Chapter 8. Spinoza vs. Zevi
After the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 AD, Judaism reinvented itself, taking a
mystical turn based on magic known as "Kabala." Periodically, Messiahs appeared, none
more dramatically than Shabbetai Zevi in 1664 -- at least until the day he saved his skin by
converting to Islam. Meanwhile in Amsterdam, where Zevi mania was strong, another Jew
named Baruch Spinoza took a different tack, finding God in the impersonal rules ordering the
universe -- for which he was excommunicated and reviled as the father of atheism.
Chapter 9. Caroline vs. Smallpox
God experts frowned on scientific investigation, since everything worth knowing was already in
the Bible. Nowhere was the suppression of science more severe than in the field of medicine,
which interfered with the suffering God justly imposed on sinners. When Queen Caroline, a
frequenter of Deist circles, learned that peasants in Turkey and Africa had learned how to
ward of smallpox by deliberately inoculating the healthy, she defied the God experts and had
her own royal children inoculated -- successfully.
Chapter 10. Voltaire vs. The Jesuits
By 1762, France's greatest writer was wealthy, famous, and semi-retired. But when he learned
of the case of Jean Calas, a Protestant wrongly tortured and executed for the murder of a son
who had clearly committed suicide, Voltaire sprang into action and dealt the French Catholic
Church a blow from which it has never recovered.
Chapter 11. Paine vs. Talleyrand
The American Revolution was fought largely between Anglicans, who supported the divine
right of kings, and Deists like Franklin, Washington and Jefferson, who did not. The greatest
of the revolutionary Deists, Tom Paine, took part in the French Revolution as well. There he
met Talleyrand, who didn't buy Christianity any more than Paine did but who cynically exploited
religion to advance his own ambition.
Chapter 12. Harris vs. Smith.
The new American nation created a "free market" in religion, spawning entrepreneurs who
made money by selling simplicity about the supernatural. The greatest of these was Joseph
Smith, who claimed he found golden plates telling a fantastic story about how the lost tribes of
israel had wound up in North America. As he went through a charade of "translating" these
plates in the home of Martin Harris, Martin's wife grew more and more suspicious; the day she
stole the first 117 pages of the "translation," she nearly killed off Mormonism before it was born.
Chapter 13. Zola vs. Drumont
Christians never tired of persecuting the Jews, blaming them for everything from the bubonic
plague to Enlightenment modernity. Things came to head in 1895 when the overwhelmingly
Catholic command of the French Army falsely accused the lone Jew on the general staff of
espionage. Emile Zola stepped the defense of Capt. Dreyfus with his "J'Accuse!" article; after
many years of battle, not only was Dreyfus exonerated, but a series of new laws accomplished
strict separation of the French church and state.
Chapter 14. Atatürk vs. The Red Sultan
The Enlightenment wrought by the Deists never penetrated the Muslim world; even printing
presses were banned, but for a brief spell, until the end of the 18th century. As a result, the
West passed Islam by, both economically and militarily. After World War I one man, Kemal
Atatürk, shocked the world by carrying out a humanist revolution in Turkey almost overnight,
even abolishing the institution of the "Muslim Pope."