Religion Is Abomination
Preface: I’m not gay, but if I were I’d be pissed at some bronze-age fisherman or goat-herder declaring my genetic sexual proclivities to be “Abomination”—to be loathed or deplored. I have news for you, I’d say, the whole screwy religion has caused more misery and suffering than same-sex lovemaking ever could. At least nobody gets hurt when safely and consensually performed. It’s time we turn the tables and ask if “Religion Is Abomination."
The Bible and Koran encourage and condone the worst aspects of human behavior: war, slavery, necrophilia, cruelty to animals, anthropocentrism, suicide, starvation, racism, dichotomous thinking, nepotism, xenophobia, child abuse, blind faith, hadephobia, sexism, 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 religious beliefs and have faith in the dictates and promises of professional clerics.
Consider the suffering and misery war has caused since the agricultural revolution and the inception of private property. This is when mankind changed from tribal hunter/gatherer to city-state farmer/herdsman with specialized division of labor. Land and wealth ownership began to play a key role in human interactions. Any enlightened religious leader would have realized that humans are descendents of primates, tree dwellers, and consequently strongly hierarchical. It’s safer and more healthier at the top branches. Ever notice that the rich (strong) live longer than the working class? In this regard, humans haven’t evolved much from the Law of the Jungle. In many ways we’re still animals at a primal level.
War is mostly unknown in the animal world except for a few insects (mostly ants) and with chimps in occasional skirmishes over territory due to human-caused shrinking of habitat. The Bible and Koran not only permit but encourage the faithful to pick up arms and bash the skulls of enemies, usually members of other tribes or people with dissimilar religious beliefs.
There are a myriad of quotations permitting or encouraging war. Here’s just a few:
Josh 8:1-2 The Lord then said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid or dismayed. Take all the army with you and prepare to attack Ai. I have delivered the king of Ai into your power with his city, people and land. … take its spoil and livestock as booty.”
Ex 15:3 The Lord is a warrior. Lord is his name.
2 Kings 18:20 Do you think mere words substitute for the strategy and might of war?
Num. 31:18 God orders his warriors to kill every living thing in a captured city, except the virgin girls, who are to be raped and turned into sex slaves.
Judges 5:30 The spoils of war include "a damsel or two" for every man.
Judges 21:12, 28 God's warriors killed all the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead except for 400 virgin girls, who were taken as slaves. If there are not enough girls to go around, God's warriors may raid neighboring towns for more to rape.
I could go on and on this goofy-ass mythology. The Bible contains scores of similar quotations. How different history might have been if the writers of the sacred scripture had realized that humans are evolving hominids in early stages. Humans are mammals that need as infants to suck milk and hug other warm bodies—that’s what “mammal” means. War wouldn’t have been glorified but used only as a last resort, like a cat with its back against the wall, to be endured only in absolute self defense whereby every citizen avers, I will only fight defending my own land. Without Biblical thinking, fighting primitive tribesmen Afghanistan would be considered “nuts.”
Hitler and the Nazis thought war was a natural condition, a unique characteristic of manhood. War was so familiar to every generation it was considered part of growing up. Because of Holy Scripture, the insanity was considered acceptable and normal.
Let’s call a spade a spade. If you’re a Catholic and you attend mass on Sunday, you’re assisting at a human sacrifice. Christ was human right? I see very little difference between the pre-Columbian Aztecs of Mesoamerica holding up the beating heart of a warrior to the Hummingbird Wizard, Huitzilpochtli, and the priest at the alter holding up his chalice containing the body and blood of Christ.
I could never understand what the heck God the Father gets out of it, human or animal. To my mind, a good God should say, “Screw that. Put your swords and daggers away. Just have fun and enjoy the life I gave you. And let that baby lamb do its thing as well. Whatever led you to believe I get my divine rocks off seeing the blood of a lamb?”
The Bible not once denounces or condemns the institution of slavery. What kind of moralist do you have to be to state that it’s wrong to force another person to serve you?
Any scriptural reference to slavery is usually as if it were a normal and acceptable condition—like having furniture or going into a restaurant and ordering the wait staff around.
I once heard a lecture by Professor Teofilo Ruiz of UCLA, an expert in medieval and early modern Spain. I have to admit I was amused at the childlike logic of the Conquistadors as they landed in the mid-1500s on the shores of West Africa and began to ravage and plunder its land and people:
1) The land belongs to God.
2) These half-naked savages are obviously children of the devil.
3) God would prefer that we own the land because we are righteous.
4) If we enslave them, these sub humans will have a chance to return to God’s grace (so we’ll be doing them a favor.)
See my essay on Haiti for the lowdown on what these invaders wrought on the New World paradise they named after the Inquisition sado/masochist, St. Dominic. To think this delusional despot has a country and several new-world cities named after him!
The 19th-century historian Henry Charles Lea stated, “That Dominic devoted the best years of his life to combating heresy there is no doubt, and as little that, when a heretic was deaf to argument or persuasion, he would cheerfully stand by the pyre and see him burned, like any other zealous missionary of the time.” From The Inquisition of the Middle Ages, H.C. Lea, Book I, Chapter VI.
In the remarkable picture below, that’s St. Dominic on the throne, not even condescending to look at the condemned. He reminds me of the Martian head in the fishbowl in the old sci-fi thriller, Invaders From Mars, 1951. It’s the cold dispassionate detachment I find so striking, as if the holy man of God were stepping on a pair of insects.
(Although I can’t document it, Mr. Lea went on to state that around the turn of the twentieth century, while he was researching the abuses of the Inquisition in the Vatican Library, he witnessed officials taking out documents to be destroyed. If true, this obstruction of justice and distortion of history should go down as a sinister crime against humanity.)
Within fifty years of landing in the new world, Columbus and his men had constructed, using slave labor, over a hundred gold mines dispersed around the island and were sending ingots back to the mother country by the galleon load.
If the truth were known, I think Haitians and Dominicans would renounce and repudiate all Spanish influence and culture in the fashion of the way the remembrance of Stalin disappeared after Khrushchev’s denunciation. You can’t even find a bust or portrait of Stalin in Moscow today except in a few storage rooms of defunct government buildings.
Vive la memoria de los Tainos, the native tribe totally obliterated by the newcomers as if they weren’t even human, rather some kind of exotic beast of burden that God had provided to make their chore of desecration and plunder of the new world easier and more efficient.
Usually defined as an erotic attraction to corpses, in a broader sense it can refer a love of death and repudiation of the living—what Freud called mortido. Machines, guns, cemeteries, horror movies, grim colors, Dracula flicks, what teenagers call “Goth,” slaughter houses, the sight of blood, black tee-shirts with skulls and devil figures, the allure of the macabre. It’s what makes people crane their necks as they pass by a lurid car accident.
Just walk into the nearest church; it’s all around. What a down! The Stations of the Cross showing the savior paying the price for being anointed. Somber colors everywhere—purple, dark brown, black. Christ on the cross with his crown of thorns glaring pitifully at the churchgoer as if to say, “Behold my sacrifice just for you.” Some churches even depict Romans soldiers whipping and scourging the unfortunate savior. Many of these paintings are on stained glass, always in dark somber colors to block out sunlight. In very old churches and monasteries the nearness of death is so prominent they feature morbid ossuaries in the courtyard replete with piles of rotting bones in clear view, a reminder of what awaits the brainwashed faithful.
What could be more necrophilic than the lives of the saints? Most of them scorned life preferring execution even when they could have escaped their tormentors with a disavowal and a wink. Mother Theresa was noted for wanting to teach her followers how to die. She would instruct them in a building she called the House of the Dying. In a biophilic world, she would have been teaching her proselytes how to sing and dance, party, have a good time and engage in gratuitous and joyful, safe, non-reproductive sex.
In other words, more libido, less credo.
The “Mother” of all stories about death-loving religious fanatics has to be the story of the Zealots of ninth-century Cordova Spain, as depicted in The Age of Faith by Will Durant, Part Four of The Story of Civilization. A pretty young girl named Flora was a child of a mixed marriage—Christian and Mohammadan. When her father died she resolved to become an uncompromised Christian. She fled from her brother’s protection to a Christian home, but was soon discovered and captured. After repeated beatings without success, she was brought to the Moslem court, the qadi, who might have beheaded her, but decided to beat her some more in one last feeble attempt to knock some sense into her. She soon escaped to a convent where she met a young priest Eulogius with whom she formed a spiritual bond. When a fellow priest named Perfectus heard her story, he became so incensed he marched into the Moslem court and started ranting about Mohammed being a “servant of Satan, impostor, adulterer, and child of hell.” The qadi thought he was crazy but decided to decapitate him anyway and the Christians of Cordova buried him “with the pomp of a saint (850 AD).”
Not to be outdone, Eulogius formed a group of monks, today known as the “Zealots” who were determined to denounce Mohammed publically and accept martyrdom joyfully just to make a point and show how stubborn they were. One by one over the next few months they ranted about the shortcomings of the Holy Prophet and one by one their heads plopped into the bloody execution basket. Over a dozen young men met death in this gruesome manner, all because the Holy Scriptures embraces death as the portal to heavenly bliss.
Cruelty to Animals:
It was a sad day for the rest of the Animal Kingdom when some Iron Age fisherman or goat herder wrote:
Gen 1:28 God blessed them saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that move on the earth.”
Can anyone deny the connection between this quotation and the fact that humans are growing over the planet like bacteria on a rotting apple? The population of the planet just a hundred years ago was around 1.6 billion. In spite of massive loss of life through WWI, the great flu of 1919 (killed one tenth of humanity), WWII, the Korean War, Viet Nam, Yugoslavia, AIDS, constant terrorism and two evangelical Bush administrations, the human growth curve has barely deviated from its astronomical, multiplicative progression. We recently exceeded seven billion this month as I write this paragraph and still going strong. Population has quadrupled in less than a century and, thanks to Yahweh and Allah, shows no sign of abatement.
When I was in Catholic grammar school in the ‘50s, I could never understand what the SkyGod got out of watching a baby lamb’s throat slit—as in the story of Abraham and Isaac. Suppose I did that to you. Oh, I love and honor you so much, I’m going to take this cute little puppy and bash its head in—just to demonstrate how much I respect your power.
Biblical thinking has divided humans from the animal kingdom in that people believe they have a soul and the animals do not. They interpret “dominion” to mean we have the right to enslave (beasts of burden), sacrifice, brand with glowing iron, hunt, whip, kill for sport, eat and use for laboratory experiments. Biblical thinking has caused the extinction of approximately half the planet’s biodiversity in less than a century. We are losing 125 precious species every single day and the Great Tropical Rain Forest of Brazil at about half of what it was a century ago. Dr. David Jablonski of the University of Chicago, an expert on extinction, predicts that by mid-century most of the familiar life forms—lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants and most personal to us as a species, the great apes—will all be gone. Only some old photographs, movies and computer images will remain to add a sense of wonder and amazement to young humans. But it will never be the same; guilt and regret will burn deeply on the human psyche. (See my essay, “My Religious Experience,” on this on Dr. Lester Grinspoon’s website, marijuana-uses.com. I first wrote about this planetary tragedy in 1970.)
We have a soul and the animals don’t. What anthropocentric nonsense! It’s as if the Bible gave humans an excuse to plunder and abuse the planet’s other life forms just for the fun and convenience of it. How wonderful and important is the work of Jane Goodall, who demonstrates convincingly that chimps have individuality, emotions and a unique personality just as we do.
Gen 1:26 Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.”
Next to “fill the Earth and subdue it” in 1:28 and the line about “be fruitful and multiply,” this is the most damaging, arrogant, egotistic line in the entire asinine book!
First of all, I thought the Bible was about monotheism. What the heck is the writer talking about “our image and our likeness”? The writers of the Pentateuch couldn’t even decide how many gods there are.
And to think that this omnivorous, crying, defecating, copulating, eructating, expectorating, perspiring, urinating biped is the likeness of God! On routine study of biology, it’s pretty evident that we’re creatures of the Earth: we grew out of the Earth. Our bodies are composed of the materials of the Earth. We even store our genetic information in exactly the same way as every other creature on the Earth—including plants.
This delusion about being the image of God has turned mankind into a monster, nature’s Frankenstein. Consider what humans are doing to farm animals. There’s absolutely no respect for the fact that they living creatures just as we are. Confining beef cattle and hogs in narrow overcrowded chutes and pens is unconscionable. A veal calf spends its entire months-long life tethered by a six-foot chain to a iron post—completely alone, completely untouched by another of its own kind, completely confused and disconnected from life itself. Think of the horror of being born into such a condition. I once saw a video on the PETA website of a food factory worker grinding off the beak of a days-old chick. To my mind this is the equivalent of grinding off the facial features of a newborn baby so as to leave two eyes, two air holes and a hole to pour in food.
We have to ask ourselves how we got so cruel, so sadistic. It’s only through some delusion, some false belief that we’re able to commit such evil. Humans are the image of God and must subdue the Earth. So humans fulfill their religious belief system through the terror of baby chicks and the horror of veal calves.
All the evils listed in this essay’s first-paragraph Pandora’s Box, all taken together, do not equal the suffering and misery caused by the benumbing, obtunding, beclouding, anesthetizing and deadening of Earth Consciousness. Religion has divorced people from nature at the cost of destruction of biodiversity. The Amazon Rain Forest is half of what it was a hundred years ago and the pope is more concerned about the use of condoms. The planet is losing 125 precious species every day while church and political leaders are organizing a National Day of Prayer. To me, particularly disturbing is the fact that there are only 264 species of monkey left on the planet and half are critically endangered. There were over 800 species a few short decades ago.
Tethys, the great ocean where life began, is the rightful mother of life and deserves our love and respect. To the ancient Greeks she was the Titan from the union of Gaia and Uranus—the Earth and Sky. Tethys is real and tangible: we can swim, sail, use water to wash ourselves, surfboard, admire her vastness, watch stunning sunsets, cruise across the planet. It’s pleasurable just to be near her. Water is literally what we are and mammalian body temperature simulates the condition of the primordial ocean where life began. But the Holy Virgin Mother Mary has usurped this love and admiration, such that we treat the mother ocean like a cesspool and pay homage to plastic figurines and funky rosary beads.
Only a creature spiritually lost and self alienated could be so cruel to other entire species—and not an occasional mindless killing, but an ongoing everyday event.
It could be argued that if the tables were turned, what would the cold-blooded reptiles and barn animals do to us? The Mesozoic Epoch was no place for a mammal; that’s why all mammals sleep; reptiles dominated. But that was before thought and reason evolved. Humans are capable of compassion and non-kinship, non-species altruism, but due to the anthropocentrism caused by religion, humans don’t see it that way and continue to plunder the other life forms.
If it weren’t for organized religion, self-inflicted suicide would be virtually a thing of the past. The Bible doesn’t say much on the subject, so the laws against suicide must be a consequence of “Thou shalt not kill.” It’s OK to use robot pilotless drones to blow people up on the other side of the world like in a video game, but for someone suffering from AIDS, or wasting away from Lou Gehrig’s disease, suicide is a no-no.
Suicide.org lists the 2001 U.S. suicide rate at 10.8 per 100,000 population. This number is spurious and meaningless, because, due to the political influence of religion, suicide happens to be illegal—as if the state could prevent you from committing suicide if you were determined to do so. The number would skyrocket if people with joyless, miserable, hopeless lives were allowed to end it. Legal euthanasia would virtually eliminate self-inflicted suicide.
To think this country put a man like Jack Kevorkian in prison as if he were a con man or corrupt politician. Kevorkian ended the suffering of over 130 people and didn’t get a thing out of it other than the humane satisfaction of being an agent of mercy. If a new religion based on the revelations of science ever develops, Jack should be considered for sainthood—along with perhaps Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, Charles Darwin, Christopher Hitchens, and some of the great humanist/atheist philosophers of history.
Suppose we offered the choice to death-row inmates across the nation. I’d bet that many of the thousands of walking dead would jump at the opportunity to end a life a misery, self-alienation and loneliness.
Every year 15 million people, mostly children, die of starvation. The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed, and one-third is starving. In the decade of the ‘90s alone, over 100 million people have wasted away.
Nobody is going to tell me that religion doesn’t play a key role in this horrible human tragedy. “Be fruitful and multiply” fits in here like a glove. I have no idea why the pope and other religious leaders can’t see the connection. Adhering to the tenets of the Bible and Koran often results in leading your offspring (not “children” which is too human a word, offspring) into a meaningless, lonely grave.
On CNN or one of the “Feed the Children” commercials, how many times have you seen the malnutrition symptom called kwashiorkor showing a starving child with the characteristic distended belly, protuberant bones and bulging eyes? It happens 15 million times per year and someone in the world dies of starvation every 3.6 seconds.
I remember seeing a news video of a young Somali man (he looked in his late 20s) struggling to survive in a refugee camp in Darfur. Like most of the inmates of the death camp, he was gaunt, bronze colored, leathery skinned, with exophthalmic eyes that seemed to stare spellbound into the void. He was in the process of burying his fifth child to die of starvation. Not that the girl was his fifth child who happened to die of starvation; there were four others who died of starvation before her. To me the natural reaction on seeing this adversity is to say, “you stupid criminal, haven’t you and your mate learned your lesson by now? How much suffering must your children endure before reason and sanity enter your familial life?”
The answer is, I fear, no amount. Religion has so beclouded this man’s reasoning that he can’t see the connection. He believes he is doing Allah’s will and obeying the commands of the Koran. Christians in the group believe birth control will result in eternal damnation. He believes Allah blesses his wife and him for every child they bring into the world. He prayed so earnestly as family and workers lowered the meager body bag into the shallow grave, making sure with meticulous care that her head faced Mecca. If only he’d had the five dollars to pay for the cab ride to the hospital, the pitiable child might have been saved, he might have thought. But that’s okay, he and his wife can always try again and Allah will take them to his bosom. His dead four-year-old daughter undoubtedly dwells in Paradise as he prays at her grave. So in a way it’s a good thing that he helped bring her into the world, even for so short a time.
This Is categorizing observations in one of two diametrically opposed groups. Everything is white or black, good or evil, virtue or sin, heaven or hell, spirit or body, day or night, liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, in light or darkness. G.B. Shaw said there are two kinds of people in the world, those who lend money and those who borrow money. This kind or reasoning is intrinsic to an authoritarian personality (not that Shaw was) and makes thinking easy, because all the nuances or shades of gray that are part of nature can be ignored and disregarded.
The very first line of the Bible sets up a dichotomy: “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the Earth…”
It goes on,
Gen 1:3-4 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God then separated the light from the darkness.
So when W. Bush soon after 9/11 declared, “You’re either with us or with the terrorists,” I knew we were in for trouble. He never asked himself, what is it about our behavior that might have caused these to people to sacrifice their own lives just to get revenge (and do so in such a painful and horrific way)? How can hatred run so deep? Instead, he told the American people the Twin Towers were destroyed because the terrorists were “jealous of our freedom.” I’m afraid there’s more to it than that. If you were jealous of the wealth or lifestyle of somebody on the other side of the world, would it make sense to travel across the globe to blow them up and yourself along with them?
Consider the nightmare this man’s Sunday school training has wrought on America and the world. The horror of 9/11 ruined this country. It changed everything. Trillions of dollars wasted so we can’t repair our schools, bridges and roads. Spontaneous paranoia—just think of all the time wasted at the airport and elsewhere on stupid, unnecessary security checks—like making a 90-year-old great grandmother pass through an infra-red, curtain-closed all-body scan. Thousands of GIs killed in ghastly explosions, thousands more limbless or mentally traumatized to the point they’ll never be the same. W.’s initial response was to launch “Operation Shock and Awe” which murdered thousands of citizens of Baghdad who had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. To my mind, “Shock and Awe” will go down in history as a national disgrace. Someone has to stand up and declare, “This is insanity.”
History is replete with examples of dichotomous thinking causing horror. Here’s a similar event in history:
Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria (1830-1916) goes down in history as one of the most conservative rulers since Caesar Augustus. One of his many titles was Apostolic King of Hungry and he probably thought the Divine Right of Kings was legitimate and a great idea. Like W. Bush, he was a conservative who allowed or permitted almost no social changes or reform during his 68-year, iron-fist rule over much of central Europe. He was from a military family, brought up to be a firm ruler with strict devotion to God and the Bible, (just like W.) The emperor is noted to have said there are two kinds of people in his kingdom: teutons, who were meant to rule, and slavs, who were born to obey.
So when his nephew Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in June, 1914, the emperor was morally outraged at such a stark, arrogant, and in-your-face act of war. His nephew was shot by a teen-age Bosnian nationalist in Sarajevo who was tired of living under the oppression of holier-than-thou foreigners (much like dead Iraqis.) The event was a conspicuous example of chaos theory in that the archduke’s driver finally found the right road after getting lost, completely by luck.
What did the emperor do to show his outrage? Within weeks he ordered his army to teach the upstart subservient underclass a lesson. The assassin’s group, who called themselves the Black Hand, numbered no more than 19 to 20, about the number in the gang that brought down the Twin Towers. The Austrian army invaded northern Serbia with five divisions and proceeded to shoot, bayonet, or burn to death 39,000 villagers, mostly farmers and their families, who had nothing to do with the assassination. The Emperor’s Biblical training and dichotomous thinking led to the onset of WWI, hence the annihilation of much of Europe with over 50,000,000 causalities.
So, by comparison, America was lucky get off cheap for having a fundamentalist Christian president who talks to God. Compared to WWI, what’s a few thousand sacrificed soldiers, a few million Iraqi and Afghanistan non-Christians, an economy in shambles with rampant unemployment and an infrastructure falling apart? At least we learned the difference between good and evil.
The Bible doesn’t say much about racism but, just as with slavery, the belief or doctrine that certain races are inferior to others is rampant and pervasive throughout history. Just look at racism in America before MLK and the civil rights movement. As wrong, unfair, and illogical as it is, the Holy Scriptures have done little to encourage and exhort followers to treat one another honestly and as equals.
A few days ago I was soaking in the Jacuzzi at my local Y, and an Adonis of a man stepped down into the hot bubbling water. After a pleasant greeting we began to chat and I was really impressed. He was a retired NBA basketball player, around six-eight, 250 lbs, with fine-chiseled muscles like he stepped out of a magazine. He said he was in his 50s, but looked in his 30s. He was rich, articulate, well-educated, and well-travelled. He had just gotten back from China where he toured promoting U.S. basketball in rural villages.
I thought to myself, how the heck can redneck, shit-kickin’ bigots possibly feel superior to a guy like this? The Jim Crow period lasted decades in this country and the Bible and the churches never said a word against it.
Psalm 105: 6-7
You descendents of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the Lord, is our God; throughout the earth his judgments prevail.
Of course, this proclamation of the “chosen ones” just happens to be written by “the chosen ones.” How could the Jews not have considered themselves superior to the “non-chosen?” Racism is conspicuous and intrinsic in the statement. Is it surprising that thousands of years after the above was written, Palestinians are treated like “second-class citizens” in the Holy City?
All it would take to end the insanity is for the leaders of both sides to get their stubborn heads together. I can picture Prime Minister Netanyahu telling his counterpart in the Hezbollah, “Look, science pretty much has proven how humans got here. We even know pretty much how the whole freakin’ universe got here. So let’s end this Yahweh-Allah feud and make peace. It’s crazy to be blowing up each other when we could be having fun and enjoying life. Life should be celebrated, not just on religious holidays. Let’s dance the hora and dabkeh and we’ll drink and get high and have a great old-fashioned hippie lovefest that’ll last a week! Think of what we can accomplish if we acknowledge each other’s humanity. The last time our peoples tried to enjoy life, Moses called us depraved and put 3,000 of us to the sword because he thought libidinous partying would anger God.”
“It’s not gonna happen,” you’re probably thinking. I know, I know. All I can say is, “who’s crazy?” What makes sense, blowing each other up generation after generation, or getting high and having a great time? (Funny thing. I remember as a young boy, my devout mother telling me, “you have these nutty ideas and you think everybody else is crazy.” I’m 67 years old now and still feel the same way!)
Reader, what does this say about the critical thinking of believers and kids graduating our schools who swallow this Biblical folderol? Moses murdered his own people in the fashion of Joseph Stalin or Pol Pot, and that was in the same book, Exodus, that laid down the commandment, ‘Thou shall not kill.” Not one believer in the Bible stood up and said, “Hey, let me make sure I’ve got this straight: Moses came down from Mount Sinai, saw his people worshipping the Golden Calf and having a party, so he told his obedient soldiers to kill them all? That’s even worse than that screwball Abraham hearing voices and obediently slitting the throat of his son until the angels stopped him as the last second, and he’s the common patriarch of three religions.”
But that was four thousand years ago. Except for technology, we haven’t we evolved at all during four millennia as rational beings? I mean, how critically thinking do you have to be to question a maniac genocist like Moses? Religion has prevented us from evolving. By now, we should have had the Internet five hundred years ago and we should be living for five hundred years, if you consider what religion has done to the science of medicine.
Another first-class bunch of racist crackers has to be the Mormons. “Throughout the nineteenth century and beyond intellectual currents in Europe and America had begun glorifying the history of the white ‘race’ and discovering various kinds of inferiority, both scriptural and anthropological, in the darker skinned ‘races’ of the world.” Many Mormons believe that dark skin was God’s way of punishing the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah who dishonored the patriarch. Historian Edith R. Sanders in The Hamitic Hypothesis (pages 521-532) goes on to state, “the descendants of Ham are cursed by being Black and depicts Ham as a sinful man and his progeny as degenerates. Both Arab and later European and American slave traders used this story to justify African slavery.”
If I were black I’d say “screw you” to the whole religion and give Mormons the finger every time I saw one. The occasional token black you see in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir should give his allegiance a little more thought. Mormons might have changed their beliefs on race to conform to modern-day zeitgeist, but only at the expense of doing an about face on the sacred Word of God in their sacred Book of Mormon. (It doesn’t look good.)
Condoning and encouraging racism: what a great way to unite people so they enjoy sharing the bounties of this beautiful planet, enjoy life and live in harmony! No wonder there’s been so many wars. How about the Nazis being told they were the “superior race.” Ever see WWII documentaries of Nazi thugs and hooligans—many were hardened WWI vets, bar brawlers and wife beaters—corralling and abusing Jews, who were doctors, accountants, writers, university professors and the best tailors in Europe? It was like the stupidest bullies in the classroom claiming to be superior to the frail bespectacled kids who did their homework and earnestly wanted to learn.
Religion should emphasize what unites people. Every race of mankind has the same genetic code. Of the 3.3 billion nucleotides in the genome, all but a few are identical in each of us, letter for letter. Try to picture it: if I laid out 3.3 billion letters side to side, ACTGCGGTACGATC….all the way to number 3,300,000.000. Then I placed the nucleotides of a black man side by side and found, ACTGCGGTACGATC… a near perfect correspondence. Over three billion letters exactly the same, in the exact same order. This would be very strong evidence we have a common ancestor.
In the case of a black man, there’s variation in the genes controlling melanin production and more recently phylogenetically adaptation to malaria (sickle cell anemia), but otherwise the genomes are identical. Even a chimp has a more than 98% letter for letter correspondence with humans. Instead of pointing out the similarity of our genomes as individuals, the Holy Scriptures distort and exaggerate our differences.
A religion based on science would state we’re all “human beans!” That’s right, no typo; I made up the metaphor in Mirror Reversal to describe a religion whereby converts realize we’re all ephemerons, passengers on the pleasure cruise ship Earth, travelling through space at 70,000 miles per hour, destination unknown; but it’s for sure the “ride” is all there is. Just like beans, we’re bundles of protein because every one of our approximately 25,000 genes transcribes to messenger RNA the instruction “do this” or “make this protein.” And to emphasize the point, we have the same genetic code as all varieties of beans and the rest of all life on the planet, animal and plant. The codon which translates a specific amino acid—say leucine or analine—on the ribosome is the same for humans, fish, beans, banana plants, and any other living creature you can think of! The code is exactly the same for cacti, worms, elephants, jellyfish and Venus fly traps. We’re all made of the same crap and all living creatures have the same purpose in life: spread DNA and extend biodiversity.
The inimitable atheist stand-up comic, Bill Hicks, has a great rap on the “ride.” The above paragraph was inspired by Hicks’ declaration, “all life is one.”
End of Part 1.
We’ll continue with our list of evils in Pandora’s Box. Hadephobia should be a good one that’s added to human happiness and well-being over the centuries. Nothing like living under the lens of a supernatural microscope of a vengeful omnipresent God who will send us to eternal hellfire if we as much as eat meat on Friday or touch private parts with lust in our hearts. How terrifying it might be to go through life where even our most personal private thoughts can be damn us for eternity.