The Next Evil Promoted by Religion: Racism

Racism

A good example of how religion distorts and perverts the worldview is the treatment of racism.

The Bible doesn’t say much about racism but, just as with slavery, the belief or doctrine that certain races are inferior to others is rampant and pervasive throughout history. Just look at racism in America before MLK and the civil rights movement. As wrong, unfair, and illogical as it is, the Holy Scriptures have done little to encourage and exhort followers to treat one another honestly and as equals.

Psalm 105: 6-7

You descendents of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones!
He, the Lord, is our God;
Throughout the earth his judgments prevail.

Of course, this proclamation of the “chosen ones” just happens to be written by “the chosen ones.” How could the Jews not have considered themselves superior to the “non-chosen?” Racism is conspicuous and intrinsic in the statement. Is it surprising that thousands of years after the above was written, Palestinians are treated like “second-class citizens” in the Holy City?

All it would take to end the insanity is for the leaders of both sides to get their stubborn heads together. I can picture Prime Minister Netanyahu telling his counterpart in the Hezbollah, “Look, science pretty much has proven how humans got here. We even know pretty much how the whole freakin’ universe got here. So let’s end this Yahweh-Allah nonsense and make peace. It’s crazy to be blowing up each other when we could be having fun and enjoying life. Let’s dance the hora and dabkeh and we’ll drink and get high and have a great old-fashioned hippie fuckfest that’ll last a week! Think of what we can accomplish if we acknowledge each other’s humanity. The last time our peoples tried to enjoy life, Moses called us depraved and put 3,000 of us to the sword because he thought physical pleasure would anger God.”

“It’s not gonna happen,” you’re probably thinking. I know, I know. All I can say is, “who’s crazy?” What makes sense, blowing each other up generation after generation, or getting high and having a great time? (Funny thing. I remember as a young boy, my devout mother telling me, “you have these nutty ideas and you think everybody else is crazy.” I’m 67 years old now and still feel the same way!)

Reader, what does this say about the critical thinking of believers and kids graduating our schools who shallow this Biblical folderol? Moses murdered his own people in the fashion of Joseph Stalin or Pol Pot, and that was in the same book, Exodus, that laid down the commandment, ‘Thou shall not kill.’ Not one believer in the Bible stood up and said, “Hey, let me make sure I’ve got this straight: Moses came down from Mount Sinai, saw his people worshipping the Golden Calf and having a party, so he told his obedient soldiers to kill them all? That’s even worse than that screwball Abraham hearing voices and obediently slitting the throat of his son until the angels stopped him as the last second, and he’s the common patriarch of three religions.”

But that was four thousand years ago. Except for technology, we haven’t we evolved at all during four millennia as rational beings? I mean, how critically thinking do you have to be to question a murdering genocist like Moses? Religion has prevented us from evolving. By now, we should have had the Internet five hundred years ago and we should be living for five hundred years, if you consider what religion has done to the science of medicine.

Another first-class bunch of racist crackers has to be the Mormons. “Throughout the nineteenth century and beyond intellectual currents in Europe and America had begun glorifying the history of the white ‘race’ and discovering various kinds of inferiority, both scriptural and anthropological, in the darker skinned ‘races’ of the world.” Many Mormons believe that dark skin was God’s way of punishing the descendants of Ham, the son of Noah who dishonored the patriarch. Historian Edith R. Sanders in The Hamitic Hypothesis (pages 521-532) goes on to state, “the descendants of Ham are cursed by being Black and depicts Ham as a sinful man and his progeny as degenerates. Both Arab and later European and American slave traders used this story to justify African slavery.”

If I were black I’d say “screw you” to the whole religion and give Mormons the finger every time I saw one. The occasional black you see in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir should give his allegiance a little more thought. Mormons might have changed their beliefs on race to conform to modern-day zeitgeist, but only at the expense of doing an about face on the sacred Word of God in their sacred Book of Mormon.

Condoning and encouraging racism: what a great way to unite people so they enjoy sharing the bounties of this beautiful planet, enjoy life and live in harmony! No wonder there’s been so many wars. How about the Nazis being told they were the “superior race.” Ever see WWII documentaries of Nazi thugs and hooligans—many were hardened WWI vets, bar brawlers and wife beaters—corralling and abusing Jews, who were doctors, accountants, university professors and the best tailors (schneiders) in Europe? It was like the stupidest bullies in the classroom claiming to be superior to the frail bespectacled kids who did their homework.

Religion should emphasize what unites people. Every race of mankind has the same genetic code. Of the four billion nucleotides in the genome, all but a few are identical, letter for letter. In the case of a black man, there’s variation in the genes controlling melanin production and more recently phylogenetically adaptation to malaria (sickle cell anemia), but otherwise the genomes are identical. Even a chimp has a more than 98% letter for letter correspondence with humans. Instead of pointing out the similarity of our genomes as individuals, the Holy Scriptures distort and exaggerate our differences.

A religion based on science would state we’re all “human beans!” That’s right, no typo; I made up the metaphor in Mirror Reversal to describe a religion whereby converts realize we’re all ephemerons, passengers on the pleasure cruise ship Earth, travelling through space at 70,000 miles per hour, destination unknown; but it’s for sure the “ride” is all there is. Just like beans, we’re bundles of protein because every one of our approximately 60,000 genes transcribes to messenger RNA the instruction “do this” or “make this protein.” And to emphasize the point, we have the same genetic code as all varieties of beans and the rest of all life on the planet, animal and plant. The codon which translates a specific amino acid—say leucine or analine—on the ribosome is the same for humans, beans, and any other living creature you can think of! The code is exactly the same for cacti, worms, elephants, jellyfish and Venus fly traps. We’re all made of the same crap and all living creatures have the same purpose in life: spread DNA and extend biodiversity.

The inimitable atheist stand-up comic, Bill Hicks, has a great rap on the “ride.”The above paragraph was inspired by Hicks’ declaration, “all life is one.”

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Tags: aristopus, atheism, evolution

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Comment by Richard Goscicki on October 17, 2011 at 3:30pm

Glen, thanks for the comment.  Of course you're right.  The Jews were not racist at all over the course of history, but were in fact the victims of racism.  I didn't mean to imply that. They were persecuted throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. 

My favorite character in my novel, Mirror Reversal, is Abe Grossman who tells one hellava story about being a Viet Nam vet and his reception by NYC when he returns after being a "tunnel rat," about the worst job a GI could volunteer for. 

The main point I hope to make with this essay is that the Holy Scriptures cause people to categorize one another instead of bringing them together.  Why would God create a species and then favor one group over the next?  He made them all right?  The point I was trying to make is that the Bible endorses and encourages elitism. 

The latter is a terrible thing and the cause of much misery.  The Good Book should be telling people you're all decendents of worms and fish, and even further back, viruses which make up the vast majority of the genetic code.  Most of the DNA in a chromosome has no function at all, it's non-coding.  If the Bible had the line, "you're all made of the same crap," we'd be better off today, I'll betcha (as Sarah Palin might say.) 

Comment by Glen Rosenberg on October 16, 2011 at 9:07pm

Richard,  I like your prior essay and this one as well but I take issue with your finding a nexus between chosen people and racism on the part of Jews against Palestinians.

First, chosen people is a conceptual gateway in the transformation from polytheism to monotheism. The Jewish god was originally understood as being the first among other gods and the obligation to this god of Abraham was encouraged by describing the Jews as the chosen people.

Second, it is not credible to take the position that all Jews consider themselves to be chosen. Not after endless persecution culminating in a holocaust. Chosen for what, extinction? Not to mention that Jews have a higher percentage of atheists than most and certainly do not regard themselves as chosen.

And if Jews dont generally buy into this chosen people notion, how can the notion inform the policies with regard to the palestinians? Chosen people, rather than being an impetus for racism on the part of Jews, has been fodder for anti-semitism. So too the idea that Jews are christ killers. In fact the case for religiously inspired racism is more apropos in describing persecution of Jews by Christians and Muslims. And it has been this way for centuries.

Further, the Jews have been amazingly tolerant of Palestinians. Initially offered citizenship all. This after the palestinians tried to eradicate Jews whereas the Jews were initially celebrating the UN's territorial division. And the failure of the Palestinians to compromise is also a result of religiously inspired racism. Read the texts and you will see nothing short of Islamic anti-semitism of the first magnitude. And it is a cultural mandate. And peace is not possible until the influence of islam is diminished.

You are one of the few I have read here who wants to examine the role of religion in causing a blitzkrieg of hate and discrimination and a general fucking over of civilization. I second that effort to expose. I wish there could be a whole encyclopedia of the impact of religion compiled after scholarly research. If religion  has done some good then let it be known.

I fear there is a general ignorance of history and religion's role. It would be a better approach for humans and atheists especially to focus on understanding religion's role than in debating whether Jesus was real or the evidence for any theological assertion. You generally cant penetrate the believer's brain when you attack theology. But simply understanding how priests are sex predators and how the pope protects his predators has done wonders to undermine catholic support. That revelation of abuse is of course the tip of the iceberg. Make the moderates understand what they are perpetuating when they walk in the church.

Comment by Sentient Biped on October 15, 2011 at 9:48pm
this is why nexus has a group on this topic.  Feel free to join, commment, resurrect old threads too.
Comment by AgeOfAtheists14 on October 15, 2011 at 4:07pm
well kinda fleeting.. i mean only racist one i know if is mormon and scientolgy?
check this out!
http://youtu.be/yP-X3hpCfR8

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