If, closing our eyes upon all that transpires in this world, we should rely upon the votaries of the Christian religion, we would believe that the coming of our Divine Saviour has produced the most wonderful revolution and the most complete reform in the morals of nations.
The Messiah, according to Pascal, [See Thoughts of Pascal] ought of Himself alone to produce a great, select, and holy people; conducting and nourishing it, and introducing it into the place of repose and sanctity, rendering it holy to God, making it the temple of God, saving it from the wrath of God, delivering it from the servitude of sin, giving laws to this people, engraving these laws upon their hearts, offering Himself to God for them, crushing the head of the serpent, etc. This great man has forgotten to show us the people upon whom His Divine Messiah has produced the miraculous effects of which He speaks with so much emphasis; so far, it seems, they do not exist upon the earth!
If we examine ever so little the morals of the Christian nations, and listen to the clamors of their priests, we will be obliged to conclude that their God, Jesus Christ, preached without fruit, without success; that His Almighty will still finds in men a resistance, over which this God either can not or does not wish to triumph. The morality of this Divine Doctor which His disciples admire so much, and practice so little, is followed during a whole century but by half a dozen of obscure saints, fanatical and ignorant monks, who alone will have the glory of shining in the celestial court; all the remainder of mortals, although redeemed by the blood of this God, will be the prey of eternal flames.
One of the things I love about Meslier, is the way that he keeps hammering ruthlessly on Christianity’s greatest weakness: it doesn’t appear to work. It’s supposed to make you happy and good; it doesn’t. It’s supposed to teach you morals; it doesn’t make you a better person. It does a pretty good job of promoting its priests and popes, though.
I think Meslier gives too much away by focusing on the dishonesty, ignorance, and venality of the followers of religion. He doesn’t go after the main thing, which is the absurdity of the whole christ legend. The divine messiah doesn’t actually teach anything – it’s all assertions. It’s all ungrounded authority.