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William Tyndale, hero of atheism

On this day, October 6th, in the now distant year of 1536, William Tyndale was burnt at the stake. It is recorded that his executors had the mercy to strangle him beforehand, but that they botched the job, and that he revived to consciousness as the flames took hold. What was Tyndale’s crime, worthy of such an extreme punishment? He wanted people to think for themselves.

Established religions are about power and control, and the Catholic Church had long realised that they could control people by telling them what God wanted. Thus they didn’t want the people to read the Bible and to think for themselves about what God wanted. The Church insisted that they stood between the people and God, and that only they could interpret God’s will. Thus they kept the Bible in Latin so that the people could not read it. As early as the 1380s John Wycliffe had translated parts of the Bible into English, but the mere possession of a copy merited the death sentence. Continue reading