The Machiavelli Gospel of the Bible
Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a man with quite an amazing mind. Whether or not you choose to believe this man was a 'good guy' or a 'bad guy' has no place in this discussion; remember, history has provided many examples of bad guys having great minds. Personally, I find it quite apparent that the energy that drives everything in the universe is not in the least bit discriminate of which individuals receive a great mind and understand what they can do with it. Basically, if you've got it you've got it. If you don't then you don't. That particular argument has far more to offer, but that is for another day and another blog.
Anyways, this Machiavelli fellow penned a book named "The Prince." In this book Machiavelli stated that social benefit in politics could be achieved but that those grasping the reigns of power needed to be willing to behave in an immoral manner when necessary. Threats and violence were considered necessary to keep resistant people in their place and to do away with political rivals to power.
Basically, Machiavelli proposed that whatever the goal of the individual(s) in power it was perfectly fine to do whatever necessary in order to achieve the goal.
Machiavelli presented these ideas almost 500 years ago. Unfortunately, in the recent past and in modern society there are plenty of people and businesses and politicians who utilize such thuggish tactics as they hunt down the goals they have set for themselves.
However, what I find most disturbing is many religious dogmas and groups and leaders have repeatedly shown that they are NOT above utilizing Machiavelli tactics as they vie for bodies to fill church pews and souls to fill the pearly gates.
We all know the arguments presented by the Bible and by Bible-based faiths. The short version goes something like this:
God loves everyone. Everyone sins. Jesus is the Son of God and was crucified so that all the sin of those who would believe in Jesus would be washed away. Everyone else is slated for hell and immense suffering no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they do. The world is bad and evil, a terrible place that is only getting worse. The world will end soon. If you want to go to heaven after the world goes up in a big ball of flame you MUST accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior. If you do not believe in Jesus Christ and accept him into your heart then you can put your head between your knees and kiss your spiritual ass goodbye.
Considering all that let us take a gander at Machiavelli tactics utilized in religion. What are the lies, the threats, the pictures of spiritual and physical suffering that are painted for the would-be believer and believer alike?
Johnathan Edwards (1703-1758) was a revivalist preacher who found no shame in scaring the bejeezus out of people in order to get them to comply with the message of the Bible and the requirements for salvation and admittance to heaven. My favorite sermon of his is "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," which opens with, "Unconverted men walk over the pit of hell." Nothing like coming right out with the claim instead of beating around the bush or making people guess.
I always found the argument of Jesus-Loves-You-So-Believe-In-Him-Or-Else to be amazingly stupid and devoid of anything reminiscent of logic. In his sermon Edwards goes on to say that for those who choose to NOT believe in God, God has many, many ways with which He disposes such people as He punches their one-way ticket to hell. All aboard!! Go to this link to hear the sermon for yourself:
In a 1958 sermon given in Charlotte, Billy Graham was more than happy to set the spiritual tone to the key of No-One-Knows-If-They-Will-Be-Alive-Tomorrow-So-Believe-In-Jesus-Now-To-Cover-Your-Ass. For a God whose love is purported to be so grand, wonderful, all-encompassing, and eternal many preachers seem to think that the flies-to-honey routine ought to be forsaken. Forget saving people with nice stories about God. Just tell them how mighty and mean God can and will be, that way you get more converts right from the start. Make people who are searching for more meaning in their lives so ever-loving afraid of everything that they take your Jesus-bait hook, line, and sinker. I could not find audio for this speech, but here is the link to the written version:
How about some of the sermons of Jerry Falwell? This guy was a real ray of sunshine, right? His theory on why 9/11 occurred was that America has 'fallen away' from God and God allowed the terrible disaster to happen as a wake-up call for people to turn back to Him. If people do NOT turn back to God, even after the terror of 9/11, then God will allow more of the same. Falwell even included verses in his sermon as evidence of the supposed truth he was spouting...I mean preaching:
I would be remiss if I did not include a sermon by religious charlatan Benny Hinn. In this particular sermon Hinn preaches that there are demons all around, more than ever before, and that many present wars are more spiritual than people realize. These demons are fighting for the souls of mankind. Convert to Jesus NOW lest you fall prey to the demons who are on stand-by and ready to pounce on your soul if you die without accepting Jesus as your personal savior...because Jesus said if you believe in Him he will save you and keep you from harm. If you choose anything other than God and Jesus you are in effect choosing defeat. Listen to this sermon as it is deliciously hilarious:
In this next link you will find Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell together making outlandish claims that the reason why bad things are happening to Americans in America is because God is unhappy with our culture and society. Americans had better shape-up lest God get really REALLY pissed and send our asses to hell without letting us pack an overnight bag. Oh, and as you listen to this bullshit keep in mind God loves you and only wants what is best for you. Much like Hallmark does on happy occasions, God means the very best when he sends disaster your way:
Jimmy Swaggart delivers an animated sermon on why simply being a good person will NOT be adequate bus fare to make it to heaven. So, if you do not believe in God it does not matter if people think you are good or if you are in fact good. This is a matter of life and death for all people. The devil will punch your ticket if you don't accept Jesus:
Joyce Meyer is far happier, far more positive in her sermon approach to salvation, right? She also has a nice...oh, shall we call it 'religious moxie' to help folks turn to Christ as she has a gift for injecting just the right amount of humor in her sermons. Her sermons strike me as being more along the lines of something you would hear in a prison service on Sunday, "Jesus does not care what you have done! He loves you! God wants to be your friend and he loves EVERYONE no matter what! All you have to do is believe. God's blood is the stain remover in your life! He will erase your sin!! He forgives you! Run to Him!" Believe NOW and give God an opportunity to ruin...I mean FIX your life:
Check out this video clip of preacher Creflo Dollar (yes, that is his real last name). I love the cheesy dramatic music at the very beginning, right? It totally reminded me of the thundering, edge-of-your-seat music that CNN uses anytime a new war breaks out somewhere on the planet (usually the Middle East). If you decide to swallow the pish-posh Creflo spouts you will understand that Satan is purposely misleading you and trying to drag your soul straight to hell with as little fight from you as possible. You just gotta watch out for that damned Satan as he is pressuring you to leave the will of God. Do these people know how flipping stupid they sound? There is ZERO logic to what they say. If you point that out to them they will immediately say that logic and the search for logic in the salvation of Jesus Christ is one of the worst tricks of the devil/Satan as he sneakily tries to get you to think God's love for your makes no sense:
It is apparent that the message of love in the Bible is just not enough to make people choose God all on their own. God wants everyone to go to heaven (although we know everyone will not be there) and the best way to get people to listen to the message of the gospel of the Bible and take their place in heaven with Jesus is to scare the shit out of them, give them bad dreams, and threaten them with various unpalatable consequences of refusing the horse-shit message of fire and damnation.
Niccolo Machiavelli, I think, would be proud of the efforts taken by those within religion to steer people in a specific direction, to direct the action and thinking of people who are in all reality scared out of their fucking minds and all because some pulpit-hopping nut has convinced them there is no hope for the world and mankind EXCEPT the Bible's offering of salvation. Whether the threats are direct to the unbeliever or perhaps even threatening to those that the unbeliever holds dear and loves, Machiavelli would see that at least as far as religion goes it is truly no-holds-barred as whatever needs to be done and must be done in order to turn people to Jesus and God and Salvation...and such behavior and tactics are truly the BEST example of Machiavelli's assertion that the ends does indeed justify the means.
Here are some more sermons and some are more fiery in nature than others. Some of them take a few minutes for the preacher to work himself up into a rabid spiritual frenzy:
For a copy of the Biblical Myths Table of Elements go to: