Continued from previous post.
I could go on at book length (like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins) about the childish and pernicious beliefs and practices of religion. But I’m going to concentrate on what I think are two of the most egregious failures of religion – Hell and sex.
Hell is possibly the most disgusting idea ever invented. The Abrahamic religions (which claim to be three but are in fact one, a bit like the Trinity) are based on the idea that an omnipotent father-figure created the whole universe and when you die you can go and join him at his place. The details vary according to which of the three branches you follow but the key idea is that if you follow “God’s” rules then it’s a ticket to heaven. Unfortunately, if you don’t follow the rules (or if you follow the wrong rules) then it’s straight to Hell for you, matey boy. And Hell is not a place you want to go; the Koran is particularly gleeful in describing the torments suffered in the Fire (that’s a capital F to you, infidel). Christians claim that Jesus was sent to save everyone from Hell. But they also believe he was the incarnation of “God.” So Christianity is based on the idea that Jesus will save you from what he will do to you if you don’t let him save you. Confused? So are most theologians; there’s even a whole branch of theology (theodicy) that tries desperately to square this circle.
Remember too that Hell is forever, once you are there, you’re there. This is a particularly horrible idea to foist on young children whose sense of time is so poorly developed that they struggle to tell the difference between “in five minutes” and “tomorrow.” To tell a young child that they will go to Hell forever for eating pork, for not believing in Jesus or for failing to bow and scrape five times a day is child abuse.
Worse than Hell is the attitude of religion to sex. At least Hell doesn’t exist, which is the kindest thing you can say about it. But religion is obsessed with sex, and I do mean obsessed. They have rules about who you can do it with, when you can do it and even what positions you should have sex in. It is particularly laughable when the elderly virgins in the Vatican try to regulate the sex lives of Catholic laypeople. Should one really make rules about things one hasn’t experienced? The Catholic clergy is officially celibate although recent scandals would suggest a great many of them don’t exactly follow the rules.
I’m always amused when I see protestors in the United States with placards proclaiming “God hates fags.” It never ceases to amaze me that the eternal creator of the universe has exactly the same prejudices as his mates down here on Earth. Here’s a thought. If you are a man who doesn’t want to sleep with another man, don’t do it! If another man wants to do so, it is none of your business and it is none of your imaginary friend’s business either.
Jews and Muslims both circumcise boys and in many Islamic countries the genitals of young girls are brutally mutilated. To attack the sexual organs of young children without their consent (which they are too young to give anyway) and in a way that can negatively affect their future sex lives is nothing short of a crime. The sex-starved fanatics of ISIS currently raping and enslaving their way across Iraq and Syria as well as the people responsible for the bestial behaviour in Tahrir Square in 2011 and 2013 and in Cologne in 2015 have been warped by a twisted religious culture that sees women as nothing more than sexual objects to be hidden and men as semi-civilised savages who need to avoid the very sight of an unrelated female lest they fall victim to their uncontrollable lust.
But nothing sums up the bankruptcy of religion and its appalling attitude to sex than these words from the late, little lamented Ayatollah Khomeini…
“A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby. However, he should not penetrate vaginally, but sodomising the child is acceptable. If a man does penetrate and damage the child, then he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl will not count as one of his four permanent wives and the man will not be eligible to marry the girl’s sister. . . . It is better for a girl to marry at such a time when she would begin menstruation at her husband’s house, rather than her father’s home. Any father marrying [off] his daughter so young will have a permanent place in heaven.”
Khomeini’s words are the finest condemnation religion I have ever read.