8. October 1985
Thanks for your lovely lively long letter.
You underestimate, however, the force and passion of my opposition to Christianity as ancient Jewish occultism crazed with blood and torture and sin. One of these loonies called here the other day to explain that they were having a week of Church Unity, which consisted of dishonestly pretending that all their daft squabbling denominations `really' agreed, and that the rest of us who didn't (i.e. the 99% majority of the world's population) could expect at least a longish spell in outer darkness after our bodily death, while the Baptists (for these, no less, were the illuminati in question) laughed and exulted in the light and love of the living Lord. I implored these extraordinary people to pray for tolerance and humility: but I fear that my prayers will be unanswered.
They left me, conversely, unpersuaded. I fear that God as Summun Bunkum has much the same effect. Summun bonum surely means a human concept: virtue, knowledge. happiness or the like? Where were they to be found in histon before humanity existed? Who was the God of the dinosaurs? (I know: Tyrannosaurus Rex Tremendae Majestatis.) Where are they to be found outside this planet now? Who is the extra-terrestrial God? (I know: the Flying Sorcerer.) Where in the world or out of it is the actual evidence for any good, summum or other, that is not human? or that is divine? And don't we also by the same argument need Satan and Summum Malum, or are we to blame humanity for all of that? I'm reminded of the various senses of the word malo, thus:
Malo, I would rather be,
Malo, in adversity,
Malo, than a naughty boy
Malo, in an apple-tree.
How much more interesting language is than religion. Easier I may not be your most typical reader; but I'm quite interested in history and chronology, and what I want to know is: what are the earliest references to Christianity (Tacitus? Suetonius?): what is the evidence for the dating of the Gospels and Pauline Epistles?
I'm mildly exasperated by Karen Armstrong's The First Christian (Pan. Channel 4) because it gives a table of significant events (good) and says lamely that some of the given dates will be a matter of controversy (i.e. we don't really know the significance of the significant events). But how can the way of the cross just ignore what's crucial?