The Case Against Religion
(originally, "Superior Men")
a book by James Hervey Johnson, 1949

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Chapter XII

Prayers Are Worthless

One of the least intelligent religious customs is that of prayer. It is customary for religious congregations to pray in a loud voice or for the priest or preacher to pray in a loud voice, usually asking their god for favors.

If theirs were an all intelligent god, he would know what people wanted and what was good for them before they themselves developed the idea of asking for something.

As a general rule, people pray for things they expect to "chisel" out of the deity, that is, they pray for something for nothing. One group prays for rain, another group who feels that rain will injure their crops about to be harvested, will pray for a dry spell. Each man often wants something that will be at the expense of others.

Prayers are never answered and only now and then seem to be, by accident or coincidence. Religious believers often excuse the failure of prayers by saying that the praying was not made in good faith, or that the person praying was not entitled to the object prayed for, or that God, in his wisdom, did not care to grant the prayer.

Often there are wars in which many nations participate. All sides have conflicting interests and often all pray for victory which, of course, means the subjugation of other peoples and the conquest of their territory or treasure.

In many cases, such as World War II, the people in the Nations were divided. That is, the Communists in Germany would rather Germany would lose the war, and the Fascists or Nazi-inclined French were more anxious to have the Germans win. The Jews in all countries wanted the Germans to lose. All of these people prayed for victory.

Victory in this war, as in all wars, went to the country with the most guns, the most money, and the most and best fighters, ships, supplies, generals, and propaganda.

Each man should decide the prayer question for himself. Let him pray for what he wants. If he gets it, then let him believe in prayer -- but if he fails to receive what he prays for, then let him consider prayer as merely a barbaric custom handed down by primitive people. In the Catholic church, prayer is considered to be more efficacious if done by a third party, a broker, agent or intermediary, usually a priest. Let the person praying with third party assistance also decide whether such prayers are fruitful. If they are, then he should keep on, but if they are fruitless, he should consider this means of obtaining results as worthless, and work and plan instead for the things he needs.

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Chapter XIII

The Churches Supported the
Cruel and Inhuman Practice of
Slavery for Many Centuries

Like many other barbaric and vicious customs and practices the proponents of human slavery could always refer to the Bible as supporting their doctrine. Of all the evil things the world has known, the enslavement of human beings was probably the most diabolical. Men and women could be sold like animals or chattels; children and families could be broken up and scattered where they would bring the most profit to their masters, who were often cruel and inhuman. Children were mutilated, to satisfy their masters' desires. The slave had no rights of any kind. He could be beaten, starved, mistreated, or murdered to satisfy the whims of his master. It is impossible for any man with even a spark of justice in his being to allow any defense whatever for this wicked practice.

Yet the so-called "book of divine revelations" from a supposedly all-just supreme being condones the vicious practice, and for thousands of years the priests and leaders of the Jewish church -- later the Christian church -- never raised their hand against the system of slavery.

It was only when the religious elements began to lose their influence on the minds of men that people who believed in justice and liberty and right for every man were able to prevail and abolish the horrible practice. During all their efforts the pro. portents of slavery loudly proclaimed that they were acting under the dispensation of God and they pointed to passage after passage in the Bible.

The Ten Commandments do not condemn slavery. Christ did not say one word against slavery, although there was a crying need for someone to raise his voice against the terrible inhuman custom.

Not only did the churches not condemn slavery, but for thousands of years religious institutions have owned slaves themselves and profited from their work, for which the slaves received nothing. Had Moses been fit to be called a man he would have made eleven commandments, one of them being "Thou shalt not have slavery." Had Christ really had the interest of humanity at heart he would have preached against it, and had the churches been preaching since Christ's time against it, slavery probably would have been eliminated a thousand years ago, instead of continuing up until the bloody war of 1861-64, which extinguished it, except by tyrants such as Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini.

At a matter of fact, the so-called God of the Bible deliberately divided up the people in the land of Canaan as slaves among the Jews; that is, all except the people the Jews claimed God ordered them to kill. In the ninth chapter of Joshua, it is told how, at God's request, the Gibeonites were delivered to the Jews and condemned into perpetual bondage to them.

In Deuteronomy God ordered the Jews, verse 14, chapter 20, to "divide the women, children and cattle among themselves," while in the 13th verse He orders them to kill all the male inhabitants. In Leviticus, 25th chapter, God commands the Jews regarding slavery as follows:

44. "Both thy bondmen and thy bondmaids ... shall be of the heathen that are round about you. Of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.

45. "For it is moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your possession.

46. "And ye shall take them for an inheritance for your children after you, and they shall be your bondmen forever."

Here is the case where God has given direct commands to the Jews to buy and sell not only adults but children, as they would cattle or chattels.

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Chapter XIV

The Bible is Full of Obscene,
Vulgar, Lewd and Filthy Stories
and Language

The Bible contains a great number of obscene, vulgar, lewd, filthy stories and references. To say the least, much of it would not be discussed by cultured and refined people in the way it is set forth in the so-called holy book. Exaggerated sex references are numerous. As a history and a fair portrayal of the life of the ancient rabbinical life of the Jews, these things can be considered as a sort of history, but as a holy book, the inspired work of an all-powerful, all-loving, all-kind god, the Bible is a poor example.

Some of the stories and verses in the Bible could not be sent separately through the mails without subjecting the sender to prosecution under federal statutes. It is strange that the same church elements who make the laws prohibiting the expressions of obscenity and vulgarity, consider the same things when written in the Bible as the holy word of their supreme being. Only religious people could be so inconsistent. It would subject the writer and publisher of this book to prison terms to quote the Bible stories and phrases which prove the charge made in this chapter. The reader will have to decide for himself as to the truth of the charges made. We are indebted to Frank C. Hughes, of Squirrel Island, Maine, U. S. A., for a list of references to particular passages. Many more could be given but there is no need for it. It is suggested that each reader examine his Bible for the purpose of verifying the statements made.

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Chapter XV

Priests Preachers and Their
Supporters Profit by Their Religion

How long would religion last if there was no special profit in it for those who carry on religious propaganda?

Millions of priests, preachers, bishops, nuns, sisters, monks, secretaries, evangelists, and others of higher or lower degree derive their living from the continual life of the religions they preach. Most of these people have very easy lives. They are usually fat and well kept, wear good clothes, and have special benefits.

They work together like a vast political machine. It is to their personal advantage to work for the religion which supports them. They toil not, neither do they spin, yet their religious followers support them in comfort and even luxury. Many a country has miserable shacks for the people who provide ostentatious and costly temples, tabernacles, and cathedrals for the leaders who are able to influence them.

Besides the easy living, which priests and witch-doctors have had from the earliest times, they have obtained many special privileges.

They are exempt from the hardships, wounds, and death of war; they are free from military duty. In this case we have another instance of evolution. The priests and their workers have saved their skins while their followers were on the battle front. So naturally the priestly clan throughout the ages has survived in a larger proportion than the braver members of their congregations who have gone to war. But the freedom from going to war is an advantage enjoyed only by women and priests, religious students and other church hangers-on. This in itself is a reason why many preachers and priests stick to their profession. During the Second World War more than 150,000 of these parasites escaped military service.

Priests, preachers, nuns are entitled to special rates on the railroads, steamships, and other means of transportation, often half fare -- which increases the cost to other travelers.

They receive exemption from taxes on their magnificent churches. Any man who would not have to pay taxes on his business institution would become wealthy beyond dreams. It is the greatest overhead expense of any business or profession. Freedom from taxes permits the churches to continue to grow wealthier each year at the expense of the taxpayer.

It is a form of subsidy by the government. But the freedom from taxes is another great reason why priests and preachers are able to, and why they continue to, stay in that business of teaching people to believe as they want them to.

During World War II, a Navy chaplain is said to have used the phrase, "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," which among other things, shows that he had more confidence in bullets than he had in prayer. What he should have said was "Praise the Ammunition and Pass the Lord," as is quoted in "The Freethinker." But the most important clause in effect by the churches is "Praise the Lord and Pass the Collection Plate."

The priest hearing confession and the preacher in his religious duties are also able to meet under the most favorable conditions the most beautiful women and girls and that may also be a contributing factor to the reason for liking their jobs.

All of these advantages and probably many more which the priest and preacher possess over the common man are contributing factors to the continued growth of religious institutions in all parts of the world.

It is a decided personal advantage for them to keep on preaching. The leaders make it worth their while to keep at their work, and so down through the centuries, the churches have grown larger and richer; they have attempted to eliminate opposition and competition. And whether the leaders believed what they preached or not, they have lived more abundant lives than their followers. From this mechanical and selfish natural fact, as it were, they have gained momentum with at a geometrical ratio, the bigger they grow the more special privileges they have, and the more special privileges they have the bigger they grow.

However, the largeness of an organization does not make it right. There may be more Buddhists in the world than adherents of any other religion, but no Christian priest would admit that as proof that Buddhism is the right religion. By the same argument, there may be more Christians than atheists, but the fact that there are does not prove the Christian religion is right. There are many more stupid people than intelligent people, but that does not prove that the stupid people are the better. Mere numbers of believers do not have any weight as to the truth or benefit of any religion.

Nor does repetition of any prayer or religious practice prove that it is right. The only advantage to the promoters of the religion is to keep fixing in the minds of their followers things they want them to accept. If the repetition of religious slogans, prayers, or fables meant anything, the meaningless phrase, "om mani pan" of the Buddhists, which is tied to water wheels so it can be endlessly repeated by the turning wheel and which has been done for thousands of years in India, China, and the far East, would prove that it was the most important religious statement. But no Christian preacher would admit it for a moment.

As a matter of fact, those countries are poverty stricken and disease ridden, victims of plague, poverty, invasion and oppression. Using the argument that numbers of prayers count heavier, any Buddhist monk or priest could say that all of the prayers, slogans, liturgies, doxologies, and all other oral paraphernalia of the Christian churches were worthless, because the Buddhists were saying more prayers than were the Christians.

The conclusion must be that the size of the church, and the oral and written propaganda are all of more benefit to the religious leaders than they are of benefit to the truth or the following of the various religions.

Take the profit out of religion and it would soon perish. Men would do something else for a living, and especially a fat living.

Another great advantage to priests and preachers is that they are almost worshiped in some countries and in most countries are honored and respected and given high social positions.

This is a great satisfaction to most persons; they like to be in the limelight and to have special privileges. Few priests and preachers are intellectual giants; they might be bartenders and ditch diggers, farm hands, and bakers if they were not connected with the church. They know this. They bask in the light of the church, and are not honored for their intelligence and research nor for their benefits to mankind. This basking in the limelight means much to most men. The reason for it is psychological, but the trait is very strong.

Religion is thus perpetuated and promoted because it reacts to the personal advantage of those individuals who promote and perpetuate it.

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Chapter XVI

The Diversity of Religion Proves
None is a Divine Revelation

A Sensible God who wanted to be worshiped would have given each child a revelation as to what he wanted the child to do. The child would have had an instinct to worship God in a certain way, just as it has an instinct to eat, drink, breathe, procreate. There would have been no need of intermediaries.

If a child is born in China through no fault of his own, is he to burn forever in hell because he follows the rituals of the priests of that country?

There are thousands of religions, cults, and beliefs. If God is so impotent that he can't keep his own religion before the people, how can they be blamed for not following it?

And if the Jews, God's Chosen People, could not be led into his ways, with all the advantages he was supposed to give them, what can be expected of the people who were not chosen?

Each sect, each cult, each religion claims it has the only true belief and that all others are spurious. Which one can be right? Every day a new religion or off-shoot of an old one, or a new sect starts with slightly differing rituals or beliefs. Which one is the true and only religion? The Catholic Church has been "modernizing" or changing its catechism -- was it right before or now?

A man inherits his religion -- he is forced into it by his parents and his rulers and people are not permitted to know any other, in many countries. Everywhere churches discourage their followers from studying other religions.

I can well remember the old preacher in the Methodist Church where I received my Sunday School teaching, telling us in a sepulchral voice, "It is dangerous to inquire into the why and wherefore of the things of the Bible. A few years ago a young man going to college began to have doubts and to ask questions about it -- he began to study and delve into these things -- and that man became a great infidel -- he was Robert Ingersoll."

I was impressed, as I was only eleven or twelve years old, and while I didn't understand much about it, from the preacher's voice I gathered that being Bob Ingersoll must be a terrible thing, something akin to being a punished criminal.

Years afterward the statement struck me as being a foolish one to make before reasoning people. But the preacher knew his flock -- elderly dotards, children, family-worn women, and smug business men who came for business-getting. A reasoning man would have at once begun to doubt a religion which would not stand investigation. But the simple minded were scared from making investigation. (However, that church lost customers, was later torn down, and the lot sold.) Later one of the preachers was imprisoned for sedition because he advocated the part of the philosophy of Christ about turning the other cheek and advised men not to go to war.

Another preacher, a Baptist, at the same time used the Bible to incite his congregation to war and the purchase of War Bonds. His church grew and prospered.

Like the animals and insects, these great numbers of cults and religions, composed of men of inferior intelligence, still far down the ladder of human evolution, have continued to fight and quarrel among themselves as to the merits of their silly, stupid beliefs, doctrines, rituals, and trivial differences. Some through ignorance, but many because their mentality and the mentality of the strain they come from, and their descendants will be too low for many ages yet to be able to reason. Only those whose reasoning capacity has not been "bred out" of them by evolutionary processes will be able to shake off the fetters of these many cults and creeds.

Many such cults and creeds originated from insane prophets others are outmoded beliefs of savage and primitive people, all are stupid, impractical, false, and confusing. They are the outgrowth of the mental processes of the slow rise of man from the lower states. And they have been the major bar to progress.

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Chapter XVII

The Bible
Abounds with Discrepancies

The Bible contains a great many discrepancies and we would expect to find them in such a book, which is the result of the writing by rather ignorant people of the traditions, mythologies, and stories of primitive people. There are bound to be discrepancies in stories written by different men in different parts of the world, at different periods of time. A good example of discrepancies is ordinary gossip. Everyone knows how some simple little fact can be exaggerated and magnified by its repetition by neighbors, or even citizens in a large area.

We would not expect to find discrepancies in a book revealed by a divine power. We would not expect to find four accounts, all differing, of the same thing. It does not speak well of divine intelligence to have four differing accounts. These discrepancies and conflicting parts of the Bible, when thoroughly investigated, are sufficient proof to those with a reasoning mind that it is an accumulation of various manuscripts written by different and almost invariably anonymous authors at different periods of time. There doesn't appear to have been any general editorship of the documents and, as a matter of fact, the books of the Bible and the order in which they were placed was decided upon by vote by a number of priests and other Church leaders in the fourth century.

St. Matthew commences his book, or rather the book bearing his name begins with a long lineage of Jesus Christ. After this long list Matthew then states that Christ was begotten of the Holy Ghost, in which case he would have had no ancestors on his father's side. Thus the ridiculousness of the first part of the New Testament is apparent in the first few pages.

Then Thomas Paine has called to our attention that Matthew 1:17 places Joseph, the husband of Mary, as a member of the 28th generation from David.

The book of Luke also gives a genealogy of Christ -- places Joseph as a member of their forty-third generation. This is a very serious mistake for a book which is supposed to be divinely revealed and infallible. Not only does the number of generations disagree, but the names of the ancestors are different and it would not appear that the same man could be a descendent of the different lists of ancestors. They are listed here so that anyone can readily see the discrepancy:

Genealogy, according to Matthew:
  • 1 Christ
  • 2 Joseph
  • 3 Jacob
  • 4 Matthan
  • 5 Eleazar
  • 6 Eliud
  • 7 Achim
  • 8 Sadoc
  • 9 Azor
  • 10 Eleakim
  • 11 Abiud
  • 12 Zorobabel
  • 13 Salathiel
  • 14 Jechonias
  • 15 Josias
  • 16 Amon
  • 17 Manasses
  • 18 Ezekias
  • 19 Achaz
  • 20 Joatham
  • 21 Ozias
  • 22 Joram
  • 23 Josaphat
  • 24 Asa
  • 25 Abia
  • 26 Roboam
  • 27 Solomon
  • 28 David
Genealogy, according to Luke:
  • 1 Christ
  • 2 Joseph
  • 3 Heli
  • 4 Matthan
  • 5 Levi
  • 6 Melchi
  • 7 Janna
  • 8 Joseph
  • 9 Mattathias
  • 10 Amos
  • 11 Naum
  • 12 Esli
  • 13 Nagge
  • 14 Maath
  • 15 Mattathias
  • 16 Semei
  • 17 Joseph
  • 18 Juda
  • 19 Joanna
  • 20 Rhesa
  • 21 Zerobabel
  • 22 Zalathiel
  • 23 Neri
  • 24 Melchi
  • 25 Addi
  • 26 Cosam
  • 27 Elmodam
  • 23 Er
  • 29 Jose
  • 30 Eleizer
  • 31 Jorim
  • 32 Matthat
  • 33 Levi
  • 34 Simeon
  • 35 Juda
  • 36 Joseph
  • 37 Jonan
  • 38 Eleakim
  • 39 Melea
  • 40 Menan
  • 41 Mattatha
  • 42 Nathan
  • 43 David

Paine points out that according to this list, the average age of the father of each child in each generation would have to be twenty-seven, which is of course a ridiculous assumption that all of the men of all of those generations would have been bachelors until they were 27. Especially is this true when Solomon had a house of several hundred wives and mistresses before he was twenty-one years of age. Paine continues: "So far from this genealogy being a solemn truth, it is not even a reasonable lie."

All this would indicate, as Paine has pointed out, an effort to build up, or manufacture, a list of ancestors to give strength to Christ's claim as the King of the Jews.

Another example of discrepancy occurs in the difference of the stories about Jesus being sought out by King Herod and his father having been warned by an Angel to carry him to Egypt for safety.

Luke mentions nothing of the flight into Egypt and expressly represents that no such flight occurred, and he says in 3:40, "and the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him. 41, Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. 42, And when he was twelve years old they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast." This indicated that Joseph did not take his son into Egypt and, to quote further from Luke, he tells of Christ having been circumcised on the 8th day, according to Jewish ritual, and of having been taken to the Temple, and of the prophetess, and the old man who was to look on him before his death.

John mentions nothing of the immaculate conception, nor the flight into Egypt. Luke 6:16, in listing the Apostles, says: "And Judas, the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor" -- which shows that the story was written long after the event occurred, because if it was a day to day account of the happenings and had been so written at the time the Apostles were selected, Luke or whoever wrote the book of that name would not have known that Judas was later to have been a traitor.

Thomas Paine has called attention to another great discrepancy showing the Bible to be full of mistakes and written by ignorant, uneducated, primitive people who were not even able to add correctly. The error is in the second chapter of Ezra. The chapter tells of the children of Israel, who had been captured by Nebuchadnezzar and carried into captivity at Babylon, but who were later able to return to Jerusalem and Judah. The writer lists the children of Parosh, 2,172, and so on down the list. After having listed all the people by families he then says:

"The whole congregation was 42,360 in figures, but anyone who adds up the number of people listed in the Bible will find that the total is actually 29,618, or an error of 12,542. What certainty can there be in the Bible for anything?

In the 7th chapter of Nehemiah, verse 8, another list of families is given by Nehemiah of the same people, but this list adds up to 31,089 an error of 11,271, and the writer still claims that there were 42,360. There are many similar errors of addition in the Bible, as well as disagreements between different books and verses, and this indicates that the book could not have been the divine revelation of a supreme being.

Another of the discrepancies which indicates that the book was carelessly written, copied by several hands, poorly revised, edited by incompetent and ignorant writers who probably pieced together fragments of old writing is the mess and duplication of the last 2 verses of II Chronicles and the first 3 verses of Ezra. They are practically identical except that the last verse of II Chronicles breaks off in the middle. Then the first verse of Ezra starts off and repeats the whole 3 verses over again except that in Ezra the third verse finishes the thought broken off in the last verse of Chronicles. This garbled mess referred to by Paine certainly reflects the ignorance of the Biblical compilers and proves that the writing could not have been divinely inspired.

In Acts 9:7 it is said that those journeying with Saul of Tarsus to Damascus "heard the voice that spoke to Saul, but saw no man"; but in Acts 22:9 the story is different: "They that were with me beheld indeed the light, but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me." Now this is a case, again, where, in the same book, different stories are told, indicating the worthlessness of the testimony of the man who wrote the story and also his stupidity for not having read what he had previously written. This does not look like divine revelation. It is possible that Saul was struck by lighting, as some other people have been, and he was lucky to have escaped with his life.

Being a religious fanatic, he probably believed that he was so struck because of persecuting the Christians, and he then turned around and was fanatically in favor of the Christian church. What can any reader believe -- that men with him heard the voice of Christ, or that they did not hear the voice of Christ? Both of the statements are in the Bible and both of them cannot be true.

In some of the parts of the Bible we are told (John 1:18), "No man hath seen God at any time"; but in Exodus 24:10, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu and 70 of the Elders of Israel "They saw the God of Israel." Isaiah says (Isaiah 6:1): "I saw the Lord."

In Exodus 34:5 the Bible says, "And the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

6. "And the Lord passed by before him."

In Exodus 34:28, "And he was there with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights." In the third chapter of Exodus God appeared to Moses, and the whole five books telling the history of Moses leadership of the Jews is full of conversations with God.

In one place the Bible tells of God having shown Moses his hinder parts.

Here is a conflict between writers in different portions of the Bible -- some of them never having seen the other parts, probably, for the reason that the various books which make up the Bible, were written at different times, and it was only in the fourth century A. D. that all of the fragments were gathered together and, by decree of a congregation of priests and other clever leaders, declared one book and a divine revelation.

Of course, it wasn't. It was just a mass of fables, traditions, songs, poetry, copies of letters (such as the Epistles), and various stories written by a rude, ignorant, barbaric race, emerging from the wandering nomadic stage into the glimmerings of civilization.

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Chapter XVIII

There is an Absolute Conflict
Between Science and the Bible

The conflict of the Bible and science is so great that any educated man immediately discounts counts the Bible as the divine revelation of a supreme being.

There are two conflicting accounts of the formation of the earth, both given in Genesis. The Bible says that the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Science says that the earth was formed from the Sun, and if such is the fact there must have been plenty of light. Later, God commanded the beasts of the field and creeping things to be formed, but science shows that creeping things and beasts of the field did not originate at the same time; that millions of years transpired between the development of the lowest reptiles and the beasts of the field. Furthermore, according to science the development of the earth and all of these animals took many millions of years, all of which can be shown to any reasonable mind by the measurement of the layers of earth, or sediment laid down upon the original rocks by the action of lakes, rivers, and seas.

There are many primitive fables as to the creating of man, but of course the science of anthropology presents the only real evidence, and it shows that through eons of time, man evolved from lower creatures.

Astronomers can predict the day of eclipses of the Sun and moon hundreds of years in advance. They know exactly what time these events will occur. They are able to tell when the tides will ebb and flow and what the height of the tides will be. Their "prophecies," to use the Bible word for predictions, are exact and accurate and civilization depends upon them. Because of their exact measurements they have been able to predict that when telescopes were increased in power, other planets of this solar system would be discovered and their predictions were fulfilled by the discovery of the planet Uranus.

Contrast these exact predictions with the prophecies of the Bible, which are couched in incomprehensible terms allowing conflicting interpretations. Contrast the knowledge of scientists with the child-like Biblical story of the creation of the world. There is no ground in science for the story of the formation of a woman from a man's rib.

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Chapter XIX

The Intricate Human Body
is not an Evidence of God

The religionist who points to the human body as evidence of God, because of its wonderfulness, should look in the hospitals, the insane asylums, the prisons, to see how imperfect the human body is. Credit should be given the doctors, dieticians, alienists, nurses, and helpers in these institutions and at home, who work unceasingly to correct the deficiencies of the "God-created" man. Then let them look at cancer, syphilis, smallpox, cholera, and the host of loathsome, painful infectious diseases of the human body.

Let the freethinker point out also to the non-thinking religionist the rattle snake, the viper, the crocodile, the mosquito, the vulture, the scorpion, the shark, and the cobra as works of "art" by God.

Let such a man then study the story of evolution of man as written by Darwin, Huxley, Haeckel, and other great students and he will find that the wonderful characteristics of man and other animals are the result of a slow growth during millions of years of variations which would adapt men and other animals to cope better with the cruelties and hardships of nature.

And then let the religionist watch the developer of animals and plants by conscious, systematic, predetermined evolutionary processes and he will see plants and animals useless to mankind, transformed to the most fruitful; some plants made strong, sour fruits made sweet, animals from hot countries adapted to produce in cold ones, disease ridden trees made disease resistant, prickly vines made smooth, small fruits made large, cows developed from 1 gallon a day milk producers to 25 gallons a day, horses bred to double their speed.

But sad to say evolution of the human race is still slow, retarded by the wide-spread beliefs of the ignorant persons without the intelligence to perceive how they are misled by insane prophets and power-seeking, self-appointed priest-representatives of man-manufactured god-monsters.

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Chapter XX

Religious Customs
Are Amazingly Stupid

The Chinese make paper replicas of houses, animals, utensils, tools, and burn them on the raves of their departed relatives, claiming that this sends them to the spirit of the departed who can thus use them in the spirit world. Similar customs prevail in the religions of many primitive races. But Christians deride the silly custom, and all sensible people know that it is childish, as reason does not approve the ritual.

Christian customs are just as ridiculous. Eating pinches of bread and sipping wine or grape juice are supposed to give the Christian a taste of the flesh and blood of Christ -- of course, the bread and wine must first be blessed by the priest or preacher, and by magic incantations and abracadabra, rig-a-ma-role and hocus-pocus transferred into the things it is claimed to be. It is thus impossible for the Christian church to get away from the cannibalistic theory of blood sacrifices, which is the tail end of the old primitive cannibalistic customs even now practiced by some savage tribes, of eating their enemies in order to partake of their valor art courageous qualities. The old Mexican Aztec custom of eating or cutting out the heart of its brave young men is similar. The whole of religion is based on morbidity. Anything promoting happiness is supposed to be wrong.

The Christian religion has attacked sex and sex desire as one of the greatest sins. Catholic priests are supposed to be celibates, and nuns and monks are required to take an oath that they will never have sexual satisfaction. Why did the church not attack God for making men desirous of fulfilling the sex instinct? But this queer custom, like that of the Chinese, once started, never stops.

We think that the Tibetan Lamas system of saying prayers by having the wind turn paddles, and rivers turn water wheels with prayer printed or written on them is foolish. But the Tibetan thinks these systems of appeasing the Almighty are just as efficacious as the counting of the Rosary by Catholics.

There is no logical explanation for these things. There is no reasonable explanation for the Christians' attitude toward sex, but it is well illustrated by the stories printed in the "London Freethinker":

"A parson's daughter in failing health took up a position in a farmhouse, and, after a few weeks gave it up. Asked by the farmer's wife, who had done her utmost for the girl, if she could give her anything more, she replied: 'I lack nothing, but I cannot stay here any longer -- the poultry are so disgustingly immoral.'"

"An elder, who lived in the same Scottish village, kept a few fowls. On Sunday the old follower of Calvin gave only his hens their liberty. The cocks he tethered to the table legs. 'It wadnae doe,' said he, 'tee let them disgrace ma sacred callin by gaen them freedom, the wandering vagabonds to gang aboot fornicating the Lord's day.'"

Whole tribes of primitive people have been wiped out or nearly exterminated by the Christian missionaries' insane zeal for putting clothes on tropical tribesmen whose skins had been exposed to the healthy air and Sun from time immemorial.

If god had wanted people to be prudes, why did he fill their bodies and minds with desire? If it was a sin to exercise sex desires, why did he not create man without sex organs? Why did he not make priests from the beginning without them, as certain insects are so born? Or why does not the Catholic Church unsex all of its nuns, monks, and priests?

The head-hunting tribes of Borneo require that a man must cut off some person's head, man or woman or child, before he can be called a man and marry. What a stupid custom, we think; no reason, no sense. How did it originate? Of course there are psychological causes which are not founded on reason: but once started such customs survive as long as there is a profit in them for someone.

For example the strange and primitive ritual of baptism. Nothing more childish could be imagined. Why does the silly rite continue? Probably because the preacher or priest gets from 50¢ to $5 every time he sprinkles a drop or two of water on a child's head and chants a few tunes and mumbles a few meaningless words.

On the battle field priests are supposed to rush to dying men and administer last rites. If they would put their efforts into trying to save these men from death their efforts would be more practical. When a man is unconscious what matter is it to him what mumbling some cleric makes over him?

Graphic Rule

Graphic Rule