Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Inherent Misanthropy of Religion

To be clear, I am anti religion.

They exist counter-productively and counter intuitively to freedom of thought, expression and innovation.

As an atheist critiquing religion I do so from time to time from the perspective of a woman finding that I do have issue with the problem religion/s seem to have with, well, women. However that may be the case my focus on religion is of the harm done in human terms and not that just of women. It is unfortunate there is a strong focus by religions particularly Judaeo-Christian, Muslim and Hindu for example upon not just controlling human behaviour but in particular female sexuality. Religions like these are particularly interested to place people into hierarchies, men are first, women are at least secondary in many ways and rarely equal no matter what religious relativists may now want to claim.

A religion is its scripture; its teachings derive from its doctrine and for want of a better word its liturgy is communicated to the believers through human channels such as priests, brahman, imam, prophet.  For religion the concept of equality of the genders or social orders within a society is defined according to scripture and those definitions are essentially no-where close to how we may define equality now. Religion has an order and hierarchical structure for a reason. It helps to control, coerce and intends through any means it can to limit our questioning of its edicts. One way to limit criticism is through law. Racial vilification and Defamation law masked as Human Rights law but really is an attempt to introduce repressive Blasphemy Law is seeking legal grounding here in Australia and internationally to remove the right to criticise religion.

As an atheist I reject that there exists a god, spirit, prophet, brahman or otherwise by which we are instructed or judged and from whom we receive knowledge of creation and rules of living so that we may conduct our lives in dutiful worship and imitation so as to transcend existence, be accepted to Heaven, or otherwise go to Hell when we die.

There is a term that has been around for a while that I've only just recently encountered through a friend who reads lots of tech blogs. Standing for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt the term is known as F.U.D. There is an interesting wiki on it here if like me you were unfamiliar with it. It is a propaganda and advertising tool. Create fear, uncertainty and doubt and people will listen intently for the solution because you have captured their attention through FUD and in order to avoid the disasters predicted or asserted they are more compliant and eager to listen to and adopt any proposed solution.

Prior to being defined in this manner, naturally utilised not only for religious purposes, F.U.D. formed as the successful propaganda tool of choice to attract and control believers. It is a simple and robust formula through which can be sown seeds of discourse and disorder as well as fear based adherence by followers and their rejection of other's faiths. With it you can destabilise relationships with "non-believers" as well as compel compliance through superstition and fear of believers. There are non-believers and hypocrites(1) in Islam which also teaches we are all born Muslim and are only taught to reject it.(2) Hindus observe and follow the concept of ritual cleansing throughout all aspects of life in order they may be reincarnated into better circumstances in the next life and ultimately to attain nirvana breaking the endless cycle of rebirth.(3) Christians and Jews must believe in the one and only Lord God [trinity = father, son, holy spirit is rejected by Judaism], fear him and follow his ways alone to be assured of a place in Heaven or basically be destroyed.(4) Jews believe God to have awarded them as his true believers a reserved place in life and death and has chosen them to survive oblivion beyond the great flood.(5)

In critiquing religious scripture, religious ideas and concepts I do so because much of what is preached to or by followers has fundamental flaws in logic, reason, morality, fairness and is the antithesis of what is right, good and honest. Each and every religion has such flaws, all determine that man is born flawed and must repent, suffer for sins not even perpetrated, be tempted to evil and tested in order to gain fulfilment and/or recognition by God. I am naturally interested to point out also where religious doctrine, parable or not, determine women are not equal and place them at a level in that religion's hierarchy, in most cases, lower than, in service to, beneath, or sent to torment men. (tormentors as temptresses or corrupter: just what is that about?)

Generally religions actively suppress normal human behaviour. For teasing out and addressing always is the problem, as religions will have us believe, of guiding/controlling human sexuality and in particular female sexuality. It requires special attention in most major religions and interconnected religio-cultures. Disturbingly, particularly in Judaeo-Christian and Islamic realms genital circumcision is part of the practice and expression of that faith by the faithful as evidence of purity sexually and morally of the individual with the circumcised genitals. An Imam in Australia, Afroz Ali categorically states that in Islam it is a woman's right to be genitally mutilated, though as mostly children are mutilated in this way (without their consent) prior to having any rights over their own bodies such arguments, which imply choice, have to be rejected.
The World Heath Organisation and I disagree with Afroz Ali. (FGM) That this is not obviously of concern more widely baffles the logical and critical mind. All circumcision is utterly unnecessary medically and as a procedure committed primarily against pre-pubescent children it is an abusively brutal and irrationally invasive practice. I have in the past been baffled by feminist theology in particular of the kind that would have us entertain nonsensical re-evaluations of the Christian God as a Woman or in this more recent example genderless in an ultimately irrelevant and spurious argument that is unsupportable in scripture. Worse, considering evidence of an increasing use of FGM by Islam, is a Muslim feminist theology arguing a progressive reinterpretation of the Koran and Hadith by failing to acknowledge the presence of passages such as this one:
"A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband."(6)

The problem such feminist theologians have is by attempting to manipulate or conveniently ignore these aspects of the religions they defend in order to elevate the role women have in them, is that by remaining believers they simply endorse if not reinforce attitudes held by their own faith that women are inferior to men and in the grand scheme of things the cause of problems and issues for them.(7-a,b,c,) By omitting or manipulating scripture they create a furphy argument that misses the point. Questioning is a good thing but they go nowhere if they merely promulgate the idea that the word of God, Allah, Jehovah has simply been misunderstood by men and/or exploited by overarching patriarchal societies or systems.

For Christians, Jews, Muslims and even Hindus the female is cursed monthly by God with her menstrual cycle. It doesn't matter necessarily what religious rational is behind these attitudes, what matters is that these religion's hold the view the female as impure during these times, potentially infected with evil and having committed such an infraction making it necessary that God punish the female form of his creation (by inflicting menses upon her). In the Hadith it is a condemnation of the female gender due to her biology and merely another proof of a negative characteristic which she must endure and accept as evidence of her inferiority when compared with men.(8)

To be judged and remembered good or bad according to one's own true deeds and actions in life is paramount to human dignity and if we do so we honour ourselves, the living, and the dead. To be judge good or bad according to the doctrines ascribed by a faith that will assign genders to different levels in a human social order, dictate social interactions according to superstitions about one's immortal soul, or to protect against its moral disintegration through sexual misconduct (which may be as simple as looking at someone of the other gender), and order a believer's physical mutilation to control passion, evil and disease* should ring the intellectual alarm bells of any thinking woman or man.

*because human genitalia is born so imperfect that God's creation must surgically mutilated their own genitalia and that of their off-spring to become more perfect. What a perfect God would have wanted of his perfect creation?

Foot notes
(1) [The Hypocrites, Koran: 63:1-4] 
(2) [The Hadith - Sahih Bukhari, Vol:6, 060 #298]
(3) [The Garuda Purana, ch:9]
(4) [Deuteronomy 6:13-15]
(5) [II Chronicles, OT ch:6.]
(7) a [Ecclesiasticus 25.24 "Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die."] b [ Women  4.34 Dawood translation of the Koran"Men have authority over women because Allah has made one superior to the other...Good women are obedient...As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them to beds apart and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Allah is high, supreme."] c [The Garuda Purana - translation by Ernest Wood and S.V. Subrahmanyam, 1911, CHAPTER XV. 7-10. After menstruation the women should be avoided for four days. Their face should not be seen during that time, lest sin should arise in the body."]
(8) []

Female Genital Mutilation

Feminist Theologian View Bible [New Testament] example
The Holy Bible (Old and New Testament)

Orthodox Judaism

Koran and Hadith
Koran - N. J. Dawood, published as a Penguin Classic, ISBN 0 14044.052 6
Hadith -
Sharia Law -

Hindu Myths - Wendy Doniger, Penguin Classics, ISBN
Scriptures -

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About Leeanneart

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
We are first and foremost human with a responsibility to the humanity within us and not to any faith, political, apolitical, social or societal group, union or faction. We are responsible for our own reputation, and for what deeds we do and what achievements or otherwise in life we enjoy. The rest is nonsense.