Today is the feast-day of Saint John Chrysostom, one of the most despicable figures history has ever produced, and leader of the mob of idiots that destroyed the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. As much as I admire the stories and mythology of Christianity, and can often be found talking or writing about them, I feel a deep hatred and revulsion at what people like John Chrysostom did, at their ignorant destruction of what was probably the greatest civilization this species has brought forth in the name of their petty superstition. There was a place for Christianity in the ancient world: but there was no place for the ancient world in what Christianity became. Would Jesus have approved of the Middle Ages? I greatly doubt it.
But today I’m not writing from the perspective of defending Jesus from his hypocritical followers, as I often do. Today I am writing as both descendant and admirer of that greater civilization which laid the foundation for so much of what followed, and whose wonders and achievements the barbarians tried so hard to destroy, even while they themselves lived off the remains, unable to replicate even the smallest of achievents of Rome and Greece. I write as someone who prefers the awe and freedom of philosophy to the dogmatic wrigglings of theology, who believes in democracy and despises theocracy and monarchy, who is dedicated to the light of thought and opposed to the darkness of religious obscurantism.
I write, ultimately, as someone who still feels keenly the loss of the classical world – who could weep for every burned work of philosophy, every lost tragedy, every comedy discarded by the barbarians for another self-aggrandizing sermon about humility.
So today I say to the barbarians and fanatics: by their fruits ye shall know them. I admire your Jesus, and I admire your Bible, but I remain eternally opposed to the crimes of your Churches; for their fruits were a thousand years of darkness, and a stain of hatred and intolerance that still covers the world.
Unlike Jesus, John Chrysostom was an ascetic. He thought that the fulfilment of human life was to sit around praying to his god, not eating, not drinking, not enjoying anything in this wide and wondrous world except his ridiculous self-righteousness. In other words, he was a blasphemer, an arrogant fool who spits upon the miracles of the world in order to gaze in a mirror and proclaim himself pure. So today I will eat well, and laugh loudly, and raise my glass in honour of the people I truly feel close to: those who celebrated civilization and art, in whose footsteps it is our greatest honour to tread.