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Chapter 108 - The atheistic speech of the eloquent priestess.
108,1. The priests and their wives greeted us and bowed deeply before Me and Jored showed them their places at our table and served them bread and wine. After having some bread and wine for the sake of good manners, the wives soon became noisy, especially the exceedingly clever and world-wise wife of the Minerva priest. Directly opposite her sat the Jew-Greek scribe and nearly could not wait the time entering in to a dialogue with the woman; since now she talked about completely different and unimportant matters.
108,2. Only after about a small hour was the conversation directed towards a subject of some importance, namely the Oracle of Delphi and the age old existing world-oracle of Dodona. At this opportunity did our scribe found a moment in which he could enter into a discourse with the woman about whom he already became quite annoyed for having to wait so long for this moment.
108,3. However, the more intensely the weather was brewing. For the woman maintained that these institutions were still a great benefaction for common mankind because mainly through it the people were kept in the blind believe about the continuance of life of the soul after death. Since there the blind and feeble-minded people could, by paying a small fee, engage in a discussion with their deceased friends. This was still a quite good and by the old believe authorized opportunity since until now it was not possible to present something better to the people.
108,4. The stoic truth, which of course only she recognized and could confirm through all kinds of experiences, would be of little use to the uneducated people and therefore it was good that this truth was only left to the priests, so that they could be wise and invent even more so all kinds of devout deceptions for the people, by whose effectuation the people could be made quite happy for the short duration of their life time. The priests of course could never enjoy such happiness, for which they required the sacrifices to make their otherwise sad and wretched life bearable, and they had to console themselves with the approaching feelingless, painless and trouble free non-existence.
108,5. “I do not say”, continued the female priest, “that nothing better could be given for this good; however, for as long this does not happen, the existing is by far still the best. The right wisdom teaches us people, through every effective means which however must always be kept secret, to place common mankind in a most possible well tolerable happy state of life and maintain them in the same. Only thereby man obtains a moral value and becomes able to form a useful member of human society. Therefore the in itself very sad priest-class, which finds itself to see the pure but very sad truth, is not sufficiently respected by the uninformed public; since all well-being and woe of the people depends solely on the priest-class sacrificing themselves for mankind.
108,6. I state the possible scenario: All priests and priestesses would conspire against the people and tell them the fullest and purest truth and inform them about the whole process of devout deception. This would surely lead to one of the world’s most terrible disorder among the people. Nothing would be holy to the people anymore and the stronger would attack and tear to pieces the weaker like a tearing animal, yes, one would slaughter the new born children and throw them to the dogs for food. In short, man would soon become his own enemy and a terrible enemy of all life, as basically also we are and among us according to the full truth.
108,7. Because we don’t know any God - except only him who originated from our imagination. We nevertheless know something, and this consists therein, that there are exist secret forces in nature which under many and different coincidental developing circumstances gave also man his sad existence; but these forces are just as little in anyway intelligent or self-conscious god-beings, just as water is not a god-being because due to its dumb and blind force of gravity it always flows downhill, what is known from past experience, for nobody has seen a brook running uphill. Therefore a thousand gods with the thickest superstition are indescribable more useful to man than all still so pure truth. Hey, what does it matter what man believed from the cradle to his grave when faith gave him a well presented assurance about a tolerable life of the soul after death of the body?
108,8. What can any stupid truth-zealot say and oppose us if we say: ‘Every gods-teaching for the people, getting them to believe in a higher god-being and gives them the full assurance of an everlasting life of the soul after death, is good’? Every gods-teaching is false and bogus and only the moral laws derived from it are good. Therefore - if there exist a life after death, never has a person returned, that he would hold us priests accountable and say: ‘O you most evil goblins, why have you deceived me in the most shameful manner with such colossal lies and false teachings?’
108,9. Truly, would there exist a life of the soul after death, such deeply deceived souls would have long ago taken visible and believable revenge on us, or they would, recognizing our misery, would have given us a better clarification about God and about the life of the soul after the death of the body! However, because after the death of a person or every animal there can exists no life, no spirit makes his appearance and takes revenge on us, for having lied and mislead him so terribly in this world, and therefore we do not need to worry abut it unnecessarily.
108,10. The people have here on this earth, depending on the climatic soil- and water conditions, different talents and properties. The one is gigantic strong, the other weak like a fly. The one has a sharp mind and the other is stupid as the night. The one has a sharp sight like an eagle and his neighbour is blind. As such one has based on his consistent acuteness and nearly unbelievable observation- and deduction capability by which he easily penetrates in all depths of the workings of the secret forces of nature and soon knows how to copy them in a smaller or larger scale, and the others, lacking such properties, are amazed about him and nearly regard him as a god. Again others can observe the always active nature for a thousand years and find and invent nothing, although also being just people.
108,11. But despite all these often exceedingly most miraculous qualities with which the people quite often already have walked on this large earth, they finally had to die and no mortal eye has ever seen anything of them again. And therefore we say, although admiring in the highest degree your most miraculous abilities which nearly never existed before according to power and size, that also all of you together with us, will disappear from this earth, like all your great predecessors have disappeared. Only their manifold teachings and their actions will remain in the memory of their successors, and in subsequent times this will also be with you the case, what of course will be of no use to you, because as non-beings you also will not need anything.
108,12. This is our through experience of all nations of the earth well-founded and until now the only true opinion about the being and about the destiny of man. That, except this only full true view of life, with all nations exists a great many quite nice phantasies about an everlasting life-destination of the human soul after the death of the body, we know quite well; but who can provide a guarantee for its truth? Perhaps the pictures of dreams of people or those phantoms of a feverishly heated imagination? O, all these are only effects of different stages of life of man for as long his heart pulses! Once it has ceased to be active, then also the dreams and the fever-heated phantoms have stopped and together with them the existence of man and his often so beautiful hopes! - I have spoken and now you can speak, Master from the kingdom of the gods and give us something better!”
108,13. About this quite lengthy, purely atheistic speech of the priestess, the scribe became quite worked up, because he was unable to interrupt the continuous and fluently speaking priestess and shut her up. Now the moment arrived he longed for and he could not take a deep enough breath to thunder the priestess with all strength and shortness with very heavy rebutting evidences .
108,14. Once he had his breathing under control he said with a very important look: “Listen, you highly life- and godless priestess of Minerva! As a so exceedingly wise heathen, did you never heard the Roman proverb which says: ‘Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi! (What is allowed to Jupiter is not allowed to the ox.’)?”
108,15. Said quickly the priestess: “Dear friend, do you want to apply this to me or to yourself? In the present situation it appears as if it truly fits you better than me; since it is far from me to offend someone with badly chosen and unchecked words, - what appears to be the case with you right now. If a Jupiter exist then he will take care that the ox does not copy his case; if however Jupiter does not exist, then the ox, at least existent, apparently stands higher than a non-existing god. Truly, friend, if your whole wisdom consists of this highly inappropriate motto, then I would like to have known your teachers! In sunlight they must have looked not too aesthetic! Do you perhaps know more of such proverbs which you can recite to me?”
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