Monday, December 06, 2004

Part Two - Religion Strikes Back!

79% of Americans believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. I have a hard time believing this poll without seeing the methodology, but the poll presents disturbing trends indicating that the scientifically minded are obviously not reproducing as quickly as the religiously indoctrinated.

"Sixty-two percent say they favor teaching creation science in addition to evolution in public schools; 26 percent oppose such teaching, the poll shows. Forty-three percent favor teaching creation science instead of evolution in public schools; 40 percent oppose the idea."

Every time I look at the above quote from the article and look at the calendar there is a disconnect. Excuse me...can it really be almost 2005? Are you sure it's not 1915? Religion is creating educational retardation all over the earth. In the Middle East it is fairly obvious how militant Islam has left the region morally and mentally retarded. In the orient we can find folks who believe in the sacred cow or who desire to be reincarnated as a butterfly. Yet one need look no further than an America, filled with folks who are equally gullible and buying into another outdated and ancient theology which is based upon inaccurate historic descriptions and the complete absence of scientific understanding and workings of life.

At this time Christianity is less malevolent than some of these remnants from barbaric ages, but it is far from wholesome or spiritually beneficial to its practitioners, despite their beliefs to the contrary. One can walk into any of a number of one's local churches and sit in the pews alongside ones neighbors and be told ancient fairy tales by a semi-literate orator and believe that by doing this and believing in these tales that one will be "saved" and insured a happy afterlife. I suppose one could be comforted in that if one has not been presented an alternative to this stagnant, unfeasible afterlife. The Muslims who blow themselves up thinking of the virgins are mocked by folks who hold equally ridiculous views of their own afterlife of pearly gates and harps just because they shout "save me Jesus" after a sin-filled life.

Both views are childlike in their outlook and are only fit for those without the mental capacity to discover the true nature of life and of the manner and ways the universe functions. But again, environmental conditions often play the largest role in the behavior of humans. In that sense they are very much animals and mimic their parents and those of their immediate peers. If their parents smoke and drink they are more likely to pick up these physically self-destructive habits. If the parents go to church and believe in religion, they are more likely to pick up these morally self-destructive beliefs as well. Throughout history mankind has succumbed to religions and Christianity has been clever to adapt and flex with the peoples views.

There exist some several thousand different Christian sects and the practitioners of each all call themselves Christians. Each believes in the correctness of their sect over the views, rituals and beliefs held by the others. Most of the adherents have had their faith chosen for them - by their parents, grandparents and so on. Logic and reason simply don't enter into religious equations.

Folks need a spiritual outlet. They will believe in diverse deities, crystal power, Wiccan nature spirits or the power of putting a pyramid on your head.

Let's pull the curtain back and look a bit closer at this need for religion. To put it bluntly religion was born out of death. When folks died nobody understood what happened to them. "Where did they go?" It was apparent even to the most dull-witted aborigine that the dead were no longer inhabiting their bodies. So tales were made up by creative liars who were equally clueless as to what happened to folks. "They went to the happy hunting grounds" is an old native-American belief. Clearly men are happiest when they are hunting and so this is where the dead went! Pretty simple eh? No more so than the belief in an eternal paradise where all wants are filled and days are filled with idle leisure. Both beliefs are unrealistic, fictional and display the desperate explanations told to fearful, huddled groups of humans all over the earth.

So religion was born to allay the fear of death. The Popes, priests, preachers, nuns, monks, etcetera have used religion to promise man life after death and to regulate his actions with a complex theology. Some folks weren't convinced that "Heaven" was worth the trouble and so an eternal "purgatory" was required to motivate and control those who were a bit more stubborn. The bible was rewritten a hundred or more times by folks with a vested interest in accruing more power over others.

"In general, say 55 percent of those polled, every word of the Bible is literally accurate. Thirty-eight percent do not believe that about the Bible."

Thank goodness for the 38%. And how many of any of these two groups have even read a bible all the way through from cover to cover? 1%? Maybe 5%? The masses allow these religious leaders to tell them what they need to know to pass the "final exam" and that's about it. The ability of a man to dampen all doubt based upon the fear of death is amazing. It is what allows the 17 year old Muslim to blow themselves and others up and believe as their "spiritual mentors" have instructed them in a paradise for martyrs. It is this same discarding of logic and reason that allows someone to believe they can return as a butterfly and flit from flower to flower.

Jesus was taught all he knew by the Essenes. They were an "enlightened" order of monks who shunned society and the current barbarism of Judaism which dominated the region. None of his teaching were unique. If Jesus was the "son of God" than so were all the Essenes. Jesus taught that all men were the children of God. He never claimed to be better than others. His teachings have been so badly maligned and distorted it is unfathomable. The Old Testament and the old Babylonian god Jahweh had absolutely NOTHING to do with the teachings of the Essenes. That's why the Old Testament and New testament are describing two totally different "Gods" and make the bible such a farce. How any rational Christian can believe in a god that is as murderous as any militant Islam fanatic, busy murdering tens of thousands without a tear and then suddenly behaves as a kindly, happy-go-lucky god who wants to note even the passing of the sparrow is beyond all possible explanation except one: fear.

Only the terrified masses huddled in ignorance can cling to these shopworn fairy tales of fiction muddled with ancient historic events. Death and time exempt no one...or at least so it seems to the average individual. Investment in religion is somewhat like a life insurance policy. Folks don't want to think about death, but they feel they have their bases covered.

In today's age it is very important America and the world confront and analyze religion and its role in creating an unstable, horribly violent, world. It's dark grip on the psyches of its adherents is as insidious as many advanced mental illnesses. America needs to take a close look at these Islamic fanatics and their beliefs. The Koran was knocked off of the first books of the Old Testament and Christians who believe in the bible are unknowingly worshipping the same bloodthirsty god the militant Muslims are worshipping. The actions of the militants are the same violent actions made in the name of Christ during the middle ages.

Fortunately, for most Christians, they just gloss over the death and destruction parts of the Old testament and the psychotic God that seems fascinated with delivering wanton death and destruction and instead merely focus on the sweet "God" of which Jesus speaks of in the New Testament. Equally fortunate most of these self-professed Christians have never read the bible through from cover to cover and know and care little or nothing of any rewrites or the thousands of inconsistencies that are contained therein.

And what about sins? Good and evil need a moral center to judge them. One man's good is another man's evil. The concept of someone dying for our sins is repugnant. It is better to say Jesus was killed by sinners. He no more wanted to die than does anyone else. However his semi-cryptic parables and utterances were completely misunderstood by the folks around him. He said he did not fear death because he would be returned to the father. The father was not god but the infinite fabric of our universe. He knew his soul was eternal and that death would not destroy who he really was. Naturally the folks around him twisted this into saying he wanted to die. "Forgive them father for they know not what they do." Does this sound like someone who wants to die? Hardly. He wanted to live and was murdered by other religious fanatics who didn't like what he was saying and felt his words were a threat to the existing theological power structures which have been spun like a web with governments and those who wield power.

But it is all too easy to trash these ancient religions and the illogical beliefs and rituals that have been built into them. It is much harder to present an alternative view. The agnostic sits on the fence. The atheist firmly adheres to the belief that there is no god and no afterlife. Isn't it possible that the universe is a bit more complex than that?

What is a god? What is an angel? Information and intelligence can make any man or woman godlike. Others of lesser intellect will worship these individuals and their abilities of which they cannot understand.

In an infinite universe ruled by evolution we cannot say that mankind is the pinnacle of development when we haven't even explored .000000000000000000000000001% of the known universe! It's quite possible there exist evolutionary developments on countless worlds that have evolved far past our own present level. And what's more--we can't even begin to fathom the forms these evolutionary developments might take. Life based upon the carbon atom may just be one form. Evolution and the principles of energy almost demand that all atomic elements be capable of combining and recombining into more complex structures following sequences of regenerative cycles. In a universe where energy form vast galaxies filled with countless stars and countless worlds it takes an equally jaundiced eye to say that there is no method to the process and that every member of mankind and their collective destiny--lies only in returning to the soil as nutrients for the animal kingdom.

No the proposition of "eternal life" is much more complex. It involves an entirely unseen side of evolution which religion and even science is almost entirely ignorant--and which will be discussed in part III.

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