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Why are Holy Books dangerous?


            Being Human


            A personal introduction to the New Atheism.

The basic problem with old Holy Books is the very fact that they are old.

Their very existence makes people support outdated views which they would in many cases not support without unwarranted belief in those books.

The misguided belief in absolute truths being written to these old books can bring people for example to hate homosexuals or to oppose the equality of sexes in a modern society.

Without a faith in these old texts the same people could well be taking similar stands in these as everybody else in the society around them, even if they would believe in an existence of some higher force.

Our society has for example grown to accept that homosexuality is a normal deviation in human sexuality and not a curable illness or that masturbation is a quite natural way of releasing sexual tensions.

In a many religious communities these simple facts cannot however be acknowledged, as a book written in a very undeveloped society 2000 years ago says that things like these cannot be tolerated.

In a quite similar vein the patriarchic view of society embedded in an old book is still often transmitted to the community of believers even though the society at large has long ago gone past this stage of development and accepted women as fully equal members of society.

Page of 11th century Tanakh with Targum. -Wikipedia

Te danger is that the remarkably old-fashioned attitudes buried in old Holy Books can be dragged to the light at any moment even though the more modern members of these same religions want to forget these attitudes already.

These old beliefs surface to haunt modern religions as long as these old books are taken to have some extraordinary wisdom or knowledge.

If the claims for the absolute truths hidden in these old books would be nullified, we could for example also forget misogynist ramblings in these old books. These extremely old-fashioned attitudes would not in that case anymore come to haunt the modern societies.

A sad state of affairs comes to an extremely clear light when you compare the early achievements of Judaism and Christianity with the achievements of the more ancient Greeks. Those semitic nomads that gave us their holy book did in fact accomplish next to nothing in real world and they did not leave other visible marks in the world beyond this old book.

These semi-nomadic tribes did not create anything memorable works in fields of arts, science, poetry, visual arts, music or technology. The basis for our science, philosophy, arts and technology was instead created In the Greece of Antiquity.

The showcase for the science, philosophy and arts in Greece fills entire libraries, when the whole spiritual heritage of this semi-nomadic Semitic tribe can be crammed in to one sad book, which in reality has nothing concrete to give for people living a quite different and in every aspects more developed world.

The question presents itself; why did the Greeks accomplish all these things, but these Semitic tribes did not leave any other discernable marks in the annals of human achievement beyond this single book?

The basic answer is found in different concepts of Gods and Holy Books. The Gods of Greece were more of a theatrical assembly which had no interest in the matters of individuals, when the Jewish God followed closely every moment everything people were doing and thinking.

This situation gave the people of Greece the freedom to think freely, when the Jews had a book that already had all the answers needed and there was no need to discover new things.

The Greeks of Antiquity created a tremendous amount of culture, science, architecture, poetry, plays and philosophy, but all Judea could give was an even more powerful religious force in form of Christianity.

This new religion did accomplish a coup’ d’état in Empire of Rome in the 300’s and soon darkness fell over Europe. The joy of life in was transformed into fear of death and arts, science and philosophy were transformed into weapons of propaganda for this new religion.

For a millennia this gloomy, death-loving religion held sway over Europe and forbid all original thinking, stopped the progress in science and for a long time did all it could to hide the achievements of ancient Greece.

When this iron grip of religion did for many diverse reasons come to an end at the time of Enlightenment societies could again attain the status they had already achieved a thousand years earlier. It has even been joked that without the intervention of the Christian faith, Christopher Columbus would not had been sailing to India, but for the moon.

The very basic reason for this development was the misplaced belief in all the truths humanity needs were already found and they were written to one old book.

The Holy Book of Christians is of course the most familiar example of the dangers of Holy Books, but quite similar dangers are of course embedded in the Holy Book of the Muslims or the Holy Books of the communists.


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