20th April 2008

“The most ardent of my wishes… to see the last of the kings strangled by the guts of the last priest.”

Jean Meslier1664 – 1729

2 Responses to “20th April 2008”

  1. Terence Meaden Says:

    In those days most kings were tyrants, as too popes, cardinals and priests at their different levels.

    Wikipedia is interesting:
    “Jean Meslier was born January 15, 1664, in Mazerny in the Ardennes. . . . At the end of his studies, he took Holy Orders and, on January 7, 1689, became priest at √Čtr√©pigny, in Champagne. . . . Meslier was to all appearances generally unremarkable, and he performed his office without complaint or problem for 40 years.
    When Meslier died, there were found in his house three copies of a 633-page octavo manuscript in which the village curate denounces religion as “but a castle in the air”, and theology as “but ignorance of natural causes reduced to a system”. A materialist, Meslier denies the existence of the soul; he also dismisses the notion of free will.
    In Chapter V, the priest writes, “If God is incomprehensible to man, it would seem rational never to think of Him at all”; Meslier does think of him, however, for several hundred pages more, in which he calls God “a chimera” and argues that the supposition of God is not prerequisite to morality. In fact, he concludes that “[w]hether there exists a God or not […] men’s moral duties will always be the same so long as they possess their own nature”.

    The intelligent man had found the truth by applying rational commonsense, but in the horrors of the times he could not speak freely as we can now.

  2. Tzuriel Says:

    Others did speak up, and paid for it with their lives. Though I wonder how his work survived in such times. Guess it really depends on who found it. Would be an interesting story. I liked Diderot’s quote better, though. The sentiment is the same, but his is more poetic.

    Thinking about it, though, I don’t think there will ever be a last priest.