Planetary Salvation Remains Dangerously Blocked By Religious Intransigence

Donald A. Collins | 4 February 2016
Church and State

 Residents of Maldahiyya basti, a colony of families in Varanasi, India. (Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times)
Residents of Maldahiyya basti, a colony of families in Varanasi, India. (Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times)

In the January 2016 issue of Matters of Conscience, Editor Bromwell Ault succinctly summarized the core problem of religions that allows for seldom or never modifying or abandoning beliefs or practices that could improve human relations. The web site is http://www.centerforpublicconscience.org

Obviously, seemingly eternal intransigence has been been found and applied by many secular belief systems (e.g. try Nazism for example), but when science demonstrated that the world was not created in 6 days, changes did occur. Yes, to that limited extent some religions can change.

However, the basic beliefs which should be derived by secular agreement about inequality of the sexes or about gay marriage or about the right of all women to determine when and under what circumstances to bear or not bear a child seem fixatedly unchanged in the main monotheistic faiths. Religious beliefs made by humans claiming God connections have long plagued human behavior. God, for example, did not create the 10 commandments!

Editor Ault begins by asking of us Americans “Who Are We?” And he asks, “Why are we not who we were?” Of course what we were is a big question very hard to answer. However, his text then posits the description, “Cultural Confusion In America” about which he identifies eight steps toward resolution and then limns by two columns of descriptive words which he then covers in an expanded text in this weighty newsletter.

However, it is far beyond the scope of a single op ed for me to reach beyond his take on religious influence which in American political life has become oppressively influential.

His initial take is brief, powerful and persuasive; here it is:

“This eight step process, IF PROPERLY PURSUED [emphasis mine] can equalize or eliminate most differences encountered in human interaction but, unfortunately in our time, not religious ones, as we find ourselves increasingly drawn into contact and conflict with militant Islam. But Islam is not the only faith that cannot subscribe to the cause and effect (C/E) process.”

Here I must stop to inject the obvious comment that Islam is not in most respects MILITANT, as Obama’s February 3rd speech in Baltimore opined. His continuing comments about religion are also not entirely in sync with reality, as certainly one could argue that Hinduism and Buddhism cannot not be conjoined with Christianity. However, here is the rest of this interesting and largely incisive initial quote from Ault:

“Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and others are eventually disqualified by the common requirements of their faiths to establish their exclusive spiritual truth and identity. That is what religions do and what distinguishes them from lesser forms of belief and action.”

Again, the phrase “lesser forms of belief and action” implies that those who have less or no religious faith are “lesser”, which is exactly the opposite of that an increasing number of people AND this web site stand for.

In its most important foreign policy manipulation of all, the Vatican is successfully blocking consideration of the reality that population growth is the most serious threat to the security of all nations.

However, this religious emphasis by America’s political leaders brings us the reality of the NOW when all those seeking the Presidency must constantly proclaim their deep religious fervor.

Ault’s main point, if I read correctly what he is saying, is realistically proclaiming that remediation of the current crises of war, environment, and the search for human betterment and real equality of the sexes such as free family planning services for women cannot be implemented because of religious blockages.

This web site’s offerings have made this case so persuasively for so long. We can only hope that our plundered planet can survive in habitable form until the urgently needed secular improvements in human behavior can be accomplished.

This vital and overwhelmingly effective action of getting women the universal right and access to modern, safe and affordable contraceptive methods was eloquently presented by former World Watch Institute President, Robert Engelman in February 2016 issue of Scientific America. The article entitled “Six billion in Africa: Population projections for the continent are alarming. The Solution: empower women”. This urgent point of view has been long presented by many others, but despite much progress in family planning in the years after WWII, human numbers have gone from 2 billion in 1930 to over 7 billion now, en route to perhaps over 10 billion by 2100. At present rates we are adding 1 billion humans to the planet every 12 years.

Engelman opens this splendid piece by saying, “Earth is a finite place. The more people who inhabit it the more they must compete for its resources. Although human population has grown steadily, developments in recent decades have been encouraging. Globally women today give birth to an average of 2.5 children, half as many as in the 1950’s. In 40 percent of the world’s nations, the fertility rate is at or below the “replacement level” of 2.1 children per woman, the number at which offspring simply take the place of their parents.”

Then, he says, there is Africa where women give birth to an average of 4.7 children which is a problem he explains eloquently.

Yes, say many, the environmental damage done by the USA and developed nations exceeds that of Africa, but that does not exclude the offering of safe contraceptive methods to all who want them.

This has been when religions, particularly the Catholic hierarchy have been dangerously engaged for decades in its war on women by denying them such human rights. Other religions are guilty as well but the most voracious and immoral attacks come from efforts led by the Vatican all over the world.

Yes, President Obama, tolerance toward all beliefs is to be welcomed but not when overwhelming evidence about human survival has been conclusively proven. Personal religious rights are desirable, but not when in disastrous conflict with science.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
ASIN: B00MA40TVE
Kindle Store

During the formative years of the World Health Organisation (WHO), broad consensus existed among United Nations member countries that overpopulation was a grave public health threat and would be a major cause of preventable death not too far in the future. One of the founding fathers of the WHO, the late Prof. Milton P. Siegel, who for 24 years was the Assistant Director-General of the organisation, speaks to our Chairman Dr. Stephen D. Mumford in 1992. He explains how the Vatican successfully stymied the incorporation of family planning and birth control into official WHO policy. This video is available for public viewing for the first time. Read the full transcript of the interview here.

Professor Paul Ehrlich: Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?

Al Bartlett – Democracy Cannot Survive Overpopulation

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