Pastor vs Pastor

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    If religion vanishes it means that humans have changed. Either the government has meddled with our biology or AI has. Even if the trend away from religion continues there are too many pockets of virus resistant religion.

    Your view that twas ever thus during recorded history is not necessarily accurate. It is instructive to look at primitive people. There are very few left but what we see of nomadic hunter gatherers untouched or nearly untouched by western civ. is a more peaceful life. It is not as hierarchical. Smaller groups do better. Throw in the horse shit that comes with advancement and people behave worse. Ideology in a religious or political framework evinces the very worst in us. Don’t forget that we have capacity to be caring, loving and compassionate…not just raping, pillaging, exploiting, colonizing, etc. It is also instructive to see how modern secular and mostly non religious societies are doing better…they seem to be more tolerant.

    So we need to change the nature of the indoctrination/education and do it world wide. That education includes an honest assessment of history. We all need to question everything. As soon as we are too emotionally attached to fill in the blank we engage in all kinds of defense mechanisms to enhance our belief and discard our questions. Being free of religion is not enough to get us out of the woods. When political ideologies are at their most puissant they act as surrogate religions. When that happens it can be as bad or worse at times than religious suzerainty. So there is a tendency which very likely relates to tribalism which once conferred a big survival benefit on earlier humans.


    The slave trade from Africa to the Americas (say the years 1500 to 1850) happens to coincide with the years the Christian church ruled absolute. It was burning atheists and scientists to death at the time. It aided and abetted the trade at all times. It “owned” slaves. One of the first ships involved in the trade was loaned by Queen Elizabeth to John Hawkins whose statue was recently pulled down.The name of the ship was “Jesus”.  (Queen Elizabeth also made witchcraft a capital offense in England). It was not until the secular world, birthed by the Enlightenment and raised with Reason, that efforts were made to end slavery. George Whitefield, the great Methodist evangelist preacher, was an earnest supporter of slavery even in the mid 1750’s. How was religion a good influence in this case.

    You ask: why wouldn’t some intelligent humans INVENT religion to control the sheep-like nature of most folks?

    I will let the words of a 90 year old book of mine address this point.

    Throughout the ages, when a thinking man had questioned the how and why of any secular problem, so long as that problem had no direct or indirect bearing upon religion, or upon any branch of knowledge that was assumed to be infallibly foretold in the Bible, that man was unmolested. The problems falling into the above classification were extremely small due to the strongly defended theological lunacy that asserted itself in the declaration that all knowledge both spiritual and material was contained in the Bible as interpreted by the Church.

    Man, however, when he broached his religious doubts, was regarded as the most sinful of beings, and it was forbidden him to question and yield to the conclusions that his mind evolved.

    Think of the irony and tragedy of this self-enslavement of the human mind! There is one characteristic that man prides himself as having apart from all lower animals, his ability to reason and to think. Is it his superior musculature and brute strength that has placed man upon his present pinnacle of advanced civilization, or is it his mental development, his mind, that has taught him to harness the forces of nature? Has not his mind so co-ordinated his movements that he has enslaved those forces of nature to be his aid? And yet, if mind is one thing that has enabled man to pull himself out of the morass of brute life, why has it been that man himself has been so persistently decrying and degrading the efforts of that mind?

    The answer is, that religion has provided the shackles and securely and jealously enslaved the mind. With the aid of his religious beliefs man has been ensnared into a mental prison in which he has been an all too willing captive. Surely it is easier to believe than to think.

    Napoleon, himself a skeptic, was cognizant of this slave philosophy. “What is it,” he is reported to have asked, “that makes the poor man think it is quite natural that there are fires in my castle when he is dying of cold? That I have ten coats in my wardrobe while he goes naked? That at each of my meals enough is served to feed his family for a week? It is simply religion, which tells him that in another life I shall be only his equal, and that he actually has more chance of being happy than I. Yes, we must see to it that the doors of the churches are open to all, and that it does not cost the poor man much to have prayers said on his tomb.”

    How well the ecclesiastical psychologists have grasped this fact, and how well they have fashioned a strong chain for the mind out of this weakness of human minds!

    Church and government have been well aware of this psychology, and have fought constantly the spread of Freethought literature to the masses. Professor Bury, in his “History of Freedom of Thought,” speaking of England, tells us, “If we take the cases in which the civil authorities have intervened to repress the publication of unorthodox opinions during the last two centuries, we find that the object has always been to prevent the spread of free thought among the masses.”

    Think but a moment how well the above is borne out by the attitude of the Church in the stand that it took during the Middle Ages, when she prohibited the reading of the Bible by any person except her clergy. When she prohibited the printing of all books except those that she approved of; books that minutely agreed in all details with the fantastic fables of her Bible were the only ones allowed to be printed.

    The Church also strenuously objected to the printing of Bibles in the languages of the masses. That most efficient shackle to the mind, that precept that there was no knowledge, whether material or spiritual, that was not contained in the Bible, how strenuously the Church upheld that doctrine!

    And in our own day, the ridiculous assumption that “mysteries” (a special form of ignorance) are the special province of the Church. Considering these few examples as well as all ecclesiastical endeavor, no rational mind can escape the fact that that primeval curse, religion, has had for its object, down through the centuries, the sadistic desire to enslave and trample on the mind of man. It has been a defensive measure on the part of the Church, for she well recognizes that once the mind is free, it will free itself of the shackles of religion also.

    Nor is this all. I execrate the enslavement of the mind of our young children by the ecclesiastics. Is anything so pitiful to behold as the firm grasp that the Church places on the mind of the youngest of children? Children at play, children of four and five years of age, will be heard to mention with fearful tones various religious rites, such as baptism and confirmation, and to perform in their manner these rites with their dolls. Fear! Fear! instilled into the minds of the impressionable children! (One of the main reasons I am an anti-theist) Think of the degradation that the ecclesiastics practice when they insist that from the time a child is out of its infancy its instruction shall be placed in their hands. They take the most precious possession of man, his mind, and mould it to their desire. The mind of a child is plastic, it is like a moist piece of clay and they mould it and form it to their desire. Warped and poured into the ecclesiastic mould of fear, the mind of the child becomes set and fixed with the years. Then it is too late for rational thinking, as far as religious matters go, the mind of the adult is firmly set in the form that the ecclesiastic has fashioned for him in his youth. It is impossible for the adult so taught to reason clearly and rationally concerning his religion; the mould is too strong, the clay has set, reason cannot penetrate into that hardened form. That is why it is almost impossible for the adult who has been exposed to this mental moulding from his infancy to break away from the fears and superstitions learned on his mother’s knee.



    With a newfound clarity of mind we can value this life over the next. Embrace secular humanism and act based on our best knowledge. No need for 9/11 events or to have Presidents that hear god telling them to invade Iraq. We don’t need to feel broken because of a eaten apple. We can better understand our place with all the other living things and that we do not have god given dominion over them or over any other people.


    Ok then – given our shared, collective history (because that wouldn’t change – you can’t change the past), our current human nature (which hasn’t changed in 6 to 10 thousand years as best as the top anthropologist on the plant can tell, so it’s not likely to change in 200 years), our track-record of self defense and blame shifting, our passion for pleasure, safety and prosperity (hello Maslow), our aversion to guilt and shame, and our natural instinctive drive to protect those that belong to us – do you really think that rape, slavery, and racism would simply vanish?  What part of the honest and accepted evolutionary framework, coupled with our current collective view of psychology, biology, medical science, and social science…. what part implies that such things would simply disappear?

    You put this well, and now I’m worried even more than before that it will require, at lot of work from me to come up with answers that are both concise and cogent. My recent response in another topic was way too long, but it’s too late to fix.

    Bit by bit: I disagree that we haven’t changed much, and I say that even in spite of religion. We’re more secular now, and more humanitarian; as theocratic as much of the world was only 250 years ago, I suspect that the formation of USA may even have influenced/inspired much the world to think more “secular”, at least in government. The exception being devout Muslim countries (or should I say Islamic countries that have forced their populations to be devout Muslims), for Islam was practically invented (by Muhammed, peanut butter upon him) to be the government. Islam aside…

    Many of the human faults you cite do still exist, but I think we’re more informed about those ills, and can notice, care about, and discuss them more. Science and medicine has progressed, at least in privileged, “first world” countries, improving our quality of life and giving us more time to ponder about life, with less toil than before. Sure, all is not as well as we wish, but our standards have risen. There is your occasional Naziism, Trumpism, or other isms and so forth that interrupt the better times. Progress may be too slow, but it’s two steps forward, one step back. The stakes are higher, as in pandemics, climate change, occasional rise of authoritariansim in large, powerful countries, made still worse when they use religionism or hard communism as tools or excuses to abuse other humans. (I’m sure you’re aware of Steven Pinker’s views on how we’re empirically better off than before.)

    […] why wouldn’t some intelligent humans INVENT religion to control the sheep-like nature of most folks?

    I might be missing your point, but intelligent humans do do that.

    […] long before the hated Christianity and Islam came on the scene – we have constantly fought for land, food, women (i.e. to control reproduction), power on every continent, every nation, every family.

    That is true, it was all from human nature, as were human-invented religions, but it took awhile for those religions to be used as extra tools to lead the sheep. Later, liberal democracies enabled our new socio-politics to drive more “fit” economic systems and civilizations, in spite of our base human tendencies, and imo, @davis explained well how close, cramped quarters (I’m paraphrasing) helped drive us that low. Not to deny that economic growth still had and has it’s faults with respect to inequalities and abuses of (e.g.) labor. And not to deny that religion did and does occasionally help the world, but I might be an outlier here on that opinion. The way I’d put it, the humanist side of religion sometimes comes out in a good way. E.g. religious charities in my area do more for the homeless than anyone other charitable organization.

    But we’re no longer run by the likes of Genghis Khan’s hordes, or expansionist industrial-age powerhouses. (I do hope that China won’t abuse their growing power over the world, and become your best argument.)

    If only God would have commanded us to take better care of Earth, beware of profit-seeking encroachment into novel disease territories, abolish slavery, and so on? Drat, breaking my own rule, blaming God, when God is just a human invention.



    It is ridiculous to have the expectation of all vices disappearing with the end of religion. One thing you can be absolutely sure of, is the undeniable correlation between the secularization of Europe (and the declining influence of the church) with the advancement of knowledge, individual rights, the liberation of women, LGTBQ+ right, the decline of servitude, the empowerment of the individual, the decreasing of crime and (with notable black periods in between, usually part of a very conservative backlash) the growth of a kinder more equitable society. Basically the world hasn’t seen anything remotely like the societies you find in particularly secular humanist Northern Europe, Canada, New Zealand etc. The catholic church fought every single step of the way absolutely kicking and screaming. Protestant churches were only a little less vicious in some cases (partially because they were slightly more secular societies). Look around the world in any country which is not secular and humanist (humanist meaning an open society) and you will not find the kind of rights, social equity, tolerance and in general (there are exceptions).

    It is honestly only in the last few decades that secular humanist societies have been tackling one of the issues you mentioned (rape). The catholic church has famously silenced systemic rape for centuries. Rape has, until recently been an absolute taboo issue swept under the carpet. Only with the liberation of women, the fight for greater individual autonomy and the willingness to openly speak out about it, will it decline. I don’t know in ANY religious society where “rape culture” was ever talked about (or where anyone would want to talk about it).

    The USA is one of the most religious Western democracies and it is literally the only one without universal health care, with the highest incarceration rate in the world, many states have non-existent programs to help the homeless, to allow the disabled to live independently. The crime rate is astronomical in many cities. Views towards the marginalized range from concern to disdain and a total unwillingness to help via government programs. The more religious the state, the more people talk about “personal responsibility” as though it is virtuous, when in reality there is nothing moral about letting homeless people rot in the street and not providing social assistance to people in need.

    No, murder, rape and bad deeds will not end with the disappearance of religion. But secular humanist societies have fundamentally dealt with all these issues far better than religious societies have. Just compare Sweden with Belarus, Secular New England with the religious Deep south, Spain with Morocco, Japan with Myanmar, New Zealand with Pakistan. Taiwan with Nigeria.

    The idea that religion somehow creates for a kinder society is nonsense. Secular humanist societies do. The evidence is everywhere.



    fullermingjr…i looked up genetic fallacy. Don’t think i committed it. A genetic fallacy is exhibited when the speaker uses another’s origins to make the claim that the subject if good or bad based on its origin so that the speaker fails to assess the claim.

    I did not use your origin to prove or disprove the truth of the matter asserted…meaning the veracity of god or Christianity. Instead I maintained that you haven’t the capacity to evaluate those claims because of your indoctrination. Just like similarly situated believers you can not examine those claims the way you would other claims.



    @jakelafort,  Fair enough. My bad… one of the challenges with the hypothetical (including my elimination of religion in 2200 CE). At least we can evaluate if the logic is cogent. If I was born, say, in Iran to a typical Islamic family,  does it follow that I would be a committed,  practicing, faith-defending Muslim? Place of birth being random,  sure… inductively, however, I would still cosider the conclusion from the argument weak. (I’m using these terms in a technical sense)

    Jake, I have no problem drinking any water you lead me to, really. I have my presuppositions and you have yours. We can be honest about our biases but then work to not have them get in the way of our very entertaining and yet informative discussions!



    fullermingjr, if the data were available we could see how many born to certain religions in certain countries are lifetime religion of birth. Am guessing it is 99 percent in some areas and in those areas we would see the least skeptical and most faithful theists. That does not mean those geographic prisoners if you will are stupid. I wish neuroscience were sufficiently advanced to identify mechanics of the brain that enable compartmentalization. What it does mean is that theists ought not trust their acuity when it comes to their religion.

    There is a theist who visits here, writes about prophecy and comes off like a not too bright guy or perhaps as a sufferer of a schizophrenic delusion yet has a high iq and writes intelligently in other areas. It is quite unfair to subject children to religion. If it happens at all it should be at age 12 or 13. Ya know i would not mind having a curriculum in public schools in which creationists and theologians debated atheists and scientists. I am rambling….ran over a raccoon today and feel a little awful..



    @jakelafort, I’m sorry about the accident.  I was on a very dark country road a number of years ago – no street lights and no moon and no stars!  It was very dark, and I ran over an armadillo and felt terrible.  When I read that, I had flashbacks!



    Thanks, fullermingjr, it is such a horrible feeling. Not fun for the animal either. It made me think of that movie with the super white skinned bald guy who turns into energy when he somehow causes a hunter to feel what the deer is feeling in the throes of dying after being wounded.



    Is that original video in the top post available somewhere else? I can’t really follow this discussion without it.

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