The Interview Continued
really enjoyed it and I think so did many other parents. Yet as my kids grew older, they started asking better questions after watching the news or hearing me talk to my wife. Simply because parents of other kids knew I was an Atheist, their kids started asking my kids questions at school about religion, Jesus or God, Allah, and Muhammad. My kids would be asked some very strange things, especially about how we didn't believe. For my kids, those who asked the questions had some pretty good “discussion points.” A friend of mine once told me, “Once you come out as an Atheist you'd better have your arguments ready!” So I wrote this book initially to have my arguments ready, to be able to answer every single question my kids, my friends, my colleagues, the Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons at my door--anybody, really--could ever ask me about religion. I searched every argument that those of faith have for justifying their religion and their god, and decided to put the arguments and the facts in my book. And now it takes my kids and me about 10 minutes to destroy--and I use that word without hesitation--any argument that the Bible, Quran, Book of Mormon, the Watch Tower Organization, Buddism, or any of the other religions have. We can quickly refute the beliefs that there is someone pulling the strings in your life and judging you, and if you don't dress the way they want you to dress, marry the people they want you to marry, eat the foods they want you to eat, and kill the people they tell you to kill, then bad things are going to happen to you. I think this book is a game-changer because it gives anyone of non-faith, or anyone who questions their faith--hell, it even gives those of faith--the arguments for the facts.
AP: I have read the chapter “Jesus Faked His Death” and it litterally blew me away, how did you come up with this theory?
LG: I read the Bible and did not try to interpret it. I took the words at face value. Look--I am a student of history, and if you study Roman torture methods, nailing somone to a cross was designed for show and it was designed to be a long death, not like a hanging in Old England which was moderately fast, or even the burning of a witch. No, the romans nailed people to a cross to give them a long and agonizing death, designed to kill only after days, even weeks of hanging there. They even used to hang people upside down and when they deficated it would run all over the person, who would litterally be eaten alive by little bugs. Or the Roman soldiers would break the person's legs and finally they would die of asphixiation. I mean these guys loved torture; they perfected it. Most people didnt even die; they just suffered. But if you read the Bible, specifically John and Luke’s account of the death, Jesus died either in 3 hours or in 6. You will also see that the Roman soldiers never broke Jesus’s legs, only the legs of the 2 other people beside him. If he had been dead, when that Roman soldier poked him with a spear, like it says in John 19: 32-37, blood and water would not have come from the wound. If you are dead and you get stabbed, the blood does not come out, because it coagulates when the heart stops pumping it. In my book I write about what the different authors of the Bible say about the resurrection, and here is the kicker--if you read the Gospel of Q, or the pre-markian passion narative, the gospel of Mary, and especially the gospel of Peter, all which were not included in the Bible, you will also come to the conclusion that Jesus faked his death. I have to be honest; when I tell someone, and when I quote scripture to someone who criticises me and says something like 'Jesus died on the cross for your sins; how can you write what you write,' you should see their jaw drop when I tell them Jesus faked his death! Like I said, the book is about the arguments for the facts.
AP: Your book also has a chapter on Islam, and that has always been a walking-on-eggshell subject, but you took it on. Can you tell us about that chapter?
LG: I'll be honest; I have a lot of respect for the Prophet Muhammad, but respect in a different way then actually thinking he was the messenger of Allah. Warlords, dictators, totalitarians, autocrats, they all share one thing--they are incredibly good at getting what they want, and for the times, had ingenious ways of acheiving power and results. Education and literacy don't have to play a role in the success of military campaigns. But the power to motivate, to accomplish a mission through indoctrination, has always facinated me. When you actually look at people like Gagnis Kahn, Joseph Kony, Hitler, Stalin, Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, and of course Muhammad, you will find some amazing similarities, and that is what the chapter is about. So yes, maybe there will be a few radical Muslims who will condemn my book without reading it. I do sincerly hope the few pages on Islam will generate a serious discusion and help those who question their Islamic faith to take the next logical step. Unfortunately though, in Islam, apostasy is punishable by death. Come on, Muhammad thought of everything, and when you compare it to all the other religions, you have to say: Respect! Read the chapter; it is in no way way disrespectful.
AP: Lance, you even take on Buddhism in your book--the Dalai Lama himself. When I think of the word “Peace,” a picture of the Dalai Lama actually comes in my mind. Tell me about that chapter.
LG: Funny, isn't it? All religions claim to be the one of peace, the one that spreads the most love, the one that condones violence, the one that condemns hate and promotes tolerance, but when you actually look at religion from a historian's point of view and not from the teachings of the leaders of that religion, it becomes clear that all religions are about submission. Probably the most submissive of all religions is Buddhism. Think about it--they tell that you were a scumbag in your last life and that is why you are doing so crappy in this one. But do what they say, and maybe in your next life you won't come back as a worm. All religions promise you everything in the next life if you just submit to their earthly power in this one, and if you don't you are going to hell, coming back as a peasant, you are not waking up in the garden of Eden. It is all extortion. Religion is nothing other than an organized mafia. If you don't do this, bad things will happen to you. (That was my best Italian gangster voice. No disrespect intended for Italian gangsters.)
AP: What is your goal with this book?
LG: We are never going to achieve world peace when it is always us vs. them, me vs. you, Christians against Muslims, Catholics vs. Protestants, Shia vs. Sunni, Orthodox vs. Hasidic, or Communist vs. Facist. Teaching children, because they are the future of religion, that we are right and they are wrong, that our god saves and is good and their god is evil, that mankind should tolerate their religious intolerance is insane. Why should we should pass laws that tolerate religious intolerance? I don't care if it is your religious views on homosexuality, the role of women in society, whether or not you should mutilate a child's genetialia at birth, or eat pork; if you want to believe in gods, leprechauns, elves, unicorns, that you get a planet when you die and have magic underwear that makes you good, do it in your own home! Don't teach that garbage to children! Let’s pass laws that protect children against religion! There are cultures and religions in Africa that think it is okay to cut the clitoris of young women and we all go "Ahhhh!" But mutilate the foreskin of a young Muslim or Jewish boy and we say “Ah, it's tradition.” My goal is to have those of faith take a step back, take the cross off their necks, shave their temples, take off the burkas, wear normal underwear, and realize that there will be no peace, no future for our children until we all start fighting against religion. If this was 1939 and you lived in Germany, what would you have done? Would you have tolerated intolerance? What would you have said? Which side of history would you have stood on? Tolerance? Would you have said, “It is just someone's opinion; it’s tradition. Dont worry about it?" Look--this is our time, the atheists' time; this is our chance to change the world, by standing up to religious intolerance, pushing back, and by passing laws to protect children against it.
AP: I am playing devil's advocate here (excuse the pun), but what is the problem with teaching people from religious text about what is right and what is wrong?
LG: Look--you know it, I know it, and most intelligent people have figured it out: the stories in the Bible, The Quran, Book of Mormon, and all the other religious texts are either true or they are not. That is it! You don't get to pick and choose which stories are fables and which ones are real. We know that evolution is true. That means god did not make man, there was no garden of Eden, no first drop of blood, no Laminites and Nephites, no great flood, no 40 years walking in the desert, and Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem to a virgin. We know these things, among hundreds of other things written in the religious books which are not true. Dogs evolved from wolves, mules from horses and donkeys, and mankind from Homo sapiens. Did you know that if your ancestors from 100-200,000 years ago left Africa, you share 4% of your DNA with Neanderthal man, who is now extinct? Neanderthal man is about as much of a theory as the speed of light or the theory of gravity. In other words, it’s true; it is not up for discusion, especially not amongst religious, dare I say, scholars. Do you seriously understand what that means? If your ancestors didn't leave Africa, you share none of your DNA with Neanderthal man. Tens and hundreds of thousands of years ago if your forefathers left Africa, if you are white, or Asian, your forefathers interacted and mated with Neaderthal man. It is true; if you are black and your forefathers didn't leave Africa, they didn't interact and they didn't mate. So either the garden of Eden existed 6,000 years ago or we evolved. If you beleive in evolution, then what is written in scripture is a lie. It is that simple. My book is full of these examples. What is the problem with teaching children wrong things? Or another side of the story? Would you tolerate someone teaching your children that the Holocaust was a made-up story? Never! My book takes all the arguments that religious people have and takes it to “reducto absurdum,” so after you read it, you will have the facts and you will be a born-again atheist.