The Jesus Hoax: How St. Paul’s Cabal Fooled the World for Two Thousand Year
Creative Fire Press, 2019
David Skrbina is a professional philosopher who was a senior lecturer at the University of Michigan from 2003–2018. In addition to the book under review, he has written and edited a number of books, including The Metaphysics of Technology (Routledge, 2014), Panpsychism in the West (MIT Press, 2017), and the anthology Confronting Technology (Creative Fire Press, 2020).
The Jesus Hoax attempts to convince the reader that there is no rational basis for Christianity and that the motivation for its main originator, St. Paul, was antagonism toward the Roman Empire.
Within this framework, Paul was a Jewish nationalist whose goal was to recruit non-Jews to oppose the Roman imperium: “Since the biblical Jesus story is false, it was evidently constructed by Paul and his fellow Jews in order to sway the gullible Gentile masses to their side and away from Rome” (43). Indeed, Skrbina claims that Paul may have been a Zealot, i.e., a member of a Jewish sect dedicated to violent resistance against the Romans, concluding “it seems clear that he was an ardent Jewish nationalist opposed to Roman rule, as was the case with most elite Jews of the time” (37).
Skrbina argues that there is no convincing evidence for the truth of the Jesus story, either within the canonical New Testament or from non-Christian sources.
The earliest reference from a non-Christian source is a paragraph from the Jewish writer Josephus dated to 93 recounting the basic story, that Jesus was crucified “upon the accusation of the principal men among us”—i.e., the elite Jews of the period.
Here Skrbina raises a general issue: the earliest source for the passage from Josephus is from the Christian apologist Eusebius in the fourth century, and the oldest sources for the gospels themselves are dated much later than they were supposedly written (70–95), leaving open the possibility of redactions and interpolations.
For example, the oldest copy of the complete Gospel of Matthew, which, as noted below, contains the most inflammatory anti-Jewish passage of all, dates from the mid-fourth century, well after Constantine had legalized Christianity in the Empire and anti-Jewish attitudes were rife among intellectuals like Eusebius and the Church fathers such as St. John Chrysostom.”
The extent of redaction and interpolation remains unknown and presents obvious problems of interpretation.
The first Romans to comment on Christianity were Tacitus and Pliny (~115), both of whom disliked Christianity.
As Skrbina notes, “the Romans were generally tolerant of other religions, and thus we must conclude that there was something uniquely problematic about this group” (60).
And Skrbina is well aware that an analysis of the entire early Christian movement must be aware of Jewish issues, quoting Nietzsche: “The first thing to be remembered, if we do not wish to lose the scent here, is that we are among Jews” (34). He is quite accurate in his assessment of Jewish ethnocentrism: Jews “saw themselves as special, different, ‘select,’ and thus they put these ideas into the mouth of their God. Certainly, no one would deny a people pride in themselves. But these extreme statements go far beyond normal bounds. They indicate a kind of self-absorption, a self-glorification, perhaps a narcissism, perhaps a conceit. To be chosen by the creator of the universe, and to be granted the right to rule, ruthlessly, over all other nations, bespeaks a kind of megalomania that is unprecedented in history” (63).
Not surprisingly, such a people have often been hated by others, and Skrbina recounts the many examples of anti-Jewish attitudes and actions in the ancient world: “where the Jews settled amongst other peoples, they seem to have made enemies” (65), noting particularly the recurrent theme—a theme that continued long past the ancient world—of Jews allying themselves with ruling elites against the native population. I was particularly struck by a passage Skrbina quotes from recent scholarship referring to advice given in 134 BC to King Antiochus VII, the Greek ruler of the Seleucid Empire, to exterminate the Jews: “for they alone among all the peoples refused all relations with other races, and saw everyone as their enemy; their forebears, impious and cursed by the gods, had been driven out of Egypt. The counselors [cited] the Jews’ hatred of all mankind, sanctioned by their very laws, which forbade them to share their table with a Gentile or give any sign of benevolence.”
Skrbina concludes that there is a “deeply-embedded misanthropic streak” in Jews that continues into the contemporary era, quoting the famous passage from Rabbi Yosef who, in 2010 stated, “Goyim were born only to serve us. Without that, they have no place in the world—only to serve the people of Israel. They will work, they will plow, they will reap. We will sit like an effendi [a man of high social standing] and eat” (Jerusalem Post, October 18, 2010).
Skrbina: “There is something about Jewish culture that inspires disgust and hatred” (79).
Based on the extensive citations to the Old Testament, Skrbina concludes that the Gospels, commonly dated well after Paul’s writing, were also likely written by Jews.
Skrbina notes that the latest-dated gospel, John, is addressed to “intra-Jewish squabbling” (41) over the issue of Jesus being the Messiah—obviously a view rejected by Orthodox Jews.
In other words, John identifies as a Jew but as a Jew battling the Orthodox Jewish establishment.
Importantly, John contains anti-Jewish passages that would echo down the centuries: Jews “sought to kill Jesus,” and the gospel represents Jesus as saying, “You [Jews] are of your father the devil… He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44) (41).
Many contemporary scholars accept the view that anti-Jewish statements in the Gospels are intramural disputes about whether Jews or Christians were the chosen people of God.
Of course, there are many other anti-Jewish statements:
- John 5:18: For this reason the Jews were seeking all the more to kill [Jesus], because he was not only breaking the sabbath, but was also calling God his own Father, thereby making himself equal to God.
- John 7:1: After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
- John 7:12–13: And there was considerable complaining about him among the crowds. While some were saying, “He is a good man,” others were saying, “No, he is deceiving the crowd.” Yet no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews.
- John 8:37: I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word.
And the most influential of all:
- Matthew 27:25–26: When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but thatrather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
Such sentiments are not only found in the Gospels. St. Paul:
- 1Thess 2:14–15: For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they haveof the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men.
Skrbina, discussing the Gospel of Mark, notes that Paul et al. had two enemies, the Romans and non-believing Jews like the Pharisees who “wanted to kill Jesus” (95).
Mark therefore blamed both, and Skrbina concludes that “Mark’s anger against his fellow Jews … got the better of him; for centuries afterward, Christians would blame the Jews for killing Christ, not realizing that the whole tale was a Jewish construction in the first place” (95).
Later in Matthew and Luke, “the anti-Jewish rhetoric heats up a bit; the Jews are called ‘a brood of vipers’ (Mat 3:7, 12:34, 23:33) and ‘lovers of money’ (Lu 16:14). And there are repetitions of the message of revolution, including armed confrontation (“I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” [Mat. 10:34]) and it depicts that the coming confrontation would split families.
Skrbina’s reconstruction of the trajectory of Christianity is presented as tentative (“I’ll not claim certainty here” ).
For example, he imagines a soliloquy by Jewish patriot Paul asking, “What message could our ‘Jesus’ take to the masses,” answering “we need them to be pro-Jewish, not make them Jews–no, that would never work. We need something new, a ‘third way’ between Judaism and paganism. Maybe for a start, we could get them to worship our God Jehovah, and not that absurd Roman pantheon” (84; emphasis in text).
And the whole point was to encourage revolt: “Throughout [Paul’s] letters we find numerous references to enslavement, revolution, insurrection, war, the importance of the disempowered masses, and so on. In the early Galatians we read of the need for Jesus to ‘deliver us from the present evil age’ ([Galatians] 1:4)” (90).
Skrbina considers the following passage, from 1Corinthians 1:4 “decisive” (92):
For consider your call, brethren, not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; but God chose what is foolish to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong. God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are. (Skrbina’s emphasis)
Militancy increases in Luke and Matthew, both dated to 85.
Matthew (10:34): “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
If one agrees with Skrbina on all this, then he suggests that you “go to your local church leaders and confront them with the evidence (or lack thereof). Their response will confirm everything you need to know. Then, make it clear to them that you have been swindled” (112).
And: “Christians need to own up the fact that they have been swindled, and then see if anything can be salvaged of their religion. Keep the social club, do charity work, help the poor—just dump the bogus metaphysics” (116).
Since I am not a believer and since I am quite cognizant of Jewish efforts to manipulate the beliefs and attitudes of non-Jews—the thesis, after all, of The Culture of Critique—I am quite open to Skrbina’s interpretation.
However, there are a few things that bother me.
Liars? In Skrbina’s view, the entire project was based on lies, lies made possible by Jewish contempt for non-Jews. In a section titled “Paul, Liar Supreme,” we find “The Gentiles were always treated by the Jews with contempt. … They could be manipulated, harassed, assaulted, beaten, even killed if it served Jewish interests” (99). The gospel writers were also likely liars: “Even in ancient times, people were not idiots. How could Mark accept without any apparent evidence or confirmation, such fantastic tales? And accept them so completely that he would write them down as factual truth, as real and actual events? And then how could the same thing happen three more times, to three different individuals?” (106). And Paul is even more unlikely to have actually believed what he was writing because he was so close to the events he wrote about, and because he was a “clever man. How could he possibly have fallen so completely for a bogus Jewish messiah that he would dedicate his life to spreading the story?” (106).
But the weakness of the association—explaining around four percent of the variance—indicates that there are plenty of intelligent people who are quite religious.
This would have been even more likely in the ancient world—a context in which religion was taken very seriously, where miraculous events were taken for granted by many, and where there wasn’t already a long history of philosophical skepticism about religion, as there is in the contemporary West.
Or consider the medieval period in the West that produced highly intelligent believers, such as St. Thomas Aquinas or William of Occam.
Or the ultra-religious but very intelligent Puritans who settled New England and quickly founded Harvard University and the other elite Ivy League universities.
We live in an age where science has become the height of respectability—hence the attempts to manipulate what can pass as scientific to serve other interests and have a dramatic impact on contemporary culture.
However, the cultural context has been much different in the past, and I suspect that correlations between intelligence and religiosity would have been approximately zero in many historical periods.
Another issue related to lying is martyrdom.
The proposal that Paul and the gospel writers were liars must deal with the issue of “Who would die for a lie? … as Jews, they were all, already, under persecution from the Romans. As extremist, fanatical Jews they were willing to do anything and suffer any punishment, in order to help ‘Israel’” (110).
It’s certainly true that Jews died and were enslaved in droves when the Romans put down the Jewish uprisings, and this was presumably on the minds of the putative gospel writers (the first Roman-Jewish war was in 70), so the extreme altruism of martyrdom for the benefit of the group seems possible, particularly among Jews—there is a long tradition of Jewish martyrdom that continues to be an important aspect of Jewish identity.
However, stories of martyrdom in both the Christian and Jewish traditions may well be at least exaggerated if not entirely apocryphal (e.g., here) because of their usefulness in creating a strong sense of ingroup identity.
Again, there are the questions of who wrote the New Testament and when was it written, including possible redactions and interpolations.
I am not at all a scholar on the New Testament, but I note that a recent scholar, Robert Price, dates the first collection of St. Paul’s letters from Marcion in the second century, with the authorship of some letters highly contested, and a strong possibility of interpolations by later collectors:
The question of authorship would have little bearing here one way or the other. In this process, interpolations were made and then gradually permeated the text tradition of each letter until final canonization of the Pastoral edition (and concurrent burning of its rivals) put a stop to all that. … But the first collector of the Pauline Epistles had been Marcion. No one else we know of would be a good candidate, certainly not the essentially fictive Luke, Timothy, and Onesimus. And Marcion, as Burkitt and Bauer show, fills the bill perfectly. Of the epistles themselves, he is probably the original author of Laodiceans (the Vorlage [i.e., original version] of Ephesians) and perhaps of Galatians, too. Like Muhammad in the Koran, he would have read his own struggles back into the careers of his biblical predecessors.
But there are other scholars who continue to uphold the view that the New Testament is a reliable account, or at least reliable enough (see, e.g., Craig L. Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the New Testament: Countering the Challenges to Evangelical Christian Beliefs).
I am certainly not in any position to evaluate what continues to be a very contentious area which has been covered in minute deal for at least 200 years, often by highly motivated scholars.
At this late stage of scholarship, it seems unlikely that a consensus will ever be reached, especially because a great deal of the scholarship may well be motivated by a desire to defend deeply held religious beliefs—or dispute them; e.g., Blomberg describes himself as “a Christian believer of an evangelical persuasion” (xxv), which doesn’t mean that he is incorrect, but indicates that he would be motivated to defend his beliefs.
Given all this complexity I take that path of humility in trying to assess these issues, resulting in my being an agnostic about the historicity of the New Testament, whether whoever wrote it were liars, and what their real agendas were.
I am persuaded that there is no consensus on what was actually written in the first century, and I accept the possibility that the writings that survive as the canonical writings of Christianity may well include later redactions and interpolations that reflect very different perceptions and interests from those of the putative first-century writers.
The Anti-Jewish Statements in the New Testament. I noted above that there are quite a few anti-Jewish passages in the New Testament, including from St. Paul himself.
Skrbina claims that “The scattered anti-Jewish statements in all the Gospels—especially John—more reflect an internal Jewish battle over ideology than an external, Gentile attack” (107–108).
This is a common scholarly view, but if you are trying to recruit Gentiles to your movement to serve Jewish interests, would you really want to litter your writing with anti-Jewish statements?
In fact, these statements, particularly the claim that Jews committed deicide, have been used by Christians against Jews throughout the succeeding centuries, most notably “His blood be on us, and on our children.”
Although the major outbreaks of anti-Semitism have always involved far more than Christian religious beliefs—they have typically occurred during periods of resource competition of various sorts (MacDonald, 1998)—I have no doubt that Christian beliefs about Jews fed into and exacerbated anti-Jewish attitudes, especially in the past when vast sections of the European population were deeply religious—e.g., during the Middle Ages when religious beliefs motivated the Crusades and long, arduous pilgrimages to sites where miracles were said to have occurred.
It was a period when, e.g., Notre Dame de Paris, the symbol of traditional France, was adorned with anti-Jewish imagery.
Ecclesia (right) and Synagoga, illustrating Jewish blindness in rejecting Christianity
Indeed, Jewish perceptions of the anti-Jewish nature of Christian theology have resulted in Jewish activism to essentially rewrite or reinterpret the New Testament in their interests.
Antonius J. Patrick summarizes this strand of Jewish activism in his review of Vicomte Léon de Poncins’ Judaism and the Vatican: An Attempt at Spiritual Subversion:
The pronouncements on non-Christian religions and the declaration Nostra aetate passed in the Fourth Session of the Council (1965) accomplished almost all that the Modernists had hoped for. In effect, these pronouncements repudiated nearly two thousand years of Catholic teaching on the Jews. Ever since, the Church has continually bowed to Jewish pressure in regard to its liturgy, the naming of saints, and in the political realm—its most infamous decision in the latter being the recognition of the state of Israel in 1994.
Poncins, who closely covered the Vatican II proceedings, wrote of the declaration:
. . . a number of Jewish organizations and personalities are behind the reforms which were proposed at the Council with a view to modifying the Church’s attitude and time-honored teaching about Judaism: Jules Isaac, Label Katz, President of the B’nai B’rith, Nahum Goldman, President of the World Jewish Congress, etc. . . . These reforms are very important because they suggest that for two thousand years the Church had been mistaken and that she must make amends and completely reconsider her attitude to the Jews.
The leading figure in the years prior to the Council was the virulent anti-Catholic writer Jules Isaac, and he played an active role during the Counsel. “Isaac,” Poncins describes, “turned the Council to advantage, having found there considerable support among progressive bishops. In fact, he became the principal theorist and promoter of the campaign being waged against the traditional teaching of the Church.”
Isaac had long before begun his hostile campaign to overturn Catholic teaching on the Jews with his two most important books on the subject: Jésus et Israel (1946) and Genèse de l’Antisémitisme (1948). Poncins accurately summarizes the main thrust of these works:
In these books Jules Isaac fiercely censures Christian teaching, which he says has been the source of modern anti-Semitism, and preaches, though it would be more correct to say he demands, the ‘purification’ and ‘amendment’ of doctrines two thousand years old.
Moreover, whatever the beliefs and motives of St. Paul and the Gospel writers, the Church had essentially become an anti-Jewish movement by the fourth century when Catholicism became the official religion of the Roman Empire:
The proposal here is that in this period of enhanced group conflict, anti-Jewish leaders such as [St. John] Chrysostom [who retains a chapel named after him at St. Peter’s basilica in Rome] attempted to convey a very negative view of Jews. Jews were to be conceptualized not as harmless practitioners of exotic, entertaining religious practices, or as magicians, fortune tellers, or healers [as had been the case previously], but as the very embodiment of evil. The entire thrust of the legislation that emerged during this period was to erect walls of separation between Jews and gentiles, to solidify the gentile group, and to make all gentiles aware of who the “enemy” was. Whereas these walls had been established and maintained previously only by Jews, in this new period of intergroup conflict the gentiles were raising walls between themselves and Jews….
The interpretation proposed here is that group conflict between Jews and gentiles entered a new stage in the 4th century. It is of considerable interest that it was during this period that accusations of Jewish greed, wealth, love of luxury and of the pleasures of the table became common (Simon 1986, 213). Such accusations did not occur during earlier periods, when anti-Jewish writings concentrated instead on Jewish separatism. These new charges suggest that Jews had increasingly developed a reputation as wealthy, and they in turn suggest that anti-Semitism had entered a new phase in the ancient world, one centered around resource competition and concerns regarding Jewish economic success, domination of gentiles [especially enslaving gentiles], and relative reproductive success. …
Jews were increasingly entering the imperial and municipal service in the 4th century until being excluded from these occupations in the 5th century—an aspect of the wide range of economic, social, and legal prohibitions on Jews dating from this period [particularly prohibitions on Jews owning Christian slaves—itself an indication of the superior wealth of Jews]. These factors, in combination with traditional gentile hostility to Judaism (because of its separatist practices and perceptions of Jewish misanthropy and perhaps of Jewish wealth), set the stage for a major anti-Semitic movement. The proposal here is that this anti-Semitic movement crystallized in the Christian Church. (Separation and Its Discontents, Ch. 3, 96, 98, 99)
It is quite possible that the anti-Jewish statements in the New Testament are interpolations made much later by anti-Jewish writers motivated by resource competition and Jews enslaving Christians.
If so, the liars were not Paul and the Gospel writers, but Christians concerned about Jews in the third and fourth centuries. J. G. Gager suggests that the extant literature from the early Church was deliberately selected to emphasize anti-Jewish themes and exclude other voices, much as the priestly redaction of the Pentateuch retained from earlier writings only what was compatible with Judaism as a diaspora ideology (J. G. Gager, The Origins of Anti-Semitism: Attitudes toward Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity (Oxford, 1983), 7; N. deLange, “The origins of anti-Semitism: Ancient evidence and modern interpretation,” In Anti-Semitism in Times of Crisis, S. L. Gilman & S. T. Katz (NYU Press, 1991, 30–31).
It’s quite conceivable that, rather than reflecting real intra-Jewish squabbles in the first century, as suggested by Skrbina, these early works were deliberately embellished in order to emphasize anti-Jewish themes in the originals—or they were completely fabricated—at a time when these writers had become strongly anti-Jewish for reasons that would not have been salient in the first century.
In any case, this possibility is highly compatible with the view that there was a qualitative shift toward the conscious construction of a fundamentally anti-Jewish version of history during the formative period of the Catholic Church.
Consequences of the Lies. Skrbina ends by claiming that Paul’s lies were successful: “It took a few hundred years, but when enough people fell for the hoax, it helped to bring down the Roman Empire” (122).
And he describes the lies as a “mortal threat”: “eventually drawing in 2 billion people, becoming an enemy of truth and reason, and causing deaths of millions of human beings via inquisitions, witch burnings, crusades, and other religious atrocities” (101).
I have never seen a scholarly argument that the institutionalization of the Catholic Church contributed importantly to the fall of the Empire.
The Eastern Empire, although losing substantial territory to the Muslims, was only overthrown in 1453 after centuries of battling them.
However, it’s certainly a reasonable idea given that Christian religious ideology was the polar opposite of thoroughly militarized Indo-European culture upon which Rome was built.
Ancient Greco-Roman culture was fundamentally aristocratic and based on ideas of natural inequality and natural hierarchy.
Thus, Plato’s “just society” as depicted in The Republic was to be ruled by philosophers because they were truly rational, and he assumes there are natural differences in the capacity for rationality—a modern would phrase it in terms of the behavior genetics of IQ and personality.
Aristotle believed that some people were slaves “by nature” (Larry Siedentop, Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014), 52), i.e., that the hierarchy between masters and slaves was natural. Reflecting themes common in Indo-European culture emphasized by Ricardo Duchesne (The Uniqueness of Western Civilization), the ancients prized fame and glory (positive esteem from others) resulting from genuine virtue and military and political accomplishments—but not labor, because laborers were often slaves and the rightful booty of conquest.
So the Christian ethic of prizing meekness, humility, and labor was quite a change. Within Christian ideology the individual replaced the ancient Indo-European family as the seat of moral legitimacy.
Christian ideology was intended for all humans, resulting in a sense of moral egalitarianism, at least within the Christian community, rather than seeing society as based on natural hierarchy.
Individual souls were seen as having moral agency and equal value in the eyes of God—a theology that has had very negative effects in the contemporary world.
However, universalism and the Christian virtues of meekness and humility are not the only story and indeed, as Skrbina notes, the sword also makes an appearance in the New Testament.
In the Middle Ages Christianity was Germanized (James Russell, The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity, Oxford, 1996), making it much more compatible with an aristocratic warrior ethnic.
And in the medieval period and beyond, Christianity facilitated Western individualism and essentially ushered in the modern age of science, technological progress, and territorial expansion (Joseph Henrich, The Weirdest People in the World, 2020; MacDonald, Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition, 2019).
As a direct result, Christians who had a firm conviction about their beliefs eventually conquered the world and have been responsible for essentially all of the scientific and technological progress that created the modern world.
Indeed, in his The WEIRDest People in the World, Joseph Henrich argues that the medieval Church invented Western individualism by insisting on monogamous marriage and by “demolishing” extended kinship relations, presented by Henrich as an attempt to understand, as phrased in his subtitle, How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous (Harvard, 2020).
I have quite a few objections to his approach (see here), but he is certainly correct that the Church was influential in opposing the power of extended kinship groups and preventing concubinage and polygyny among elites, thereby facilitating a relatively egalitarian marriage regime.
Essentially Henrich ignores the ethnic basis of Western individualism that reaches back into pre-historic Western Europe and is certainly reflected in the classical Western civilizations of Greece and Rome.
Henrich also ignores genetic influences on IQ and personality.
But I agree with a much weaker version—that the Church facilitated Western individualism and so helped give rise to the modern world (Chapter 5 of Individualism and the Western Liberal Tradition, 2019).
So it’s not entirely a story of “causing deaths of millions of human beings via inquisitions, witch burnings, crusades, and other religious atrocities.”
But the sad reality is that contemporary Christianity, or at least the vast majority of it, is utterly opposed to the interests of the people who have historically made it their religion. For example, Prof. Andrew Fraser has interpreted fundamental Christian texts in a manner consistent with an ethnic form of Christianity (e.g., “Global Jesus versus National Jesus”, and in The Sword of Christ (2020; this book seems to have been banned by Amazon), Giles Corey attempts to rescue an ethnically viable Christianity from the ruins of contemporary, leftist-dominated Christian theology.
As I note in my preface:
Religious thinking is by its nature unbounded—it is infinitely malleable [so that, for example, redactions and interpolations on the New Testament could easily have been adapted to create a fundamentally new theology]. It is a dangerous sword that can be used to further legitimate interests of believers, or it can become a lethal weapon whereby believers adopt attitudes that are obviously maladaptive. One need only think of religiously based suicide cults, such as People’s Temple (Jonestown), Solar Temple and Heaven’s Gate. Mainstream Christianity from traditional Catholicism to mainstream Protestantism was fundamentally adaptive in terms of creating a healthy family life. It was compatible with a culture characterized by extraordinary scientific and technological creativity, [territorial expansion], and standards of living that have been much envied by the rest of the world. …
Corey is well aware that contemporary Christianity has been massively corrupted. Mainline Protestant and Catholic Churches have become little more than appendages for the various social justice movements of the left, avidly promoting the colonization of the West by other races and cultures, even as religious fervor and attendance dwindle and Christianity itself becomes ever more irrelevant to the national dialogue. [Guillaume Durocher notes that only 6–12 percent of the French population are practicing Catholics, indicating that Catholicism cannot be blamed for France’s current malaise.] On the other hand, [American] Evangelicals, a group that remains vigorously Christian, have been massively duped by the theology of Christian Zionism, their main focus being to promote Israel. [In general, they have rejected an explicit White identity or a sense of White interests.]
Until the twentieth century, Christianity served the West well. One need only think of the long history of Christians battling to prevent Muslims from establishing a caliphate throughout the West—Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours, the Spanish Reconquista, the defeat of the Turks at the gates of Vienna. The era of Western expansion was accomplished by Christian explorers and colonists. Until quite recently, the flourishing of science, technology, and art occurred entirely within a Christian context.
Corey advocates a revitalization of Medieval Germanic Christianity based on, in the words of Samuel Francis, “social hierarchy, loyalty to tribe and place (blood and soil), world-acceptance rather than world-rejection, and an ethic that values heroism and military sacrifice.” This medieval Christianity preserved the aristocratic, fundamentally Indo-European culture of the Germanic tribes. This was an adaptive Christianity, a Christianity that was compatible with Western expansion, to the point that by the end of the nineteenth century, the West dominated the planet. Christianity per se is certainly not the problem.
The decline of adaptive Christianity coincides with the post-Enlightenment rise of the Jews throughout the West as an anti-Christian elite, and Corey has a great deal of very interesting material on traditional Christian views of Judaism. Traditional Christian theology viewed the Church as having superseded the Old Testament and that, by rejecting the Church, the Jews had not only rejected God, they were responsible for murdering Christ. …
In fact, intellectual movements of the left—disseminated throughout the educational system and by the elite media—have exploited the Western liberal tradition.
The intellectuals who came to dominate American intellectual discourse and the media were quite aware of the need to appeal to Western proclivities toward individualism, egalitarianism, and moral universalism by essentially creating a moral community that appealed to these traits but also served their interests.
A theme of The Culture of Critique is that moral indictments of their opponents have been prominent in the writings of the activist intellectuals reviewed there, including political radicals and those opposing biological perspectives on individual and group differences in IQ.
A sense of moral superiority was also prevalent in the psychoanalytic movement, and the Frankfurt School developed the view that social science was to be judged by moral criteria.
The triumph of the cultural left to the point of substantial consensus in the West has created a moral community where people who do not subscribe to their beliefs are seen as not only intellectually deficient but as morally evil.
Moral communities rather than kinship are the social glue of Western societies. Westerners, being individualists and relatively unconcerned about the prospects of their kin beyond their immediate family, willingly punish other Whites who oppose their moral community, even at cost to themselves (altruistic punishment).
Their main concern is to have a good reputation in their moral community which is now defined by the media and the educational system—a moral community that was created by hostile elites out of fear and loathing of the traditional White American majority (see Culture of Critique, Ch. 7).
Finally, Skrbina asks, “Can it really be beneficial to accept a myth as truth? Can one really live a happy, successful, and meaningful life dedicated to a false story or a lie?” (16). I think that the answer is that yes it can.
As an evolutionist, my working hypothesis is that when it comes to the realm of ideas, evolution does not aim for truth but rather for success in continuing one’s family and increasing the prospects of one’s tribe.
Certainly the religious beliefs of other groups, say Muslims, Jews, or Mormons, may well be false and based on inventions. But the people believing in these lies have often done very well in evolutionary terms and are continuing to do so.
Ashkenazi Jewish eugenics proceeded for centuries in a religious context, resulting in a highly intelligent elite able to wield vast influence throughout the West.
Islam expanded over hundreds of years, controlling vast territories, with leaders rewarded by large harems and many descendants; Islam is now rapidly expanding in Europe and has higher fertility than native Europeans.
It’s well known that seriously religious, fundamentalist Christians in the West have more children on average than non-Christian Europeans, which is certainly adaptive.
But they are also more likely to swear fealty to the interests of Israel and in general they are entirely resistant to being informed about the negative effects of multiculturalism or about Jewish cultural influence (whose effects they despise) or even Jewish traditional hostility toward Christianity.
And it can scarcely be doubted that Catholicism and mainline Protestantism have been completely corrupted and actively subverted so that millions of White Americans have been swept up by the multiculturalism and replacement-level immigration as moral imperatives.
Jewish activism has certainly been part of this, but traditional Christian universalism and moral egalitarianism are also part of the equation.
One might say that Christianity, despite periods when it was highly adaptive, carried the seeds of its own destruction—a chink in its armor that made it relatively easy to subvert once the culture of the West had been subverted by our new hostile elite.
So, in my view, it’s a complex story, and one that is far from finished.
By Kevin MacDonald
Published by TheOccidentalObserver
Republished by The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.
 Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism (AuthorHouse, 2003; originally published: Praeger, 1998), Ch. 3.
 Quoted in Emilio Gabba, “The Growth of Anti-Judaism or the Greek Attitude toward the Jews.” In W. D. Davies & Louis Finkelstein (Eds.), The Cambridge History of Judaism. Vol. 2: The Hellenistic Age (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 614–656, 645).
 Miron Zuckerman, et al., “The Negative Intelligence–Religiosity Relation: New and Confirming Evidence,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 46, no. 6(2020): 856–868.