God the predator

One of the greatest evolutionary qualities of any animal, is the defence mechanism of the Horned Lizard. It believes it is the top of the food chain, and is blissfully unaware of any predator, until that predator is close enough to cause such powerful distress, that the horned lizard ruptures tiny blood vessels in its own eyes, and squirts blood at the predator. The blood tastes so vile, that the canine predator will immediately run away and leave the lizard alone. The one drawback is that the blood does not affect predatory birds. So the birds will still try to eat the lizard. There has been no evolutionary development within the Phrynosomatidae genus, that can act as a defence mechanism against the predatory birds.

If the Horned Lizard is to be held up as an example of intelligent design within nature, then it would appear that the “intelligent” designer overlooked its need for protection against predatory birds. What a dreadful argument for design. In the same way as the “intelligent” designer, when designing humans, gave us a vermiform appendix whose only purpose is to randomly kill us. Thanks God! The lack of defence mechanism against predatory birds, like the appendix within a human, is a sign of the misgivings of evolution, yet at the same time, pretty strong evidence for evolution.

God, up until very recently, and still in some parts of the World, is a predatory bird that we have no defence against. We are evolving a defence every so often. Society is remarkably similar to the evolution of species. Our defence against the predatory nature of God – whom we have designated as our predator, because we seemingly cannot stand to be at the top of the food chain ourselves – is logic and reason. Christians, Jews and Muslims alike find implausible and repugnant the idea that Mesoamericans were inclined for centuries to brutally sacrifice another human being every morning to ensure that the sun would rise. Even though the logic behind Mesoamerican sacrifice was essentially identical to Christian, Jewish and Islamic worship tradition. The Aztecs believed in the legend of the five suns, whom were gods that sacrificed themselves for the sake of mankind, which sounds eerily familiar to the story of another invented character from history; Jesus. Both Christianity and Aztec Mesoamericans believed the sacrifice made by their God/s sustained humanity’s place in the universe, which God/s created in the first place. The victim of Aztec sacrifice was seen to be “nextlahualli”, which simply means, paying his debt to the Gods. One wonders what kind of God requires his creation to sacrifice each other for the sake of the upkeep of his creation. It seems a little oxymoronic. But similarly, the notion that a God that has created everything (and that everything encompasses itself) would demand prayer five times a day, or driving Pope Urban II to state that war could be not only just and necessary, but also key to the advancement of spirituality, demanding fear and obsessive worship of his “greatness” despite not giving us the opportunity to agree to be born into such a wretched system in the first place. This notion that war is a spiritual necessity is not simply a product of the Papacy of the middle ages; the Orange Volunteers in Northern Ireland are a Protestant Terrorist group. They have threatened to bomb football matches, they have bombed homes of politicians and they are still active today, having sent death threats to head of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams.

On the subject of human sacrifice, the Bible is not immune to such practices. Jephthah in the book of Judges, is keen to sacrifice his daughter, to glorify God. In return for God’s help in defeating the Ammonites, Jephthah says he will sacrifice his daughter as a “burnt offering”. His daughter seems perfectly happy with this deal, but is a little bit sad that she didn’t get the chance to get laid before her dad rightly burned her to death:

When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. “My daughter!” he cried out. “My heart is breaking! What a tragedy that you came out to greet me. For I have made a vow to the LORD and cannot take it back.” And she said, “Father, you have made a promise to the LORD. You must do to me what you have promised, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin.” “You may go,” Jephthah said. And he let her go away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept his vow, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter.

– Notice the custom at the end. A needless custom, based on a situation that is nothing short of monstrous and predatory.

The predatory instincts of the faithful play a dark and deadly role in every part of the World. A Muslim friend of mine once told me that whilst his belief is that I am indeed condemned to burn in hell for eternity (apparently, saying that kind of thing, is not as offensive as drawing a cartoon of the Prophet), I don’t believe it so it shouldn’t bother me. What an interesting argument. To ignore the fact that a large amount of the population of the World, who have never met me, never spoken to me, never had the pleasure of eating one of my amazing roast turkey dinners, would take one look at me, and decide i’m heading to a fiery pit, is to perpetuate the awful trait of ignorance. Those people are ignorant to who I am. They have made a conclusion based on nothing but a fairy tale from their book. That is ignorant and preaches non-thinking. That, I cannot abide. Naturally, I believe their distinct form of hatred to be putrid and absurd, it should be ridiculed and philosophically attacked for the bullshit that it is. But he suggested that I shouldn’t care, because I don’t believe in it so it wont affect me. On a very thin reasonable level, this makes sense. To me, i’m not going to a fiery doom. To him, I am. To care about how he thinks of my eternal hell is irrelevant because I don’t believe it, right? Well then the Islamic world should perhaps practice what it preaches in that respect and not demand Fatwa’s be placed on non-believers simply because they drew a cartoon or wrote a book. To call for the death of another human being, because a book was written, is nonsensical and despicable. Religion doesn’t particularly enjoy free speech, because it wishes to perpetuate its nonsense through mass indoctrination, without question. In this respect, it is predatory.

Nietzsche – who incidentally is becoming the hell of my life with politics study – once noted that “God is dead”. The suggestion being that society has evolved to a stage where belief in God is irrational and unnecessary, whereas in time past, belief was essential. A social development that means we no longer need that objective base for our morality that anchored generations previous. I think Nietzsche is wrong. I don’t believe God was ever alive. The belief in God was a forced belief. It was through the threat of eternal hell, and in fact Earthly death for heretics – William Tyndale was famously strangled at the stake and then burnt for daring to translate the Bible into English – ensured that God would live on as a concept, in the minds of the fearful. A lack of belief in a God was punishable by death. A lack of belief in the God philosophically interpreted by the State, was punishable by death. The claim that religion has ever held an objective base for morality is as ludicrous as it is insulting. One only has to review the centuries that religion has had a deep hold over humanity, to note the horrific abuses over such trivial issues. The very first person to be executed for heresy under Christian law, was Priscillian, the Bishop of Avila, in the fourth century. Christianity was still incredibly young at that stage. It was only fifty years previous that Constantine had converted the Empire to Christianity, though he knew very little about the faith. The lack of worship of an Emperor in Rome – the Imperial Cult – would lead to public floggings and executions. It appears that as the Roman Empire was dying, the indoctrinated peoples needed to transfer that obsessive cult worship from the less and less powerful Emperor, to a new single identity, and Christianity provided that outlet. It is no surprise then, that the beatings, and the tortures, and the murders that followed if one chose not to accept the doctrines of the Imperial Cult, would transfer to Christianity also. Suddenly if you did not agree with the Theology of the Church, you were excommunicated at best, and put to death at worst.

Of course now, instead of using the fear of death to ensure blind acquiescence, religion tends to get to people at an early age, and reinforce religious morality as a basis for objective morality. We were told at school that Bible stories helped to teach kids right from wrong. What those teachers left out, were the stories of mass genocide and the systematic abuse of women, by a God who was apparently responsible for helping kids distinguish between right and wrong. A writer for The Sun wrote recently on the news that a primary school in Blackburn will be teaching certain Atheist principles (simple introduction to Darwinism) that:

I think that four years old is too young to be learning about atheism.

At that age they hardly know what Christianity is. I’m sure a four-year-old couldn’t comprehend it.

I am sure it is not appropriate to be teaching, say, Darwinism to infants. In primary schools it is difficult to get youngsters to understand theology and spiritual concepts. Children tend to struggle when you are making the first Holy Communion.

Why is he placing the teaching of Christianity above Darwinism? He is happy to teach kids a fairy story, but wishes to suppress facts that contradict his fairy story? He goes on:

I think it is still important to teach Christianity and other major religions in schools. Christianity is not as strong in schools as it used to be. I don’t think so many young people know the Lord’s Prayer or popular hymns any more.
There used to be a prayer every morning during school assemblies and that has gone now.

– I agree, it is important to teach Christianity and other major religions in school, but it is not right to teach it as unquestionable fact. He makes a major leap from teaching Christianity, as a subject, to then suddenly moaning that the indoctrination of students through morning prayer isn’t as strong any more. It is absolutely necessary to prevent indoctrination of children through morning prayer. To preach Christianity in primary school is to preach the absolute obedience to a heavenly dictator, and to ignore arguments to the contrary. That is wrong, on so many levels. At my primary school, we were forced to say morning prayer, on fear of being thrown out of the room and given lines to write at play time, if we didn’t. The predatory nature of religion.

As it stands, and to my dismay, humanity needs religion. I would never seek to ban anyones faith. I believe everyone has the right to believe whatever they chose to believe, and to practice the traditions and customs of that system of belief in which ever country they see fit. I have absolutely no problem with Mosques being built in the UK, or with the Christian Church bells never ending on a Sunday morning. I was happy to take my shoes off when walking in the spectacular Blue Mosque in the heart of the old city of Constantinople, now Istanbul. But I do hold out hope that one day society will evolve to a state of being in which organised religion is consigned to the bin of undesirable history.


12 Responses to God the predator

  1. GDMNW says:

    I thought Jephtah vowed to sacrifice the first thing that passed through the portal of his home when he returned from the war. Probably thinking it would be a dog, pet or perhaps livestock.

    When his daughter rushed out he was understandably gutted.

    I’ve always seen the story as a warning against making rash vows.

    Apart from that, interesting points you raise. I suppose a big part of the problem is that your are hoping to consign organised religion to the bin while they are busy thinking the same about you someone who isn’t a member of an organised religion.

    Wouldn’t it be better to just let it all go? There are far crazier things in life than religion.

    More often than not religious people do strange or nasty things for the same reasons non-religious people do them, greed, envy, pride, malice and so on. People may do terrible things in god’s name but more often than not you don’t have to look to far to see why they might really be doing the things they do.

  2. Saying “let it all go” to someone who quite enjoys philosophy, and especially the philosophy of atheism is never going to happen.

    I agree with your final suggestion that bad people will always do bad things, regardless of religion. That much is obvious. But religion has the power to make good people do bad things. Those who commit suicide bombing, do so in the name of their religion, to further their religious cause. The act of circumcision of a baby, is a religious act (I don’t accept the “health” benefits scenario….. and if that is the case, rather than religious tradition, it is a bad argument for design), and no right thinking person would see a new born baby and start sawing its genitals up, if they didn’t have religion telling them its fine. Religion will make good people do things they wouldn’t normally do.

    The story of Jepthah is still a story of human sacrifice for the appeasement of a God. Much like the story of Isaac being taken by his dad on what must have been an horrific journey, to be tied to a rock and about to be murdered, by his own father, was done to show the devotion of Abraham to God, rather than a lunatic happily deciding it is perfectly acceptable to kill his child, for the sake of an incredibly jealous sky dictator.

    You are also correct that they too are wishing for the demise of Atheism. The problem is, I don’t wish death or eternal damnation upon believers, as they do on me. I simply wish humanity to evolve to a stage where organised religion withers away naturally, whereas they wish to silence any criticism or logic or transcending of their narrow base for morality, with a heavy hand. There is a huge difference.

  3. Dina says:

    Dear Jamie,
    I usually agree with most things you say and the way you present your thoughts as your topics are always well researched. As is this one.
    I know you condemn organised religion and so do I. However, I can’t get rid of the feeling that you have an irrational amount of dislike for those who do believe. I know you say that you are fine with whatever people want to believe but I still find it disrespectful to call the Bible a fairy tale. Yes, of course it contains stories and not factual information but I don’t think we should call them fairy tales just to piss Christian’s off. I am a fairly rationally thinking person and of course I don’t agree with the way the church operates and that religion drives people to extremes but I also understand why we don’t want to be at the top of the food chain. Call me naive but there was a moment this year when I really wanted to believe that there was an after life because it made me feel better. Now that might or might not be the case but I like to think that there is this famous “something” out there. That some things do happen for a higher reason. You also mention that the belief in God was a forced belief. That is only partly true because yes, parts of society believed because they thought they had to but on the other hand it did give people something to hold on to and a large amount of people wanted to belief. Their life really must have sucked back then because there wasn’t really that much to do except for survive and believe in something. We still do that nowadays. Of course we now know a large (which actually might be a tiny) part of how life on our planet came into existance and I would be the last person to question Darwinism but think how many people still answer with “well, I don’t really believe in God obviously, but I still believe in something, that there is something higher somewhere”. It’s just natural, the human does not want to be alone “out there”. I don’t think that’s a bad thing and I know you will respond that you would never judge those people or even the ones that have stronger, more specific beliefs, but lately you seem to have made it your mission to show that everything, that beliefs in god are built on, is utter nonsense. And I don’t understand why. Maybe there is a god. Maybe that’s not a bad thing and I want to believe in that from time to time.
    I possibly have misunderstood your message as you do say right at the end that you respect everyone’s beliefs but if that sentence wasn’t there that really wouldn’t have come across in the slightest.
    (I am now waiting to be slaughtered verbally. Ha.)

  4. I absolutely respect anyones right to believe whatever they wish.

    The religions themselves, I don’t respect in the slightest. I find them horrific vessels of aggression, regression, and indoctrination. I do think their stories, are fairy tales. Fairy tales are works of fiction. For fairy tales to have such power, and have caused the deaths of so many hundreds of thousands of people over its life span, is far more offensive than saying their book is one of fairy tales.

    I have nothing against personal spirituality. In fact, I think in many cases, it’s a positive. Like you say, it helps people get through tough times. That is not a bad thing. But the institution of religion and the power it holds over society, is dangerous and manipulative, and it seeks to perpetuate itself through both violence and indoctrination.

    I haven’t made it my mission to do anything. I have just taken a bit of a huge interest in Philosophy and the history of religion. I read more books and articles on this subject, than any other. It is just my natural cycle of interest. You will notice that over time it changes. Some months, I will spend every blog talking about American politics. Other months – English politics. Other months – art. Other months – history. Recently, it has been philosophy, and I have a position on philosophy, that I wish to articulate. It isn’t a mission, it is just a way of articulating what I think. If it were my mission, I would be commenting on religious blogs and calling them all deluded and insane. I also don’t just tell religious people on here that I think they’re mad, I try to back up everything I say and provide a reason for it. I think that sort of thing is essential to debate, especially on the subject of such institutions that have immense power, they should be able to debate and legitimise themselves. Atheist/religious debate is quite a passion of mine.

    Your talk of a “higher reason” or “belief in something” is deism. I actually accept deism as a feasible possibility. A creator, or a higher purpose as such. But, it takes a massive leap to go from a creator, a first cause, to an all powerful dictator who wishes you to be obedient constantly, to hate gay people, and to pray constantly to achieve salvation.

  5. Ushiku says:

    “Your talk of a “higher reason” or “belief in something” is deism. I actually accept deism as a feasible possibility. A creator, or a higher purpose as such. But, it takes a massive leap to go from a creator, a first cause, to an all powerful dictator who wishes you to be obedient constantly, to hate gay people, and to pray constantly to achieve salvation.”

    ^ ❤ this.

  6. janice says:

    I’ve never met a person who believed in religious dogma who did not believe also in sanctioning others for non-belief. Sometimes you have to force them to admit that this is their stance, and they’d rather not face it, but, logically, it must be so.

    Think about it. Every religion has this “trap door.”

    It does like this: I have the answer to everything. I know our purpose here. If I, knowing this answer and purpose, don’t convince you of it or render you powerless to act against it, I am damned along with you.

    If I possess the One Truth, not to share it and enforce it on the rest of the world is evil, isn’t it?


  7. Creative intelligence seems to be a concept invented to flatter bigot people.
    Atheism seems to be a concept to flatter another kind of pride.

  8. What kind of pride?

  9. Of argumentative superiority …quiet similar in both doctrines confusing believing with knowing.
    How many angels or non angels on needle heads again?

  10. I think if you have a point, and you can back it up either empirically or philosophically, and it is sound reasoning, then why shouldn’t you argue your point?

    There is a massive difference between a simple “I don’t believe in a God” and “I don’t believe in a God, and here is my logic for it…..” I never claim to “know” I claim to have evidence that supports my view not merely against the existence of a God (which no one can prove or disprove) but against the apparently untouchable machine of organised religion. I think organised religion should absolutely be argued against as much as possible.

  11. GDMNW says:

    “I absolutely respect anyones right to believe whatever they wish.”

    Are you sure about that?

    Personally I think there’s a universal obligation to base your beliefs, religious or otherwise, on your experiences and understanding.

    If you believe something, there should be a valid reason for that belief.

    If you believe the Earth orbits the sun then your belief can be said to be superior to someone who believes that the Earth is lit by a secret NASA space station.

    That goes for everything, allowing people to choose what they believe is ridiculous. Choosing to believe something other than that which your experience and understanding leads you to believe is, well, nonsensical.

  12. I think, you have a very thoughtful attitude with the topic.
    I simply have the impression that some are rising atheism to a new dogma, and by that appears to me similar to the pious doctrinal bunch.
    Strangely enough it seems a phenomena in English speaking country’s , I don’t observe in this intransigence here.I observe it since a while and had the impression that I saw a possible connection with some kind of male posturing in those country’s.
    As I said before, it looks to me, as if the senses allowing perception are excluded by both tribes.
    How much of the open minded agnostic: I don’t know, but I remain curious about life is expressed, and how much pretentious: I know better as the other crowd over there.
    I can t help having the impression often to meet a sect fighting with another one about worldly power.
    Not to forget the admiration for unquestionable father figures included.

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