Presentation of the book at the University of Puerto Rico.
We could hardly find a phrase that can best summarize the contents of this
publication, such as that used in the Quijote of Cervantes, to alert his
illustrious squire Sancho: "With the Church we have met, friend Sancho".
The book we are presenting today contains a very suggestive, yet very comprehensive subject. The subject of the Inquisition has always been an issue that has attracted great interest not only among historians but also in other sectors of society. Religious sociologists, psychologists and politicians, among others, have made the subject matter of their research and analysis, as it involves matters of great impact and interest in the human, social and religious fields. Even in the field of culture, of the economy and science, the institution of the Holly Inquisition had significant and serious consequences and implications.
The reading of the book on the Inquisition by Primitivo Martinez offers a broad amalgam of views of great interest and above all is a fantastic opportunity for discussing the sensitive topic of religion, which for many and broad sectors of society represents a real taboo. To those ends has reached the influence of religion with its remarkable pedagogy of fear, which has proved to be extremely effective, not only in the individuals but also in social, political and cultural sphere. It represents a real power structure. The work is well documented from the historical, philosophical, theological and biblical standpoint and it offers broad prospects for the analysis of religion as an instrument of control and power.
Due to the wide and varied content of the book, I am compelled to synthesize as much as possible, trying to insinuate and make suggestive reading to come later in the analysis of the issue I think is the basis of the contents of the work. This, organized in thematic sections and illustrated with a number of suggestive photographs, begins with a discussion of the ideological foundation with which Inquisition justified his execution. Based on the concept of revealed religion as the source of Judeo-Christian beliefs, on which are based its fundamental ideas, the author presents critically the broad similarities between those and other earlier religious beliefs, mainly Oriental, which make questionable that such religion own the condition of being revealed. Primitive states as examples the ongoing conflict between good and evil, light and darkness, and the belief in a supreme god, Lord of Wisdom. These and other ideas are clearly marked in the Judeo-Christian religion. Similarly, the author says, Zoroaster already announced the coming of a Messiah or savior (Saoshyant). Moreover, the narrative of Genesis is only a recount, not complete, of the cosmogonic myths of Mesopotamia, of Chaldea and of Egypt. Amenemope, high priest of ancient Egypt, where they were common the constructions based on mud and straw, has a very revealing sacred maxim to define the greatness of God: "Man is clay and straw and God is his craftsman". Expression that holds a strong resemblance to the creative function of the Hebrew God, who created man from the mud of the earth. Many of the myths and legends about the Jewish people in the Bible, never cease to be mere plagiarism. All this calls into question the originality as a revealed religion of these Judeo-Christian beliefs. Moses is another major figure in the biblical narrative, which also has a track record. There is a legend relating that Sargon, Sumerian ruler, had also been placed in a reed basket and left on the river Euphrates. It is also interesting to consider the role of Moses in his hometown. He serves as an intermediary between Yahweh, the Hebrew God, and his people, thus becoming its leader. The dramatic scenes of his investiture as an intermediary among thunder and lightning, and the divine voice rumbling those words: "You have no God but me," projecting fear and terror, can not be more revealing. The intermediary role has been particularly prevalent in the religious traditions. Zoroaster, Buddha, Ahura Mazda, Jesus of Nazareth, Mohammed, are examples. The mission of intermediary entitles him to speak and act in God's name, which invests him with divine authority. And, in Martinez's words, "No one is more dangerous than those who think they have divine knowledge and act on behalf of God; those who act as intermediaries bridges, who begin and end their voyage interpreting the silence of God." Moreover, the Hebrew people, usually nomadic, historically insignificant and small, felt compensated its smallness by considering itself as a people chosen by God. This condition led it to see itself as a single people and, what's more, exclusive. Even today, in the XXI century, it is still regarded as a chosen people and powerful in all aspects, even the only one, by excluding its neighbours. We do not know if the function of patronage, exercised by the U.S. on the modern Jewish State today, is interpreted by the Jews as a continuation of the protective hand of God.
This is the reason why the author believes it is necessary to consider the sources on which Christianity feeds, because beliefs and practices are based on them. Many of these beliefs have been managed and manipulated by certain groups, so they managed to become institutions and structures of power.
The sources that gave the origin and development to Christianity are called New Testament biblical narratives or Gospels. These, according to researches that have been made, were written long after the death of its founder, Jesus of Nazareth. These texts were written in the late first century and early second century. Most of their writers were not eyewitnesses to what they narrate. This situation raises serious doubts about their authenticity and integrity. According to these sources, Saul of Tarsus is the key character in understanding the spread of Christianity beyond the borders of Israel. Saul, better known by the name of Paul, was not an apostle, he was proclaimed himself apostle to the Gentiles. He was not a direct witness of the events and teachings of Jesus. Contradictorily, Saul, a fanatical Jew, is who seals a covenant with the Gentiles, who in the Jewish tradition have always been criminalized and rejected. This is a New Partnership. "Since there is neither Jew nor Greek, nor Roman, but one in Christ" says Paul. Even after his conversion to Christianity, he never denied his Jewish beliefs, thereby maintaining the Mosaic prescriptions. Because of their influence, he printed in the gospel message a shade, which highlights more justice than human compassion and love, provided by the new message of Jesus. Paul was the one who highlighted, above love, the idea of justice and sin. This influenced largely in promoting prejudices and doctrinal aberrations that abound in the Christian doctrines. We are slaves of the law and sin. True Christian stigma of slavery. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). It is very important to highlight this concept of sin, for the negative and morbid consequences it has had subsequently among believers. It was and it is the secret weapon of all monotheistic religions to intimidate and stigmatize, primarily the Christian religion. The pedagogy of fear. Sin was also the religious stigma that the Inquisition used to streamline its procedures and justifying its abuses and crimes. This stigma carries a such guilt complex that it becomes a continuous remorse. It's a psychological torment. It's like an inner fire that burns without consuming consciences.
Another cornerstone of Christianity is the papacy. Its origin is found in the celebrated confession of Peter, whose text is seriously questioned because of later additions. "You are the Christ" and later added "the son of the living God" (Mat.16, 13-16). This text, expanded with the addition indicated, is only found in one of the four evangelists. According to renowned performers, it was added for reasons of apologetic and dogmatic kind. This information was, in part, which served as the ideological basis for the origin and development of the Christian Church and it gave the theologians the base for the whole ecclesiology.
The author presents some historical data, interesting, I think, for better understanding of how Christianity was developing and spreading rapidly beyond the borders of Palestine. After suffering long persecutions by the Roman Empire, it managed to acquire legality with the Edict of Milan (313) of Constantine, in the fourth century. Later, in 380, with the edict of Thessaloniki of Emperor Theodosius , it became the official religion of the empire, by establishing as State law all the agreements of the Council of Nicaea (325), while ordering off the Sacred Fire, symbol of pagan religion. Here begin the grim consortia, through history, that the Church has cleverly established with diverse political structures, while getting great economic and political benefits of all kinds. With the famous Donation of Constantine, the church managed to become a theocracy, for it gave the legal basis for the founding of the Papal States. The Donation of Constantine is an apocryphal imperial decree, attributed to Constantine, according to historians. In this document it was donated to Pope Sylvester I the city of Rome and the provinces of Italy and the rest of the Western Empire, while he was recognized as sovereign. This document, later exposed as false by the papal secretary Lorenzi Vall (1440), came to light in 1519. It was not made public previously for fear of the Pope. However, during this stage the Catholic Church has accumulated economic such wealth and power, that it still lives on the income of that grand and infamous crime. Until recently it has been very famous the powerful Vatican Bank, known as the Bank of the Holy Spirit, of which one of its executives, the director of that bank, was found hanging in one of the bridges over the River Thames.
The Pope and the Church were gaining power and prestige. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne, during the Mass of Christmas Eve the year 800, as Emperor of Holy Roman Empire. The Frankish troops in return, handed to the Pope a strip of land of 42,000 km ²., in central Italy. Moreover, the Dictatus Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) is the official proclamation of the papacy as a universal and absolute theocracy. The Pope determines that his power is absolute and not subject to any other power. You can not forget that all these processes took place in a social vacuum. It is a medieval society, feudal. A Christianized society where the Church controlled a captive and fertilized society to accept its teachings. A society in which both, the knightly and stately class as the huge population, were subject to servitude and slavery in a complex web of mutual dependencies. This society, also sheltered by ignorance, superstition, poverty and with significant limitations, easily accepted the promise and hope of a better life that the Church offered with its steady preaching in the other "life" beyond. The true human values are those of the soul, "because at the end of the day, who is saved knows everything and who is not saved, he knows nothing" according to a traditional saying. The church planted in all sectors of society all forms of prejudice and counter-values. In these circumstances, the pedagogy of fear reaches deep and profound areas of the personality.
Martinez brings us information of how Pope Boniface VIII, based on the Donation of Constantine and with the help of Roman law, became head of state and as an expression of the new range, adds a third crown to his tiara, the symbol of the three distinctive powers of the papacy. The Church, vested with such powers, takes another step in its ecclesial dynamic: to suppress any idea or practice that does not agree with the official doctrine of the Church.
Primitivo analyzes one of the most vigorous campaign the Church developed. This was against the Cathars, who were considered heretics and social rebels. For their extermination conspired both the Church and the State. In these circumstances, and in order to maintain the "purity of faith and dogma," they laid the foundations for the start of the Inquisition. In the year 1223 Pope Gregory IX issued a bull which establishes the "Holy Inquisition", whose main task would be "rooting out heresy wherever found" and he entrusts this mission to the Order of Preachers of the Dominicans, who were known as "Domini Canes". The campaign against the Cathars became a real hunt, whose end was the extermination of the sect. The seizure of multiple assets, increased significantly the church property. The author describes in detail the entire process. Here some historical examples. In the sacking of the city of Beziers (France) were killed 20,000 people, and when they asked the papal legate, Abbot de Citaux, Arnaud-Amaury, how they could distinguish the Cathars from the Catholics among the population, he replied: "Kill them all. God will know how to recognize those of his." In Bram, a town near Carcassonne, they ordered to cut the lips and noses and to empty the eyes of all the defenders of the population, except one, who was left only one eye so he could guide them in this region.
Pope Innocent III goes one step further in the organization of the Inquisition. He won a decisive goal in the legal process: "The question of the ethical-religious struggle against heresy would become a legal issue. So the persecution of heresy would be a matter of public as well as ecclesiastical law." The crime against the faith should be considered a sin so serious that should be pursued beyond the death. For this reason, it should proceed to exhume the body of those condemned as heretics to exhibit their bones which, placed on a rough platform, were displayed in a macabre procession through the streets of the city. The purpose of these atrocities can not be clearer: "Ad majorem Dei gloriam". In 1231, Pope Gregory IX also added, in the organization of the Inquisition, a network of courts in all major cities of Europe. An additional step was taken in the year 1252, when Pope Innocent IV issued the Bull "Ad extirpanda", with which he formally establishes the use of torture by the Inquisition. In one of its manuals, we find this rule: "Better a hundred innocent people die than a single heretic is freed." With these mechanisms the Inquisition was perfectly organized with full divine, ecclesiastical and political powers, and also armed with all sorts of ways and means to achieve his goal: "The purity of faith and dogma."
Of particular interest is the chapter that Martinez devotes to witchcraft , whose main objective were women, preying on them until it flows into the famous "witch hunt". The discrimination of women is a characteristic theme in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Its origin is already at the time of "creation" of women by Yahve. This discrimination was subsequently promoted in Christianity, mainly by the misogynistic attitude of Paul. Following that, all evil is blamed on the woman, witchcraft, pacts with the devil, superstition and other macabre practices. These prejudices against women made them victims of indignities, humiliation, suffering, anguish, persecution, and of the most terrible marginalization in society. The Church, moreover, encouraged the belief in the devil and its relationship with witchcraft, blaming the woman for morbid practices. All this led to a real witch hunt that lasted three centuries and produced between 70,000 and 300,000 dead or relaxed at the stake, according to statistics presented in the book.
Torture is another interesting point that Primitivo brings in its publication. The Dominican friar Nicholas Eymeric wrote the famous Inquisitors Handbook, written in Avignon in the year 1376. It is a treaty that collects detailed inquisitorial laws and regulations in force, which all inquisitors should know and practice. The Church, once installed in power, became obsessed with its magnetism, its privileges and perks and assumed the right to detain, interrogate and torture, highly consistent with the pedagogy of fear. Jesus had ruled: "the truth shall make you free" and as a logical sequence, in interpreting the practice of the Church, it could be stated, according to Martinez, "the lie will make you believers."
In the work they are described in detail the procedures of the Inquisition. The process begins with the report, common practice used in church confessionals. Every Christian had the duty of reporting. Once the report was made, it began the torment of the interrogations, in which the inquisitors used all sorts of tricks and ruses. As we see, they are very common practices used today by the police and repressive class. Well known were those used by the German Gestapo, the Soviet GPU, and today used by the CIA and many others. All they had a good model in the Inquisition. The Dominican Eymeric understood that the interrogation system they used, was sufficient to obtain the requested true "without having recourse to the rack and torture." If the defendant was stubborn in his refusal, the inquisitors could use two violent means: the imprisonment and torture.
From Pope Alexander IV, the judges began using all sorts of torture: the flogging, the rack, the strappato (tourniquet) and the brazier. Then they added other, more sophisticated, like the pulley, the trap, the crushing thumbs, the torment of water, the tablets, the iron maiden and others.
Another form of torture that Primitivo describes was the imprisonment, which could precede or follow the confession of the accused of heresy. The grim picture that showed the prisons of the Inquisition was one of horror. Emaciated prisoners shackled in dingy cells, in the presence of undaunted sadomasochistic monks dressed in monastic robes. At the bottom of the scene, the hooded executioners, surrounded by all the instruments of torture, invented by sick minds, that seemed come straight out of the forge of horror. Juan Antonio Llorente, a former secretary of the Inquisition, distinguishes three types of prisons: public, where they were locked up those who, "without being accused of crimes against the faith," were simple social delinquents. Familiar were used for employees of the Inquisition for having committed administrative offences. The secret. This was intended to heretics or to those suspected of being it. As we can see, the use of secret prisons, spread across different countries, is not new to American CIA agents. Well recently we have the shameful cases of Guantanamo, Abu-Ghrail (Baghdad) and others that remain a secret. All this could invite to believe that these horrific events were the product of deranged minds of some psychopath or sociopath, or of some sadistic, sadomasochistic, however, all this came from the mind of the Holy Church, of the Popes, of Bishops, of the Inquisitors, of the Religious members.
Another means of punishment mentioned in this publication was the famous Sanbenito (from the word "saccus benedictus"). This consisted of two crosses of yellow felt cloth, which were placed visibly on the clothing of the accused, one in front and one behind. It was an eminently social punishment and was much feared, as it was constantly accompanying the accused, exposing him to public scorn and derision.
Special mention is deserved by the famous Autos-da-fé. These usually took place during holidays to ensure better attendance. The Holy Office made public and solemn reading of the offences and corresponding penalties the heretic was accused of. They were held in the presence of the defendant or his effigy, in case he was not present, in the presence of the he people, of the respectable corporations, and of the secular authorities, to which they were given the accused or his likeness, to be executed the sentences. The ceremony of the Autos-da-fé was a real show, which was preceded by a solemn procession through the streets of the city, during which the prisoner, mounted on a cart while proclaiming his crime, was subject to ridicule, insults and expressions of contempt by the people. It really was a lesson that served to terrorize the people as well. In one of its pages is narrated in detail one of the Autos-da-fé, held on 30 June 1680, in the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, in the presence of the king and his court.
It is difficult to understand how for so long and so many people could be put to death. Martinez asserts that only in Spain and only for religious reasons, were burned at the stake, according to statistics from Juan Antonio Llorente, secretary of the Inquisition, 34.382 people, between 1481 and 1788, to add 17.690 "burned in statue (because they had absconded or died) and 291.450 sentenced to prison.
Michael Servetus, Giordano Bruno, Galileo are prominent cases in the history of the Inquisition, since the intervention of the Inquisition against these people, represented the most furious attack against science by the Church.
A high profile case the author comments, was that of the Order of the Templar, who fell victim of the Inquisition. This Order is of religious-military nature. It spread rapidly through France, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, while accumulating great wealth and power. It was the largest organization of the West in every way. Their Commands were equivalent to modern bank branches. In fact, they were the creators of modern banking. Perhaps the only offence committed by the Templar was to have accumulated immense wealth, power and prestige. Without evidence of the heresies with which the Templar were accused, an alleged statement, on behalf of the French king, Philip the Fair and in mutual agreement with Pope Clement V, ordered the arrest of the Templar Order with the consequent confiscation of their vast wealth. This was intended to attack their power, which competed with that of the Church. In the year 1307, 140 Templars, with their Grand Master, were imprisoned and tortured. On 16 October 1311, the Pope, irresolute and harassed, ordered the dissolution of the Order. And on March 18, 1314, the Grand Master, together with the President Geoffroy de Charnay, were burned at the stake before the gates of Notre Dame in Paris.
Other victims of the Inquisition were the Arabs, Jews and other ethnic minorities, to whom the author devotes a few pages of interest. Both Jewish culture and Arabic were especially an important basis for the development of Spain in all respects. "The religious, Christian, Catholic and apostolic fanaticism removed, blood and fire, two major cultures of the three existing in Spain at that time, two cultures that had forged modern Spain. A Moorish exiled in Tunis, in the seventeenth century, confesses: "We were taken to the Inquisition, where, for no more than to follow the truth, we were stripped of life, of our properties and of our children"
The Church's constant indoctrination fostered serious prejudices in the people, which resulted in practices and negative attitudes towards those cultures, especially against Jews. During my childhood I was reproached when spitting, "because that was just a matter of the Jews." And they also pointed at, reproached and cursed the person with a miserly reputation by saying "he was a Jew." Until recent years, in the solemn liturgy of Good Friday echoed, both through the vaults of the great cathedrals and in the churches in the humble villages, even in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, a solemn singing of the prayers of the liturgy in which it could be heard the following plea: "Oremus et pro perfidis judeis." Pope John Paul II removed the paragraph of that prayer. The end was reached by the Grand Inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada, of Jewish descent, who got the Holy See's approval to include a statute of purity of blood in the Rule of the Monastery of St. Thomas Aquinas, which he founded in Avila. Many universities required their students a certificate of purity of blood. The purity of blood was the social security that the applicant did not descended from Jews, Moors or Arabs, heretics or processed by the Inquisition. Intolerance made Spain lose rich cultures, vast human and economic wealth, says the author.Nobody better to expose the ideology of the unique culture than Marx, Freud and Nietzsche.
The author describes in his book the persecution, by the Inquisition, of numerous religious figures, scientists and politicians among others. We can mention the case of Fray Luis de Leon, an Augustinian monk and professor at the University of Salamanca. He was imprisoned in Valladolid for allegedly not very orthodox biblical interpretations, according to the mind of the Church. Jealousies, intrigues and quarrels in the chair he exercised in Salamanca led to his imprisonment. Poetically expresses his feelings in a poem that he wrote in his prison stay:
"Here the lie and the envy
Had locked me.
Happy the humble state
of the wise who retires
from this evil world,
and with poor table and home
in the delightful countryside,
with God only encompasses,
and spends his life alone,
Nor envious nor envied.”
Servetus, who is considered the most radical expression of religious thought of the Renaissance, was another victim of the Inquisition. He, the discoverer of pulmonary blood flow, a lover of astrology study, seeks the renewal of Christianity from an anthropocentric angle. For defending the freedom of conscience, he ended his life tied to the post of the fire, with an iron chain, a rope around his neck, and a copy of his banned book on his arm. The wood was wet and green and dying in the flames took two endless hours. This happened in 1553. Voltaire, enthusiastic defender Servet, said he was "a standard-bearer of tolerance and the fight against fanaticism, superstition and moral and physical violence."
Giordano Bruno suffered the same fate. He was accused of holding wrong theories about the Trinity, the divinity of Christ and the Incarnation. In 1600, Pope Clement VIII ordered the issuance of a death sentence. Bruno listens silently and knelt before his judges. He gets up and looking proud and fiery, he pronounced his last words: "Maybe you are more afraid of pronouncing my sentence, than me of receiving it." On 17 February 1600, in the Piazza del Campo dei Fiori, stripped of his clothes and tied to a stick, his tongue anchored in a wooden press so that he could not speak, was burnt alive.
Copernicus, Ticho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo were also persecuted by the Inquisition. Primitive describes in great detail the case of Galileo. It is a very special case which is of great interest. It was premised on the belief that all knowledge is contained in the Bible and all other sciences are subject to the test and contents of the Bible as servants or slaves. But the scriptures do not do science, Galileo said, they could teach "how to go to sky (heaven), not how the sky moves." The attack on Galileo by the Inquisition, represented the sharpest attack against science. The process was rather rough and planted with hypocritical tactics by the Church. The objective of the research Inquisition was not so much against the person of Galileo directly, because he was considered a Christian believer and a reputable scientist in all environments, but rather against his scientific claims. The primary purpose was to make it clear the absolute right of the Church to intervene in scientific matters. Galileo enjoyed great respect and even admiration from the Papal Court, including Pope Urban VIII, whom he had even devoted a poetic ode. On 21 February 1632, Galileo published in Florence his work "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems ", which implicitly mocks the Ptolemaic geocentric system, standing openly in favour of the Copernican system. Galileo was summoned by the Holy Office on October 1, 1632. He was sentenced to house arrest. In a room of the convent of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva and before the meeting of judges of the Holy Office, on his knees and wearing the humiliating Sanbenito, is a man of 70 years, a great scientist, who had dedicated his life to observing and reading the Book of Nature, written in mathematical language. The Holy Office required him to abjure, curse and detest in his errors and heresies and especially forced him to spend the humiliation of having to lie saying the following words: "... I had, as I have yet, as certainly true the opinion of Ptolemy, that is, the stability of the Earth and the mobility of the Sun. " This was his required answer. The greatest humiliation that a scientist can be subjected to. His arrest lasted eight and a half years, since he died in 1642, at the age of 78.
The Church has tried lately to reclaim and clean up the reputation of Galileo, especially this year, the International Year of Astronomy, but in a lukewarm way, blaming that both parties involved in the process caused errors. On 31 October 1992, Pope John Paul II, in a speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, said it was "a fair recognition of the errors whatever the part from which they proceed." "The cultural horizon at the time of Galileo was unitary and bore the stamp of a particular philosophical education. This unitary character of the culture, which is in itself positive and desirable even today, was one of the causes of the condemnation of Galileo." The expression of "the unitary character of culture, still positive and desirable" is interpreted by Martinez, as a longing for lost theocratic power. The cultural unity is the essence of religious fundamentalism, which is extremely dangerous. The apology from the Church has come too late and it is no more than a nice symbolic gesture.
Another important issue discussed in the publication is the subject of censorship. A papal order, that the Inquisitor General, Cardinal Adrian of Utrecht, enacted in 1521, started the banning of books in Spain. Subsequently, extended by the name of Index of Forbidden Books, caused a big damage to science. Multiple works of famous writers came under censorship. William of Ockham, Luis Vives, Thomas More, San John of the Cross, Santa Teresa de Jesus, Lope de Vega, etc. are some examples. This criticism led to a very common practice: the burning of books. It would be needed another publication to be able to understand and analyze the damage and atrocities committed by the Inquisition in our Latin America.
All these historical events of so sad memory, that Martinez exposes in a well-structured way, leads us to ask serious questions about the religious phenomenon, so ingrained as effective, through history in both individual and collective behaviour of humanity. An eminently human phenomenon which also has reached a perfect control on both individuals and society. It is precisely on this topic that specifically I'll try to display some points of interest for reflection and discussion. At the beginning of the work, Primitivo brings to our consideration the scene of the "Grand Inquisitor", taken from "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevsky, in which the old inquisitor has a very revealing statement that overwhelms the depths of human beings: "..because, who is going to dominate people, but those who master the consciences of men and have the bread in their hands." There is no doubt that there is not a more absolute control on a person than to take possession of his conscience.
In the preface of the book, tells a real story, but full of symbolism about the life of Primitivo. The story is narrated by Michael, a fellow student and author of the foreword. It tells us that in an allegorical representation of the philosophical movements, Primitivo was transported in a wheelbarrow in which sat quietly, representing Parmenides of Elea. I do not know what might have happened, but Primitivo got off the wheelbarrow and walked on his own feet. The significance of this scene, makes me think, it is my personal interpretation, that Primitivo learned in time to get off the device of immobility in which he was sat and learned to walk on his own feet, through the channels of the future, the only way to understand life from a right perspective. A subject somewhat traumatic for those of us who, due to historical circumstances, have had to breathe and experience the atmosphere of the one-dimensionality of life without having the opportunity to breathe the atmosphere of the multi-dimensionality, from where you can view and analyze the complexity of the somewhat irrational while dialectic life.
No doubt that through the development of the central theme of this publication, clearly underlies a discourse of transcendental importance on religion, which in turn sets out various issues to us. I shall try to present some points that I consider very appropriate for reflection and that can also generate broad discussion about them.
Religion is an anthropological phenomenon that has accompanied mankind since far back, we can say almost from its inception. Human beings, gifted with great abilities, always saw himself as being limited, fragile, to whom continuously are presented many great questions and difficulties. However, gifted with great imagination, they could create myths, fantastic beings of divine nature, which could give meaning to their life and a response to the endless questions that constantly raised their daily live. But this human-religious phenomenon was collected, compiled, structured and deliberately transmitted by institutions of various kinds, distorting and mythologizing such religious phenomenon. However, the study of religion, as a human phenomenon, is itself a matter of science, particularly that of anthropology.
Religion is a phenomenon that is inserted into the culture and tradition. In Marx expression "man makes religion, religion does not make the man." (Marx: "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"). Religion plays a distorted view of the real world, peoples the universe with imaginary beings, provides fanciful explanations for natural events and puts people in a paradise of fantasy, which is both an escape and a prison. According to Marx: "Religion is not only distorts the world view of man... but also the feelings of man, his emotional relationship with reality, it provides him a false comfort, an illusory hope." (Id.) María Zambrano expressed herself in the same direction: "Philosophy and religion are competing for the realization of human hopes." Religion immerses human beings in a dream, a chimera perhaps comforting, but also completely sterile and harmful in the transformation of reality. All the various forms of religion have had their origin in humans and have been developed to meet the needs that have arisen in their socio-economic development through different historical processes. His features were as varied as the circumstances under which they have achieved their development, but always responding to their needs. Thus, groups have emerged with religious beliefs more or less simple or complicated, but within the structures in which humans were organized according to their own interests and needs. In fact, the different forms of religion have been as a reflection of the ways of that organization.
The origin of the religious phenomenon was gradual and conditioned by the socio-economic situation of human beings and their development was in line with changes in that situation. The first steps, still hesitant, of this phenomenon remained only a crude fetishism, magic, totemism, animism, or of some early sketches of nature worship. The expressions in this first stage were somewhat prosaic, which is explained by the socio-economic plight of those helpless human beings. Its origin should not be attributed to a mysterious religious sentiment of reverence before the majesty, the sacred and the immense. The ignorance of natural forces, the impotence against them, the feeling of being crushed by a hostile environment, drove these people to try to complete their work with magical manipulations. Comte has his own explanation on this point, when he compares, in his Theory of the Three States, those first stirrings of humanity to the stage of childhood. This imaginative and overflowed childhood brought credulous faith in the supernatural, and "faith in the supernatural, carries a social harm," because the forces that the human being wasted looking forward to a fetish, would have been more useful by looking for other mechanisms in their struggle with the environment. Their prayers and supplications to fictional beings robbed them of a precious time in the searching for food and tools to improve their living conditions. The imaginary security in a conducive spirit was a poor consolation for impotence of the primitive human being, because it weakened his inquisitive and inventive effort and reduced his self confidence. Raising hands of supplication to the gods , is a way to keep crawling indefinitely. The hands of human beings are needed to support themselves in the earth, they are not to raise them to heaven in supplication. The evolution of mythical ideas are also closely linked to socio-economic transformations in primitive communities.
The legends about the gods or heroes reflect in the imagination the real life of human beings at that time. In this respect Feuerbach writes: "As a man thinks and feels, so is his god; what a man is worth, it's worth his god and not more... you know the man by his god and vice versa, you know your god by man". The people mythologies are one of the most tangible evidence that humans built the religion from their own substance. Xenophanes (sixth century BC) made fun of religions and their gods that revealed their exclusively human origin: "The Ethiopians represent their gods flat and black, and the Thracians say they have blue eyes and red hair. But if oxen, horses and lions had hands and they could draw and make work as men, horses would draw figures of gods like horses, and oxen like oxen and would form their bodies in imitation of themselves. " If religion is by nature a great reflection of reality, it is evident that it is the product of the unbridled imagination of man to explain the world around him. Either way, the mythical has been the inseparable companion of religion and will remain so.
All forms of social consciousness more or less precisely reflect reality. Religion, however, as a form of social consciousness, is the only one that reflects the surrounding world in a fantastic and distorted way. Marx said that religion is "the fantastic realization of human essence", it is an inverted world view, it is the "general theory" of this inverted world, "its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, its general reason for consolation and justification. " ("Franco-German Annals").
Religion is an integral part of humanity's spiritual culture, a component of mental activity of humans. It is presented as one of the fundamental forms of social consciousness. It not only reflects the reality, the social being, but it guides human beings to the execution of differential acts. Therefore, religion as a form of social consciousness has the same function. Engels in Anti-Duhring states that "religion is nothing but a reflection, in the brains of men, of the eternal powers that dominate their daily lives: a reflection in which earthly forces are gaining strength of extra earthly ones."
Religion, moreover, is not just a specific explanation, though distorted, of reality, but also includes the emotional and sentimental part of the human being, it is a particular experience of the world. From this religious representation of the world, it also comes off an emotional bond of the human believer, even with certain hopes, dreams, aspirations, desires and ambitions. These emotional states produce, too, a sense of helplessness, weakness and fear, and even they encourage feelings of an illusory hope; they are a false consolation.
From this perspective, religion appears as a very complex social phenomenon, in which you can distinguish certain levels related to both human consciousness as to its activity. This is the reason that religion, once it has invaded the human structure with its indoctrination, brings a kind of addiction to its needs, that creates a new type of human being with the mentioned characteristics. Thus, taking advantage of these circumstances, the various religious institutions gain control of society and become a real power structure. Again it is worth remembering that there is no greater control of a person, that the control of his consciousness. The various degrees of mastery of such consciousness are climbed by fostering fear, fright and terror, which reduces the radius of human freedom and as Nietzsche says in the Genealogy of Morals: "This instinct for freedom, which by force became latent, suppressed, removed, imprisoned in the interior, and that ends up taken out and let off steam just against oneself: that, only that is, initially, the bad conscience. "
Religious movements have transformed the phenomenon of religion in various religious forms, from the more simple to the most complex. In fact, some of them have been able to effectively utilize this human condition to become a real power structure, to the point of defying the various social and political structures. This is the case of Christianity, which is that the most directly concerns us now. It began with the fundamental beliefs of Judaism, keeping the basic belief of a unique God, Creator of all, whose figure projected an image rather of fear and terror, than one of love. This environment is reflected in human consciousness in a state of fear that will guide individual and social behaviour. A very effective tool of subjugation. The pedagogy of fear. A methodology that all religions have used to a greater or lesser extent and intensity. Its effectiveness is well known to those who in one way or another have experienced this religious phenomenon in our consciousness. Christianity, according to its founder, wanted to give a tone of love and compassion to his movement, however, as it was gaining power, it was forgetting this important contribution.
The Christian movement had its beginnings and subsequent development within a political and administrative structure perfectly organized, like the Roman Empire. We can not forget that Rome was the creator of law and government, from which the Church learned its administrative and structural scaffold. Following this model, Christianity was able to organize itself as a religious institution. A structure with absolute power, clad in divine character. The power of the Pope went so far as to define his infallibility as a dogma in the nineteenth century. Thus, the Church was establishing its administrative machinery. First, organized the so-called councils, assemblies convened by the Pope to refute any teaching that was not consistent or against any of the truths which the Church considered "revealed". It condemned such doctrines as heretical, and defined the true meaning of the official truth, declaring them as "revealed truth" or dogma. The person who stubbornly continued to defend a doctrine against such revealed truth, he was declared heretic. As the Christian church was becoming conscious of its power in society, was simultaneously developing a criminal justice system, in order to convict and impose penalties on those who questioned or denied any of these dogmas. It established, for example, excommunication, which, as the word itself means, deprives that person of the ties linking him with other members by refusing him all privileges of the community. To this penalty there were added other more punitive actions, even physical, even going so far as to be condemned to the stake. The Church created, as we have seen, a very powerful institution, which was responsible for ensuring the "purity" of faith: the Inquisition, true intelligence system with absolute legal and judicial powers, also equipped with a powerful research equipment which, as we have seen, included a terrible and varied set of techniques, such as torture, to extract a confession and proceed with the corresponding penalty.
All this control system the Christian church has been able to develop through its history, is based primarily on indoctrination, in the technique of fear, fright and even terror. A fundamental concept in this moralizing process was the idea of sin, which was closely linked to the terrible idea of the devil and hell, (a supposed place of torment of all kinds), chaired by him and by great number of evil spirits. This, with some other, has been the taboo the Church has tried to instill persistently in its faithful. It is interesting to explain some moral aspects of sin. Every sin, in addition to guilt, carries a penalty. According to Catholic morality, there is a class of sins that, although forgiveness of guilt is reached immediately through confession, it is not cleared the penalty, which paradoxically prolonged and deepened the sense of shame. To clean this sense of shame, the person had to continue making a long series of penitential actions, including those of masochistic nature, as self-flagellation, with which he could achieve atonement and clean it off. This meant extending the terrible feeling of guilt and remorse. In this sense Nietzsche puts it admirably: "The bad conscience sits, eats, spreads and grows like a polyp so wide and so deep, that together with the endless feeling of guilt you conceive atonement to be endless as well. " This is the reason for the Holy Years and Jubilees, that periodically sets the Pope, in order to expiate the sins, by means of certain practices, as visiting the basilicas of Rome, Santiago de Compostela and other designated locations. In fact, what remains behind all this "invention" of atonement is an economic issue. With the practice of the pedagogy of fear the Church has achieved excellent results. All this unintelligible terminology (penalty, guilt, atonement...) is a strong point of the Inquisition. It bases on it to separate orthodoxy from heterodoxy, to separate the righteous from the heretics. Primitivo clearly helds that, in this semantic field, orthodoxy is impossible: "The dogmas born of such pompous terms, as matter-form, substance-accident, potential-act, universal-particular, abstract-concrete, predicable-predicament, guilt-penalty, try to raise to substantive category what is pure nominalism. And from an impossible orthodoxy into all these, it is born a possible, better, inevitable heterodoxy, whose members are potential victims of ecclesiastical inquisitions. Behind these dumb dogmas, there is a whole theoretical amount of power and a waste of psychology in the domain of the masses, as well as an effective pedagogy of promises, first, and of punishment, later."
In the name of God and for His greater glory they committed the worst atrocities in the course of history. Shouting "God wills it," medieval Crusades were organized with their terrible consequences. As Holly Crusade was considered by the Catholic Church the coup of General Franco in Spanish Civil War. And the war ended, there were erected monuments chaired by the cross on every facade of churches and public places in Spain, praising only those who succumbed to his side with the slogan: "Fallen for God and for Spain."
The myths and mythologies, said Primitivo, talk about gods and paradises. Human beings, by contrast, are free to believe, dream and imagine all they want or they like. What is unethical, because it is inhumane and barbaric, is to convert these myths into absolute truths and to kill and subjugate human beings for not accepting them as such; pure myths and pure mythical truths our ancestors originally created simply to satisfy their feelings and intellectual concerns. To sacrifice defenseless humans in the name of a vain Orthodoxy, invoking the name of God, is a barbarism, a devastating and revealing blow to humanity .
"Currently, the only vestige of the former Inquisition is the Congregation of the Inquisition, established by Pope Paul III, 1542, to combat the Reformation. In 1965, after Vatican II, was renamed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose aim is to safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals. Lost its repressive and inquisitorial nature, it acquired a tone for positive promotion of Catholic doctrine." This was expressed by Joseph M. Walker in his History of the Spanish Inquisition. Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, presided that Congregation.
With this presentation I have tried to instill into you concern and curiosity to reflect on the topic I have just presented and that Primitivo extensively describes in detail in his work, because possibly more than one of us may be caught by religious networks that were present in the culture and family environment of our childhood, with the consequences of being deprived of breathing deeply the air of freedom.
It recently appeared, in the outer side and back of city buses in London, Barcelona, Paris and other cities, a surprising announcement in large letters, with the following slogan: "God probably does not exist, why live in fear? Enjoy your life. " Thanks!