Sure, you can read about St Peter in the bible, or on Wikipedia if you are in a hurry. Frankly, those are boring, and obtuse. I think St Peter is one of the greatest heroes of antiquity. I would like to tell you why, and my experience learning about him. It’s pretty cool. Oh, and to be fair I want you to know this up front; I am a recovering Catholic, aspiring Buddhist, and near militant atheist. I say ‘near’, because I will never engage you proactively about religion. It isn’t my business. However, I am more than happy to discuss all of it if you bring it up. I don’t go door to door and explain the good news of no god. No, sir, I won’t bring it up unless you do. ***** (that is the secret symbol that corresponds to a footnote at the bottom. I am too lazy to find the actual way to property notate footnotes… both MLA… and APA formattting… you’ll not find here.)
Being an atheist doesn’t mean I don’t believe in Jesus, or even the bible. It means I don’t believe in an over arching supreme and magical deity. I very much believe there was a Jesus, as well as a St Peter. I simply believe Jesus’ story ended the day he was assassinated. It also looks like a TON of the first testament happened, and was then explained away as magical deity stuff, because science was so barely alive 2,000 years ago.
My story begins in third grade. When the teacher stepped out, I took a piece of chalk and drew a ‘peace’ sign on the board. The teacher came back and was pretty upset. She was super religious, and clearly was not amused. She said, quite understandingly “whoever wrote this up here, I know you meant to say peace. However, you should know it means something very different, and it is anti Christian.” Wtf? Fast forward 30 years later, as the wifey and I tour the Rome. We toured the Vatican, and learned about that crazy sumbitch Nero.
Nero was the emperor of Rome just after Jesus death. Historically speaking, he is what we call in the business a ‘total dick’. One night, Rome burned… and burned bad. Like everything back then, it was originally all built up on wood, not stone. Some say that Nero set the fire, so he could rebuild the town to his likings. This probably isn’t true, but it demonstrates what a dick Nero was…. That nobody can discount this automatically. You have heard the term ‘Nero fiddled while Rome burned’. That is just hyperbole saying, in effect, Nero made no effort to stop the fire. Whether he started it or not, most historians agree… he just let it go.
This served a dual purpose for Nero. Not only could he now rebuild Rome in his own image… he could finger is enemies in the process. There was a new cult in Rome, and they were making problems for everyone. This group of ne’er-do-wells had been upsetting the status quo for some time. They found the leader of this cult, and they killed him. Problem solved, right? Nope. The story and group grew influence, making things worse for the powers that be. The new leader of this cult was a dude named Peter. You know him as ‘St Peter, the guy who controls the gates to Heaven’. Nero solved all his problems with one fell swoop; he pinned the fires on Peter. Then, put him to death for it. Back then, crucifixion was all the rage, it wasn’t just a Jesus thing. This source says the Romans’ were doing 500 a day. In that sense, crucifixion was not a special Jesus thing at all, despite what your necklaces tell you. Sorry, the Council of Nicaea didn’t want you to know about that, either.
When Peter saw what the deal was, he begged not to be hung. WAIT FOR IT… not to be hung like Jesus. He said he wasn’t worthy, and felt Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice, and all that jazz. He begged to be crucified upside down, and they granted that wish. The peace sign, when you look at it now, it an upside down, and broken, cross. It is basically the symbol of St Peter. This is also known as ‘Nero’s Cross’. How it came to be related to the peace symbol, or if is it related at all, I don’t know. It’s a fascinating story, though.
See, though I don’t believe in god, or any of the second testament, I do believe there was a guy named Jesus, and a guy named Peter. I do believe Jesus was the head of his little cult, and I do believe he was killed for it. I do not believe he came back to life, or any of that nonsense. With that being said, I do believe the story of Peter, and it makes him a hell of a guy. Thomas Jefferson re-wrote the bible, which is a ballsy move, to say the least. Here is what he did, though – he took out all the mystical stuff. I love that idea, and would like to read it. See, I don’t believe most of the bible stories, and I don’t think they are to be believed. I think they are meant to be told as parables to make a point. I get that. Speaking of all this, did I mention the book ‘Lamb: the Gospel of Christ as told by his childhood friend, Biff’? it is an AMAZING book. I think everyone should read it, Christian or otherwise. I am firmly an otherwise. Worse, raised Catholic. I can’t imagine anything that makes more atheists than ex Catholics. Sorta like what GW Bush did to the GOP, and turned the entire country into Democrats by here sheer fuckwittery and destruction of American values, the economy, the constitution, etc.
See, if you take away all the mystical and supernatural nonsense around the story of Jesus, there are much more interesting tales embedded. Remember, you are only being told about a fifth of the known writings about Jesus. All the rest has been heavily censored, to simplify and unify the religion and the cannon. For example, Mary Magdalene was far from a prostitute Jesus befriended. She was, at the very least, a peer disciple… and at most… Jesus’ wife. Don’t believe me? Read up on the Council of Nicaea. It’s where they took all the stuff about Jesus, and threw most of it out… because you couldn’t handle it.
Now, if we just look at Jesus as a regular, mortal, charismatic and passionate guy… well then you gotta put St Peter right up there with him. I do.
Here is to you, St Peter. You paid the ultimate price, and made the ultimate sacrifice.
***** Well, except for this piece here. Oh, and this one, and this one, and kinda this one. NOTHING worse than nosy people who wear their religion on their sleeve and can’t wait to tell you about it. Nor sir, you won’t find ol’ Lono cramming that shit down your brain. This is America, and you have the right to be wrong about everything. Oh, and maybe there was this one time it may have came up. And this one. And.. um… this one. Jesus, I really am that guy, aren’t I? Still, I probably won’t come to your house to spread the good word… again. You were uh… pretty upset that last time.