The Hoover Radio Show went fine but only as an icebreaker to more important issues. It reminded me of early Christian bishops arguing over how many angels can reside on the head of a pin. I felt like standing up and yelling out, “Look, as you sit here in this luxurious setting, people are getting their heads chopped off, wars are being fought, 15 million people (mostly children) are starving to death and billions have to live in fear of opening their mouth or saying the wrong thing. Isn’t the harm and suffering that superstitious belief is causing humanity more important?
When I finally got a chance to speak, I began to list some of the evils of religion as recounted in my Pot Stories and Humanist Essays, in the essay, “Ten Reasons Not To Believe.” I firmly told the audience I could give Biblical quotations or indisputable examples in history that support each of the evils mentioned below.
My list: (from the Kindle eBook)
“The Bible and Koran encourage and condone the worst aspects of human behavior: war, slavery, necrophilia, cruelty to animals, abuse of the Earth itself, anthropocentrism, suicide, starvation, racism, dichotomous thinking, nepotism, xenophobia, child abuse, misogyny, blind faith, hadephobia, sexism, capital punishment, homophobia, denial of reality, self-flagellation, torture, human sacrifice, symbolic cannibalism, and other insults to reason. The result has been to corrupt, distort and pervert the worldview of all who stubbornly cling to these primitive superstitions and have faith in the dictates and promises of professional clerics.”
Less than halfway, Garin had to cut me off in deference to time and others who wanted to ask a question.
So I present my list here in hope these evils can be exposed. Pick an item from my Pandora’s Box. War? Homophobia? Too obvious and easy. There are dozens of Biblical instances and quotations that encourage and condone each. How about cruelty to animals whose etiology is a little more subtle?
The most obvious, striking connection is “anthropocentrism”—placing humans at the highest peak of the Darwinian tree. It was a sad day for the animals when some fisherman or goat herder wrote, “Be fruitful and multiply” and “Subdue the Earth.” It’s as if to say humans are God’s gift to the planet and the other inhabitants are mere playthings put here by God for man’s amusement, food, or slavery. We have a soul and animals do not: it’s as simple as that. In today’s slaughterhouses animals are treated as if they aren’t even alive!
I wanted to ask pointedly Dr. Waxman, “Sir, would you tell me what does God the Father get out of a baby lamb being stabbed to death on His holy alter?” Not one person in the entire Bible ever asks this basic question. Is God on some sort of ego trip? Is He a sadist? When Christ exorcised the devil and directed them to a herd of pigs, how come nobody asked, “Hey, what about the pigs? What a cruel and stupid thing to do just to make a point.”
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to next month’s Meetup. Pick an evil and I’ll expound on how religion is a cause. Racism perhaps? The descendants of Ham, Noah’s son, might have something to say about that.