Martyr for mythicism: Rev. Robert Taylor

Rev. Robert TaylorWhen the Church of England’s Rev. Robert Taylor (1784-1844) began preaching Bible mythicism – the view that significant biblical figures are mythical, not historical – from his popular pulpit during the 1820s, he was subjected to a sustained campaign of abuse that lasted for many years. He was convicted twice for “blasphemy” and imprisoned in a Dickens-style hellhole for three years. Unrepentant, Taylor wrote some of the best mythicist literature while in prison: The Syntagma, Diegesis and Devil’s Chaplain.

Taylor’s treatment was so infamous and egregious that a student at one of the colleges where the minister spoke before his imprisonment became unnerved at his own possible future treatment for his own heretical ideas. That student was named Charles Darwin, who obviously was aware of the scholarship evincing that Jesus and other biblical characters in reality were mythical, not historical.

After his release, Taylor became a medical doctor, but the abuse he endured was so traumatic that he supposedly recanted his views just so he could survive.

Richard Carlile

Richard CarlileTaylor’s freethinking publisher, Richard Carlile (1790-1843) – who earlier had published the great Thomas Paine’s writings and who himself was prosecuted for “blasphemy” – kept the mythicist flame alive to be passed to others. A previous Deist like several important American founding fathers, Carlile declared himself an atheist in 1821, long before the era of the “New Atheists” and in a much more dangerous climate. Carlile’s reputation endures as a fighter for free speech and freedom of the press in England.

Like Darwin, I can relate to Rev. Robert Taylor, for the main reason that his passion and erudition are along the same lines of mine. Fortunately, I too live in an era where such great men have made life for intelligent, educated freethinkers much easier and safer.

Let us not return to the Dark Ages before the hard-fought Enlightenment of which we are the lucky heirs.

Further Reading

What is a Mythicist?
What is Mythicism?
Did George Washington and Thomas Jefferson Believe Jesus was a Myth?

4 Comments

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  1. I find that many of the “new atheists” despise Christianity and Judaism, but are extreme Islamopanderers. This, by definition, tells me that many of the new atheists are simply not atheists. Back when Taylor and Carlile were writing, it was very dangerous to criticize Christianity. Today, it’s a piece of cake. I want to see the new atheists criticize Islam. A few do, but most don’t.

  2. Good point, Pray Hard, I see too many atheists far too often just don’t appear to realize that Islam is also one of the three Abrahamic faiths.

    Proper Definition & Meaning of ‘Atheist’
    http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2827

    Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History
    http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3110

    Atheists stand to learn a mountains worth if they would study the mythicist material.

    Evemerist vs. Mythicist Position
    http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2160

    Astrotheology of the Ancients
    http://stellarhousepublishing.com/astrotheology.html

    Why I am A Mythicist
    http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4344

    The Mythicist Position – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63BNKhGAVRQ

  3. I know you are totally against the suppression of free thought, bigotry, sexism, prejudice, racism, animal cruelty, and environmental destruction. I’m totally feeling it all, yet I haven’t heard or read from you too much about the subject of racism and white supremacy. Obviously any form of supremacy is not cool whether it’s black, white, brown, yellow, blue, whatever ect., I just figured as much as your against unfairness, as your work reflects a lot on religious bigotry, intolerance, and suppression of free thought, I figured you’d address white supremacy more since it’s very prominent here in this country, thanks to ignorance and the powers that be or are bigoted and obviously don’t wish to serve the best interest of anyone who don’t look like they do. If you have any material on it where can I find it, IF YOU don’t what are your thoughts on the above?

    1. Thanks for the interest and query.

      You don’t say which country, so I’m assuming you mean the U.S.? The same U.S. where older white males are roundly criticized on a regular basis? Where the president is half black and has filled his White House with black visitors and advisers? Where a black female media magnate – Oprah – is one of the wealthiest people in the country? Where black athletes and musicians make millions of dollars annually? Where there are many black doctors, lawyers, politicians, ministers and other professionals who live very well compared to the rest of the world? Where our annual Superbowl consists largely of black entertainment and countless TV shows feature black actors? Where one of our top scientists (Neil deGrasse Tyson) and one of our greatest historians (Henry Louis Gates) are black?

      Henry Louis Gates would be the first to tell you, of course, that he has white blood, as do many African-Americans. Many of us are well beyond this racism stage, there are plenty of people bashing whites, and I don’t really have time for it.

      Where racism occurs, regardless of the victim’s skin color – and there has been a huge amount of black-on-white violence in this country as well – it remains appalling and disgraceful. But what I’m seeing publicly is one of the LEAST racist countries in the world. Some 600,000 whites died to end slavery in this country, while it and anti-black racism occur quite abundantly elsewhere, especially in Muslim-dominant Middle Eastern countries.

      I should add that I’ve been attacked with vicious anti-white hate speech on a number of occasions, including having one menacing Mexican ex-con spray a hose into my home while calling me “white trash.” I don’t like fomenting any kind of hateful behaviors based on skin color.

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