The anonymous author of the Gospel of Matthew, writing close to the end of the first century, penned the following words upon the lips of his legendary leader, Jesus:
They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
Well then, what are we to make of the voluntary martyrs of the ante-Nicene period, whose blind and zealous dedication to this suicide cult saw their bodies burned, beaten, and devoured by lions?  These manipulated martyrs’ suicidal ambitions provoked numerous Roman officials to plead with them to stop aggressively goading their own martyrdom, with one Roman proconsul exclaiming:
“Unhappy men! If you are thus weary of your lives, is it so difficult for you to find ropes and precipices…?” 
What are we to make of the Church’s pact with that vile and vicious emperor who relished in his own son’s execution and of whom it was recorded boiled his wife alive?  And should we also fail to acknowledge that had they not formed this alliance with Constantine, Christianity would probably not be a major religion today? 
In what manner do we apply “Matthew’s” teaching to the brutal acts of the Christian emperor Theodosius, whom Christians adoring refer to as ‘the Great’ – a man who was politely pardoned by the Church for slaughtering over 7,000 men, women and children in a single sadistic rampage? 
How should we reconcile this anonymous author’s words with the heinous murder of the brilliant female pagan philosopher Hypatia? This noble, virtuous and enlightened woman who taught philosophy, mathematics and other branches of valuable knowledge had her clothes stripped from her body in a church in Alexandria, her skin shaved off by sharp tiles and her bleeding body burned by true Christians, one of whom was called Peter the Reader, and he took great pleasure in reading from the very pages of that rancid-fruit-manufacturing-manifesto, the Holy Bible, as her flesh sizzled and crackled in the fires kindled by the faithful. 
If these fruits don’t appear poisonous enough, how do we begin to interpret the words of “Matthew” in the face of the innumerable crimes committed by the numerous vicars of Christ, whose murderous exploitation knew no bounds?  And what should we make of the popes of today, those theological descendants of St. Peter who deny life-saving protection to HIV ridden countries, and who have made it their business to carefully conceal and protect paedophile-priests?
How do we understand the words of this dishonestly named gospel in relation to Martin Luther’s commissioning of the mass slaughter of Anabaptist and peasant men, women and children, or his violent exhortations to slaughter the Jews wherever good Christians should find them? 
And What about Calvin’s foul deeds? Are we allowed to keep these verses in mind when we reflect upon the murder of Michael Servetus, who, at the behest of Calvin, had his body beaten and burned as he gasped for breath and bravely clung to life while his flesh excruciatingly dripped from his bones? 
Do we pay heed to the Gospel of “Matthew’s” advice when we examine St. Francis Xavier’s brutal inquisition in Goa? This Christian inquisition, at least in the words of contemporary and modern Catholic historians, resulted in some of the most appalling crimes ever committed? In the words of one Catholic historian:
The Inquisition Laws filled 230 pages and the palace where the Inquisition was conducted was known as the Big House and the Inquisition proceedings were always conducted behind closed shutters and closed doors. The screams of agony of the victims (men, women, and children) could be heard in the streets, in the stillness of the night, as they were brutally interrogated, flogged, and slowly dismembered in front of their relatives. Eyelids were sliced off and extremities were amputated carefully, so that a person could remain conscious even though the only thing that remained was his torso and a head. 
How should we go about reconciling this falsely attributed teaching to the misogyny, homophobia, paedophilia, simony, larceny, witch burnings, heresy hunts, Crusades, and all of the other despicable deeds committed by this profane religion – and if we were to present these rotten fruits to the mysterious author of “Matthew”, what do you think he would have to say about it all?
By their fruits shall ye know them!
- Henry Chadwick. The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great. Oxford University Press. (2001). p. 67.
- Edward Gibbon. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Vol. 2. William Hallhead. (1781). p. 361.
- Helen Ellebre. The Dark Side of Christian History. Morningstar Books (1995). p. 23; David S. Potter. A Companion to the Roman Empire. Blackwell Publishing. (2006). p.32; Richard W. Burgess. Studies in Eusebian and Post-Eusebian Chronography. Franz Steiner. Verlag Stuttgart. (1999). p. 68; David Woods. Greece and Rome; Vol. 45: On The Death of The Empress Fausta. Cambridge University Press. (1998). Pp.70-86.
- Bart D. Ehrman. From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity. The Teaching Company. (2004).
- Philip Schaff. Socrates Scholasticus. Socrates and Sozomenus. Ecclesiastical Histories. Christian Classics Ethereal Library. (1886). pp. 212, 565-566.
- p. 254; G. W. Foote and J. M. Wheeler. Crimes of Christianity. Kanya Books. (1965). p. 89; Phillip Schaff. History of the Christian Church, Volume 3: Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity. A.D.311-600. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. (1819-1893). p. 50.
- Martin Luther. Against the Murderous and Rapacious Hordes of the Peasants, May 4, 1525-Erl, 24, 287: Cited in Rev. Msgr. Patrick F. O’Hare L.L.D. Facts About Luther TAN Books (1994). p. 232; Martin On the Jews and Their Lies, cited in Michael. Robert. Luther, Luther Scholars, and the Jews, Encounter 46 (Autumn 1985) No. 4:343-344.
- Carl Theophilus Odhner. Michael Servetus: His Life and Teachings.B. Lippincott Company. (1910). p. 22.
- http://www.vgweb.org/unethicalconversion/GoaInquisition.htm; Gabriel Dellon. An Account of the Inquisition at Goa, in India. Patterson & Lambdin. (1819). p. 121; F.B. Wright. A History of Religious Persecutions, From the Apostolic Age to the Present time; And of the Inquisition of Spain, Portugal and Goa. Robinson and Sons. (1816). p. 271.