Just before I left Texas to come here, I saw a Christian commenting on my Twitter feed that our humanist morality is meaningless unless it is based on fear of divine retribution.
The Religious Right, who own and control everything in this country are so proud of their so-called values. Because that’s what makes them holier than thou, right? So as this event today is being hosted by the Washington Area Secular Humanists and the American Humanist Association, I’d like to compare religious values to Humanist values.
It’s amusing to me that I am addressing a humanist group, because the first time I was ever associated with y’all, I didn’t know what the word “Humanism” even meant. That was 46 years ago. I was eleven years old in East Los Angeles, circa 1973. To give you an idea of the setting, living in East L.A. in the early ‘70s was like growing up in a Cheech & Chong movie.
One day I was talking to some woman in the courtyard of our apartment complex. I don’t remember exactly what we were talking about. I think I was worried about how much we were polluting the planet, because that was always a concern for me for as long as I can remember. But she thought we could never ruin our environment no matter what we did. Because we were meant to be fruitful and multiply, to dominate and subdue the world. It was given to us by God with the intent that we use up all its resources until we don’t need it anymore; at which point, it should be discarded, and what’s left of it left to burn. Of course I disagreed with all of that.
At some point in that conversation, I guess she figured out that I believed in science, where she did not, and she had a dismissive sneer in her voice when she accused me of being a humanist.
She said that as if the word tasted bad, almost as bad as the word, “socialist”. If you said that word back then, you might have to spit afterward, just so everybody could see that you wanted to get that taste out of your mouth as fast as possible. Some words you dared not say without showing all the disgust you can muster. Because that was a time when everyone was suspicious of everyone else. You never know who might turn out to be a Commie Pinko junkie weirdo freak. So you’d better speak carefully; not just how you choose your words, but how you pronounce them, because you are being scrutinized. You may be a subversive.
Some words you couldn’t say at all. You had to use pejoratives instead, or else someone might think you’re a bit too comfortable talking about that. “Why are you so interested in this? I think you’ve been giving this too much thought”. It was an age of residual McCarthyism.
So this woman who called me a Humanist told me that Humanism was a religion, a religion that didn’t believe in any god. So I knew I couldn’t be a humanist because I believed in a god, because I was eleven—in 1973—when the word “atheist” meant an unreasonable amoral careless and cruel nihilistic rejection of everything good or pure or wholesome.
Did you know that the reason all of us unbelievers are always so hateful and bitter is because we’re unhappy, being jealous of the joy that only believers can feel. Or so I was told before I ever met an unbeliever, long before I became one myself.
This lady wanted me to know just how evil and un-American humanists were. She told me, “they have a manifesto”. You had to be plotting some insidious scheme if you have a manifesto, because that’s like an agenda, and that means you’re up to something. Except that a manifesto sounds so much more evil, doesn’t it. So you must be up to no good—using words we won’t look up because they sound so scary.
You know who else had a manifesto? The Commies!
I remember that, back then, I already knew what Communism was: an egalitarian society where everybody makes the same amount of money and they share everything equally—and that’s bad.
I also knew what Capitalism was: that everything is based on how much money you have, and too bad if you don’t, because you’re on your own if you can’t compete in a dog-eat-dog world. I understood that, because I liked to play Monopoly back then, and that always comes down to one winner owning a bunch of losers.
Remember that Social Darwinism was not related to anything Darwin ever actually taught or believed in. It was an economic theory proposed by Herbert Spencer, a Libertarian anarcho-capitalist, and it was used to promote extreme right-wing conservative, imperialist, even racist and fascist views of unrestricted free markets, where corporations can do whatever they want, without any need of inspections, regulations or oversight.
But that’s how I was always told that it should be; that Capitalism is good; it’s always good, and runaway Capitalism is even better. We don’t need to balance that with any socialist programs or policies.
I didn’t know what Socialism was. All I knew was that it was closer to Communism than to Capitalism. So being honestly curious, as I was a kid wanting to understand, I naively asked an intelligent question, expecting a reasonable answer. But whoever I asked was always dumbfounded. I asked two or three adults at different places at different times, “what is the difference between Communism and Socialism?”, but the ‘explanation’ that each of them gave me was “they’re both just as bad”.
They yelled that into my face as if even being curious about that was immoral. Then forever afterward, I was viewed as suspect. Just as there will be many people watching this on video, who by this point are already typing their enraged reactions to what they imagine I might have meant when I didn’t really imply what they think I did. But they’re still going to explain to me what they’re certain I don’t understand, and then I’ll have to explain what I didn’t really say or think or mean.
Because even though I’ve been arguing against extreme religious bigotry all my life, to my experience, politics is even less rational than religion.
I can find points of common ground even with fundamentalists when it comes to their beloved doctrine vs science or history or ethics. But in politics, everything is opinion, and the facts don’t matter at all. Or they’re all completely different, in a mirror image, where all the figures are reversed, and all their charts and graphs have been turned upside-down; so that suddenly our situation was better at its worst, and everything the Bush Administration did wrong was somehow Obama’s fault.
What made America great was that we used to have freedom of religion, where immigrants could flee persecution in their own countries, and be welcome to believe what they want here, or reject what they will; it didn’t matter. But American legislators now argue that you are only free to believe in God, according to whichever Christian denomination you choose. Because it’s all about freedom of their religion, not anyone else’s. Believers of every other faith are second class citizens, if they’re citizens at all. And those who reject faith itself don’t even count, and should be denied equal consideration.
For example, a couple days ago, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas implied that atheists can’t be trusted, because what does an oath mean if you’re only making promises to people who really exist? When you swear an oath to God, you’re only talking to yourself, and you can break promises to yourself, where you should honor your word to other people.
Our unprecedented political division seems to be based mostly on prejudice now. It has become so irrational that my family are happy to vote against their own interests as long as they think they can stick it to the Lib-tards. It doesn’t matter if it hurts me as long as it hurts you. Because of that, over the last year or so, I’ve lost some of my closest family and friends over political bigotry. That, and their indefensible worship of our marmalade Mussolini.
Which brings us back to 1973, and a very similar situation under Richard Nixon. Back then, as I was talking to that lady, I had to wonder, if Humanists don’t believe in God, what do they believe in? The lady told me that Humanists believe in humans. She said it with such disdain, like what willfully ignorant fools we are to believe in humans.
I was confused at that, because even though I still believed in God, I could also prove that humans really exist. But she clarified, saying that Humanists believe that humans are our own authority. Then I was even more confused, because I always thought we were anyway.
Every nation, whether it’s a predominantly Christian country, a Muslim country, Hindu, Shinto, pre-Columbian American, whatever, they all make up their own laws, and they’re different from the laws in other nations, even of the same religion. That proves that God obviously didn’t impose those laws.
And our rights are not “God-given” either. Because if they were, then women would have always had the right to vote in this country. And they’d have always had the right to drive even in Saudi Arabia. And slavery would have always been illegal everywhere.
But of course, that’s not what the Bible says, is it. You are clearly forbidden from getting tattoos or from eating shellfish, which Christians will readily do anyway. And you’re prohibited on pain of death from working on weekends, though that doesn’t stop anybody either. And the girl-on-girl action that most Christians admit they enjoy, as well as the men-only alternative that more Christians watch than will admit, is an abomination, which—I guess—is what makes it a multi-billion dollar industry—with most of it’s revenue coming from the Bible belt—despite the fact that God’s law calls for the death penalty if you spill your seed in vain.
So why wasn’t slavery declared to be an abomination too? So that every slave master and masturbator could be executed together under God’s dictatorial dictates. The first excuse that apologists give me is that slavery then wasn’t like it was in the United States; because you weren’t allowed to beat your slaves so badly that their eyes popped out or they died. So it turns out that, yeah, it was just as brutal in both instances, and the only chance you had of being set free was if you’re Jewish. Because slavery is typically racist, and God is definitely OK with that.
So failing that first excuse, the second one is that trafficking human bondage was already so well-established that the almighty ultimate authority of the universe didn’t have the power to just suddenly end it outright. Instead the best that God could do was to suggest provisions to regulate slavery, even though that is a much bigger deal than everything else that he uniquely forbade, and it’s the only one that applies to morality, and it shows the hypocrisy of everything God was supposed to represent. Yet he didn’t have the power to emancipate the masses—like mere mortal men eventually figured out how to do—without God’s help, I might add.
Texas history books say the United States was founded on a covenant between God and Moses. But let’s face it, the Ten Commandments are inapplicable. There’s no killing or stealing, but every system of government already had those laws. And the rest are unenforceable, so everyone ignores them. We’re told not to bear false witness against thy neighbor, but absolutely everybody does that anyway, just like we all covet our neighbor’s wife’s ass. Coveting our neighbors’ possessions is the foundation of our national economy!
If we tried to enforce some of God’s laws, that’d be a violation of our inalienable human rights. For example, the first commandment contradicts the first amendment.
You can’t legally force someone to honor their father and their mother. The Bible says that you have to so that you will live a long life. What does longevity have to do with it? That doesn’t make sense until you read Leviticus 20 and Deuteronomy 21, where it says that disobedient or disrespectful children will be put to death. That’s why you have to honor your father and mother, if you want to live a long life. Because otherwise, they might perform a post-birth abortion.
Dennis Prager said that “if God didn’t say that Murder is wrong, then murder isn’t wrong”. But according to the sacred fables, even before God said it was wrong, Moses had already murdered an Egyptian and hidden the body because he knew it was wrong. And Cain lied to God about murdering Abel because he already knew it was wrong; which means that murder is objectively wrong, and so is Dennis Prager. He and I really should have a talk soon.
Remember that despite all their pretense about the sanctity of human life, the god of Abraham put a death penalty on most offenses, no matter how trivial. It doesn’t matter that God said “thou shalt not kill”, because on the next page, he said “now kill every man and his brother”.
Except for Moses’ brother, Aaron who was actually the only guy who broke the rules in that story. Yet somehow a couple pages later, Aaron not only isn’t dead, he’s been promoted to priest, and God is telling his followers exactly how to weave Aaron’s fine robes with precious metals and jewelry. And this is where we see the rules about how much you’re supposed to give to the priests who are lying to you, I mean leading you astray, I mean to the promised land.
It’d only take two weeks to walk there if we followed the coastline, and we’ve been lost in the desert for forty years, so that no one who started this journey is still alive. They’ve all had children and died along the way, but even though no one who started this trip will make it to the end, we’ll get there. I promise. It’s the promised land.
Then God turned his attention to other tribes of thousands of people each, and told Moses to kill ‘em all, and not for any reason that could be justified in any way. Even worse than that, God said to leave none alive except the little preteen virgins. Those you can keep as slaves for your own pleasure.
In that story, God told Moses to break the 5th and 7th commandments, to kill and to steal; to raid a village and slay everyone therein, take all their stuff, and burn the rest to the ground. They didn’t just kill the warriors, they murdered the elderly too; slaughtered young boys before their mothers, and butchered mothers in front of their daughters, and all of that can be excused by Abrahamic theologians. But they object to the idea that the remaining girls were kept alive to be used for sex. Because that would be immoral.
Not because they’re under age. We know by now that the priesthood doesn’t have a problem with that, and not just with Catholic priests. I’ve seen news stories about several evangelical ministers who are like that too. Sometimes I think that one way to distinguish Catholic from Protestant clergymen is to see which gender of child they molest the most.
That’s a joke, obviously. But seriously, believers insist that these were not kids. I’ve read apologists arguing—erroneously—that these girls were all at least 20 years-old. That’s wrong, but it shows that the real issue is that believers think sex is especially sinful; where genocidal murder, theft and vandalism are not, and neither is slavery—as long as it doesn’t involve sex. Because that’s what makes slavery a sin. Once you remove sex from this story, then all the rest of this unthinkable horror can be excused as God’s will, and even celebrated as righteousness.
What is the Abrahamic god’s problem with sex? Why is he so £µȼɮing repressed? And homophobic!
Religious thinking is typically limited to binary dichotomies. So God can’t tolerate anything queer. That’s why you’re forbidden to lay down with someone of the same sex or dress like someone of the opposite sex, but what if it’s not exactly clear which side of that line you’re one? Not that you’re necessarily on the fence, but maybe you have one foot in each court? The Judeo-Christian Islamic version of god can’t understand things like that. At least in Hinduism, we have Shiva who is both male and female, and married, and part of a triune god-head. But you can’t have that in western monotheism, because El/Allah/Abba/YHWH commands that such people be put to death.
Of course it wasn’t actually God who said that. It’s always the insane ravings of manipulative men pretending to speak for their gods. That’s why God has to whisper into the ears of the irrational scribes, to have them record very specific instructions for how to build the ark of the Covenant, or Noah’s ark, or the tabernacle. Because God can make planets and dinosaurs and everything that humans can’t make, but he can’t make anything humans can make. He can’t make a box, or a boat, or a building. Because those things don’t occur naturally, and he doesn’t exist. So his prophets, (who are really the ones writing these stories) have to convey his commands as if they had his authority.
Then the priests can live like kings with hundreds of wives and concubines and strapping young wards to “assist” them. They don’t need any training because they don’t actually have to know anything, and they get away with all manner of corruption, wallowing on mountains of money given to them by poor gullible fools, who also grant undo reverence and respect and voluntary services, prostrating themselves for the rest of their miserable lives.
The deeper the believer’s investment, the more they’re afraid to question it, or notice the fact that there’s not one word of truth to it; meaning nothing we can show to be true, and a whole lot of it that’s definitely wrong scientifically and historically, ethically and morally. Religion is the ultimate fraud against humanity.
That lady I was talking to probably only knew about the Humanist Manifesto because 1973 was when the American Humanist Association revised and updated their original, and maybe that made the news somewhere. Though I don’t know what her news source might have been since Fox wasn’t on the air yet.Even though the authors and signers of that first Humanist Manifesto said they weren’t trying to develop a new creed, but only a new point of view, it does sound like they were trying to replace all the old religions that didn’t work with a new one that does. Because they said that “Religions have always been means for realizing the highest values of life”, but that they’re not doing that anymore, and these pioneer humanists naively believed—back in 1933—that advancements in science had already forced religion to accept and adapt and “formulate hopes and plans in the light of the scientific spirit and method”.
Yeah, right. The religions of the world were honor-bound by their code of ethics to reasonably and honestly acknowledge uncomfortable scientific truths disproving their own assertions. Those intellectual humanists of the Depression era had sorely underestimated the power of pig-headedness.
If you have any values at all, the first one aught to be honesty. And the first rule of that should be not to make $#!+ up. If you can’t show the truth of it, then you can’t call it truth. Pretending to know things no one even can know and asserting blind baseless speculation as though it were a matter of fact—are both is lying. Yet that’s what all religions do. That’s what they’re all based on. That’s how they operate their tax free confidence scheme to manipulate the masses and secure political authority. Telling the truth would immediately ruin their lucrative game of make-believe.
The authors of that first Humanist Manifesto followed the only template that they knew, the one religion already established, when they wrote fifteen tenets of their “point of view”.
“FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.”
I should point out that non-religious people think that too, whether they’re humanist or not. I think what they meant by “religious” here was anyone who shared that sentiment. Though that is not the way we view religion now. Every religion universally accepted as such by both adherents and critics is a faith-based belief-system positing the notion that a supernatural essence of self somehow survives the death of the physical body to continue on in some other form. If a group of people share a common belief, but it’s not based on faith in supernatural spirits, then it’s not a religion.
“SECOND: Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process.”
I wish they hadn’t expressed that as a belief the way religions do, because that makes it an unreasonable position, unable to admit if it’s shown to be wrong. But as I said, these people were following the only template they knew at the time. It took a few decades for the emerging perspective of reason to eliminate the previous trappings of tradition. The most recent edition of this manifesto much improved these first two tenets, by replacing the conclusions that must be accepted as truth with the process of skeptical inquiry that leads to truth, whatever that might turn out to be.
THIRD: (and this is the last one I’ll read for you) “Holding an organic view of life, humanists find that the traditional dualism of mind and body must be rejected.”
Meaning of course that we are our bodies, that these are not biochemical machines that we drive around. Because a lot of people think that. As if you could leave your body when it breaks down; maybe to get a new one, or to go occupy or operate another one, or leave it behind and become a pedestrian on Cloud Nine.
The reason people say “bless you” when you sneeze is that the ignorant savages who made up religion thought that the movement of air was spiritual; that when you sneezed, you ejected the “breath of life” (your spirit) out of your body, which left you vulnerable to other spirits that might car-jack your momentary corpse while your soul was out of the way. I mean, look how often a sneeze precedes other symptoms of potential possession. How do we know there weren’t devils taking advantage of that sneeze, because it was always after that point that you got visibly sick? Coincidence?
Superstitious primitives believed that dust devils were literally devils, called djinni or genies. Which makes sense, because they appear out of nowhere, throw everything around, lift your tent into the sky, and then they vanish into thin air whence they came. That’s a perfect supernatural apparition.
The second verse in Genesis says that the spirit of God moved over the face of the waters. They’re obviously talking about the wind. In the New Testament, God takes the form of a talking cloud, so we’re still talking about the movement of air being supernatural, spiritual.
When you open a bottle of liquor, you see that evanescent vapor. That’s the basis of the legend of a jinn in a bottle. That’s why liquor is called “spirits”. And look what liquor does to you!
The same with smoke. People were already smoking long before they discovered tobacco, and what they were smoking originally could easily explain how they thought smoke was spiritual.
Some people say that Moses talked with a burning bush, and isn’t it convenient that he happened to live in a place where hemp grew wild? Opium too. If you’re gonna talk to a burning bush, that’s a good one to chat with—but don’t too sucked into the conversation, because you’ll either overdose or base a new religion on opioids.
I’ve read other interpretations that the burning bush is not meant to be read as a bush but a burning mountain. And indeed God is depicted as a volcano dozens of times in the Pentateuch. That’s why Moses was always going up the mountain to talk to God. That’s what the book of Exodus described as a “column of smoke by day and column of fire by night”. That’s what the Israelites followed; probably not out of Egypt; more likely out of Babylon or maybe somewhere else, if they were even Israelites originally. Because these legends often get appropriated and re-adapted to other cultures, and there is no archaeological trace of even the story of the Exodus until about 250 BCE or thereabouts.
If you already think that smoke is spiritual, then it’s easy to see how a volcano would be God himself. Because that is an awesome earth-shaking spectacle of smoke rising out of the pit of Hell and charging the air, causing lightning as well as tornadic vortices. Sometimes even fire twirls up in a vortex called a fire devil. And how impressive would that be? Especially if you already thought dust devils were the evil jinni? The fire devils are the efreeti.
Primitive peoples didn’t know that air was particulate matter, but they knew that you would die if you can’t breath. So they assumed that to be your connection to the spirit of God that keeps you alive. Thus they imagined that if you made a sculpture of person or an animal, that it was possible to animate it by breathing into it the “breath of life”. That is known in the old Hebrew tradition as a golem spell.
But remember, religious people don’t believe in magic spells. They believe in curses and blessings which are both magical enchantments. But if you call it what it is, then they’ll say you’re straw-manning them. Because they don’t believe in magic. They just believe in witches and wizards and fire breathing dragons and sticks turning into snakes as well as water bending and necromancers raising an army of the undead. Read Ezekiel 37. It sounds a lot like Evil Dead III; Army of Darkness.
But believers don’t believe in magic, just like they don’t believe in fairy tales. They just believe in what is exactly magical fairy tales in every sense of the word except that they don’t use those words.
We don’t have a ghostly spirit inside us. That is just our breath. The book of Ecclesiastes says “who knows whether the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?” That’s according to the New American Standard Version. Other versions use the word, “spirit” in place of “breath”. Likewise, some translations say that Jesus “breathed his last” where others say that he “gave up the ghost”. ‘Breath’ and ‘ghost’ and ‘spirit’ are all the same thing. So we know that all that belief in an immortal soul is literally just hot air.
There is no soul. If there was, there would be some way we could test for that. Of course “near death experiences” conform to whatever religious perspectives the patient already believes in. So that Hindus see their gods and people in Thailand see their gods, and even Christians will admit that those gods don’t exist. Near Death Experiences are therefore no more reliable than past life remembrance, and both fail every type of test that can be put to them.
So you don’t go anywhere when you die. You are what your body and your brain make you, until they stop working and you’re not anymore. You simply shut off. That’s it. That’s all. Nice knowing you. Goodbye forever.
Most everyone in this room understands that and is OK with it, and that doesn’t diminish our capacity for curiosity or compassion. In fact, we value most that which is rare, and that’s what makes life so precious.
Yet look how believers react to the idea that they don’t have an immortal soul, and that without that they’re “just” an animal, or just a bag of chemicals, or “a bloated sack of protoplasm”, to quote the Swedish-American Chihuahua, Ren Hoek.
These believers often say that without God and the immortal soul, that it wouldn’t be possible for us to know anything. Somehow they don’t understand that the brain would still analyze and process data even if there isn’t a literal ghost in the machine.
Presuppositionalists are especially funny about that. They say that you can’t know anything unless you know everything, or you know someone who knows everything, and that’s God of course. But if that premise is true, then if you don’t know everything, you don’t know anything, meaning that you don’t even know whether you know someone who knows everything, which of course they don’t. I tried to explain that, but they don’t know enough to understand it.
The third and most recent revision of the Humanist Manifesto says that Humanism is a secular, ethical morality, meaning that it offers practical solutions to real world problems—rather than the do-nothing approach of “thoughts and prayers”.
I would even say it’s an objective morality, because it’s based on reasonable evaluation of the facts of the situation, and can be communally determined and confirmed independent of anyone’s personal feelings or opinions. Or at least that would be the case if people were rational enough to establish consensus on matters of politics, which very often are matters of morality too.
But understand that Christians and Muslims, and so on don’t have an objective moral standard either, because their morality is determined only by their own personal opinions and interpretations of what they think their god thinks about it. So that even if their god was real, their morality—which is really HIS morality—would be SUBjective, being only a matter of that god’s own personal opinion.
Our morality is better than theirs, in that it’s at least practically applicable to variable situations without appeal to the prophets or the priests, who have obviously lost all credibility on the matter of morality—and so has their god.
Which brings me to the hypocrisy of the religious idea of family values; which is really just about keeping the man of the house in charge of everyone else. Children have to honor their parents and wives must submit to their husbands.
Otherwise the Bible often directly contradicts modern Conservative “values”. For example, Jesus didn’t have good family values. He said he was to here to separate husbands from their wives and parents from their children; that you had to hate your father and your mother and your sister and your brother and your wife and your life in order to join his heretical cult.
The Bible condones and commands death for hateful reasons like war or retribution, but it forbids killing when it’s the right thing to do, as an act of mercy. If you’re certain that you’re terminal, and that you will become an increasingly humiliated and maybe even a horrifying financial and emotional burden on your loved ones, forever ruing their image of you in their memories, you’d better suffer through and make them suffer too, because that heartless denial of dignity is the Religious Right imposing their distorted “values” at yours and your family’s expense.
Likewise, if a 12 year-old girl is raped by her AIDS-infected crack-addicted father, and/or if she becomes pregnant with an otherwise defective and inviable fetus that will die soon after birth, “Religious Family Values” demand that she endure the pain and risk her own life to birth that child so that it will suffer too. As long as it dies outside of her body, that makes it moral, no matter how pointless and painful and stupid that is.
The cornerstone of conservative Christian values is the objection to abortion, despite the fact that Numbers 5 is just one of a few places in the Bible and the Talmud that permit abortion—with God’s endorsement and direct involvement. Believers argue “it doesn’t say she was pregnant”. Yeah, but it doesn’t say she wasn’t either, and she most likely was, if her husband thinks she cheated on him while he was away. So what if she was pregnant when this potion causes her womb to discharge so that she becomes barren? How could that even happen unless she is pregnant? I’ve yet to corner a believer into admitting the obvious answer to that question.
We often hear that “Jesus loves the little children”, but the Religious Right doesn’t give a $#!+. They’ll fight for an undeveloped embryo, even if only to impede progress in stem cell research—despite the fact that so many pregnancies end in miscarriage, when the mother never even knew she was pregnant. And the fertilization process is so inefficient that only one in a million sperm won’t be wasted, even on the off-chance that there’s an egg there.
But once the kid is born, then the proponents of Christian family values want to deny that child any financially beneficial food or housing programs, as well as health care or even a proper education, especially if it’s free. They don’t want struggling young parents to have anything for free; not even mother’s milk, not if anyone can see.
How can you pretend to have family values or care about children if you won’t even allow breast feeding, because you think that’s somehow dirty? So that mothers either have to stay at home all the time, or they have to take suckling infants into a public toilet to feed them, as if that is a healthy place for your baby to eat. They can’t do that in the company of their family and friends at table #5 because some other guy who calls his wife “mother” doesn’t want to see a baby getting booby.
The Religious Right damn sure doesn’t want kids to have birth control or sex ed, because they love children so much, they want children to have children; without education or a means of support. So that we have more and more of these kids living below the poverty level, in a deliberately debilitating positive feedback loop, but with socially negative results.
In this twilight hour, while we still have a dwindling middle class, those kids who do get an education get one designed to mislead and deceive. Classrooms are politicized and propagandized such that the new generation won’t have the wherewithal to assume the helm with any wisdom in their turn. Instead they are expected to work and pay and vote as they’re told. To ensure that, the system must control their beliefs, and force conformity through fear of God.
Some believers say that if it wasn’t for their fear of God, they’d run amok, killing and raping, stealing and vandalizing everything, because they think that would be fun; and that we should want there to be a god, because without the threat of inescapable judgment from an indomitable despot, those religious extremists would be horrible amoral monsters unleashed on the rest of us; which is an admission that they are horrible amoral monsters anyway.
Of course, when they eventually lose their faith, as is happening more and more nowadays, they find that they actually have a much better attitude than they had as believers. They’re less prejudiced, more tolerant and more inquisitive, and they tend to vote more liberally.
Humanists don’t need the threat of divine retribution, and that threat obviously doesn’t work anyway; not when those who believe in it most also commit the most heinous abuses unimpeded by that belief; even when they know that God’s gotta be watching, right? I suspect that they must already know that he’s not really there.
The latest update to the Humanist Manifesto basically says we don’t have a god and we don’t need one; that secular humanists and even believing Christians can be good for goodness’ sake, because that’s how society works best, and that’s what works best for all of us. Because we evolved as a social species, we all have an innate sense of compassion for our family, friends and fellows. So we don’t want to hurt anyone or otherwise behave in a way that would piss off everyone in the eyes of our peers; not without good reason. We’re all happier and we enjoy life a lot more when we show how we care about each other. It’s really that simple. The Humanist Manifesto says that too.
In closing, I want to note that it also bears this one memorable sentiment: “You get one life: live it”.