This post by Robert L. Johnson originally appeared at World Union of Deists.
Bad and false ideas cannot stand on their own. Those who believe in bad and false ideas and beliefs cannot have anyone question those beliefs, for if open questioning and debate are allowed, it will soon be seen that the ideas and beliefs are false and contrary to truth. The false ideas will fall along with any benefits those promoting the falsehoods enjoy. This is why “revealed” religions often resort to religious violence against those freethinkers who question the religious dogmas and claims made by the “revealed” religions. For example, in many Islamic countries it is a crime punishable by whipping, stoning or beheading to openly question the teachings in the Koran. Likewise, when Christianity was united with government, it was punishable by being burned alive to openly question the Bible.
Cayetano Ripoll (1778-1826) was a soldier in the Spanish army during the Peninsular War (1807-1814). He was captured by French forces and was a prisoner of war. While being held by the French he became aware of Deism. He soon became a Deist, leaving Christianity, the Bible and Roman Catholicism behind.
After the war Cayetano became a school teacher in Valencia, Spain. He was accused by the Spanish Inquisition (1478-1834) of being a Deist and of teaching his students about Deism. He was held as a prisoner of the Christians for nearly two years. He bravely and honestly refused to recant his Deism. He was found guilty of heresy and on July 26, 1826 he was hanged until dead by the secular authorities who were doing the dirty work for the Catholic Church. Cayetano Ripoll was the last person to be murdered by the Spanish Inquisition.
“Revealed” religions find great importance in symbolism. In Cayetano’s case, it appears the Church could not persuade the secular powers to burn their victim alive; that is probably why he was hanged for his Deism instead of being burned alive at the stake as the Christians did to Giordano Bruno and thousands more of their victims. However, after they murdered Cayetano, they put his dead body in a barrel with flames painted onto it and buried him in unconsecrated ground. The painted flames were as close to burning him alive as the mentally deranged Christians could get in Cayetano’s case.
On page 552 in History of the Christian Church, Volume 5, Issue 2, by Philip Schaff and David Schley Schaff, it is made known that Cayetano’s Deism served him well. On that page we read, “He died calmly on the gibbet after repeating the words, ‘I die reconciled to God and to man’.” This is similar to the Deist Thomas Paine when he was a prisoner in the Luxembourg prison in France. He wrote in The Age of Reason , that while he laid in prison critically ill and waiting his turn to have his head cut off by the Guillotine he remembered that he had written the first part of The Age of Reason. This realization filled him “with renewed satisfaction” and he congratulated himself “most sincerely on having written the former part of The Age of Reason. I had then but little expectation of surviving, and those about me had less. I know, therefore, by experience, the conscientious trial of my own principles.”
The Christian murder of Cayetano Ripoll is a warning sign to everyone of the danger of uniting “revealed” religion and government. It is also a sign of victory of principles, courage, wisdom and innate God-given reason over the ignorance, fear and religious violence of Christianity. Cayetano Ripoll demonstrated the power of Deism over “revealed” religion. We’re all greatly in his debt!
Reprinted with permission from the author.
In Humanity We Trust (on behalf of the Giordano Bruno Foundation, 2014)
The Spanish Inquisition | History Documentary
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