The biggest obstacle we face in recruiting vegans is overcoming the ubiquitous belief that god gave humans dominion over animals. That evil concept is so pervasive in society that the Animal Holocaust is excused as necessary.
The belief in dominion is held by Christians, Jews, and Muslims. It is probably one of the universal beliefs on the planet.
Dominion is the belief that animals are here to serve humans. As food, clothing, entertainment, slaves. It is promoted in the Bible.It is embraced by most people, even non-religious people, due to it’s being so ingrained in our cultures and human society.
It is also the primary reason people reject veganism.
To be part of any of the religions that teach dominion is to be an enemy of animals’ interests, whether people know it or not.
Until the religions that promote dominion are rejected by society, the belief will continue to flourish. And to kill.
Religion preys upon the superstitious and the insecure. It defies reason and common sense. It empowers charlatans and con men. It promises riches in an afterlife if one makes religious leaders rich in the here and now.
Religion infects public policy, burdens science, dulls the intellect, and defies logic.
Religions concoct huge, intricate, complicated, invisible scenarios to explain matters: If something good or wonderful happens, it was God’s doing, if something horrific transpires, it was Satan who did it. If something is unexplainable by religion it is a Mystery Beyond Human Understanding.
Most religions teach compassion and urge followers to help the less fortunate. Admirable sentiments, but substantially less admirable than when practiced by atheists. Atheists act out of true concern, where the religious are prodded by threats of damnation by some sky wizard, or the carrot of a heaven.
As useless and counterproductive as religions are, I would never wish to ban them, just to expose them. Driving people into dark basements and feeding them bullshit is how you grow mushrooms and religions.
As soon as any kind of attack on religion occurs, the preachers come out of the woodwork, waving bibles and denouncing the devil, spinning tales of Armageddon, prophecy, and the need to tithe.
Religion needs enemies to grow. It shrivels, however, in the light of knowledge and science.
The most effective way to fight religion is to debunk it. No religion can stand the light of reason and ridicule. As Thomas Jefferson observed “Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.”
Fringe cults and fundamentalism are usually so ridiculous on their faces as to make easy targets.
Mainstream religious beliefs are the far more dangerous, as they appear to be reasonable or benign.
I see religions not as misguided, but as actually evil.
Not for what they are, but for what they make us become.
I am a frequent and outspoken critic of religion. Most of my criticism has been of the pernicious effects of religion on public discourse and government policy.
But an even more troubling aspect of religion is its affect on people’s concept of justice.
If one believes that there is a god, and that god is just and fair, then the urgency to make things right in the here and now becomes relatively unimportant, as god will sort it out. The Hitlers and Pol Pots will be punished, murderers will be held to account, even those who are cruel to animals will get their comeuppance!
And if people buy into the whole idea of god giving humans dominion over the animals, so is born the root cause of all animal abuse, cruelty and exploitation.
My criticism is of organized religion. Individual belief systems, if not constrained by institutional agendas, mirror individual ethics and moral values. In that light, most people are empathetic and compassionate, at least toward individuals and companion animals, and have the capacity for their empathy to embrace other sentient beings without the hindrance of dogma.
Natasha Sainsbury, of Good Karma Graphic Design, has joined Armory of the Revolution as Editor, and is responsible for the transformation of the blog’s appearance.