Saturday, August 2, 2008

Theists And History

There is no question that, even if one were to assume that there was a God, the majority of theists would be wrong about who or what He was. It is a mathematical fact that at least most of them are wrong, and there is no evidence that any of them are right. It is simply a matter of fact, then, that those who defend theism are defending wrong ideas that cost us human lives. It is fact, then, that to defend theism you have to value lies more than lives.

On September 11, 2001 when terrorists flew planes into the towers killing thousands of Americans, some tried to define them as "political extremists" instead of "religious extremists". Since the terrorists are proponents of Sharia law, there is no distinction for them between the "political" and the "religious". What possible motivation could Americans have for creating a deliberate ambiguity about the greatest foreign attack on American soil? Only to defend belief in God--as long as the false distinction is created, we can be sure that theism is safe and we can look forward to many happy September 11ths to come.

And next time a theist tells you that September 11th was an unusual occurance of religious violence, ask them what September 11th they mean. On September 11th, 1649, Oliver Cromwell, driven largely by a hatred for Catholics deepened by their murders of his fellow Protestants in Ireland, seized Drogheda and massacred most of its Catholic inhabitants. On September 11th, 1857, Mormons slaughtered 120 unarmed men, women and children due to paranoia regarding the government's interference with their faith--now known as the "Mountain Meadows Massacre". There has never been a September 11th when the human race didn't pay in blood for its fetish for superstition. If the theists get their way, there never will be.

Genesis 9:25-27: "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers. He also said, 'Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japeth live in the tents of Shem and may Canaan be his slave'."

There is no greater perversity than how Christians brag about the role of Christianity in the liberation of African-Americans in this country. It was a traditional belief for centuries among Christians that Canaan had settled in Africa, and the dark skin of Africans was the sign of the curse. It is a common theme in The Bible that descendents be punished for the sins of the parents. If only God had been explicit about slavery in The Bible, if only Jesus or Paul had recorded a few choice words on the subject, this apparent "misunderstanding" could have been averted.

"[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts." -- Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America

"The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example." -- Rev. R. Furman, D.D., Baptist pastor from South Carolina

It is true that most slaves adopted the faith of their masters, and upon abolition the churches were the only institutions that blacks could control without interference from whites (this would not have been possible if not for the seperation of church and state). The views of the church were clear: they believed the empowerment of African-Americans was a step towards atheism. Frederick Douglas, the most influential of the black abolitionists, responded to this assertion in his speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?".

"But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of die slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines. who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity. For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines!"

The leading nonbelievers in the second half of the nineteenth century-- Robert Ingersoll, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mark Twain--all supported the emancipation of blacks, but most African- Americans knew that to gain legitimacy with the Christian mainstream they could not associate themselves with godlessness. An exception was W.E.B. Du Bois, author and one of the founding members of the NAACP, who threatened his prominence as a teacher at negro colleges by refusing to lead prayers.and was said to be as critical of the black church as the white one. He envisioned reforming it "to make the Negro church a place where colored men and women of education and energy can work for the best things regardless of their belief or disbelief in unimportant dogmas and ancient and outworn creeds".

"Answering your letter of October 3, may I say: If by `a believer in God,' you mean a belief in a person of vast power who consciously rules the universe for the good of mankind, I answer No; I cannot disprove this assumption, but I certainly see no proof to sustain such a belief, neither in History not in my personal experience."

Attempts to frame Du Bois as a Christian persist to this day.

It is racist to infer that blacks needed belief in God to respect themselves enough to fight for their rights as equals, when the reality is that they needed to express religious faith to have a chance with racist Christian whites. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, two believers who theists like to point out to "prove" that supernatural beliefs are somehow necessary for blacks to have self- respect, were murdered by members of their own respective faiths. Michael Schwerner, an atheist and ethnic Jew who at an early age decided to dedicate his life to fighting for racial equality, was murdered by the Klan in 1964 for being an "atheist, Communist, nigger- loving Jew."

Nonbelievers, by and large, have been on the right side of women's rights and the rights of both ethnic and religious minorities throughout American history. The mainstream church was always, initially, on the wrong side. In the course of a hundred years white Christians in America have gone from conflating racial equality with atheism to taking the credit for it.

We are all familiar with how theists lie about history, determined that we never learn from our mistakes. While the evils done in the name of God cover every other page of every other history book ever written, the fact that most of history was written by believers can only make us suspect that theism's legacy has been worse than we will ever really know.

by thedeviliam of AvC

1 comment:

JaaJoe said...

I would highly suggest for you, and any one else interested to read the book ""The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions." by self-professed secular Jew and mathematics/philosophies teacher David Berlinski.
This tells the story of a Jew who was forced to dig his own grave prior to being shot by a German soldier. Prior to being shot, the old Jewish man advised the German that “God is watching what you are doing.” The Jewish gentleman pointed what i think is the real problem with atheism. "If you have the time please check the book out