Moral Lessons of Religious History

    By Mike Magee | 1 April 2006
    AskWhy!

    (Photo: waltercolor / Flickr)

    The fault with any religious or sacred text, as Paul Carus has pointed out, is that eventually it looks less and less divine, and more and more fallible. Sacred texts are fixed, but the world moves on leaving them behind. What do the faithful do then? They have to claim there is more to the sacred text than meets the eye. It has within it arcane mysteries, and these are said to be encoded in the text, present in it as allegories or otherwise present as enigmas. It then permits a whole industry among those with time to waste “deciphering” the mysteries, and selling worthless books about their endeavours. Actually to reveal the mystery is to put an end to the mystery business, but all the mystery floggers know that will never happen, and they will always be in business for the credulous types who pay for it. It never ends, just as the interpretation of prophecy goes on, undaunted, from failure to failure, always commanding an audience of those willing to ignore the long history of false prophets and readings in the certain knowledge that this latest one is right! Followers of the prophets always have to claim they have the extra hidden elements of the teaching, known only to an inner circle, but just those elements that make an obviously flawed teaching into a one of divine perfection. Ho hum!

    Bibles are considered the words of God himself and therefore forever true, not the admirable but faulty attempts of primitive people to account for their world. As bibles represent only the morals and state of society in the age in which they are written, and are not allowed to be altered or transcended, they hold their disciples back in all coming time, and compel them to teach and practice the morals of the age found in their bibles. Bibles prevent the moral growth of the people just as the growth of the feet of Chinese girls were prevented by their being permanently bound into wooden shoes. Morals can be taught without spiritual bindings on the mind.

    No advancement has often been made in morals or civilization in any country by the introduction of the Christian bible or the Christian religion. India became corrupted and economically sunk in morals largely after the introduction of the Christian bible. Christian gentlemen tried to make the Chinese into a nation of opium eaters. It evolved from Confucianism into atheistic communism, as spotless Christians like to call it, and now is growing faster than the US ever did, all without the assistance of the bible. Nations without bibles advance faster than those well supplied with them. Japan has advanced into one of the most advanced civilisations in only a century without any Christian bible. Even now, imbued with the cultural imperialism of the USA, it is still a refined and orderly country, relatively free of the crimes and vulgarity that plague middle America.

    Ethiopia is Christian, despite the recent interlude of communism. Bibles and churches are numerous. Preaching and praying are heard every day, and crimes of all kinds are commonplace. The people are abject and starving. The daily practice of reading their bible has not benefited these poor people. Where then are its practical and spiritual benefits in the instances of these quite different people? Christians claim to defend the world against excessive materialism and instead to be defending spiritual things. Yet modern Christians are thoroughly materialistic and reject every teaching of their god, especially those advocating the spiritual benefits of poverty. Christians are and have always been hypocrites.

    All religious conceptions, whether doctrine, precept, prophecy, prayer, religious devotion, or a belief in miracles, are an outgrowth of the moral and religious elements of the human mind. They have no supernatural origin. Common features can be seen in all religious systems, explicable by the common features of human psychology. There is no basis in these hypotheses for any claim to a divine origin of anything in any religion.

    Many stories regarded by Christians as miraculous were distortions of real events which could not be told by Christian converts within the Roman Empire. They are not supernatural violations of nature or feats of God in violation of his own laws. Other miraculous stories, easily identified, are the supernatural acts of pagan gods attached to the Jewish martyr to make him also into a god. Various heathen gods had, long before Christ’s advent, filled the same chapter in history reserved for saviours now granted to him in the Christian New Testament. This type of story related of Jesus Christ have no other foundation than that of heathen tradition.

    The Christian bible does not approve of the words “science” and “arts”. Paul uses the word “science” only once, and then to condemn it, and Jesus omits any allusion to science, philosophy, or natural law. The early disciples of the Christian faith were so thoroughly convinced that the teachings of their bible were inimical to the arts and sciences that they destroyed works of art wherever they could find them, and regularly opposed every new discovery in social science and the sciences.

    In the early days of the USA, reports were published of the judgement of God manifest as showers of blood. Subsequently science proved the blood was the ordure of butterflies migrating in vast swarms. Yet, Christian children continued to hear that these bloody showers came from God out of heaven to show his displeasure at the sins of the people. The Christian has always had a faith which was proof against science and reason and would not give up the story of falls of blood. How long will Christians continue to tell their children lies like this when the true explanation is known? Facts, proofs, demonstrations the reasoning of science can rarely eradicate dogma from the stubbornness of the religious mind once it is instilled in early life. Ignorance is the business of the bible, and the US creationists continue to prove it.

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