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Chapter 24 - Roklus tries to substantiate his atheism as the true world view.
24,1. (Roklus), "If it is made more than plainly clear in this hardly refutable way, how all gods came to be and how their priests gradually became the actual mightiest masters over the life and death of their brothers, then you great lord, lord, lord will also understand how and why we became atheists! See, the few of us have found the way to the old, pure human reason and have returned to the great and holy mother nature, which is for us a visible and always in the most beautiful order, wonder-working deity, while all the rest of the deities revealing themselves through some person's mouth are nothing else but the imagination of a mad and lazy sluggard, who learned some magic skills from someone, or came up with them himself, in order to offer himself as a tool chosen by god to make his will known to the blind.
24,2. Nature never needed a representative, and it never crossed the sun's mind to choose a representative for itself from the numbers of miserable people; it works alone, gives light and warms up everything in an incommensurable way! In short, everything except for man is in order in the entire, great nature. Even man, this greatest and most perfect primate, leaves nothing to be desired with respect to his nature and his form.
24,3. But man, better said the speech-capable, upright walking, thus most perfect animal, also has reason and from it a free evolving intellect. Through it he can and should rule over all creatures subordinate to him. But such a privilege given to man by nature is not enough for him; he wants to trample all over his equals in his arrogance of being godlike! And that is the critical point when man oversteps his boundaries and makes himself a god. But because each one man, if he isn't deaf and dumb or completely insane, cannot in his flesh, as an equal with all other men, directly make himself a god - which he would certainly do if he would not fear being laughed at and even castigated by all people - he settles for merely being god’s representative on earth; if that is begun cleverly enough and built on firm ground, it will endure for many centuries.
24,4. If, with the establishment of any right of representation of a god, one adds even a few evidently wise and civically useful decrees, all is won for a millennium with the inherently always naively good and gentle human race! Then, on a wise law one can foist on the superstitious ones thousands of the most absurd lies and stupidities and they will be accepted with the most reverent readiness by the good-willed, but very blind, poor mankind. There can be no talk of understanding, of course, because such divinatory mysteries like the phantasms of an old fox can never be understood. But it does not matter because people always like best to contemplate what is most inexplicable, most incomprehensible and most strange to them.
24,5. Whoever wants to bore people, should only state really good, familiar and easily conceivable truths and I stand for the fact that he will soon be all alone! If, however, he can lie really well and narrate from his imagination that, for example, in vast India he has seen mountain-high animals that have a hundred heads, and every head fully resembles another animal's head, and in the middle of the hundred most different animal head types towers on a long, thick neck the most gigantic human head, which speaks all languages of the world quite clearly, only with a voice similar to thunder, and even dictates to people laws on how they have to behave towards the rest of the entire great army of his animal heads. --! Yes, he can quite boldly explain to those people who are listening to him most attentively that on the big backs of these wondrous, tremendous animals are laid out the most beautiful cities and gardens, in which people and animals live and lead a pleasant life, if they exactly follow the laws of the human middle head on this most gigantic animal; if, however, they sin, they are immediately eaten by the tiger head of this animal! He can foist a lot more onto this certainly most absurd lie and everything will be firmly believed; woe to the one, who would want to say, ' Why are you listening to this liar?! I have been to India several times and have never either seen, even from afar, or heard talk about something similar!' It is all of no use! He is brought, as a slanderer of such a miraculous thing, to the silence beneficial to him, and the main liar, who has never seen India, claims the field. I experienced myself too many a time, how people much rather accept and even believe the most colossal foolishness, than the proven useful truth.
24,6. And is it a wonder that with such known characteristics of people we are now properly cured and embalmed with gods? And is it not a greater wonder how people like me can still exist among so many most foolish people? And are you surprised, great lord, lord, lord that the twelve of us very experienced Greeks and Jews must inevitably be atheists, due to the quite simple fact that, most obviously, there cannot be a god built after such a foolishly human fashion, who would ask from people the most ridiculous things; let us say he would ask in his honor even the buying of the temple's dung and dirt for the blessing of the fields, acres, gardens and meadows and another thousand worse absurdities, which the still wiser one-god of the Jews requires, - never mind the most foolish and most absurd things, sacrifices, traditions and customs that dishonor human dignity and that are asked and from time to time even strictly demanded by our Greek, well around ten thousand gods?
24,7. Woe, woe, woe to the one who dared to fillip even one of the most minor wooden divinities! He would, as a SACRILEGUS MALEDICTUS (damned temple desecrator), be handled most badly by god's representatives! The destruction of, or even an inflicted insult, to a lie carved in wood is still punished fiercely with the sword as a highest, inexcusable crime. But if thousands of these lazy swindlers trample every pure truth and the true honor of mankind, persecute these everywhere and suppress any emerging goodness with all power and with the cruelest means, it is completely alright and, - DICO - [I say] highly pleasing to the wise and omnipotent gods. Ah, true mankind is most obediently thankful for all gods and divinities! Can you, as a known truly wise lord and regent, blame me that I feel disgusted enough to throw up when anyone is attracted by a god even as little as possible?!
24,8. When I went for the third time to India as a merchant, I found quite a lot of intelligence and goodness, but in addition, also found such horrible foolishness that one could crucify oneself just to never again come into contact with such colossal divine fooleries. According to what I heard there from their theosophy, the highest god Lama, who is also called Delaih, confers on his highest representative, who is also immortal, the highest honor and appears to him and his senior priests once every year; this only happens on a high mountain peak! On the behest of the highest of all gods the representative then has to defecate on a most pure, white cloth, then dry the excrement and turn it into powder. This 'powder of god', as the Indians named it, is put grain by grain in wooden, very small boxes and is sent under lock and key for a great price to the heads of nations; these high heads have to most reverently consume this dirt gift from god after doing the required penance. These and a lot more of the most absurd fooleries are things of which everyone who travels there can convince themselves.
24,9. What should a levelheaded person of pure reason and healthy mind say when he hears from the highest Indian god about such real foulness through which he wants to be highly revered? Yes, one could fly off the handle at such colossal stupidity of the people, to which they maybe have been hanging on with life and limb for several thousands of years and they cannot be dissuaded by any reasonable concept!
24,10. Yes, let me once meet a decent god, and I will stop being an atheist; this miraculous thing that took place before my eyes could really tempt me to that and bring me to the belief that despite all the most foolish deities concocted by people there can still be a true deity complying with pure reason, which would be a great and most beautiful thought of man! If, however, the deity is in the end as false as it was the case until now with all deities known to me, it may perform another thousand such miracles before my eyes, and I will truly not honor it!
24,11. This is how I am, think and act! Thus you can entrust me with something, if you know something better and truer, and I will certainly accept it thankfully! - So how did Mark's new dwelling come into existence? Who called it into existence? "
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