HOLY NOTHING

     Josephus Flavius: Wars of the Jews, V,5,5
          But the inmost part of the temple of all was of twenty cubits. This was also separated from 
          the outer part by a veil. In this there was nothing at all. It was inaccessible and inviolable, 
          and not to be seen by any; and was called the Holy of Holies.
AND
     Josephus Flavius: Wars of the Jews, I,7,6
          But there was nothing that affected the nation so much, in the calamities they were then 
          under, as that their holy place, which had been hitherto seen by none, should be laid open 
          to strangers; for Pompey, and those that were about him, went into the temple itself, 
          whither it was not lawful for any to enter, but the high priest.

The people of Judea believed that this empty room was "inaccessible and inviolable" because it contained the shechina, the presence of God Himself. In their eyes, the fact that it was empty made it even more sacrosanct and even more awesome. In the eyes of the Romans, the fact that it was empty -- that there was no statue of the Jewish god -- was enigmatic and frightening. Jews and Romans alike felt that the empty room was formidable because it was incomprehensible.

The temple and its holy of holies ceased to exist thousands of years ago, but even today the idea of that empty room evokes a similar abject, reverential attitude. Now, as then, multitudes are browbeaten and brainwashed by religion.

The real meaning of the empty room is the same as the real meaning of the emperor's new clothes. The answer has been staring us in the face since 1837, when Anderson published his fairy tales, but hardly anyone has made the connection.

     Hans Christian Anderson: The Emperor's New Clothes
          The emperor marched in the procession under the beautiful canopy, and all who saw him   
          in the street and out of the windows exclaimed: "Indeed, the emperor's new clothes are 
          incomparable! What a long train he has! How well it fits him!" Nobody wished to let others 
          know that he saw nothing, for then he would have been unfit for his office or too stupid. An 
          emperor's clothes were never more admired.
               "But he has nothing on at all," said a little child at last. "Good heavens! listen to the 
          voice of an innocent child," said the father, and one whispered to the other what the child 
          had said. "But he has nothing on at all," cried at last the whole people. That made a deep 
          impression upon the emperor, for it seemed to him that they were right, but he thought to 
          himself, "Now I must bear up to the end." And the chamberlains walked with still greater 
          dignity, as if they carried the train which did not exist.

Just as the emperor's new clothes did not exist, so God does not exist. Just as the emperor was the victim of a fraud, so the believers in God are the victims of a colossal fraud. The holy of holies is indeed empty, and for the excellent reason that there is no God. It is all in the minds of the misguided believers.