. that we don't believe in anything but God! In
real ity, what d i s there but t he one life_dreamer the lif.
dream and eXJ><riencing it born infinitely variou, perspective .
I! you w.ke up born the dream of separatene you c.n know t hat
all is one right now. Trv it. Be ... nd you will.ee that you are
not separate from anything or an)'one, Evervt hing you are experienc _
ing exi". within you u awaren .... And .warene .. i sn' t separate
lrom what it i. witnessing, an)' more than an object i. from
the .p.ce it occupies, As the mediev.1 mystic Jan Ruv.broeck
teache., ' We behold what we are and we are what w. behold'.
A dream and t he dre amer are conceptu.lly two but in re alit y one,
k ' c.me you c<>n't h.ve a dream without a d",.mer, In the me w'y,
right now .warene .. and it i . experiencing .re concept ually
two but in re.lit y one, bec.me you can't have experiences without
aworene ... You are what you are eXJ><riencing, You are t he liIe _
and the lifedream. You are everyone and everyt hing, A. the
Renai .. ance mystic Nichol .. of paradoxic31ly procl.im. :
The uni,'., .. i. in us in . uch a way that we..-e in it,'" tn.t everyone
in t he universe i. the univer",.
The Paradox of Our Predicament
Have you ever seen one of th", mazing pictures which change de_
pending on you take t o be t he background and what you take to
be t he foreground! Look at it one w.y and it' picture of a
Look at it another way and it ', a duck. There' nothe, /amom exam
'""
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
pie which appears to be a picture 01 an old hag, until you ch.nge your
percept ion and suddenly it's. picture 01. heautilul young woma n.
When you see the pa",dox 01 our predica ment it'. like th ...
Look at your experience of t he pre.ent moment from t he it_
pe"pective and you will.ee yourself as a body in the world. Look at
it from the I_perspective and you will ",.li"" you are the emptine .. 0/
awareness .nd the world exi ... in you. Look at this moment from the
it_perspect ive and you're a person confined by time. Look.t this mo _
ment from the ! _perspective and you're the eternal witness of t he
llow of experiences we cal! 'time'. Look at the moment from the it_
perspective and you' re a sopa"'te individual. Look .. the moment
from the !_pe .. pective a nd all i . one.
Lucid living is looking in ' two direction. at once', a. Plot inus p u ts
it . It is .imultaneously heing con,cioO! of both the l_pe"pect ive and
the it _perspect ive. It is recognising thot you are 'in the world but not
of it ', as the Christian Gnostic. te.eh. It i. appearing to be. separate
person in the lile_drea m, whilst also knowing that essenti.lly every_
thing i. an expre .. ion of our shared esse ntial nature. It i . both being
the one and appearing to he someone_ It i. embracing the p .. adoxic.l
nature of real ity and reali . ing, Plotinu. teach .. , that 'you exist in
a world which exist. in you'.
When people fi'" come .cross Gnostic philosophy t hey oft en ex_
perience.n initial re.istance to t he idea 0/ being imperso""l .ware_
ne .. , bee.use this fed. cold and .. em. to dev.lue their humanity.
Thi. resi.unce di.pla ys .n innate wisdom, bec.u.e .dopting t he
I_perspective inslcad of the it_perspective would feel cold and de_
v.lue o ur humanit y_ But lucid living isn't being the life_dre.mer in-
Jlead 01 a person in the life _drea m . It is consciou.ly being bolh t he
life _dreamer and. person in the lile_dream. And thi s i. not cold at
alL Quite the oppo.ite. It i. an experience of all _ernb",cing compa._
sion we call 'big love'.
Big Love
Love i. what we feel when we know we are one. We love someone
when we feel so c!o"" that we connect beyond our app .. ent . eparat . _
nes . When we think we are ;ust. person we love only those we ern_
Htr -GNo".
'"
brace withi n our limited idea of who we are, .ueh a. our friend. and
f.mily, We don't love those who throaten our personal identity and
we are indifferent t o o,'eryone else, But when we discover we are one
wit h all we find our.elve, in love with aiL
Cno,i, i, not.n .b.".ct intellectu.1 unde"tanding. It feel. good,
Indeed, nothing feels better. We taste. little 0/ how good oneness
feeh when we ari.., from deop . leep .nd, for a few precioU! moments,
bothe in the oIterglow of unconscious oneno .. , ,ubsumed in . war m
feeling of complet e well _being. Gno. i, i, being conscious of this
wonderful onene .. right now. And this i , .n experience of big love,
Big love h.s not hing to do with liking other people. It is an uncon_
dition.llove of all, friond, .nd enemie, .like, because we know we
are one with all . Big love has nothing to do with liking what i, hap_
pening in the life_dre.m. It i, an unconditional love oflile, with all
its joys .nd sorrows, becam,e wo know we are one wit h life. It i, 'lov_
ing evervt hing because everything i, part of the whole', as tho Chri, _
tian Gno5tie B.,il ido. teaehos,
A. everv parent know., it i, po .. ible to lovo wbat we don't l ike,
When a cbild beh.ve, b.dly we m.y not like bow thoy.,e acting. but
this doe.n' t mean we ",op loving thorn. We mav need t o reprimand or
even punish tbe child, but we do thi . because we love thorn so much,
In the same W'y, roali , ing we arc one with a ll doe.n' t mean we .top
condomning t hose who.,e so lost in tho illusion of , oparatene .. t hat
they perpc""e all kind. of evil. But we arc critical because we love
them, not b<cause we rei<ct t hem as 'other' , We know t here i. no ' us
and them', T here is iust us. It is onlv thi s prolound recognition of our
e.senti.l unit y which .lIow. u. t o fulfil the prulound Christian In
junction to love our 'enomie,',
As .wareness you .,e already unconditionally embrocing every_
thing with big love. You merely have to recognise t hi. , Try it now, Be
conociou, of your es",ntial nature which is one with .11, Embrace
everyono and everything with unconditional big love. Be the liIe
dreamer compassionately communing with YOllnell in aU your many
different di'gui,e .
'"
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
The Purpose of Life
If life i. a dream what i. ito purpose! Why i. the life_dreamer
ing the life_dre.ml doe. the Well , }'ou are
the life_dreamer, "" you can find the an,wer by yourself
you want. You want m.ny different things, but .. the root
of all your various de.ire, i fundament al impulse to f""l good.
Everyone wants to feel g<><XI. It's our undeniable ba.ic urge. When we
don't feel g<><XI we .. e propelled to change things "" that we do. And
when we do f",,1 g<><XI we want it to get even better. We can' t get
enough of feeling good.
Follow back any of your desire. for enough and at its root you will
lind the d",ire t o feel g<><XI . You may want materi.l pro'perity. Why!
Because you believe it will make you feel good. You m.y want to
be succ essful. Whyl Because you hope it will make you leel good.
You m.y want to help others. Why! &<:au,e you h.ve lound mak_
ing others 1",,1 good m.kes you feel good. Yet , il you k youroeH
why you want to feel g<><XI, it's a silly question, bec.use the an.wer i,
,eli_evident. Good i. by definition what you want t o leeL
I. there . ny more fundamental de. ire than the d""ire to enjoy hv_
ing' Yes and no_ If you imagine that your hIe i, .uddenly thre .. ene<l,
you win immediat ely re.lise just how much you want to live. Corn_
pored to thi' de,ire to be, all your other de.ires ore incomequential,
bec.me they all require you l irst t o be .live' Yet it i. not enough to
.imply be-. Does the ide. of being uncomciouo in . coma appe'!' No.
Because you want to consciou.ly experience living_ And it is not
enough to ,imply experience anything. You don' t want to feel bad.
You want to experience feeling good.
How you interpret the fundamental desi", ' I to 1",,1 good' de_
pends on who you think you ore. Whilst you believe you are just a
, eparate per""n, you win interpret the de, ire to fed good in . , elfi . h
way_ But il you become conscious of our ,h. red e,senti.l nature you
will recogni,e that the fundamental !i/e_impulse i . the li fe_dreamer'.
univers. l desire lor all t o leel good. You will realise that you ore the
hie_dreamer and you are dreaming the h Ie _dream becau. e you w.nt
to enjoy the experience of living in an your myriad forms.
A, individu.l. within the life_dream we can play our part in ful _
Ht r -GNO" ,
lilling tliis fundamental life_impul .. by waking up and living lucidly.
When we are l"'t in t hc nigfitmore of scparat eness we become em_
broileJ in a relentle .. que" t o feel good as. sepa,-.,<o individual, even
if this means causing suffering to othe.-._ But when we become con_
scious of our . hared e .. ent ial nature we love living and are moveJ to
help others wa ke up and enjoy lile., welL We become compassion_
at e part icipant> in the "pic adventure of our collective aw.kening.
'"
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
8
NO REALITY WITHOLIT POLARITY
How can all things i>< ono.
ye! <aen 'hmg be separa'el
_ THl 00" Of O .,HWS
Wh., i . going on right now! What i . ,hi. bizarre bu.ine .. we
'Iife'l It'. extremely strange and infinitely my",orious. Perh.ps it
would be be .. to . oy no more than that. Except that we c.n',- We
nee<! 3 story to live by which explain. our predica ment , .Jbei, in a
wa y which can never do t o 'he infinite mystery. We need nar_
rative. to help u. navigat e our lives, by tolling who wo are and
what li fo ; 11 about. But the story we rol! li mits our experience 0/
lifo, 50 we nee<! to choose it very carefully.
Moot of u. just go .Iong with whatever story happen. to be in
vogue in our culture. But Gnostic. throughout history h. ve offered
an alternative story which opens up a deepeT experience of the m}' .
tery 0/ living. We want to offer you. new version of the Gnostic nar_
,.tive, h.sed on our previous investigat ion of the re.lity of t he pre. _
ent moment. But, m.ke no mistake ahout it, thi. i. onfy a story, It
isn' t the tr uth. Its iU5t the best falsehood we've found '
Our Gnostic narrat ive begin< with the idea o( pohrity, You .,e ex_
periencing something right now bee.use t he life dre. mer is dre.ming
the l ife_dre.m. Without the polarity o( .wareness and 'ppeaTance.
there woufd be nothing. You know this is true (rum your experience
o( sleeping . nd w. king. In the .... e 0/ deep . leep there is only the
onene .. /not hingne .. o( unconscious . warene ... You become con_
.ciOll> when the polarity o( awareness and appearance. arises . As
c.,l lung once ""id lin a great line that .hould be used on ... p
record'): 'No re.lit y without polarity'.
Polarity is paradoxie.1. The two pole. 0(. polarity are irreconcil _
able opposite., yet indivi.ibly one because t hey can only exist t o _
gether. What appe"" a. either/or i. essentially both/. nd. The pri mal
polarity which (orms the foundat ion o( existence is the life_dreamer
and the We_dream, which .ppear to be two but are essentially one,
histence i. an essenti.l oneness appearing as duality.
T he life_dreamer i . the oneness o( unconscious awarene .. , which
i. the pot enti.l to experience everything. I" polar oppo.it e i. the in
hnitely varioU5 (orm. wh ich compri.., t he hie-drea m. Awarene .. he _
comes cOfl5eioU5 t hrough these diUerent (orm. , Consciousne .. i. the
relation.hip betw""n awarene" and. part icular (orm it imagines it_
.eH to be in the Me _dream. Wh ... warene .. i. cOfl5eioll> o( t hrough a
part icul .. for m depends on the n .. ure 0/ the form. The hle-dre. m i.
aw",ene .. experiencing an infinite .pectrum oj diUerent ... te. of
COfl5ciou,ness through infinitely various form .
T he lile_dream i. awaren ... in the process 01 waking up from un _
cOfl5cioU5 onene .. t o conscious onenes . What .cience call. 'evolu_
tion' i . the Me _dre.mer progre .. ively imagining evor more complex
form. c.p.hle 0/ gre. ter conllCiousne . T hrough most forms the We
dreamer is rc10t ively unconsciou ."d identified with its apparent
nature in the life_dream, But through the hum.n form the lile _
dreamer can experience soH_knowledge or gno. i., by becoming con_
.ciou. 0/ its e.sentia l nat ure a. aworene .. ,
Gno.i. i. the unconsciou. onene 0/ .wareness dream ing it"'U to
, ..
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
be individual penon who i . consciously one with .Il, Thi. i. not
.ome absolute .Ute 01 aw.kening beyond wbicb it i. impo.s.ible to
go. Consciou.ne .. ari.e. within tbe duality 01 t he lile _dre.m, "" we
can .Iw.ys be relatively more or Ie consciou . Gnosi. i. being the
lile_dreamer appearing to be a person on never_ending journey 01 be _
commg more con.ClOUS.
T he hod news i. we're never going to ."ive, but t he good news is
we're never going 10 arrive. And this i. very good new., bec.use the
more we w.ke up, the more we love living" so we don't want t he ad_
,'enture of becomi ng more consciouo t o have a conclusion. Gnosis is
a way of ""'elling,, not . destination, It i. loving living. And thi' i.
not something we can achieve once .nd for .Il, becau,," e. ch moment
i. an opportunity to love living in a new w.y.
Re-emergence
The life_dre.m an",. with polarity and is by infinite
polaritie ,_ One important polarity which define. existence i. birth
and death, Eve,},thing in the life_dream h. , a beginning and an end_
ing_ Our .hared essential nature as . warene .. exi. ts outside time, 110
it neither begin. nor end" but the person we appear t o be exists in
time .nd doe. h.ve. beginning .nd an end_ A warene we un _
born .nd undying, but pe,,,,,n we were born and will one day die,
What happens when our life _person. die. in the l ife _dre.mr Con_
.ciousne.s arise. through our apparent nature, .0 will its death mean
the end 01 our con.cious experience as an Do we con_
t inue to exist only., the onene of unconscious awarene ! !lec. use
th.t doesn't seem t o be much 01 comfort in the face of de.th'
Lite,.li ... promise believe,. a happy life .lter de .. h ., immort.1
individual. in Heaven, Gnostics are more concerned with achieving
a h.ppy life before death by . wakening toonene and big love. Gno_
. i. i. becoming conscious of what we are knowing right now, .nd we
can't know now what will happen when we die, bec.use we aren't
dead yet ' Death i. by its nature a prolound mystery nd one 01 the
rol .. it pl.y. in life i. to remind u. of the mystery which is act ually
ever_pre. ent in each moment.
NO UAUTY WITHOUT I'OlARtTY
Yet Gnostic. throughout hi!tory ,!""Cul .. e that the ioumey 0/
aw.kening i. not a proce .. of one lifetime only, but of many life
t ime . Socrate. reason. that life .nd death .. e a polarity that can
exist only in relationship with each other. In the .. me w.y that d.y
follows night and night follow. day, de .. h must follow life and life
must follow de.th, An individu..llife doesn't go on forever, but life
and death do go on forever. The .ncient Gnostic. c.ll this proce ..
'rein""rnation' and we c.lI it 're_emergence',
What will happen when you die in the life _dre.ml Well, have }'OU
ever dreamt you died in. dre.m at night ! If.., you wi!! know what
happens, You w.ke up' The person you .ppeared to be in the dre. m
dis.ppe ... and you appear to be a different person, In the same W'y,
the Gnostic. teach, when )'OUT present per""n. dies in the l ile _dre.m
you will find yourself appearing as a different person. in different
dream. B ed on its post experience 01 being 'you', the fife_dreamer
will im.gine 'you' again in. dillerent way .nd in a different context,
Our conscious experience is punctuat ed by. period of withdraw.l
into the onene .. 01 unconscious .warene" every night in the state 0/
deep .leep. Death i, deeper withdraw.l int o uncon>ciou. oneness
from which we re_emerge .s dillerent pe"Dna in the life_dream,
Life ""d de.th i cycle of becoming conscious, lolling unconscious
and becoming conscious once mote.
Through the continuous cycle of life .nd de .. h we gradu.lly w.ke
up. Eoch re_emergence, or ro. birth, change. the objective perimeters
within which our individual nature evolves . The now rel .. ionship
between the p.rt .nd the whole enables the part to become conscious
in . new w.y. We become more conscious 01 our immort.l e.senti.l
nature through experiencing. recurring cycle 01 birth ""d death a
person in the li fe dre.m.
Reincarnation, or re_emergence, is often interpreted lite .. lIy a.
the idea that when we are re_born we come back here, But there is no
here to come back to. There i, no independently existing world that
we can ent er and leave. There i. the unlolding of the l ife _dream
within .warene ... We should not a .. ume the life_dream i. limited to
the experience 01 thi. world or even thi . cosmo" vast and various a.
it is, The total ity 01 the life_dre.m .hould be conceived 01 a n infi
ni t e imagnos containing endle .. im.gined worlds. Our cosmO! is iust
'"
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
one po .. ibility within t he endle .. imagn<>s, When the dream of ap_
pearing t o be a p<rSQn in this world end. , what ari.e. i. another per_
sp<ctive on the imagno. _ But we .hould not a ume this new dream
will necessarily resemble the dream we are presently exp<riencing,
The po .. ibilities are endless,
Did we exp<rience a life before this life? lust beeau,," we don't re_
member .n"thing prior to our birth doesn't mean we didn't experi_
ence anything, After all, we don't remember being a b.by, but this
doesn't mean we never were a baby. Birth is the beginning of t he
process of re_emerging from unconscious awarene .. and becoming
conscious again, 110 we , houldn't be .mpri.eJ thot when we are born
we aren't conscious of om past lives, because we are hardly con_
scious at alL
The t heory 0/ re_emergence, like any theory, is only 'peculation,
From the Gnostic p<rsp<ctive it i. not that we can know what will
happen when we die. It is rather that, because life i. a dream, there is
no reason t o believe that the death of the body means the end of om
individua l e><perience. The body is a temporary part of the flow of ap_
pearances we are exp<riencing_ It OODlC. and goe. within awareness
every day when we rise in the morning and sleep at night . Why
shouldn't a particular body leave awarene .. permanently when we
die and a new one .. i.e in its place?
As.n exp<riment , stop thinking of yourself a. a p<tsOn with a past
that began at birth and a future which will end at death. Try out . dif_
ferent pos.ibility, See yoursell a. unborn and undying .warene wit_
nessing a flow 0/ eXp<rience. , which never beg.n and will never end,
within which you will always appear to be an individual part in rela _
tionship wit h the whole,
Enlivenment
Many .piritual tradit ion. call waking up to om e .. ential .hared na_
tme 'enlightenment ' . By contrast we c.n refer to the st.t e in which
we are identified with om app.Tent ""tUTe as ' endarkenrnent' . But
lucid living is neither enlightenment nor endarkenment . It i. ' en_
livenment ' , It is really enjoying app<aring to be a p<rson in the l i/e_
NO UAUTY WITHOUT I'OlARITY
dream, becauoe we are also con.cious of our eS>ential nature and ex_
periencing big love, Lucid l iving i. unde rstanding the fundamenul
polarity of existence and being aU that we are,
Some .pirit ual traditiom, however, te.ch that t o wake up t o one _
ne .. we have to eradicat e our individuali ty, This common mi . under _
standing ari"" .from either/or thinking .nd is resolved by adopting a
both/and pe rspect ive, Endarken ment i. being consciou, of Dilly one
pole of our du.1 nature. T he solution i. not to identify with only t he
ot her pole inotead, It i. conscious ly embracing both our shared essen_
t i.1 norure a. aworenc .. and our individual apparent nature I"'r-
.on in the world.
Either/or ,piritu. 1 tradit ion., however, teach th.t t o w.ke up we
need to ext inguish our apparent nature in t he void of aworenc .. , But
this i. n' t w.king up_ Thi . i. going to .Ieep' We do t his eveT)' night
when we merge with the oncne," of unconscious awarenes. _ Aw.k_
ening i. consciously eXl"'riencing our e .. ential nature. And it i . only
when we appear to be I"' rson in the life _dream that we ore con_
.ciom, .., it is only by having an .pparent nature that it i. po .. ible to
also become conscious of our e"ent ial nature ... warene .. ,
According to either/or spiritual traditions, if we become enlight _
enN we will never h.ve t o reincarnate .gain .nd can finaUy escape
this horrible bu. ine" of being human, But this pioU5 diot.ste for life
i. not lucid living. When we drea m lucidly we don't stop dreaming.,
we . imply .Urt dreaming comciousiy. In the .. me W'y, when we
live lucidly we don't stop appearing to be an individual person in the
world, we .impl}' .tart li ving consciously.
It i . fa.hionable in spiritu. 1 circ le., however, to believe that to be _
come 'enl ightened' we must de. troy our 'ego', The word ego i. used
by different people to mean different thing., which i. a souree of
much confusion. II the word ego i. us ed to .ignify the m.trix of neg' _
t ive per=nal hahits which keep u. unconscious in the life_dream,
then the ego i. indeed something which stand. in t he way of our
aw.kening, It is. psychic knot we neN to unt ie. But often tht word
ego i. u,ed to .ignify our individuality gene .. lly. In this c .., the ego
i. not something to destroy, hut IKl mething to emancipate from its il _
lusionary i..,lotion, so that we experience our individual identit y as a
p.rt of the greater whole.
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
Awakening is not e .. dicoting our I"'"on.lit y and living a bland,
boring exi .. ence as .orne sort 0/ saintly zombie, Aw.kening i. con
sciou.ly being all t hat we .. e and having fun as. I"'rlKln in the l ile_
dream, Iree lrom debilitating Ie .. and i.olation. Awakening doesn't
diminish our individu.lity, It enhances and fullill. it, In this sen""
lucid l iving i. the celebration 0/ the ego, not its destruction, But this
celcbration of our individual ity i. po.sible because we have tr.ns_
for mcd oursel ve. from.n isolated .elf inro an int egrated sell.
Thcre i s feeling of di ... tisf.ction which motivates u. t o aw.ken,
We fed there must be more to life than the .nxiety and numbness we
eXl"'ricnce in the end .. kened stat e. And there is . Much more, But be_
cause we pre. ume we know what it i. to be a I"'rs.on in the world, we
think we mu" ",;ect thi s and look elsewhere for what we .. e .eek_
ing. But actually our present eXl"' rience of 'Pl"'aring to be a I"'rson
contains everything we are looking for, il we can w. ke up and see it
lor what it i . And enjoy it lor what it is. That'. enlivenment.
In spiritual cireles thcre is much talk of 'lully enlightened' .age.
who h.ve achieved enlightenment, which is seen a. the ultimate
goal of existence, If 'enlightenment ' is taken to mean cea.ing to iden_
tify exclu.ively with our apparent nat ure, then it is something that
we can achieve once .nd for . 11, It is po .. ible to become conscious 0/
our e.sential nature.., profoundly thot we nevcr exclusively idcnt ify
wit h our apparent nature again, But thi s is not the end of the story, It
i. iust when it .. art s to get interest ing, because we have finall}' Jj._
covered how to re.II}' love the eXl"' rience of living. Enlightenment i.
the end of endarkenment and the bt' ginning of enlivenment.
Loving Being Human
lucid living i. an eXl"' rience of lile_.ffirming enli,-enment. It is not a
life_denying refuge for boly esc'pis". It is not being a macho medi ..
tor who shuns the world. It i. not the ce ... tion of the liJe_dream
longed for by bmikaze cont emplative, who w.nt to . ...... i"'''e
them.elves . It is finally feeling safe enough to unconditionally par_
ticipate in the human adventure. It i. loving being human.
Either/or spiritual however, treat our humanity a
NO UAUTY WITHOUT I'OlARITY
'"
problem we need to overcome. To wake we are told, we mu>t
eradic",e many of our natural human charact eri .. ics. We mu .. stop
de,iring thing' to be different and acquie""e t o tbe w.y thing' ore. We
must seVOT .ll I"'non.J .ttachments and be detached 3Ild aloo!.
We must become oelfle .. saints who are never 3Ilgry and fearful. We
must become boly .,cotic. wbo dony ourselves tbe pleasures of t he
fle,h. From the lucid both/and l"'''l'''ctive none of thi s i. t rue. Thank
goocine .. ' It'. OKoy to be hum3Il. Let's think it through.
The Di lemma of Desire
To wo are told, we need t o ext inguish all our do.ire . Most 0/
uo are"" bu.y wanting t hing> to be other than they are that we don't
appreciate the miraclo of the pre",nt moment. Our endle .. de.i"" . re
a source of and sometimes ext reme suffering. Desire rarely
leads to the .. t i.faction we crave, bec.use when we get what we
wAnt, it .cldom tum. out t o be what we wantN. And t here i. al way.
more to be de.ired, which can makes us perm.nentl
y
discontent.
Should we, then, ext inguish all our de.i",s ! No. That's imJ><"si -
ble. And unde,iroble' De,ire i. a nece ... !), part 0/ existence. On a
very basic level it is our de.ire t o e.t and excrete which m.i ntain.
life. De.ire is the fud of tr.nsformation in the life_dream. Our de.ire
to enjQy life and not t o.uffer i, tho carrot and st ick which urges us to
aw.ken to oneness .nd love.
T he solution i. to .dopt t he lucid bot h/.nd perspect ive, by being
both aw",ene .. loving things. s t hey right now and .lso a I"'rSQn
in the world desiring things t o get better in the futuro. The present
c.nnot be chonged. It i f.ct to be unconditiona lly accept N . But the
future will inevitably ch.nge. And it is our de.ire for it to change for
tho better which will inspire us t o act t o make things bettor. Lucid
living i. embracing this moment os it is, including the de.ire for
change. It i, w.nt ing life to be better bec.use we lovo it so much.
151 THE LAUGHISG l EW.
Holy Inddlerence
To be to love life as it i., we are told, we need to become indiffer_
ent to what h.ppens in the When we are lost in li king .nd
disliking it is impo .. ible to love l iving, because there i. "" much to
dislike, The hfe_dream is cha .. cterise<l by polarity, which mean.
there will alway. be experience. we like and others we di,like, Should
we, therefore, just al"'thetically acquie.ce with the way things are!
Certainly not! A. individual. in the hfe_dream we need to discrimi_
nate what is acceptable from what i. unacceptable. We need to con_
demn the evil which m.kes u uffer and to nurture t he g<><XIne ..
which bring. u. joy.
A Gnost ic Christian text called The AwilOrilalive Teaching state.
that 'the wor .. vice. ' 'ignorance and indifference', i.
being unconscious th .. all i. one, Indifference is retreating from hfe,
lucid living i. t he oppooite of ignorance and indifference, It i. con_
sciou.!y being the oneness of awarene .. I"'ssive!y embracing life a.
it is . And it is .ppearing to be a person .ctively ..,eking to tra",_
form tbe ugly, inappropriate and cruel into the be.ut iful , hamlOniou.
and kind,
The Boseyman of Sdh,hnes,
Selfi,hne .. is another bo);eyman we are told we must if we are
to w.ke up. And again this condemnation of a n .. ur.l human ten_
dency ari ses from eit her/or thinking, which requires us to choose be _
tween being eilber .elfi.h or selfless . Lucid living i. being bolh. Being
only ..,Ifi,h cau""s immense . ulfering to others and our..,lve., but
this doe. not mean that . .. i.faction come. from some SQ" of ascetic
. elfle.,ne . Those who attempt to deny their own de. ires end up as
distorted a. tho.e who are driven by them, bec.me bot h .pproaches to
life arise from a mi.understanding of the human pre<licament.
If we suppre .. OUT own de.ire to feel good a n individual lwhich
i ctu.lly impoo. ible'l we would be defe .. ing the very purpose of the
life_dream, which i. to enjoy living, Yet our essenti. l identity also ex_
presses itself as all t he other individu.l. who . hare the l ife_dream
NO UAUTY WITHoUT I'OlARtT Y
with U', and to deny their desire t o feel good would also be t o ddeat
the very purpose of the life_dream. The sofution is to further both our
penonal and our collective enjoyment of existence, bec.use they are
intrinsically the ""me.
Lucid living i , recogni. ing th .. the way to fee l good individu.lly i.
to be conscious of everyone else', de.ire to feel good a. well a. our
own, and to do our best to m.ke them fool good well, rather t han
.imply grabbing our own enjoyment at the e ~ " " n s e of others. Lucid
living i. ""eking ""ISonal happine .. which enhone .... ther tb.n bin_
ders the hoppine .. of others. And bee.use we.re all one, helping oth_
ers to feel good make. us feel good. The best way to be selfi.h i. dl<O
to be .elne ...
Per';() nal Allachmentl
Another natural part of being human which i. often demonised i . at _
tachment. We are urged to relinqui,h our attachments to people ""d
to thing. bec.use they ore the e.use of suffering_ But would we really
want to be unattached to those we lover Would we really want to be_
friend, morry or parent someone who was utterly unatt.ched to us!
Would we want to be indifferent to t he thing. we cherish or the life_
project> we pursuer Surely not! And the good new. i. we don't have
to. The problem i. not being attached. It i, being only .ttached. We
don't kve t o get rid of our .... chments. R .. her we need to reah,e
that our essential nature i. not att.chcd .nd never will be. Lucid liv_
ing i, not denying our human .ttoehmen .. and ""rson.l rel .. ion_
ship . It i. l iving with temporary .ttaehments a. a ""rson in the
life _dream, whilst knowing that esoenti.lly we are .warene .. which
i. not attached to .nyt hing.
Negative [moHons
Aw.kening is often portrayed >orne .u""r_human state in which
we are always compassionate ""d never fool norm.! human emotion
uch anger. But anger i. not .Iw.y bad thing. becau,e it can be
'"
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
an appropriate reaction to a bad .ituation. The problem i. not being
angry. It i. being only angry. When we are lost in .eparatene .. it
i. ea.y t o become consumed by destruct i,'e anger, But anger i, only
an exp",,,ion of our "'p,u atene if we ore angry instead of being
compassionate, Anger, impat ience .nd frmtrat ion can sometime. be
po.itivc cxpre .. ion. of big love. Every parent know. th .. it is po .. i_
ble to be .ngry wi tb child whilst still loving them. Anger can be
'tough love',
Fear is anot her nat ural human experience which i . much m._
ligned. But fear i. not iust a negative emot ion. It can sometime. play
a positive role in our life, much like pain, Pain warn. U5 to change
bec.me the body i. not happy about something, In the .ame W'y,
lear i. our im.ginat ion warning u. that something could happen in
the future that we really don't want to happen, which can !IOmct irnes
hell' u, .void the undc,irable.
When we identily only with our sep ... te .elf, feor 3Ild pain c. n be
utterly debilitating, Feor and pain ore by definition unplea ... nt expe
rience., because they are designed to impel u. to change our ,itu._
tion, But sometime. we can' t alleviate the pain or avoid the event
we feaL The ..,Iution i . t o .l so be con.ciollO of our e,sent ial nature
and embrace feor .nd p.in with uncondit ional aepunc . Thi.
doe.n't m.ke the iear or pain magically di"prear, but it doe. mean
we also experience the cour.go to face fear and t he endurance to
withst.nd I"'in.
The ~ e a , u r e , of Ihe Flesh
M.ny 'pirit""l tradition> have a particularly unhealthy attit ude
tow .. d. ' t he ple. sure. of t he /lc,h' because, we .. e t old, ' t he price 0/
pleasure i. pa in' . But that ',. ba'll"in' Surd}' ' the honey i. worth the
sting', ., Rumi enthuse., Do we re.lIy want to forgo pie. sure to
avoid painl Lucid living is a both/and alternative, It i. n' t denying
our.dve, the plea.ures 0/ life. It i. enjoying ple. sure but not gett ing
lost in plea.ure. It i. al,o st.ying awake .., t hat we C3Il continue to
love life when the plea. ure p . .. es, . s it inevitably will.
Sex i, a ple.mre continuously libelled by piOllO killjoy., probably
NO UAUTY WITHOUT I'OlARtTY
bec.me it i. "" much fun dnd t he.e people don't like fun' Once ag.in
the problem i. either/or thinking. We ue given the choice of eithe1
wholesome love 01 ""niid luo'- But from the lucid pe"p""t i,'e we can
embrace both. When we iust lmt after someone as an obiect 01 our
de,ire we don't acknowledge them a. a .ubject who al.., has need.
and de. i",,_ But lucid living i. being .ble t o lu .. whilst .1"" loving. It
i. enjoying the fact that we ne both ..,n.itive subiects and desirable
objects.
To ~ p e r i e n c e lucid living you don' t h.ve ro become puritanically
cle.n_living .nd treat your body like. temple. Sometimes it's fun to
treat your body like. nightclub' You don't have to . bot.in from t he
ple ure.o/ the flesh . Quite t he oppo,i<c. lucid living i . enjoying dll
the ple.,ures and poignancy the life_dre.m presents us with. It i . t he
. ecret of appreciating both the de lights .nd the dram.s of appearing
to be a person. So why not w.ke up and love being hum.n' Go on.
You know you w.nt to.
'"
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
9
THE LAUGHING JESUS
[ undewand your wound.. ,bat hav. not h, al.a.
They exist becau God and 10
hay. y".o ""como u al,nougn
10 allow yo<l to !orgi.o the d,,,,,m.
_ HAFIZ, Sun CSO HIC
If you can .. and ~ c k far enough from your cuhur.] conditioning, the
Lit.,ali" Christian mess.go look. ab.uro .nd grot eoque, You were
born in . in and deserve to be punishcJ. So God sent hi. own lOOn,
resus, to planet I.orth to sulfor horribly on the cro to pay for your
.ino. Jesus died for you and then ",m rrec .,.) .nd went to Heaven,
And, if you believe that ,hi . ",.lly happ<ned, you will ah o go to
Heaven when you die, where you will h.ve. very nice t i me forever.
But if you don't believe that the ",surrection ",.lly hapl"'ned, when
you die you will go to Hell and be .ubjected to really horrible torture.
for.1l eternity. By. God 0/ love'
It' gruesome d<>etrine and inherentl y flawoo . Surely. for any
comp .. ,ionat. "" ... on, the existence 0/ Hell mu" make the onioy-
ment of Heaven impossible. How could anyone with an ounce of
kindne.s enjoy He.ven knowing t hat others langui.hed in Hell, sim_
ply for not be lieving in an hiotoric.l event for which there i. no evi _
de nce .n}' way' It seem s .omewh .. harsh , !f there re . lly is a God
running thi s post_mortem apartheid, then he'. a monster and we
need to indict him for crimes against humanity.
We are ext remely glad to tell you, however, thot thi . grim Literal _
ist version of the Christ i.n me .. age has nothing to do with t he t each_
ing. of the original Gnostic Christian . They did not te.ch t hat
believing in the historical deoth and resurre<:tion of Jesus would .ave
u, from Hell when we die, That would be impossible because,
according to the Gnostics, we are .lre.dy dead and living in Hell
right now'
We are the dead and we don't know it. It 's a spooky thought which
rounds though it has come straight out of a Hollywood block_
buster like The Sixth Sense, But look .round you .nd you'll""" what
the Gno"i"" mean. Most of u, wander . round like .emi _consciou
hades, tormented by endle .. fears and anxietie . Listen to no moan_
ing .bout our worries and w""s, like weary b.nsh"". longing for rest,
look into the dull .nd fretful e}'es of someone on their way t o work
in the morning rush hour and you' ll see the f.e< of the living dead,
For the Gnostic, Heaven and Hell aT< not place. we go when t he
body di ... They are two ways of experiencing the life _dream. When
we are ident ified with our "'parate life_persona we are ' dead' to our
essenti.l nature, and life become> nightmare of feor . nd suffering,
We have 'fallen asleep in Hell'" , Plot inu. puts it, We need t o ' w. ke
up from he.vy .leep .nd take ofl t he garments of Hell', a. The Secret
Book of lohn urge"
Heaven and Hell are here .nd now_ Whiht we are identified with
the sep.r. te .elf the life_dream inevitably becomes a night mare, but
the moment we w.ke up to onene .. Hell i. tran.formed into Heaven,
He.ven i. the experience of big love, It i. not somewhere we go when
we die. It i s a .. ate of loving l ile which ari,es when we wake up and
live lucidly, Life i, ' a ioy to t h"". who have redi,covercd who they re _
ally are by waking up' , as The Gospel of Truth teach.,., Whilst we are
engros",d in the dram of the life_dream we can't ,eo how wonder_
fullife is. But when we wake up .nd l ive lucidly we find that we aT<
158 THE LAuGHISG l EW.
already in Heaven , In The Gospel of Thomas Je.u. is a. ked by hi. di. _
ciple. , 'When will Heaven cornel' He repli , 'It won't corne by wait
ing for it, because Heaven i . spread out upon the earth but people
don't .ee it ',
Waking the Dead
T he essential message of Chri .. i.nity i. t hat whilst we identify with
the separate self we are dead and we need to come to life or remrrect .
In t he Grcek uscd by the original Christiano the word usually tr.ns _
lated 're.u"""t' also me.ns 'awaken' , Th. re.urrect ion rcpre.ents
waking up . nd experiencing gno.is, The resurrect ion is not somc _
thing which happened in t he p'" to Jesus, That', just ... ory. Ne ither
i. it something which m.y h.ppen to you after you di . TMt '. iust a
f""tuy. T hc resurrect ion is something you must experience for your_
self in this pre.ent moment by becoming conscious of your e,,,,nti.l
nature a. awarene .. , A Chri .. i"" t ext called The Treatise on the Res -
urrection Iwhich could equally be c.lled The Treatise on Awakening)
announces:
The world is m illu.ion, The re,urrection/awa ning i. the Tevela tion
01 Teduy.
T hi. text te.che. that when )ems resurrect ed he '.w.llowed the vi,i _
ble by me.ns 01 the invisible and , howed us the way to our immor_
.. Ji t y', To resurrect i . to become conscious of being the emptiness of
invisible awareness which contain. t he wOTld, and which exists un _
born and undying beyond time. T hi ' i. why the Gnost ic. t e.ch t hat
Christianity i. about being ' .. ved' by resurrecting t o 'eternal liJe',
T he GTcek word which is u. ually tranolated ' .. ved' me. ns to be 'pre_
seTved' or become 'peTm.nent', Gn",is i. being ' .. \"Od' because it i.
the discoveTY that our essential nature i. t he eternal presence 0/
awarene ...
AccoTding to Tertulli.n t he Gnostics te.ch that ' T hose without
gno,i . .. e the dead', Resurrecting i. awakening t o gno.i. , It i. the
discovery of what P.ul calls the 'Chri .. ', who "'pre. ents OUT shared
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
".
e .. ential nature as the onene of awarenes . A. a Cnost ic te.cher he
sees his iob as 'working until the Christ . ri.e. in you' . He urges;
w.h up sleeper.
Ri.., from the d.d.
u,t the Chri .. ""lighten you.
Thi . i. the authentic mes .. ge of Christianity. Whilst we",e uncon
scioudy identifieJ with our ""parate persona in the life_dream we are
the dead Christ, I".t in the nightmare of ""parat ene,. .nd . ullering in
Hell. But when we awaken to our . hared e .. ential nat ure as t he
Christ we re.urrect from the dead and we paruke in eternal life. Re._
urrcct ing from the dead transfonn. the life_dream from the Hell 0/
. eparation t o the Heaven of big love. In Christian myt hology Jesus i.
porrr.yed re5Urrecting in the body, because big love i fuling we
experience in the body. Resurrecting from t he dead i . coming to life
a. a per""". To re.urrect i. to become enlivened, It i. loving being in
the world t hrough knowing our e.""mi.1 nature which is not 0/ the
world. Paul teaches:
When .nyOll.;' united with th. Christ th.re i new world. Th. old
di .. ppe .... nd new order bgiru.
Suffering
In some version. of t he Cnostic Je.u. m},th, it i . not the ' real ' Jesu.
who is crucified, but only hi. eidolon, or i mage. The ' real ' Jesu. i.
represented a. I.ughing whilst hi . ap!",r"nt nature . ullers. T he won_
derful figure of the laughing Jesus i . the Western equival ent of the
I.ughing Buddh . Both repr. ""nt the discovery 0/ joy and the tran_
scendence of .ullering through co .. ing t o identify with the sep.rate
. elf. But what i. "" powerful about the symbol of the laughing Je. u.
i. that Jesus isn' t repre><nted . s inst " anscending . ullering. His ap_
p.,ent nature i . also . uHering terribl}' on the cros . The I.ughing
Je5U. symbolise. the state of lucid living in which we are able to love
life even when we are sullering,
THE LAuGHISG l EW.
Suffering i. uIl<ivoidable because lile i. pre<lic .. ed on .uHering,
Every life_Iorm exi ... by killing consuming other life_form . Life
i. possible only because the co. mos i. continuaHy consuming iUejf,
To be. p<rson in the life_dream i. ineviubly to .uffer. A eparate in_
dividual. we are insignificant .pecks in huge and h"'tile universe,
Each one of u. i. just another vulnerable body .mongst billions 0/
bodie, waiting to die. No wonder we so oftcn Jeel fearful, insccure
and .lone.
Suffering i. by definit ion unde.irable. To like .uffering would be
impo.sible and J>C",e"e, but to embrace , ul/ering with loving .ccep_
t ance an incvitable part of the dream of awakening i . J>CrJectly P"'-
,ible. Suffering i. unavoidable, but iu,t .ui/ering c.n be avoided,
Lucid living i. the paradoxical st .. e 0/ apJ>Caring t o be. J>Crson in the
life_dream who somctime ul/e", yet knowing ourselve. to be .ware_
ne .. which exi". beyond.n polorit ie., including joy and .ullering.
Lucid living doe.n't mean we never .uffe" because we still have
an .pp>rent nature which oometime. oxJ>Crience. physical pain and
p. ychological anguish. But when we eXJ>Crience lucid living we don't
only . uller. If we are conscious of both our e"enti. l nature and our
apparent nature, we can . uffer a J>Crson when life i . tough, whilst
also embracing our sul/ering with uncondition.l loving acceptance
a warene ... A. lesu. teaches in the Act.. o{ fohn, we can learn to
.uller and not t o .uller,
W.king up i. an of big love. A love so big that it miti_
gate, the horrors 0/ life. From thc it-J>CrsJ>Cctive of our .pparent n._
ture within the life.dream, .uffering., illness .nd dcath e;on be truly
terrible eXJ>Crience . But the eXJ>C,ience of big love en.ble. u. to
embroce both the happiness and the heartbreak 0/ life, It doe. not
diminish t he angui. h of grief .nd tr.gcdy, but add. to the"" eXJ>Cri-
ence. a bittersw"",,t poignancy, The oxJ>Crience of big love assuage.
our .u/lering and enable. u. to bear the unbearable,
When we are I"'t in tbe illu.ion of sepal.tene" we see our exp<o
rience> as either good or bad. Lucid l iving i dopting a both/and
p<rspective and recogni.ing that every eXJ>Crience i. both good and
b.d. Even the most wonderful exp<rience enuils the .uffering in_
herent in imp<rmanence, because we know tkt , since everything
cbanges, feeling good must pa ... And even the wont exp<rience can
THE LAuGHISG IESU.
'"
act .s c ... lyot lor our .wakening. Indeed, as tho.., who h.ve sul _
fered much olten t e"ily, it i , oomet ime. the moot difficult 01 experi .
ence. which most powerfully wake. us up from the numbne .. we call
'norm.lit y'.
Everyt hing in the lile_dream exists in polarity and i. both good
and Md, There i . not hing so good that it doe. not have a bad side ""d
nothing so Md that it doe. not have something good in it , Science
has gi,'en u. the ability to almost eliminat e some horrendous di. _
e.se., but it has also given us Hiro. hima .nd N'ga",ki . World War II
entai led untold cruelty, yet it led to pe.ce in Europe. The Holocauot
wa. designed to exterminate t he Jewish race, but it inadvert ently led
to the establishment 01 a fewish homel. nd in [ ... ellor the lirst time
in two thou .. nd yea ... Thi. w good lor the lew. but bad lor the
Pa lestinians who alre.dy lived there, Ever},thing ha good . ide ""d
bad .ide.
This pr .. ent moment i.lull 01 both joy .nd sufferi ng. Right now a
mother i. cuddli ng her be. utilul newborn baby. Two young love .. are
telling each other 01 t heir leeli ngs for the first time. Somc'One i.
reaching out to comfort tr.nger in distre ... But also in this present
moment a mother is wat chi ng her baby st.TVe to death. Two young
lovers have discoverN the heartbreak 01 betr. yal. Someone i. walk
ing paot a stranger crying out for comfort with deuched indifference,
Lucid living i. embrocing all oi thi s with big love, which take.
gre.t courage. Loving i. n't iust. good feeling, it also enta ils .uUering
willingly. When we love othe .. we . hare in their anguish well as
their joy. It is t he .ulfering inherent in big love which ",ops many of
us waking up. We feel it is . imply too painful to w.ke up .nd love, 110
we choose to be numb and withdrawn, But it i . only too difficult
whilst we rem.in identified wit h t he separate self. It i. too much to
expect an isolated individual to open their heut to all t he . ulleringof
the world. But the more we .waken to onene .. , the mOTe big love be _
comes not only po"ible bm natural. When we li ve lucidly we find
ourselve. Joving.1I and . uUering willingly with . 11 . Thi. i , the "ate
of gnosi ymboli .. d by the sublime fi gure of the laughing Je. u .
,.,
THE LAuGHISG IES U.
Death Is Safe
le.u. laugh, in the face of death. He would prefer that t his 'cup' of
death pa .. him by, but when he realise. he i. destined to die he ac_
eep" it unconditionally. I""u. i . able to embrace death because he
has already metaphorically 'died' by cea.ing to ident ify with hi. ap_
I"'rent nature. The Gnostic .ceret of being able t o face death i im_
pIe. Don't wait. Die now! Plato deoeribe. the 'true philosopher' a
ome<>ne who 'make. dying hi. way of l ife', Paul writ .. , 'I die <lail}",
Valentinu. teache., ' We choo.e to die so that we can annihilate death
completely'. The blamic Gnostic Abd aI_Kader explains:
Thore are two tH"" 01 d .. t h. One which IS inevItable and common to
all, and one which i olunu ry and eXl"'rienced by t he few. It i. t he
>e<:ond death which Muhammad Pf<scrihed .. ymg 'Die before you
die', Those who d,e this ,-oluntary d .. t h are re.urrected.
When we identify exclu. ively with our ph}"ical body, we are con_
.ciously or unconsciously in a constant "ate of anxiety, bee.use
dee.y and death i. what inevi .. bly lie head for t hi. walking_talking
. kin_bag. But when wo wake up we reali.e we need not fear the death
of the body any more than we need fear dying in a dre.m. Tho more
lucid we become the Ie .. we foar death, which m.ke. living a lot
more enjoyablel
When wo aw.ken to the w.y thing. actu.lly are, we reali. o that
death i ... fe . Fearing and re.isting deat h i. li ke . young child fearing
and re.i5ting sleep, becau.e it d""sn't underst.nd that renew.l corne.
only t hrough di.solution. Worrying .bout t he death of our apl"'rent
nature i. like worrying about what will happen to our reflect ion
when we stop looking in the mirror. The Gnostic Pagan Epictetu.
teaches;
It i. your fear of d ... h that t enilie. you. You can think about a thing
in many way . Scrutinize your ide. of d .. t h. Is it true! I, it helpful'
Don't fear death. Rather, fear )'Our fe .. of death.
Death seem. teITifying to the degree that we arc identified with our
morta l nature. Most of m fear death because we are extremely
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
attached to our pre, ent P""ona in the life_dream and don' t want it to
end. But deat h is the discover)' t hat we are really not .ttaehed to our
pre,ent life _p"r""na, any more than t o a ""rson. in a dream at night.
We feel attacheJ whilst we are dreaming, hut not when we wake up.
In the . ame way that we don't mourn the pa ing of a dre. m when
we ri,e in the morning, when we die we wi ll not mourn the p ... ing
of t he p"rsen we 'PP""' t o be in the life_dream right now.
Plato teach .. that 'the best life i . sp"nt preparing for death', be
c.u"" deoth i, t he climax of life. De.th i, not a meaning Ie end t o a
meaningle existence. It i, the destinat ion which give, li fe its me.n_
ing. Deat h i. the supreme o pportunity to come to life. We w. ke up
when we let go of our concept u.1 stories .bout li fe and enter the
mystery of t he moment . Such moments 01 aw. kening olt en occur
when we encounter t he unl.mi liar, because our stories can't cop"
wit h t he unfamiliar. De .. h i. t he ultim. te unfamiliar eXp"n ence.
When the identilic.tion with our .pparent nature i. dramaticall y
prevented hy death, it allow, us t o become conscious 01 our .hared
e.sential nature t he emptines. 01 .warene ... Death i. an opportu_
ni t y to consciously merge with what the Christian Gn05tic, c. 1I 'the
dazzling dar kne .. ' and Tibet an Buddhist, call ' the cloar light of
the void'.
Our experi ence 01 t he present moment i. either helli . h or heav_
en ly, depending on whether we're loot in the i llusion 01 ..,potat ene ..
or . wake to our es.mtial nature. In one way, the moment 01 de .. h
will be just another pre..,nt moment. It will be hellish or he. venly
de""nding on how .wake we arc. In this pre, ent moment it i. possi _
ble to eXp"rience lucid l iving, "" why should it not be po .. ible to
eX!",rionce lucid dying and embrace t he end 01 this dre.m wi th appre _
ciat ion, excitement and big love. On hi. deathbed, t he Gnostic poet
Allen Ginsberg declared, 'I thought 1 would be t etrifiro, but act ually
l leel exhilotat ed'.
Pronoia
T he laughing Jesu. repre..,nts .... te 01 .wa kening in which we re o
ali. e that lile i. good and death is . ale . We call this becoming
TH[ LAUGHISG I[W.
'pronoid'. If paranoia i. the fear that life i. out to get you,
then prunoia i. the rea",nable faith that l ife i. on your . ide. And
everyone i. out to hdp you, whether they know it or not' Pronoi.' i.
'faith' by funkier new name. The word faith h become.., contam_
inated by Literali" religion that it i. alm"' t unu .. ble, Faith has
come to mean blind belief in irrat ional dogma . Being pronoid has
nothing t o do with f.it h in this ",n.e. It i proiound trust in the
fundamental goodness 0/ existence, which ari ... when we aw.ken to
onene.s.
Whilst we believe Our. dV05 to be no more than separate individu_
als we ar< just vulnerable specks in. va ... ccidenta l universe. But if
we wake up we become pronoid, bec.use it becomes obvious that we
don't need to fe .. lile .ny more than we n""d t o a dream. What
we are experiencing i manifestation of our own e",ent i. l nat ure as
the life_d",.mer, so how c.n we ever really be victim. 0/ life! And,
bec.noe everything i. an expr ... ion of our own e.sent ial n3ture, all
we experience i howing U! something .bout who we "'0, so life i.
replete with meaning, like dream.
Being pronoid i. not indulging in IOOme feel_good /anu.y. It i . not
retreat ing into some optimistic la l. land. It i. not adopt ing a fixed
smi le in the face of all . dversity. It i. not being perpetu.lly positive
by refu.ing to acknowledge t he neg.n ive. Qui te the oppo. ite. Being
pronoid i. embr3cing the inherent polarity of existence. But it i. ex
periencing We d S love afbir of complementary oppo.ites, rat her
th.n a cla.h of contradictory contrarie . A dance rather t han a w.r. A
duet rather a duel.
The lile_dream ari. e. with polarity. What we experience is rela-
tively good or bad, But that we are experiencing .nything at all i. ab-
l olutely good. Being pronoid i . acknowledging that life is somet imes
bad, whilst remembering it i. alw. y. also good. And when we under _
stand thot every moment i. bothgood b.d, we can choose to ..,ek
out the good. As the Scotti.h comedi"" Billy Connolly puts it, 'There
i. no such thing as bad just the wrong clothing' . T here i. no
such thing a. a ..,ldy b.d experienco, only the wrung attitude. When
we are lost in .eparotene .. things are either good or bad, but a. we
wake up we recogni,e that all experience. are both good and bad, de
pending on how we look at them. h this moment good or bad1 It is
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
both, It i. alway. both, So even when it is very bad it i. also partly
good and vi"" vers . Is that good or bad ' It depend, on how you look
at it,
Being pronoid i. seeing thing. a. they re.lly are. It is acknowledg_
ing that suffering is had, but also understanding that .uffering i. not
iust bad, Suffering make. u. more compassionate, bec.use only by
.ulfering ourselves c.n we understand the sufiering of others. It i.
often only when we lace the worst tr.gedies that we finally get
around to communic .. ing how much we love each other, Indeed, he _
cause every experience in the life_dream i. part of the proce .. 01
aw.kening to onene.s, .11 our bad experience. are ulti mately good,
As Rumi writes:
If God demanded:
' Ruml prai3e every,hing
tha, ha. led you mlo my emhrace',
J w",,1d to honour
eoch and every of my
Walt Whitman succincti}' captures the essenee of pronoia when he
pronounces:
Wh", lS called 'lood' is pi!rfect,
and what is coll.d 'hod' i< iu" a, perfect.
Such bold prunoid "at emen" often evoke the outraged reaction:
'Life i . perfect1' You've got t o be joking'1 Tell tfiat to the mother
whose chi ld is dy ing 01 cance,' Tell that to .n African wfio hasn't
eat en lor weebl Tell that to anyone of us as we confront tfie .uffe,_
ing .nd misery thot every life entails!' From the lucid perspective,
this response is to be applauded, bee. use we must re/use t o trade
world_weary pessimi.m for naive opt imism. The lucid reply i. 'Yes,
You're ,ight. Life i.n't perfect. But can you see it is also perfect"
When we identily exclusively with our life_persona it is easy to get
c.ught in a 'vicious circle'. We led separate and vulne .. ble, so we be _
come fright ened of life, which makes us withdraw into numh nor
mality, then we feel more separate, so we become more frightened
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
and ourselves further. But when we experience lucid liv_
ing we sct in motion a 'virtuous circle' . We begin to experience that
all i. one, "" we fed more pronoid .bout li fe, which make, u. engage
more wholeheartedly with the process of awa kening. and this mean.
we awaken furt her to t hc e .. e ntial unity of all thing., "" we become
more pronoid and engage more wholeheartedly with t hc process 0/
awakening, And l iving wholeheartedly i. t wice a. good a.living half_
heartedly'
T he irony i. t hat the more we identif}' exclu.ively with our appar_
ent nature as a penon, the more scared of life we become, But t he
more we know that we are really not a per""n, the more we can unre_
servedly engage wit h t hc dramas oj appearing to be a per>on in t he
world, because being pronoid give. u. the confidence to commit to
the life process, no nlatter how daunting. It makes u. ""cure enough
to ,uri the ups and down. of t he . dventure of awakening, because we
appreciate that adventure can' t alway. be e y.
Being pronoid isn't always feeling good, It i. feeling okay about
somet ime. feeling bad. Being pronoid doe. n't mean we never get con_
fu..,d_ It i. understanding that being confused i, .ometime. for the
best, Being pronoid doe. n't mean we neve, make mi .. ake . It i.
accepting that we learn only by m3king mi ... ke . Being pronoid
doe.n't mean alway. h.ving an ea.}' time of li fo_ It i. trusting t hat
our problcm. are part 0/ a curriculum of awakening,
How would your everyday experience ch.nge if you allowed your_
.elf to live a pronoid life' JI you approached your life_dr.mas as ad_
venture, on a journey of di.covery, in which you are continually
being offe,ed t he opportunities you need t o wake up and become
more conscious 0/ all that }'OU a,e1 If you sow that your ordinary life
i , chorged with ,ignificance and meaning.s a d, e.m' If you lived
wit h the knowledge that li fe i, good and death i afe'
Enjoying the Show
Doe. the po"ihilit y of lucid living ..,em t oo paradoxical to be pract i_
c.l! It really i.n't, You enter 3 cornporablo state every time you go to
. ee a movie. You ident ify with the hero of the adventure, but you .1""
THE LAuGHISG I ESU.
'"
know you.re ,afely in the auditorium. And it i. thi s both/and p<r_
'p<ctive which enable, you to enioy the "ory. Even the ,cary bits. If
you were t o completel}' identily wi th the hero of the movie, .n excit_
ing adventure would be translormed into a terrifying on/e.1. You
would really believe that the baddies .re going to get you .nd that
you are going to . uffer and die. Thi . is an an. logy jor what happ<n.
when we liveour live. identified with the body. Lucid living i, reali . _
ing it'. okay. We aren' t re.lly characters in the movie. We'.., Iely
watching the . how,
But lucid living i,n't t he equivalent 0/ ' itting in the cinema pinch_
ing ounelve. so we don't mi.uke the movie for ",.lity. Ii we did this
we would ".y conscioU5 that we are only watching coloured light>
projected on a whitc ,creen, but this would ruin our enjoyment 0/ the
eXp<rience. A movie i . worth seeing becau5C we don't iust remain
cOfl5cioU5 of being in the .uditorium. We only enjoy the illusion
when we ore taken in,
M.ony .piritual tr.dition. urge u. to do the p.ychologic.1 equiv .
lent of pinching our..,lve. to make . ure we don't mi".ke the movie
for reality, This can be a helpful .hort_term strategy to prevent u.
continu. II}' identifying with our apparent nature, But there'. some_
thing wrong with this ., long_term .pproach to life. It 's rather
rude. The",'. this . p<ctacular . how I.id on grati s and it 's not being
appreciated.
Lucid living i Jopting the pa .. doxical p<rsp<cti,'e we adopt
when we enjoy watching. movie. We . it there in t he auditorium and
completely .bandon our..,lve, to the movie, hoping we will be enter_
uined, excited, transformed, m.de to think and leel. But we know
that we are not in the movie, We don't h.ve to . it there rep<oting to
our..,lve, ' I'm not in the movie. . I'm not in the movie
'0 ,ure of it thot we Jon't h.ve to think about it. It'. obvioWl ,
Toenioy a movie we need t o both enter into the lanu,y and know
we are e .. entially Ie, We let ourselves be in the movie, but we
know we are not of it. And that'. the ..,cret 01 enjoying the . how,
Lucid living i, .Jopting imilarly paradoxical p<r>pective on the
life_dream, which en.ble. u. t o unreservedly enter into the drama. 0/
life, even when it'. sometimes a whi t e_knuckle ride, Lucid living i.
recogni.ing that we .ctually want the conflicts and dilemma. 0/ life,
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
bec.me thi s i. what uo. T hi. i. what make. uo really feel.
Thi. is wh .. we enioy. Who wants to so. a movie which start. with
everyone happy, continue. wit h everything working out and ends
with all being welE We want life t o be more t han up<rficial light
comtdy. We also want dram . We want Me t o he exactly wh.t it is. A
cathartic feel_good m.steIpioce 0/ .uch dept h .nd poignancy t hat it
defies de>cription.
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
10
THE WAY TO AWAKEN
Your viswn WIll ""com. clear
only when you IDOl< ml" yoU! own hearl ,
Who look! "",sid. dream. ,
Who look. insIde aw"k,s.
_CUL lUNG, Lelurs, Volume r
We ore living in ,in and we need t o repent. It i . preached endl.,,]y by
Liter.li" prie ... and TV eungeli .. s. And do you know what !
T hey',e right ' We am living in sin and we do need t o repent. It'. iu",
that Literati" . misunderstand the me.ning 01 the word. sin and re-
pentance. For Literali." we are . inners becauoe we h. ve broken the
rule . We didn't do a. we were told by Big Daddy and he'. pi ned with
il . So the only w.y to .void being ,everely puni . hed i . to [""I really
guilty, oar we aro very sorry ond promise not to be bad .gain. But this
has nothing to do with what the origin.l Gn,,";c Christ ian. meant
by '.in' and 'repentance',
The G"",k worn hamartia. usuaUy translat ed ' sin', comos from
archery and .imply me.n. 'to mi the point'. The Greek word
melanoia, u.u.lly tran.lated 'repentance' , me.", 'to ch.ngc perspe<:_
t ive'. So . inning i,n't disobeying some set 01 divine regulation . It i.
,imply missing the point. And repent""ce isn't giving yourseJl . hard
t ime or toadying up t o some judge mental God, It i imply seeing
thing' lrom different p""pect ive ,
In the Go'pe]' le.u. t eaches that 'the beginning 01 salvat ion i. re _
pentanco' , The lirst .. ep in the proce .. 01 waking up i. to recogni.e
that you're mi ing the point and to change pe"pective, But what i.
the point of l ife ' A. k a child ""d the answer i imply; 'To h.ve fun' ,
We a", dreaming t hc lile_dream because we want to love l iving. Thi.
i. not IIOmething that we want lor the future. We w.nt to love l iving
right now. We want to lo,-e this momcnt. Thi' i. the fundarnen .. l
lile_impulse at the root 01 .ll our de. ire . Thi. i . what we ,ea/J}'
want. Thi. i. the point .nd purpose oIlile,
It i. easy t o tell when we'", mi ing the point and need to ch.nge
pe"pective, When we become 110 engro.sed in the dram .. of the iiIe
dream that wc lorget we want to love living right now, we're missing
the point. When we're so .ure wc know what'.goingon tMt we don't
notice the mystery 01 existence, we're missing the point , When we're
.0 numb we don' t not ice t he mirocle 01 the moment, we're missing
the point. A <onclu.ive . ign i. when wc begin t o lose our .ense of hu_
mour, When this happens we've definitely fallen aoleep at the wheel
and gone off the road'
We mi the poi nt when we are so 10" in the it_pe"pective of our
lile.person. that we are unconscious of the I_pcrspective 01 our essen_
t i.1 nature. Lucid living is being conscious of both , So to wake up 3Ild
Ii,'e lucidly wc simply have to .Iso adopt the I_perspective, by con_
.ciou.ly being .warene .. embracing.1l that i. right now, And when
we do t his we find ounelve. in love with the moment, which is the
whole point of living,
Witnessing
Be .wareness witnessing your expericnce of .ppearing to be a person
right now. Thi. doe'n't me"" not t hinking about thc past and future,
T HE WAY TO AWAUN
'"
It mean. simply observing what ever thoughts and .enoat iom h.ppen
to he occurring in this moment. Witne .. ing i,n't thinlting 01 youroell
as a detached little m.n watching t he world lrom imide your head,
Quite the opposite. It i. 'disengaging' from }'our apparent nature a
body, .. Plotinuo pu .. it , and recognizing th .. you aTe the .pacious
emptine .. of .warene .. within which the life _dream is arising. Wit _
ne .. ing is tranocending your separat e ",II by heing .warene .. which
contains the world.
Witnessing i. the simplest poss ible perspective on the reality of
this pre.ent moment, It i. heing conscious 01 the prim.1 polarity of
eX!",ricncer and ox!",riences_ It i. being awarene observing the lile _
dream unfolding .. . metamOJphosing onene", It i. passively watch_
ing everything .pontaneously happen, Try it lor your",U right now,
Be . p.ciou warene .. witnt'ssing the experience 01 appearing to be a
person reading the.e word._
T his state 01 witnessing i . not gno.is . It i. prepa .. tion IOJ gnosis ,
Gno. i. is knowing that you .. e one with alL T hi. i. possible once
you have reJuced thi s moment to the primal polarity 01 experiencer
and experience. , hecause then you c.n IOCe t hat .warene .. is one with
what it is witne .. ing, There ore no ox!",rienc .. "'pMate from the ex_
periencer. As Meister Eckhart t eaches, ' The seer and t he seen are
one', You ure all you experience_ You are one with everyone ""d
every thing_
Oneness
To .waken to onene .. you need to let go 01 the idea 01 )'oursell as a
separ .. e, .utonomou. individu.1 with free wi lL Most people fi nd this
extremely difficult, so it may help to con.ider t he evidence. In what
way are } 'OU a 'free ' individu.l' Did you k to be bornl Did you
choo"" to be a man or. womanl Did you choose t o be. hum.n being
at all' Did you choo. e your paren .. or your nation.lity; Did you
choose to become. t eenager by .witching on the hormones that
would change your body and fuel your desire.r There are ten thou_
sand chemical proce.<c. th .. every cell in your body must perform
every second to keep you alive, but are you a chemist' Do you think
'"
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
that o ne day ""meone with a clipboanl wi ll sidle up to you and uk
when and how you would like to die' Of course not . Your death, like
your lite, wi ll just happen_
Thore i . o ne .. e. in your lite, however, where you do ""em to ~ v e
individual tree c hoice. You can choose how you act. But even here, i!
you eumine the evidence, you will.ee that t hings are not what they
.eem. An action i. volitional whcn you conscioudy intend to .ct. All
your volitional .ction. arise from your intention . And intention.
are thoughts. But do you choo.e what you think ' l/ you watch your
thoughts for a while you will soon see th .. you don't. Your thoughts
come and go of them.elves . You aren't in control of t hcm. Thi. be _
comes particularly ohviou. if you try to stop thi nking, because you
will find that you can't ! T houghts arise whcther you like it or not. So
if you're not the 'thinker' o! your thoughts, then you aren't the 'doer'
of your intentional .ctions either.
You are not a .eparate individ u.! with free will, because every_
thing is happening as an integral part of the ever_c hanging life_dream,
including 'your' though .. and action. Your though .. are coming and
going. but there i. no individual ' thinker'. Your eye. are passing
across thi s page right now, but there i . no individu.! 'doer' of this ac_
t ion. In reality there i. no "'p .. a t e 'you' t o be free or otherwise.
T here is only the life_dre.me r dream ing t he life_dream . All 'your' in_
d ividual act ions a re actually the act ions of the li !e-dreamer or God or
Christ or whatever name we use to repre.ent the source of all . Thi. i.
why Paul ded .... :
The life I now live i. not my life, but t he life which the Christ lives
In me.
And why Abd a I_Kader t e.che.:
The myst ic> are not themselves but e, ;'t in God_ Their action. are
God' ..:tion . Their word .,e God'. word. uttered by their tongues.
Their sight;' God seemg through their eye .
When you dream a t night your dre.m_persona appea ... to be an indi _
vidual who chooses to do this and not that . But if you were t o dream
T HE WAY TO AWAUN
lucidly you would re. li.., that reall y }'OU are the dreamer who i.
the uncomciou. source of evorything that happens in the In
the .. me way, lucid l iving is recogni.ing that your e.oential nat ure
is the source of evorything that happen. in the life_dream. A ware _
ness you are pa .. ive!y 'doing' everyt hing,
The Importance of Choice
When people first corne acro .. the ide. that .11 i. happening as one,
including their thoughts and act ion., t hey sometime. find it deeply
offensive, because it seem. to deny their ability t o choose how t hcy
act, which i. one of the defining of our humanity. In
spiritual circle. thi. re. iotance i. often condemned ignorance ari . _
ing from ident ification with the ego, but .ctually it is a sign of in""te
wi . dom. Because lucid living i. not iust being awareness witnessing
the metamorphosing oneness, It is also recognising t hc importance
of appearing to be pe"on who can choose thi s not that.
Right now you c.n choose to carryon reading, or te., this page to
shreds, or throw t he book at someone. A. individuals within the 1iI. _
dream our experience of choice i. a fact that c. n't be denied. IndeeJ,
we rarely the overwhelming ext ent of the choices avail _
to u. in every moment. 8m when we do it is utterly exhilarat
ing' So what i . this expericnce of choice and are we right t o value it
so highly!
h eryt hing is arising .ponuneously, li ke a dream, from uncon_
SCIOU. aw.rene .. , But awareness become. conscious of the life
dream t hrough u. a. individuals. And when .warenes. i. conscious
of somet hing through an it h.s the opportunity to con_
.ciously decide how t o react , Thi . i. the experience we call 'choice',
T hrough you as an individual t he become. conscious of
the intention to oct before the . ction itself happem .nd can, t here
fore, choose to dct or from act ing.
A. an individual }'OU an integr.1 part of the life_dream, not
separate autonomous .gent. It i. not t he individual ' you' t hat
ch"""". what you do. It i. the life _dreamer conscious t hrough your
life_person. which make 11 'your' decision>. Thi. doesn' t devalue
your H perience of choice. Quite the opposite, It make. it even more
'"
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
important. The intuition that the experience 0/ choice i. 01 irnmeme
importance i. right, bec'U5e it i. through your individu.llile_peroona
that the life_dreamer c.n consciou.ly .hape thc life_dre.m, by ch"", _
ing to make things better. The more conscious you become a. an in_
dividual, the more choice. the life_dreamer has through you.
It i. incre.singly foshionable t o believe that we 'create our own
real ity' . nd in . way t hi s i. true. A. the li fe _dre.mer we .. e creat ing
all 01 reality. But we .. e not Joing this consciously a. individu.l
per'Sonas in the life_dream. W.king up i s the recognit ion that in_
dividuals we are not really doing anything. We are part of what i.
happening. However, there i. still a sensc in which we .. e .ll co_
cre.ting real ity.s individu.ls, became as we become more conscious
the life _dreamer i. able t o make better choices t hrough us and that
change. reality. Lucid living i . both being the lile_dreamer uncon-
sciously dreaming the. l ile_dre.m dnd appearing to be a person play_
ing our part in consciously co_creating reality.
Transcendence and Transformation
The lile_dreamer progressively w.k .. up by becoming more conscious
through each one of u n individua L Whilst we are relatively un_
comciou. individu.l. we are so embroiled with the dram oj the
lifedream that it i. hard to w.ke up. And if we do manage to wake up
for. whi le, we fall asleep .gain very quickly. To deepen .nd .ust.in
the .wakened state we need to become more consciou. , so thot we
can tran.form those aspects 01 our .pparent nature which trap u.
in . eparateness. Then we will be able to transcend our per",,".l
self more easily and become comcioU! 0/ our .. sential nature. The
process of a w.kening often begins with yea" 0/ personal tramform._
tion, before someone i . ready to cven understand what it really
mean. to wake up to our .bared essenti.] nature.
Personal tran.format ion .nd impersonal wit nessing are two com_
plemenury pects of the w.y to awaken, which t he Pagan Gnostics
c.ll the active liIe and the contemplat ive li]e, and Paul c. lI. the psy-
chic . nd pneumatic initi.tion . Many opiritu. ] traditiom, however,
emph.,is< only one 0/ those two a.pects of the iourney of aw.kening.
For those who practise only witnessing oneness, perllOn.1 transfor
T HE WAY TO AWAUN
'"
mation "'ems a . hallow di. traction. And on its own it i . Constantl y
struggling to make oneself a better person can belike rearranging the
furniture in a prison cell. !t i. ea.y to get .0 caught up in wrestling
with our neuroses that we Jon't recogni.e that every moment i. an
opportunity to let go of the pa .. and wake up now.
For those who practi"" only personal tran.formation, witnes.ing
onene ... cem. abstract and impersonal. And on its own it i . The
teaching that our e.",ntial nat ure i . the life_dreamer or God is con
demned as dangerous because it can lead t o inllation. And this i.
right. If someone believe. their personal ,,, If i. God, this is gross in_
flation and t he opposite of awakening.
But we don't have to get caught in thi s either/or dichotomy. We
need to both transform and transcend. T he process of waking up re _
quire. us to embrace all the different polarities inherent in the l ile _
dream. There is a time to empha.ise perllOnal tran,formation and a
t ime to concentrate on witnessing. There i t ime t o push and. time
to be passive . A t ime to be disciplined .nd a time to play. A time to
give to others and a time to care for ourselves. How do we get the
both/and balanee right r !t'. like learning t o ride. bike. T he b.lanee i.
not something you find onee .nd for all, it i. something you h.ve to
find in e.ch moment as the road you'", tr.velling change . You know
you've got it right when you don't f.ll off '
Personal Transformation
How do we transform our person.l n"ure so that we c.n more
e.sily w.ke up t o our e.sential naturel T he Pagan Gnostic. c.lled
the process of person.l transformation cmharmOf, meaning 'purifica_
tion', bec.use it is a process 0/ purifying ourselves of those chorac _
ter tr. i .. which keep us an unconsciou., isolated, se llish individual.
It i. examining our '.h.Jow' , or 'bad' , ,ide. The Pagan philosopher
Epictetus advioes;
Do you want to be goodl Then first understand tft.t you'", bad. The
beginning 01 philosophy i. making oonscious your own weakn ... and
faili ngs.
'"
THE LAUGHISG lEW.
Personal transformat ion is the proce of becoming conscious of the
bod habits t hat keel' u sleep and replacing t hem wit h good h.bi ..
th.t holp u. w.ke up. Wo need to not ice when we h.bitually act self_
i.hly .nd rout inely go numh. It is oa.y to go unconscious and iu" roll
on .utom .. ic in tho same familiar ruts. The only way we can escape
our unconsciou' patterm of thought and behaviour i. by recogni. ing
thesc pattcrns and choo, ing to change them. The Gospel of Philip
explains:
A. long os the ro.ot of ovi l is hidden, it i. strong. But if it becomes
known it di,solves. If you ignore it, it take. root in you and bring.
forth its fruit in tho heart, It tak .. you captive .., that you 00 the
thing. you don't want to 00 and don't do the things you want to do. It
exerts this power be<.use you havon't recogni...! it.
Personal transformation requires us to be honest with ourselves
about our fault . and foihle . lIut we don't need to get bogged down in
guilt and self_recrimination, A. Homer Simpson wi . ely puts it:
'Don't keep hlaming yourself. Just hl.me yourself once and move on' ,
Temporary .hamo can tr.nslorm u. into i><"er, more conscious,
hum.n beings, lIut lingering guilt iu" cripples us and .aps our conh
dence in our ability to evolve.
We need to tr.nsform our negat ive person.1 characteristic. into
positive .. tributes, r.othcr th.n cradic .. o them. When we identify
with the .epar .. e ,,,,If we distort whO! are .ctu.lly qualities into
foihles. An assertive person becomes dornin.nt. A humhle person he_
comes .ub.ervient. A conhdent person i><come ... tog.nt . A brave
I"'",on become. aggre .. ive. An inspiring pe,-,;on i><comoo manipul._
t ive. lIut , a. we tramform ourselves from an isolated se lf into an in_
tegrated .elf, our foibles become our qu.lities. Then, . s the American
.piritu. 1 te.cher Ram Da quips, ' our neur"",. become our slyle'!
Chock it out for you",el!. Examine your per",n.lit}, and become
aware of a foible you would like to tr.nsform, Then ask yourself,
'What i. the qu.lit y th.t i. being di"orted here' How can I transform
this we.kness into . strengt h? ' Your foible. are part of what make.
you a particular individual and it will probahly uke per.everance to
change them into your style, "" don' t become disheartened if you
THE WAY TO AWAUN
find yourself constantly getting c.ught up in the same old neuroses,
It'. fike t hat for all 01 uo, It'. t he human predicament. And don' t be
s urprised if overcoming one problem creat", anot her. Li le i o . iour-
ney of transforming problems into other problem . Tfiat'. how thing.
evolve.
Being Love and Loving Being
In The Gospel of Matthew Jesu. replace. the endle .. religiouo law.
and regulation. of Jcwi . h Literali.m with iust two .imple command_
ments, and even t hen he remarks that ' the .econd is much like the
first ' , The fir" commandment i. to 'love God with all }'our heatt ',
The second comm.ndment i. to 'love others.s your se ll'. Th",e two
commandments succinctly capt ure the two a.pects of the Gnostic
way of aw.koning, We need to become one in love with our .hared
e ..,ntial nature which is the source 01 aiL And we need to transform
our apparent nature into a comcious and compassionate individual,
who recogni", . that everyone i. an expression of t he onene .. 01
awarene .. , "" that we, quite literally, love others a. our se ll.
Lucid living is unconditionally loving everyone and everyt hing,
Do }'OU love unconditionallyl T.ke look at the opt ion. below and
see which be" reneet your own attitude:
[love li fe when I like what i. happening.
I love li fe a. it i nd try to change t hings for t hc better.
I love othcrs if they are loveahle.
[love others regardl ess which may help them become more
love.ble.
[will love my.elf when I become a better person.
I love myself anyway and t hi . might m.ke me a better
person_
Most of us love condit ionally. How can we learn to love uncondition_
allyl In the .. me way th .. we learn to do an},thing,. by practising,
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
People inve .. huge 01 their liletime learning to do.ll !JOlts
01 wonderlul things, . uch a.playing. music.l imtrument, becoming
adept at port and m."ering a prole ion. 11 we rt'Cognise thot what
we really want is to love, then we will invest even more 01 our
able .ttention in le.ming to love. Let'. do it '
LOving Thi, !v\omenl
Experiment with loving thi. moment right now. Approc;"te what a
mirade lile i . Recognise how extraordinary it is to be alive in this
wonderful world. Love the lact that you exist. Tho word present i.
used to signily both 'now' ""d gilt'. Become conscioU! 01 wh.t a
precious gilt the pre. ent i . You've got one ch.nce t o appreciat e t he
unique qualities 01 each moment 01 your lile .nd then it i. gone.
It i. only possible to unconditionally love each moment il you ac_
copt that there will .lw.y. be thing. you like and di.like .bout every
. ituation. 11 there i. anything about this moment you find unaccept_
able, .ccopt your lac k 01 accept3Jlce love t he moment anyw.y.
Find the good in what appears bad. This is easy because t he lact that
this moment exi ... at all i b",lutcly good. What you experience i.
good and bad, but that you are ex!,,-'riencing anything at a t! i. uncon_
dition.lly good.
Loving life is like a romantic rcl .. ion.hip. When we Ii", 1.11 in
love with somoone, our beloved i n enigmat ic source 01 delightlul
.urprise. and the relationsh ip i. lull 01 m.gic. But over time we I",.
sight 01 the mystoriou. being we let! in love wi th and start relat ing to
a fixed ide. 01 who our belovN i . And what happens' We loll out 01
love. The magic stops. The good leeling g""' . It i. the .. me with lile.
When we think we know what lile is, it goes de.don us. We ",01' lov_
ing life .nd se"l. lor getting on with it. The way to prevent lile be _
coming mundane i. to remember whot a mystery t he moment is.
Thi. wit! keep your love allair with lile alive.
T HE WAY TO AWAUN 179
LOving a Friend
Now e><p<riment with loving others. The ""oret to loving others i. to
change the w.y you .ee yourself, becau.e what you experience your_
. elf to be you also experience others to be. If yuu see yourself a. an
isolated selii.h individual you will see others as illOlate<! selfi.h indi_
vidual., and then you will find them extremely difficult to love. But
if you soe yourself a. the life dre.mer appearing a. a p.rticul .. per
son, )'OU will also see others expressions of our .hared e.oenti.J na_
ture and come into love with them. And the more you recognise you
are everyone, the more you will try to sec thingo Jrom everyone'.
point of view. The more you will feel that deep sen", of communion
we physically embody when we ernbr."" one another.
Socrate. sugge.ts that the way to learn t o love is to start by loving
tho"" we are clo,"" to and then expand thi s t o loving .ll. Bring to
mind ""moone you find easy to love. Explore the feeling> and
thought. which arise with thi.love. See how their ioy is your joy and
their angui. h i . your angui.h, because you are so dose you intui_
tively see through the veil of ,eparatene ... Now ask yourself, ' I. this
love condit ion.l or unconditional [' Whilst we are identified with the
sepa .. te self our love inevitably comes with strings attached, be
cau .. we .eek to ,erve the interest. of the i. olat ed individual we pre_
.ume ourselves to be. We claim to love someone, yet if they stop
loving us we .. op loving them. We think we are loyal, but if ""meone
i. not loyal to u. we are not loy.l to them. How would it feel to Jove
without condition.l
Loving a Sl ranger
Now bring to mind someone towards whom you feel indifferent and
al.o embrace t hem with love. You will not feel the me bonds of .t
.. chment that come with personal love, but hold them in univers.l
compa.,ion by rcc"!;nising that they .re al.o an expression of our
share<! e.",ntial ""ture. The fact that you re.Jly don't know this per_
son, or may not like them if you did, is irrelev.nt. Loving h nothing
to do with knowing someone or liking them. Love this stranger un_
THE LAuGHISG l EW.
condit ionally simply bec.use they exi" .s another penon in the
life_dream we are collectively dreaming.
LOving Your
If you ore o b }' with loving a stranger, t ry >omething more ambitious
and experiment with unconditionall y loving an 'enemy', a. Jesu.
encou .. ge. us to do in this glorious pa .. age from The Gospel of
Matthew:
You have he.ru tho sa)'ing ' You .h..ll Jove your neighbour and h..te
your enemy'. But I .. y to you, love your enemies and pIay for t ho""
who I"'.-.ecute you. Then you will be<ome children of yow Father in
Heaven. for he make. the .un shine on the evil and t he good alike.
And send. the rain> to unjmt men as well just men.
You have heard t he .. 'An eye for.n eye . nd a tooth for . tooth' .
But I y to you, don't resist evil with evil, If somoone .trike. )'ou on
your right cheek, turn the other one to him a. well . And if .om"""e
w.nts to .ue you for your c""n, let him .Iso h..ve your clNk, And if
oomeone f",ee. you to w.lk. mile wit h him, w.lk with him for two
mil ... And ignore ",moone who w.nts to borro ... from you, but
if YOUOle .,ked for somethmg it '''''1',
With t his uncondition.1 genero.ity of 'pirit, bring to mind someone
you lind difficult to love and hold t hem in comp . .. ionte awareness,
See beyond their unlikeahle I"'",onality to their essential nat ure
which i. indivi.ible from your own. Recognise that they have a lile _
story which h.s led them to be the way they are. See them a. 1"''' 0/
'us' so tr.pped in separateness that t hey are eal"'ble of acting in w.y.
you lind offen.ive, Realise thot if they could aw.ken they would in
.. antly be transformed. Reach out with understandi ng and forgive_
ne .. , bec.use those who are so lost they cause othe .. to . uffer are
th""" who are most in need 0/ love.
THE WAY TO AWAUN
'"'
Laving Your,elf
If you can love your enemies, although you don' t like them, you may
even be able to love those as!"'cts 0/ yoursell you don't like, For
many o( us thi s i. the moot diHicuh challenge_ We.re so .., 1I-<:ritic.1
we cripple ourselves with seU_IO<i t hing, which act ually make. it
harder to change. Try a diHorent approach. Be patient and
wit h your..,l!. Accept that you .. 0 .omet imes lost in .eparotene .. ,
We're all w.king up, which means we're . 11 asleop to diHerent de_
grees . It 's not easy being. ""non_ Cut yoursell some . lack' Love
yourse U .nyway.
Genuine .ell_lovo i. possible only through soli_knowledge. If you
become conscious o( your essential nature you will be ablo to uncon_
ditionally love your apparent nature, with all its (aults and (oible.,
Try it out, Transcend }'our ""rsonal ""ture altogether .nd hold both
tho good and the bad ""cn 0/ yourseU within corn"" .. ion;ne
awareness_
Your ""rsonal sell is like an i mmaturo chi ld, Surnetimes ",Ui sh
and prone to "ntTUm., wanting what it can' t h.ve .nd wh .. isn't
good (or it anyw.y, ea.il}' I"'t and quick t o complain. And yet , ex_
qui.itely be. utilul, neverthele .. , Lovingly ""rent your""U. s..d ""r_
ents comund y criticise .ndlove conditiort<illy, Good parents critici,e
when ncce"ary. but always love unconditionally whatever tho chi ld
may.ay or do. Lovo }'oursoH unconditionally, T his is not an indul _
gence. It i. t he ground (rom which you can com"" .. ionat ely critici.e
tho"" part. o( your",U that need to change,
living in Love
When we to oneness and big lovo we natur.lly ex_
pre .. thi' love in our live . We (eel motivated to do all we c. n to re _
lieve our collective . uUering and lurther our communal woll_being,
Mohand .. Gandhi put it beautifully when he wrote;
When, 1"""'" 10..;,. himself into God, he immed ... ely find.. himself
in the se",ice 0(.11 'hat lives . It berome. hi . ddight and rec",at ion.
H. " a n<w person nVOf weary in the ""rv,c< of God', creat ion.
'"
THE LAuGHISG I ESO.
How we .lfeet othe" depends on whether we are relatively more
ul""p or more awake t han t ho.e .round us. What we really have to
give e.ch oth,'r i. our state of being. What we .ay and do is secondary.
We change othe .. inadvertently all the time iu" by being dilferent
lrom them. When t hot difference i. that we love unconditionally, we
c.n be the catalyst for others to awaken. When we love we can be of
genuine help to others, bec.u"" what everyone re.lly wants ""d
need. i . love, whether they know it or not. We can't make J><-'OJl le ac_
cept our love. That i. not up to us. But if we stay loving despite rejec_
tion, they h.ve the chance t o enter into love with u hould t hey
wi.h to uke it. How would your life change if you decided to live in
love with.1I!
The Game of Life
When we are born we don' t come with an instruction manual,'o we
don't know the purpo. e of life. The pur!"",e would . ""m to be to
work out the purpose' As children it become. obvious that the point
i. to enjo}' oursel ve nd love living. But a. we become adul .. we re_
alise this i.n't easy, because some .. peets of life aren't very enjoy_
able. We then "art living our lives a. if the purpose i. to change our
.ituation so that it become. more enjoy.ble. But we end up.o caught
up in trying to improve our lile t hat we forget to appreciat e it as it is.
So who'. rightl Kid. or .dult.? T hey're both right. The purpose i.
both to appreciat e and to improve.
Life i. like a game. When we pl.y a game we h.ve t wo dilferent
but complementary goal . The real reason we play i. to have fun. But
wit hin the game we .re presented with. p.rticul .. gO<iI which we
must seek to fuJiil, and a failure t o engage seriou.ly enough with
this goal can undermine the enjoyment of playing. The process 01 the
game involves overcoming the ob.tade. that prevent us achie,-ing
this go.1. Whilst our .ucce.se. and I.ilure. may temporarily affect
how much we enjoy the game, we c.n still enjoy ploying, even when
the g.me i. not going our w.y. Bec.use if the g.me wu .Iw.yo e y
there would be no game.
The game of lile aho h two complementary gu.I . The primary
pur!"",e i. to enjoy playing. We are the lile_dre.mer dreaming t he
T HE WAY TO AWAUN
lile_dream t o enjoy t he cxp<rience, which we can do by to
onene.s .nd big love. But a. ' p<rson within the lilo_drea m tho go.al is
to overcome tho obstacle. which prevent u. enjoying l ile, by
ing .uHering, our own and others, "" we can collect ively love
living. Bec.use lile i game we only win together.
Lile i . a game 01 .wakening tho we win i. remarkably
.imple. Wo livo our ordinary lile, iust a. we have .Iw.p done, but we
choo"" to live consciously. Wo recognize thot even tho most seem
ingly trivial evento aro opportunities to enjoy the moment and love
othe ... We the stranger who ""rve. u t the local .hop with
big love, we no longer ooe them a. iu", a c.,hier, we know
they are the rnptery manifest. And when we love others
we m.y help them wake up and become more loving. In thi . way we
c.n .end out ripples 0/ kindness wherever we go.
We wake up by . ppro<>ching our everyday exi"ence an ongoing
.piritu. 1 practise. Not in ""me overly serio us way, but like a game
we enjoy playing. Yet it does . 1110 h.ve eriou. a.pect . Lile will
preoent U5 wi th tho challenge. we need to become more
comciom, >orne 0/ which can be hard t o lace, .nd the be" way to
avoid being pushed i . t o keep moving.
We tend to think t hat it i. when we leel b.d that we need to wake
up whon we lecl good everything i. lino it i . But actually it is
ohen when we enjoying lifo that we become most unconsciou .
When lile i. bad wo arc irnp<lled to do something about it and we
m.y take a step lorward on our journey 01 .wakening. But when we
feel good it i. tempting to .ett le into a comlortable unconsciousne,..
We need to pay to waking up all 01 the time, not iust when
we.re pu.hed into it because we lecl bad.
Once we understand that the game ollile is about waking up and
that what we really want is to love thi. moment, we will cease cli._
tracting ourselves with the relentle.s quest lor transitory sati.fac_
tion, through m. terial po.5.e .. ions, acquiring lKlCi.1
stat us and attaining p<rsonal power. We will stop numbing tho pain
01 soparatene.s with TV and trivia. Instead we will give our precious
attention to the proce .. 01 awakening. We will stop ..,., ing lucid liv_
ing.s an attractive idea .nd m;oke it a ,,'ality. We will stop procruti .
nating .nd go lor it.
'"
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
Mo", of us choose to be . sleep, but if you want to wa ke up you
c.n. Yet i. po ibility, not an impe .. tive. It is not some
thing you have been commanded to do by some outside authority
that you must obey, !t i. something you can do if you want. It's up to
you, And the secret of waking up is simp!e, !I you want to wake up
more than you don' t t o w.ke up, you will wake up,
Your life i. an opportunity t o become a unique individual con_
sciously p.rticipat ing in ",,_creating t hi m. zing dream we call
' life', It's not easy being you, but no one could do it better. What
would happen if you stopped holding back and the potenti.l
of the particular person you happen t o be! &cause for us to fulfi l the
fundamontallife_impul.e by collect ively ow.koning t o our . hared ""_
. ential nature, repreoented mythologically by the coming of t he
Christ, each one of u. need. to wake up and make our disti nctive
contribmion to the evolving li fe _dre. m. The Jewish myst ic Rabbi
Nachman of urge.:
herr one . hould know and remember t hat his .... e i. unique in t he
world, and tb.t no one ever h,-ed who .. e ... cd y the .ame a. he, fOf
h.d there ever be<n . nyone t he .. me he, there would have been no
n""d for him to b.ve .. i"ed. In realit y each pe""n i. a new t hing in
the world, and he . hould make hi. individualit y romplet e, for t he
coming of the Me"i.h is delayed through it not being complete.
Shortly before he died the pla}' wrigilt George Bernard Shaw was
asked by. reporter, ' If you could live your life over .nd be any person
from history, who would you be" Shaw replied, ' J would choose to be
the man George Bernard Shaw could h. ve been, but never was' , What
would happen if you decided t o become the person you could be right
now and . ud. cioWlly play your role in the unfolding story of life!
Wouldn't i t be fun t o find out!
T HE WAY TO AWAUN
11
SPIRITUALITY WITHOUT RELIGION
"'l'I'el fo. "uthOli<y i< 'he ,nemyof truth.
_ AunT E'>!H""
We live in extraordinary time . Tho West i . pre,ently experiencing
a n unpara lleled Gnostic renaissance. There h never been .uch fre._
dom of t hought .nd expre .. ion. In recent years t his has 100 to an ex_
plosion of . ltcrn .. ive forms of spirituali ty. Ma ny 0/ these new form.
of spirituality are !t ill Literalist in different w.y . Sometimes we
Mve merely replaced unsubstantia,cJ old .uperst it iom with equally
unsubstantiated new . u p.r>'itions. But this .hould not blind u. to
tho genuine .wake ning which is pre .. ntly occurring. Religion i . in
decline, but s pirituality i. thriving. The recent growth of conoerv. _
tive Fundamenta lism i. morely 3 des"",. ,. react ion to the pre""nce
in the muketplacc of "" many new competing brand. of .pirit uality,
which h .. deotroyod the monopoly of tho old religious cult..
Slowly but surely we throwing off the dead weight 0/ Literal_
ism and freeing spirit uality from the authoriurian struct ures which
have smothered it for centuries. Thi ' is giving birth to a new phe_
nomenon. Spiritualit y without religion. We .uggest thi. historically
unique development points the w.y forw.,d for .pirituality. To cre_
ate form of 'pirit""fit y which c.n re.lly help us to collectively
aw.ken in the twenty. first century we need to free Gno"ici.m from
religion altogether .nd .lign it with science. After the word scien-
tist i. just t he Latin version of the Greek word 'Gnost ic ', both 0/
which mean knower'.
Since we have stopped bfindly believing what was written in dubi_
ous old religion> books and .dopted the scientific ,ppTO<ich of paying
close attention to our .ct ual experience of the world, our undewand_
ing of the human preJicament has increased increJibly. It has been
the great triumph. 0/ sci ence which have undermined our old reli_
giom certainti ... An alliance betw""n Gnostici,m and science would
create. formidable force for aw.kening . nd help u. finally ",;"ct
Literalist religion once and an. It can help u. conceive of a .ecular
form 0/ .pirituality which, like authentic ocience, i. both open_
minded and discriminating, wbicb ba.e. itself on our .ctu.l experi_
ence of life , not external authority, and which pre.ents
entirely natural.
What, then, would be the future for religion? Religion, like every_
thing in polarity, i. both good and bod. So we .imply need to keep the
good and disc.rd tbe bad. Religion many .uractive a.pects, such
a> its man}' beautiful rituah, wbicb it would be . great . hame t o lme
entirely. We .ugge" keeping religious tr. dit ion live . s a form of
cultural nostalgi., as we do folk mu. ic and traditional dress. Thi. is
already bappening with .uch Christmas, whicb i. enjoyed
by millions of non_believers. We c.n oho honour our cred scrip_
ture. for tbe role they have playeJ in human history, whilst . ho rec_
ogni'ing that they are ",chaic curi",itie. with limited relevance to
our modem world. There i. no re. son to abandon the po.itive "pects
of religion, because religion i. only. problem if it tr.ps u. in the past
and stop. u. evolving further.
SPIUTUU ITY WITHOUT UUGtON
Gnostic Science and Literalist Science
Science and Gnostici.m may .eem unli kely dllie., because science i.
commonly beheved t o be the opposite of Gnosticiorn. It i. a>sumc>d thlt
.cience propo..,. a Materialist philosophy, which teaches t hat matter
i. all that eKi .... But nothing could be further from the truth. None 0/
the great physici". wlio have .haped our modern lICientific understand_
ing of the world_.uch a. Newton, Einstein, Heisenberg, Sch.ooingcr,
De Brogl ie, lean. , Planck, Pauh and Eddington_were Materi. li st.,
Quite the oppo.ite. They were ..,If_profe .. ed mystic. or Gnost ic .
Scientific re.earch ha. found th .. it .imply doesn't work to con_
ceive 01 the universe a. a giant machine made of matter. On the con
trary, science has discovered that the be" way to understand t he
universe is giant thought ari'ing within awarene .. , Sir lame.
lean., who made imporunt contrihution. t o the dynamic. l t heory 0/
ga"", the mat hemat ic.l theory 0/ elect romagneti.m, t he evolution
of ga><-'Ous st ... , the nat ure 0/ the nebulae and 50 on, writes;
Today there i. a wide measure of agreement which, on the physical
" de of science approoche. almost to unmimity, t hat the ,neam of
knowledge;' heading toward.. a non_mechanical reaht y: the universe
begins to look more like great thought than like great machine.
Mind no longer appea .. a. m accidental intruder into the realm of
matter, we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as
the creator and g<lvemor of t he ",aIm of matter_not, of cour><, our in_
dividu.ol mind., but t he mind in which the .. om. out of whIch our
individu.ol mind. h,ve grown exist .. thoughts.
Sir Arthur Eddingt on, who made important contributions to the
theoretical phy.ics 01 stellar system. and was. leading ex]"ment 0/
relativity, announces :
The idea of . unive""l Mind or Logos would be, I t hink, a lairly plau-
. ible inf<rmce from the pre .. nt state of >cicntific theory.
l a"'''t that t he nature 01 .11 rulity i. spiritual, nO! mat"i.l nor a du_
ali. m 01 matter and 'pirit. The hypothesi. that its n>ture cm be, to
'"
THE LAuGHISG l EW.
any deg:r"", material do .. no' en'er into my reckoning, became a. we
now understand matter, 'he putting 'ogether oi the aJ",,'iv. 'm._
,erial ' . nd the noun ' na'ure' 00.-. no' make sen ...
The Nobel!'rize winner Erwin SchrOOinger, whose work became the
heart of modern qu.n,um mechanic. , cI.ims:
The overall number oi mind. " just one. I ,'en'ure to ""II it indestruc_
,ible since i, ha. a pe<uli., 'imNable, namely mrnd i. alway. now,
We do no, belong '0 'his material worlJ 'hat science con"'ucts for- u._
We are no' in rt, we are outside. We are only .pectato ... The reason
why we belie,'e ,ha, we are in rt, ,ha, we belong '0 ' he pictul<, i. ,hat
our bodies are in 'he pict ure_
The great scientist. reiec' Materialism because it is a flawed philoso-
phy_ It i. a ""ulle .. vi . ion of an outside with no in,ide, It just doesn',
m.ke sensc. 01 course, more exists than we can .ense .nd me ure,
Thi. ide. we are considering right now, for instance, has neither
weight nor place nor any tangible qual i'i"', A, Eddington quips:
If 'hose who hold ,ha, 'here must be a phy.ical IM,i. for e,'ery,hing
hold 'hat 'hese mystical view. ar" nonsen"" we may a.k: Wha" 'hen,
i. 'he phy.ical 1>..", 0/ no=nse'
Science describe. the world in term. of mathematic., bu, numbe ..
have no materi.l existence, Scient ific ' law.' are formul which, al _
'hough they inform physical reality, h.ve no phy. ical e1istence
,hemselves. You can search 'he phy.ical univer.., forever, bu, you
will never find a .ingle 'law of nature'. They are not things within
'he phy. ical world. They are the informat ion which .hape. the physi-
c.1 world.
The scien,ist Rupert Sheld .. ke h sugge"ed we stop 'hinking 0/
.cience os reveal ing the 'I.w. of nature', which i n an. logy ,.Ken
from the Christian ide. of a creator God who decree. 'he law. which
govern 'he universe, We .hould think instead 0/ sc ience as revealing
'he ' h. bits of na' ure', When we discover the ", -c. lied 'law. of na'ure'
sprurUU ITY wITHOUT UUGrON
which underlie physical re.lity, we are exploring the primal h ~ b i t s 0/
awareness which define the noture of the lifedream.
Mat erialist. claim that, because m.tter i 11 that exist., con_
.ciousness i. a .ort of side elfect of the brain, But the fact is, even
if someone know. what every neuron in your brain i. doing, t hat
won' t give them acce .. to a single one of your t houghts. Thi s i. be _
c.use t houghts don't exist in the world, They are not things, T hey
are not made of ,rumer. This leaves Materi.list. wit h a lundamenul
duality between mind and matter they can neither explain nor avoid,
And this completely undermines t heir d.im t hat matter is all t hat
exi .. s.
Gnostici.m, however, i. able to ",.olve t he duality of mind and
matter vel}' ... i ly. II we take awareness, rather tMn matter, t he
ground 01 ",.Ii t y, evel},thing exist. as an experience wi thin .ware_
ne ... Some 01 our oxperience. are private thoughts and feeling., Oth_
ers are , en.u.1 experiences of our . hared world. There i. fundamental
polarity here, but like all polarities it is.n expression of an underly_
ing unity. Our mental and ..,nsual experienc", .re qualitatively dif_
ferent, but t hey are bot h experiencs which exist in awarenes . And
owarene .. i, only conceptually different from what it is . ware of, so
this polarity also resolves to . n e"ential unity.
Science i . commonly u.umed to give us a down_to _earth un_
derstanding of t he world. But ocience h ct ually undermined our
common_sense view 0/ ",alit}" .nd replaced it with . n extremely
weird and wonderful .ccount of the univer ... Common sense tell.
us t hat t he things around us, such a. t his book you are holding. aTO
solid obioc ... Science h.s discovered tMt ' solid objects' are actually
mostly empty space and mysterious quantum J>oIrt icle . Idea. don't
come much str.nger than that '
Scientists and Gn"'tics both suggest that our common_sense idea.
are not adequate and .uggest radically dillerent way. of seeing things,
which at lirst seem extraordinarily bizarre, When Galileo suggested
that the Earth g"'" .round t he !Un it was ridiculed. Yet, although this
idea i. more difficult to underst and than the notion t hat the sun goes
around the Earth, it actually give. us a 'impler and more elegant un_
derstanding of the cosmos. [n t he .. me way, although the Gn"'tic
ideo t hat the world exist. in awarene" can be difficult to understand
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
and contrary to common sense, it actually give. u. a much . impler
and more elcgant understanding of re.lity.
The insighu of .cience harmonize with t he insighu of Gnosti _
cism. Gnostics soy that t ime and .p.ce are a so" of i llu.ion. Science
has found this to be t rue, because if we could move at the .peed of
light , these fundamenul dimension. would ce.", t o exist_ Just as
Gnost ics teach that from t he I_perspective of .warene .. there i. one_
ness and eternity, ,cience has found that from light'. point of view
there i. no space .nd no time. Physic. has wrestled with t he paradox
th.t light IKImerirnes appe' " to be m.de up of part iclc. and some _
t ime. to be. w.ve. Thi . i. compa .. blc to t he Gnostic observat ion
th.t from t hc it_perspective eoch individu.1 i. a discrete 'particle' of
consciousne.s, but from the I_perspective individu.I re like wave.
on one ocean of .warene,".
Sci ence and Gn0-5ticism are natural .l1ies. T hcy are commonly
misunderstood as encmi", becau,"" science has degenerated into liter_
alist ,cience, which preaches era .. Materiali .m_ Science h become
an authoritarian tr.dition, with i .. own dogm , high prie"s, career
"ructures and vestcd intcres ... Scientific l iterali"s, like religioWl lit _
eralists, claim their opinion. to be thc .bsolute Truth. But, .s we have
,een, the gre .. scientist, were not dogmatic Moten.Ii .... They were
not dogmatic at alL What made t hem able to change our undcrstand _
ing oi the world was t hat they were c.pable of questioning received
opinion .nd thinking in .. dically new w.p. A very Gnostic tr. it.
l iteralist . cienti . .. would have us believe that science has now
advanced so lor t h .. we've pretty much understood the cosmo . A
few more . dvanceo and all t he mysteries will be solved. For Gnostic
,cient ists this i imply crazy. Existence i n absolute mystery and
our scient ific underst . nding of it rem. in. primit ive. The Nobel Prize
winner Wolfgang He i><nberg. who wa founding lather of quantum
physic., writes:
I for one no longer undentand what we mean when we ... y we !t.ve
understood nat ure.
Nobel Prize winner Albert Einstein, perh.ps the most respected sci _
entific thinker of.11 t ime, concurs:
SPIUTUUITY WITHOUT UUGtON
'"
The human mind i. not "",hie 01 gn.pmg t he unive"". We .,e like
htt le chIld entering a huge lihrary. The wall .,e covered to t he ceil_
ing> with hooks In mmy diiierent tongue . The child know. that
5Omeone must h.ve written these hook . It does not know who Of
how. It doe. not undersund the langtUge. in whicb t hey.re written.
But tbe cbild note. 1 delinite plan in the . ... ngement 01 the hooks.
A mysterious order which it doe. not comprehend, but only di mly
.uspects,
T he w.y forward, we want to suggest, i. to follow tbe example of tbe
gleat sc ient is". by rejecti ng religious and scientific Liter.lism, ""d
embracing Gnostic spirituality and aut hent ic lICience, which comple.
ment e ~ c h other perfect ly. Science require. 0 rigorous examin. tion 0/
our , harN ohjective experience in t ime, Gnost icism requ ires a rigor_
ou. exam ination of our . ubjective experience 01 t he present moment.
Science i. the investigation of reality from t he it_perspective. Gn""t i _
ci.m is t he exploration 0/ realit y from the I_perspective. Science i.
the study of thc nat ure 01 the life dream. Gnoot ici.m is the art 0/
waking up.
According to Einstein ocience .hould be moti v .. ed by the "ate 0/
aw.kening he ca ll. ' the cosmic religiou. leoling':
The most impor .. nt lunction 01 ",ienee i. to .waken t he cosmic reli_
gious loeling .nd keep it di ve . It i. ,-ery diiiicult to explain t his leeling
to anyone who i. ent irely without it . The individillll fuels t he not hing_
n",. of hum.n desire. and .im., and t he .ublimlty .nd marvelous
order whIch re,-eal t hemselves both in nat ure and in the world of
thought. Ho look. upon individual eXIStence a 110ft of prillOn and
wan" to experience t he universe as a .ingle . ignifi cant whole.
I mainum that the co>mic religious feeling i. the stro"&,,,t and no-
blest ""'t ive fm scient ific ",arch, A contemporary h . ... id, not un_
justly, that in t his materi.li stic . ge of ours the ""ioill lICientific
worke .. are the only profoundly religious people.
T he Nobel Prize winner Wolfgang Pauli, a physicist whose brilliance
exceeded even that 01 Einstein ... , en.:
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THE LAUGHISG lEW.
I con.ider the ambition 01 overcoming opposite" includmg at.., a 'yn_
thesis embracing both ration.l unde .... nding and the my"ic. 1 eX!",ri_
ence of unity, to be the myth"" 'poken or umpoken 01 our present d.:iy
and .ge.
Certainty Divides Us and Doubt Unites Us
To create a ,""cular .pirituality for the twenty_Ii", century we need
to adopt the hasic premise of authentic science, that all our theories
about lifc are h}')ot hese., not facts. T here i. no ab..,lute conceptual
knowledge. There are just storie. we tell to make .en,e of our expe
rience and no story i, expan.ive enough to capture the limide ..
grandeur of exist ence.
Thi. doe. not me.n we need toadopt the 'relat ivist' theory that all
storie. are equ.L lust becau. e all de.cript ion, of reality .. e inade_
quote doe.n' t make them all equally in.dequate. Some storie. are
clearly be"eT than othen. To y you are present ly reading a book
doe,n't begin to capture the whole truth of this moment, which i.
infinitely rich and 110 ult imately indescribable. Yet to . ay you are
reading a book is clearly more true th.n t o s.y you are e. ting an
elephant . None of t hc storie. we tell t o help u. navigate life aTe the
Truth, but IIOme come clo,er to being true storie. than others.
If we recognise this we can . 11 at least agrec about one thing. Life
i. a mystery and our understanding of it is ncce ... ri ly always provi_
,ional and parti.]. Nothing i. cert.in. Everyone i. giving it their best
gue ... If we acknowlcdge t his, then we c.n play with ide .. , not light
about thcm. We can . hare our in.ights and intuitions with each ot her
to IOCe which stand up to scrutiny, look prettiest .nd work best, from
a st .rting point of univCful "8""'ment.
T he Gnostic story i. just one possible story. But, unlike other sto_
rie., it doesn't cl.im to be the absolute Truth, bec.use it teache. that
Truth can't be captured by concep". Gn05ticism doe. claim, how_
ever, to rcvea lllOmething extremely important .bout reality ignored
by tho,e storie. which leave u. unconscious in the lifedream. It i. a
way of thinking which points beyond concept> to an experiential
knowing of our shared .. sential nature. But Gnost ic philosophy i.
SP'UTUUITY WITHoUT UUG'oN
stiU expre .. cJ in concepts .nd !O relTl<iim only an to articu_
late the art of awakening, not an ab..,lute dogma. From t he GnoMic
!",,,,,,,,ctive we need to engage in an ongoing quest to create new
ways of thinking which toveal more of to.lity.
We need narrative. to live by. Without them we would be like am_
ne.iac. or newborn chi ldren, un.ble to negotiate our lives_ Unfortu_
nately most 0/ u. are.., wrapP'-'d up in our stories we mistake them
for cert.in knowledge. We treat our stories, which arc at be.t rel. _
t ively true, as the ab.olute Truth. We arc so convinced we know.U
the an.wers, we don't notice the great ever_present question. As The
Go<pei of Philip cautions:
Concept> are very deptive beuuse they tum the he.rt .,ide from
the real t o the unreaL
When we s .. our idea . .. e ide.s, we c.n usc concept< to na,-igote our
lives as individuals wit hin the life _drc.m, whilst .imultaneously .1_
way. being conscious that life i. an absolut e mystery. Not a relative
mystery thot we could one day ..,lve, .uch as whether there i.life on
Mars, but a mystery by its very nature_ Our idea. may be relatively
better or worse, but the mystery rem.ins_1t i. when we forget the ab_
.olut e mystery of existence that we become 10" in our narrat ives
faU asleep in the life_dream_ It i. by seeing our ""rrat ive. for
what they arc and ".ying conscious of the mystery that we wake up.
Gno"ici.m encourages us to doubt the certainty
which keep. u. unconsciou. ly engros.ed in t he life_dream_ Lite .. list.
condemn doubt a. a great sin, but doubt i pre _requisit e for .waken_
ing. Lite .. list. long for constant confirmat ion of their preiudices, but
Gnostic. are adroit.t doubt. And if we embrace radical doubt we can
.U meet as equals before t he mystery of existence. !lec.use it is when
we are .ure we know what i. going on that we end up fighting over
our opinions. divide. us and doubt unite. u . IAlthough
we're not . ure about thatt,
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THE LAuGHISG lEW.
Free-thinking
Scienti"s have transformed our understanding of the world, becau,e
they d.red t o question the dogrn.s 01 religion and think in original
w. y . They u""d the power 01 ration.1 thought to expose the in. _
tion.lity of religiou. superstition, and to create better w.ys 01 under_
"anding reality. Twenty_first_century spirituality also needs to reiect
external .uthority and encourage rat ional lree _thinking, bee.use it i.
only by thinking lor ourselve. thot we become more conscious and
start to w.ke up.
It i , hanl to w.ke up because most people around u. arc asleep. We
are consuntl y subiected to the m.ss meJia, which proiecto a banal
view ollile, which keeps us lost in the life_dream. It i. astoni.hing
that, despite progr.mmes exploring everythi ng from interior de.ign
to ,erial killers, no one in the mcdia seem, t o ever mention the obvi _
uus and perturbing lact th.t life is a breathtaking mystery. It', a, il
we h. ve entereJ into a conspiracy 01 self_deception so that we .void
lacing how truly perplexing our predicament i , . The only way tu
wake up lrom t his collecti,-. com. i. to stop listening t o ot hers .nd
become independent h.., _thinkers_
Most 01 u. go along with the w.y 01 thinking th .. happen> to be in
vogue. And the joke is that we don' t notice t hat the point 01 view we
so proudly c.1l our own i s actually just an.d hoc asoortment of ,ec_
und_hand opinions, inculcated during growing up or .<!opted li ke the
latest fad to help us lit in with our social ,,_ To wake up wc need to
question our lIOCi.1 conditioning and tran.form ourselveslrom.n un _
conscious member of the hen! into a conscious individual.
In .piri tu. 1 circles today, however, it has become fa.hionable to
underv.lue t hinking_ A dichotomy i. ofton creat eJ between the he.d
and heart in which the he.d i, the bad guy who lead, us ."ray .nd
the he.rt i s the good guy who lead. u. b.ck home_ What is .ct ually
meant by the ' heart ' is u,ually left conveniontly v.gue, but the un _
de rlying assumption i. t hat f""li ng or intuition is good and thinking
or .. tion.lity is bad_
T hi. i , often justified with roierence t o the Gnostic te.ching that
the Truth cannot be expresseJ with word, or comprehendeJ by the
inte llect. Yet m<t Gnost ic, were actu.II}' rational phi lo>ophers who
SPIUTUU ITY wITHOUT UUGtON
crit ici..,d Literalist religion precisely bec.use it 01 i to irrationality,
Gnoot ics teach that gnosis i s not an intellectual opinion, it i. on ex_
perience of knowing directly in t he immediacy of the moment, but
this does not ",op them from val uing the intellect a. a wonderful tool
to help us translorm ourselve. and the world.
Religion h ... Iw.ys championed irrational 'faith' . Tertulhan 1. _
mously announced 0/ Chri"ianity 'It i. true bec.use it is ab,urd, I
believe it because it i. impossible', Do we ",ally want to tolerate this
. ort oj nonsense in the twenty_first century' When modern spiritual
tradi t ions reject ration.lity they are simply continuing a ru.e used
by ecclesiast ical authoritie, 1m centuries to persuade u. to blindly
believe, not consciously quest ion. Thi. i. not the way forward, Be _
c.u"" when we stop being rat ional we Jon't wake up, We just become
stupid_
Like everything in tho life_dre. m, thought h .. a good upect and
a bad aspect , Thinking i. iu", talking to our.., lves , Like all talk_
ing, sometime. this is iu" meaningless dri"d, but someti mes it can
help us wake up. Our ability t o t hink rat ionally i . a great ble" ing,
without which we would never become more conscious, because it
can expo.., tho crazine .. of our .. ,umpt ion. ahout life and open up
new, liberat ing po .. ibilities , Being rational i imply insist ing that
opinions be justified with valid reasons, It is being re onable_ R. _
t ionality i. our bullshit detector, which enable. u. to discriminate
unsubstantiated prejudice from genuine in.ight.
But being rational doesn't stop u. lrorn also being intuit ive. Intui_
t ion is our faculty to have profound realisat ion. we c.n't just ify with
reallOn., Intuit ion is knowing something i . right, but not knowing
why it i. right . It i. being conscious of the conclu. ion, but not of the
process that got u. there, Intuition. are me, . age. from our deep
unconscious self that burst through into consciousn." a. new .nd
st.rtling in.ights, Our intuition. are the cutting_edge of our under _
standing, which we are still in the process of making con.cious.
It is important , however, that we dist inguish genuine intuition.
from groundle ssumptions, cultural conditioning .nd wishful
thinking. The authenticity of "" intuition need, to be tested by mak_
ing conscious the reallOns it i, right through ration.l thought, Most
of the great . cienti . .. havo ,aid that t heir ground breaking in. ights
,.
THE LAuGHI S G l EW.
c.me in the form of intuition., which they later were able to justify
ration.lly.
The idea that we havo t o choose between either intuition or r .. io_
nality i purioU5, because they both play an important role in t he
proce of becoming. conscious individual. Einst ein, Otle of the great_
est int uitive. and r .. ional free _t hinkers of all time, .dvi,e., 'The im_
portant thing i. not to stop questioning' , becau,"" if we keep asking
penetrating questions, profound answers will emerge from the depth.
of our being in re.ponse.
The Big Boss
Science i rigorous study of our actual experience of living. Twenty_
first_cent ury scientific spirituality, likewi><, neNs t o teach thot the
only absolute .uthority i. our own actu.l experience. Thi. mean.
freeing ourselves from the supposed .uthority 0/ cred t exts, holy
prophets and even God. The Literalist God i. the ultimate extern.l
authorit y figure. He i. t he big bos. of the cosmos who toll. u. what
to do . nd puni.h .. u. il we fail. Thi. conception of God will never
help U5 w.ke up. If we .. e t o u.e the dangerous word 'God' at an, we
need to u'"" it, like the ancient Gnostics, t o signify t he oneness 0/
aw",ene .. within which the life_dream i ri.ing.
We need to reject Lite .. li" image. of God, which are. legacy from
our primitive past. Yahweh .nd Allah, for enmple, are just tr ib.l
deities whose function was to give. particular people .ome form 0/
.ocia l cohe.ion. We neN to follow the example of the early Chri._
ti.ns, who topl.ced the pompous monster Yahweh with t he Gnostic
conception of God a. the mysterious !Klurce of alL The Christian
Gnost ic Cerda to.cheo:
The God proclaimed by the law and the pr<l!'h<t. i. not t he God 01
Jesus Ch"'t . The God of the Old T .... ment i. known, but the God
0I1 .. u. Christ i. the Unknowahle.
Our tradition.l image. of God ato t ired and outd .. ed. He i . a great
king who demand, t o be worshipped. The ult imate ar istocrat who
sprUTUUITY wITHOUT UUGrON
'"
will . hower his favour arbitrarily on somt'One one d.y and order their
execution tho next, A held e Ion! who win listen to the praye .. 0/ his
favourites, by providing them with a parking space here and good
fuck in a sporting ovent there, whif .. compfetely ignoring the prayers
of those millions dying from AIDS or starvation . If ab""fute power
corrupts absofutely, it i. no wonder that t he Lite .. li .. God is a. cor_
rupt a. any feud.l Mron.
The Literal ist God i , an old_fa.hioned Victorian father who is
ready to punish hi. children brutally to discipline t hcm, He ex!"'cts
blind obedience and rarely offers explanations for his .eemingly arbi_
trary judgements . He like, rules and hate' free_thinking. He wants us
to shut up and do wo are t old. And our reward for compliance will
be enrollment in the aftcrli fe kindergarten of Hc",'en. Surely we have
now ldt behind ,uch infantile conception . Thc time has corne to
grow up.
Tho Literalist God is a big peTSOn with. whole load of opinions,
But his opinion. turn out t o be .uspiciously like the opinions of the
p.rt icular prophcts that reloy them to the rest of us, And each
prophet produces a different set of opinion. that purport to be divine,
Thi. h.s left uo .. guing endlessly over what God's opinions really
are. But there are some are.s of broad agreement, God i , a misogy_
nist. And he i.n't keen on .ex, Espoci . Hy not for pleasure, And defi_
nitely not between members of the .. me sex, bec.use that is
obviously iust for pleasure,
God h .. opinion. about everything. but they vary de!",nding upon
which Literali .. religion you subscribe to. Hc do<sn't like mcn trim_
ming the h.ir around their temple . Hc likes women t o cover thoir
heads or prderably t ho whole of their bodies . He like. big beards . He
doe,n't like pork or . hell/i.h. Hc like. fish on Friday. Do we really
want a God with such poculi .. fashion sonse .nd arbitrary die .. ry
preferences!
According to myth. such as Genesis. God i . the creator of the cos-
mos . Bm science has present N us with .Il the evidence we neN to
reject the ide. that God created t ho world in sevon days IIOme six
thousand years .go. Many people still cling to this . illy idea, but
their attempts t o explain .way the findings 0/ science are getting ever
more de'perate, I, it ... Ily credible that God dcliberately hid di_
no ur bones so that when we dug them up . nd concluded thot giant
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TH[ LAuGHISG I[W.
reptile. walked t he Earth million. of yea", .go, our blind faith in the
vorac ity of the Bible would ho put to tho tost? Such a God would ho
pathologically insane'
T ho cosmos is .imply t oo absurd to be a conscious pl.n of a wi.e
hoing, look ot how haphazard ito histol)' i. , How m.ny fa l.., .tart.
there have hoen in the creative proce.s. If t here is. creator God, he
clearly doesn't know what he i. doing. Yet the co.mo. i. aho too or_
dered and organi.ed not to ho ..,en .s ari sing from .ome form of intel
ligence, And the fact thot intelligence corne. out of the co,mos
prove. that intelligence mu" niSI implicitly within the source of
the co, mos. The Gnost ic conception of God as the life_dreamer
solves t he"" conundrums, The life_dream i. not some formulated
cOfl5ciou. plan , Tho life _dre.m i, arising from unconscious .ware_
nes., which i, becoming comciou, of ito nature through tho proce ..
of evolution,
T he ide. of an omnipot ent . nd omniscient God can ",em comlort _
ing, but it ', .ctually profoundly disturbing and creat e. m.ny cont ..
dictiom which have disturbed t heologians for centurie . The most
obvious i. the problem of evil. The Literali .. God is meant to ho both
all_good and all _powerful. But how c.n he be bot h? Either God i. all _
good .nd wants t o eliminat e evil but isn't powerful enough to do.."
or he i , all _powerful but choo.e. not to eliminat e evil, which make.
it hard t o ..,e him as good. How could . n omnipotent super_hoing
allow all the horrendous .uffering in t he world? Wh}' wouldn' t an all _
comp ... ionatc deity intervene to roseue us from t he horrors of t he
world' Lit erali .. theologians have come up with m.ny ingenious re _
'ponses, but all have fa iled hoeau.e t he problem is inherent in their
very concept of God.
T his i , not a problem, however, if wc adopt the Gnostic concept of
God as t he life_dre.mer who is hocoming conscious through creation,
Evil i. not something God consciomJy ercat .. , . howing himsel f not
to be good, Nor something he allows, .bowing himsdf to be c.llous,
Evi l is the inevitable price of t he polarity which is necessary for there
to be conscious experience ot alL God did not .How .uch .trocit ie.
as t he Holocaust, God is t he holocaust. T he vict im. ""d the perpetra _
tOr:>, There i. only God, The one awarene.s in the procoss of waking
up Jrom the nightmare of "'p .. atone .. to t he wonder of onene ...
The idea of God make> .ense only if we adopt the Gnost ic
SP'UTUUITY WITHOUT UUGtON
penpective and understand God repre..,nting our e .. n t i ~ 1 .hared
",uu..., . The 'I_in_.ll' i. a God we c.n ""ek to serve. Bec.us. when we
experience lucid living, we want this univenal 'I' to enjoy life in all
its manv forn" and wi[[ do all we can to allow this t o happen. We
become willing . ervan .. of God.
We are not .. ying we should never adopt. person.l image of God,
bt'c.U5e this c.n be. powerful way of re lating to our essent i.l nat ure
whilst we ore struggling to .waken lrom identilicat ion with the ""p' -
rate ",If. Although the Gnostic God represents our own essenti.l
nature, and you can' t get ""y do..,r than that , unti l we re.lly under_
"and what this mean., this impersonal conception 01 God c.n .eem
remote .nd ab.tract. As individu.l. within the lile_dream we are per_
sons, and the easiest w.y lor us to relate to the source 0/ all is to
imagine it a big person. Thi. allow, us to have a loving relation_
.hip wit h the life_dreamer the 'Beloved'. to use a Suli term, who i.
both the obiect of OUT devotion ""d our own true ,ell. A ,entiment
Rumi c.ptu ... succinctly when he write>:
J am lover of the unive .... l and the univ .... l lo,-er. I.m vou in love
with your>elf.
Rd .. ing t oour own personal God.s. friend, parent or lover c.n be a
wondcrlul and moving experience. Twentv_lin t_century .piritu.lity
c.n reiect the Litcroli .. God whilst embracing devotion to. per""n.l
God-im"ll". To presume otherwi. e i. like ,,}'ing it wouldn't kve
room for art and imagination_ And there'. worn for p .. yer too. But
from t he Gnostic perspective, proyer i . not petitioning the favour 0/
the king 0/ the co, mo . It is a way of communicating .nd com_
muning with our own deeper nature. It i. consciously feeding back to
the source our desires .nd aspirotion., which may .ffect our fut ure
experience bee.use the lile _w-e.m is extremelv reactive to conscious
int ention..
Relating to. person.l God becomes a prohlem only if we make an
idol of our God_image. We need to make .ure we never cl.im th.t our
image of God i. the one and only image of God. We n""d to m.ke
sure we don't claim to have acee to God'. divine opinion . We need
to m.ke sure that our image of God doesn't obscure the mystery 0/
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
exi"ence which it represents. Becau.., then we will become Liter.l _
is". And Lite,ali .ts c.n be very dangerous people, As the Suli p<><te ..
R.bia of Basra writ"',
Since no one knows any,hlng aoou, God.
,/los< who they door< iu"
Love or Law
If we c.n abandon God as an extern.] .uthority ligure, we can aho let
go of the ide. that , acred scripture. contain bis infallible opinions
about bow we .hould l ive our live . When we let old books de/inc
our modern morality we end up "uck in the primitive etbic. 0/ the
!"'st, The time has come t o grow up .nd reali.., t hat thcre i. no out _
side .uthority that can tell us how we should behave, Twenty_first_
century spirituality n""d, to help us le. m to m;oke independent
moral iudgements by becoming mOTe conscious .nd mOTe loving,
A common defence of Literal ist religion i , that without ""cred
scripture, we would be ,av'ge', becau,e they provide the ethical glue
that hold, lIOCiety t ogcther. Well, we've now examined whot the,e
books actually t cach. Thc Bible iustifies genocide, rape and pillage,
So does t he Our'an. J. this re. ll y the sort of mo .. li t y we want in the
modern age1lf we have to have some so" of violent mythical text to
te.ch us right from wrong.. how about going for The Lmd of rhe Rings!
It'. more ethic.1 than the Bible or the Our.n. And more plausible'
Litera lis .. cI.im that religious I.ws are divinely inspired, but
these law. are not div inc. They arc human and reflect the values 0/
the .ge in which they were created. Do we .lly still want to follow
fewish law that demand, the deat h ,ente nce for those who wo,k on a
Saturday and condone. selling chi ldren into davery1 No. of course
we dont. Neither do we want t o follow hlomic law th.t condemn.
the corrupt to be !",rtiolly beheaded, then crucified, and condones
men be .. ing t heir wives so long as they don't brea k any bones . We're
mOTe humane now, T h.nk goodness'
Fa, from providing the ethical glue which holds us together, Liter
ali.m pulls us .par .. In t he G05pels le.u. urge. us t o forgive tho,e
SP'UTUU ITY wITHOUT UUG'ON
'"'
who wrong U', but this doe.n't stop Literalist Chri"ian. demanding
that transgressors 01 t he l.w be puni.hed severely, not forgiven. It i.
the Religiou. Right which champion. Tetributive justice, from hit_
ting n.ughty children to t he do .. h penalty fOT adults. FOT Lit e .. list.
violence i. the solution, but for Gnostic. it i. the problem. Retribu_
t ive justice i. just huning ourselves ag.in. We suffer barh as the vic_
tim and as the peTpetTatOT, 'An eye fOT an e}'e' i. the ju"ice 01
separ .. ene .. , 'Love otheT' a. YOUTself' i. the justice of onene ...
Not only i s the LiteTali" sense of what constitute. ' iustice' abhOT_
rent, it i. d""ply disturbing that this justice i. oIt en delivered by
judges who are deady t<>o gullible to execute t heiT office. In the U,S,
e'peci ally, m any judges are Lite,..li" Christians who are ready to
blindly believc that ""meone w born of a virgin, changed wat er
into winc, led five thou.and people hom bits of bre.d and a lew
fi.hes and came back lTOm the de.d. Can we really I""J ""Ie that
an}'one with such scant TOgard for evidence is .ble to discem fact
from liction in. court of law, when someone'.lile m.y be hanging in
the balancellt's a worrying thought '
From t he Gnoot ic peTSpective we h.ve become oru...""d with laws
and punishments bocause we have fOTgotten to love, Paul explain.
that ' love is t he whole 01 the law'. We need law. when we don't low,
Peoplc TO""n to l.w only when human dlons t o be fair and just have
broken down. And when they do it i. usually only the l.wyers who
benefit. No wonder the ChTi"i.n Gnostics portTayed theiT SU!'"T_
hero [em. as con".ntly criticising J.wyers ' The dispute between Lit_
eTal i" nd Gnostic. i. between l.wyers .nd lovers.
Literali"s are dedicateJ to upholding the mOTallaw, but Gnostic.
aTe devoted to embodying love, LitcTalists presume that human n._
ture i. ha.ic. lly bad and needs coercing into .hope, Gn<tics know
that, like everyt hing in polarity, hum.n nat ure i. good and bad,
When we are l""t in .eparatene .. we can be teTribly .elfish, but when
we w.ke up to oneness we ""n be wonderlully kind. From the Gnos_
t ic perspective we need to wake our.dve! up, not tie ourselv .. up
with should. and shouldn'ts, boc.use when we know our essential
nature we become .pontaneou.ly good.
Twenty_Iirst_century .pirituality need. t o t each th.t extern.l co_
eTCion won't make u. good. We need to Tealise OUT natu,..l goodness
THE LAuGHISG I ESU.
lrom the inside. We need t o obey 'the I.w inocribeJ on the heart',
a> V.lentinus puts it, We need to understand thot we natur.lly act
well when we live with the under"anding thot we are .J[ one. We
nON to .ee that when we .,k whO! i, the right thing to do, the an_
. wer i. alw.v. to act lrom love, Let' ... op deb .. ing what i, and i sn't
acceptable behaviour .nd go right to the heart 01 matter. Let'. start
debating what it i. to re.ll}' love and how we can create a culture 0/
comp.mon.
The Pernicious Problem of Perfect People
If we ore willing to di,mi the .b,olute .uthority 01 the Literali"
God and s.cred scripture, we can .lso ",;Oct the absolute .uthority 0/
God'. repre..,ntative, on Eorth: prophets, ava,. .. , holy in,. and en_
lightened ma"en, Twenty_Iirst _century .piritual itv needs to Iro< it_
.elf lrom the myth 0/ perfect people, so that each 01 u. can become
empowered to trust our own experience, rather than .nv ext ernal
authorit y.
In We"ern cult ure the ult imate perlect person i_ /esu., Recogni, _
ing t hat lesu. i. a mythical, not hi .. oric.l, figure Irees us from this
external . uthori t y figure, The Zen Buddhis .. have a phrase: 'If you
.ee t he Buddh. on the rood kill him'.!n the West we need t o adapt
this to: 'If you ,ee Jesus on the ro.d kill him' . It sound. a bit d .... ic,
but its meaning i. profound. If you t hink that the Buddha or Chri"
i omeone other than vounelf, vou h. ve completely mi.sed t he
point, because the Buddh. or Christ represents your own .. senti.l
nature.
There have been m.ny remark-blc individu.l. throughout hi,_
tory whose prolound insights into the my.,erie, ollile and death can
help u. on our own journey 01 aw.kening. But they livN in. ""r_
ticular culture which inlormed .nd limited t heir perspective on the
lile_dream, .0 there will inevitably be "pects 01 their teachings
which are outd.. t ed. !I we unders,.nd t his we will .b.ndon t he ab_
. urd notion that we have to accept everything such people "y, ""d
leel lree to discrimiIl<it e what speaks to us in their teaching' lrom
what doe. not.
SPIUTUUITY WITHOUT UUGtON
T he idea that ",me perfect person really does h.ve.ll the .nowe,..
c.n be very alluring. Many of us n e desperote!y ""arching for .ome
one who i.n't ..,arching for anyt hing, In .piritual circle. there is
much talk of m.5ters who are 'fully enlightened', Yet there h.ve been
endless exposC' and scandals demonstrating the a ll_too_human n. _
ture of the"" .up]>OS<'<l super _be ings. The time has corne to recogni.e
that no one i. so wi.e they c.n't become. fool for . moment . And no
one i. 110 foolish they ""n't .urprise us with their wi.dom. We're in
this together. Remembering and forgetting Numbing out and wak_
ing up. Always evolving but never arriving.
Ju<t as some people have. genius for music others for .port,
some people kve genius for penetrat ing the myst eries of life 3Ild
and helping others to do likewi.e, But they are still ordi _
men and women, oft en wre.tli ng with the same addiction.,
moodine .. and other person.1 problem. a. the re5t of us, They are
guide. not god . If we put them on pedes .. 1 it just makes it more
difficult for u. to really undersund the genuine wi.oom they
to imp.rt .
We don' t treat our .cienti.", .rti ... , polit ici.", or plumbers as in_
f.llible. But when it come. to spirituality this reasonable .pproacb
goes out the winoow and wo expect those with ... lent for spiritu.1
in.ight t o somehow be perfect. And if t hey fail to live up to our
unreason.ble expectation. we see them irrevocably flawed, even
when much of their wisdom Truly still be of gre .. value,
We are easi ly aWN by thoo.e who ore more aw.ke than we ore,
k c.use to be in the presence of someone who i. experiencing an
expanded ... te of consciousness e. n exp.nd our own <tate of con
sciousness. Thi. is what the Pagan Gno .. ics c.lled pawdosis, or
'tran.mission' . In Indi. they t his darshan. There i. nothing
p"rt icuJ.rly mysterious .bout thi., lOr no more mysterious t han
everything else!! We experience this .on of transmission the time,
Being around h.ppy people c. n m.ke us MPPY, Being .round de
pressed people can rn.ko u. depressed. And being .round .wake peo-
ple can w.ke us up. Thi. can be .n extremely valuable experience,
but it doesn' t make someone an .b",lute authority on everything.
The problem i. that many te.chers on the spiritu. 1 circuit en
courage us to .ee them as infallible authority figure , . Such teachers
THE LAUGHISG l EW.
ohen have immense chari,m., which make. them extremely at _
tract ivo, But chari . ma, like all magic, can be white or black. Some
teachers use t heir charisma t o enchant their studen .. into awake n_
ing to t he wonder 0/ their own true nat ure. But other ... che" u,e
their chari,m. to me.merise their students into becoming ob .. _
quiou. devotee.,
T he test of a teacher i imple, Look at t heir studcn ... A teacher
can be trust<.J il they have helped their students wake up and move
on. But they .hould not be trusted if they have m.de their students
into dependent sycophan .. regurgitating the words of t he master, but
never thinking for t hemselve . Beca use many teachers . re actually in
the bu.ine" of imprisoning theiT students within. persoIYlity cult,
not setting them Iree to become theiT own maste rs, T heir re.1 agenda
i. to become piri tual celebri ty and enlarge their Ian club.
Authentic t e.che" ore ""If_confe.,ed phoney. , That doem't mean
they are hypocrite . In fact it means they are much Ie .. likely to be
hypocritical, be<:ause t hey ore conscious of both how wi," t hey are
becoming und how fooli. h they remain. Som<'One is for Teal when
they feel a fraud . Thi. i. why Pythago,., ",Iu",d to be c.Il,.J 'wi",, '
and called himself only. 'lover of wiodom' or 'philosopheT', And why
in the go.pels Jesu. does not allow hi. disciple. to c.1l him 'good',
T he life _dre. m arise, with J>Olarity, so everyone within it is both
wise and fooli , h, A. individual. we exist somewhere on a continuum
between t he ignorance of unconocious identificat ion with OUT l ife _
person nd the unatt . in.ble ideal of .b,olutc .wakening. To be a
I"'non i, t o be in the proc"" of waking up and evolving furtheT, And
how aw.ke we ore vories from moment to moment, became every_
thing in the life_dream i. in const.nt /lux,
u,t us be ab.olutely cleor, the authors of thi s book arc not maKi ng
any claim' to being exceptional in .ny way. We are certainly not
, aintly, a. our fTiends ""d fami ly wi ll Teadi ly test ify, Sometimes we
c.n be wonderfully wise, comp ... ionate ""d vital. But somet ime.
we can be stubbornly stupid, selfish and numb, Does tbat sound 1. _
miliar' 01 course it doe. ' It', the bum.n predicament. So let's just
, ee it like it i . and get on wit b it.
SPIUTUUITY WITHOUT UUGION
12
THE BIG IDEA
Love i, 'he omw",
and you know ,hal lor , uro.
_ ' MINO GAM', JOl!N LENNON
The good new. i. we are ~ I l ono. The b.d new. i . only a .m.1I mi _
nority 01 u. realise. thi . Most of us are Ieop in the nightmare 0/
,epar ... n .... And the misguide<! conviction ,lut we arc separate
from each other i . t he cau.., of untold .uHering. It is the root c.u"" 0/
.11 our individual trouble . And it i. the root c.u,. 0/ our p,esent
world en,; , c",. ted by 9/1 1 and in .fterm .. h, For Gnost ic. the only
. olution is to wake up to onen",. and reject literali.m. B"".u,. Lit_
eral i,m i ., .bove an, the mist.ke 0/ .. king ounelve. lite",lly
epar ... individu.I .
The tragicomedy of our predicament i . 1M' we t hink we are "'p. _
r.t. but in reality we or. one. Throughout hiotol}' we have torn our_
. elves apart with terrihle triMI wars. Yet the labels we h.ve used to
deline our triMI identitie. are so fluid they m.ke no sense. Take the
inh.bitant> of lew ,mall island. oil the edge of Europe who now
c.1l themselves 'British'. Until recently the.e people proudly domi _
natoo the world with a vast ' British' Empire. But .ctually t he only
Briton. left in Bri .. in are the Wel.h [many of whom want indepen_
dence from Britain '!' because t he original Britons were pushed into
Wales by the Romano t wo thousand years .go.
The ' real' identitie. of the ot her people. inhabiting these .mall i._
land. are just as confused. The lri.h were origin.lly Scots who s.iled
aero .. t he .ea and settled in Ireland. The .. Scot> were themselves
originall y Picts, who came from what would one day be called En
gland. But England only came to be c.II,><I England after it w.s con_
quered by the Angle., who carne from Germany. As did t he Saxons,
who then conquered the Angles . They were then conqueroo by Dome.
and Vikings, who came from Scandinavi., .nd the whole lot were
then conquered by t he Norm.ns from France, who themselve. were
originally Vikings or Norsemen. It'. all very confusing'
When t hese mongrels arrived in the New World they re_bnmded
them.elves a. American . They weren' t really Americans, of course,
a. this name .pplies to the indigenous people of t he Americas, who
them .. h-e ... e t hought to h.ve come from Siberi . The indigenous
American. were pretty much wiped out by t he European im-aders.
Modern ' American.' .. e .ctu.Il}' a people whose ancestors come
from e,-ery corner of the world. Modern Americ. i. so spectacularly
diverse in origin that it re.lI}' i. fitt ing that it i. called the US!
All of the label. we use to define OUT .. ce and nationality are mere
concept ual construction . Geneticists h.ve demon.trated t hat we
are.1I Alrican. under the skin, .0 let 's embrace e.ch other a. broth_
ers and sisters . I..>t 's start seeing ourselve. as t he inhabitants of one
world, not separate countries defined by arbitrary line. on. map.
But while bogus n.tion.1 identities might be easy t o throw oil, a.
evidenced by the .peed at which t hey can be traded for others, reli _
gious identities ore often more entrenched and hanler t o discard. All
the storie. we t ell t o de/ine our separat eness are d.ngerou.ly divi_
sive, but none more than religious ideologie. that pretend t o rep_
resent the absolute Trut h . Religiou. Literali.m create. a divinely
TH. BI G 10M
. anetioned gull betw""n beheve ... and infidel. which h.s driven be _
hevers throughout history t o commit the most horrendous crimes
ag.inst humanity to ple .. e their God.
[n We stern oulture we no longer tolerate di,crimin.rion .g.in ..
people on the b.,i . of their gender, race or sexu.hty. Di.crimination
i. still ri le, of eour.." but we at Ie ... condemn it .nd have m.de it il_
legal, which i huge step forward. So why should we continue to
tolernte religious bigotry! The bizarre ide. that God prefers IIOme
people over others i, mediev.L Surely t he t ime has come t o consign
this '/oithism' t o t he compost he.p of history, along with national_
i.m, raci.m, . exi.m .nd .ll the ot her ' ism,' which h ep us trapped in
the nightmare 0/ separateness,
Science h., demonstrated t hat t he elements that make our bodies
lormed in t he heart . of .. ars that burnt and exploded in .upernova.
billion. of }'e ... ago. We are quit e literally stndust_ We have ari,en
lrom t he cosmos .nd so . re truly ' cosmopolitan. ' , We are one human
l.mily and the universe i. our mother. When we fin.Jl y recogni,e
th.t we are kindred we might finally begin t o treat each other with
kindne _
Us Versus Them
As long as we hve in t he 'us vers us them' world cre .. ed by the illu_
.ion of sep ... tene .. , we will continue to squabble and fight . We will
continue t o project t he evil within ourselves onto 'them', It will al_
ways be the other . ide t hot i. untrustworthy, duplicitous, crimin.l
and inhumane, whil .. we are good, honest, legal and loving. It will al_
ways be the ot her guy who i. a t errorist, whil .. ' we' are the freedom
fighters_ At press conference following 9/1 1 Pre,ident Bush ... ted;
How do [re.pond when 1 see that in some Islamic oountries there .. a
vitriolic hat red for Am<rica' I' ll t ell you how 1 respond. I'm ,m"N . 1
just c. n't believe it he<.use 1 know how good we are.
He'. right , of couroe, But only h.lI_right. Amerie. is a good country,
And in many way' it i. leading humanity into a new and better
208 THE LAUGHISG lEW.
world. But America, like every countrv and evel)' ""roon, h its
shadow side. A. long a, it rdme. to aclm owl edge thi., it will con
t inue to project its own ' evil' onto the 'other'. In an 'us verm, t hem'
world there must .Iw.p be an evil 'them', Ju .. look.t how, when
the 'evi l empire' 0/ Soviet Russia fell, a new ' axi s of evil' w .. created
wit hin a few vea", to fill the void.
But life c.n never bc reduced to a .i mple morolity tale of the tri _
umph 0/ the g<>Od guy. over the bad guy" no matter how much HoI
lyw<>Od may want to portraV it that wav, In reality there are no g<>Od
guy, and bad guys, because we are all a mixture of g<>Od . nd bad. A.
long we delude oursel ves that t'vil i, 'out t here' and can be fought
'out thcre', we will never find the solution. The only an.wer is to
recogni. e thot t he 'evil' i. in oUl'Selve . Until we truly .b,orb the im _
pl ication of the t eaching 'let he who i. without ,in t hrow the first
"one' we are forever doomcd to hurl stone, .. eoch ot hcr.
From the Gno!tic perspective, the fir., step to healing the present
world cri.is would be for us to be big enough to understand our
enemy's point of view. A. Je,m say. in thc Go. pel., we need t o stop
point ing out the .peck of d"'lt in our opponent's eve and .cknowl _
edge the great plank of w<>Od in our own, We need to ""ck out and
humblv acknowledge everything we have done to divide 'them' from
'us'. We have to m.ke amend. for our own f.ilings, whilst forgiving
our adversari .. , We h.ve to trust cven where tru" h., been betrayed,
And love even where love has be en reiect ed, We need t o rdme to
plav the game of winners and 10100"', and make it clear t hat we can
only win togcther,
Following the atrocitv of 9/1 1 a wave 0/ sympat hy for America
swept t he world, and was iust as quickl}' squandered. It could all
have been", different. Imagine if the Americ.n pre.ident h. d ad_
dre .. ed the world in the .uthentic .pirit 01 the origin.1 Christians;
The Amencan people are hurt and .hocked by t hese terrible at uck.
on ourcountrv. But., a culture rooted in the Christian tradition, it i,
in . uch d.uk time. that we must draw on our deE""st wi.oom, which
te. rne. u. to have faith in the !'Ower 01 love .nd forgIven ... . In t he
New Testament )osm t .. <he. that we should l<><give those who wrong
u, and turn t he other ch""k. He declare. 'You have hean! it ", id "an
TH. BtG 10M
eye for . n eye" but I .. y "love your enem .. ," '. Only 10>< can he.l
hate. Sufiering i. ,..,.]eemod only when it motivate. ill to make thing.
better. Therefore, even though our hean. are breaking and filled wit h
anger, we will not take venge. Instead we will try to forgive t hose
who have hurt us so badly. We invite all of you who consider us to be
your enemy to rome and talk wit h ill. Let us . it around. tahle and
",ttle once and for all t he difference. between ill. Help us to prove be_
yond doubt that we are not the enemy 01 anyone. If we have be.,n
guilty 01 o.using .uffering and .,.in, tell us what we <:.an do to make
things right. We will continue to nurtwe our dream. A dream that OIle
.Ly litt le Muslim boy nd girl. will be able to join hand. with little
fewish boY' . nd girl., and little Christian boY' and gul., isters and
brothers. Come and help us make that dream a re. lity.
What would h.ve happened if the pre.ident 0/ America had re_
.ponded in t his way; The world would have changed forovor.
We would hive turned . monumental corner in the evolution 0/
consciousne . It would h.ve . ignalled. completely new way of con_
ducting politic . But , .. dIy, this did not happen. When the Buddhist
celebrity Richard Gere even suggestod the possibility of love and
forgivene .. at a public meeting in New York, he wu booed .nd heck
led. Having b<en badly stung by a horner, Americ.'. .pon was to
follow the hornet back to its nost and beat it with a big stick. Suffer
ing further sting. only c.used now em.god America to be .. t he
hornet '. nest harder. Another groat opportunity t o ch.nge the world
wa. lost .
The Politics of Love
Life i. a dream we are co_creating together we become more con_
sciou . We can choose a future of hat o and division or 0/ love and
onene . Gnostic. keop alive the utopian dream of Heaven on Earth.
They nurtu the hope 0/ creating a world in which we can enioy t he
delights of living in all our m.ny forms. The Gnostic .. pi.-.tion i.
univer .. ] enlivenment . Thi. i. the gre ... mbition that motivates the
life_dream.
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
At pre.ent we are caught up in the illuoion 0/ being separate from
each other, which mean. t he life_dream keeps degenerat ing into a
nightmare. But the more we become conscious of our ..,ntial uni ty,
the more we will change division and discord into compassion .nd
co-<>peration. We will come to understand, as the Dalai Lorna puts it;
Our highe" duty a. human beings i. to "".,eh out a means whereby
all beings ""'y be f",ed from ,II kinds at un .. "sfactory experience and
. uffering.
Ein"ein expre .... the Cno"ic perspective perfectly when he writes;
A hum.., being is pan of the whole, c.alled b)' us t he 'universe', a
part limited in time and Sl"'. He experiences himself, his t hough ..
and feelings, as something "'I""atod from the rest_. kind of optical
delu .. on of h" consciousne". This de lusion is a kind 01 prison for us,
ill to our pe""nal de.i",. and to affection for a few person.
nearest to uo. Our ta,k must be to free our",lves from t his prison by
widening ow circle 01 comp. ssion to emb .. ce all living creat ures ..,d
the whole of ",twe in its beauty.
Ident ifying exclusively with our .eparate pe"ona leads to .elfi,h_
ne .. , blame .nd greed. Identifying wi th our sh.red e .. enti.1 n.
ture leads to kindness, lorgi, 'encss and genero.ity. Awakening to the
onene .. of aw",ene .. transforms the person we appe"' to be into
an embodiment of love. And the more we can live from love, the
more we can genui nely contribute to the great .mbition 0/ unive .... 1
enlivenment.
From the lucid persf>Cctive we are creating.1I our problem' our_
,elves by /ail ing to recognise thot life i, .n expression of our own
deeper . hared nature. JI we c.n simply re.lise that we are one, we will
""t urally cease to treat each other and t he world around us as ,eparate
from our",lves. We will ceaso ..,Iving our differences by killing each
other. We will stop destroying our norural environment . We will no
longer use others as means for our personal satisfaction. We will start
pract i'ing the politics of love.
Politic. tends to revolve around the polarity 0/ liberty and equality.
TH. Bt G 10M
'"
Tradi, ionally 'he righ, empha.i . e. liberty and 'he 101, empha.i.e.
equali,y_ Yet ,here i 'hird principle in 'he famous revolutionary
.logan 'liberty, and fraternity'_ Fra'ernity, or kindne , i. the
missing elemen' which 'he politician. 01 love need. to empha.ise,
Because onl}' when we love will we set ourselves Iree and trea' each
other a. equal .
Current ly we are the blind led by 'he blind. It i. no good blaming
the poli 'ician . We get 'he politicians we de><rve. A, pre.ent we
choose le. ders who oller .hort_term benefits t o .a'i.ly our imme _
diate pen (m.1 de.ire., olten a' tremendous cast '0 other people, 'he
environment and ' he luture, But we need to choo.e leaden wi,h the
vi.ion to guide us toward. a ' ruly compassionate world. There i.
so much ignorance and se ll_interest t o overcome, this may appear
an impoo. ible u.k_ The world i. run by the rich lor their own bene_
fit and ch.nging 'his .eem. a Herculean challenge. But vested sell_
in'erest can overthrow i'seJJ given 'he right ided . Each one 01 u.
need. to overcome our vested .. II_interest to aw.ken. And ,ho.e
with power and wealth are just a. capable 01 awakeni ng to big love.,
anyono else.
In the gospels le.u. teaches tha, i, i . e.,ier lor camel to pass
through t he eye 01 a needle th.n lor d rich m.n to experience Heaven,
Thi. is not a moral judgement 01 'he wealthy, it is just .tat ing a lact ,
Heaven i . the state 01 big love which ari.e. when we aw.ken. It i.
impo ible to truly experience He.ven whilst we .. e so 10", in sep._
.. tene .. thot we are able to enjoy v.st whilst ot hen starve in
poverty. In our preoent culture we regard boeing disproportionately
rich a. a great blessing. but perhaps we need to .ee i, a. CUT,e.
What would happen il we started to regard the indulgent . uper_
rich a. di.pl.ying an,i _lIOCi.1 behaviour .nd in need 01 . ome !IOrt 01
community rehabilita,ion1 If we recognised tkt 'he powerful bu.i _
nessmen 01 today are just the latest ve"iofl 01 what were once feudal
lord. and baron.1 II we replaced the famili ar 'rich li.t', which eulo_
gi.e. tho. e who havo ama" ed 'he most wealth, with a kindness list,
which eulogi.e. tho .. who had done the mo.st good! Wha' would
happen il society changed its atti,ude !O tha, great giving was ad_
mirable and .. ive having was abhorrent . We need to make com_
p . .. ion fashionable!
THE LAuGHISG l EW.
Today we judge t he ,ucee .. and fai lure of our culture by i15 eco_
nomic achievements. What would happen if we replaced our eco_
nomic index with. happiness index, !i we judged how well we are
doing not by how rich we are but by how much we enioy living!
What would happen if we cho"" to create a culture of kindness in
which we ieel good, not a culture 0/ ca.h in which we f""l ever more
stressed'
All that is required to makes thing. better is for each 0/ u. to w.ke
up and live in lov . !lec.me if we truly love each other we will do all
we can to .Ileviate each other's .uffering, Anything we do only from
economic or ideological se lf_interest will ultim .. ely rebound on us,
bec.use wh .. comes IIQlely from. sen .. of separatenc .. will trap u.
further in sepa .. tenc .. , Anything we do from the knowledge 0/ our
e .. ential unity, however, wi ll help in IOOme way to overcome our
,en>e 0/ separateness .nd wake u. up to onen ... and love,
In his IOOng 'Mi nd Games' John Lennon wrote 'Love is t he .mwer
and you know that for sure'. What a wonderfully audacious assertion,
Somewhere deep in.ide, all of us do know thai fOT sure, Love i. t he
.olution t o .11 of hum.nity'. problem., Nothing else will do, No
clever theories . No political revolut ions. No diplomatic compro_
mises. Only love. !lecause love is how it feels t o rocogni .. our e.>en
tial unity. How can we hoal the divi sions bet ween u.! Only by
knowing we are one and living in love.
Tbe Big Idea
To croate a new and better world we need to think in new and better
way . A. Einstein puts it:
The problem. 01 tod.y cannot be ..,Iv.,,] with the .. me mind_set th ..
created them in the first place.
There i. much talk of looking for. big ide. th .. can offer us new
hope in a climate of increasing hopelessne . We want to .uggest t hat
the Gn"' t ic. have been proposing .uch. big idea for centuries. All is
one, Life i. ono awarene.s becoming conscious of i15ell in infinitely
TH. BIG 10M
vorious lorm., .nd to consciou,ly recognise thi' is dn experience 0/
all_embracing love. This is very big idea indeed. It take. our most
common_. ense assumptions about life and turns them in.ide out. It
utt erly change. how we perceive t he world and our.elve" And it is
more than . n idea. It i, something we can know to be t rue for OUI_
selves in this moment.
Right now t he big idea t hat we . re . ll one is understood only by a
few mystics and mi,fi ts on the fringe. olsocicty. But it i. only a m.t
ter of time before it bre.k.. out of the mystic.l ghetto in which it has
been kept .live tbroughout t he ages . Life i . a dre.m of aw.kening,
'0 sooner or later t he Gnostic big idea will take off in mainstre. m
culture, ~ . we he.itantly, falteringly, sporadie.Hy, but inexorably,
wake up.
We tend t o envisage the future as bigger, better veroion 0/ t he
pre,ent. We h.ve begun to explore out er 'I"'ce, "" we im.gine. future
of giant .pace.hips and al ien encounte"" We have created extraordi _
nary new t echnologie" so we im.gine a future of ,uper_computer:>
and artifiei.l intelligence. This m.y turn out to be true, but just as our
ancesto," could not have predicted the tran.fonll3tiom in human
culture we h.ve experienced,!IO it i, moot likely the real change. t hat
lie ahead will be unexpect ed,
We .uggest that the great sUIpri..., that lie he. d for hum.nity is
waking up to onene" and love. One day the barriers 0/ ""pOIat ene ..
that divide u. will come down, a. suddenly . nd effortlessly as the
Berlin Wal l. Thi. may sound ideali .. ic and that's because it is . Gnos_
t ic ... e ideal ist. in both the phi losophic.1 and the utopian sen.e 0/
the wonL We need to be vi.ionaries to .. e where we are trying to get
to, Idea], are .ta .. to chart our cour.e by.
We also need to be pragmat ic, of cou",e, becdu.e on its own ideal _
i.m i. ineffectual. But pragmatism on its own i.n' t being 'reali .. ic',
a> i. 100 often claimed. It i. being .mall _minded .nd missing reali ty
complet ely. We mustn' t get c. ught in t he either/or logic th.t de
mand. we choose between the two. We must be both ide.listic and
pragmat ic. We must d"rify our vi.ion 0/ a better world and what
practic. l steps we need to take to get t here.
One of the t hing. that stop. ideali .. s creat ing re. l ch.nge i . t hat
they t end to .. arch for absolute solution. to problem . But the l ile _
dream ari .. s from polarity"o every IIOlution c.n only be parti.l..,d
THE LAUGHISG I"U'
bring. with it new often problem . Yet it is only by
engaging with t his process thot we evolve, 01 course we will fail to
real i.e the Gnostic utopian vi. ion. II we don' t we aren 't takingoD
big enough . But we can keep on trying. And I.il But
I.il better,
Thcre is always further t o go. Th.re i. alway. the need lor more
understanding, more unity, more love. But t his should not blind us to
how far we have come. The modcrn world, de.pite .11 its terrible
f.ul,. , i . more just, comp.ssionat nd full of fun tIYn .ny otber
for m 0/ buman civilisation before it. Areas 0/ t be world, sucb as
Europe, which have b been divided by war .ince the w.wn 0/
history, have recently forged wbat promise. to be a last ing peace,
Rclative!}' poor buman being. in affluent countri .. are enjoying a
.. anw.nl of living wbicb king. could not have dreamed 0/ in the not_
.o_wstant I"' st. A growing percentage of t he world i. now run by
some form of democratic consen. us, not .uthoritarian might. We
even h.ve fleJgling world pothament beginning to develop in the
gui.e 01 t bc United Nation.,
[n significant .. e .. of t he modern world racism i. now .bhorrN,
although not long ago it w., regardeJ . , virtue to be encouraged,
likewise, i . gradu.lly, but in historic.l t erm. extremely
'peedily, being e .. dic.ted. We've cvcn embarked on cro .... peci ..
comp ... ion and started t o .. gue about .nimal righ ... We m.y not
bave been able to prevent the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but thous.nd.
of people all over the world protested to prevent it, which h.s never
happened before. At any other time in history the ide. of people in
Europe, Americ., A.i nd Africa caring about Iraqi . would have
been ridiculous.
We have been able t o make these .stonishing advance. by becom_
ing more conscious of our human f.i ling., but this h.s given u. a
very negative collective self_image. Today 1Tl<iny 0/ u. see human be_
ing. a. warlike, .ggressive, ..,l/ish, exploiutive pa .. ,ites, who infect
the earth like a di.ea.e. Thi. i. admirable because it . how. a willing_
ne t o f.ce the unpa.lauble pects of human nature, which i. nece._
.. ry if we are to ch.nge. But it is also a one_. ided .pprai l 01 human
beings, which lead. to cynicism and 'I"'thy. And t his saps our faith
in our ability to evolve,
We need t o follow t he 0/ soci.l group. who h.ve consciously
TH. BIG 10M
turned around their neg.tive ..,If_image. The black community defi_
antly prod. imed itself 'black and proud' . The gay community dared
to be ' gaV and proud'. Now we neoo to be collectively 'human and
proud'. Bec.use we're .ctually doing o by. Wc have come. long w.y
in a . hort time and . how no .ign 0/ stopping. Moot human beings a",
astoni.hingly kind and comp ... ionate. The level of co_operation we
t ake for granted is extraordinarv. We should be pTOud well aspeni_
tent. It is true that we .. e still horribly leep in ..,!"'ratene and
. elfishne .. , but we arc also w.king up to oncnes. and love. Make no
mistake .bout it.
T hcre are certainly mountain. to climb, but there i. no rea.on to
fcel di , heartenoo. Look at thc past and you'll see t he huge mountain.
we have .Iready climbed. JI wc could do that, we c.n do t hi . JI we are
conscious of iust how far we have come, we can feel empoweroo to
bce t he challenge. ahead. Beca me t here are still so many problcm.
to overcome and now on. potentially more devastat ing scale.
To progress further we need to underst.nd history, not iust .s the
tale 0/ power_hungry politicians but a. the evolut ion of consciou._
ness. And we need to have conlidence in this proce . Only. lew
decade> .go ,lavery wa ..,en as acc eptable by ot herwise kind and de_
cent men and women, yet it is now unthinkable thot we would Ie
galis< slavery today. In the same W'y, the horrors that we treat as
acceptahle today will . eem unthinbblc tomorrow. All it takes is lor
us t o become more conscious.
We need to have confidence in our cre. tive ability to make things
better. fur centuries we presumed it was impo ible lor human be _
ing. to /ly, but once we st.rted paying the possibility attention we
soon lound ourselves /lying around in jumbo ;CIS and travelling to the
moon. JI we w.nt to wake up .nd makc t he lile_dream better 100 we
collectively enioy it morc, all we have to do i. give this our conscious
attent ion.
ThOSE of us who Mve b;,'gun to wake up to oneness are dearly
a minority right now, but this should in.pire rat her th.n dcp"''' us.
To be on the cutting_edge 0/ anything i . , by definition, to be in a mi_
nority. The problem i. t hat the advocates 0/ onen .. , and love t end to
whisper politely, rather than shout defiant ly like the promote" 0/ di
vision. But the time h come t o really live what we know and be
,,.
THE LAUGHISG I ESU.
ambassadors lor oneness, It i. admirable to be humbly reticent , but
that do.sn' t ch.nge anything. The philosopher Ikn .. nd Ru ..,1l cap_
tured the predicament perfectly when he quipped:
The trouble with the world i. that the " upid are rock.ute and the In_
telligent .. " lull 01 ooubt,
Appalled by the evangelica l pusbiness of those promoting Literali"
religion, tho.c with a Gnostic perspective often choose to keep their
aw.kening a private matt er. And there i . great wi.dom in thi. , be _
c.use we won't .waken others by thrusting the Gnostic big idea into
people" /ace., but only by embodying big love in our own live._ Yet,
the choice i. not bet ween aggre .. ive evangeli.m or . ilent reticence,
We can both respect the autonomy of othen and be willing t o un_
compromisingly live and spe.k what we know.
We are currently lacing an unpara lleled opponuni ty to take ig_
nificant stride forward on our journey of awakening, But we are also
lacing the po .. ibility 0/ a reactionary backlash which could..,t our
aw.kening b.ck dec.des, For unconscious people to prosper aU that
is needed is for conociou. J>'-'OJlle to do nothing. It is up to each of us
to choo.e to be p"n of the solution, not pan of the problem, To prior_
itize compassion. To live lucidly, We have written this book a. our
contribution tow.,.d. our collective .wakening. It i. a m.nife"o for a
new reality, WiU }'OU wake up and join the panyr
Only Heretics Get the Joke
Watching the doily do"" 0/ confusion and connict we caU the TV
news, life doom't .eem much like. p"ny, It i. a. if we are go<thered
. round. pile of rubbi.h in a huge .nd be.utiful garden compl.ining
about the mess. There is a mess .nd we should m.ke sure we dean
it up. But Jet's not forget to turn .round and appreciat e the gan/en, It
is exquisite, Unle .. we remember to enioy life, just a. it i. , we are
missing the point. Let'. both appreciate and improve. Let '. remem_
ber to value each mysterious p.ssing moment . Ikc.ause being alive is
magical.
TH. BIG 10M 117
Le,'. re.pec' ourselves and . dmi", each o,her, We are amazing, You
are amning. You are 'he mystery of existence made manifest. You are
'he univer ... 1 mind which i, i magining ,hi. magnificen' cosmo . And
you are a unique human being wi,h 'he opportuni,y '0 contribute
your ve",. '0 the glorious ""ng of l ife. There i. no one in ,hi . world
who i. greater , han you and none le. ser. You a", a marvel. There are
no word. adequate to describe all you are.
Le,'. stop being"" IIOber and celebra'e our existence, Let'. stop
being 50 frigh' ened of life and adop' a pronoid perspect ive. Lo, '. live
ligh, heartedly and revel in 'he humour of our predicament. Became
life i. a black comedy so ironic 'hat most of us mi .. 'he gags. ' God i.
a comedian playing to an audience ' 00 terrified to laugh', a. Voltaire
quip" So, le"s lighten up and onjoy ' he .how_ Then we'll understand
why , h. Gn""ic lesu. laughs. Because lile i. funny, Bu, only heT",ic.
get the joke.
If we want to fulfi l 'he prim.l li fe _impul .. '0 love living, we n""d
to laugh more .nd worry Ie ... W. need to heed ' he P.gan Gnos, ic Lu_
cian when he advise",
The oot way to live i. '0 be in the p", ,,,n' moment and got along ..
be" you em, trying '0 "'" 'he funny . ide of thing._
A. hi. 'spiri,ual prac'i .. ' the Gnos, ic genius and alcoholic Alan
Watt . would wake up e.ch moming and stand naked in fTOn' of a
mirror for ten minute. laughing. If you can leam to laugh a' yourself
you'll have a life,ime of .musemen' , And when you don' , take yOUT_
self "" seriously, i, i. ea.ier '0 be good_humoured with o,hers. We are
one human f.mily, So, let', learn to play nicely,
THE LAuGHISG lEW.
A
Philosophical
Workout
Waking up, like anything olse, take. practise, A powerful way to en_
gage with li fe a iourney of awakening i . to create a regime of philo _
, ophic.1 exercises, wh ich you practise on a regular basi . , in the same
way that you might a phy.ic. l fitness programme. Here .. o a number
of .imple exercise" based on t he Gnostic teaching. 0/ lucid living we
have n plored in this book, which you might like t o include in your
phi losophical workout , Pick those exercises you find attractive t o de_
vi .. a regimo t o suit your own unique needs. T he ancion" called
their universities in which the}' st udied philosophy 'gymna.ium. ',
Wit h t he.e exercise. you can croate your own philosophy gym in
which you can bui ld up the mental muscles }'OU need to .tay aw.ke,
A PHILOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
Awakening Now
Thi. i simple exerci.., incorporat ing .ll the maior te.chings 0/
lucid living, which you can proctise anywhere and anytime, Indeed
you can do it all the time. W.king up is re.lly one movement in con_
sciousnes., hut in t his exerci"" we have broken it down into <tages to
m.ke it ea,ier to rememher and procti.e. Don't worry if you find
some <tage. ea.i th.n othe,., And remember t hat w.king up i 1
ways a relat ive experience, 00 don' t expect to enter. d""p .tate 0/
gn05i. immediately. But don't rule t hi. out eithcr. Anything i. po"i_
ble. Imt experi ment with the exerci.e . nd s"" what happen.:
Wah up: The fi ... <t ep toaw.kening i . to recogni.., that }'OU
are ul""p and that you want to wah up.
Wimes. : The .econd "ep i. to change rer'Spective by disen_
gaging from your life_penon. and consciously being aware_
ne witne"ing.1I you .. e experiencing,
Be on. loving 31l: T he t hird "ep is to embrace everyt hing
within compu.ionate .warene .. and be one with .11 in
big love,
and impron: Stay conscioU5 of being t he oneness
of . warene .. uncondit ionally .ppreciat ing life . s it is. Now
also p.y .uention to your experience of appearing to be
a peroon. How can you act from love to tran.form your.ell
and t he world to improve our collective experience of the
life_dream!
A PHtLOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
'"
Communion and Compassion
Thi . i. another very .imple technique you can practise at any time to
keep you conscious:
Foeu. on your breath,
A. you breathe in commune with . 11 that is by consciously
being .warene .. that i. one with everything and ever}' onc.
A. you breathe out embrace everything and everyone with
unconditional compa"ion.
A PHttOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
Sitting
[n many .piritual tudition! this pract ise i . known a. ' meditation' or
'silont prayor', but those terms corne with 50 many connotation. t hat
we prele, to call the pract i,e simply '.itting' , Sitting i, . w.y of m.k_
ing it e io, to enter the sUte of witnessing, by being quiet .nd still
.0 that t he,e arc Ie .. di.traction. to kecp you engrossed in the lile_
dream. Sitting is.n excellent w.y of m. king a reguhr re.lit y check.
Long, int ensive pe,iod. of pract i,e are very helpful to deepen your ex_
perience of gnosi . , But little .nd olten i , al50 good, because it will
help you m. intain 0 more .wakened .... e on.n ongoing basis:
Sit comfort.bl}' in a quiet environment in which you won't
be di"urbcd, [de.lly you want t o be reloxed and alert, rather
than "re. sed or dulL It c.n be helpful to limit your sensu.l
experi ence by clo.ing your eyes, .!though this C3fl le.d to
drowsines . If you choose t o . it with your eFs open, it is
be" to keep your eyes focuse<! on one place, . uch as a candle,
a white wall or a 'pot on the ground,
Wit ne .. whatever you aro feeling. hearing. seeing and .mell_
ing, Recognise that all }'our sens .. ion. exist within .warene .. ,
Now wit ne" your thoughts coming 3fld going. R<'Cogni5C
that t he individU;OI 'you' is not the thinker and watch your
thoughts ari sing .pontaneously of them,elve . Awarene," i.
like a .p.ciou. blue .ky and your thoughts are like cloud.
rising and falling above t he horizon of consciousness.
Ident ify with the mysterioWl source of your thoughts, Be
aw",ene., witnessing whateve, ari"",.
You will find that the more you .imply witness, the more
c. lm your body and mind become, .nd the ea.io, it i. to be
consciou. of being .wareness, To begin with, however, you
may find yourself cont inually becoming lost lfl your
thoughts and forgetting to witne ... If thi s happens pat iently
begin the practise again.
A PHILOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
When you have reduced }'our e ~ p e r i e n c e 01 the moment to
awarene .. witnessing a flow 01 ' p!,,-' arances, recogni.., that
awarene .. i. one wit h all that it witne .. cs.
Whilst you are sitt ing alillOrts ollascinat ing experience. may ari.."
Some spiritu. l tr.dition. advise that we ignore these as di"ldctions,
but we suggest adopting a bot h/and approach . Enjoy investigat ing
what ever h.ppens while you are .itting. but don' t become so enam
oured with the experien.,., that you stop witne .. ing. A. you become
deeply relaxed the sensat ion 01 hreathing may become intensely ple. _
.urable and you may become conscious 01 how beaut ilul it i. iu" to
be. Appreciate the experience but recognise that it is arising bec. me
you arc wi tnessing, II you have your eye. clo""d you may lind that vi _
. ions ari.., in the imagi nat ion, Appreciat e them but don't get 10" in
them. You m.y lind they are teHing you somet hing. Note any in_
sights thot arise but don't stop witnessing.
Whilst .itt ing it i. po .. ible to enter a deep .. ate 01 introspection in
which the world begins to disappear lrom con.ciousne.s altogether,
Somet ime. thi s is accompanied by blissful feeling 0/ complete
well_being, and an experience of light and vibrating sound. T hi. is
happ<ning bec.use you are consciously entering the ... te you nor
m.ll}' exp<riencc uncomciouslyas 'deep sleep'. You are exploring t he
edge where conscious .warene .. and unconscious awareness meet.
Beca use of the inactivi t y of sitting, you nu}' feel yourself drifting
off if you become lost in your thoughts and dream., You m.y exp<ri _
enco your head nodding forward suddenl}'.s you li nd yourself falling
a.leep lor a moment. This is not a sign o"ail u,-.,. It i. actu.lly an ex
tremely interest ing state which can t each you a gre.t deoL Wat ch
yoursdf becoming .ucked into your thoughts . nd be con>cious 0/ the
psychologic.l eHort it take. to pull yourseli back into the stat e 0/
witnessing, Practising this whi lst sitting will make it e .. ier t o stay
aw.ke in your everyd.y lile, bec.use what causes you to become lost
in the lile_dream is the same p.ychologic. l inert ia and what can
wake you up i. the ... me psychological eHort. Being awake i. cflort _
Ie .. , but the proce .. 01 waking up requires a det ermined eHort,
A PHILOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
The Ladder to the Source
Awakening to oneness require, ,hift of """""ct ive, If you'",
finding t hat difficult , it may he e.sier to get thore step_by_step, by
working your way b.ck through the polarities that make up }'our ex_
""rience, like climbing a back to awarene .. , the lIOuree 0/ . 11,
Take t his exercise extremely slowly t o make . ure you really get it;
If you examine your 0/ .. ing t o he a ""rson,
you will recogni.e that you are experiencing feelings 0/ heing
a body and perceptions of the world the body inhabits. You
experiencing . fundamental polarity which i, your body
and the world, Feeling and perception.
Now recognise that your feeling. and your perception! .re
the two poles of an e .. unity, hecome they are both as_
""c" of your sensual experience,
If you look at your experience of sen .. tion as 3 unified
whole, you will hecome conscious of another fundamental
within your experience, which i, imagination and
Jensation, You are preoently experiencing both your ' inner'
world 0/ thoughts 3nd your ' out er' world of
Now recognise that your inner and outer world. are alllO
poles 0/ an e.sential unity, hecause they are both 3.""Cts 0/
yOUT experwnce,
If you look at .11 your experience. 3' 3 unified whole you
will become conscious of heing awaren ... witnessing a flow
of appearance .
Finally, recognize that aw. ",ne" i. not separate from that
which it witne .." but one with.ll that is . This i. gno,i._
A PHttOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
Contemplation
The more you understand Gno!tic philosophy intellectually, the
easier it become. to go beyond the words and experienco gnosis , To
gra, p the teachings of lucid living you need t o hear them again and
again, so that you progre .. ively penet'"te the ideas more deeply;
Ch<>ose a book of Gnostic teaching. and read mall ""ction
which intere ... }'ou.
Stop and carefully con.ider the idoa. you encountered,
Don' t .eale for. partial understanding. Pu.h and pull the
ideas you are contemplating to see if they f.ll over. Ouestion
your '5Sumptions. Think things through thoroughly,
Here ten Gnostic idea. which can form the ba. is of contempl. _
t ion, each of which is pregnant with cndle .. in.ight>,
You have du.l nature_ You .ppear to be a person, but e.sen_
ti.lly you are awOleno .. ,
Lucid living i. adopt ing both/ and pe .. pect ive in which you
are conscIous of both your apparent nature and }'om essen_
ti.l ","me,
A. awareno .. you arc a spacious emptine .. which contain.
the world. You are timele .. p",,,,,nce which witnes"". the
llow 0/ experiences we call 'time' ,
Life i. like. dream in which one awarene i. becoming con_
. ciou. through infinitely various form .
We are uncon>ciously one and consciou.ly Gno.is i.
becoming con. cious that . ll i. e.sentiall)' ono,
Awakening to oneness i. the experience of big love. Knowing
you are one with all you find yourself in love with .11,
A PHaOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
T he purpo"" 0/ lite is to love being this moment. When you
driven so!ely by other de.ire. you mi the point and 1><_
come engrossed in the life_dream.
T he foible. which keep you unconscious in the life _dream
your which have become distorted I><cau.e you
presume yoursoH to be an i.olated individual.
The way to love app<.ring to be p<,son i. to become con_
sciou. of your imp<nona l e .. ential nature a
Lucid living i. a state of enlivenment. It i. loving I><ing
human.
A PHILOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
Loving Unconditionally
Thi . prActi.e i. 'he philo.ophical n erri.e we explored in chapter 10
reduced to four . imple step. to e""ble } 'OU to remember and proct i.e
it more easily. It will help you the of comp" .. iorYte
thinking 50 experience uncondit ional love for aIL By changing
how we think we ""n change how we f"d:
Lon bring Ihis moment: Appreciate 'he miraclc of exi . _
tence, This world i wonder, A body you exist in the
world. A. awarene .. the world exists in you. Amazing!
Lon ol hers: O,her people exist within you . s aworenc .. ,
Hold everyone_friend. and enemies alike_within uncon_
dition.l big love. If you lind this difficult with a particular
remember tha, loving has got nothing t o do with l ik _
ing someone. Bring to mind the person you find difficult to
love and reach through their I"",onality t o connect with
their e.""nti. 1 naturc, which i. also your nature.
yourself: You are a wonder. A body you are a visible
obiect . A. awarene you are. mysterious subject. Be . ware_
ne embracing .1l you like .nd di.like .bout your perron.l
nat ure wi,h big love,
in lov.: Imagine t he suffering and joy that i. happening
throughout the world in this one moment and embrace it.1l
wi,h big love. A. k yourself how your liIe would change if
you livt,d from love today.
A PHILOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
Looking with Love
Thi. p,..cti.., can help you recognise t he difference betwe;,n l iving
wit h the knowledge that all i, one and living. s iust an isolat ed sep._
rate individual:
Ch<>ose an obiect to focus on. Become con>ciou. of how it
fceh to view th.t obiect as separate from you"",l/,
Now become con>ciousof youre .. ential n.ture as awarene ...
Become conscious that this obiect exists withi n you as
awarenes .
Recognise that ., . warene .. you .. e one with the obiect .
Be the onene .. of awareness embracing t hi . obiect with
big love,
Feel the difference between being an isolated individual iust
looking.t a sepa .. te obicct and looking with love by reali. _
ing t hat 'the seer and the .een.re one' .
Once you can experience looking with love, try touching with lo,' e,
listening with love, tasting wit h love .nd thinking with love.
A PHILOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
Connecting
Thi . i wonderful technique to practise with a friend to help you
.ee beyond the .uperficial .eporatenes. which divides us:
Sit oppo.ite your partner and look into e.ch other's eye. ,
Don' t stare out fTOm your body into your partner'. eye.,
rather be spacious .warene embracing your partner 's ap_
parent n.ture within }'our ""senti.l nat ure.
Become conscious that when you look .t }-our partner all
you actu.lly so< is . series of shapes and coloured patche . H
you focus on the pupil. o! their eyes all } 'OU see are black
holes. Ouite literally!
You can' t .ee your partner'. e .. ential nature, because they
don't exist within t he lile-dream any more than you do, Just
like you, they appear to be. person, but subjectively they are
aworene .. witnessing the life dre.m.
T he word perron originally meant ' m k' , See t hrough
the mask of your partner's person.lity to the mystery o!
aworene ...
Become conscious that your apparent nature i. "'parate fTOm
your partner'. apparent nature, but as .warene .. you are one,
See that your individu. l identities ore different m ks worn
by the one aworene ...
A PHttOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
Listening with Love
In the ancient world it was tndi tional to explore ideas with. philo_
,ophical partner. You c.n do this informally through convers.tion,
which i. a wonderful w.y to w.ke each other up. But it can aho be
powerful to form.li", philosophic.l using this simple
technique of listening with love:
Decide who is partner one .nd who is partner two. Then se _
lect a profound que5tion you both want to explore, such u
'What i, love', 'Who am I', ' Wh .. is it that "op' me waking
up', and so on.
Sit opposite your partner and become conscious of being
aw .. ene ...
Partner one now asks the question of partner two.
Partner two then .ponuneou.ly respond, with whatever
thoughts ari,e. Don' t cen.ure what you .. y, simply allow
your thoughts to flow. Don' t feol uncomfortable .bout just
being . i lent if no re.ponse ari, ...
Partner one should p .. ctise silent witnessing and embrace
partner two within uncondi tion.l big love. II there is . long
pause and you intuit ivel}' feel it appropriate, you may like to
the question again. But otherwise "ay quiet. Don' t inter_
fere with the process by offering your opinion . Have fa ith in
your partner' bility to lind their own intuitive wi,dom if
you give them the space to do so.
You m.y lind that ., you are listening your attention b._
comes caught up with your own thoughts. II this happens re_
turn to listening with love. It c.n be f .. cinating to ob,erve
that olten your partner" flow of thoughts i. directly afleet ed
by how well you list en, When you become di5tractt,d you
m.y find your partner dries up or become, confU!ed, but
A PHILOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
when you give them your undivided loving attention thev
become more l ucid .nd eloquent.
After practi.ing t his exerci.e lor five to ten minute., SW'P
role . T hen, after another ""riod, sw.p again. Re",,31 thi . a>
m.ny time. a> you wi.h.
lniti.Hy it may be be" to practi.e this exerci .e for .bout twenty min
utes, but it can be pract ised for hou .. wi th amaoing result . When
the exercise i. ""rformed for a long time you will find you go beyond
.u""riicial an.wers to the quest ion and m.ke conscious somc re _
marlu.ble insights. Sometimes Ie .. and Ie .. i. said a. tho exorci.e
goes on, but if you suy !ocu.ed the silence c.n be wiser t ban words.
A PHttOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
A Wake-up Club
It i. very helpful to have othe ... around you who . upport your adven_
ture of .wakening_ Thi' may happen naturally through a network of
like_minded friend. , but it can be fun to formali", this into. Wake_
up Club_ You need to find your own unique woy of running your
Wake _up Club which suits the pc>ople who attend, but here i, a .im_
pIe way of getting t hing, .. arted that has worked well for us:
Choose a time ond place you are going to meet. You may
want t o begin with. one _off event a, .n experiment, and
then, if everyone enjoy. it, "art m""ting on 0 regular bo.i"
Ask everyone to bring a question which they want to ex_
plore, You can fix an ove .. ll theme or leave thi s open, We
"arted by .. king people to choose. philo,ophic.l question
rather than a personal dilemm._ Thi . avoid, the "" .. ion 1><_
coming group therapy, which con al so I>< enlivening but may
not be t he place to .tart,
Put all of the question. in a hat , Pull out one ond ",.d it
aloud. A,k t he questioner to enlaTge on their question
. hould they wi.h to.
T hen a.k t he group to contribute their imighu, Remind
ever}'one that you aren' t looking for the right an.wer, 1><_
c.u"" that doe.n't exist' You are ,haring your collective wi . _
dom to find deeper and dee!",r re'pon.." to the question,
Remind everyone to practi,e li5tening with love, Di,agree_
ments can I>< enjoyable and enlivening if they are wit hin an
atmoophere of mutual trust and reopeet, Keep thing. pl oyful.
When the group f""l . that it i. done with one question, move
on t o the next. If you c.n cover all the question. in one , e._
,ion, that ', gre.t. If not , ret UTn to the other question. ""_
other time_
A PHILOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
Communing
Thi' exerci.., i. a group ve",ion 0/ the previous partner practi,e 0/
connect ing. In our experience it is.n extremely powerful exercise to
do with a group of pt'O]lle and a beautiful way to bring proceedings
to an end if you are running. wake_up club. It i. a type of group
meditation, but with distinct advantage. over most other group medi _
tat ion . Normally when people meditat e together t hey pay no .tten
t ion to each other, but rather clo,", their eyes or focus on an object 0/
meditation such as. candle. In this exerci .. we focus on each other,
Thi . mean. we can pract ise witnessing whi lst connect ing with each
other in Jove beyond our 'pp"ent separat eness.
Sit in. tight circle.., that you c.n all..,e each other's or""
Put everyone" name in. hat and pull them out one at a time,
When .omeone', name i, read out everyone should focus
their .ttention on that r<"on by looking at their eye. and
holding t hem within .pacious awarene., and big love,
T he I"'rson whose n.me i, called ,hould now go around the
group making eye contact with each person in tum for a brief
moment, reaching through the veil of 'pr<",ance. to the
mystery of awarene ...
Cont inue this unt il everyone h.s been held m oneness
and love.
Be still for a I"'riod enjoying t he cxr<rience of being both one
and many. Thi . i. lucid living,
A PHILOSOPHICAl WORKOUT
Become Part of the ALL
You can connect with other people who by becoming
""" of the for Lucid Living, The ALL will .1>0 let you
informat ion about our experienti al seminar> exploring gIlo.i .
For iniormation vi.it www.ti mot hylreke.com or contact;
T he Alliance for Lucid Living
I',O,BoxJ7J3
Glastonbury
Some .... t
BA69WZ
England
Notes
Part I , 'The Bathw.ter', pre.ents an argument about historical facts,
.0 we h.ve annotat ed this when appropriate. We h. ve not annotated
Part 2, 'The Baby', bec. use it i. a philosophical journey and we don',
want t he ",. de, t o become distr.cted by unnece .. ary note.,
1: Gnostic Spirituality and Literalist Religion
, 2 Collnthlaru3.6,
, See The Apocalypse of P,,,,, NHC IThe Nag H.mmoJi Codexl, The MCOlld
Tuatlse of t h ~ Gteat Seth , NHC, Roilimon I. M., The Nag Hammad; Li
brary IHarperColhm paperb.ack 19!81, 3r!, 365.
The Gospel of Truth 22:1 3_20, quotc,J in lona., H , Gno";c /I.,ligjon: Tho
M" , ago of the Alien God IBeacon Pre .. 19581. Han. lona. "'yo 01 Gnostic
metaphors for the humon condit ion: '01 t he m<t constant and wide" use "
probably the image of sleep. The s.,ul slumbers in Motter', See 'Numhne .. ,
,l""p, mtoxication: 68_73,

ApocryphOll of lame" NHC, 29.
The Concept of Our CUdt POwel, NHC, 3 1 L
The Teaching.of Silv@u"NHC,379,
' The CruP"i ofTrurh, NHC, 38.
2: A Religious Detox
, Quoted in !\-h..loul, A., The Crusad", Through Arab Eyos iAl S.qi Booh
l ? 8 ~ L 37.
' Ibid, J9_
' Samuel U"Iue quoted in Neunyahu, B., The Origms of 'he InquiSltion m
Flf,umh Century S""in IRandom House 19951, xiv_xv.
, D_ I., Unholy War: The Vo,icon', Role in 'he R,u of Modorn Anti_
Semiti,m ]pan Ilook. 2001 1, lSI. Kemer pre",nts overwhelming ""idence
tn.t the N.,i persecut ion of the low, w .. mer.,]y a cOtltinu .. ion of Catholio
per""rutlon tn.t had endured for centillioo. He review. the ma",r tonots 01
the modem mtl _Semitlc movement: The", i. a "",ret ]ewi.h COtl,p"..,y to
conquer the world; the lew. n.ve alro.dy seized control of the finmc,.1 COll _
tre, of Austria, Cermmy, F .. nce and It.ly, Jews are b)' ""twe immo .. I, ]0..-.
care only for monoy, lew. COtlt rol the Jew, control the b..nk, m d .,.
re'pon,ible for the economic ruin of Chr;,tian" ]ew .,0 ro.pomible for
communi.m, low. muni<r Chri"ian children . nd drink their blcod, ]0..-.
"",k to de"roy tho Christian religion; lew. are unp.rriotic, low. must he
segregated, lewi,h ngh" must he limited. Kertzor writ .. , 'Tho Church
played an important role in promulgat ing every one 01 these ide .. tn.t.,e
centr. 1 to modern anti_Semit i.m_ Every one 01 thom n.d the . upport of tho
highest Church aut horitie., including the pope . If the Church bore rnaior
re,pon,ibility for the inculcatiOtl 01 a dazen of the maior ideological pill ...
of the modom . nt i_Semltic politi""l movement and. t hirteenth came from
other 5Ource', <lIe we to conclude tn.t tho Church hea .. litt le or no re'pon,i_
bility for the floworing 01 modem antJ _Semit "m in t hose are where the
Church h.d gre .. infl uencel' We n.ve only touched on this .ub;t here but
an)'One doubt ing Chri"ianit y'. role in t he rise of modom anti _Semiti.m . nd
its contrrbution t o the Holocaust must ",ad Kertzer'. l>ook.
lohn 15_6 .
Matthew 27_25, lohn 19.15, lohn 8.44, Rev<latjon 2.9.
, 'Cod Cave Us. " What We Deserve" ' by John F. Hani., Wa.hing,on Po"
"aff wHteL Frid. \" Sept emher 14, 2001, page COJ . http://www.washington
post .oom/ac2/wp_dyn!p.agoname_article&contentld_A28620_200ISepI4&
notFound _true . The comments u me as Falwell w appearing as a guest on
Robertson'. daily 7Q() Club program_
, Ali, T , The Clo,h of FundamcntallSm" Cm,"d", /iharu and Mod"nj,y
IV.,." ![lOll, 157_165_
' Ibid, 162_165.
Ibid, 2S L
" . -
http://www_propLorgfrnaugur/85ro. gan/85rr.,m.ht m_ 'It " h.,d to be_
lieve t hat t he f're,ident ac tually allow. Armag<ddon ide<Ology to .n.pe his
polioi .. tow.,d the Soviet Union', the New York Times ' Yet it
NOTES TO rAGES ')-1 9
wa , he who h ... t pomaYN the II.UMI1nS a ..... nie and who heps "" .. Iking
about tho Final hottle'.
" http://www. propl.org/inaugur/85reagan/85 .... m.htm
" [n Ma"hew 16.28 lesm ...,n., '[ .... uro you there.re somo among th"",
"anding here who will never ""e death before they see t he Son 01 /\-lan
coming in hi. mor=ehy' . [n Mm'hew H .M he tell. hi , listener., '1 ... ure
yoo that this generation will not go by before . 11 this haWns', [n
2 LJ 2---J.6 I .. u.' cl.im,..-e even more '1 tell you truly, th .. there
.re IIOme of those ".nding right here who will nover taste death bef"", they
"'" the kingdom of God. And the .. will be .igns in the .un .nd mlXln and
"ant, and on e."h an .nxiom m . .. 01 prople in confu,ion over the roar 01
the se. and the tidos, with peoplo dying of Ie., .nd . pprehension about
",h"'. coming o,'er the world. Ye " the powe" 01 Heaven will be . ... hn.
And then thoy will see t he Son 01 Man coming on. cloud with power and
8"''' glory. When tho", things ".rt to "'ppen, look up and raise your he.d.,
bee."", your INemption i. approaching, Whon you see the .. things "'ppen.
ing, you know the kingdom 01 God is clo><. ! ... ure you th .. thi. goneration
will not pu way till it .ll "'ppens' .
"Torrey, 11., A.iN,I, Th< fundamental<: A TeSlimony '0 'he Tru'h. 1909.
" Iohn Shelby Spong, quoted in u,.,oom, T. C. (ed, l, The Book You, ChUICh
Doo.n ', Warn You '0 Read (Kendall/Hunt rubl.ming Company 19931, 16.
3: The Word of God1
, 'cmiah 8.8 quotN in Sturgis, M. /, A;n't So: IU.""galing
'he Truth of the Biblical Pa't (Ho.dline 2()(H I, 186.
' Thompson, T L, The Bibl, in HJStory; How Writers Creal< a P"'t lPimlico
1999J, pre!."" xv and 164.
' Finkelstoin, I. , Silberm.n, N. A., The Bibl, Unearthed; Alcharology', New
Vi,ion ond 'he 01igln of Its Sac"d Tex" iThe F,,,,, rre .. 2001 1, 36, 175.
, E.xodu. 12.37. See commentary in Finhlstein, I., Silberman, N. A" Th.
Blble Un,allhed. ibid, 51-W.
" . . one 01 the best dues '0 the f.ct t"'t the story does no' de>eribe evon"
hoppening in the 13,h century BeE' S,urgis, M. It Ain', Nec .. ""ily So: In
v' ''ili:"';ng Truth of the Biblical Post (Headline 2OO1J, 54.
' Avail.ble online at : http://www.library.comoiLedu/eolidev/mid .. ,,/
iorque . htm
, S,wgi', M., It Ain't N,u"orily So, ibid, 7,
' 1bid, 129.
' 1bld, 131_1J.J.
NOTES TO rAGES 19-}0
IlS_129 .
.. Thompson, T, L, Th< Bible in Hi3lOlY: How Wmers C""" fast IPim.
lico 1>'991, !OS.
" Thomp""", T L. , Th< Bibl, in Hwory, ibid, 200, md see Sturgi ., M., f,
Ain'I So, ibid, 133.
" D.niel Lture, " f al.e To.tamont: A.-ch..eology rofut '" 'ho Bible'. Cl.im 1o
Hi"ory, H'''1''' r'" Ma rch 2002, vol. .lO4, nO.1821: 01 0.
" P. R., In Search of 'Anci<nt I" aci' Academic P", ..
IW2], 58. St urgi., M., lt Ain', Nu:e"arily So, ibid, 82.
"
D.vio., P. R., In of 'Ancienllsrad, ibid, 60.
Ze'ev Horzog quo.ed in S.urgi., M., ft Ain '. Nuossarily So, ibid, 58.
" Thompson, T L, Early Hi3lOlY of Ihe I"aelit< reopk From Ihe Wwu n
and Arcbaeological Souru. IB,ill unciat edl, 418.
" Bicko,mm, E, I., The 'lV. in 'be Age IH.,.,..,d Universit y Pre ..
1988], 6,
Momiglimo, A., Alien W"dom: Th< Limi" of H,l/emzauon [Cambridge
Universi' y Pre .. 19751, 78.
Hongol M, 'ows, CruKs, ana Barbanans: A,p<ClS of Ib, H,l/,nizauon of
/udal sm In Ibe PrcChri3lian PCflOO ISCM Pre .. 19801. 17 .
.. P..,udo-Alisto". See Bickormm, E.I ., Thc m lb< Creek Age IH.,v:ud
Uni.-.rsit ), Pres. 19881, 149.
2 4 v 7if records how . he high pne .. I.son oet up a gymna.ium
. nd .hat soon ' t he priost. no long<' .howed my ont husiasm for their dut ies
he .h.,'
losephu., Against Apion, 1.165.
Clomont, SIrom,"a , 1. 72. 4,
losephu. , Against Apion, 2,16.3_168.
[usebiu., I'ta,para'jo Evangelico , 13.12.1, s.,. .1", Clement, Suomo,",
l.22, ' And AriS!obulu., in hi. fj". book .ddre . .. d to Ph,lom<tor, write. In
.he.., words " And Pl.,o followed t he l.w. givon '0 U', . nd h..d manif .. dy
>tuJied . 11 t h., i. uid in t horn": Ari .. ooulu. include. Soc"" .. wit h
Py.h.go", nd PI.,o . mong t hose whos< rderence t o a divine .-.oico in oon
.empla.ing t he creati"" 01 .he cosmos deliveo from tho worn. of Mose .
Eusebiu., Pra,paralJo 13.12,3--4.
" In On !he \),8, mnbuted '0 Lmginu .
u f,a;ab 66.19. Soe Bich,m. n, E, I" Th. ,ew, in ,h. Creek Ag. , ibid, 14.
Eu",bius, PraepaIalio Eva",dlca, 9.26.1. s.,., Gruon, E. S., HHi' oge and
Hellenism: Th< of .h.,ewi,h Traaiuon IUniversity of Califor
nia Pre .. 19981. 153.
D
1bid
, 9.9.27,3_4.
NOTES TO rAGES 30--37
n,
" Ibid, 9.27.6. Gruen, E. S., Ha;'age and HdJen;,m, ibid, 155.
s.", 1 Macc"fN,u 8.17. 5<e Momigliano, A., AIi<n W,sdom, ibid, lB. See
aoo Alexander Polyhi"or ap., Eu",biuo, Pmop"ra.;o Evangehca, 9.17.1_9,
Ibid, 9.17.8, 5<e Gruen, E. S., He';'Qgo and Hellen;sm, ibid, 148.
Ibid, 9.1 8.1.
.. josephus, AllI;qu;.;es of .he lews, I J.J04--3J9.

J. Bickerman calls it a '"lly ",ory .hat Judarz .. Gr""k tal .. 01 a .imilar
natwe' B,ckorman, E. J., The lews ;n the Age, rbid, 5. E. S, Gruen
call. it an 'outright fabrication' whou purpose i. to infer that the pr"l' hocy
of Alexander'. triumph in the east 'came not from [)"lphi, Dodona or
Didym., hut from the God 01 the lew.' Gruen, E. S., Ha;'age and Hoi
l",;sm. ibid, 195_1%. M. Hengel serts that 'Le. st hi"orical v.lue of .1l i.
to be . ttributed to t he lege nd of Alexander'. vi.it to t he holy cit y and hi
.. crifice in the Temple . fter t he oonque" of Gaza: Hengel, M., Jews,
Greeh, and Ihlrba"aflS, rbid, 7. y, Tcherrkover agree. t hat ' It is a historical
myth designN to bring the king into Jj""'t contact with the ]ew., and to
. pea. of oot h in laudatory term . ' Tcherikover, V. Hellen;,,;c GlV;iiza';on
and .he lews iThe lew"h Publication Society of America 19591, 45,
Tch<Tikover goe. on, ' Here i. material for Ie ,.rch worthy no' of the his,o_
ri. n, bu, of the student 01 literature'
.. Alexander'. VLl i, i. no' men,ioned by either Aman, Diodoru., Curtim or
Plutarch. A. Gruen note. t here is no re. "", for Greek sources '0 have .up
pressed a vi.it to 'he holy ci' y as t hey regularly reported Alexander'. arrival
at key .hri nes and .. crN place. , whe he honourN native and per
formed public acts 01 .. crifi ce. 5<e Gruen, I, S., H.mage and Hellen;.m,
ibid,195.
Ibid, 192.
D See Wallis, R. T" N<oplQ!omsm and Gnomcism ISwe Universi' y 01 New
York Pre .. 19921. 1I 11f, which roconstJucts parts 01 Pruphyry'. argument
from 'he in' ernal evidence found in the many Chriltian work. written '0 at
tack it. Christian aut hon rncluding Mothodiu. of Ty"" Apollinari. 01
Ltodi""a, Imebru. 01 C"".ana and Phil""orgiu. wrote many volumes in Ie
'pon .. , clear ""umony '0 the al",m cre., ed by Pmphyry'. boo . It w",
banned and humed when the empire became Christian . nd was " ill being
censored a. late a. 'he 4.;0., See Wall" , R. T, N<oplQ!omsm and Gn",';
Cl sm IState University 01 New York Pre .. 19921, 126, . nd Lane_Fox, R., Pa_
gans and Ghns<;am IAlfred A. Knopf 1987), 586.
" For example rn r .. us' prophecy .bou, the di.mantling of the Temple 01
le"""lem stone by "one. It is OIl 'he h.o.i. of its lack of faith in ,hi .
MO NOTES TO rAGES 37- }8
'propheq" that Higher Crit ici,m, followOO now by moot Blblic.l schola .. ,
.. d Mark having been written po>t 70 c . The f.ct that the t emple w
not completely di.m.mtled un.il IJ5 c uggest, t hat t he eLat e for
could be much late r t h.n 70 n .
o
U"'<r of AIlstea., 201.
M.rlowe, I., The Goldn Age of Alexandria IVictor Gollmc, 1971 I, 83.
D.VIOS, P. R., In S,orcb of 'Ancient I"ad' iShellield Aoademic Pre ..
IWI), 26.
S"" Thompson, T. L, Th< Blble m fllS/ory, Ibid, preface xv, 15. , 193, Other
evidonce that points to the rNOOiC>1 ion of the Templo undeT t he M.c""bee
pivotal due i. t he chronology now evident in the M.asorotic text . S"",
D.vios, P.R., In Search of 'Anc.i<nt Israel', ibid, 154,
losephus, AlIl;quit;" of tbe lews 13.!49.
' " Thompson, T, L , The in History, ibid, 297, 'The derl:. 01 the Min
i.try of Yohud wore alre.dy claiming thoir tin), province to be tho relic of.
one< might)' ompire, ind""d d.iming ""me kind of imudiction oVr the en
tire .at,.py ... 01 "B<yond t he River", t he lmd promised to Ahraham in
Cen",i. and ruled over by D.vid."d Solomon. W .. it on the b.:rsi. of t his fic_
tion.l cl.im, which a PeTSi.n king, 1\0 Ie .. , has been made to endo"" ...
that Lt t er Judo"" king., the Hasmone.ru, . imed to re-create wh>1 thor took
to be the bouneLarie. of historic.l l"..,l, including In their kingdom t h"",
kindred "half_lows " from ldum""a and Trm.ioreLanl ' See Davies, P. 11." In
S<arcb 01 'AncJent luael' , ihid, 87,
Thompson write., ' More th.n one recent book of biblic.l schol."hip
has e.phed the po"ibilitie. 01 "dil politic.1 par.ies fmming around .
T.libm_hke FuneLamen .. list core 01 religrou. This wOJk i. ,'ery
pTOmi.ing', Thompson, T. L, The Biblo m H;"orr, ibid, 297. fosephm
accounts 01 Hyrnu. ' mili .. ry conquest. ""ho the stones of 2 2nd
d .. l wit h the ",.litie. of forcN con ..... i"", in a rehgrously politici,ed
environment.
D.vies, P. 11." In of 'Anci<nt IsrMI' , ibid, 56.
D losephus, ibid, The /ewi,b War 1.J05--J16, See M. /ow. , C"oks,
and Bo,baflans, ibId, 73.
Sum""rs 3 L This .. em. doubly UJlf.ir ... in Exodu, 2.15 when Mose. fled
from the Pharaoh he dwelt in the Lm d 01 Mid,m where he helped the .hep.
herd. to w.t<r t heir fl ock.
2 MaccaM<S 2.13', . . "" Iud.. h .. oollt OO all the boob that had been
", "'erN', see D.vre., p, 11.., In of 'Anciem Israe!', ibid, lSI.
'The develOflment 01 "tr.dition" ove,. mattor of a few . nd
mOle OJ Ie ... imul .. neously, i model to which I hope scholars will devot e
NOTES TO rAGES J8-4!
muoh "'tonti"" in fu ture', Davie., P. R., In ""arch o! 'Ancient Israel' , ibid,
IU, 40,-.tlmoma, a Dead Sea Scroll.IDSS] <t , givo good e mplo 01
how to ore",. a new text by stitching t ogether ver ... from other 1< .... The
DSS .how that t he te. " were still evolving, and 40tostimonia ,hould re.lly
be c.llod a new text in i .. own right . See Thompson, T. L, The Bible in H,s
'",y, ibid, 275. 'The Dead Se. ""roll. show t hat quite complex literary devol
opmonts c.n occur over an . pparently .hort pe"od 01 time', See Davio.,
P. R., In ""arch of 'Ancient Israel'. ibid, 97,
Thompson, T. L, The Bibl< lJ) Hirtory, ibid,170.
T.blo of eLate. modelled after that of Thompson, ibid, 73_75.
R" Cui .. of Rom"" Empi" IBladwoll Publi . ho" 199!],
18_J9,
.. Ibid, 28.
Exodus 6.3,
Thompson, T. L, The Bibl< lJ) Hirtory. ibid,1JO . nd 271,
1 MacC<lb.", claim. con .. nguinity between Spartan nd Jew both na
tion. claimed Abrah.m as . n ancestor. nu. u le 00.. not occur in opic,
d"mo, or. work 01 rom. ntic fi otion, inst .. d it appeal. to o'tn,ible docu
monts rnd diplom.t ic corre. pondence. Bond. between friendly cities and na
tion., oIt<n deriving fr"", common, u.u.lly ancestor w .. .
,uple item in Hollenic folklore and t ho Je .... readily lI<i700 upon t hat fi Ction.
The Jud.-o-centric qu.lit y 01 all this i. unmistabble. The f.ot that Ab,""am,
the Heb,ew I"''' i .. ch, . ppe ... as ultim.te .nce"or oi both Sl"'rt. ns . nd
lew. ",-,ke. the point wit hout .mbiguity' . See Gruen, E. S., Helirage and
Hd/enism, ibid, 264 .

Thompson, T. L, The Hirt"'y, ibid, !56.
U R. bbi !'roIes..,r Jonath.m M'gonot, 'he principal 01 !,eo B..ec. Colle,';",
con.iders this confu.ion 01 n.me. to le.d back to the Bible's ongins. S ..
St urgl', M., I, Ain', Nec<S>dflly So, ibId, J70.
M Se.l nd bronze, from tho Persian period in the AIch:oeological Museum.
of Jeru",lom , how A,hon., Her.des, .. ty" .nd other GreEk deities. S"",
Momigli.no, A., Alien WIsdom, ibid, 79. A COin in the Eriti . h Museum be
longing to 'ho Pema n period be..,; ' he inscnption 'Jude.' IYHDI.nd , how,
a figure on winged 'hrone confronting a Dionysi.c m . See K.,..et, E.,
Th< BiblJcal ArcharolOllist, 16 11%31. 40 2nd fi g. 2. Even mOf< in'rigulngly,
coin found in . n arcl <ol<>glc.l ,ne Ie .. than fony miles from i<ru",lem
depicts V. hweh ' he founder of the Mystorie. 01 Elou.is. See Macchioro,
V. D., From 01pheu. 10 Poui IComublo .nd Comp.ny J9JQI, 189.
lemmioh 11.13.
NOTES TO rAGES .jJ-H
Voluiro ,ugg .. t...! Ic.17WI th" the OrphIc hymn. were .. idenoe oi ..,
cret monothoistic doct rine .mong the Crk,. So< Bickerman, E. J.. Th.
,ews in 'he Cruk Age IH.,v. rd Univonity Pro .. 19881, 227. Orphi,m i.
synonymous with .nd Pl"onism i. tho philo",,!,hic.a! codi
fic.at ion of p;,t h.gme.ni. m. 11 ... phil"",phic.1 """m, .lt hough oiten un
derground, should be thought of . s a kind oi .nci""t Fr""masonry th.t
exorted a profound infl uonce on.ll t he gr"" thinkers of t he Croco-Romon
world. Christi. n pr"l'.g. mL. n. . I.,gel)' ,u.,.,.jed in obscuring this ".di
tion in ord to bohtor its own .upposed ori9nality.
'Tho wi.., i. ono .Iono, unwilling.rld willing to be spoken oi by t he name
of u uo'. Hor.clitus' 'phorism, are full of ",I.rence. to monistic idoas,
'From.ll thing. one and from one thing .ll ', .nd 'It i. wi.." lIstening not to
me but to t he Logos, to .gr"" th".ll thing,.,e one',
" Antisthene>, following in the ".ok of Xen"l'h.ne>, declared tn.t t ho popu.
lar were m.ny, but t he god oi natu", ",os one, 'Amisrhenos . . . popu
lar", aeos multo., na'ma/em unum OS" ai""m'. Gi""TO, On Nature 0(
'he Coo, L IJ .Jl. The .. ntiment had .1", been articul. tod by Socuto . The
Stoics inherited the ide. from t he Cynics and, wit hout making it a form. l
dogma, thoy comuntly .. ,ume it by u>.ing t ho , ingul., torm 'Cod' . See
Arnold, E. V., Roman Stoici,m IRoutlodge & Kogan Paul Ltd 191 11. 220.
See Hengel, M., few. , Cuch, ana Balbarionl, ibid, %. y.nweh' ..,If
definit ion in &oou. 3.14 i. rophced by ' I . m who I.m', 'ego<Jmi ho on',
M Josephu., Contra Apioncm 1.10.3_168.
The Biblo it..,1f recolds Solomon', penchant /0, /oreign wive nd for for
eign god,. Among the deities whom he honoured "' Astarto, the godde .. oi
the Sidon .. n,. j King, 1 Ll_6..
" Diana Edolm. n, archaeologISt oi t he D<l"'rtment of Bibbc.l St udies . t
Shd fi eld Univenity. See Sturgis, M., II Ain't So, ibid, 180.
a The Biblo toll. u. t hat King l<><i.h n.rboured a p.,ticul., hatred fo, the
A'herah, and persecuted hor cult, Othor I"', .. ges in t ho Bible refor to the 1>.
, .. lite> being distre.sed tn.t they are no longo' . llowed to wo"hip their
'Ouoon oi Heavon', .nd blaming thoi, p,osent suffering on t he prohibition oi
he, cult. s.. .. Sturgi', M., [, Ain ', Nea"",iiy So. ibid, 186, md "'" /01emiob
17_19, ' But we will cert2inly do wh",.,.,vOf t hing go:>eth forth out 01 our own
mouth, to hurn incense unto the Quoen oi Ho.ven, .nd to pour out drink of
ferings unto her, we have dono, we, . nd our I. t he", ow- kings, and our
prince" in tho citi .. of Judah, .nd in t he stroct. of leru .. lem: for ,b,n h.d
we plont)' 01 victu.al. , and were well, .nd .. w no eviL But since we left off to
bum incense to t he Quom of Ho.von, and to pour out drink offering. unto
NOTES TO rAGES 47-H
her, we !t.ve want<d . 11 ,hm&< . nd been con.umed by ' he .word .nd
by 'he f.mine' .
. , Accorwng to ' he Qur' m, s.d J5_!5 .
.. Phillppians J .5_6. P. ul givos full .cooun' 01 hi. justific.nion oc<ording to
Jewiili law_circumcised on t ho eigh,h d.y, l.,.dito by race, of t he tribe 01
Ilenj.min . nd , .. Iou. Ph.risee_ 'by tho law'. stmdanl rightoou> without
f. ult' Swt lingly, he .. y. in verse 8 t hat he coun".ll this as dung' IKJV
translationl. A. ' he C.....,k word can m .. n .ny refu",. including
the excreme nt of . nim. ls, we Ie.,] justified in rendering th ... as 'crap'. e,'en
though we...., . w.re t!t.t it might oIfend some re.de". [n H,brew. 8. [J
Paul write. t h .. 'C.lling , hi. 'he 'now" 'gre<mon' . lre. dy m.ke. the first
one the "old" one, . nd .omething so an'iquated and cre. ky won', be .round
much longer' .
4: The Most Famous Man Who Never Lived
, Hipro1ytu., Elencbos 5. 9.5, See Segal, R. A., Th. Gnostic lung [Princet on
Uni .. " i' )' Pre" [9921, 70.
, rustin M.rt)'r, First Apology 54, and Dialogue witb Tlypho, c!t.p'er 69.
lustin claim. t !t., the wicked demon. imitat ed what was Mid of our Christ '
'to . nd lead .. tray the hum.., ,."".' s.,., Gut hrie WKC, Olphen. "nd
Gr<ek Religion IPrinceton Univen ity Pre .. 19511. 266, and see Ki ng. C W"
Gnostic, and Theil Remain< ID.vid Nutt London IS871, 122_123.
' ''The o.,vil, whose bu. ine .. i. to pervert the truth, mimic. tho e",ct cir
cumstance. 01 t he Divine s..c,""ments, He hi. believe" . nd
prom;",. forgivene .. 01 sin. from the S.cred Fount, and thereby inni" ..
them into t he religion of Mit hr ... Thus ho celeb .. te. the oblation of bre. d,
. nd bring' in t he .ymbol of reou""",ion. Le' u. ' herefore .cknowledge
the craftine .. 01 'he Devil. who copies cenain thing. 01 t hose t hat be
Divine' . Tertullim quoted in Kingsland, W. Th. C"",j, jPh.ne. Pre ..
19J7L 99.
, Gibbon, E., The D<dme and Foil of tb. Roman f.mpire IPenguin Ct... .. ics i,
529 footnote 36. Gibbon rog..-deJ the forgery to h.ve taken pl. ce ' betwn
the time of Origen .nd that 0/ Iu",bim',
, &hwoitzer, A., Th. Oue" of lbe Hi' /Oliccll /osu'. quoted In Wih,on. I.,
The Evidence IHarper S. nFr.nciso 19971.37 .
Graham, P . The I<>u. Hoax Il .. lie Frewin 19741.
" J.me .on 01 Joseph brother of Je,u.'. The ossuary was not discovered by
.rchaeologi ... and i. 01 unknown proven.nce. Wit ne,,,", cl.im to have
NOTES TO rAGES 4 9-00
"",n it in the leru ... lem ant iquities market .. far hack a. the 1970. but it
wa. thon wit hout the second I"'n 01 t he iflO<ription ' brother of I<>u.' , The
br..,li Ant iquitie. Authority h .. d"dared it to be a hke, .. h., an ex!"'rt
in ancient Awnaic inscription . See: http://www.bibleinterp.com/.nicl ... /
Official]epon.htm
w"n., G. A., Did /<su, Exi,,' IPemb<rton PublIShing 19751, 20. See ,I..,
Stanton, G., Gospel Truth! IH. rperColhn, IW51, 13 1, where St Ollton reo
mark. t h .. ' Paul', f.ilur" to refer more frequently .nd .. gr,,"er length to
the ac tion. and teaching of I<>u. is bafilIng' .
w"ns, G. A., Did f.xml 1P0mb<rton Publi' hing Company 19751,
10_21.
1.12.
" Colos"ans 1. 25_28.
" Ga/a'ian> 3.26_29.
"
Romans 6.4_6,
" Roman< 6.6.
" Marcion compo>ed a .. ise lled the Anri,h"es, a iuxtapo. ition 01 Old
and New Test.ment "x" de.igned to prove t hat ' he ' /u" COO' 01 t he Old
Te"ament cannot pw,ibly be t h" 'Gcod God' of the Now.
" 'All who d"!,,,nd upon work, of the Law ar< und", a curse ', Galalians
3,6-11 . 'Christ redeemed u. from the cl1flle of the Ltw, Gala,ian< 3.13_14.
For P.ul, .. lor the Gno"ics, through ,h. ring m Christ', ,uffering and ro,ur
rection t h" Christian initiate can be redeemed from the Llw and set fr"" .
Paul writes, ' Now, having died, we are out of the purvi"w of the law that
kept u> down', Romans 7.6.
,
2 COlinrhi",,, 3.6.
" /o>eph and A>ene,h. the story oj' the conversion 01 an Egyptian girl to
ludai.m writt,," in the second or lirst century Be., i. con.idered by
Momigli.no to be the old"st Greek novel in <xistonce. Se" Momigliano, A.,
Alien W"dom, ,bid, 117. It w oxtremel)' popular among early Christi.,..,
"
condemned the low:.' unwillingne" to work on t he Sabba th, their
circumcision and t hoir dietary tabcos a, ,u!",,,tition. Th"y wer"
h . .. h .bout those law. th .. pre,'ented lew, ffOm associatmg with their
P.,;Oll neighbours or acknowledging t hoir gOO . See B"I,oon!P, Roman, and
AIi<n> IUnive"ity 01 North Carolina Pre .. 19801, 67. See ab" ApuL Flor 6;
Strabe> 16, 2, 35ff, 7Wi, Horace Sa, I, 4, 14-3. Plutarch, On SupelSwion. Apol.
loni'" Molon of Rhodes in the fi"t ""ntury c. lled the /"w, a,h",,] . nd
mi. antiuopoi. b<came 01 their way oIlile in the Gr""ks citie . H" claim'
tn.t t h"y are 'th" m",t stupid 01 tho ba rbariano' and hav" foiled to
NOTES TO r AGES 6o----<i4
'single invent ion which i. of any me for living'. The .. me ch>rg< i. made by
Apion, Josephus, Comm Ap;OIlem 2, 148 and IJ5, and Celsu, in Origon COIl
"a Ce1sus See Hengd, M., !ews, Club,@aB",hol;anl, ibid,go,
Cicero, Pm H,cco 28, 67.

Exodus 21 .24_26.
John 8.44.
Luk< IL5!,
See the discu .. ion of the extent of Gnost ici,m In tho E .. t in m, R. M.,
Dons,wC!mg !e.us IPromorheo. Books 20001, Uf!,
Quoted by uC<lrri"l< in La""rriere, J . The Cnos';".. ICity Light> 19891,
'00
Paget., E . The enost;c IRandom Hou.e 1979), 1!l_l21. Unlike
HipJ>Olytm and Iren.""., Tertullim wa, not beatifi ed, pre.um.bly became
he aJ>O ... t ed to Mon .. ni.m in 207 n . So< Gibbon. 10 . The f)edme ana Fall
01 the Roman limpm. ibid, 523, who!e Gibbon record. how .uter hi. apo>
... y Tertu]lian proceeded to attack the morals of t he church which he had
p!eviou.ly", resolut ely defended,
,
lrena.us, Adv",,,. HaOl"'''' l.L
M Second Treat; of 'he ereat Seth, 60, W, Robinson, J. M" The Nag Ham
mad, LihmlY lH.ar!"'.collin. paperb.ck ednion 19781, 362.
M lrenaeu., Advu." Haaos", Ll 1 .8.
Prof .. "", Wilhelm Wrede 11859_19061 of Br""hu Unive.-.ity ",as the first
to ,how that the , uPJ>OseJly 'primitive' goope] of Mark h. d undergone exton
,ive thrologic.t rewriting md editing In 1919 K.rl Ludwig Schmidt demo
onstrated that t he go,!",1 h.d """n composed from previousl)' existing
fragments and that t he conneoting li nk. between the .. WeIe the author'.
own invention .
.. Wil",n, L, Je.u. , ib,d, 36.
II For further informat ion on Mary Autho! 0/ 'he [oullh Gospel!
"'" the Web ,ne 01 Ramon K. Justino at www.beloveddiscip!e.org

130 Many Gnostic ",hoo!. were named aft er women, . uc h a. Helen, S.
lome, M.ry, Marcellin nd Marth . S"" Hoffmann, I., Cdw. on 'he Tru<
f)oclr;ne IOxford Univo"ity Pre .. 19871, 42, whor< the outhol ob",rve. that
'Ono cannot but be improssed by the number of womon_founded sects
known to Cel,u,'.
Wilson, L, Josu" ibid, 39.
M ludemann. G., Hewi<;sISCM Pre .. 19951, 196.lren ..... tr.ce 11 horesies
from Simon M.a,;u. md quot .. Acts to ,how that t he herNic had """n amply
repudiated hy Peter. just in r<peatedly ment ion. Simon Magu. but .trangely
make. no to Acts. Ludemann .... ,," th .. tho r.,...,n for Acts' .ud_
don appearanco betweon Justin and Ironao", i. 'self_ovident'. Tho Gemun
theologian Ham .. n Campeniuusen ... tes, 'We 00 not find testimony to
the Act. of the Aprut!" befo", Ironao",', quot ed in Ludemann, G. Hemic.
ISCM Pro .. 19951, 3J5_ Harnack' . view i. insightful : 'Ac" i. tho key to t ho
undorstanding 01 the c .. holic canon and at the . amo Umo .how. its "nov_
elty" '. Tertulli.on him",1f admits that AclS w .. rejected by the ' here"",' .
& Wolf., G_ A., Did ,",us Exist 1 !pemberton Publ .. hing J9751, J41. Tho
twoh-e are mentionod in t ho opening chapte .. of Ac". In chaptor 9 we hear
they are th< loaders of tho jerusalom church. By chapt er 15 they are .har_
ing t his lo.do..nir with t ho '.Ider.', and from chapter 16 onward. wo hoar
no moro of t hom, and t ho jeru",l<m church i. run by jamo. and t ho
'elders' ,
,- Acts 1.21f. See Ludemann, C" Hemics, ibId, 104 .

Act.' account of r aul', vi.it to Jru .. lom contradicts the testimony 01 Paul
in hi. uttI 10 lh. Galaliclns. According t o Acts, . fter hi. vis.ionary oxperi_
enco on tho road to Dam.a><us, Paul i. told to ",ok out a disciple "",lied Ana_
ni .. in Dama><u. who will t oll him what to do lAc" 9.101. He then goes to
jerm..lem whoro B.rnab .. int roduO. him to the Apostlo.IAclS 9.171_ In t ho
templo at )oru .. lem ho experioncS a ""cond vis.ion of Jesu. and recoives hi.
vocation to p",ach to tho c.,ntiJ", IAct. 22, 17_2 11, Yet t his i. quit o dlfferont
from Paul', own account, in whIch ho m.ke. no mention 01 Anani and
claim. he wont t o Arabia . nd had nothing to 00 wit h Christian. in
leru .. lem for t hree .. altor hi. conversion experience IGolalian<
US_HI . Ho o,-en omphot ically writ., 'What I write is pl.in t ruth; beforo
God l am not lying' . So who i. lying'
M /ohn J_42. lSu, doe. not givo any of th. other disciples nicknamo., and
doe'n' t explain why ho has dono this to SImon. But oven moro inexplic.bly,
having gono to .ll tho bother 01 ronaming him a. Copha., he i. n<vor reforred
to in th .. way again.
ti See Well., C. A., Did ,us Exi,/! , ibid, 124ff. A> Well. not<., 'Thoro i.
nothing in Pa ul'. lotto .. to .upport tho vi<w that the Ceph .. h< mont ions
had the . nd connection with le.u. alleged of r etor in t ho gospel.' .
" Seo rag.!., E., The Cnoslic PaullTrinity rre .. lnt ornat ionaI19751, 104.
m Pagel. not .. th .. Iron.oo u ikingly opens hi . t reat i .. c!.aiming ' t ho _po>_
tlo' ut hortty to orpo'" th< Gno"ic. _by cit ing both Timothy m d Tiw.',
Pagol ., E_, The Gnoslic Paul, ibid, 5. Tertullian admits th .. the heretic.
dared to impugn tho validity oi tho l""orab but in,i". that t ho '",mo raul'
who ",rot< Ga!atiaU! aloo wrote Tiw,_
NOTES TO rAGE< 71- 73
j Timothy 6.W. Aots . nd the I"'"or.t. were reiect ed by t ho Gnostic !>ur
cion, See Liidemann, G., Her"tic.. i bid, 196.
j Timo'hy6.13.
Irenaeu dmits that t he Gnost ic te.cher Marco. h.d . ttract ed ' many 1>1
i.h women', including the wile 01 one 01 hi, deacon" but cl.im. that th ..
w bec.u"" Marcos w., Ji.holic.lly clever ..ducer. However, hu later
.dmi .. ion th .. tho Morc",ian. wouhippe<! t he leminine element of the di
vine bemg, 'She who is belore . ll thiop', . nd encour:aged women to proph.
esy and act priest. must surely be tho re.1 re.:!OlI , lrmacu" Adv ...
Ha<fou . U3.5, U 3.1_2 nd Hippolytu., R<f!Jta'ioni, Omniom Ho"e_
.iom 6.35. See Pagel" I ., The Grn",ic Gospel. IR.ndom House 19791, W .
Tenulli an writes,""The very women 01 these heretics, how w. nton they are'
For they are hold enough to te.ch, to di.pute, to enact exorci, m to un
deruke cures.-it m.)" be oven t o baptise ' , Tenulhan, De
Ha<f<siWlum, 41.
.! Timo'hy2:1l_ 12.
' " The I""toralletters. 2 Th",.a)oman., 3 C01inthianJ . nd ot her documonts
were lorged to relute .pecifi c Gnostic/p.uline doctrine> in t he ."",tle'. own
name. See liidemann, G . Hewie<, ibid, 201.
2 lohn '-

A I.ct observed a. long ago .. 169"9 h)' the lead",. of the o<,st movement In
England, fohn Toland, who wrote, ' There i. not . si ngle b>x 01 the New
Test.ment not ",Iused by ",me of t he ancient writers . , bei ng unlustly
. tt ribut ed to t he . "",tlcs .nd . , . ctu.lly lorged by their adyersari"'. S""
Metoger, B. M., Th< Canon of the New T,stament IOxlord University Pre ...
1987J. 13.
Malachi 3.25.
" Tertullian, De Pra<>crip'ione Hoe1<.irorum, ch.pter I ,
Lme Fox R., Pagan. and Ch"stiam iPenguin Book, 19861, 439.
P.gels, E., The Gno, ';c Gospel , bid, 106. Those who . ", enthu,i.stic to
be man yrs are the 'Iooli ,h' who si mply,. )" the word. 'we are Christi.n.' yet
who 00 not know ... ho Christ u'. They are 'empt)' martyrs, , ince they bear
witne .. onl)" to them",lves'. Theirs will be only . hum.n death' . nd will
not load to t he .. lvation which thoy expect . lOT ' t hese matters are not settled
in t his w.y' and ' tho)" do not hove Word whi ch giv .. Me',
of Pu" 78,l _2.
M Turc.a n. R .. of the Roman limpire IBlackwell Publi.he" 19921, 126,
quoting Iunapim. Jj,." 01 'he Soph"".
Fideler, D., lew. Christ. Sun of God 100e .. Book. 19931, 180. St . Augu .
NOTES TO rAGE< 73- 79
tine likewi .. "at ed, 'I would not beli,,'e the Go,!",1 if the authorit y 01 the
Catholic church did not com!",1 me'. See Ibid 3W.
5: Muhammad; f rom Mystic to Mobster
'Our'an Sura 2 The Cow ver .. 79.
, Anmtrong. K., IsJ"m: A Shon HJSlory IModern Lib .. ry lOOOJ, 15 .
. Von Harnack defined blam .. '. " an.IOImation on Arab >oil 01 jow"h re_
ligion tft.t had it",lf beon tr,m.formed hy Cn"'tic lud.eo-Christianity' ,
Adolf von H.rn.ck, Dogmengcschichl< I 1.537, quoted in Corbin, H., Cyc!i.
<al Time and Ism"ilJ Gnosis [Kegm r.ul lnt ematlOna] 19831,66.
' Our'.n Sura 4 verse. 156_15.
' The lleft." ... s wore jowi,h Gnostic. ';mil., to the Ibionit .. , They in
'''t ed on circumcision and """'rvod the s.bhath but also practiced bapti,m.
Ono of t he most famous Gn"'tics 01 . 11 time, Manl, was born amongst the
Aramalc.speaking >t in Mesopotaml' in 216 CE. Tho Church fat her
Epiphanim test ifies that tho followe .. 01 Etch ... i"" still existed in the h nd
of the M.,.bites and the Nabat.ean, in tho fifth cent urY. Therefore, a cen
tury before the birt h 01 Muh.mmad thero wore Gnosti c lud.oo-Chri"iam
ilOUIi,hlng m t he land 01 t he N. hate.o. ns, where Muhammad was born.
Armstrong, K" A H",O<)' 01 Cod IAlfred A. Koopl 19931, 184, Armstrong, K,
Islam, Ibid, 14.
, Peli"n, I. I..!I, The Our"n IPrincoton Uni,'e.-.ity Pro .. 1988.I . iv,
Sur. 96 The Clot , , hould be.t t he beginning.
Ruthven, M., Fundom,ntaii,m: T h ~ Search to< Mooning IOxford Univer
,uy Pre .. 20041, 81.
~ Shaikh, A" Faith "nd Dec.!"ion!The PrincIpality Publ"hor, 19961, 65.
" c
Sur. 2 Tne Cow 2.
" Sur.l The Cow I , Hence English " an,lations 01 tho Our'an le.ve the un
translatablo ph,..., untnmslated.
" Su .. 4 The Women 81,
"See Manii's common" ahout t hi' in MIDii, 1, The Trouble with Islam: A
Wake.up Call lot Hone"y onJ Change iSt . M.nin'. Pre .. 20041, 45.
" Sur. 16 The Bee. lOl ,
Sur. 2 The Cow 106.
"Su," 1 I 1 Abu Loh.b 1_5.
" Hadith Sahih Bokh:ui voL 4. Jame Tirmzi vol . 2,
" Su .. 3 The Family dlmran l !O.
~ Sur. 4J Ornamonts 01 Gold 1_4.
NOTES TO rAGE< 79---90
.. H.dit h 5751 Mi,hk.:n vol 3. s.,., Sh.ikh, A_, i , lam: Tho Arab imp",;oilsm
(The Principalit y Puhlishers 19981, 113.
Ibid, 9-1 .
.. Sur. 8 Tho Spoils 69.

Sura .JJ The Allied T.-o:>ps 50_
Hadith 5>00 Mi.hbt vol. 3.
" Our tha nk. to ilonj.omin liu, prole.oor of Medieval Spani . h at the Univer_
sity 01 Conn<ct icut , lor t his pi",. of iol",mation.
Sur. 42 The Con.ultat ion 13_
M Sur. 2 The Cow 12 L
Sur. 2 The Cow 256_
.. Sura 3 Tho family of lmr.n 19_
Sur. 48 Victory 28 .
.. Cmle30. The Cow 75.
Sur. 22 The Pilgrimage 28, .nd " ,,, Sur. 3 The family 01 Im,.n 67.
Shaikh, A . FOHh and D<p';Oll lTho Principality Publishers 19961, 138.
J. me Tirmoi yol . 2. Sh.ikh, A., Islam. ibid, 19981.93_94.
" Sur. 4 The Women 51_SJ
Sura 2 Tho Cow 141_1 43.
M Bokhari 147 voL L
D Suu 9 R"I"'nunce 17 .
.. Sur. 8 Tho Spoil. 55.
n Sur. 9 R"I"'nunce 29.
Sur. 9 R"I"'nu nce 123.

Sura 48 Vi ctory 29_
Sur. 5 Tho "" .. , 57_
Sur. 9 R"I"'nu nco 23.
" Suu 58 The [)i'pulan, 21_
Sura 8 Tho Spoil. 65.
H.di,h 4363.
DHadi' h 4366. See Shaikh A, Islam. ibid, 140_
.. Hadi' h 4364. See ibid, 96_
D Sur. 5 Tho "" .. , .JJ_
' Now one can see t hat it i. t he ha.ie princIple of ls1.m t hat t he Muslim.
rem.in merciful to one mother . nd ClUe! to t ho non_Muslim . )t i doc_
trino of extromo social conflict, and yet Muhammad cl.im. to be t ho Am_
b .... dor of Mercy to the wholo of mankind" Shaikh, A., Fa;!h ond
D.cep!Jon. ihid, 19961, %_
NOTES TO rAGES 9D--<J7
Ibid, 94,
Ali, T., The Clclsh of Fund"rnornarnrns: Cruwd", /ibads and Mod"ni'y
IVerso !OOll, 163,
Sur .lJ Tho Allied Tro:>ps 36 .
.. Sh.ikh, A., l,lam, ibid, 72.
Sur. 82 Tho Splitting 19.
Sur. 3 The Familyof lmr.n 77.
Sur. 98 Tho Cleor ProoI6.

Su," 4 The Women 56.
Sur. 22 The Pilgrinuge 19_22.
Su,. 14 Ab .. ham 16_17,
Sur. 8 The Spoil. 24,
Sur. B..l The Defr.uden 20-15.
Sur. 78 The Announcement 31_.l4.
' " Hadith Tirmzi vol . 235--40.
H.dith Mi.hk.>t vol. 3 B..l_97.
H.dith Tirmzi vol . 2 138. Sa Shaikh, A., Faith and Decop'ion, ibid, SO.
H.dith 6390, see ibid, 89.
" Hadith4621 .
., Sur. 39 The Sm. ll Group. 36--37.
" Sur. 6 The C.nle 125.
"'The last hour would not come unle .. t he Mu.lims fought and ki lled t he
Jews'. H..Jith 6985,
" Sh.ikh, A., l,lam. ibid, 142_145.
Su,. .lJ The Allied Troops 1 L
'" M.nii, 1., Troubl, wi,h Islam, ibid, 58.
6: The Dre.m of Awakening
'Ibid, 162.
, Ali, T, Th, Clash of Fundarnernali.rns, ibid, 324.
of Th,odo'u, 35. See Foer"or. W, Gno.i.: A Seloction of Gnoaie
Tex," ICwendon Press 19n1, 222_2.l..l.
' [jmtein. A., The WOJ"ld as I Sa It IPhilosophic.llr brary 19491, 24_28,
' Kirk . nd Ih von, Th, P,esoc,mic Philosoph,,, ICambridge Un;""it y P", ..
19571, 168. In Phaedrus 243, Plato hints t hat Hamor's blindness wa. a pun
i,hment for hi. heresy in m.king up . uch myth .
Kirk and Roven, The P,<>ocra!ic Philo,opb,fS, ibid, 168_169.
, Ibid, 179.
NOTE' TO PAGlS 98-1 14
'"
Pagels, E" Adam, Eve. and ,h. Serl"n! iRmoom Home 19881, 124.
See Fleh and Gandy, The Helmo,,<a IPi>tko. Ilooks 19971, 12,
l>Iaalool, A., The CruuuJ" TIuougn Arab Eye. IAI S"Ii Books 19841. 54.
" Armstrong. K., Islam, ,b,d, 47.
"
Ibid,59.
" lbid,88.
" Copernioos, De R<volu,iombu. Orb;um Coel",;um, qoote. Aorro. 1lI 13,
1_3, the heliocentric thooT}' 01 the Pythagoreans PhiloLru., He,.dide. and
E<prurntu . See Gothne WKC, H;"orr of Gr<, k Philo,ophy
Universit y Pre .. 19621, 327.
"
,,,,hua 12_13.
Carl Jung. Col/ud IVOlh 2,148.
,- Th. rua';,. OIl 'he R<sull,;on NHG. Robinson, J. M., The Nag Ham_
mad, Lib,",},. ibid,->4.
" Theodotus, Ezcup'a OJ( ThooJo' o, 57. See Foe,,'.r, W" Gn",;., ibid,
212_1.H
NOTIS TO PAGE< I I \ -11>
Suggested Further Reading
j udais m
Davie" P. R_, In Sedrch of 'Ancient Israel', Sheffield Academic I'r"",
1991
Finke!.tein, I. , and Si lberman, N. A., The Bible Unearthed: Archae-
ology'. New Vision and the Origin of it. Sacred Texts, Free
Pre .. , 2001
Sturgi., M ., It Ain't Necessarily So: Im'eshgating the Truth of the
Biblical Past. He.dline, 2001
Thompson, T. L, Early His tory of the Israelite People: From the
Written dnd Archdeological Sources, Brill, 1991
___ , The Bible in History: How Writers Create d Past, I' imlico,
"W
ChmllanilY
Doherty, E., The Jesus Puule: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythi -
cal Christ!, Can.dian Humanist Pre , 1999
heke, T , and Gandy, 1'_, The Jesus Mysteries: Was the Original/esns
a Pagan Cod! , Harmony Boob, 1999
Jesus and the Losl GOOde,,: The Secre! Teachings of the Original
Christians , Harmony Boob, 2001
Price, R. M., The Incredible Shrinking SOli of Man: How Reliable Is
the Gospel Tradition!. Prometheus !looks, 2003
RobinooD, L M., The Nag Hammadi Library. H'Iper&mFranci.co
I"'p"rback, 1978
Well., G. A., Did I/!Sus Exist!. Prometheus, 1986
:
==' The 'esus Legend, Open Court, 19%
. The '.sus Myth, Open Court, 1999
hlam
Arm5trong, K . Islam: A Short Hi sIOf}', Modern Library, 2000
M.nii, I., The Trouble with Islam: A Wake-up Call for Honesly and
Change. Main .. ...,am Publishing, 2004
Shaikh, A_. Faith and Decep!;on, The Principality Publishers,
1',0. Box 9 18, Canliff, UK CF5 IN, 1"'96.
___ , Islam: The Arab Imperialism. The Principality Publishers,
1',0. Box 9 18, Canliff, UK CFS 2N, 1"'98.
GnmllC Scient i5ts
Wilber, K. led.1, Quantum Quesrions: Mystical Writings of the
world', Greal Physicists. Shambh.l., 1984
SUGGOSTW FUUHU UADING
Index
Ab,m.m, 11, 1;""16, H, J7, 41, 46,
;0, 1!3, 93-_94
Aw of the Aposl1<s, The. 71 _73
Adorn, 15, 16,17, 41
Aloxancln. 114-15 116
Al1.1, 10, 21, 97_101,
104 109 191
Alliance far iucid Liying IALl!, 235
Aw,,.rin./.ppeamt<e, lJ.!-J6 13j
141, f.!6, 149, 1M, 167, 171, I 2,
174215 2J4
"'"I, Sci,89'_l'O 94 109
Archoeolog);. 4-5, ilil , JJ, 47, 48,
62,68,09,70
Ark 01 the Covo,,",n' , J l , 45-46
76,
99_100, 01,103, It",
At hens, llJ-14 116
Attachment , 15'2, 154, 1M, 180
Awakening
coU",,"v<, 144, 185, 21 7
., =mi, ,dig;"", f""ling, 192
.. di>covory of unborn" ... , lJr--Jll
"""m 01, l 05-lJ
,rup, joru 0/" 11l_20
ExOdu, as allegory 01, 53
and game of lifo, II!3-SS
gIlO,,".' ,10,. <ii, 85, lJO, 159-60,
172
. nd h.ret icn heriuge, 111_20
. nd Louohin! I.",. W, 158-60
1M, 1'62, 6.3, 16i..65, 166, 167
and 10'-0. 3, 151, 15;;\ 154,
1>6, 111, 11"-"", 184, 2UL, 211,
211,213
and new Goos,ic ren.ai".nce,
120-13
to on",,,,,, 3-4, 5, S, 110, 161, 165,
166,172-76, 17S, IS2, 106,
m
philooophiati workout lor,
anJ pLUJ""< oflil., 144
anJ rdipow insanit y 107_1 1
anJ'pint""lity, IS7,
199,201, lOJ,"()5
t<x" of original Chri"i.n. about,
'-'
in twenty_first
anJ w. y to awahn, I7IJ-.S5
Su 01.0 specific "'ric
Awa",no"
anJ .wahnin!;, 3, 137, In, 171,
lU, 118, 181
emptin""oI, IJ6-Jjj, 141, 159, 164,
'"
.... n';.1 nature n, IJ5.-J9,
1./6, 147, ISO, I",
anJ hlrE;" 133-41
knowl. 01 1.l4-J5
anJ h ing bu., 159-60, 161,
16.3, 1&1
mJ loye, 141, 151, 15.1,16.3,178,
181, m
m.,.,tery 01, 230, 234
Awaron ... (amt.i
on"" ... 01, J, 8, '46-4i
ISO, 15.3, 159--60, l72, J 4,
197, 199,2)[
and phd""",hic.ol ",,,,kout, 221-J I,
'M
. nd seionco, 190-91
. nd ,,,If-koowl<tl.oe 13J-J.4
. nd .pirituality. 199
S<e al,u sp<dfic tDpic
Ilaghd.d l IS-IS
llel,,& 138, 141 178-&3
Bible 15,17,199,201
as hi>toric.al <locum"", Of myt h, 17,
28 31,3J
"Hoi
y
: 74.-75
inron,i"ellCie. in, n, n , ll!, 107
01 22, 79
and hbm/Mu\;:;mrruld, 84, 93,
,ru
. nd monOlhei,m, .\6
and name> lor God, .\.t
P"'l'hcri" in, 19_20
. nd scionce and religion, 119_20
tr.n,Lnion mto oommon tong ... 01,
"
Truth, n
., truth n ,D
.. Wo;J 0/ God, 2:;, 28, 30, 31, 34,
79, 93-94
Sr. abo N,,,, Te,ument, Old
Toot.ment
BigBo .. ,lYi_lOl
Big Ide.., 1.06-18
Buddhi,m, 115, 138, 160, 164, 203
C"holic Chuf<h, 4, 13, 14, ]i, 21,21,
67,68,75, SO, 119, 110. Sa" ro
Cliri"i m li,.,.li.m
Cenain'r,"\ 193-94, 217
Choice, 1, 73, 174-75
Chri" ian fuoo.menul i,m, 15, 16, 11,
19_20, IOJ, 109, 1ltl
Chri"i.on 75, 110, 81, 118,
141, 15I!, 1M, I / U,2ltl
and I u ... h"turical figur< OJ
myth, 63, liS, 71 _11
. 00 I<w" 65-&
Li""hsu' rivalry with, 6/, 68,
76-77,7&-79
. ru1 r.go"', 57-58, 68
persut ion 01, 7&-79
porul"'ty 01, 67
. pre. dol,67.:.tiS
Christian Lit m li.m,l l , 21, 110,
85 IQ.I, 130 20
.nu t ibl., 74, 75; 79
.s fa""tici"" 7f>-77
Gnostic. ri .. !,.,. with, 67, 68, 76-77,
7&-79
."u ] .. u, .. histOOo.l '"
myth, 60, 61, 1_72
anu laughing j u.) 10/-58
.nu
minor cult, ",,-,>7
.nu Popn., 57-58, 10I!-9
roul .. inspi"tiOIl !oJ, 51
persecution 01 rival. by, 7&-79
.nu rdigiow ins>nit l'. 108_9
anu ROlIl.ln Empire, 76, 77_78
T. n.kh .oooted by, 7;
triumph 01, 79
See alro Catholic Chuf<h
Christianit y, 7, 13-14, 22, 46, 10.l
.uth.ntic m .... geol, 159, 160
.s distorted,
clivi. ioru within, 57-58, 78
[ u .. biu.' hi>tory 01, 78
foond."oI, n
Gnostic . ynthffi, 01 r.gani.m
. ndjudai.m,81
md C"",I:_lewish relotionship, J8-J9
.nu 90,
91_9" oM, 100
.nu ]0,,,, .. or
myth,5WI
.nu ]ow. , M, 91-95
originalj .,ly 3--5, M, 108, 138,
158,159, 1 70, 197
origin. 01,
of Christian. , 76,
trmdormation in, 66
Sn also c .. holic Chuf<h, Christian
funu.m.ntali.m_ Christian
CnOllt ici.m, Ch"stim Literali.m,
spific topic
Communing. 141, 200, 234
Communion, 57, 58, 180, 221
Comp ... ion, 17_1 8, 144
.nd.w.hnin!:. 180, 181, 182
mu Big Ide. , 211, 212" 217
mu laughing je.u., 10 7--'>l!, 100
.nu 1o, .. , 154, 180, 181, 2O.l, 211,
212
I NDEX
. nd phil""",hical workout, 121,
212 2ll!
S<e aj,o Lo .. , big
Com pet it;"" pl.u.ihili!J:. 00-<11
Connecti"!,1.lO, 234, LiS
Contemplation e.orcUe"p.6-27
Cr ... tion "ory, 191!-".,.
115
D. vid [lOin&!, 27, 3()...JJ. 40, 44,
SO-51, 75, ""
0.,,1, 132, 137-38, "'j
1011-6 ,16J-65,16 ,17 ,m;
Un;re, dilemm. 01,152
Devil, 11_1 5" 48,S -5lI,64
Doub, 19J-y4 17
Dre,";, Su Lil.-dre.m
eklu", Me;"", lO!, IJ7, 140, 172
Em>', 9, J,j,JT, 41,44, 4"
46,52--'>J 55 11 4_1 5, 11
Emot ion Sa abo fedinp
End.ark<nment. 149, ISO l SI
Enlivonment, 149_' 1, 160, 210, I II
EMen,i.1 no'ur.
and . w. hnin);,J,IIiO, 171 , lU
175,116, I TS, 180, 181, 181, ISS
... w.ren ... , 136, 137--.39, Wi,
147, ISO, 109...00, 164
and deoth, 159-60, 164
. nd m livOtlment, 149, ISO, lSI
. nd hir-goosi. 135-.39 141-44
and uug/ling le,u" 1st...61, 164, 165
and law, 202
. nd 141, 155, 178, 180, 181,
185, ml, 2 I
and perfect pe<JFle, lO.l
. nd pronoio, 165
. nd pUlJlOse 01 iii"
and re. lity, 1.\6-5 , 15'
and .piritu.lity, 193,200,202, 2O.l
and ... nscenJenc< ond
... ,.,!format ion, 175, 176
s". al.o l_pe"pectiYe
Ethnic clean.ing. 15,40, %
Evil, 191' }j})
Exodu" 18, 52--5J, 64
Faith, l OS, ll O, 121, I 3O-JI, 165, 1%
I'<.r, 100, 155,158, 16.l--67, 1l 8
m lmggOOd, 4J-4.t,153, 54,167
m linp;s, 13W5, 1>4--55, 169, ISlO,
195,125
florence, 118-20
free_thinking. 5, 1i!6, 195-97, 198
fre. willjchuice, In, 173
funu.rn,nuli.m, ll, 15-22, 51,
109_1 1, 1i!6, s". al,o Cnri"i. n
funw.mentali,rn, burnie
funw.mentali,rn, I.wi,),
funw.mentali>rn
c.n<sis 28 4J .;6 5l--5J 198
15, 40, 51, %,
20J 20
G no>isjt"""t iei.m
ch".cteri"ie. 01, 5, I ll, 121_13,
127_29
as run'pi",cy, 68
ddinitionol, 5, lJO
hip-, 127--44
.s knowing. 133
""J laughing Je.us, 159--M, 16I
onJ l ite .. li.m, 3-9, 53
.s lucid Ii>ing experienc<, 129
."J p<""cution of Gnostic. , II I
. nJ phil"",!,hical workout, 225,
216
prepHatiQn lor, 172
retui ... n 01, 110-23, 186
",J .!88-93,
195-%, 199_lW, m2
."J tn" 01 original Christi",., 4-5
w.y 01 t .... !ling,
Su 0],0 Aw. kening; Chri>tiOll
Gn"' tici.m, h bmic Gn"' t ici.m,
lewi,h Gn ... tic i,rn, r . g;on
Gn"' t ici.m,! 'P"Cifk lOpic
God, 7, 9, 12, 9", 101
AI.", .. prciemdP""l'le 01, 1'0, 94
. nJ .w.hning, 176, 178
.sBi
g
llo", 197_201
cannib., n
chm""lling. 85-S9
.. comedi.n, 21S
48--49
.. iJoJ, lW
irnperwnal conception 01 200
blam .. tru< religiOltol,!h
.nJ Ie" .. , .. chosen people, '1'2, 94
lew, .. cur...! by, 1(\3
.n" lau.ohing Josu., 157--58
.s lile-Jr..mer, 199
Muru.,,!IruIJ'. reut ion,),ip with, 83,
84, 85-S9, 90, 91, 94, 9" 99_100,
'"
I NDEX
Cod (cont!
.. mY'riou. """ITO 01 . 11, 197
""mes for, 43, 44, 46-47
omnipotence 01, 16.!l!l, 197_201
pe,,,,m.I,m'ge 01, lW
",If .. , 176
. nd .pirituality without religion,
189, 197_201
,urrender'o will 01, 10, 8.3, 91
.",Ii,i"",,) image. of, 197_201
.Hrue"] " 140
55-58,6..1,64,66, n, 110
"Good" IIOOk 49_5
,
C""pe)', 80, 171, 201_2, 205, 209, 211
Cre.k., 34-39, 40[ 4 .5i-56,
603, 1l3_h, I 6, 17, I I
Harred, 101-4, 110, 208
H .. 55, >6, n, &3, 100-101,
] '-'4, 147, lou, 164, 19",
m
Hell, 100-101, 157--58, 160, l &l
HOTeti<., 13-15, Il l_10, 217_1 8
HolOC;1W!1 161, 199
Holy wor, 'I.I.mic,
Homose.uality. 15, 16, 101, 198, 21 6
J-p""'p"cti .. , 134-.35,
j .j(), 141 171, 191, 2w
163 174 205 212
Indiflmnc<, ]ti, 152, 16J, 180
Inqui. ition, 13-14
Int uition, 19, 1%-97
611, 69, 70, 71 , 72, 73, 14, n
hh m
. nd . w. hning to on"" ... , 8
beginning 01, 52, 83
md Chri"ionitl " I \lQ,!2_95, 100
. nd He. yen an He I, 1w.-lOl
",d heret ical heriug" 11>--18, 119
",d homo><xu.litl' 101
",d lnqui,ition, I
md ,eru .. l,m, 94-95
. nd 'ew' /ludmm, 90, 92_95,
' 00
. nd love or law, 201
meming of term, 83, 91
Muhomm.d .. .. her of, 89_92
" new roligion,-'9J
.. on, true religion, 83, 91
.. personalit y ,wt, 98
>acrru ",ripture. of, 8
><curiani . m in, l'O
, pre.uo! 7
umm.a ri, 89,1'0, 91
. nd ,;ol.l><e 7, 10, 90-91,
wom,n in[ 85, 81[ 91, IO! , 118, 201
Me also A !.hi ham"
fundam.ntali,m, hlamlc
Gno>t ici.m
i
h lami' Literali.m,
Muhom""u, Our'. n
I,lami' Fundamon .. h,m, 12, 15, 17,
1Il- 19, IUl, 10,1, 118
I,lami' Cno>tim m, 83, 88
I,lami' li .. " limt, II_II
]" .. 1, I I, 15-16, 27, 30, J I, J 2-JJ, 40,
48, 65, IUl, 16l
It-pe'''.P''cti .. , 134-..l5, 136, 141, 161,
l7l, 191, 191
Toru,alem, IJ, 72, 108
Abr. h..m in, 8.3
",d Chri"i.n., IUl
""rivation QI ",me, .lJ
"""ruction 01, 59, 65
1i>l0')'of, n, 32-36, 38, 39, U-45,
"
and I,lam/Muh.mm.ad, 8.3, 85,
94_95, IOI -J
ond 10."', 53, 59, 60, 67, 83
.nd Tow., Iw
in moJ.m t ime" IUl
M""" in, 8.3
" _founding 01, 6/
temple in 27 39 41---43 45 65
Toou ' , II , SO, I (0, {18, 1M, 137, 209
onu.w.kening,1 78,181
birth of, 54, 10, 81
"""h . nd ""urrt'Ct ion 01, 55, 58,
80, 81, 85, 108-9, 130,
151---5
di5CipJe. 01, ,54
geoocidal, "', 65
gentle, 64
.nd coo. 104
"Godm. n 56---58
" 1i"oric. 1 or myth, 5+-SI,
106, 160, 20.3
inoon.i"enci .. in .. yin!>, 01, 106
.. invi.ible man, 58-60
ond ],lamIMuh.mm.ad, 8.3, 84, 85,
92,98, 04
in 59, 83
loohu. ", M--<
.nd 1o, .. , 64, 178, 181, 101_1, 211
.. "man 01 .,>no,", :
I NDEX
mi"cI .. 01, 54-55,58, 6l, 81
as p<riect pe, >on, (13 2""
,imiL"i,i .. be, w""n J>.".., myth.
and "my 01, 55-58, 61-61, 66.-li7,
W
. nd 197,201_2
s". abo laughmg r.,u" ,_ific
lOp"
jewi.h funJ..men,. li,m, 15-16, 17,
20, W
jewi.h C"",'ioj,m, 51-5.3, 63, 64,
'"
lewi.h Litor:li i,m, I I, 61, 64-65, 108,
'"
Jew. / judaism
ana Ar,b.jPal."ini<ln,. 50.-51
' Hho.en p""plo 01 God, 92, 94
. nd Chri" .. mty, 15, 56, 64, 65-66,
67,81,92_95
H cu...obyGod Jill
in !riJI1, 7, 211,29, Jl-J4, Jr,
41; 44, 4', "',5
and C"",b, J W 9, 40, 4;, >16, 47,
"
Iu, reJ 01, 64
and h.""ic.1 henus" 115,
hi"ory of, 25-J.3, J6-41
. nd biomIMuh.m!1l<ld, 84, 85, 90,
91-95 96-97, IOJ
. ",1 laughing I.,us, 161
. nd Li" " li.m, 65
. nd M",,;.h,, 65}6/
. , monoth<i>" 6-48
.. my""Y religion, 6J
. nd myth" 3l-J4, '1, 63, 65, J 15
. nd r .g.ru.m 8J
per>ut ;on/piundering ,':'!, 7,'"
1.f-J5, 26, 63,.65, '10,_9
. nd .. uevi1', gr"""
1Ch;ev,mont, 13, 14-15
",tum to I",el 01, 32-J.j, IOJ, 161
and ROl1l<l n" 40, 45,M,"
.. crftl:l<ripture.oI 8, I, 2
. nd .pirituality withOOt religion,
'"'
S.e Ql.o lewi,h fundam,nuli.m,
),wi4 Coo>ticiom, )ewi.h
Literali.m T.nakh, .p<cific topic
John, 6I!-71, 74, 158
loon, 14,69, 70 71 n 73
)ooephu., 3" 36, 3t, 40, 47 -:4f!.)9, 60
J<nh i2i?6, 29, 40, 44, 52, 6L-<>:J, 80,
KnowinUlmowl.d.oe 129--.J5 Wi
141,167, 182,1i13, 19.j, i96, i97,
213,216-17
The udder to the Sou",. ex""i .. ,
215
uughing )"u.
.nd Eig Ide. , 218
",d de .. h, 163---M
. nd pronoi., 164---t;7
''''0'"' for, 9

,ul'P", .. ion 01 im>g< 01, 4
.. ,ymbo] 01 J-5
.. ,ymboJ 01 JIIlO' i" 16_
",d w. king the de"'. 159--60
l,w,64 201--3
uw. n.,u"" 189_90
l iJ.
.. e'p" ""ion 01 .Jured n.,u", 21 1
g:tme 01, 18J--1J5
.. oood, 164-$, 167
",J lau.ohing I.,u" 158, 160,
164-65, 167
love"" ISS, 160, IN
mrst"! 01, 110, 131--33, 145--46,
171,94,200--20I , 2lli,118
purpo>< 01, 143-44, 171, 18.1
themi ... bout IS0--93
Su also Life .dr"m, topic
l iJ. _dre.m
and .w.kening. 3, H2, Hl _76, 180,
l SI, 18J--1J4, 1 5, 214
ond .w.re""", 13 , 138, 139
.nd oIlue 18.l--I!4
",d hiP-SOO.i . , 128-19, 131, 137---44
",d laughin\ ).,u" IS , 160-66
.nd lo, .. , 14 , 180, 181, 184, 185,
21 0, 21 1
. nd loving being hurrum, 151--54,
156 16.3
.nd me"phm, U;'II
",d onen"", 3, 173, 174
",d philO>Ophlc.J wo,kout, 227,

and pulP=' oIlile I4J-.I4
. nd , <.lity, 146-54, 156
,,,u,,,. 01, 139
.nd'pi, i,,,,lity, 190, 192-97, 199,
'00, 2OJ, 205
Su a ro ,pocific 'opic
l i>toni"!; with love ex<",i .. , 219,
lll--32
I NDEX
".
Li,.,.li.m
,h .. " ."OI;>I; 0/, 5
dedineo/, 187
definition 01, 5
divi .. ",,,,, .. in, lJ
1 .. ,."00101,100
. nn Cn",,';c .pirit u.lity, 3-9, 53
as niy,.tmm, 13
.. th", .. to world "".co, 12
S .. al.o elri,,;'" l itef2l;"",
!slamie Ljt.Wi,m, j"wi.h
Liter,li.m_ tDpic
looking wit h love exorcise, 219
W"'
bemg, 1711-<13
big, 141-42, 147, ]50, 158, 160, 1M,
162, 164, 182, 184, 211, 217, 216,
WI, 219, 231
. od <leoth, 160, ' "
01 ""emi .. , IS
.on .... ntial tLi!""'. 141, 155, 178,
180, l SI 185, 2(11, 211
,reise t.ou'<..1:l8, 229, 2.l 1-Jl
J.llmg out
. nn lobm, 2ul
and le.u" 64, 17S, 181, 201_1, III
and lew. 20
. on lau;!.;n! I.,u" 158, 160, 161,
162, FM, 66
or I.w, 201-3
011;le,3, 158,160, 179
]i>t,ning wit", 219 231-31
and living In Jove, 147, 111, IS2-&),
184, 213
. on loving being, 17!l-&l
, 00 loving being hurn.n, 151--56
ofthemom.nt, ITI,IN, 184
md one""", J, 5, 8, 202, 20J
01 oth.", 1 8, 180-S1, 184, 21 3
and phil""",hic.ol " .. 221,
216, 217, Ill!, 219, 231, .M
politic.oI,2)()_13
. nd plllJlO'< 0/ hie, 117
",If., I ll!, 182
. nd ><X, 151 ISs.-56
. nd .pirituality 201--3
uocondition.al, i41, 161, 17I!-N,
180-SI, IS1
1
1!!3, 218
s"e aJ,o ,pui Ie lopic
Locid living
. nd .w. kening. J 71, J 7J-74, 17;,
178 184
",d Boo'. 200
.nJ Big Ide,,"','"
",J chOice, 74, 7;
.nJ d< .. h, 163, 164
",Jenljv<nment, 149-50, 151, 117
Gn""i ... exp<rienc< 01, 19
Cn"'ti, to.chingo of no
onJ hip-gII",i. , 13. , iJ5, 136, [J7,
141,144
",J J .nd It p<"re<ti,,,,, IM,)3;
.nJ hu..hin! I .. u., .1 5W9, 'W.
161,1"61, 63, 1M, 166, 67
.nJ love, 178, 184. 211
",J loving humon, lSI, lSI ,
1;3, l';.l, 1;s.-56, 163
.nJ mO" i. m'''plKrr, 167---b9
",J "".n ... , 17J-74
.nJ workout, 220,
m, 117,
.nJ pronoi., 166, 167
",J pU'J'OO" <>Iii .. , 144
onJ r .. hty, 149-50, 151, 1;1, 15J,
I;., 15s.-56
",J .. 15.:l--54
.nJ ... . I;:;...".,
antc:!'irituility without roligion,
",J ,ufloring. 160, 161, 161
or 11.6
Lule.,68-71 . 3
Mark, 68-71, 73
Mm)'", II 76-77 IQ.I
Mallh<w. 6!>-71, 178, l SI
Mecc.o, S2, 85, 89. 94-9;, 102
MeJi.,,,,,,, 19;,217
M.";,,,,, 63, 64, 6;. 67, ISS
Mi"d .. , 54-5.5, ,?" ;8, 61. 101
Monoth<'i"", 00-4"
Morality, 49-51, 201--3, 2OIl, 211
Mo""" 11, 21,98, IOJ, 107, 118
. nJ Ark 0/ th< Cov<tunt, 46
Boohol, 43-44, 46
in Eg)l' t, 37
onJ Cre<x_J<wi>h roJ.tion,hip, 36,
"
.. hi"oric.l or myth, 63, II()
in Jerusalem, 1!3
",J monot heism, 47--48
.nJ Mulumm.d, 8J
.. I"tri"ch, 46
" urie boUt, 26, 28-29, 41
,,11.,,0/ 44. 4;
",J T.mk!;, 41. 44, 45, 46
I NDEX
Mo>io m,"phOT, 167--b9
M"" God,
Muh.ammad, 11, n , 107--.11
binhol,81
and ch:nnelliTl!; God, 85-89
md Chri"ianity/l<>u>, 84, 85,
91-95,98
.. cooo;,;c, 8W5, 87
.. .wdf.,h<, 0/ !>lam, 89_91
Coil'. rdatiun.hip wi,h, &.l,M,
99_ 00,104
.. Goo', ""aIY, 21
h", log.cy 01, 102-4
. nd Ho,,.en .nd Hell, 83, '19,
100-101
and h."" ie.1 heri "g', I 1 7. I 18
.,
. nd ooly W"" 95-,.,.
and jeru .. l,m, 83, 85, lOW
and lew.jludmm, 84, 92_95
.. moplom.ni.c, ?8-100
., military l .. d<r, &3, 90-91, 97
.. prophet, 82, &3, 94, I'll, '1') , 100
84, 85-116, 87--.118, 90,
93,94,95, vB
and "ari ... boot IHaJj,!..!,
in wilde, ,,,,,, 82-83 84
Mu.lim . Sa [,bm, hlamic
FunJ..monuli,m, b lamic
Gnm,i<i.m_ lobmic
Muhammad,Our'an '
My"ic;,m, 5WH, 6.3, 64, 112, 188,
'"
Myth., 7/ 6J 75
[)eVIl m \\!."em, 12_13
Cnoot ic,Sl-5J
. nd C,...,k_Jowi.h relot io"'hip,
OW.
I.,u, .. hi"oric.J figure or my'h.
SWI, [()6 160,2ru
I.,u, " ory . nd r.g. n. 5i-58. 61--62.
6ti_M,80
. ndlew 32-J.1. 6.l.65 115
T",.kh as mUe<tion 01, 2i. 2W2
See Q/'o ,pedfic m)1n
N.riorul)iml. Sl-SJ. 64, 90.
'"'
New Mo, 41-43
"N,,,, "'.min!;. 119. 120
NewT",umen'. 11, 15,68. 73.
80, lOS
contradiction. in 75
and funu.menuli,m, 17
he"",. "" 64
and "Ho)y" Bible, 14,75
inconc;".ncies in, 100
and ]0."' .. hi"oricI;";ure or
myth, 59, 64. 70. 72, T], [()6
mi.representation. in, 1",,--6
.. non>en .. , 101
Noah. 25, 2i, 41, 49-50. 52
Old T .... men' . 15, I i, 19. 25-1I. 52.
64,75.79, 19
Su olro T.n.kh
OnenOM
.w.koning '0, 3-4, S, S I lO, l ti2,
165, 166, I 1-74,175-76, liS,
182,184, 2C16, 211
"'ow.rene",8 138-J9 146-4i
148, ISO, 1>Y, IS9...60, m.lis,
19i, 199, 21 1
and laughing Je.u., 159--60, 162,
16.l, 165 166 1 i
.nd )0''', 3, S, j( IU, l iS, 182, 184.
201, 2ru, 21 0, 211, 213
.nd )o"ing human. 152, 16.l
md phi)O>Opruc.1 workoot, 221,
215,216,219, l.3O, 114
and 'pirit""li,y wi,hou' religion,
"', 19i, 199, 201, lru
Su 0 ro ,pecific top'c
(hiri., 29. 55-56, 66, 80
P,,&,n GnO!tici.m, 175--i6, 203
P'g.>n.
ond Christianity, 7, 22, 68, 7&-79.
81. 108-9
ootr'Uc,ion of lib,.rie. 01, 22
and Ii ", mono,hd"" 48
.nd here,i",) hcritage, 116, 119
and n .. iondi" pr<I!"'g:ond.a .nd
Gn"", ic my,h., 53
.nd religiow in,mi' r 108_9
. imibri,ie. be,ween ( .. us story 000
myths 01, 5S-Sg, 61--62, 65,
66-67,80
.nd i, 78_79
Su oiro G""men; r.g:on
Gn"",;ci.m
Pale"ine I I, 26-1I,3l.--J4,39-41,
43, 5IJ.-5 . 55, ro, 69.
'"
Su olso leru .. lem
I NDEX
'"
p.,..oox of our predicament , 139,

r.ul, J, 52, 66, 102
and . w. xening, 173; 175-76
and de.,h, 159::((1, 6J
.. C""'.;C, 61-61, 6J, 6-1, 71 _72,
n
. nd "Holy" Bibl., 74
and I.su s 1,,'00<;11 fi)';U", OJ
mv,h, 61-63, 65, 71_n. 73-74
. nd laughing I.,u" 159-60, 16.1
.. Li,.,.li", 61, 73-74
p",or, I,0I
,
73-74
. nd Pote!, 1_71
ROIJ].;lniwionoi
P.",nni.ol r hi1000jlhr, 5, I II
Su abo gno>ti"/Gn,,,,' ici.m
r.rfoe. p<'!l'le, lllW
r.te" 65, 71_73 74 8J
Philo, 51 59,6.l '
rhilOOOjlhiC;1] wo.l:oot 219--J5
rl.,o, 36, 42, 47, 48, 66, lOS, 106-7,_
111, 113,1 17, 118, 119, 1M, ]M,
'M
rl<>tim"" 68.< 107, 118, 128,132, 135,
136, l Jv, 141, ISH, 17
Pmphyry,38, 118, lJ4
rr'Y<f, 200
I'wn0l1, l M_t;!, 218
Prophe<;e. 19_W 3S
I'roph.u. &4, 98, i04, 197, 198, 2(13
See abo sp"dfic p""on
!'rote""", Reform .. ion, n
I'to],my, J5 38 115
Pyth1!"'"I!>;;d,>g<>re,n" 47, I>l,
66, 111,-[16, 11 7, 11 ,25
Qur.." IB, l OS, 117, 201
ambiguit y of, ""-'17
and Chri"un.:tJld J,w. 91,94
difference. between Bib!, ond, M
and Gn"' tic Muhammad, 84
and Heoven .nd Hell, 100, 101, 101
. nd Hebrew prophe", 84
and holy war, 95-%, 98
incomi"encie. in, 87
and le.u., S4
mi''''p,.",ntation. in, 105-6
and mouJity, 50-51
and M.m.mm.;od, 8:;--36, 87_11.8, 89,
1'0,98, '19, 100, 102, lill, It",
as myth, 8S
.. non .. ,..." 101
"" .. Lnion.lrom God, 82, I!.l,
85-36,87-88
o. Word 01 God, SO, 1(
Qu,.,J, tribe, 89, 93, 94
Ration.lit y, 195_97
Re..,merg<nce,14i-49
R .. lity, 145, 159, 168
."d.w.x.ning, 146, 148, ISO,
151, 151, 1il, 154, ISo, 171, Ii
and 137, 138, 146--4 7,
148, 149, bu, 151, 1il,)5.1
and BIg Ide. , 210 214 211
and certainty anJ doubt, 193, 194
ond enli,'enm,nt 149-51
."d hip-gn<i. , 131, 132, 135,
137, 138, 140
and I and It 1M, 135
ond love, 147, ISO, 151, lil
md loving human, 151-56
and lucid Ii"ing. 149-50, 151, 151,
lil, 15.1, 155-56
."d ""en ..... , 146-47, 14l1, ISO, 151,
'"
and re_emeq;enco, 147--19
ond ... , 155-56
md 'piri'll<dity without religion,
11'0, 193, 194 195
..,d u. ".,,". ,r,.;m, 210
Reinc.nution, 148, ISO
Religiun
benefit> 01, 8
d..'Cline in, 186
os De"il', ochievoment,
12_1 5
Jut"re 0/, 187
nightm.ar<0I,1 1_12
non .. n><, 101
andoci,nce, 119-20, 188-93
' piri,wlity without, 186-205
Religiou. in"nitx, 10 _1 1
Repentance, l iG- I
Re.urrec' ion, 159-60.
Su alro Je.us: de. th . nd
""Uff<'C,ion 01
Return 01 ' he I>r"h te., 3l-J4
Rom.n.IRorn.n E.mpir<
md Chri"unl'y, 4, 59, 66, i5, 76,
77_79,115
colJ.p>< 0/, 7;""76, 79
and Godm.1n 56
ond Jeou, .. hi>toric.l ligure or
myth, 55, 58, 70
162 I NDEX
. nd lows, 4!J, 45, 46, 6;3" 65
. "'] Li' <r.li" h ...... y, 6 -{)IS
., unholy, 77_7Y
Rumi, 105, 107, 155, 166, 200
s..crro ><ripture.
", U-<:>r _nothing" notur< 01:, 106
ambiguit y of, 87
. ut hOrit), 01, 13,
", .. ion 01, 11
.. dlngerou" 21-13
function, 01, 201
incon,istencie. in, 106
.. ;u.'ifiC;ltion 1m .ction>, 7, 1;,21
md Li" " li.m, 20-21
.. m.n'. cremon, 8
mi''''p" .. nwion, in, 105-6
my";,,) m .. nilll!' ".1, 53
need for .... ult 00, 1..>-24
5<, a),o Bibl., New T .. "mcnt, 010
T .... men' Qur" n_ Tan.kh
Scien"", l1i2, ]87,
18l!-93, 19" 1,..,...97, 1?ll-9I',208
Second 01 Chr;", IOJ
Sdfi.hn ... , 15_, 15.>-5.1, In, 1I!O,
202,211, 216
""!"I"ton ...
nd.w. hning,3, 111, 113, 1/5,
I n, ISO, 181, 182, 184
and de.,h, 160, 164
. nd Loughmg I.,WI; 160, 161,
162, 164, 165, 100-II
and lovo, 180, 181, 184, 201, 111,
211,213
. nd loving ;"ing human, 155
. nd .piritudity without religion,
199 200, 202
Su a/,o One".."" spific topic
S<ptember II ,l.O:!l, .. 16-17,
23-24, I II, 200, "-"'-Iu
S<ptu,wnt, 41, 47
s.. , 104, 151,155-56,
Sin, 170-71, 94
Sitting exerei .. ll3-24
Solomon, 26, 27, 31--J2, 40, 41, 51, 80
Spirituahty without", iglOll, 186-205
Suffering. ISJ, 154"158,, IIJO-.Ii1,
181,181, 184) _CX:i, _10, 2! 1, 2! o
Sufi ., 83, 10 , 110.-17, 200, 201
T.li!..n, 16, 17, 40, 79, ICX:i
61.--65, 75, 10l,
IO:H>,
Su 01", Old Test.ment
Ten Commandment>, 44, 51
57--58, 68, 72, 73, 76, n,
109, 1%
Tr:m5<enJon, I n 175-76 182
Tran,joIl11;1tion, IS !, 152, ISJ,
16J, 169, 175-7", 181, 195, I"",
m,2!4
Truth, 195, '1f)7
Un i," "", you.,. til<,,!J9-40
U. versus Them, g, 1,-",-10
Violenc., 7-8, 12, 13-15, ", 75-79,
l CX:i, 110, 20 _2, lO ,2 5
and ethnic cJo.n,ing. 15 40 %
..,d fumLamentah.m, 16, 2i, liS
."d heretic.al h",itage, 114, 115,
11 7 118,120
..,d I,Lm, 10, 1'0-91, 95-98
W.ke-ur Club, A, 133 2J4
Witne"m! 171_72 175-76
Women, I '70, i3-74, 85, S7,
91, to l , 118, 198 lOl
World cmi" i, 11_12, 13, 19,206,
2l1S-lO
You.r, the unive"", 139-40
I NDEX
About the Authors
Timothy Freke h., an honour. degree in phil,,"ophy and i. the author
01 more than t wenty books on world spiritualit y, including Lucid
Living Illooiu for Burning, 20051. He lecture. and run. experienti.1
.emina .. throughout the world exploring gnosi . For more inlorm. _
t ion, . ee www.timothyfreke.com.
Peter Gandy has an MA in Classica l CiviliS;Ot ion .nd i, an intern. _
tionally ""pe':le<! authority on the ancient P.gan Mysteries and
e.rly Chri"i.nity_
Freke and Gandy are the authors 01 five previoU! books, including
the internat ion.l best.eller The {esus Mysteries and /"'us and the
Lost Goddess.