Escazú resident Sam Butler is taking on the major religions of the worlds all at the same time.
He has published a book titled “A Curse on All Their Houses: How Religious SCRIPTURE and Practices Support Intolerance, Violence, and Even War.”
His goal is to expose fraud, hypocrisy and forgery of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and the Mormon faith. A target is the Christian Bible as well as the Old Testament. Butler notes that many of the stories associated with biblical figures can be found in earlier civilizations: The story of Moses being fished out of a river is similar to an earlier tale involving Sargon the Great. Butler also compiled a long list of religious figures who were crucified well before the time of Christ and one, Mithra, who was born on Dec. 25, who was the son of a God and who had a virgin for a mother.
Butler self-published the book via a subsidiary of Amazon.com. It was released in November.
Butler said he did so because he believes religion is responsible for massive numbers of deaths through history. He cited the Inquisition as well as the 1,400-year-old struggle between rival branches of Islam that still sows violence in the Middle East.
His solution is a set of ethical standards, similar to the 10 Commandments.
Butler also maintains a Web site where he updates his arguments with current events. The latest addition is a report of a Roman Catholic priest who left a responsible job with the Vatican. The priest maintains that the story of Christ admonishing those who would stone a woman for adultery is a later addition to the Gospel of John because the story does not appear in the earliest manuscripts attributed to John.
Butler’s arguments are more confrontational but still in the tradition of Joseph Campbell, the late U.S. academic who wrote “The Hero with 1,000 Faces,” and the “Masks of the Gods” series.
Despite his criticisms of religion, Butler is not one of those people who believes that death is the end of the trail.
He said Sunday that he believes in reincarnation.