BIG JESUS is Watching You? Is Christianity a Form of Authoritarianism/Totalitarianism?

Christopher Hitchens thinks that Christianity, in the way it surrounds and encloses the psyche of the believer, and threatens the unbeliever with torture, is a form of totalitarianism:

It is an odd thing, isn’t it, to tell somebody, IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE WHAT I BELIEVE, YOU WILL BE TORTURED FOR ETERNITY!

Not particularly subtle.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to BIG JESUS is Watching You? Is Christianity a Form of Authoritarianism/Totalitarianism?

  1. Jared K. says:

    Unfortunately, I think this clip was taken down on Youtube–so I missed Hitchens’ remark.

    One question is, who are these Christians wandering around telling others “if you don’t believe what I believe, you will be tortured for eternity!” The few I know of tend to be homeless, wear tin foil on their heads, and don’t attend church.

    Another question is, isn’t every religion and philosophy, apart from relativism, subject to this totalitarian critique? Isn’t it totalitarian for a materialist or an atheist to implicitly say “believe what I believe, or you will have wasted your only life, this, the only brief existence you will ever know, believing in and living out a silly and sad delusion”? Isn’t any view that attempts to answer anything about who we are and where we are going subject to this “your are totalitarian” criticism? And doesn’t this show how poor this critique is?

  2. aunty dawkins says:

    Jared
    Well said! Religion is entered into by free will, Hitchen’s critique is nonsense. I don’t like him, he is arrogant, if others respect his atheism he should respect others who differ without belittling or mocking! He could do with some humble pie rubbing in his face or better stuffing down his throat. He has little horns under that blonde quiff you know LOL

  3. Pingback: Christian Sex-Ed | SISTERS OF THE FAITH ™

  4. volubrjotr says:

    Poor deluded fool, perhaps he should read real science and history.

    This is a little body count from the without God Crowd.

    http://www.digitalsurvivors.com/archives/communistbodycount.php

    What set this right? War waged by Christian dominated people. True war is not a good thing and useless but it did stop Nazism, Communism, Slavery, & Fascism, all of which were Atheist driven Doctrines.

    • P.D. says:

      “Nazism, Communism, Slavery, & Fascism, all of which were Atheist driven Doctrines.” What the f**k are you talking abou?. Fascism is a religion-based philosophy, the Bible recommends, not only slavery, but the abuse of slaves throughout and Hitler was a believing Catholic!

  5. P.D. says:

    Jesus Christ is the single most sadistic, malevolent, horrific, tyrannical, twisted and evil monster in the entire sphere of fiction! I can’t think of any other character who endorses bringing people into existence, independent of their own request, imbuing them with instincts that they didn’t ask for, throws all of the rules in opposition to those instincts, orders the slaughter of innocent animals as payment for failure, gets himself tortured to death as an example of how to go about avoiding his eternal torture chamber for said failure and then claims that his love is unconditional. I can’t think of another fictional character who endorses slavery, the beating of slaves to death, genocide, infanticide and smashing little babies against rocks, cutting open pregnant women and tearing their babies from their wombs (where Christians get the idea that they are opposed to abortion is beyond me!) raping innocent women as a punishment to their disobedient husbands, relentless commands of punishing innocents for the crimes of the guilty and human sacrifice recommended as a cultural passtime! And those are his GOOD points!
    I know – ‘It doesn’t quite mean that’ and ‘I’m taking it out of context!’ – BOLLOCKS! Learn how to read, you sick, twisted, brainwashed, evil, Christian pricks!

    • concerned christian says:

      “Jesus Christ is the single most sadistic, malevolent, horrific, tyrannical, twisted and evil monster in the entire sphere of fiction!”
      Where on Earth you came with such a sweeping conclusion?

      • P.D. says:

        Excuse me? ‘Concerned Christian,’ perhaps you should have read the rest of what I wrote and then you would have found the answer. I appreciate that it is difficult to associate the Bible with the atrocities I alluded to. This is because, culturally, you have been duped into believing that it is the ‘Good Book’ without ever having read it fully (or if you have, your mind wandered!) Trust me, there isn’t anything ‘good’ about it. It’s brutally sadistic, Bronze Age totalitarianism that does nothing other than poison the minds of otherwise good people.
        The late Mr Hitchens said nothing totalitarian in his message, whatsoever. In what way is exposing cruelty and encoraging people to think for themselves tyrannical? Compare with:
        Jesus said, “Come to me and I will give you rest. HOWEVER, if you are not willing to comply – I’LL EXTERMINATE YOU! And afterwards, I’ll have you TORTURED ETERNALLY. But never forget that I love you – UNCONDITIONALLY!”
        This is what you are following and endorsing whilst living in and enjoying the advantages laid down by a democracy. There’s a nasty word for that and it begins with the letter ‘H.’

        Concerned Citizen

  6. One says:

    coexist

  7. One says:

    @Jared K.
    I like how you pointed out the
    absolutist-like issues with that :} awsm!!

  8. concerned christian says:

    P.D., You opened with a far weeping statement, every word in it needs to be explained so let me break it down for you
    Jesus Christ is
    the single: You could not find any one in history more deserving of that vicious attack
    most sadistic, Give me examples to justify this description.
    malevolent, Is that because he went around helping people?
    horrific, Is He your nightmare?
    tyrannical, Instead of ordering His followers to fight for Him He told them to put down your swords, and this happened after he washed their feet. Is this your definition of a tyrant?
    twisted and evil monster If that is what you say about Jesus how about Hitler and Stalin?
    in the entire sphere of fiction!” Nice scholarly work in history, based on your twisted logic you could come up with P.D. version of history where every one you don’t like never existed and he is just a figment of our imagination.
    The bottom line is that when you open with a statement like this, I don’t need to try to continue reading your nonsense, because you have just told me everything I need to know about your upside down world which exists only in your twisted mind

  9. P.D. says:

    Ok, ‘Concerned Citizen.’ Despite my utter disgust at you for going out of your way to defend cruelty and demonize those who speak against it, I will attempt to indulge you. However, I do suspect that you won’t read a word of it because Christianity is a form of mind-control which causes followers to become dislexic whenever they are faced with texts that are contrary to their belief system. In fact, you said it yourself: “The bottom line is that when you open with a statement like this, I don’t need to try to continue reading your nonsense, because you have just told me everything I need to know about your upside down world which exists only in your twisted mind.”

    The answer to your question was already there, so why ask me to say it again when you clearly don’t want to know? Nevertheless, I’ll try again – with citations this time.

    1. How is Jesus the single most sadistic monster in fiction? Because although there are plenty of fictional monsters, I would probably say that Freddy Krueger is a good contender in that both he and the Jesus of the Bible (as opposed to the elusive Jesus of HISTORY) are both concerned with torturing their nay-sayers ETERNALLY! Even Hitler didn’t go THAT far!

    2. How is Jesus sadistic? According you your belief system, specifically the Gospel of ‘John,’ Jesus and Yahweh are one and the same! Yahweh ordered slavery, made provisions for the beating of slaves to death (Ex: 21:20-21), countless incidents of genocide against races who worshipped other Gods (do you endorse the slaughter of ALL Muslims? Hindus? Sikhs? Buddhists? Zoroastrians?) arbitrary infanticide including smashing little babies against rocks and cutting open pregnant women with bronze swords (Psalm 137: 8-9; Isaiah 13:16; Hosea 13:16) the rape of innocent young virgins after they have had to watch their mothers, fathers and little brothers slain by Yahweh’s thugs who were then to rape them, (Num: 31:18) the rape of innocent women just to punish their disobedient husbands (2 Samuel 12:11-14; Zechariah 14:1-2), animal cruelty and of course, the worst one of all – HELL!

    3. Helping people? A few miracles to prove his point does not counter his threats of eternal torture or his malevolent, tyrannical words. Check out his statement in Matt: 5: 17-18 – “Not one jot or tittle of the law will change until the end of time. Any who fail to keep even the smallest letter of the law will be considered the least in heaven.” Ok, let’s have a look at a few examples of this law shall we? – These would include the rules that unruly children, homosexuals and anybody who eats shellfish or collects sticks on the Sabbath must be bludgeoned to death with rocks, how much money to charge for a slave (there was a requirement that females must cost less than males, by the order of God!) and how to identify slaves by driving nails through their ears (Deuteronomy 15:17), etc.

    You may also wish to read the Parable of the Ten Minas in Luke 19 where Jesus uses a hypothetical tyrant king as a metaphor for himself. The parable ends with the words: “Any who do not accept me as king over them, bring them before me and slay them in my sight!” – (Luke 19: 27). What a model citizen.

    4. Jesus the Fictional Character. Everything the Bible says about Jesus is ‘fantastic’ in nature. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The gospels as you have them come from copies of copies of translations of copies of copies from falsely ascribed, non-eyewitnesses with known forgeries and NO ORIGINALS. Independent history is silent on him in deference to the banal. References to the early Christians decades later are NOT evidence of Jesus. The three references to Jesus in Josephus and Tacitus show evidence of frauduent interpolation, save for the ‘James, brother of Jesus’ passage in Josephus which, if any Christian dare to scroll down would see that it is referring to one Jesus, son of Damneus! I think that the deafening silence on the Biblical Jesus outside of the Bible gives rise to suspicion in view of the fantastic claims the Bible makes about him. It’s what we today call – BULLSHIT!

    My wife has a B.th in Christian theology, so please don’t insult me by saying I don’t know what I’m saying. What I’ve written here isn’t out of context and the Bible means exactly what it says. It’s just plain SICK!

    • concerned christian says:

      A simple replay suffices, almost every accusation you said about Christianity and Jesus, right or wrong, can be proven beyond any reasonable doubt about Islam and Muhammad, why don’t you bark up the right tree!

  10. P.D. says:

    Once again, a non-sequitur from you. You say that a simple reply will suffice AFTER ignoring my previous, much more condensed answer AND after giving me a checklist of questions you wanted me to respond to.

    Islam, is not the dominant religious faith of the democratic West and neither is it the focus of this thread. This all began with Christopher Hitchens’ observation that Christianity is totalitarian and I merely sought to defend his position on the matter. Whilst Islam is equally brutal and totalitarian, the fact that you are now deferring to, what is tantamount to an irrelevancy, is clearly a desperate attempt by you to indulge your ‘concerned Christian’ spite. Whilst you are trying to demonize me for my outrage towards these biblical atrocities being embraced as ‘good,’ I don’t think you will find many who would lend support to your defence of them upon acquistion of such knowledge – or to the book that endorses them.

    • concerned christian says:

      And neither was Jesus Christ the subject of this discussion, unfortunately we can’t listen to the video but according to Santi’s summary
      “Christopher Hitchens thinks that Christianity, in the way it surrounds and encloses the psyche of the believer, and threatens the unbeliever with torture, is a form of totalitarianism:”

      Speaking of Jesus’ vision of Hell and Heaven, one of the most beautiful passages in the Gospel which moved many saints from St. Francis to Mother Teresa to serve humanity, is this section from Matthew 25

      31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

      37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

      41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

      44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

      Even if you don’t believe in Jesus, do you have a problem with what He said here?

  11. P.D. says:

    I have seen the video of Hitchens that was available on this link. It is also available elsewhere!
    As to Jesus Christ not being the subject of this discussion, perhaps you should look at the title again: “BIG JESUS is Watching You? Is Christianity a Form of Authoritarianism/Totalitarianism?” What, pray tell, is Christianity, if not Jesus? This is what I was referring to when I mentioned Christian dyslexia!

    And yes, I do have a problem with that tyrannical rant from Matt 25. Firstly, there are millions of charitable atheists out there. In fact most charitable organizations ARE secular. According to the New Testament – merely NOT BELIEVING is enough for him to have you tortured forever. Look at this charming piece of Middle-Eastern terrorism again:

    “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.”

    So much for his love being UNCONDITIONAL, eh?

    No human being can commit offenses during a FINITE life that would merit INFINITE suffering. It is for your support of such filth that I believe you to be a bully, a sadist, a terrorist, and an unconscionable monster! It is not surprising that you wish to spend eternity with the ultimate monster – JESUS! Thank the Laws of Reason that he is but a myth…

    • Some Guy Man Person says:

      “The gospels as you have them come from copies of copies of translations of copies of copies from falsely ascribed, non-eyewitnesses with known forgeries and NO ORIGINALS. ”
      “My wife has a B.th in Christian theology, so please don’t insult me by saying I don’t know what I’m saying. What I’ve written here isn’t out of context and the Bible means exactly what it says. It’s just plain SICK!”
      DOUBLE DERP :O
      >The bible = copies of copies of translations of copies of copies from falsely ascribed, non-eyewitnesses with known forgeries and NO ORIGINALS BUUUUT I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT EVERYTHING THAT WAS SAID IN YOUR STUPID FALSE BOOK WAS MEANT TO BE TAKEN AS LITERALLY AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE FJFAGHADFG
      >My wife has a B.th in Christian theology
      >My wife
      >wife
      >WIFE
      Please tell me you’re not serious. Just because your WIFE studied Christianity doesn’t make you MR. EPIC KNOWLEDGEABLE GUY on the subject. Actually, the fact that your WIFE studied Christianity and not YOU makes you look fairly useless on this subject.

      “JESUS! Thank the Laws of Reason that he is but a myth…”
      Lololol

      If you sir, had any reason, you’d more than likely be Christian, and wouldn’t have derped twice in one post.
      Good day to you, pedestrian

      • P.D. says:

        Hey there, Mr Sick, Twisted, Totalitarian Sadist! My wife is a veritable expert on this subject and unlike YOU I actually pay attention in class! What reason did your unintelligible rant just give me to accept Christianity? Did you counter or even attempt to counter even one of my points? NO! You just decided to chime in and attack me arbitrarily and tried to coerce me into joining you mindless, backward, S & M club: “If you sir, had any reason, you’d more likely be a Christian…” Can you give me a reason for being a Christian without using unfounded Bronze Age, hellfire terrorism? CAN YOU?
        You have no idea how much I suffered at the hands of your evil religion. YES, I was a Christian at one time and then my eyes were opened as to the horror of what is written in that sadistic book you call ‘good.’
        You are a monster sir, and it sickens me that I no choice to breath the same oxygen as you! You are a subhuman bully and no matter where you come from, I will always stand up to you. ‘Turn the other cheek’ is the way of the coward, endorsed by the tyrant. After all, every dictator wants a punching bag who won’t strike back!
        Unless you can come up with a valid, coherent argument against what I say AND be able to back it up with something other than opinion or wishful thinking, stay out of the discussion, because unless you know your theology, we will annihilate you!

  12. concerned christian says:

    @Some Guy Man Person
    Don’t bother to respond to P.D., he acts like a drunkard in a bar, he started by viciously attacking our Lord Jesus Christ and continued to exhibit his unlimited vocabulary of INCOHERENT RAMBLING and used it against anyone who responded to him, while pretending to share with the world his nuggets of wisdom.

    @P.D. Here’s an argument that fits your style: GET LOST.

    As for the original subject which could have turned into a meaningful discussion, my response is that Christianity does not have a unified creed about Heaven and Hell, Catholic believes in purgatory, while Orthodox do not. Protestant denominations go all the way from some that uses that vision to scare the H–l out of its believers to other Churches that avoid bringing that issue at all. Other religions also have different positions; Islam uses Heaven and Hell as a BIG carrot and a BIG stick to motivate to its followers. You control yourself on earth to have unlimited reward in Heaven. In Muslim Heaven believers enjoy all the Earthly entertainment that was forbidden to them in life. Some religions believe in incarnation where you try hard this time so you don’t come as a donkey the next time around. Ancient Egyptians believe in after life and spend most of their lives preparing for it, while Greeks believe in Hades and the Elysian fields.
    Other religions and cultures have their own vision of afterlife, so the BOTTOM LINE is that while Christopher Hitchens, used his usual approach as a rabble rouser to address this issue, it is not fair to single out Christianity for criticism..

  13. P.D. says:

    Once again, other religions weren’t the focus of the thread – Christianity was, so why do you keep deferring to irrelevancies? According to your theology, ALL who do not follow your idea of God will be tortured forever. True or False? If you say ‘false,’ I would dearly love to hear you justify that position in terms of biblical doctrine – and that is my point! You are living in and enjoying the advantages laid down by a democracy and yet embracing a philosophy that is tanatamount to a terrorist holding a gun to someone’s head and then saying, “You have the free will to do as you are told or try to escape. However, if you try to escape, I’ll blow your f***ing head off!” FREE WILL???

    And don’t call me a ‘drunken thug’ again, hypocrite. I’m not the one defending a religion that endorses rape, genocide, infanticide, slavery, torture and animal cruelty. It’s all there in that book you revere so highly. Maybe sometime, you should consider reading it rather than just waving it around.

    As to telling me to GET LOST? Is that the best you can do? You defend atrocities by implication, I give passionate views as to why I am opposed to your beliefs and give you valid, specific, REASONS for my position WITH citations, and you simply respond by calling me names! Of all of the points I have made, you have yet to counter one of them. NOT ONE! Why is that, I wonder? Because you can’t, perhaps? Because like 90% of Christians you haven’t got a clue what’s really in your precious holy book?

    Either give me a valid argument, one that’s relevant to the thead, or carry on showing your ignorance, lack of reason and shockingly low IQ.

  14. mistresshades@ymail.com says:

    Guys, time out. Please. I’m not an atheist but I would describe myself as agnostic. I have been watching this thread unfold and as amusing as it has been, I have to say that as vexed as P.D. comes across, it seems that every point he puts across, he backs up with reference and pretty compelling arguments. You don’t seem to be able to respond to him with anything other than insults and as he quite rightly put it, not one single argument to counter his points. You don’t like what he says, so you just try to belittle him with groundless insults. If this is what Christianity is I won’t be signing up in a hurry. You’ve presented the very worst example for any faith that I could imagine.
    I intend no offence towards you, just food for thought. Try to think a little more in future. Best wishes. Laura

    • concerned christian says:

      OK let’s put it this way, when someone opens with a statement like that
      “Jesus Christ is the single most sadistic, malevolent, horrific, tyrannical, twisted and evil monster in the entire sphere of fiction! ”
      I could not care less to spend a minute responding to his logic. If someone said that about anybody you love what would be your response?
      Would he dare to pile the same insults on Mohammad?
      So that is my response, and as the Good Book said
      “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” (Proverb 26:5)

  15. Laura B. says:

    But can’t you see that all you’re doing is affirming this statement that’s so offensive to you? He did at least give some fairly compelling reasons why he said it and you seem to be offended by his bringing these horrors to the attention of the forum. I don’t know the Bible very well so I can’t comment on the particulars but if this book actually does teach of a God who asked people to rape women and kill babies, I think I’d feel the same way as Mr P.D. Your name calling and lack of any defence to these things only served to add validity to his statements. You can’t just write off what someone says as ‘ranting’ simply because you dont like what they say. That’s just not right. Sorry. This entire thread is seriously edging me out of the agnostic camp and into the atheist.

    Best

    Laura

    • concerned christian says:

      Sorry but you should not make up your mind based on what a single individual “me” said on a single thread. Obviously I am not perfect, and my approach is different from what each one of the billion+ Christians approaches his or her faith.
      As for the arguments about what is mentioned in the Old Testament, Jewish and Christian scholars have agonized over many of these events; some went all the way to explaining them as purely allegorical stories. This includes Origen the Alexandrian Philosopher, who by the way was also a universalist who believed that even Satan will ultimately will be delivered.
      I believe that the original subject, the question of the position of Christianity in regards to Heaven and Hell, should have been the main focus of this discussion, and nothing else.

      • Laura B. says:

        Forgive me, sir, but I fail to see how ‘allegorical’ stories about a God committing acts of evil can ever do him much credit. What kind of message is that sending? If you think that the message about God sending people to heaven or hell should have been the focus then his other cruelties are bang on topic in my opinion. Surely they’d be admissable as evidence in establishing a character profile, wouldn’t they?

      • P.D. says:

        Hey, C.C. It seems I’m not the only one who can see through your bullshit! You know, you’ve got to expect this. In the free world, ideas such as ‘we have no right to our own bodies and minds’ are never going to be popular. That’s why we went after Hitler and the Al Quaeda. We don’t like tyranny in the West! You try to terrorize people into giving up their fundamental freedoms and then balk at anyone who dares to stand up to you. Just who do you think you are? You are cruel and you defend sadism in the most transparent of ways and you don’t care who you hurt with your totalitarian ultimatums. It is my view that nobody can follow the Bible and be a decent person at the same time. You would either have to be a coward or a bully. Come to think of it, they both go hand in hand, don’t they?

  16. P.D. says:

    Hey, thanks Laura. It’s great to have a friend on here. This religion messed me up pretty badly when I was a kid and I just see red when people start defending it. I read the Bible and then my wife pointed out many many horrors in it that I previously couldn’t believe I’d read. I always thought that I must have been mistaken and took it for granted that that was the case. It wasn’t. It says what it says and what it says is absolutely disgusting. When people start defending it, it feels to me like they are defending Nazi Concentration Camps and threatening me with one unless I agree with them. They call me a fool because I don’t want to live forever with their sadistic, cosmic dictator. I don’t even have any interest in joining an S & M club, so what chance have they got? LOL.

  17. concerned christian says:

    Before I drop this issue and move on to other subjects, here’s my take on this discussion:
    Santi, God bless him, as any good professor came up with an interesting topic with a catchy title to motivate his audience to speak out.
    P.D. decided to tell us how much he hates Jesus.
    I decided to tell him to back off and stick to the subject.
    We end up with an all out verbal attack involving P.D., Laura B., an me.
    But the point of view of three amateur theologians should not be the issue or the focus of this discussion. What is important is the accumulation of thousands of years of true human wisdom, including wise ANCIENT Egyptians, Greek philosophers, Jewish prophets, Christian Apostles, Church fathers and philosophers, and I can not summarize or even adequately present all of these contributions in few sentences., .
    So let’s just put this subject to rest and whether you believe or not believe in God
    GOD BLESS YOU ALL, Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s