The Case Against Religion
(originally, "Superior Men")
a book by James Hervey Johnson, 1949
Hypnotic Influence Probably
Accounts for Much of Religion's
Control Over its Subjects
Hypnotic influence probably accounts for much of religion's control over its subjects. From the earliest times hypnotism may have played a prominent part in the influence church leaders have had over their followers. It is evident that ancient, primitive witch-doctors and tribal wizards, probably unknowingly, used hypnotism to influence the lay members of their tribes. There is little doubt that the dances, often weird, monotonous chants, worshiping at altars, burning of incense, as practiced by the primitive and even later religions or cults, had a hypnotic influence on the followers.
Dr. James Braid, originator of the words "hypnotism" and "hypnosis" says, "Hypnosis is essentially a state of mental concentration in which the faculties of the mind are so engrossed in a single train of thought, as for the nonce, to be dead or indifferent to all other considerations and influences."
In modern times, since hypnotism has been analyzed and understood, it is often induced by having the subject concentrate by keeping his eyes on a bright object or light, while the hypnotist or operator gives suggestions in a powerful, confident, yet low-pitched monotone. It has been found desirable to have the subject in a state of muscular and physical relaxation. A darkened room aids success. Constant repetition of the suggestions the operator wishes the subject to perform is advantageous. It is also of immense value that the subject have faith and confidence in the operator. Psychoanalysts claim that hypnosis is more easily induced when there is a parental fixation.
The word "hypnosis" means "sleep" derived from the name "Hypnos," the ancient Greeks' god of sleep. The modern definition of hypnosis is "artificial sleep."
Hypnotic influence begins in the cradle. Mothers put their children to sleep by following the typical hypnosis procedure. They darken or dim the room, place the child in a reclining position, rock it and sing in a soft voice, a repetitious lullaby. "Go to sleep, my baby" is the constantly repeated suggestive theme of all lullabies. The child looks to its mother for practically everything, and, of course, has faith and confidence in her.
It is not generally recognized that this artificial slumber of the infant is induced by hypnotic methods nor to the masses realize that religious leaders, from the savage witch-doctors to the most polished preachers and priests, use similar methods. In all probability, the vast majority of religious leaders do not themselves understand that they are using a method of hypnosis in conducting the services and rituals of their cults and churches. The voodoo doctors and medicine men and even the more advanced religious leaders probably attribute their influence over their followers to their religious practices rather than to the formerly little understood hypnotic methods. They may believe that this influence is super-natural, which in itself strengthens their belief in their religion and often arouses them to even more fanatical activity, which in turn profoundly affects their followers.
Most people, listening intently to a lecture, sermon, or instructions in the school or college room, have at some time been put to sleep by the lecturer. Sometimes this artificial condition may be induced by the monotonous tone of the speaker or by an endeavor on the part of the listener to concentrate on his words or even by the eyes following the speaker's gestures. Possibly this is a result of the tiring or partial paralysis of the auditory or optic nerves. Anyone must realize that there is apt to be a special cause for sleep thus artificially induced and hypnotism is the most probable explanation.
Dr. Braid, analyzing the hypnotic state, says that it can be induced by "a fixed stare, paralyzing the nerve centers in the eves and their appendages and destroying the equilibrium of the nervous system."
Subjects under hypnotic influence can endure surgical operations without pain, and a few decades ago, before modern anaesthetics, hypnotism was so employed by a number of eminent and successful physicians.
People under the influence of hypnotism may thus be considered in the same state as those under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or dope. For some unexplained reason, the first attack of any poison to the system is on the reasoning faculty. Hypnotism is similar and as powerful as a poison.
Hypnosis in its milder form is said by eminent psychologists to be used by great numbers of people, in business, politics, religion, by physicians, and by leaders who influence others.
Gestures apparently have a considerable part in hypnotic phenomena. An orator's gestures often influence his audience as much as his words. It has been stated that the well-established success of the commercial Jew is greatly assisted by the use of gestures, by constantly keeping the customer's mind fixed on the object for sale and by repeating endlessly, suggestions that he buy and that the goods are excellent, a bargain, etc. Few people indeed have failed thus to be influenced to buy articles which they really did not need at exorbitant prices.
Another aid to hypnotic influence is strange or unusual attire, particularly evident in religious practices. Practically all clerics wear odd clothing, even if it is only a collar on backwards or a beard. A loud voice, a determined manner, a peculiar appearance all serve to concentrate the subject on the words and actions of the hypnotist. Quite probably, paranoiacs, by their sincerity and determined manner, often hypnotically influence large numbers of people. A peculiar stare, common among paranoiac religious leaders, military dictators such as Hitler and Mussolini, evangelists, and political rabble rousers, apparently has some attractive influence which holds the attention of the followers. Shouting, ranting, waving of the arms, as practiced by Billy Sunday and Aimee Semple McPherson, also have a profound influence. It is natural that attention should be directed to anyone making a loud noise and violent gestures. Possibly, the following of the gestures for a long time during an oration tires the eyes producing a paralyzing effect on the nerve centers as referred to by Dr. Braid. Even animals can be hypnotized and it is possible to place a chicken's beak on the ground, draw a straight line in front of it and produce a temporary condition, in which the chicken apparently is unable to move. The mental condition is induced by physical methods, probably originated from stimuli through the ears or the eyes or auditory or the optic nerves. Apparently the deadening effect of the repetition of sounds, such as the beating of the tom-tom, the chanting of a priest, the singing of an audience or of other musical means is effective. Sleep itself may be largely due to the tiring of the nerves which convey outside messages to the mind and any method which artificially tires the nerves may thus produce artificial sleep.
There is a strong possibility that the third-degree methods used by some police in obtaining confessions of criminals are basically hypnotic. This procedure consists of turning extremely bright lights on the suspect, repeating constantly for hours accusations and questions which have for their purpose the suggestion that the accused confess. Threatened violence apparently arouses the emotion of fear which temporarily side tracks the reasoning faculty. Interrogations and accusations by the police often continue so long that the accused is without sleep and it is quite probable that watching the pointing finger of accusation, the bright lights and the constant repetition, produces the hypnotic effect which often leads the accused to sign a confession of some crime which he did not commit. Nearly all confessions are later repudiated and it is reported from time to time in the press that accused persons have confessed to the murder of people who are later found very much alive. After almost any sensational murder, weak-minded suspects arrested and questioned in several cities under this hypnotic system of questioning may confess to the crime. It is quite possible that numbers of innocent people have thus been induced to sign false confessions and have been sent to the gallows or for a long prison term for crimes of which they are not guilty. If upon thorough investigation, such is found to be the case, hypnotism should be eliminated as a method in progressive police procedure.
The Encyclopedia Americana says that "subjecting an individual to hypnotic control constitutes robbing him of his will, as surely as if he were doped or under the influence of morphine."
Hypnosis was not understood nor analyzed before Dr. Braid did so, almost 100 years ago. Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer, in 1700, understood how to influence patients by hypnotism, but did not understand it was a purely mental condition. He believed that it was induced by an invisible etheric fluid or a magnetic current running from the hypnotist or operator to the subject.
There is no doubt that the only explanation of the ancient so-called "miracles of healing" found throughout the literature and history of all religions were temporary states of hypnotism, possibly unknowingly induced by the prophets, priests, and other religious leaders. Eminent psychologists now believe that Christ, if he lived, employed hypnotism, and that the power which he claimed to have and use in the performance of his miracles was hypnotism. Modern psychologists use hypnotism to eliminate mental complexes bordering on insanity. This would compare with the casting out of devils as described in religious literature, and hypnotism is now used to relieve physical and especially mental suffering. Christ possibly stumbled on this method and became fanatical because of the success he had with it. Those hypnotized could be told that their pain was eliminated and they could believe it. Those who believed that demons were bothering them could, by suggestion, have this complex eliminated and they would thus be relieved of the annoyance of the "devils." Christ continually stressed the necessity of believing and having faith in him and his work, and that seems to be an important factor in any religion's control over its flock. Even today, people who suffer from imaginary complexes bordering on insanity are relieved by mental suggestion. They are placed in a hypnotic trance and the operator then suggests that they have no ills.
The success, if any, of the Christian Science cult depends on hypnotism, either self induced or produced by its practitioners. Suggestion is the key note of the whole system.
Hypnotism is more than a sleep, it is a temporary elimination of the activity of the reasoning faculty. It is a mental condition in which the patient or the subject accepts as the full truth, any statement made to him by the hypnotist. It is a "re-routing" of the receipt of impressions; instead of the impressions passing through the sentinel of the reasoning faculty, they apparently go to the portion of the brain which controls the reflexes of the individual. He, while in this state, can be induced to perform all manner of ridiculous, stupid, or humorous acts which he would never consider doing while normal.
It is quite probable that lawyers practicing before juries, knowingly or unknowingly, take full advantage of hypnotism. They sway juries to acquit criminals who the evidence indicates are guilty. No other explanation can account for the action of juries which render decisions contrary to the evidence. It is customary procedure for some attorneys to gesticulate, to shout, to point their fingers at the juries, then to talk in a soothing tone and lull the juries by a monotonous tone of voice similar to the methods used by the voodoo doctors, the priests or the preachers. Successful criminal lawyers are able to determine the susceptibility of prospective jurors and to eliminate those whom they do not believe can be influenced. Apparently, they operate on the jurors until one by one they are able to control all or a majority of the panel.
It is said that one of the important factors in the training of wild and dangerous beasts is that of preventing the animals from using its ability of concentration, which seems necessary when it attacks. It is a common practice to have so much noise and racket around the animals during their training that their minds are constantly distracted and thus they do what they are told rather than what they would ordinarily do, if not thus controlled. Frequently, at circuses the band is placed over or near the wild animal cages during the act and the loudest, fastest music is played to assist in the distraction of the animals. Thus, even here, hypnotic influence can be seen to have a fundamental physical and animal background.
The facts, causes, and results of hypnotism are well understood by noted scientists and many educated people. They were not understood nor fully explained a few decades ago. At that time, hypnotism was considered a mysterious influence by one person over another and was and still is associated with the supernatural by the masses. For centuries, people have used charms and amulets to protect themselves from the "evil eye" or what would be now explained as the hypnotic influence of one person over another. Even today, it is not generally understood as a natural condition brought about by various technical methods. Hypnosis in its more advanced stages is now commonly used by psychologists and eminent hypnotists say that in its milder form it is a common practice, often without the knowledge by either the hypnotist or the subject.
Primitive and modern religious leaders demand that the followers accept without question the statements made by the leaders. They must believe what is told to them even though it is apparent that such belief requires abandonment of all reason and logic. We have seen previously that hypnotism consists in the elimination of the control of the individual's reasoning faculty, and he is then subject to being influenced partly or completely by the hypnotist or religious leader. Thus hypnotism has undoubtedly been a very dominating factor in the subjugation of nearly all the peoples of the earth by the leaders of the various religions.
Among the earlier tribes, religious celebrations often took the form of dances. The monotonous beat of the tom tom, of the Indian drums, of the Tibetan cymbals and the various musical instruments of primitive peoples had a deadening effect upon the reasoning portion of the brain. Constant religious dancing to the chants of the witch-doctors or the priests or the repetitious chanting of the dancers themselves had a hypnotic effect. Many of the dances were held at night and are still so held. Many of these rituals were around fires, probably these rites have through evolutionary processes developed into the social dances of the present day and the feeling of relaxation and exhilaration of the dancers is aided by this same hypnotic influence. It is a well known fact that people who have worked all day can often dance half the night and still not experience fatigue. Among the cults which practice the more violent dances, the members perform until they foam at the mouths, fall into a stupor, trance, or cataleptic condition, after which most or part of the physical activities are suspended. While in this condition, they can be pricked with pins, even cut with knives or have skewers twisted into their flesh without feeling pain. It is probable that this explains Hindu fakirs and South Sea islanders ability to walk on hot stones and to endure other forms of torture. It is a fact that hypnotism can relieve temporarily the feeling of pain. It is, therefore, safe to assume that the endless dancing and seemingly so-called super-human physical efforts by the Tibetan Lamas, results from hypnotism.
One of the desirable conditions for hypnotism is darkness or dimness. From the earliest times and even today, many religious rites take place at night. This is especially true in India and Africa and among uncivilized peoples. Throughout the world, most religious ceremonies are conducted in temples, caves or churches where darkness or dimness is the rule.
Another universal practice among all religions, from the earliest to the most modern, is that of the repetitious chant or music.
Still another common and old established practice is the constant repetition of phrases, prayers, songs, hymns, questions and answers, doxologies, and various similar verbal and vocal practices.
Probably dancing around a campfire later evolved into worshiping before an altar. At first, the altar was a fire upon which a sacrificial offering, either human or animal, roasted, which was later eaten by the priests or at times by the followers. The altar has now been conventionalized and no longer supports a sacrifice although some altars still retain the fire or candles or a bright object. Here again, we have a darkened room with the chants of the priest or the choir or singers and the audience themselves with their gaze fixed upon a lighted altar or on a bright object or the ornamented church leaders, priest or preacher himself; a perfect setting for hypnotic demonstration. Add to these conditions, the gestures, the full or partial kneeling, the bowing, the facing in a certain direction, as is done by the Mohammedans and the Jews, the covering or closing of the eyes during prayer and we have all of the requirements necessary for successful hypnosis. When under the leader's influence, the subjects are in a mood to accept and follow completely his suggestions. It can easily be understood, by those with sufficient knowledge of human nature and evolutionary processes, how, by the constant repetition of the childish and often absurd religious rituals from childhood through adult life, that the great masses of peoples are in a constant state of mild or deeper hypnotism as to their religious beliefs and that they "re-route" all matters concerning religion, past and around the reasoning faculty, which is dead as far as religion is concerned. They believe without questioning, reasoning, or doubting, what is told them by the witch-doctors, priests, preachers, and religious leaders, often throughout their lives.
Psychoanalysts say that "father fixation" or parental substitution in the minds of the hypnotized subject is one of the factors making his subjection to the hypnotist easier. In the earliest childhood and in fact, in infancy, even in animals, the child or infant looks to his mother or father for all comforts and protection. If this "father-fixation" or parental confidence can be transferred to another person the immediate result is a lowering of the barrier of suspicion and fear with which the child or young animal looks upon nearly all except his parents. The additional factor of the preacher or priest calling his flock "his children," or the people the "children of God," or a customary and universal practice of calling the priest or religious leader "Father" also tends towards a transference of the confidence and the respect which children norm ally have for their parents to the religious leader. The use of the word brother, (or "brudder") and sister is also common among church congregations. Christ refers to his "father," and the New Testament is full of the word "brethren." Nuns are called sisters by the Catholics. It is a great aid to hypnosis to have the subject transfer his confidence to the hypnotist. Thus, we have all of the factors customarily used in the successful operation of the phenomena.
Gestures and symbols, prayer beads, rosaries, paraphernalia, robes, wands, scepters, diadems crowns, long beards, tall hats with jewels, all are a part of religious practice, which by unconscious evolutionary methods have proven of great value in the hypnotic control of the people by religious leaders.
Not only is this hypnotic influence used in religious matters, but it is used consciously or unconsciously by various military dictators. The German goose-step, the constant repetition of commands, the constant repetition of the pledges to Hitler, to Mussolini, and to Stalin and to other military dictators all result in a hypnotic condition, especially of the young men, by such military leaders. They dulled the reasoning faculties of their young people by this method. They sway them at their will and can thus order their young men to almost certain death for no benefit what ever to themselves or their nation, except the aggrandizement of the military leader and his gang.
Unfortunately, the loss in dulling the reasoning faculty in religious matters also often causes the loss of its use for other purposes and we thus have a race of people "bereft of reason" who are not able properly to determine what is best for them, their children or their nation. The result is a vast retardation of civilization.
To summarize the influence of hypnotism in the development of religion, we first take the method and practice of hypnotism:
After several, or many years of such procedure, it is practically impossible for the religious masses, especially the weaker minded portion of them, to break the hold with which their leaders have chained their minds.
Contrary to Reason
Most religious teachings are contrary to reason. We are told to believe that a god who must look like a man, because a man was made in his image, made the world in six days. This god took some clay in his hand, molded it, blew on it, and a man was formed.
Science teaches that the world was formed as an offshoot from the sun, over a period of millions of years, and that man evolved through the ages from lower forms of life.
Religion tells us that Christ was born from a virgin. Reason teaches that this is impossible. The Bible says Christ made wine out of water. Reason denies such a thing is possible.
The Bible says Joshua made the sun stand still. Science and reason could not countenance for a moment such a fabrication. The Bible says that God of the Jews cut the Red Sea in half and let the Jews escaping from Egypt, walk between two walls of water. Science denies such a possibility.
There are hundreds of "miracles" reported in the Bible and thousands in the traditions and writings of all religious works. All these miracles purport to set aside natural laws. The miracles are supposed to be phenomena which men are unable to do but which gods and supernatural beings can do. Any modern magician can perform any number of tricks which people do not understand. By relating these miracles, listeners are supposed to be convinced that the people who tell them are correct in their religious belief or propaganda. No miracles in Christianity of any consequence have been reported during the last 1900 years. The farther away, and the longer time back in history, miracles are reported, the less they are subject to investigation.
"Miracles" are for the purpose of "selling" the prospective convert the religion the "promoter" has to offer. It is a method of getting the "prospect" to sign up and join the religion. Those who head the religion or church usually are well paid for their work. After a few years an organization is built up which tends to be self-perpetuating. All the "promoters" have to do is to keep talking. They toil not, neither do they spin. Their "gift of gab" keeps them on the payroll.
Their arguments are, of course, always contrary to reason. The miracles they tell about are contrary to reason. The philosophy they propagate is not originated on a basis of common sense, practical benefit to people, and the production of happiness. On the contrary, the following of religious philosophies often is the greatest cause of unhappiness in a whole nation.
If the series of miracles and Biblical stories can be disproved, the whole Christian religion can be shown, like all other religions, to be merely the outgrowth of the distorted mental functioning of primitive people, shaped by self-seeking priests and preachers.
The Bible says God made the world in 6 days. A well-educated twelve year old school-boy now knows that the world is an offshoot from the sun and has been evolving for millions of years from a gaseous stage to a solid sphere.
The Bible says birds, animals and fishes were "manufactured" by God in a few days. Science, by hundreds of years of research, shows that the growth of animals took millions of years to evolve the present forms and that the higher forms evolved from the lower.
The Bible says that Joshua made the sun stand still. Science proves that the sun does not move around the earth, which in itself is sufficient evidence that the story of Joshua is foolish, but science also shows that the whole solar system and possibly more, would have to stop if the earth stood still for a moment, and that there is no scientific record of either the earth having stopped whirling or the sun having shone an extra day.
The Bible tells a story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale and of his remaining in the whale's belly as a guest for three days and of his then being cast up alive. Science first says that whales could not swallow a man whole, that if he was swallowed, he would be digested in less than three days, that the man would be suffocated within ten minutes without air, and that whales do not breathe air into their stomachs but into their lungs.
The Bible says that the Christ walked on the water. Science says that men are about the same weight as water and that while they can float partially submerged, they cannot walk without artificial assistance on water, although very salty water will float a man more buoyantly than fresh.
The Bible says that Jesus was born without his mother having had sexual intercourse. Science says that this is not possible. Even though artificial insemination is possible, it was unknown at the time Christ's birth is claimed. And what difference would it make if Christ or anyone else were born without his mother having had sexual intercourse?
There are insects which bring forth eggs without having had intercourse with males, and others once impregnated, such as bees and ants, lay eggs for long periods of time without further impregnation. But of what significance is it? There is no reason to believe that because of this condition they are more intelligent than if they were developed in the ordinary way.
A man should be judged by what his philosophy is and what good he does for mankind.
We have the claims by four authors more or less anonymous that Christ was crucified and three days later arose from the dead. The four men who tell of this "event" conflict in their testimony. Matthew takes only a few words to tell of what was supposed to have happened after the resurrection. The others tell of Christ having appeared at various times and places to different people. But if he conquered death, why did he not remain and preach for another three years? Why did he leave so suddenly? After once having conquered death, he could have done so again easily. Of course, the truth is (if such a man ever lived and if such an event ever occurred) that the story told by the Jews is the fact. The Bible reports it as follows: Matthew, Chapter 28, Verse 13, "Saying, say ye, His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept."
"14, And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you."
"15, So they took the money, and did as they were taught: AND THIS SAYING IS COMMONLY REPORTED AMONG THE JEWS UNTIL THIS DAY." (Capitalization ours.)
At this point it is well to call attention to the words used by whoever wrote the story, "until this day" which usually means a long time afterward, indicating that the story was written or told a long time afterward with great opportunity for magnification, error, and msunderstanding.
All of the story of the crucifixion and resurrection is unsupported by ordinary non-religious history and scientific evidence.
As a matter of fact, millions of suckers, fools, and dupes still go to see the "Holy Sepulcher" in Jerusalem. They fight and kill one another to get to it and buy candles and offerings from the priests who become wealthy operating the so-called shrine. Now if Christ ascended into heaven, why would he have needed a sepulcher? Where has the reasoning capacity of the people gone? It has been suppressed by the churches, because they know that their arguments will not stand comparison with reason and they know that only by compulsion and ignorance can their profitable churches survive.
Any student can go through the Bible and find hundreds of conflicts between science and the Christian religion. An intelligent man can convince himself in a few hours of the true character of the foundation of the biggest money-making religion of all time.
Joshua and the Sun
According to the Bible, Joshua compelled the sun to stand still. (Joshua, Chapter 10, verses 12 and 13).
"12. Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, 'Sun, stand thou still upon Gideon; and thou moon, in the Valley of Ajolon.'"
"13. And the sun stood still and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven and hasted not to go down about a whole day."
No other part of the book should be required to prove its complete unreliability.
All school children know now that the Sun does not revolve around the earth, but that the earth turns on its own axis and that the relative position of the Sun does not change.
The Sun, to all intents and purposes, has been standing still since the earth was formed. (Astronomers say that the whole solar system is moving, but that does not affect the relativity of the position of the Sun and earth.)
This claim proves that the writers of this part of the Bible were ignorant people and did not know that the earth rotates on its axis each 24 hours and that the Sun stands still. It proves that they knew less than the school children of today. It proves that the book could not have been inspired by an all-wise intelligent being -- because the claim that the Sun stood still is a false statement.
The claims prove that the Bible has been believed and promoted by men without reasoning powers or by hypocrites who have promoted the book as of divine revelation in spite of knowing that it was based on false claims and fables.
The Joshua story proves that the Bible was written by men without scientific knowledge.
If one story is wrong, the whole book can be wrong, because no supposedly divine revelation could be part perfect and part imperfect.
Either the originator of the story was a paranoiac, that is, insane and suffering from delusions or he was a deliberate liar who told the story to impress his listeners with his superhuman power.
It is evidence that the rest of the book can have either truths or falsehoods and opens all of it to doubt, and that each story or statement should be considered upon a basis of sustaining itself.
If the story of Joshua's stopping the Sun is false, that of Christ's resurrection may be so also.
The story can also be explained on a basis of a mistranslation, but if this story can be mistranslated, other parts of the same book can be in error by reason of mistranslation.
Biblical believers always explain admitted falsehood, misstatements and scientific errors as being allegorical or poetical, and claim that although the Joshua phenomenon of the Sun standing still cannot be true, the story is only part of a poem to make a point of something else.
Probably all false and erroneous statements of the truth can be so excused or explained -- but the fact remains then that no one can be sure whether a story or statement in the Bible is true or false. Of what value is it to the average man, if it is admitted that the certain statements are poetical fictions?
One of the Bible apologists, R. A. Torrey, in explaining the story of Joshua commanding the Sun to stand still, apologizes by saying: "If God could make the universe, he could make the Sun stand still."
He then further attempts to explain the passage, which every intelligent being knows is contrary to science and reason, by saying that the Bible translation is erroneous; that it would literally be translated -- "Was silent" -- "Keep silence" -- "Be still" -- "Held at peace" -- "Quiet one's self" -- "Tarry" -- "Wait" -- "Rest" -- "Stayed" -- "To stand" -- "Stand up."
Following the custom of Bible apologists who find that a Bible passage is contrary to science and reason, this man then falls back on the argument that the words used do not mean what they say. In other words, black is green, pink or yellow, but not black. Torrey then divides the Heavens in half, and says the Sun stays in half of it all day. He talks about refractions of rays which, of course, had nothing to do with the fact that the earth rotates on its axis and the Sun does not move.
He then further apologizes and attempts to explain that the words "Be silent" mean that Joshua commanded the Sun to withhold its light, and that what occurred on this occasion was not a prolongation of the day, but a dark day, so that Joshua practically had the advantage of fighting in the night.
To a reasoning man, this attempt to twist the language of the Bible from telling of the Sun standing still twenty-four hours to make it appear that the night was longer is typical of those who attempt to lead ignorant and stupid people into believing the Biblical legend.
The low degree of intelligence of those who blindly swallow such interpretations can be readily understood by any man with even a small degree of reasoning capacity.
This fantastic explanation by a devout follower of the Bible indicates that even he understands that there probably was a great deal of mistranslation and if it was mistranslated one place, it could be mistranslated other places, and if one of the stories is false and mistranslated, much of the other could be false and mistranslated, and if the myth of Joshua making the Sun stand still is false, then there is no reason for not believing that the story of the Jewish God and the Christian God is also false.
To summarize: The story is a falsehood, the writers of the Biblical history were ignorant, unscientific men, and as such are not worthy of belief in this or other matters; the book could not have been written as the divine revelation of an intelligent supreme being; it opens the whole book to doubt; it shows that the Bible conflicts with science; it proves that school children of today know more than the primitive writers of thousands of years ago; it proves that the believers and readers of the book have been ignorant or unreasoning men and that the promoters or leaders of the Christian religion are either stupid, if they believe the story, or hypocrites if they do not believe it and still promote the fable, and that in either case they are not the kind of people who can lead other people toward enlightenment.
Reason and intelligence prove that most religious customs are stupid and void of any benefit.
What benefit to humanity is there to pray before a statue, made of wood, stone or brass, as the Catholics do?
What need of praying in a loud voice? If there were a supernatural all-knowing, all-seeing individual, what need would there be to pray to such a being? He would know everything without being prayed to. And consider the time it would take such a being to listen to the prayers of 400,000,000 Christians, many praying day and night, to say nothing of considering such prayers and carrying out the desires of millions of people with different and conflicting prayers, one wanting it wet, the other dry, one cold, the other warm, and so on. And there are two billion persons on the earth. What about the prayers of the other 1,600,000,000? The Supreme God would have to take care of them also.
Then let any man make a few prayers and see how he comes out. If his prayers are granted, he may believe in prayer. If the prayers are not successful, then let him try other means to obtain what he wants. Let the average man ask any other average man what success he has had, and he will soon find out that all the answers to prayers are far away, or a long time ago, or a coincidence, and that the propaganda is mostly bunk. If prayer works, its value is so mysterious and intricate and indefinite that ordinary men can obtain no benefit from praying and it is a useless waste of time.
Of all the stupidity on earth, the religious system of dress is near the limit. Consider the orthodox dress of a nun. A long robe, or dress, dragging on the ground, catching dust and filth. The same thing, summer or winter. The intelligence of man, if it means anything, is for the purpose of taking advantage of conditions and improving everything for his benefit, comfort, and enjoyment. In warm weather the light colored, short, light weight garments are the only sensible things to wear. But in cold weather, black and dark colors are sensible. The nuns wear a collar, "blinders" to cut out light and sun and air. Long bulky, cumbersome sleeves, a nuisance and handicap in trying to do anything, a shaved head, skull cap, and a heavy chain with beads. This uniform is not based on reason, sanity, or cleanliness. The poor nun-slaves wear the same kind of garments worn thousands of years ago. They have stood still while the world has advanced. They and their clothing belong to the Middle Ages. The robes of priests and preachers are similarly stupid.
For ages women were not permitted to wear pants because of baseless Biblical injunctions, and the same stupid taboo prevented them from cutting their hair. These taboos are still in force in all Catholic countries and would be in the United States if the Catholics had their way. For centuries, women have carried a mess of dirty, hot, heavy hair, because some freak of a prophet had a brain storm 5000 years ago, and the priests and preachers have enforced the rule as long as they could. Millions of hours which could have been put to better use have been wasted fooling with long hair.
As a matter of fact the whole system of dress seems to have been based on the Biblical paranoiacs' ideas of thousands of years ago. It was a sin to expose the body to the health giving fresh air and sunshine. And the churches by law, up until a few years ago, forced women to wear long cumbersome bathing suits dangerous to life, stockings and other paraphernalia when bathing The whole custom was opposed to reason and intelligence. Even now the Catholic Church more or less successfully forces ill health on children by forcing its followers to be covered by hot, stuffy clothing.
And then consider the case of the nuns in the first place. Why should any healthy young woman, even though she be rather weak minded, be encouraged or forced to deny herself the pleasures of love and marriage and sex and a home, and be forced to live like a prisoner in a dark unhealthy, uncomfortable prison-like nunnery, doing mostly nothing but repeating parrot-like silly prayers, or stroking her rosary day after day.
The only thing we can say in favor of nunnery and monkery, is that some of the individuals, by not having offspring, do tend to eliminate their type and thus gradually to increase the percentage of intelligence. But on the other hand, they do so much work for the benefit of the religious institutions that this may outweigh the lack of propagation. Of course, the world would benefit if all these people were put to work doing something useful.
Our governments ought to try to educate these poor ignorant people as they do the so-called under-privileged, so that they will lead healthy, normal lives of usefulness to themselves and their country, instead of hollow wasted lives of melancholic mental emptiness.
It is unfortunate for humanity that marriage, mating, and love have all been under the unintelligent superstitious control of religion and the religious rules and customs have been written into the laws of nearly all the nations. How far better it will be when the scales of superstition have been removed from the eyes of men and all of such matters will be based on the results of scientific knowledge and investigation of the world's foremost biologists psychologists, psychiatrists and those who have a desire to promote real human happiness and a better, healthier, more intelligent race of people.
The sex and mating urges are next to the urge to survive, the strongest. Lack of intelligent control or direction of these urges has been the chief cause of crime, disease, insanity, wrecked lives, unhappiness, lack of efficiency in young people, and actual deterioration of many groups of peoples all over the world.
Experience has shown that the church's plan to force two people to live together when they are unsuited, incompatible, or when they change in their ways of living, all their lives, has caused untold misery. Church practices calling for mothers to bear children as they can, no matter what kind, has been the cause of a multitude of weak, sickly children, leading unhappy, poverty-stricken lives, and a great cost to the taxpayers in maintaining public institutions for their support and treatment.
Children, wanted and cherished by their parents, will never present the problems that a brood of hungry, unwanted, improperly cared for youngsters forced on the mothers of the more ignorant and religious groups will present.
The church has fought bitterly and solidly against the education of the people regarding birth control. In this, as in all progress or advancement, the church has opposed forward steps.
A poor man and an overworked wife can be kept in poverty for life and the children in filth, illness, ignorance and unhappiness because the mother is forced by the church to breed like an animal. The parents do not benefit by an excessive number of children to take care of and the children do not have a fair opportunity to lead happy, useful lives. Of course, the churches get that many more customers and the more poverty stricken and ignorant their followers are, the better hold churches are enabled to keep on them. The parents with leisure and the children with an opportunity for higher education do not feed the church coffers like the lower, more ignorant classes. It makes no matter how poor an excessive number of children might make the father, no matter how low the mentality of the parents, they are to breed like rabbits and fill the churches with cash customers.
The intelligence of the children and the parents and the nation can be increased where the parents are not slaves to the hunger of a great brood of little ones and where all have more leisure to study and develop their minds and bodies Yet the priests still control the legislative channels which allow or refuse the legal dissemination of birth control in formation. That the people do not approve of the priestly efforts to enslave them is evident by the wide-spread use of birth control, usually by "bootlegged" information. Because of the freedom of those who have enough intelligence to use such information, the happiness, intelligence, and health of the nation has improved.
Mothers who are not forced through a continuous round of pregnancy, lactation, care of infants, care of children from one year to the next for 20 years, are able to give more attention to themselves, their husbands, the children they have, their homes, and their country. And the fathers are able to plan for earlier retirement, shorter hours, more comfort and luxuries for themselves and their families.
But the Catholic Church prefers to keep the hands of the clock stilled on the basis of 2000 years ago, and place the people of the United States and other countries on the same low mental plane as the poor Catholics of Italy and Spain.
It is queer that the ideas on sex are enforced by nuns and monks and priests who are supposed to be celibates and who are suffering from the complexes and manias which modern psychiatry and psychology and psychoanalysis and other mental sciences tell us result from the unnatural suppression of the powerful, healthful sexual urges which are no more improper than the normal desire to eat, breathe, and drink.
If there were a god, and he put the sex instincts in men, and then condemned mankind because he followed his instincts, we would think of that god as a demon who delighted in tormenting the children he made, just as a cat plays with a mouse.
Only the church has given the flavor of filth, sinfulness, and wrongness to sex impulses.
Let the priests and monks and nuns who use their influence to suppress birth control information go through the pangs and pains of too many child-births without adequate care, without much hope for the future of a big brood of poverty-stricken youngsters, and they might change their minds as to the benefits of birth control.
Many priests and preachers live lives of ease, with little or no physical exertion or manual labor. They simply repeat parrot-like phrases and traditional stories. Their churches are free from taxes, they are free from military service, free from having to raise and support families (even if they do have illicit sex relations), and it seems that they (such people) tell the rest of us what to do about family matters, which ought to be based on the greatest happiness for all and on scientific investigation by intelligent students instead of by ignorant, prejudiced men with queer mental complexes.
Many mothers die in child birth in the United States in spite of all our modern means of saving lives. Think how many more would die if they were forced to bear an average of 12 as the church would have them do -- if they lived.
As a matter of fact it is the mother's and father's own business how many children they want and are able to have, and it is their right in a supposedly free country to get what information they want on birth control or on any other subject, not withstanding the church's strenuous attempt to suppress such information and to dictate to its followers what they shall read and what they shall not read.
It is only by suppressing the free investigation by intelligent adults of full knowledge of religious matters that any religion can survive and exist among intelligent people, although the ignorant, moronic rabble evolved by and for the religious leaders will always exist to a considerable extent.
A traveler has said, "Poverty stricken India, a land of starving unfortunates, almost without a meat or dairy industry, feeds more than twice as many cattle as the U. S. Millions of old cows live on, eating food that is desperately needed by human children, but the cows and bulls are sacred, religiously protected, can neither be used nor eliminated, and they drop their manure in the markets and on the sidewalks to help spread filth, stench and disease among the religious-ridden Hindus. Only their hides are used, after their death, and these may be handled only by the lower caste chamans, or pariahs or religious outcasts." Snakes, superstitiously venerated and protected by the priestly clan, annually kill many thousands of fanatically stupid and wretched Hindus. Such customs seem foolish to Christians, but eating the flesh of their "savior" looks foolish to non-Christians and both customs are devoid of reason.