Endless Curiosity

September 29, 2009

Playthings of the Gods

Filed under: God, Psychology — Alec @ 6:50 am

I read Bill Maher’s article about our inability to get anything done. Here’s a quote from it:

That’s the ultimate sign of our lethargy: millions thrown out of their homes, tossed out of work, lost their life savings, retirements postponed – and they just take it. 30% interest on credit cards? It’s a good thing the Supreme Court legalized sodomy a few years ago.

Of course he’s talking about our disfunctional political system and our disfunctional politicians, and our disfunctional selves. But it made me think that if a God or Gods exist, far from being its/their focus of love and attention, we are nothing more than its/their playthings and amusement.

It must be endlessly amusing to watch our “can do” nation fail to solve its problems, or watch our “moral” nation abdicate the high-ground as we torture people in our custody, or to watch our “all men are created equal” nation as we ignore the suffering and lack of opportunity of the poor and pile riches onto those who already have all the advantages and opportunities.

But these amusements are small fry compared to other amusements. Lets look first at ourselves since we consider ourselves as gods compared to other life forms on this earth. The other life forms exist for our convenience – to be raised in inhumane conditions then slaughtered for food (even by having their throats slit while still alive) – and entertainment – to be hunted and killed (even from helicopters).

Some of our entertainments from the past included:

  • In Paris in the 16th Century, people would go to the theater to watch as a cat was tied up and slowly lowered into a fire. They would shriek with laughter as the terrified cat struggled and howled as it was slowly roasted in the flames.
  • The Roman Emperor Nero would soak Christians in tar before having them crucified, then they would be lit and used as human torches around his garden.
  • The Romans regularly used to have Christians and other prisoners torn apart by animals for the amusement of circus audiences and one particularly lovely spectacle was to hang children upside down on poles and let hyenas tear at them and eat them alive.
  • Another Roman audience favorite was to see women raped by specially trained animals, such as horses, dogs, and apes.
  • Roman audiences loved cooking. They would watch in the arenas as prisoners were suspended above a fire and swung backwards and forwards while being basted them with oil so that they fried to death. Some they would boil in huge pots, others they would fry in huge frying pans, and others they would roast on a spit.

These are just a few examples, and there are countless stories of cruelty, torture and rape throughout human history that were carried out far more for entertainment than for any practical reason.

Which brings me to God/Gods. If it/they exist, can there be any other reason that they allowed the following to happen, other than for their amusement?

  • The genocide of 6 million Jews during the Nazi Holocaust.
  • The enslavement, rape, and genocide of the American Indians by the white settlers.
  • The killing of 61 million people by Stalin and the Soviet Union
  • The killing of 73 million people by Mao Tse Tung in China.
  • The killing of 1/3 of the people in Cambodia by Pol Pot and his murderous Khmer Rouge.
  • The incessant wars conducted by the U.S. throughout its history. Don’t believe me? Read Addicted to War.
  • After the revolution in Iran, at least two thousand women were executed, the youngest being ten years old. According to the new laws, girls couldn’t be executed if they were virgins, so they were raped before their execution.
  • During the Rape of Nanking in 1937 the Japanese massacred around 300,000 Chinese civilians. They used men forbayonet practice and decapitation contests. Some they buried alive, some they buried up to their waist and let German Shepherds tear them apart, some they skinned alive. They systematically raped women – even girls under the age of eight were raped. After raping the women the Japanese would often disembowel the women, or impale them, or nail them alive to walls. Babies that were too young to rape were thrown into vats of boiling water or thrown into the air and bayoneted as they fell down.
  • The incredible behavior of some of those representatives of Christ, the Catholic Popes. Sergius III took as a mistress a 12 year-old girl named Marozia. John XII had several mistresses and he sometimes raped female pilgrims in St. Peter’s Cathedral. Gregory IX established the Inquisition and ordered heretics to be burned at the stake. Innocent IV authorized the use of torture to get heretics to confess. Alexander VI liked to have sex with married women, especially women at whose wedding he had presided. Alexander was also obsessed with money and would assassinate rich people and seize their property.

Of course, religion must offer special pleasure to God/Gods with its emphasis on being and doing good. How amusing to see people of faiths such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all slaughtering each other. After all, if they are right and there is only one God, they must all be worshipping the same God. So what do they kill each other over? Books written by men?

And how much fun to watch the torture and killing by Protestants and Catholics of each other, people who agree not only on the God but also on the Son of God. Or the cross-killing of Shia and Sunni Muslims who agree not only on the God but also on the Prophet, and simply disagree about the successors to the Prophet. It must give God/God endless hours of entertainment.

I think I’ve written enough, so I leave you with a quote from Ophelia Benson’s article, Meet the Deity.

“You’re worse than obnoxious then,” she said in wonder. “You’re mean. You’re cruel.”

“Oh yeah? And what are you? Who made you the morality cop? Morality comes from God, remember? That’s me – so obviously whatever I do is good, by definition. Cruelty isn’t good – is it? So I can’t be cruel. Or else cruelty is good. It’s one of those.”

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