By Ed Raymond
Why Is the World Such a Terrible Mess When We Have 4,200 Religions?
‘Twas said Hitler was kind to his secretary and was inconsolable when one of his favorite dogs died. How did he feel about killing six million of the eleven million Jews living in Europe, as well as starting a world war that may have killed more than sixty million?
Hitler was confirmed in 1904 as a Roman Catholic. His mother was a practicing Catholic while his father was a free-thinker.
Hitler’s opinions about religion changed often, depending on his needs for acceptance by a group. A biographer wrote: “Hitler carried within him its (Roman Catholic) teaching that the Jew was the killer of God.” He never attended mass after he left home at age 18.
His last secretary said he was not a member of any church. However, in 1941, he told General Gerhard Engel: “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” In the 1930’s he said he was not a Catholic but was a German Christian, a Protestant group that supported Nazi ideology. Others said he was an atheist or pagan.
Was religion Hitler’s “Big Lie?” He often was quoted: “Through me the Evangelical Protestant Church could become the established church, as in England.” He also expressed that Martin Luther was a great reformer because he rose against the Pope and the Catholic Church. I am reminded of that picture in the Oval Office of those fundamentalist and evangelical Christian ministers stretching desperately to touch the back of the “Orange Jesus.”
There’s little doubt that many religions have stories, symbols, traditions, and histories that are intended to give meaning to our lives and explain to worshipers the origin of our lives. They often try to teach us a preferred lifestyle by following religious laws with some sense of morality and ethics.
Rough estimates indicate there are about 4,200 “religious” bodies that say they are representing a portion of mankind on Planet Earth. I can’t find an estimate of how many religions have started wars because of ideologies – and economics.
For the First Time in History, Fewer Than Half of U.S. Adults Belong to a Church
Some say that’s why we are so polarized, so divided. But these are the “Christians” who say abortion is murder of babies, that Satan is the “pope” of the LBGTQ+ community, who oppose strict controls of firearms and background checks, who believe sheriffs can establish Second Amendment sanctuaries and disobey “red flag” laws and others passed by state legislatures and Congress, and that contraceptives should be banned.
Here are the anti-science crusaders who oppose masks, social distancing, and vaccines. Why are COVID mortality rates 26% higher in Trumplican states? Why do we lead the world in the rate of COVID deaths? They believe God will protect the earth from climate change. Tell that to lobsters.
They oppose same-sex marriage although more than a million couples now enjoy that right. They push legislation against gays, and particularly against transgenders, who are now so harassed and bullied more than half have contemplated or attempted suicide.
Many science fields have advanced so much in my lifetime that less than half of the eight billion people on earth are affiliated with one of the 4,200 religions existing today. The estimate includes the fact that these 4,200 religions worship 28,000 gods of one kind or another. They range from Aztec gods to Zeus. A few religions have thousands of gods.
The publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species created a revolution of thought about the creation and evolution of all species. The Biblical exhortations that God took a day off after creating the earth and all its animals, Adam and Eve, 300,000 beetles, and 220 different finches lost staying power. Besides, scientists now tell us we share 40% of our genes with eggplant and more than 98.5% with chimps, bonobos, and great apes.
Let’s Walk up 4,540 Stairway Steps Representing 4,540 Million Years
Instead of the seven “days” of creation in the Bible, let’s use Craig Bowron’s idea of one step equaling a million years published in the Star Tribune titled “A Walk Through Deep Time on the Stone Arch Bridge.”
Just two steps take us through the 300,000 years of Homo sapiens to the two million years of Homo Erectus. They were the first relative to have longer legs than arms, and so one of our first cousins to walk out of Africa into Asia. This trek was proven by our methods of determining the ages of fossils and other archeological finds. An early “human” tooth 1.8 million years old was recently found in a dig in Georgia (in Asia). A human skull and stone tools were found later nearby.
Scientists still believe that our Homo sapiens relatives began to move out of Africa 65,000 years ago. A 3.8 million-year-old skull was found in Ethiopia. It looks like one of the first humans. This is when we started to walk on two legs instead of four and climbed out of the trees forever. Stay tuned.
If we take 66 steps, we will arrive at that big hole in the Yucatan peninsula where the asteroid landed that killed off most of the dinosaurs. A few dinosaur species survived that big blast 66 million years ago and were around until 180 million years ago.
A new plant-eating species was just discovered in Australia that lived between 92 and 96 million years ago according to carbon-dating. It was bigly! Australotitan was ninety feet long head to tail, hip bone about 20 feet high, and weighed in at about 70 tons. That’s a lot of plants. However, the largest is still Patagotitan found in South America in 2014. It was more than 120 feet long and weighed in at 76 tons.
Science finds something every minute of the day spread over the 13.4 billion years of the universe to refute the old storytellers of the Bible.
There has been some mighty weird stuff found in the Russian permafrost. A microscopic animal called a rotifer has been found alive after being frozen for at least 24,000 years in Siberian permafrost. Thirteen new viruses millions of years old have been discovered in melted permafrost. Some experts think there may be a million complete bodies of wooly mammoths found during the coming big melt. The world’s oldest DNA has been recovered from one of them.
By the way, although millions of hours have been spent to discover a Bigfoot, a Yeti, or a Sasquatch, no skeleton has ever been found. A skull was recently found in a Chinese well. It is called “Dragon Man” and is 146,000 years old. Maybe it’s Bigfoot. Let’s keep looking.
We finally have an answer to why Homo sapiens blink 14,000 times a day. Our eyes evolved from fisheyes over millions of years. Fish in water don’t have to blink to keep their eyes clean. The water does it for them.
Evolution is real; creation isn’t. The National Geographic has a drawing of the bones in a manatee’s flipper. Looks like a human’s hand with fingernails on five fingers—including an elbow that looks like ours. It’s part of our past. Darwin and the Huxley brothers were right.
To Sleepy Joe: Get Busy and Pass the Equal Rights Amendment
Some of our major problems such as the control of women by men and the control of the LBGTQ+ community by straights would be solved if the ERA was passed by Congress. Abortion and the battle over transgenders come to mind.
Myths are replaced by facts. For centuries, because of a story in the Bible which has been adopted by many religions, it has been believed that a woman having a period should not swim in a lake or river because her blood will kill all the fish.
I have come to depend upon the analysis of the Bible by Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong who has written 23 books defining Christianity. My favorite sources are his The Sins of the Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love and Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism.
He writes about an 8-1 decision by the Divided States Supreme Court written by Justice Joseph Bradley in 1873 about a woman who sued because the state refused to license her right to practice law. Many religions support the Court’s antediluvian reasoning today:
“Man is or should be woman’s protector and defender. The natural and proper timidity and delicacy which belongs to the female sex evidently unfits it for the many occupations of civil life. The constitution of the family organization, which is founded in the divine ordinance, as well as in the nature of things, indicates the domestic sphere as that properly belongs to the domain and function of womanhood. The paramount destiny and mission of woman are to fulfill the noble and benign office of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator. And the rules of civil society must be adapted to the general constitution and cannot be based on exceptional cases.”
Take that, Superwoman! How many Egyptian queens ruled as well—or better—than the kings?
Is God Really a Transgender?
Okay, okay! Anything’s possible! Any image of our Christian Creator is that of a male, usually light-skinned, light brunette or blonde, with a perfectly proportioned body like Bjorn Borg, the great Swedish tennis player. What a Nordic beauty! A perfect six feet and 180. Why?
Well, the Bible says: “For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” God saw that His creation from dust was restless and peeved about something—perhaps too large a dose of testosterone at his creation—and decided that Adam could use a help mate. That’s when all this trouble started.
In Genesis God said: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” So then came the rib bit while Adam was sleeping and out popped a naked Eve. Then came a walking snake out from under the Eden apple tree, speaking Hebrew, enticing Eve to commit sin. She must have winked at Adam—who thought she was some chick—and noticed her nakedness. That’s when the real trouble started in Christianity’s River City. But wait. Other religions are just as bad.
According to sacred Hindu texts, what is the highest duty of a Hindu woman? She is to burn herself to death after her husband’s death. Further, in childhood a female is subject to her father, in youth a female is subject to her husband, and when her husband is dead, she must be subject to her sons. A woman must never be independent.
Buddhists believe that if one has bad karma you are born a female. They must pray constantly, that, if reborn in the future, they will be born a male.
In a Jewish book of prayers, men are taught to pray: “Blessed be the God who has not created me a heathen, a slave, or a woman. They are inherently weaker in rational judgment.” I think that’s funny. Because she was such a success at being labor and foreign Minister, Golda Meier was elected prime minister of Israel in 1969 and served in that position until 1974. She died in 1978. I wonder if Golda might have been a transgender.
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