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1778 A.D.:  God's ironies?:  Influential French philosopher Voltaire Dies!

 

 

 

                                           

 

  "Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world."  Voltaire

  "The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning."  Voltaire

  More doubts seeded about Yahweh and Jesus, from a Voltaire essay:  ” . . . .  Christians spent three whole centuries in constructing little by little the apotheosis [the raising of Jesus status to that of a God...Deeds of God author]  of Jesus. . . . At first . . . Jesus was regarded merely as a man inspired by God, then as a creature more perfect than the others. Some time after he was given a place above the angels, as says Saint Paul. Every day added to his stature. He became an emanation of God manifested in time. That was not enough: he was held to be born before time itself. Finally he was made God, consubstantial with God.  "

 "The Bible. What fools have written, what imbeciles command, what rogues teach, and young children are made to learn by heart".   Voltaire

 

   Voltaire did indeed speak some wise and witty sayings, but the above are not among those.  He believed in a higher power, but that it was not the God of the Bible.  Voltaire, a trendy and widely quoted figure, misled many.  He seemed to try to mock God and Jesus and those who believed in Them....many times in fact.  He tried to make human wisdom to be seen as a great power of its own.  But we humans are only sinful creatures conceived for the purpose of being children of and servants to God before we became a fallen race.  But God will not be mocked, though He may let a little time go by - for reasons known fully to God but not us - before taking action against the mocker. 

 

 

   "This is what the Lord says, 'Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind, who makes human flesh his strength and turns his heart from the Lord.  He will be like a juniper in the Arabah; he cannot see when good comes but dwells in parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land where no one lives.'

  'Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord.  He will be like a tree planted by water:  it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn't fear when heat comes, its foliage remains green.  It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.'  "  Jeremiah 17: 5 - 8

 

  Voltaire was a French intellectual and philosophical writer whose writings had a highly noteworthy impact on both average men and some of the celebrated thinkers of his times.  And he influenced popular thought among various elite literary and political figures quite a ways past his lifetime.  Many of America's founding fathers and other leaders of many nations throughout the world were directly affected by the writings of Voltaire, or by the writings of others building upon or expanding beyond Voltaire's thoughts.  I think that in some ways Americans would like many of Voltaires thoughts on government (or more precisely against various evils associated with bad government.)  Some of his quotes also advocate for a great amount of personal freedom for the common man and woman. 

  But....though a 'Deist' believing in some sort of higher power, he was quite the skeptic of Christianity and the Bible.  He influenced many others to be as well.  That is something that most Christian people in America would not approve of.  Voluntary bondage to Christ (and Christ calls for that exact relationship, no less) is the only truly righteous type of freedom, and produces the only type of earthly freedom worth living within.  Anarchy is true, full, and literal freedom, and anything, good or bad, is allowable in an anarchy.  But bondage to the one fully good King that has ever lived, and bondage to the idea of valuing and ensuring the well being of our neighbor just as completely as we do our own is the exact state of government that man was designed, from our inception, to dwell within.  We were created to be servants, not kings.  Servants to a righteous God and His Son, our given King.  Servants in brotherly and sisterly love to the other people around us.  Voltaire believed in a superior being, but as for adhering to a Christian faith.....?  As for being a servant to whatever 'superior being' he believed in ?!? Not this guy!!       

  "What is faith?  Is it to believe that which is evident?  No.  It is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary, supreme, and intelligent being.  This is no matter of faith, but of reason."  Voltaire

  So yes to a 'supreme being'.  Well, every false religion says yes to a supreme being or beings.  God is certainly not flattered by that.

  How did Voltaire actually feel about the Christian faith in particular?

  That it was "without a doubt the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and the most blood thirsty ever to infect the world."  Voltaire

 Not a supporter of Jesus to say the least!  But was he an active enemy of Jesus and the Bible, or just a non-believer?

  "While it took 12 men to write Christianity I will show that it takes but one man to write it down."  Voltaire

  Ok, that was pretty 'in your face' cocky and defiant towards God and Jesus, and the Bible, wouldn't you agree? 

  "One hundred years from my day there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity seeker."  Voltaire

  So, while he believed that there had to be an intelligent being, he knew quite well that it wasn't the God of the Bible, nor His Son Jesus, and he had no intention of letting the Bible continue to exist if he could help it.   It looked like God was backed into a serious corner by this mighty philosophical intellect named Voltaire. 

  But somehow God got lucky and avoided extinction at the hand of this terrifying foe (whom he had created, by the way) and eventually the man died.  I'll bet God took a deep breath of relief!

  And Jesus is more widely worshiped today than in Voltaire's day.  The Bible continues to not only exist in defiance of Voltaire's boast that he would drive it to extinction, but it continues to be a worldwide best seller.  And Voltaire, though still a known name, has greatly faded in fame and influence.  

  And in a stroke of irony - God's brand of irony - it is amusing to find that Voltaires home, around 50 years after his death, was being used by a Bible Society to store Bibles and religious tracts, and his printing press was actually in use to print Christian religious material.  There are several places on the internet to read actual excerpts from letters and writings making mention of this darkly humorous use of Voltaires former lodgings and press. 

***As usual you can find that some people have written that this is merely a Christian urban legend, but luckily certain other sites post the source of the excerpts in their entirety, making it plain that these are real remarks by people of the time who found it to be quite true, and who saw it personally with their own eyes.*** 

  God will not be mocked.  Not for long. 

  Some other examples of oddly fitting punishments of outcomes are easily recalled from the pages of the Bible. 

  Remember when the Israelites were at first welcomed refugees in Egypt, but later, after Joseph died, forced into slavery by the Egyptians?  That may not have been so terrible...but the Egyptians then became worried about how the Israelites population was growing so quickly in their land, so they put out a new law that all male Hebrew children had to be killed at birth!  The land must have had hundreds of thousands or more of male infants slaughtered upon arrival into this world!  The Nile must have run red with their blood!  

  But then Moses was placed into a little basket - just like a little bitty Noah's ark in some ways - and his regretful parents pushed him out into the Nile in hopes that somehow God would save him.  Well, God did!  A bathing Egyptian princess - Egyptian royalty - saw the basket and had her maids retrieve it.  Inside was beautiful baby Moses.  She fell in love with him.  Moses' sister had followed along to see her little brother's fate.  She was nearby, so she asked the princess if she needed a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby?  Why, yes she did!  And so Meriam the sister ran back and told Moses' mom, who ended up being able to nurse her own baby Moses whom she and her husband had just given up for dead!  How wise and wonderful is God?  And Moses was even raised as an Egyptian Royal by the very people for whom he would one day become an intrument of ruination.

  A long time later, many many years, Moses returned with Aaron his brother, and asked Pharoah to release the Hebrews, which the Pharoah refused to do, and so the 10 plagues of Egypt began to be released.  And what was the first plague...the very first plague?  The water of the Nile, upon which the Egyptians so depended, was turned into blood!  Eighty years before, they had been slaughtering innocent Hebrew children, filling the Nile (metaphorically) with the blood of these innocents.  Now, they had blood to drink.  Thirsty for the blood of My people, are you?  Well, here is some blood to drink!  How awesome is that?

  And later, when the entire Hebrew nation of slaves was fleeing, it was the sea that we call the RED SEA (Red Like blood, but really composed of Water) which parted for those who followed God's chosen leader (Moses) but that same sea would not stay parted for those (the persuing Egyptian army under Pharoah's command) who tried to cross through without following God's chosen leader (who at that moment was Moses, as mentioned.)  Through Blood and the Living Water of the Holy Spirit we Christians can join and follow God's chosen leader (Jesus) and pass safely through to the promise of Salvation.  Through this sea, which was named Red (like blood) but which was really water, the Hebrews, following God's assigned leader, did the same.  But, no such path was given to those who Egyptians.  They drowned.

  And just like the future people of the Lord will skip through the ashes of God's enemies and plunder whatever they wish from the leftover items of their enemies, so also the Hebrew's found things floating in the water, and items on the bodies of the drowned Egyptians, which they put to use.  Weapons, were one such salvage item.

  The Egyptians had forced the Hebrews to put their infant sons 'in the river' to die.  Eighty years later, their son's were in the water, dead.  God does sometimes pick punishments that so neatly fit the crime that you just about have to call it irony. 

When the virgin Hebrew nation was wandering for 40 years in the wilderness they complained a lot.  After all, they had - though slaves - enjoyed the comforts and good foods of a well developed society, but now they wandered in the Sinai desert, and it was hot and dry, and not glamorous or civilized, and they weren't very used to it yet.  God had given them the nearly incomparable miracle of a food - Manna - which fell from the sky six days a week.  But, Manna was a bit too plain tasting.  So, they complained a lot to God and Moses about how good the food had been back in Egypt, when they were slaves under Pharoah. 

  Finally, God grew tired of their complaints.  They craved meat, did they?  They longed for the days when they slaved for Pharoah, did they?  Flocks of quail, just finished with crossing the sea, collapsed exhausted on the beach near to where the Hebrews traveled.  Meat!! The numbers of weak quail were astounding!!  All of the over one million Hebrews scurried about gathering the poor little birds, by the basketsful.  And they made a feast out of them.  But for some reason, there was a disease or a plague which the birds flesh held.  The Hebrews died by the thousands even as the feast was going on...even while the meat was still in their teeth. 

  What is ironic is that quail have this signature little feather that grows out of the top of their head.  It varies from one type of quail to another.  But in some types of quail, the little feather almost can't help but remind you of the hats - crowns, actually - that the ancient Pharoahs are seen wearing.  Their crowns had a little quail-feather looking piece that poked out in the front.  God had sent the complaining Hebrews Pharoah-food.  Food that looked like the Pharoah, in a way...the Pharoah that had held them in such cruel bondage that they had cried out to God for rescue.  And so God had rescued them.  And now they were telling God how much they missed life under Pharoah.   And how much they missed the food that Pharoah's realm - Egypt - had provided them with.  It's a dark joke, when you think about it.    

  Good luck for any of us that hope to hide things from God on our day of judgement, and I don't even want to find out what His punishments will be!  Better to follow Jesus in faith, and to hope for mercy and deliverance!  Amen?

  I found a statement allegedly spoken by the nurse who attended Voltaire as he died.  The source was not mentioned, so I couldn't venture a guess as to its authenticity, but here it is:

"For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness."

 

 

   

   

©2017 Daniel Curry & 'Deeds of God' Website