It is quite dangerous at our time to discuss the issues relating to religion, because peace-loving believers rather often try their best to pique or even destroy those who go inexcusably too far in their thoughts about religion. As a ludicrous example I will cite a slogan that the followers of some religion had at their demonstration: “Behead those who say our religion is violent”. I will also cite Richard Dawkins here. The quotation is taken from his incredibly interesting book “The God’s Delusion”. I strongly recommend you to read this book, and the article would not appear without this book.
“Here, for example, is a letter posted on the Internet and addressed to Brian Flemming, author and director of The God Who Wasn’t There, a sincere and moving film advocating atheism. Titled “Burn while we laugh” and dated 21 September 2005, the letter to Flemming reads as follows:
You’ve definitely got some nerve. I’d like to take a knife, gut you fools, and scream with joy as your insides spill out in front of you. You are attempting to ignite a holy war in which some day I, and others like me, may have the pleasure of taking action like the above mentioned.
The writer at this point seems to come to a belated recognition that his language is not very Christian, for he goes on, more charitably:
However, GOD teaches us not to seek vengeance, but to pray for those like you all.
His charity is short-lived, however:
I’ll get comfort in knowing that the punishment GOD will bring to you will be 1000 times worse than anything I can inflict. The best part is that WILL suffer for eternity for these sins that you are completely ignorant about. The Wrath of GOD will show no mercy. For your sake, I hope the truth is revealed for you before the knife connects you with your flesh. Merry Christmas!!!”
As long as my investigation is not a comparative study of different religious beliefs, but it is an investigation concerning the evolutional necessity of religion in general, there is practically no requirement to indicate what exactly religion I am speaking about at a certain moment. Besides, it is necessary to take into account that this article is for the readers, which are capable of understanding without any assistance from what field this or that example is taken. So I luckily have a chance to avoid all the difficulties of the Aesop language.
As for those, who want to slice open people’s guts for the sake of their loving God, I can tell them my happy message – even though I am an atheist, I think that the probability of religion as a necessary evolutionary step, is not zero. But alas, I also think that times, when religions have been (if they have been) a progressive driving force that facilitated the Humanity progress, are long gone, now religion is the power that triggers in people, as a rule (alas, this rule has practically no exclusions), the nastiest and anti human and anti humanistic manifestations of all known to me.
Why so much hostility?
In his book Dawkins expresses his extreme wonder – how can it be that some differences of opinions cause such strong hostility! Indeed – why the followers of one religion would kill the follower of another, if they have differences only in one issue – if their gods are equal or not equal. Why kill an atheist if in any case even worse trouble in the form of trial by ordeal and consequent punishment is expected? When religious people come across disbelief or a belief, different from theirs, why is their hostility so intensive, so incredibly destructive?
From my point of view, both Richard and other people that share his wonder, do not understand clearly enough what society they live in. They are thinking people, and it seems to them, that other people are also thinking – at least a little, at least sometimes. But this is a mistake, and it is easy to prove. People NEVER THINK OF ANYTHING. They only juggle phrases that have been accepted mechanically from other people or books. And it is not surprising, that many religions unambiguously and categorically prohibit thinking over the issues about religion, because if a person starts analyzing, then it’s quite difficult to stop him thinking over the issues relating to his religion. Due to the same reason religious leaders are extremely aggressive towards any science at all, because religious doctrines are so hopeless and crazy that it is rather hard to supersede this craziness. Now, when religion lost the war with science (do you remember that a few centuries ago people were killed for studying anatomy?), it crawled back to the trench – the trench named “ethics”. Quotation:
“Assuming that the Camridge theologian was a mainstream Christian, he probably believed some combination of the following:
*) In the time of the ancestors, a man was born to a virgin mother with no biological father being involved.
*) The same fatherless man called out to a friend called Lazarus, who had been dead long enough to stink, and Lazarus promptly came back to life.
*) The fatherless man himself came alive after being dead and buried three days.
*) Forty days later, the fatherless man went up to the top of a hill and then disappeared bodily into the sky.
*) If you murmur thoughts privately in your head, the fatherless man, and his ‘father’ (who is also himself) will hear your thoughts and may act upon them. He is simultaneously able to hear the thoughts of everybody else in the world.
*) If you do something bad, or something good, the same fatherless man sees all, even if nobody else does. You may be rewarded or punished accordingly, including after your death.
*) The fatherless man’s virgin mother never died but ‘ascended’ bodily into heaven.
*) Bread and wine, if blessed by a priest (who must have testicles), ‘become’ the body and blood of the fatherless man”.
It is possible to understand those who consider that dropping a hint of a doubt in orthopraxy of these or similar postulates is already a recreance and deserves punishment up to the death penalty, because the only way to make people keep confidence in the correctness of these doctrines is to stop them thinking over the postulates and title these “miracles” as “sacrament” and again to forbid thinking about them.
Actually religion has very little to do with religious hatred! It is just an easy outlet for hatred towards others. This is so simple: any person deviates from the “party line” at least in something, does not follow it precisely, especially if the religious canons, like those mentioned above, are so outrageously absurd. This is why any person can be pronounced an “apostate” and a pervert. Will you, the reader of this article, understand the difference between the Arian apostasy and canon Christianity? Is it a big difference, if there is at all? And if it is big –is it so big as to butcher with fire and sword both Arius and his followers and all those who were called followers as it gave an excuse to kill them? It resembles Stalin’s time so much, when at first the ‘right deviationists” were killed, then the “left deviationists”, then they started slaughtering those who were on “central positions” as betrayers, because a real communist was not supposed to stick to a certain position, but “fluctuate in conformity with the party policy”. When using these “deviationists” became difficult (the boss demanded variety), people were killed for… the “right-leftist deviationism”!! Was it Stalinism that slaughtered tens of millions (!!!) of soviet citizens? Or were they Beria, Stalin, Yezhov? No. They were slaughtered by other soviet people – out of envy, a wish to take away a flat, position, property or a wife or just ill nature of any other kind. Like in soviet times, when slaughtering took place and was excused by the absolutely incredible “deviations”, people were killed (and it goes on) due to religious motives. But in actual fact, people just used excuses of the religious colours for manifesting their hostility.
As an illustration to my statement I will again cite Dawkins – a text of a letter that an editor of an American atheist magazine has received:
“Hello, cheese-eating scumbags. Their are more of us Christians than you losers. Their is NO separation of church and state and you heathens will lose… Satan worshiping scam… Please die and go to hell… I hope you get a painful disease like rectal cancer and die a slow painful death, so you can meet your God, SATAN… Hey dude this freedom from religion thing sux…So you fags and dykes take it easy and watch where you go cuz whenever you least expect it god will get you… If you don’t like this country and what it was founded on & for, get the fuck out of it and go straight to hell…
PS. Fuck you, you communist whore… Get your black asses out of the U.S.A. … You are without excuse. Creation is more than enough evidence of the LORD JESUS CHRIST’S omnipotent power. We will not go quietly away. If in the future it requires violence just remember you brought it on. My rifle is loaded.”
When I read this letter, I was surprised. From time to time I receive similar letters, nearly in the same expressions, from those who have acquainted with my book “The Practice of Direct Path”, where I state that, firstly, it is possible never to experience any negative emotions, and secondly, I show the actual way of blocking them, and how to get rid of dullness, and follow the happy wishes and experience the enlightened perceptions, like affection, joy, feeling of beauty, fondness, commitment, anticipation and so on. Like Dawkins, I also could not understand – how can this be? I offer to get rid of destructive negative emotions and dullness, and not only offer, but reveal exact and clear ways of doing it, I actually open for everybody the path to an interesting and full life, but the answer is – such strong hatred! Don’t they… , or maybe they…, or can it be that… – I was considering different assumptions – what exactly they did not like, so much they did not like in my book. And only some time later I understood – they are not “readers”, and there isn’t anything that they “did not like” in my books. Simply they are people that are looking for some reason to outpour their hatred. Most likely they write similar letters to the Pope, Lev Tolstoy, to Richard Dawkins and Einstein. By the way – about Einstein – it’s not for the sake of a good word. Here is a letter for Einstein from a religious leader:
“Professor Einstein, I believe that every Christian in America will answer you: ‘We will not give up our belief on our God and his son Jesus Christ, but we invite you, if you do not believe in the God of the people of this nation, to go back where you came from.’ I have done everything in my power to be a blessing to Israel, and then you came along and with one statement from your blasphemous tongue, do more to hurt the course of your people than all the efforts of the Christians who love Israel can do to stamp out anti-Semitism in our land. Professor Einstein, every Christian in America will reply to you, ‘Take your crazy, fallacious theory of evolution and go back to Germany where you came from, or stop trying to break down the faith of a people who gave you a welcome when you were forced to flee your native land.”
Let us return to the previous letter. It has an interesting and specific feature – along with the hatred to the atheist-editor by some unknown reason there is an outpour of vigorous abhorrence towards Negroes, communists, whores. I think that if the author of the letter had time to write more, there would be added a dozen of other objects. Does it mean that we can call this man “anti-communist” or “an antagonist of prostitution”? No, of course it does not. This person is just a dry spew bucket of the far off wild past of Humanity. This is an abnormality of the evolution mechanism. He has no principles, he is not “against something” or “for something” – he simply repeats some clichés, using his speech capabilities and a pen. These clichés allow him to express his hatred. By the way, such a person can happen to be a licensed specialist or even a scientist!
People adhere to stereotypes. Sex is supposed to take place only in bed. You have to sit when you have breakfast, you have to stand up to greet a teacher, coming into a class. Any deviation from these rules triggers aggression. Religious contradictions are in the group of phenomena that are accepted as proper for manifesting all the intensity of hostility existing in man, hence cutting and slicing through the people’s guts assumes the form of the defense of a “true” religion – there is no other sensible reason, from my point of view.
The definition of religion
It is clear that I cannot give such a definition that would cover all the religions of all times, this is why I will form a certain working definition to be used and adjusted as and when necessary.
Religion is a complex of groundless certitudes in existence and more or less active interference in our life of some beings that have a conscience that is impossible neither to study nor understand and beyond any comprehension or observation.
Interference of these beings into the life of man can be of various characters, one extreme of which is God of deists that created the Universe and after that retired to rest, or, for example, some spirit of a tree that lives in this tree and does not care about us. Another extreme is God who is watching every thought of every person, judges and punishes people. It reminds of a phrase from the newspaper “Pravda” of Stalin’s time: “Bloody Trotskyites to be tried in court and shot”. What is interesting even now this phrase does not wound the ears of Russians, though, the contradiction seems to be so obvious: it is strange to offer to shoot somebody straight after offering to try them, because apparently it is up to the court to identify guilt and then sentence. It is the same with religion. “Trial ordeal” is always accepted as something followed by punishment, more than that, a severe punishment. A deep and enduring sense of guilt is practically an unavoidable state of nearly all religious people. God-the-punisher is the most frequent character of religious folklore. Exactly God-the-punisher, not God-the-policeman, not God-the-judge (in this case it would be possible to expect from God more or less adequate probability of both the punishment and encouragement).
The attitude of a believer towards God is in the range from fatherly-protective to paralyzing fear.
Key ideas about evolution – known…
It is quite difficult for me to give a definition of evolution, because this term covers a very large complex of processes that take place for, as minimum, fourteen and a half billion years – a supposed period of the Universe existence – with a huge variety of live creatures (please note that even the word “live” is very unclear in this case). This is why the definition I am going to give is not precise and it will be adjusted as and when needed.
I understand “evolution” as a complex of processes that allows the evolving living creature to adapt to the existence in such a way that the life becomes full and valuable to the maximum. Of course it is quite strange to talk of “full life” when we relate to bacterium or even trees, but nevertheless, this definition is easy to adjust to every given case, for example, when we speak about bacterium, we can say “full life” when we mean they can multiply, eat, expand their territory and so on (unfortunately, sometimes this adjustment is right for people as well).
The mechanisms that cause evolutional changes, are called “evolutional mechanisms”. Quite popular mistake is a confusion of evolution and “evolutional mechanisms”, like “natural selection” is often understood as “evolution”. In this article I will give consideration to the natural selection, as far as it is the most explored, and possibly, the most accepted and the most powerful evolutional mechanism. There are other evolutional mechanisms that we know of, and there are reasons to make an assumption that we do not even guess about the existence of some other evolutional mechanisms that include not only simple and obvious like natural selection, but probably the most astounding in the highest degree.
Natural selection is such a simple mechanism that all what is left for us is only to be surprised it has not been discovered in the times of Aristotle. It’s hard even to imagine how different the development of science could be, if it was Aristotle, or Archimedes, or Plato or Hippocrates who have opened it in their time! (What great intrigue for the alternative history). Regardless of its simplicity, natural selection is often understood incorrectly (as it often happens with simple things), this is why I will briefly describe it. When a living creature reproduces the next generation, there are errors in the translation of inherited features. These errors are corrected, but not always. Some errors are significant and result in the change of the phenotype (i.e. appearance and organism functions). Some changes of the phenotype of a mutant are insignificant from the point of view of a more successful survival, and the mutation disappears along with other changes, when the carrier line is terminated. But if mutation is significant, then the mutant and his descendants will have this feature and get more chances for survival and expansion. To put it bluntly, a bit longer ears will enable the owner of these ears to hear an approaching predator earlier than others or help hunting. As a result it will prolong his life and make it easier, as well as for his descendants. Another animal will get longer legs instead of longer ears, and so on.
Thus, it is necessary to realize that natural selection is not a random process. Randomness is a part of the process when a mutation takes place, but the consequent process is no less logical than other events. Randomness can also be a part of our life, and it is quite often, but it does not give us a reason to think that we have entered the University or have been expelled by chance, or that we have cooked our dinner by chance and so on.
As a result of the natural selection, only those species survive and expand that have adapted the best for survival.
I also want to attract your attention to the fact that comprehension of the mechanism of natural selection has solved a hugely complicated problem. If we “explain” the origin of the world and life by impact of God, then this explanation does not explain, in actual fact, anything, it makes the problem even more complicated. It is impossible to imagine that our complicated world has appeared due to some randomness – in the same way as it is impossible to imagine that at some industrial dump, due to the impact of erosive forces, there appears a Boeing-747, which is in good working order. But if a certain God created our incredibly complicated world, then how much more complicated this God should be! And who created this God? Natural selection gives an extremely simple answer to the question – how our complicated world happened to be. It appeared from simple, very simple, from elementary matter.
… and unknown.
When we speak about “evolution”, we imply that we speak about evolution of living creatures. But here is a moment that requires attention. There hardly exists a non-contradictive definition of the word “living” that would be suitable for any case. As a rule “living” means for us having abilities of reproduction, but this definition will cover something that we do not accept as “living”. We can speak about conscience that all “living” beings have, and the conscience that all “non-living” objects do not have, but the term “conscience” confuses even more, because it does not have a definite meaning (for example, I obviously will not be included into the list of all living, because in my childhood I was often blamed for lacking conscience).
But for the present purpose I do not need to make an exact border between living and non-living. It is different from what I need – there is something which is definitely living and something which is definitely non-living. We know that once – in the beginning of the Universe existence – everything has been inanimate, but now it is alive. At a certain stage of life development life appeared (this is not evolution yet, of course). And as soon as life appeared, evolution started developing. Let us stop here and approach another subject.
It is surprising, but the experiment of Miller-Yurey (who, by the way, was awarded the Nobel prize), conducted in 1953, is known mostly only among the specialists. Maybe, the reason for that is a spasmodic need to keep the bastions of religion untouchable, and it leads to a purposeful veil of silence regarding this subject or ignoring it. I will not describe this experiment in detail, anybody can find it on the internet, just the main point in a few words: a container was filled with a chemical “soup”, which assumingly was the habitat on our planet in the beginning of its existence: water, nitrogen and others. During a long period of time a strong electrical charge was passed through this mixture. This electric charge imitated the powerful lightning that saturated the primary atmosphere of the Earth. A month later the content of the container was examined and the bricks of life were discovered – amino acid nitrogen, parts of protein. The ensuing experiments, that were conducted all over the world, proved that there appeared not only simple amino acid nitrogen, but complicated as well – all known to us. Of course, this is far from life, but amino acid nitrogen does not have reproduction abilities, but the gap between the “non-living” and “living” nature became much smaller. A billion years of shuffling these bricks could definitely lead to developing the creatures that we think of as alive. And I will not be surprised that this probability will be 100%.
But look at this – “alive” appeared from “non-living”. Is it possible? Due to a number of intermediate stages, but still – alive from non-living… Absurd! Actually, there are two explanations to it:
1) “God inbreathed” life into non-living. This explanation is not good due to the fact that it explains nothing, as I have said before. How did God become alive? Was it inbreathed by another God? Did life ever exist? This is not an explanation, this is sending straight to the devil (excuse me for not excusing myself later, when I mention this creature in the same company with God, and if somebody’s religious feeling is insulted… please address the book of Dawkins – I completely share and put my name down under his comments regarding “offense of religious feelings”).
2) life appeared… from living. Of course, it sounds delirious. Will it be totally opposed by biologists? Most likely it will. But this assumption is unique in a way, as the issue of life origin from non-living looses any sense. As we know, not all questions, in fact far from all, have sense if they are right from the point of view of grammar. And the question “how did all living appear from non-living” turns out to be senseless due to the absence in nature of such matter as “non-living”. Analogical is the question “how many angels can sit on a needlepoint… (you will easily conclude this thought).
I am convinced that life originated from life. Amino acid nitrogen appeared from the complex of primary chemical elements. This is an evolution of chemical elements. These chemical elements are the result of evolution of the hydrogen atom. Naturally, this is a live atom of hydrogen, regardless of how delirious it sounds. In the given case we easily discover an evolutional mechanism – a gravitational field. One of the first complexes of our Universe are the boundless clouds of hydrogen atoms plus various elementary particles and radiations. Due to gravity force (or due to the distortion of space-time, caused by mass, – in the given case it does not matter) separate atoms of hydrogen were accumulated, attracted more and more atoms and then again due to a continuous increasing compression, thermo-nuclear processes started. The adjoining hydrogen atoms deflated so much, that their electronic shells were destroyed and the electric repulsion could not overpower gravitational force that compressed the atoms. Upon the consequent approach of protons, one more evolutional mechanism worked – “strong interaction”, which has a so powerful capacity that it holds two positive protons. In the process of this integration a huge amount of energy is released, and instead of two hydrogen atoms we had an atom of helium – the first chemical substance in our Universe that diluted hydrogen’s solitude (I would be happy as hell, if I was that atom!) Ensuing compression leads to the appearance of other elements. In the end a Supernova exploded and spread a “life-giving rain” of the most different chemical elements into the surrounding space. Take a piece of gold in your hands. Oops, sorry, I forgot about the crisis. Take a piece of lead. Imagine – this piece of lead was formed not here on Earth, but inside a Supernova! Then after the Supernova went bang, the atoms of lead, together with other elements, flew apart and formed primary clouds of space dust, which formed our solar system.
And what is so delirious in the idea that an atom of hydrogen is alive and it has a very primitive consciousness, from our point of view? The only drawback of this hypothesis is that it contradicts our understanding of living and non-living, conscious and non-conscious. Well, I will remind that on the same grounds not too long ago people thought that Copernicus and Einstein ideas were absolutely absurd. Of course the reference to Einstein is not an argument, thus any nonsense could be proved this way: “do you not believe in a Flying Spaghetti Monster? But remember – Einstein ideas have also been totally opposed…” The reference to Einstein is made only for the reason why it’s not good to refuse considering some idea just because it contradicts certain concepts. Especially if it explains logically and simply something that could not be explained so far.
Why was religion needed? And who needed it?
While studying ancient and modern societies, you definitely will not find a non-religious society. There are sometimes cases that seem to be non-religious, but if you examine it, you see it’s not a proper example. For example, the Soviet Union, where religion was a subject of mass persecution, and the priests were victimized, oppressed and murdered. It seems this is an example of a non-religious society, where atheism was encouraged. But in reality this is the wrong example. It is actually an example of a struggle between religions, not of a struggle against religion. Instead of usual Christian dogmas there were Communist doctrines that were hammered into the heads of the Soviet people, and they were no less absurd, and any doubts in their truthfulness were cruelly suppressed. It was not surprising that when the USSR crashed, nearly all the crowd of “communists” migrated to the “orthodox belief” with the exception of a small part of communist believers.
We know that natural selection is merciless. It relentlessly eliminates everything that is ineffective, keeping only the well adapted species. And if this is the fact that during thousands of years all the societies that we know of, have been religious, it means that by some reasons religiosity is the quality that has allowed these religious societies to survive more effectively. It is interesting to understand why are the religious societies more effective than non-religious and is religion now a progressive element or is it a leftover from the past?
It is actually not a difficult question. I can name a few advantages that the religious societies have had in the past compared with a non-religious.
Have some of you had an occasion of meeting Krishnaites? Strange people, aren’t they? They smile, dance, sing songs, and to all questions give short and simple answers that have one meaning (if we can talk about meaning at all in this case) that Krishna is the essence of everything, I am Krishna, you are Krishna, your questions are Krishna, better dance with us and no need to care. In this case religion manifests itself as an “amusement social director”. When a person is dancing, singing hymns and smiles (no matter how false the smiles are) – his state has good advantages compared to what a person feels when he is a part of the social process. Instead of the endless embarrassments, confusions, fears, lack of confidence there are dances, suppression of mind, positive emotions and deliberate friendliness. I have no doubts that participation in such a festival produces a significant psychotherapeutic effect on Krishnaites.
Quite often one can meet a Buddhist. Of course, Buddhism is not a religion at all, as far as there is no notion of a God and Buddha is the man that achieved a huge spiritual progress (whatever this spiritual progress means) due to his own effort. But for us it does not have any significance, because the majority of Buddhists practice Buddhism exactly like a religion, they have no wish or capabilities to investigate thoroughly and understand the essence of Buddha teaching. In an average Buddhist community is no less aggressive than any other religious community. If you come to a meeting of European Buddhists and tell something about Buddha that seems insulting for them, you will be successfully beaten and ejected. For example, it’s not worth asking: “What about Buddha, did he masturbate? What if I wanted to suck his dick, what would he answer to me?” They will beat you either immediately or later. The question “if he was sitting under a tree meditating, how did he piss and shit?” will lead to the same circumstances. The Buddhists think that in the result of a long number of reincarnations you will unavoidably – and here I emphasize unavoidably – become an enlightened person and your life will be lovely. In this case religion manifests itself as a “consoler” – no matter how hard it is for you now, your future will be paradise. Is it easier to live with such confidence? Yes, it is, no doubts. Instead of weeping over your cruel fate, you are at your tool-machine, working your ass off for the sake of your homeland. Which is very good for society. Besides, the lower your self-pity and the less of negative emotions, the higher the probability that the complex of people’s perceptions will include some traces of the enlightened perceptions, like fondness, a wish of cooperation and so on.
Another religion promises a reward with something what is very much desired, but not allowed on the penalty of death. In paradise they will “be given” a battalion of virgins. (Interesting, isn’t it? Virgins are perceived as a subject of sales that can be given and used as per your wish). In this case the religion is a “distributor of benefits”. No matter how much it sucks – be patient and work hard for the sake of your community, and at the end of the life journey such a great happiness is awaiting for you!
Very little is needed to talk about “fear of the Lord” – everybody knows about it. And though there are such guys with good-looking beards, they affirm that this term does not mean real fear. Vice versa, it means love, but common believers do not understand this verbal diarrhea (by the way, during the massive onslaughts for the sake of religious justice, the intellectuals of this kind are hanged by their feet together with atheists, heretics and the followers of other faiths). So the believers are afraid – afraid of God’s surveillance and the consequences of horrible ever-lasting punishment. By the way, this “all-forgiving” God is very inventive in selecting the ways of punishment – for example, he fries people on a frying pan! Gosh – why is this extremist literature not persecuted by law? Do you really think that all your verbal bullshit about “metaphorical sense” of the abhorrent crimes against humanity reassures children, reading in black and white how God (GOD – the most fair and the wisest creature!!!) punish sinners? Why after that are you surprised with Auschwitz and Buchenwald? Why are you disgusted that somebody strangles another person, or guns him down or drowns? You know, I would prefer to be drowned than to be fried on a pan to the end of time. That murderer is a humanist in comparison with your “all-forgiving” and “all-merciful” Lord. Bloody hell, how is it possible to put up with this shit on your shelves – in the 21st century? How can you give it to children, CHILDREN? Furthermore, indoctrinate them that this is a bloody sacred book! Do you seriously believe that the child will “understand” your indistinct grunting that covers your answers to uncomfortable questions? Indeed, no. Here are the results of a simple experiment, conducted in an Israel school. They were told a story, where a certain Israel tsar wiped out a whole Arab village – everybody was killed, including women, old people and children, because the tsar anticipated that the people of this village bear danger for Jewish settlers. The schoolchildren were asked: children, do you approve of the action of the tsar? Seventy (or even more – I do not remember exactly) approved of the tsar. And why not – if it is said in the Torah that this is the way to treat the unfaithful? (for details I send a curious reader to address a very interesting book of Shahak “Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years”). After this the conditions of the story were changed. Now the tsar was Chinese and the village was Mongolian. Children reaction changed as well – more than ninety per cent did not approve of the tsar now. And after this, will you, as before, hide behind the soapy speeches about a “deep and covert meaning” of “sacred” texts, where and the most truthful and loving creature burns people (just think – PEOPLE) on a frying pan?
Back to the topic of evolution. In the above example God’s role is the role of a “policeman” – he will notice everything and will punish according to the stringent law. A man, firstly, will be more obedient to the religious-political regime, if his aggressive origin is partially suppressed with the fear of the God’s punishment. And secondly, it will be easier to control him, if the spectrum of his aggression manifestation is narrowed down. If religion requires terrifying cruelty towards believers of other religions, it also requires a more loyal attitude towards the true believers, which means that aggression of a member of the society is directed, to a certain extent, to the outside, and it promotes the stability in this society.
Probably it’ll seem to be strange to the atheists, but religion can also be in the role of a “reformer-educator”. Even at the present time we can find an example of a progressive and educating function of religion. When you travel in Egypt, try not to be captured by the Bedouins – these tribes adhere to a religion, which is even more ancient, than Muslimism and crueler. Their religion does not have any accent of a God as “all-forgiving” and “gracious” that exists in “sacred texts” of Muslimism and Christianity. We can (and must) talk about cruelty of the religious doctrines, about cruelty of the believers, but we cannot say anything of the fact that the “sacred” texts MENTION the necessity to have compassion, mercy and graciousness. If there is such a mention, the society can integrate these perceptions into the system of their beliefs. There may appear examples to follow (“the sanctified”) that are the heart of (according to the legends) unconditional love, fondness and commitment. In such a society there may appear, survive and even be accepted by authorities some examples to follow, people, that indeed cultivate enlightened perceptions! This is a huge step forward.
Thus, at a certain stage of Humanity development, an uprising of a religious cult in any of the ethnicities increased the probability of a more successful progress of the ethnicity in comparison with the progress of other neighbouring ethnicities, due to the impact of one or a few of the above listed factors. The ethnicity that was more susceptible to religiosity, happened to be more successful in competitiveness. Thus, evolutionary necessity of religion is obvious.
Why monotheism superseded pantheism and polytheism?
Nearly all the large-scale modern religions are monotheistic. Why did it happen? What is the evolutionary advantage of monotheism? Why did natural selection worked this way?
Talking about the monotheism of Christianity, for example, we have to realize that it is monotheistic only formally. To start with, the fact that God is one and the whole, but a trinity by some unknown reason. And regardless of what experts-theologians say about it, the standard believers do not care – they do not understand and do not need to understand. There are three Gods as minimum for a standard Christian – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. At the 4th century AD the emperor Konstantin ordered to destroy all the books of Arius of Alexandria, who denied the consubstantiality (I do not even recommend to try to understand – what this is) of Jesus and God. Apparently, since then the Church has cooled down in this respect, and there is a reason for that: any attempt to understand anything in religion is not encouraged and even is persecuted. And so it is –nobody understood and nobody understands what it means. Even though mentioning God-the-father, God-the-son and God-the-spirit is accompanied with some humour about their consubstantiality, still they are perceived no other way, but as three separate Gods. Besides, there is the Virgin Mary, there are angels and archangels, seraphim and cherubim and many others, known to a standard believer not more than to me. And this believer prays to the allegedly unitary God, or the Virgin, or his guardian-angel or somebody else. This is a typical polytheism.
Monotheism of other religions is similarly complicated, but I am not touching this topic.
Hinduism is definitely polytheistic. It is said that there are a few thousand gods. However they are all subordinated to the main god, more than that – they are his hypostasis, i.e. his incarnation in different forms. Is it monotheism or polytheism? It depends on what issues, and when and where each believer has his accents on.
As for the old pantheistic cults, they are not monotheistic by any means. According to the beliefs of people of that time, if there is a certain spirit sitting in a tree, and people pray to it and make sacrifices to it, then this spirit is self-existent, it is not anybody’s hypostasis or incarnation and it is not subordinated to any other god.
Well, and how will you mobilize such a pantheist to some common global goal? A religious drive will not work. It is much easier to do, if god is unitary (even if it’s only formally). This is why it’s not surprising that the ruling elite facilitated by all means to eliminate polytheism and replace it with a unitary god. Herewith, a direct connection with the god was carried out by the monarch-dictator himself, or by a supreme priest-puppet. Those societies that managed to do it, received an additional evolutional advantage.
Why was the old Christian cult of the beginning of the century accepted by the Rome leaders? There is nothing strange in it. Christianity had a certain character of monotheism, which was much more suitable, than the endless number of indigenous roman gods.
Let us return to Hinduism. Polytheism is manifested in it with a higher degree than in other religions. Most likely that Hindu ethnicity would be eradicated and wiped out, like earlier a great number of other ethnicities, that we know of and do not know of, had been eliminated, but in the result of the general development of civilization it became more advantageous to subjugate than eradicate.
What now? Ersatz-religions.
If religion is an unavoidable evolutional chain link, is it worthwhile to support and develop it for the sake of people’s good?
I am sure it is not. Time, when religion was a progressive phenomenon that considerably increased the ethnicity chances for survival, development and expansion, has gone long ago. Civilization development provided us with significantly more advanced tools both for survival and for the consequent progress – social and personal. Firstly, this is science. Secondly, this is humanism, which is the source of progressive and permanently evolving morals and ethics (which are utterly opposite to the morals and ethics, ensuing from the “sacred” books). Thirdly, (not by significance, but chronologically) it is the practice of negative emotions eradication and enlightened perceptions cultivation, which has just appeared (see my site www.bodhi.ru). This is why we can hardly expect that it will spread in the next hundred years. Science solves the issues of material culture, humanism forms constantly evolving ethics, and the practice that I have offered – the issues of individual progress, which in turn, impacts ethic perceptions. All these three require common sense, free intellect, putting a stop to hostility cultivation, and this is principally incompatible with any religion in any form.
People that cultivate enlightened perceptions, will be dominating, this future is unavoidable. A society that consists of such people has innumerable advantages against a common society of today, which is torn apart by aggression. It is self-destructing due to early ageing and illnesses, it develops ineffectively due to unnatural predatory competition and because people are guided in their life with wild and wrong concepts, i.e. superstitions, instead of sensibility. But evolution is a long process. And I would not even try to forecast when “the enlightened human” will replace “the intellectual human”.
Religion will bring a lot of unpleasant surprises to us before it dies in the form of monstrous cults, including ersatz-religions that generate dullness, hatred, death and destruction. German fascism and communism are the examples.
Ersatz-religion is a cult that has many signs of a common religion, but lacks, nevertheless, a powerful accent on “invisible spiritual creatures”. At present time, when science and the resulting technologies have advanced so much, that even the most stupid religious zealots communicate with the help of mobiles and the Internet, threatening the world with a dagger, and not only a dagger, but an atom bomb, and it is not so simple now to introduce seriously a person of an “old man with a beard” who is supervising us. Well, it is possible, but too expensive. If the population is singing and praying instead of developing the economy, the country will not exist happily and for long. The consecutive realization of religious principles will cause, among others, grandiose slaughters, complete paralysis of thought and any creative initiative. Take for example, any country that is often mentioned in relation to one of the most retrogressive religion cults. It can be any of such countries. Now pause and try to remember a citizen from this country who is a famous writer, biologist, mathematician, alpinist, pianist, artist, marketing expert… (you can go on with the list – the result will not change).
So the direct comeback to the forthright religious cults is not desirable from the point of view of any elite of the country (with the exception of the religious leaders, of course), and it is practically impossible as well. But it is possible to generate ersatz-religions and no less successfully use them to manipulate the country population.
Communism has many signs of the most extreme insane religion. In the USSR the books of Trotsky and Bukharin were treated as “sacred texts” – practically nobody read them, but every standard communist was obliged to accept them as “sacred”. They were sacred until a certain moment, when they were sent to the communist hellfire. From this moment it was suicidal to have these books. Development of the communist ideology reminds the processes of early Christianity – unclear and small inconsistencies were brought to the level of principles that separated those to live from those to die. “Trotskyism” formation with consequent elimination of “Trotskyites” reminds by its form and content Arian “heresy” with consequent elimination of “Arians”.
The way religious zealots die for “true faith” (as a rule, they do not have any awareness of what it is), the same way the communists were dying “for Lenin”, or “for Stalin”, or “for Mao” and so on. And no doubts – of those who died for Lenin, there may be hardly a hundred who could have read and understood his main writings on the theory of communism and imperialism.
There is no God as such in the communist theory, but there is a replacement. The image of “Grandfather Lenin” had been intensively implanted into the minds of many generations of the soviet children and even the adults. In this form he was invisibly monitoring their minds to an old age, thus functioning as party supervision – precisely as God is supervising the minds of the believers. Then one God was replaced by another. At first “Grandfather Lenin” accepted the “Father Stalin” by his side, and then made way for Stalin to the throne – exactly as it happened with the Gods of the Roman and Greek pantheons, only much faster. And now people died “for Stalin”, executed “for Stalin” and were working “for Stalin”. Some “old believers” adjusted and lived “for Lenin and Stalin” – but this inflexibility was not encouraged. In the end the followers of Lenin cult were either eliminated or acquired the necessary for the survival flexibility. Today we can see the same processes in North Korea and China. It is typical that the followers of Lenin cult had no idea, for example, what kind of a person Lenin had been in reality! Even less can be said about the cults that worshipped people who lived and died hundreds and thousands years ago. “Leninists” did not even imagine how Lenin looked! This happened in the time when the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics were being developed rapidly. Stylized images had been worshipped instead of real photos of a real person. There was a reason for that, by the way, as it cannot be denied it is strange that the first three post revolutionary dictators in the USSR were not of Russian nationality.
Rituals are one of the bound attributes of religion. This religion quality is the most strange from the evolutionary point of view, because people waste an extreme amount of resources, labour and time for the cult ceremonies instead of developing the ethnicity. Well, the communists have a great variety of rituals, more than enough. Sometimes communists can compete with the creators of Egyptian pyramids as per labour, time and resources input.
God punishes unbelievers and wrong believers, as well as protects from bad luck and rewards believers. Communists can also punish, even better than the Taliban, and they also have rewards, either real (like publishing a portrait in a wallpaper column “the champions of the communist way of work”, a prizewinning watch, a travel pack to a holiday resort with health facilities, an honorable mention in a personnel file), or completely mystical (like acknowledgement in the generations to come and other bling bullshit).
The God of communists is sacred, naturally. Insulting the founder means attracting serious problems. The best scenario will be that nobody will talk to you – due to the morals.
Communism has paradise – this is the bright communist future, though only our grandchildren will get in there. But there happen to be exceptions: Khrushchev promised the paradise to start from 1980 (apparently, he did not foresee a rapid decrease of oil prices).
There is also hell with its purgatory (tongue-lashing at a party meeting, reprimand, a public warning in front of the lineup of others), where deportation or exile, forced-labour camp, jails with disciplinary cells were successfully playing the role of the circles of hell.
Communists paid a lot of attention to building hieratic constructions, as much as the German Nazis. Egyptian pharaohs would not even dream about the magnitude of constructing palaces for party congresses, buildings for party committees, honor rolls and bas-reliefs.
Communism also had enough martyrs: heroes-pioneers that reported to the authorities against their parents; people with impassioned head and passionate heart (alas, they also had arms in blood up to their shoulders) that courageously revealed criminal plans of peasant women, hiding a couple of wheat ears and so on.
One more example of ersatz-religion is patriotism, which at first seems to be very far from religion. Yes, this word combination is unusual: “patriotism is a religious cult”, but this cult is widely spread even now and it is nourished in every possible way. But – patriotism has all the signs of ersatz-religion:
*) during the war people die “for the sake of the motherland” and do not have any idea what it actually is – their motherland – and why this death is necessary. It was typical that the cult of Stalin and the cult of the motherland very often integrated and people and people died “for Stalin, for the Motherland” being not aware that Staling was one of the worst bloodthirsty predators of the 20th century. Following Lenin and the rest of the impetuous gang he planned capture and subjugation of the whole world (those who are interested in this information can be addressed to the books of Suvorov, Solonin, Beshanov). People did not realize that the war “for the Motherland” is not the war to support the criminal murderous Soviet regime, it was the opposite! In the same way the participants of Crusades died “in the name of Jesus Christ” and did not bother to compare the Sermon of the Mount with their leaders’ appeals and slogans.
*) pondering “if this is true that the well-being of the Motherland requires or recommends to do what our commanders, presidents, governors, actors and priests give orders to do” is close to criminal, or is criminal. Any doubts trigger a spume of hatred in the mouth of the most impetuous “patriots”, who have encroached the right to judge what is “good” and what is “bad” for the motherland.
*) of course, there is also an ersatz-god, though, as it seems to a naïve reader, it is quite difficult to personify such notion as the “Motherland”. During the second World War for the Soviet people there was an image of a woman from a poster “Motherland appeals” that played the role of a Goddess-Motherland. Popular patriotic hymns, other posters can be also considered as personification of the similar ersatz-god.
*) patriotism has its Satan as well. For example, for Soviet people the role of Satan was played by a caricature image of a fat imperialist, who very often was in striped pants with bombs in his pockets.
*) there is no lack of religious folklore where absolute crap about the advantages of our motherland is successfully interlaced with the same rubbish about “defective foreign patriotisms”.
*) there are more than enough of patriotic rituals, beginning with the military parade on the main square and finishing with the daily recitations of patriotic slogans at the start of the work day or at school.
*) patriotism, naturally, protects a patriot from foreign filth. Rewards are again of a wide range from a metal badge on the collar to an access to a nose bag (a senior official elite shop) or infamous love of thankful generations to be, and the main reward was – “Motherland will not forget you”. What images it triggered in the mind of believers herewith – only the Motherland knows. Maybe these are the images of the pioneers that placed the flowers at a monument to honour you, or just a memorial plate, because humbleness is one of the virtues of patriots, it is not accepted to spread the word about.
*) it goes without saying – there is also the concept of “sacredness”. An insult to the Motherland is a horrible sin, and retribution can be whatever, including death (which will be justified by court as it happened in a fit of passion – indeed, the MOTHERLAND was insulted!!).
*) the patriot’s paradise is a strong and wealthy country. Herewith it is desirable that the neighbouring countries are poorer, not so well-developed, and better if they serve and are in awe.
*) the patriot’s hell is assimilation with other ethnicities and a complete loss of the national self-identification. There is so much yelling about this notorious “national self-identification”, that it is hard to stop being surprised – how people do not understand that an interesting, good-looking, smart, passionate and affectionate foreigner is incomparably more attractive than a dull, grey, inert or aggressive national. Psychosis of patriotism gets to a point, when people “support ours” and pay NO ATTENTION AT ALL to the personalities of who they support and against whom. The main point is what passport and what stamp is in it. This is such an obvious Nazism, supported by the communities of all countries.
*) there is a huge crowd of patriot martyrs, and their stories of martyrdom, as well as “Lives of Saints”, are perverted without boundaries, in the same way as lives of the saints. An example is the “Life of Marshall Zhukov”, its hundred per cent falsity is revealed in the books of Suvorov “I Take My Words Back” and the “Shade of Victory” – tens of millions people have been supporting and developing this cult, built on a complete lie.
Everyone can develop this idea himself, and I am going to make the most unexpected example of the most contemporary ersatz-religion. Really and truly – the holy place is never empty!
Imagine an atheist, who in cold blood operates “sacramental texts”, who has already developed a derogatory reflex to any religious lexicon and axiomatic, who is capable of the most passionate and highly reasoned speech against religion; who was born in one country and raised in another, studied in the third country, married a native of the fourth country; his father is a Buddhist, his mother teaches mathematics at a University; his son quit science and became a street singer; his daughter is building a mars rover… Imagine this most outrageous cosmopolitan that considers it’s highly immoral to poke a nose into another person’s personal life and persecute this person for something not affecting anybody else’s life, for example, if the person has the same-sex sex with his parent, while scourging himself and imagining sexual intercourse with an underage boy and an old donkey. Such a phenomenal latitudinarian he is. And can you imagine – he is religious. He is strongly religious. Possibly, he is even a religious bigot. Do you not believe? He can even kill for his belief! You just did not recognize a new ersatz-religion, in spite of the fact that it has forced its tentacles very far and very deep. I even dedicate a whole paragraph to it. Did I intrigue you? JIt is called…
As soon as this word has been pronounced, you most likely exclaim and it’s hard to explain this exclamation. It will start as surprise and even disappointment – well, what else could he think of! But it’ll finish on a contemplative note proceeding into a semi cough, because the thought is very rapid and while the air is being exhaled, it surfaces all the points of the above, resulting in an indistinct unease. Indeed – does politeness have the signs of the ersatz-religion?
*) Let us start with the easiest – religious intolerance.
I communicate a lot – both personally on my trips (I spend about six months a year travelling from a country to a country, from town to town), and by e-mail. Many people that think they are interested in my books, e-mail me. And I came to a very simple, but true and unmistakable consistent pattern: the politer the person, the more aggressive he is. If a person is writing: “Hi! Listen, here in your book there is some crap, I think…”, or, if while approaching you he says: “hey, tell me what the time is?” – it is clear that this person is not highly aggressive. Of course, he can be a patriot, and if the conversation concerns patriotism, his hostility can reveal, but in common communication this person can be quite an adequate conversation partner. But if the letter starts: “Good day, dear Bodhi. I am sorry to bother you, but will you please answer my question…” – oh… this is not a good sign. And if you, god save you from it, answer his letter in an easy style, like: “listen, let us talk without ceremonies, ok? As for the book, you did not understand that…”, then you can expect his next letter in the style of those that I have quoted from Dawkins book.
If you come into a small private shop in good old Europe, for example, in Holland, where people think of themselves as freedom-loving and tolerant to any nonconformance, and there you do not answer the owner’s greeting – just browse the displays and do not answer. (Warning – this is a dangerous experiment!) At first he will think you are upset with something, then that you have not heard him, and, being a civilized man, he will not beat you, he will repeat his greeting. You do not answer again. A minute later in the worst case you will be physically attacked, or kicked out, and loud insults of your lineage and your mother and country – this commotion will be heard all around the streets. You can call police, but this is useless, as the owner of the shop is right in full view of the police. Oh, of course from the point of view of law his behaviour is wrong, but who will take it seriously when the principles of the dominating religion in the country are disregarded?
You get on a bus – the driver greets you. You do not answer his greeting – it may happen that you won’t travel by this bus.
Surprising phenomena can be observed in a neutral territory as well. I enjoy walking on the Himalayan tracks in Nepal. The surroundings, lyrical feelings, pondering over some moments encourage contemplation. Also it is interesting and pleasant to look around – stunning beautiful mountain outskirts, deep gorges, rapid rivers, clouds under your feet! But here they are, the tourists – the same as you – from Europe. From the distance of ten meters they already holla a friendly “Hello!” or “Namaste!” and smile at you. Pleasant people, damn it! Not some zealots. Feeling pacified, you go on without an answer or even without a nod of your head. For the last ten minutes you have already met about ten people and greeted them, you feel a bit exhausted of it and do not want to be distracted. However, the greeting is repeated – with a surprise in the voice. Then there is a threat in the voice. Then the man approaches you and yells aggressively into your ear “Hello!” and he looks like he is going to thump you. He can even block your way and try to make you answer his greeting. For a while you will hear behind his resentful yelps and so painfully known accusations in anything and everything, starting with homosexualism and atheism and finishing with more traditional and simple groundless assumptions about the personal life of your far predecessors.
Every child is a martyr of this religion. Only try not to thank the mother after the meal or not to greet the father, or not to get up when a teacher is entering the classroom, or… there is no need to go on – you can do it yourself.
*) rituals – I actually have already described them. Innumerable words and word combinations of various undertones exist for different situations, as well as motion rituals, when you have to make a certain facial expression, or gesture, or movements – this is a special language, a whole sub-culture. The faces of the Europeans are amazingly sophisticated, they look much older than people are. And their faces can instantly form a false smile or another grimace – these wrinkles, acquired in the result, produce the effect of ageing.
*) the followers of this new cult did not yet acquire a uniform image of God or Satan, but every cell of the society has some candidates or temporary replacements. Some people have a portrait of the “kind-hearted” “Mother Theresa” at the moment of a warm handshake. It is not important that in her Nobel Prize speech this woman called abortions the worst evil on the planet (can you imagine?) Above all – she is polite and kind-hearted. Somebody, while telling off their son, refers to Hitler, who was also very impolite and finished badly (naturally, nobody cares what Hitler was like in reality, the point is that his name is notorious and is associated with universal evil).
*) this is what we call intolerance to nonconformity. A lot of time can be spent in explanations to the “believers in politeness” of commonplace truth that every person has a natural right of not answering a greeting, and nevertheless your impoliteness will evoke strong antagonism. You must be polite, there is no other way. Usually in this issue people involve certain “vulnerability” of those you do not show proper respect in the form of politeness, and can you imagine – hurt the good people? Especially if they are your seniors and sensitive people? People develop this pattern of feeling hurt or pity if somebody is impolite towards them, they can even be depressed, and you are the one who is responsible for that, Satan’s limb.
*) of course, politeness is a protection. Every religion protects, and this one also does. What does it protect from? Well… it stands for… what actually does it… Yes, it protect from impoliteness, of course! You will say “good evening”, and a bit of wellness will come your way as well. Polite people truly believe that it protects them from criminals, terrorists and other evil spirits. This can be a fatal mistake. It is extremely dangerous. For decades Europeans play politeness with migrants from notorious regions with notorious mindsets towards “wrong believers”, thinking that their God will do all the necessary work for the migrants’ assimilation. Then they are sincerely surprised when they see that it is far from assimilation, and soon they can be kicked out from their own settled places. Sensibility gets through the politeness with great difficulty, and I am afraid that time can be lost beyond retrieval.
*) politeness also has hypostasis, of course, for example, “political correctness”. No point looking up the dictionary for the meaning. There is definitely something there, only nobody has read it and hardly ever will. It is not used as a scientific term, it is mostly used by cult ministers, according to their opinion (often with sordid motives) as a flogging hammer. Did you write about some unpleasant character features of a certain nation? Like a diary of your journey? Sorry, friend, it is not politically correct. Please accept our apologies, don’t feel hurt, regards to your lovely mother. Long life to your grandfather, but tear up your Satanist article and eat it, otherwise we will break your legs and cut your guts out of your belly, sorry once again.
*) Lack of God in the cult of politeness can confuse, but actually this cult only begins. We cannot say much about the arising of world religions, because it has been long ago and too much has been perverted by the followers. Nevertheless, we can make a lot of assumptions with a high probability and on the basis of religions investigation, that appeared in our time and that are studied very well. I mean “cargo-cults”. In religions God is an accomplishing rock at the top of the whole construction, which crowns and braces this construction. I guess that modern ersatz-religions can survive without God.
The history of cargo-cults is so interesting, it reflects so much the attributes of the origin and development of ersatz-religions, that I will give quite a large quotation from the book of Dawkins:
The “Cargo-cults of Pacific Melanesia and New Guinea provide the most famous real life example. The entire history of some of these cults, from initiation to expiry, is wrapped up within living memory. Unlike the cult of Jesus, the origins of which are not really attested, we can see a whole course of events laid out before our eyes (and even here, as we shall see, some details are now lost). It is fascinating to guess that the cult of Christianity almost certainly began in very much same way, and spread initially at the same high speed.
My main authority for the cargo-cults is David Attenborough’s Quest in Paradise, which he very kindly presented to me. The pattern is the same for all of them, from the earliest cults in the nineteenth century to the more famous ones that grew up in the aftermath of the Second World War. It seems that in every case the islanders were bowled over by the wondrous possessions of the white immigrants to their islands, including administrators, soldiers and missionaries. They were perhaps the victims of (Arthur C.) Clarke’s Third Law, which I quoted in Chapter 2: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.
The islanders noticed that the white people who enjoyed these wonders never made them themselves. When articles needed repairing they were sent away, and new ones kept arriving as ‘cargo’ in ships, or, later, planes. No white man was ever seen to make or repair anything, nor indeed did they do anything that could be recognized as useful work of any kind (sitting behind a desk shuffling papers was obviously some kind if religious devotion). Evidently, then, the ‘cargo’ must be of supernatural origin. As if in corroboration of this, the white men did do certain things that could only have been ritual ceremonies:
They build masts with wires attached to them; they sit listening to small boxes that glow with light and emit curious noises and strangled voices; they persuade the local people to dress up in identical clothes, and march them up and down – and it would hardly be possible to devise a more useless occupation than that. And then the native realizes that he has stumbled on the answer to the mystery. It is these incomprehensible actions that are the rituals employed by the white man to persuade the gods to send the cargo. If the native wants the cargo, then he must do these things.
It is striking that similar cargo cults sprang up independently on islands that were widely separated both geographically and culturally. David Attenborough tells that anthropologists have noted two separate outbreaks in New Caledonia, four in the Solomons, four in Fiji, seven in the New Hebrides, and over fifty in New Guinea, most of them being quite independent and unconnected with one another. The majority of these religions claim that one particular messiah will bring the cargo when the day of the Apocalypse arrives.
The independent flowering of so many independent but similar cults suggests some unifying features of human psychology in general.
One famous cult on the island of Tanna in the New Hebrides (known as Vanuatu since 1980) is still extant. It is centered on the messianic figure called John Frum. References to John Frum in official government records go back only as far as 1940, but even so recent a myth, it is not known for certain whether he existed as a real man. One legend described him as a little man with a high-pitched voice and bleached hair, wearing a coat with shining buttons. He made strange prophecies, and he went out of his way to turn the people against the missionaries. Eventually he returned to the ancestors, after promising the triumphal second coming, bearing bountiful cargo. His apocalyptic vision included a ‘great cataclysm’; the mountains would fall flat and the valleys would be filled; old people would regain their youth and sickness would vanish; the white people would be expelled from the island never to return; and the cargo would arrive in great quantity so that everybody would have as much as he wanted’.
Most worryingly for the government, John Frum also prophesied that, on his second coming, he would bring a new coinage, stamped with the new image of a coconut. The people must therefore get rid of all their money of the white man’s currency. In 1941 this led to a wild spending spree; the people stopped working and the island’s economy was seriously damaged. The colonial administrators arrested the ringleaders but nothing that they could do would kill the cult, and the mission churches and schools became deserted.
A little later, a new doctrine grew up that John Frum was King of America. Providentially, American troops arrived in the New Hebrides around this time and, wonder of wonders, they included black men who were not poor like the islanders but as richly endowed with cargo as the white soldiers. Wild excitement overwhelmed Tanna. The day of the Apocalypse was imminent. It seemed that everyone was preparing for the arrival of John Frum. One of the leaders said that John Frum would be coming from America by aeroplane and hundreds of men began to clear the bush in the centre of the island so that the plane might have an airstrip on which to land.
The airstrip had a bamboo control tower with an ‘air traffic controllers’ wearing dummy headphones made of wood. There were dummy planes on the runway to act as decoys, designed to lure down John Frum’s plane.
In the 1950s the young David Attenborough sailed to Tanna with a cameraman, Geoffrey Mulligan, to investigate the cult of John Frum. They found plenty of evidence of the religion and were eventually introduced to its high priest, a man called Nambas. Nambas referred to his messiah familiarly as John, and claimed to speak regularly to him, by ‘radio’. This (‘radio belong John’) consisted of an old woman with an electric wire around her waist who would fall into a trance and talk gibberish, which Nambas interpreted as the words of John Frum. Nambas claimed to have known in advance that Attenborough was coming to see him, because John Frum told him on the ‘radio’. Attenborough asked to see the ‘radio’, but was (understandably) refused. He changed the subject and asked whether Nambas had seen John Frum.
Nambas nodded vigorously
— ‘Me see him plenty time’.
— ‘What does he look like?’
Nambas jabbed his finger at me.
— ‘’E look like you. ‘E got white face. ‘E tall man. ‘E live ‘long South America.’
This detail contradicts the legend referred to above that John Frum was a short man. Such is the way with evolving legends.
It is believed that the day of John Frum’s return will be 15 February, but the year is unknown. Every year on 15 February his followers assemble for a religious ceremony to welcome him. So far he has not returned, but they are not downhearted. David Attenborough said to one cult devotee, called Sam:
— ‘But, Sam, it is nineteen years since John say that the cargo will come. He promise and he promise, but still the cargo does not come. Isn’t nineteen years a long time to wait?’
Sam lifted his eyes from the ground and looked at me.
— ‘If you can wait two thousand years for Jesus Christ to come an’ ‘e no come, then I can wait more than nineteen years for John.”
*) so far there are no martyrs in the cult of politeness, but there are as many as you like candidates to Saints – both of the local level and of more significant standard.
*) as in any other religion, there is a forced “baptizing” of children in the cult of politeness. The concept of politeness necessity is implanted in the child’s mind adamantly, consecutively and sometimes cruelly. “You cannot leave the table until you thank your mother!” – do you recognize it? “You are not allowed at the table until you say ‘good morning’ to everybody”. Standing in a corner, being locked in a closet, a beating (it is affectionately called ‘to spank’ in public), depriving of juice, of a walk, humiliating in front of friends – the range of punishments for impoliteness is wide.
*) there are also saint writings. As a rule these are nauseatingly sugary books for children with two character boys. One is impolite and becomes a thief and a looser, while the other is good and polite and he is a hero and an excellent student. As any other sacred writings these, in general, give a child the right information regarding the consequences of neglecting the etiquette rules – he will have serious pressure from the surrounding society and it will be more difficult for him to make a career. There is an accepted strange word combination a “polite child”, similar to what we say about a “Catholic child” and “Protestant Child” (sounds also odd to the population of the post-communist countries, nevertheless these expressions are widely used in other countries, and an outrageous silliness of these words is analyzed by Dawkins). On one hand this phrase is precise in the meaning that it describes a certain quality of the child, however, differently from such qualities as in “a child that is interested in drawing”, or “a child with good capabilities in physics”, the quality of politeness is a measurement of the child’s aggressiveness his parents have trained. It is a measurement of how far he has come, being broken-down and given up to their pressure – he has just accepted a certain minimum that allows him to survive, or he himself has become a religious fanatic, which happens quite often with children, brainwashed with common religions.
Religious disposition of people is used in trade and commerce. Quite often advertising companies take this path of creating minor ersatz-religions or fragments, and if lucky, it can bring them big success. Everybody must remember the ad of disinfectant: a fragment of a clean plate is being enlarged as if under the microscope, and oh, goodness gracious – there are heaps of swarming microbes. Sales increase successfully – micro-cult of malicious swarming microbes has been created. Advertiser “forgot” to advise that commonly microbes are everywhere in our life, that in general they are not malicious and even more – without them our life is impossible.
Cruel or merciful?
An amazing and specific character of all large-scale religions (Buddhism is not included, it is not a religion) is a peculiar combination of extremely peace-loving and extremely aggressive elements. It is a combination of incompatible elements. A certain centaur. This peculiarity of religious “sacred” writings is a reliable sanctuary for missionaries: “look, my God is so loving! Here, look (dabbing with his finger at a certain paragraph of the “sacred” text and covering awkwardly other paragraphs with his forearm and fingers). And also here – look (opens the book at a place marked beforehand), no, no! not there, look here”.
A clichéd example – is the Sermon of the Mount. Has the contemporary Mankind matured enough for declarations of the text of one and a half thousand – two thousand years old? Maybe only as declarations, even they can hardly be enounced, as you will be immediately caught in duplicity. There is no need to recite the examples of incredible cruelty in the Old Testament and the New Testament – if you do not feel like looking for them yourself, you can find the descriptions in other books. Well, what about the appeal to kill for spousal infidelity, homosexuality, disobedience to parents? Or an example of “sacred behaviour”, when an occasional guest (a man, of course) is unconditionally protected and a virgin daughter is given as a compensation to a crowd for a cruel group rape?
The Koran combines an appeal to forgive fools who do not understand that Islam is the only true religion with appeals to super incredible cruelties.
The question is not in the way it happened. It is quite clear how it happened. The sacred texts were compiled during hundreds of years by various (very different from each other in all senses) people according to their interests, and the resulting mixture is explicable. The question is how did it happen that the conglomerate of categorically contradictive ideas and appeals had cemented into a consistent entity, the core of religion? There appears an association with a process of thermo nuclear synthesis. If a proton is moved up closer to another, then due to the same electrical charge they have to repel apart with a fearful energy. An explosion of an “atom bomb” is a release of electrical energy, not “atomic” energy. The protons of the same charge move away from each other to a distance, where the force that keeps them bound (which is called “strong interaction”) decreases rapidly, and the force of electrical repulsion scatters them. There must be also some equivalent of “strong interaction” that keeps so incompatible ideas and appeals bound together.
I think I have found a very simple explanation for this amazing phenomenon. Please note – Christianity from the beginning of the century was a religion of slaves, of the subjugated and the humiliated. They had no power to change their life, but they had a possibility to change the position of certainty! When I draw attention to an extreme aggression of my nationals, they often have an objection in the form of an excuse: “you see how hard our life is: our income is low, we do not have enough of what we need”. I objected telling about the Nepal people that live in the Himalayas in the conditions of incredible poverty. All their property is an adobe hut and a garden for rice, corn and bamboo. Maybe they simply do not know that life can be more comfortable? Yes, they know. There are European tourists passing by, Nepal owners of guesthouses, porters, guides are extremely rich by their standards. But hardly anywhere else can you find so open, warm-hearted and smiling people. You are welcome to check this, it is simple – take a flight to Katmandu, the same plane to Pokharu, a taxi to Biretanti. This is where the track around Annapurna starts (or finishes), then you walk along this track – the views are so incredibly beautiful. Take a few steps aside and visit the nearest god-forgotten village, check my statement and understand – the matter is not in the property or anything else. Happiness as it is does not exist – there exist happy people, who know their life is wonderful regardless of life being difficult.
The first Christians found consolation in their religion, they created a confidence that all their sufferings are destined from above as a test followed by a reward (after death, of course). Compassion to the oppressors – this is what allows to consider life as a heroic act. It all adds up very well with the new ethic system, where love, sacrifice for the sake of love and other is admitted as the highest virtue. Of course, it is not limited only by pragmatic issues. The person who has compiled these texts, even now is the example to be followed. He definitely was an extraordinary person who could experience enlightened perceptions. But what I want to say now is that both Christianity and Islam were in the beginning peace-loving, or, as a minimum, significantly more peace-loving than the cults that existed also around. A circle of the most progressive people developed around these religions, and they aspired (more than others) towards satisfaction, good-neighborly relations, peace, creativity, friendliness. But what happened later? Reactionary surrounding was not happy with this cult. If the collector of the rip off taxes feels compassion towards those he has to strip – how much will he collect? And what about fighting – if your soldiers feel compassion towards the soldiers and the population of the enemy? All is ruined! Power drains away like mud through fingers.
Even if my scenario is wrong and it has happened in a different way, it does not matter. What matters – definitely the peace-loving cult had to clash sooner or later with aggressive and subjugating cultures. For some time, of course, it would be possible to go on under the slogan “if someone strikes you on the left cheek, turn to him the other also”, which reminds of the legend about green grapes. But the believers of that time did not come from the skies – they were the product of their epoch, they wanted to protect themselves and this is what they did. They protected from murderers, killed in response, feeling compassion to the enemy… to achieve this kind of art, a strong wish is necessary, as well as an effective practice, persistence and determination to follow it. Even now only few people are capable of this, and it would be impossible to raise the multitudes of people for resistance under this banner. A simple choice was left for the believers – put aside the pacifism and start fighting, which means to manifest and cultivate aggression towards the enemy. Sacred texts needed to be continued, and so they were continued. Hostility is even more contagious, than tuberculosis. It is impossible to be just a little bit pregnant, and so is to be “proportionally-hostile”. Hatred goes beyond any established limits rapidly, especially in the conditions of a continuous war. War requires unity, and if a son is staying in a warm bed instead of obeying his father and participate in the war with “unbelievers”, then he is a traitor and apostate. Occurrences of this kind should be eliminated in order to defend the new religion, and the community must strengthen to survive. Thus disobedience is to be punished, this requirement increases and spreads. It results in a paradox: a cultivation of hatred, due to the necessity to protect the belief that appeals to love, otherwise aggressive and hostile environment will eliminate you. The present existing religions have won. How many of them are extinct – who knows, but these have won, but this is Pyrrhic victory. And there could not be other way!
The defenders of religion refer to its “good origin”, the opponents have reasons to find that there is even more of evil origin in it, if not, then at least not less. But listen, times have changed! Time passes quickly, especially during the last 200 years. We accept as monstrous medievalism things that were accepted as progress a hundred years ago. Isn’t it unthinkable – referring to the texts that were written thousands of years ago and pronounce them as the everlasting values? Will you agree with fact that Hitler is an extremely amoral person? I think yes, you will. Do you realize you judge him now, while his atrocities against Humanity took place 65 years ago, and his mindset was formed even 90 years ago? Are you aware of this? Once again I will quote Richard Dawkins: “In a previous book I quoted H.G. Wells’s Utopian New Republic, and I shall do so again because it is such a shocking illustration of the point that I am making.
And how will the New Republic treat the inferior races? How will it deal with the black?… the yellow man?… the Jew?… Those swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people, who do not come into the new needs of efficiency? Well, the world is a world, and not a charitable institution, and I take it they will have to go… And the ethical system of these men of the New Republic, the ethical system which will dominate the world state, will be shaped primarily to favor the procreation of what is fine and efficient and beautiful in humanity – beautiful and strong bodies, clear and powerful minds… And the method that the nature has followed hitherto in the shaping of the world, whereby weakness was prevented from propagating weakness… is death… The men of the New Republic … will have an ideal that will make the killing worth the while.
This was written in 1902, and Wells was regarded as a progressive in his own time”.
Will you now state that Hitler is an appalling person? If you say so, then being honest, you have to add: the same appalling are H. G. Wells and those who shared his views and participated in developing such views (which means nearly all). And what about slavery – isn’t it a disgusting phenomenon? Who will answer “no” to this question? But it means George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were disgusting and nasty people because they had slaves. Lincoln, it goes without saying is also loathsome, as his wife’s family had slaves and he put up with it. Do you understand what I mean? Something is wrong here. If we think that way, we lose any possibility of rationalizing and all past seems to be one-coloured – gloomy, dark and abhorrent. I will not expatiate now upon the ancient Greek and Roman thinkers, philosophers and progressive people (their books are on the shelves of many fans of wisdom) that did not see anything bad in having sex with young underage boys openly.
We can rationalize when we can differentiate. All discussions about history become a propaganda club if we forget that each epoch has had its own interpretation about “good” and “right”. What fifty years ago was accepted as progressive now is disgusting. And it is great. It means we do not stagnate. A hundred years ago the animal world was nothing else, but an “object for hunting”. Hunting game was a good entertainment and it did not matter if it was an elephant, a giraffe or a whale. Now everything has changed. For example, Norwegians arrogantly declare that hunting baby seals – is their indigenous right of activity, part of their “culture”. They talk about “culture” as of something unchanged for centuries. And they do not care about the world community – they killed, kill and they will kill these helpless playful creatures. But something has changed – the world they live in, has changed, and this world condemns and despises this kind of entertainment. When the Greenland population arrogantly refer to their “culture” and for the entertainment they brutally kill hundreds of dolphins (they have a celebration of adulthood, and if you want to prove you are a man, you have to kill a dolphin, brutally torturing it), they cannot expect “understanding and respect”.
But it is different with religion. We have to “respect and understand” religion as it is, the whole of it, with its appeals to kill disbelievers. Isn’t it stupid? Why not say simply: “our religion is great and wonderful, but part of it is horrible, which once seemed to be good for us. We live in a new world, where we cannot kill for disobedience to the parents or behead for changing beliefs. It is impossible, criminal and disgusting. Let us erase these lines and leave only the part that we like now. Let scientists, historians and politicians study the original texts. Let them stay in libraries, why would the books stay on the bookshelves in every house? Why give them to children for reading and prohibit from having any doubts in truthfulness and sacredness of each phrase under fear of capital punishment?
Those expressions of hatred in “sacred texts” had already done their work, they helped the religion to survive in the conditions of extreme hostility, where murders and tortures were not constrained with any ethic norms at all. “Thank” them and dump them. Thanks to this religion that brought the ideas of forgiving and compassion to the masses, today we live in the world where this religion as it has been, is now unacceptable!
Let us have a look at the cults that had no aggressive elements. For example, there is a cult of the Indian Saint Ramakrishna. We have quite comprehensive stories of his life (XlX century) and there are no reasons to suspect them to be untrue. The books of his disciples and followers are full of non-contradictive evidences about his behaviour, his words and teachings. There is no aggression in it, not even a milligram of it. And what – does anybody know anything about him, except the specialists and the fans interested in Indian esotery? Is there at least one “Ramakrishna follower”? Even in India not many people know about him, there are enough of gods there, speaking nothing of Ramakrishna. If Ramakrishna lived not in the 19th century, but let us say, the sixteenth or twelfth century, some man would come with a knife, cut his throat, slice his disciples’ bellies and that would be the end of the religion. Any religion, even the one that promulgates mercifulness and compassion, must be able to defend itself to survive. Times have changed.
Terrorists are evil. But what do they think?
But they think they bring good. Seriously! If you do not understand it, terrorism will never stop. When you look attentively at the photos of the terrorist leaders, as well as religious leaders, vindicating terrorism, it is hard to ignore the fact that they do not look horrible. You expect to see a cross-eyed twisted face with spite, but you see the opposite – a pleasant smile, a face of a kind man, damn it! You look at him and can’t stop wondering – “is it him – the shittiest of the terrorists and the patron of the terrorists?” But all the matter is in the fact that they are “kind people” as they understand it. Why not, they would ask. They do what the “sacred texts” teach them. Tens of millions of people around them are sure that these texts are true and sacred throughout. And the rest of the world respects this point of view!! And you, the reader of this article, also respect the texts that appeal to kill unbelievers, execute disobedience of parents and behead for the change of beliefs.
It is often said that terrorists interpret these texts wrongly. Those who say that must have not read these texts, as well as have not read those who read them. Though, if these books are written in such a language that millions and tens of millions “interpret them wrong”, then shouldn’t something be changed? Because the price of the “wrong interpretations” is very high. On our shelves we do not have beautiful books with a title page made of leather and embossed in gold and with stories of how to prepare the poison from the essence of the death cup amanita or explosives to kill everybody with a wrong form of nose. We do not call those books “sacred” from the beginning to the end. We do not execute those who have doubts in the truthfulness of the books content.
There cannot be a “moderate religion”. Every “moderate” believer who thinks of those books known to us as “sacred”, supports by this attitude all the appeals to hatred, genocide and other stuff of this kind with his both hands raised. Even if he does not kill himself, other people do it for him, being raised on the texts, which are “sacred from the first to the last letter”.
By the way, do not think of the Soviet films about Hitler as a historical document. Hitler is not a grotesque character. He was a live personage who deceived, persuaded and thus enticed and united or forced tens of millions of people of one of the most educated European nations! And he pushed them into a horrible mincing machine of crimes. Find a way to see the real Hitler – e.g. buy a BBC film “World in the war”. There are records of Hitler’s speeches. In it he does not produce an impression of a funny idiot with the moustache. It’s not worth insulting tens of millions of people from one of the most educated European nations when saying that they have given up their lives, their well-being, their future and the future of their children for the sake of a caricature comedian-idiot. For them Hitler was the hope to make justice. France and Poland predatory eviscerated Germany after the First World War – so what could they expect? That Germans will take it down and forget? For Germans Hitler was kind, just and a strong leader. Like Stalin was for the Russians. Like Mao was for the Chinese. And it will go on until we say “what was good at that time – is not good today. Times have changed”.
Personality? What is it?
To understand the evolution of any social process, including the process of the evolution of religious conscience, we cannot consider an individual as a personality of integrity. It is strange, but by some unknown reason this quite simple idea is not accepted by historians and sociologists. I do not say that it is impossible to understand anything at all if you refuse to consider an individual closely, but if you want to comprehend something in an issue of your interest, then of course it is worthwhile to be aware that a unique and integral personality does not exist at all.
Every day, every hour any individual faces the fact that the decisions, taken before, are not fulfilled, or sincere strong wishes suddenly seem to be stupid and empty, then some time later – again sincere and strong. At night I can anticipate that in the morning I get up early, pour a bucket of ice-cold water on myself and have a run in the crisp snow. But in the morning I convulsively pull the blanket over myself and reject in terror my previous stupid plan.
A person is a combination of sub-personalities. It sounds complicated, but it is easy. Every moment there is a combination of perceptions that designates itself with the idea of “I”. People would get rid of a lot of the most stupid illusions and would be able to build a much happier life, if they supported the clarity that the combination of perceptions with a label of “I” is a different combination of perceptions that will happen to be in a day, maybe even in an hour or in five minutes. The laws of the society – criminal, moral, written or unwritten introduce the notion of “responsibility” – correspondingly there is a criminal responsibility, moral responsibility and so on. Again, if we look at the issue from the point of view of evolution: if only these forms of society survive that have the notion of responsibilities, it means having them is an evolutionary advantage.
Actually, this point of view is significantly simplified – and I want to mention about it briefly. For example, people have the flu everywhere. Does it mean that this is an evolutionary advantage? No, of course, it does not. To be more precise, flu is not an evolutionary advantage of people. The flu virus lives and evolves on its own, and the fact that it still exists, means its contemporary variations have survived in the evolutionary struggle. If it is advantageous for people – is a very complicated question. It seems that the flu virus is not needed at all. But about fifty years ago there were even more extravagant theories, like, for example, we did not need swamps and deserts. And indeed – what is good in a swamp? Good only for making your boots muddy. There is no need to remind of what has been done by being guided with these concepts. This is why the phrase can be even more precise: the only reason of explaining why modern societies have the notion of responsibility is the assumption that this notion of responsibility developed the societies more capable of survival and competition.
It is quite easy to explain this evolution mechanism. A society lacking the concept of responsibility is hardly capable of constructive and creative activity.
However, the application of responsibility concept for estimation of our behaviour is not as easy as it seems. And it is exactly due to man being a complex of sub-personalities. It would be odd to punish one person for something done by another – such communities would not be capable of living. But not punishing a person for something that has been done with his own hands under the influence of a sub personality, different from the one at the moment, also seems to be unjust. Nevertheless, such form of injustice is more sustainable. In a number of cases, by the way, the Penal Code introduces the notion of “sub-personality”, very indefinite though, and does not even punish an individual for the misconduct of another sub-personality. These cases are extremely rare, but in certain conditions a circle of exceptions can expand up to complete chaos.
Here is an example from a recent story. A man assaulted an underage boy in a stairway of an apartment block and abused him sexually. What he was doing we do not know as at that moment the boy’s father – an ex professional boxer – went out of his apartment and saw it. One blow was enough to kill the man. The court exonerated the father, as he acted “in a fit of passion”. It is interesting, but the court sometimes exonerates from accusations a husband killing his wife, when he catches her with a lover in the spousal bed. In Saudi Arabia the court will exonerate a husband from accusations for killing the wife, if she goes outside on her own and says a couple of words to a strange man. It looks like the murderer is acquitted due to having very strong negative emotions. Though, the court also takes into account the “rightfulness” of the source of these strong negative emotions in conformity with the dominating concepts of the society.
During Stalin’s time, a murderer could get an automatic acquittal if he killed a “Trotskyite” or a “kulak” (a rich peasant that had people working for him). Automatic acquittal and even an encouragement is for a man killing a military person of another country, when his country is in the state of war with that country. There are also other exclusions, but as a rule, nobody takes into account sub-personalities existing in the person, especially if the behaviour, we are speaking about, is significant from the point of view of the social institutions. And if a person wants to survive and be successful, he has to adapt to this state of the situation – his every sub-personality is responsible for the consequences of the behaviour of another sub-personality. A policeman will definitely fine you for speeding if you tell him this was your other sub-personality speeding as it was feeling temperamental and was already disgraced by other sub-personalities including the one dealing with the policeman at the moment. Most likely you will be fined plus get a travel pack to the home for the insane.
Regardless of how strange it is, the described above situation is quite possible, more than that, you can face it with your every step. Naturally, there is an evolutionary sense in it, and most likely, it is in the fact that the interpersonal relationships are the battle area for the sub-personalities of one and the same person, thus they are structured and form the system of the intrapersonal power and provide personal development. Strict rules that cover the interpersonal sphere and establish responsibility regardless of which sub-personality is responsible, most likely would make impossible the development of a close-knit social environment, whether it is a family or a group of colleagues or a circle of friends. An unfaithful husband would ask his wife to forgive him, saying he was drunk and the dominating sub-personality of that moment was guilty, and the complex of dominating sub-personalities, when sober, unanimously or by majority condemned the drunken sub-personality. Actually, this situation is undesirable for the sober sub-personalities, because if the wife does not forgive her husband, only a drunken sub-personality will not care, all the others will face undesirable consequences. This is why, even though the responsibility in the interpersonal relationships does not bring immediate and irreversible changes, nevertheless repetition of the situation, especially if it happens often, can lead to these changes. So each sub-personality has preferences and other sub-personalities have to respect its values. As a result, the most successful person’s sub-personalities respect each other’s values.
Habits always tend to pass over the limits. Hating enemies leads to hating more people, phenomena, ideas, this is why any wars are twice as destructive. At first the damage is done by the enemy, then by the country’s soldiers. Analogically with respect – if the sub-personalities of a person have developed as a circle with respect to each other, which means they take into account each other’s values and interests, then this pattern expands over the limits of one complex of sub-personalities. The more the person is balanced, the more integral his behaviour and the more cooperative and tolerant he is towards other people. Chaos among personalities, which definitely is achieved due to inculcating of dogmas and taboos, always leads to overflowing outside. This is why the society with dominating religious dictatorships (whether it is Christianity, Islam, communism or politeness) unavoidably generates inner chaos. On the other hand, the society consisting of people with enlightened perceptions, or people aspiring towards enlightened perceptions, is an unachievable ideal for our ordinary societies from the point of view of stability, mutual acceptance and support, psychological comfort and capability to resist destructive impacts from within and outside.
But how is the balance achieved, when there is a constructive interaction between the sub-personalities of an individual? What happens exactly? What is wrong with the situation, when one sub-personality is looking after a baby, reads books and then takes a bomb and blows up a trading centre, killing himself and the future of the family, and partially – the future of his country, his religion, for the sake of which it is done? What is wrong with the situation, when a person gets a tertiary education, then another degree, becomes an expert in Geology and Archeology, generates bright hypothesis, learns from great teachers, and then suddenly weighs a Bible on one hand, on another hand all his scientific knowledge about the world, rejects the last and becomes a religious zealot (a story of this kind is described by Dawkins)? What happens, when an adult, educated, intelligent, clear-headed (please continue yourself) against all the sensibility person supports ideas of Earth existing for 10 thousand years and being created by God?
If we look at a person as a complex of sub-personalities, it will be easier to understand his religious behaviour. Particularly, it is necessary to investigate how the agreement of sub-personalities about mutual co-existence is achieved and how it is broken, as well as the process of a separate sub-personality evolution and its impact on the individual’s integral behaviour. A serious study of religiosity, as well as of other psychological and social issues is impossible without such investigations. But this issue is secondary within the subject of this book and I will not address it here.
How shall we live without religion?
Shall we be able to solve difficult moral issues without religion? Yes, and very well. Issues are solved in the most effective way, if we use our senses, on the basis of the facts, including scientific facts. Employment of morals dominating at the time, will also help, but will religion help? In his book “The God’s Delusion” Dawkins writes, while making references to outrageous extracts from the “sacred texts” – regardless of how the modern morality developed, the Bible is not the source of it. This is an arguable statement, because most likely, the modern morality has the same sources of those forces that have participated in the introduction of its humanistic constituents (especially at the time of creation). But what part of those “sacred” texts applies now? Extremely very small. Of course, this little part can be used in solving issues, but what for, if we evaluate the content of the Bible from the point of view of contemporary moral (and most often find this content senseless or disgusting) and not vice versa.
Let us take, for example, the issue of abortions. Every time, when this issue is discussed on TV, there will be always, or most often, a priest among the experts. Why is he there, this retrograde, considering the collection of disgusting (for a person of our time) ideas, stories and appeals to be “sacred texts”? What is so clever that this man in a cassock can add to the information of obstetricians, anesthesiologists, biologists, embryologists, surgeons, psychologists, physiologists, endocrinologists and so on? Maybe, he will remind us of the value of life, because the church is against abortions, maybe. But we know of the life value without him, as for him – he would rather have a look into the “source of his wisdom” and explain why there are there appeals to murder? At the same time he better tell us why his God is an appalling sadist punishing innocent people for a certain sin of Adam and Eve? Why did his God order Abraham to stab his son with a dagger? And why did the founder of religions conformed and thus deserved the approval and support of God? Did he just do what he had been ordered? This position was already adequately apprehended at Nuremberg Trial, even though it was shameful in every respect (I hope Suvorov and his followers will reveal this farce when they get into this subject), but in this part it deserved respect.
In another story God makes Jephthah burn his own little daughter in the bonfire (!!) as a sign of “gratitude” for the victory in a battle that was a gift from God. Oh yes, we forgot that the Old Covenant story of Adam and Eve is not a matter-of-fact story, it is symbolical, – Dawkins says. Is it symbolical? That is, to produce an impression for himself, Jesus organized his own torture and execution as atonement for a symbolical sin of a non-existing person? Please tell me – isn’t it madness in the worst cruel and disgusting form?
No, better this Mister in a cassock goes to his companions, we will be able to do without him.
How would I solve the issue of abortions?
First of all, my position is that a murder of a human is categorically unacceptable. Of course, with a rare exception of the cases, when due to a person’s extremely aggressive and dangerous actions, as well as extremely dangerous consequences, resulting from the behaviour of this person, the murder turns out to be unavoidable. A drunken person, whether it is from vodka or religion, assaulting another person with a knife, should be killed, if there are doubts that his victim can be rescued. Have you placed a weapon in your hands to kill, or injure and hurt somebody? Bear responsibility.
But this position of mine concerns a human, not something else. Embryo is not a person. We know exactly that in the process of the development a man changes according to the evolution process. During the first month embryo is more a fish or amphibian, but not a human. Will it turn out into a human? Definitely it will. But with the same success a spermatozoid and an egg cell will also become a human. Shall we organize societies to save every spermatozoid? Let us ban masturbation, by the way, it is banned by church, more than that, the “sacred text” gives a wonderful piece of advice – if you want to stroke in affection your penis or pussy – chop your hand off – it’s better to be without a hand, than live like that – see the Gospel of St. Mark (9:43-44) (do you still want to invite a priest to discuss the issues?). Shall we sentence the bastard in case of occasional night ejaculation for involuntary mass manslaughter? This is nonsense, of course. Why then the punishment for killing an embryo is not nonsense? As Dawkins notices, then every person should be punished, if he avoids coition while having a chance of coition, because he “killed” somebody who could be born as a result.
This is already an old notorious story, when a medical student is asked if pregnancy should be terminated, if the father has syphilis, the mother has tuberculosis, four sons have already died of idiotism, hepatitis and Saint Vitus’ dance disease. When the student says yes, the exultant professor announces: “Congratulations, you have just killed Beethoven!” Of course, Beethoven got into this folklore absolutely by chance, it could be anybody, as far as this story is complete nonsense from the first to the last letter. But it is interesting why naïve students do not have sex immediately on a professor’s desk, and do not blame him, if he is angry, in an attempted murder of a new genius composer that the world would never know of?
Quite often a solution of a problem is possible to achieve without being certain in all of the constituents. The issue of abortions is one of them. Indeed, I do not know when the embryo becomes a little human. Thorough investigations are required to achieve a solution, with many highly knowledgeable embryologists and other specialists involved as experts (but not a priest in a cassock, who crosses himself just from hearing a word “gastrula”. In the majority of cases there is actually no necessity in banning or permitting abortions. When is it accepted safe to have an abortion? Is it month six or seven? No, of course not, this is why the most of the women make it during the first, maximum second month. Let us clarify and ask the scientists – can they tell us for sure that the embryo is still not a human during the third month – with the same degree of certainty as when they say that a week old embryo is not a human yet? Is it? What about the fourth month? Is it not? If not, then the solution may be as following: an abortion is allowed till the fourth month of pregnancy. If a woman was infantile, indifferent, dull and inert, or delayed longer, she will have to be patient for six months longer – you now have a human in her belly, not an embryo.
After the baby is born, the mother that wanted to kill the embryo should be under observation by an expert group of psychologists. They have to take a decision, if this baby can remain in her care, because, on one hand, if she wanted to kill him by some reasons, these reasons still can exist. On the other hand, her doubts “to kill – or not to kill” could be reasoned with such factors, as fear of the future, lack of confidence and so on. She did not see her baby, only her large belly and sickness. But the situation has changed – here he is, he is a live baby, she can have a feeling towards him, and in this situation her previous wish to kill an embryo can be considered insignificant in relation to the necessary legal consequences.
I accept that my position concerning abortions is not mature, and experienced obstetricians, physiologists, embryologists and other scientists can add much as their point will be supported by facts and clinical practice. In the result, the position as per abortion can be changed or get more complicated. But as a whole do you like this approach to the issue less that the approach offered by church? I want to remind that they offer us to accept the “sacred texts” seriously from the beginning to the end, but in this case it is dangerous to let them get close to people. Or they recommend to us to accept biblical stories and commandments allegorically. Allegories are fine, but who and how interprets them? What exactly and to what degree are they allegories? This or that is the allegory? From which point to which is it an allegory? Who makes the decision? Is it the Pope? Do you want the Pope to be the one to make a decision about your pregnancy? Allegory is from the world of poetry, prose, high style and spectacular feature characters. What does it have to do with abortions?
The profoundness of belief.
Quite often you can hear phrases like “his belief was very deep”, or “deep in his heart he was a believer”. Such clichés cause confusion, which is good for those who want to cover a lack of content with high phrases. What “depth” are we speaking about? What is deep? This obscurity is comfortable, when people do not want to think and prefer to stay unaware.
Meanwhile, it is all extremely clear. There is such a phenomenon as “certainty”. It is necessary to differentiate certainty from other perceptions – thoughts, emotions, senses. Imagine me bending over and taking something from the ground. Is it easy to be certain I have a small stone in my hand? Yes, it is. But after that I will laugh and say I have intentionally confused you, I do not have a stone in my hand. In the same way it is easy to be sure there is no stone in my hand. Everybody can practice in the change of certainty. I draw your attention – this is not the thought “there is a stone there” or “there is no stone there”, though the certainty is accompanied with these thoughts, of course. If you are sure, that I have a stone in my hand, even if I say “I have no stone there”, it will not change your certainty, because these are different perceptions.
This is the crux of the matter! If a certain person by whatever reasons, whether it is the fear of opposing a common position or a wish to look extraordinary, says he does not believe in God, does it really mean he does not? No, it does not. Certainty and thoughts can be in disharmony. There may be even especially complicated schemes, when a person, being on his own, confirms he does not believe in God, and nevertheless, his same sub-personality has confidence in god’s existence. The reason of this phenomenon is in “insincerity”. Every person exercises in insincerity from the moment of making a choice to protect his inner world, his system of values and opinions from the external aggressive impact, and at the same time to avoid inner conflict. At first the person starts to deceive others, then voluntarily or involuntarily, he does it to himself. I did not eat that jam! I did not, I did not! To avoid punishment and look sincere to the fullest, the child forces out from his memory the fact of eating that jam. Thus he changes his confidence. The stronger the threat, the more effectively the child learns to be insincere. Regardless of my right or wrong understanding of the insincerity pattern development, every person is definitely insincere in many ways (if not in everything).
There is nothing unusual in the situation, when one person (one complex of sub-personalities) says to people and to himself he does not believe in God, but in a critical situation suddenly another sub-personality either reveals a confidence in God’s existence or quickly generates this certainty due to psychotherapeutic reasons. If a plane you are on starts to break up, a mechanism of self-comforting can work and generate the confidence in God’s existence. If the country, you live in, is uncontrollably falls into chaos of the dictatorship and zealotry, then the sub-personality, which is revealed under fear impact, can generate the confidence in God.
So there is no depth of a heart for nesting the belief in God. There is a certainty in God’s existence, which is generated, like many other perceptions, by a person depending on the situation. Somebody may think that the psychotherapeutic effect of this kind is good. Negative emotions can dement, while if a belief in God is generated, one can be quiet. Maybe this is right. I think it’s up to one’s choice. But to make a choice, it is necessary to see what it is like. What’s there on each pan of the balance scales? Generating confidence in God pacifies, and a calm person is capable of more effective survival. It is definitely right. But let us not forget the same calmness can be relaxing as well. We know that a stressed person is capable of sometimes beyond the impossible. Relaxing and “entrusting yourself to God” is also quite possible consequence of the belief in God. It is also good to remember that insincerity as it is – is an extremely dangerous disease.
But have you noticed the change of the subject? We already discuss if the belief in God is good or pointless in critical situations. Meanwhile we have already found the answer to the question of this paragraph – “there is no depth of the heart which would accommodate the belief in God”. There is something different – people automatically generate blind certainty in God’s existence when the situation is critical.
Respect my political correctness.
We can often hear appeals to respect various beliefs. These appeals are so widespread and they have become such an essential attribute of any discussions concerning religion, that nobody even contemplates – but what is the actual meaning in the phrase? What does it mean – “respect religion”? As long as nobody knows the exact meaning, this word became a kind of a club to bash to the right and left. Quite often there is in one hand a club “respect of religion” and in another no less unclear “political correctness”. Let us be politically correct. Ok, let us. But how is it? It is not clear, because there is no definition. And as soon as religious people hear some cool-headed phrases about religion, they immediately bash their club: “now, let us respect religion!”
Let us make sense. Every religion has something of its own, and it is often something opposite. Well, there are some similar points, for example, hatred to the followers of other beliefs is an integral part of all religions, both in “sacred texts” and in behavioural patterns. But if we compare the Koran, Talmud and the New Testament, it is not hard to see the difference. Though, we do not need to look for this difference. The believers themselves are absolutely sure in the principal difference of religions and it is proved by the fact that the followers of one belief cannot be the followers of another. There is also a religion stipulating death for the change to another religion. It means they find the difference is so huge.
It also means that when they appeal to “respect” religion, it is obviously not the appeal to “accept” it, which is not the appeal to believe in all religions. Let us see how this “respect” is manifested practically. It happens in the following way: priests of different religions meet together in front of the TV camera and claim: “my religion is true, all the rest are misapprehended. Nevertheless (addressing his neighbor-priest), I treat you with respect though you believe in your inadequate religion. The neighbor, addressing the first priest, says the same. All applaud, go home and continue to inculcate ideas of their religion being the only true one, and all the rest are wrong. It means that respect is the acceptance of the right of people for a mistake. Actually, the first priest says to the second that he is tolerant of him believing in the wrong religion, and the second priest says the same to the first.
Thus, an atheist will be considered as “respectful” to a religion, if he, while saying everything he thinks of it, still agrees with the right of others to make mistakes and have a system of judgment that seems wrong for other people. Well, it is impossible not to support this position. Standing up for your point of view while supporting a position of non violence – everybody can choose the system of views and should not be persecuted for that.
And everything seems to be good.
But not all is good.
And what about the sacred texts that urge to spit on the graves of wrong believers, curse their mothers and kill those, who changed their belief? Excuse me, something is not right here. How can a believer agree to the principal of freedom of faith (or freedom of not believing) and continue thinking of himself as a follower of the religion, built on “sacred texts” that express extreme hostility and intolerance towards non-believers? It results in a lie. Window dressing. This principle does not bring peace, because it can be shared only by atheists, who do not have “sacred texts” appealing to hate non-believers. But when the religious people speak of following this principle, they just deceive themselves. Or they deceive others.
I will not write in detail about political correctness, as it relates to religion only indirectly – particularly, it is the same type of self-deceit (or deceit). Being politically correct at our time means to prohibit thinking, more than that, speaking and writing about the differences between various nationalities. Individuals can have their peculiarities, this is what you are allowed to think about, but do not dare if it concerns nations. Ignoring this ban can result in imprisonment. Meanwhile, this is stupid. Living in one country, people mix and acquire similar qualities that often are different from a typical national character. Isn’t it obvious? Before our politicians prohibited thinking about national special features, it was a subject of many contemplations and writings, and it did not cause any extremism. Actually, a whole science is now banned – ethnography. Instead of fighting against terrorism and extremism, the world community fights those who think and speak of national character features (even if there is some misunderstanding). What does it lead to – prohibition to think? Oh, we know it very well – it results in narrow-minded doctrinarianism and shauvinism. Let us remember what happens to the communities where thinking is not allowed and ask if we want to walk twice into the same water. The Western, allegedly democratic, community stamps the forbidden subjects one after another, more than that, it is not an “unspoken ban”, but the responsibility that is criminal! Even without taking time to remember I can name a few subjects that are banned from thinking about and from discussions, if not conformed, it will result in imprisonment or persecution, like: “is it true that so many Jews have been killed by Nazis”, “was Hitler really a villain”, “sex with underage children – is it really to be banned”, “is that true that all nations are equal”. There are, of course, peculiarities in every country. In China the questions like “is that true that Tibet is a part of China according to its own free will or has it been occupied by the Chinese”, or “maybe this is true that the Chinese death camps have thousands of Tibetan monks, that are brutally tortured there” unambiguously result in imprisonment. In Turkey it is better not to ask “is this true that Turks have committed genocide against Armenians?” In Russia god save you from asking a question “maybe the Soviet people, like the Nazis, aimed to capture the whole world and together with the Germans unleashed the Second World War?”
Banned subjects increase and multiply. The key is to start. And it has been already started, it has its attractions. I want to remind that this is very dangerous. Do you remember: “where books are being burnt, soon people will be burnt”? Thus banning thinking and discussions is the contemporary analogy of burning books. It means if we do not cancel these bans, soon people will start being burnt.
Why are these subjects forbidden? It is because they seem to be dangerous: like, if somebody writes that by his opinion a certain nation has some dislikable qualities, it will cause extremism. This is wrong. Direct appeals to violence lead to extremism, but not even they do. Extremism is caused by those who take up guns. Those who contemplate on comparative qualities of nations, are not criminals, as well as not criminals are even those who urge to kill. Criminals are the people with guns. This is the position that is normal and educational: “was it your friend who urged you to take the gun? This is his right. Was it him who said that all… should be killed? That’s his opinion and we will not touch him. But you have taken the gun – and you will be sentenced as you deserve”. Such a policy would correctly highlight the key points: a terrorist is not the one who is doing the thinking or urging; it is the one who COMMITS the extremist acts. This way we will be able both to fight against the extremism and have the freedom of speech (which will enable to convey the diversity of opinions to the potential terrorists and, possibly, confuse their fanatical confidence in the rightness of their approach).
Buddhism is not a religion, there is no God.
This is a familiar phrase, isn’t it? I even mentioned it previously in the text, and most likely, it has been “digested” without objections.
Usually this statement is supported by the fact that Buddha is not God, but a man, who achieved enlightenment without the help of gods, due to self-development.
It sounds good, but it is (self-) deceit. Buddhism is a religion and it is full of gods, different spirits, demons, sacred texts, rituals, innumerable rituals and dogmas, there is also dislike to non-believers and so on and so forth. By the way, according to the doctrine, Buddha Gautama experienced temptations similar to those that the saints of other religions had, but so to say, he did not bite the apple. Actually, Buddhism has the doctrine of possibility to achieve enlightenment without gods, due to the spiritual practice. But this is an abstract doctrine, mixed-up with others, supporting submission of human willpower. This way or the other way, but Buddhists behave exactly like believers of any other confession, thus the question if Buddhism is a religion, has only a historical, philosophical and suchlike scientific character, but not practical, because Buddhists are believers in the same way as Orthodox Christians, Shiite and Seventh-Day Adventists and so on.
I just believe in God.
Sometimes it happens that somebody says: I am not a Buddhist, not a Muslim, not a Christian and so on – I just believe in God and that is all. It looks so peaceful and wonderful – this person is not devoted to “sacred texts”, not confused with doctrines of hatred towards non-believers, and he has a very peaceful disposition: “if you believe in some God – it’s ok, I also believe in my God”, or “if you do not believe in any God – it’s ok, I do believe”.
Such peacefulness seems to be praiseworthy… until you ask this person a question: does he think the “sacred texts” of different religions are rubbish (or even more than that – extremist texts)? Can he categorically say that a lot of quotations from various “sacred” books are disgusting, antihuman and criminal? Do you think he will say “yes”? Please try.
If he says no, it means he with “his cap in hands” approves of all what has already been written above about the amazing qualities of the “sacred texts”, and who is he after this?
Is it a result or a belch?
There is one issue necessary to investigate and comprehend in order not to make an elementary mistake. When we speak of evolution, we must understand that evolution is a veeeeeeeery long process, while our life and the life of the culture that we know of, is very short if compared to evolution. A simple example will illustrate it. Not so long ago – in the middle of the 20th century, Australian aborigines or Philippine sea gypsies or African bushmen have been considered to be undeveloped, not in the sense of the lagging civilization, but undeveloped biologically, from the evolutionary point of view. However, the contemporary fashion for everything “ethnic” brings the fact that some representatives of those nations are involved in the Western culture from childhood. For example, it can happen through an adoption. When such children from an “undeveloped tribe” come to an ordinary school and get the common conveyor of the European education and upbringing, what’s amazing – these children are as clever as Europeans. They do not differ. This huge difference between the civilizations has no significance from the point of view of our evolutionary development. The mind of a Bushman is ready to grasp sciences, manners and other attributes of civilization in the same way as the mind of a European. Possibly, if we took a child from a tribe, existing 50 thousand years ago, then maybe there would be some difference. Though I think that even this period of time is not enough, maybe half a million years is required to see the evolutionary gap.
What does it mean? If the evolution pace is measured by thousand year steps, and our civilization changes nearly every 50 – 100 years, and the history we know of is not longer than 6 – 8 thousand years, after that this is more archeology, than history – this leads to an important conclusion: not everything existing for a few thousand years, is an evolutionary advantage. With the same success it can be a “belch” of the evolution, i.e. the manifestation of the evolutionary mechanism, developed in absolutely different conditions. Dawkins makes a very simple, but illustrative example, and I will refer to it as well. Possibly, I should have started this paragraph with this example, but I want the example to be the starting point for the clarity, which is evidently not sufficient for the moment.
Moths fly into the fire and burn. It happens everywhere – in all countries, everywhere on the Earth. It has always been like that and it will be for a long time yet. If we forget that evolution is a veeery long process, then it’s possible to make an allegedly obvious, but still a wrong statement: “the need of self-burning” is an evolutionary advantage. Indeed – if there are on the Earth only such moths, then this suicidal quality is their evolutionary advantage. But in reality it is different. Moths have a system of night orientation. It is organized in such a way, that the insect chooses the direction of the night migration with the moon light falling at the angle of 30 degrees. They have ocellus eyesight and technically it is very simple – if light gets into a proper eye cell, it means this is the right direction. Possibly, it has been for millions of years. But then the humans appeared, they learnt to use candles and fires – there appeared much night light on the planet. As for the moths with the developed mechanism, working for millions of years, they have not yet noticed us, and their mechanism works well. The moth flies at the angle of 30 degrees towards the fire and it brings the moth spiraling into the fire.
Hence there is a simple conclusion. As far as all the known cultures have religion, it does not mean at all that religiosity is an evolutionary advantage. Something else could be the evolutionary advantage, but in the contemporary conditions (i.e. as minimum, during the history, known to us) this “something” took the form of religiosity. Possibly, once we will find an answer to this question, and I tend more towards this variant, because, from my point of view, religiosity is so obviously destructive, that it just cannot be an evolutionary advantage. It is extremely hard to imagine that something causing continuous cruel wars, even more cruel feuds, consuming huge resources and time for various rituals (imagine at least how many lives, resources and all other was needed to build the pyramids), something suppressing common sense and giving the source of any type of hypocrisy and obscurantism, could become an evolutionary advantage? It is very difficult to imagine.
In the case with moths we have an event that caused this “burp” of the evolutionary mechanism – appearing of humans and expansion of the open fire. Possibly, we will find an event that sourced the “burp” of the evolutionary process under the name “religiosity”. One of the variants of such an event can be speech. When people learnt to speak, and not only speak, but also listen, they started having thoughts, because thoughts are nothing else, but a recollection of speech. We as if speak “inwardly”, i.e. imagine or remember speech. Some scientists make an assumption, that in the beginning people thought somebody was talking to them in their minds. The thoughts were perceived as the speech of another being. And this is what activated religiosity on the basis of some other human’s quality, which is not known to us for the moment.
Of course, it is hard to say anything definitely, but it is significant to be aware, that if there is something that exists all around, it still does not mean in itself to be an evolutionary advantage.
What pig ruined everything?
But indeed – how did it happen that religion became such a retrograde, dogmatic and hypocritical force? How did it happen that the word “temple” has become extremely far from association with “bonking”, “sucking penis”, “playing”? Our contemporaries (especially those suffering a lack of an education) think it has always been like this. But let us remember it has NOT ALWAYS been this way. In ancient Rome there were temples, where priestesses (vestals) had sex openly. It was legal and it was their job. The same was in ancient Greece. Both in Greece and Rome sex was more open than now, including sex with underage children. Open a book of Plutarch, for example, and there you will find phrases, like “such and such person was a lover in his early youth of such and such person, and when he grew up, he found a preteen for himself”. There was not even a hint in these texts that these people thought of themselves as victims. Look at the Hindu temples in India or Nepal (for example, the temples of Khajuraho or in Patana, Kathmandu) – they are decorated with a lot of bas reliefs with the images of people having sex, and they have SUCH sex, that contemporary people are even afraid to look at it – there is sex of three and four people together, and anal and oral sex and whatever possible. Millions of tourists come to these temples, look at them, there are cards and statues with the sexual images from bas reliefs in the shops.
Questions arise: who has ruined it all? If hundreds of millions of Hindus worship these temples as holy shrines, and billions of people “respect” their religion – why don’t they have sex as openly as shown on the bas reliefs?
Usually the answer is this: well, you know, these are symbols, these are the images of cosmic laws in such allegorical forms. And again we are back to the same point – a very comfortable way of cheating – whatever is good for us, we pronounce it to be true. Whatever we do not like – is allegory. But what attribute proves these scenes to be allegories? Is it written there that these are allegorical pictures? No, it is not. They just want us to believe, as if they know for sure – this is an allegory.
Let us remember the ancient Slovenian pagan cults. There was also so much sex there, more than enough, and in such forms, including group sex by whole villages, that it will seem extremely disgusting to our contemporary hypocrites.
There is also sometimes an argument, that yes, it did exist, but these were ancient and imperfect cults and they gave way to the modern, perfect and true religions. It means they want to ensure us, that the happiness of living, the pleasure from sex – is outdated and wrong, but suppression of sex, constant feeling of guilt, dispirited sexuality that finds a release in the form of hatred, irritation, jealousy, illnesses and early ageing, as well as hostility towards disbelievers and other so called wonders – it means it’s all right and true?
And who created this idiotism?
What sensible person will agree to it?
What pig ruined all this and what pigs try to keep it this way at this present time?
What for, man? Hey, man, are you silly?
Quite often you face the opinion that God punishes people for their sins of miscreance through illnesses, different disasters and wars. You do not have to go too far to find examples – popular priests from different countries, starting with USA and finishing with Iran, menace with terrible punishments for atheism and tolerance towards atheism, for sins and suchlike (see Dawkins book with striking examples).
For example, there is a wide spread opinion, according to which God has punished people with AIDS for homosexualism. This is odd. Homosexuals are approximately 1% of the population, but anybody can get AIDS, e.g. in the process of a blood transfusion, of dental treatment, during sex with your wife, and even during the birth from a mother. What is it – is it the example of the God’s supreme justice? What about us – should we also become as just as him? If one person from a village stole – does it mean the whole village is to be culled? We have got through all this, enough, we do not want it any more. There is a strong wish to ask this God: hey, man, are you stupid? Or are you a sadist? What idiot has come up with such a God? And, to put it mildly, what sort of people support such a God?
It is accepted that we had a country where atheism triumphed – the USSR, so God punished it for atheism through horrible wars – the Citizen war and the Second World War. The question, actually, is the same: man, are you stupid? Why then did the countries with the well-developed religiosity, like Japan, USA, England and others, lose so many people? Why have so many Jews been killed, plus in such a barbarian way in the gas chambers? They are all Judaists. Or is their religion “wrong”?
Sometimes they threaten: atheism leads to bloodshed, dictatorships and so on. But it’s so obvious that it’s not atheism leading to it, but hatred, superiority complex, racism, avarice, dullness. Do you know what was written on the buckle of each German soldier in the Second World War? Was it, maybe, “there is no God”? It was the opposite “God’s with us”.
Let us remember the medieval history of Europe. Were there many illnesses? There was a hell of a lot of illnesses! People just died out up to the beginning of the 20th century. In the middle of the 19th century every 3rd – 5th woman died of childbirth!! And what about plague? Tuberculosis? Poliomyelitis? Cholera? Was that not enough? By the way, these were the times of mass religiosity. And what was the position of the church? Did they support the work of Pasteur, Leeuwenhoek, Spallanzani, Koh? Like hell they did.
What is going to be like without religion?
As I have said earlier, if there is no religion, prohibiting to be sensible, to have doubts, to have sex and do sciences, then we will stop to invite those odd personages from the far past for TV discussions about the evil of abortions, and rely on scientific facts, sensibility, our own perceptions of justice and morality. Realization of our conclusions will be regulated by law, which also, in turn, will be affected by our perceptions. A wholesome system will be created, and our society will go on evolving.
As for me, from my point of view the definition of morality includes all that can encourage experiencing enlightened perceptions (EPs), all that leads to more people, experiencing EPs and aspiring to experience them more often and more of them, more intensive EPs, open new EPs; assist other people to experience EPs, experience and realize happy wishes, accompanied with anticipation; achieve clarity and stop supporting dullness in the form of groundless certainty; enjoy, whether it is enjoyment from food, or sauna, or sex of any kind, and again – assist other people live enjoying life. See details in my book on the website www.bodhi.ru
Did people guess earlier that sensibility and EPs will become a reliable landmark in the life of a man after ignorance and aggression are eliminated? Of course they did. Here is, for example, a quotation from Thomas Jefferson – the founder of America:
“Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find inducements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you”.
This morality includes the contemporary down-to earth morals, without any contradictions and confers the meaning to it, because when a person experiences EPs, he wants people, as many as possible, to enjoy life; because the person that has achieved or is achieving EPs wishes it due to his higher degree of freedom from dogmas, cruelty, aggression and other negative emotions, not under pressure, he will never force his morals. He knows for sure – EPs are never experienced forcibly. They can be achieved only due to a happy wish and in the conditions of maximal freedom of self-expression, creativity, pleasure, comfort and fondness towards other living creatures.
If my morality conflicts with the present legislation, I will probably try to make changes in this legislation, and while it is as is, I will comply with it or move to another country, where my morality does not contradict the legislation.