i was in an internet chatroom and a girl began to talk about the bible and then i asked her to support her views and she sent me this.(sorry its kinda long) THE QUESTIONS OF ZAPATA (Translated by Dr. Tamponet of the Sorbonne) The licentiate Zapata, appointed Professor of Theology at the University of Salamanca, presented these questions to the assembly of doctors in 1629. They were suppressed. The Spanish copy is in the Brunswick library.* WISE MASTERS: How am I to undertake to prove that the Jews, whom we burn by the hundreds, were for four thousand years God's chosen people? How could God, who cannot without blasphemy be regarded as unjust, have abandoned the entire earth for the little Jewish tribe, and then abandon his little tribe for another, which was for two hundred years much smaller and much more despised? Why did he perform a great number of incomprehensible miracles in favor of this paltry nation before the period called historical? Why has he performed no more for several centuries? And why do we never witness any, we who are God's chosen people? If God is the God of Abraham, why do you burn the children of Abraham? And when you burn them, why do you recite their prayers in the process? How is it that you, who worship the book of their law, put them to death for observing their law? . . . Is the book of Genesis science or allegory? Did God truly take a rib from Adam to make a woman from it? And why is it previously said that he created male and female? How did God create light before the sun? How did he divide light from darkness, since darkness is nothing but the absence of light? How did he make day before the sun was created? How was the firmament formed in the midst of the waters, when there is no such thing as a firmament, and when this false notion of a firmament is only a fiction of the ancient Greeks? There are people who conjecture that Genesis was not written until the Jews had some knowledge of the erroneous philosophy of other peoples, and it would grieve me to hear it said that God knows no more about physics than he does about chronology and geography. . . . Am I to confess or deny that the law of the Jews nowhere speaks of punishment or reward after death? How is it possible that neither Moses nor Joshua spoke of the immortality of the soul, a dogma known among the ancient Egyptians, the Chaldeans, the Persians and the Greeks; a dogma which was somewhat in fashion among the Jews only after the time of Alexander, and which the Sadducees always condemned because it is not in the Pentateuch? . . . I beg of you to tell me by what trick Samson caught three hundred foxes, tied them together by their tails, and attached torches to their hind quarters to set fire to the harvests of the Philistines. Foxes are commonly found only in countries covered with woods. There was no forest in this district, and it seems rather difficult to catch three hundred foxes alive and to tie them together by their tails. It is said also that he killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, and that from one of the teeth of this jawbone there issued forth a spring. When it is a question of ass's jawbones, you owe me some enlightenment. . I know not how I shall justify the conduct of Samuel, who cut into pieces King Agag, whom Saul had made prisoner and had put to ransom. I do not know whether our King Philip would be approved if, having captured a Moorish king and made an agreement with him, he cut his royal prisoner into pieces. We owe great respect to David, who was a man after God's own heart; but I fear I would not have sufficient knowledge to justify, by ordinary laws, David's conduct in leaguing himself with four hundred men of ill-repute and overwhelmed with debts, as the Scripture says; in marching to sack the house of Nabal, the king's servant, and, eight days later, marrying his widow; in going to offer his services to Achish, his king's enemy, and putting to fire and the sword the lands of the allies of Achish, sparing neither sex nor age; in taking new concubines as soon as he is on the throne; and not content even with his concubines in ravishing Bathsheba from her husband, and accomplishing the death of the man he dishonors. I have some difficulty again in conceiving how God descends later in Judea from this adulterous and murderous woman who is counted among the ancestors of the Eternal Being. I have already warned you about this article, which is extremely troublesome to pious souls. . . . I have still greater need of your wise instructions concerning the New Testament; I am afraid I do not know what to say to reconcile the two genealogies of Jesus. For I shall be told that Matthew gives Jacob as the father of Joseph, and that Luke makes him the son of Heli, and that that is impossible unless we change He to la, and Ii to cob. I shall be asked how the one counts fifty-six generations and how the other counts only forty-two, and why these generations are all different, and again why, of the forty-two that are promised, there are found to be only forty-one; and finally, why this genealogical tree is Joseph's, who was not the father of Jesus. I fear lest I shall reply only nonsense, like all my predecessors have done. I hope that you will extricate me from this labyrinth. . . . When I teach that the family went to Egypt according to Matthew, they will reply that that is not true, and that they stayed in Judea according to the other Evangelists; and if I then grant that they stayed in Judea, they will maintain that they were in Egypt. Is it not simpler to say that one can be in two places at once, as happened to St. Francis Xavier and several other saints? . . . I beg of you, when you go to a wedding, to tell me how God, who also went to a wedding, went about it to change the water into wine for the benefit of people who were already drunk.When you are eating figs for breakfast towards the end of July, I beseech you to tell me why God, being hungry, looked for figs at the beginning of the month of March, when it was not the season for figs. After receiving your instructions on all such prodigies, I shall be obliged to say that God was condemned to be hanged for original sin. But if they reply to me that there never was anything about original sin, either in the Old Testament or in the New; that it is said merely that Adam was condemned to death the day that he should eat from the tree of knowledge, but that he did not die from it; and that Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, former Manichean, was the first to establish the system of original sin, I confess to you that, not having the people of Hippo as auditors, I might get myself laughed at while speaking much and saying nothing. For when certain wranglers came to point out to me that it was impossible that God should be put to death for an apple eaten four thousand years before his death, impossible that in redeeming the human race he should not redeem it, and should leave it still wholly in the clutches of the devil, except for a chosen few, I replied nothing but verbiage, and went off to hide myself for shame. . . . They will ask me then whether Peter was at Rome; I shall reply, to be sure, that he was Pope for twenty-five years: and the big reason that I shall produce is that we have an epistle from this fellow who could neither read nor write, and that this letter is dated from Babylon; there is no answer to that, but I should like something stronger. . . . Are you not as sorry as I am that the early Christians forged so many bad verses which they attributed to the Sibyls: that they forged letters from St. Paul to Seneca, letters from Jesus, letters from Mary, letters from Pilate; and that they thus established their sect through a hundred crimes of forgery that would be punished in all the law courts on earth? These frauds are today recognized by all scholars. We are reduced to calling them pious. But is it not sad that your truth should be founded only on lies?... I know to be sure that the Church is infallible; but is it the Greek Church, or the Latin Church, or the Church of England, or that of Denmark and of Sweden, or that of the proud city of Neuchatel, or that of the primitives called Quakers, or that of the Anabaptists, or that of the Moravians? The Turkish Church has its points, too, but they say that the Chinese Church is much more ancient. . . . In short, would it not be better not to lose ourselves in these labyrinths and simply preach virtue? When God judges us, I doubt very much if he will ask whether grace is versatile or concomitant; whether marriage is the visible sign of an invisible thing; whether we believe that there are ten choirs of angels or nine; whether the pope is above the council or the council above the pope. Will it be a crime in his eyes to have addressed prayers to him in Spanish if one does not know Latin? Shall we be the objects of his eternal anger for having eaten twelve farthings worth of bad meat on a certain day? And shall we be rewarded eternally if we have eaten with you, wise master, a hundred piastres worth of turbot, sole and sturgeon? You do not believe so in the depth of your hearts; you think that God will judge us according to our works, and not according to the ideas of Thomas and of Bonaventure. Shall I not render a service to men in announcing to them nothing but morality? This morality is so pure, so holy, so universal, so clear, so ancient that it seems to come direct from God, like the light of day which we consider his first creation. Did he not give men self-love to insure their preservation; sympathy, beneficence and virtue to control self-love; mutual needs for the formation of society; pleasure in the satisfaction of them; pain which cautions us to enjoy with moderation; passions which lead us on to great things, and wisdom to curb passions? Did he not in short inspire all men united in society with the idea of a Supreme Being, in order that the adoration that we owe to this Being might be society's strongest tie? Savages who wander in the woods have no need of this knowledge; the duties of society, which they know nothing about, do not concern them; but as soon as men are assembled together, God manifests himself to their reason: they need justice, and they adore in him the principle of all justice… God, who does not want their vain adoration, receives it as necessary for them and not for him. And likewise he gives them the genius of arts, without which every society perishes, and he gives them the spirit of religion, the first and the most natural of sciences, the divine science whose principle is certain, even if uncertain consequences are daily drawn from it. Will you allow me to announce these truths to the Spanish nobles? If you wish me to hide this truth; if you order me absolutely to announce the miracles of St. James in Galicia, and of Our Lady of Atocha, and of Mary of Agreda who exposed herself to small boys in her ecstasies, tell me how I must deal with the rebellious who dare to doubt: shall I have them given, along with edification, ordinary and extraordinary torture? When I meet Jewish maidens, shall I lie with them before having them burned? And when I put them to the fire, have I not the right to take a thigh or so for my supper with Catholic maidens?I await the honor of your reply. Dominico Zapata, y verdadero, y honrado, y caritativo. Zapata, receiving no reply, began to preach God in all simplicity. He announced to men the father of men, the rewarder, punisher and pardoner. He extricated truth from falsehoods, and separated religion from fanaticism; he taught and practised virtue. He was gentle, beneficent, modest; and was roasted at Valladolid, in the year of grace 1631. Pray God for the soul of Brother Zapata!