Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 09.17.05


The Deity Myth

A young man of 23 boards a Cessna 175. He taxis to the end of a runway in just about anywhere USA. He takes off and after flying for an hour he lands on a deserted airstrip where he and his friends attach aerosol canisters of live smallpox virus to the wings.

He takes off and heads for a major city on the eastern seaboard. After pulling the pins on all the canisters he flies in lazy circles over midtown and in ever increasing orbits over suburbia until the entire virus is spent. Without compunction he sets the small craft into a nosedive culminating in the destruction of a small bank in a neighborhood mall.

Ten die, they are the lucky ones.

A sniper gazes through the lens of his Leupold fixed power scope mounted on a US army M21 sniper rifle. He has been tracking the movements of two doctors as they enter a women's health clinic in a major Midwestern town.

Every morning the doctors enter the building through a phalanx of wild-eyed, cursing, and spitting zealots who promise the doctors an eternity in hell for practicing their profession. Some days the doctors enter the clinic separately, sometimes together.

This morning the sniper sees that they are going to run the gauntlet together. The crowd hits the dirt as doctor number one rapidly bleeds out through a grievous neck wound. The other dies almost as quickly as he kneels over his colleague and a steel-jacketed bullet tears through his back and out his chest. The crowd erupts with cheers and screams of joy.

These scenarios could be played out at any time in America. Most of us would be horrified but none of us would be surprised.

These acts are the end result of humanity's obsession with faith. And while we all decry acts of violence in the name of religion we are nervous about criticizing them. We have been taught to "respect" the other person's religion.

We mustn't take the Catholic Church to task for creating an army of pedophiles with their insistence on priestly celibacy and their exclusion of women. Can you imagine the outrage if a secular organization was rife with perversion and didn't allow women the right to hold office? (With the possible exception of the Augusta National.)

Lately Al Quaeda leader Aymen al-Aawahiri appeared on TV promising more attacks on London and the beginning of a campaign of terror in the United States.

Not to be outdone Pat Robertson the spiritual leader of George Bush's political base recommended the murder of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Hurricane victims who lost everything wail about their faith in God and the fact that God lead them through the horror of losing family members and the destruction of their homes.

Accident victims say, "Thank God we lived." Volvo engineers get no credit. Dead children's parents say, "God works in mysterious ways." Or "Junior's in a better place." The Almighty is always let off the hook.

I contend that we cling to the God myth for two reasons.

One is that we don't like to think of ourselves rotting in the ground after death with no harps, angels, reincarnation, or being feted by virgins.

The other is that we are nervous about disavowing the existence of God just in case he does exist, gets cranky and condemns us to a fiery pit for eternity.

Religions have brought us death, destruction, hatred, fear, and now that the non-superstition parts of our brain have developed suitcase nukes and aerosol biological weaponry, it has brought us the ability to wipe out thousands of people at once.

If God exists he cannot be the one George Bush loves so much. He doesn't hate gays or people of other faiths or favor America over other countries or root for BYU.

He isn't Allah either. There is no God that wants to have acolytes blow themselves up in buses or fly planes into buildings or treat women like animals.

The Jew's version doesn't work either. He is currently used as an excuse to annex land that doesn't belong to them, thereby perpetuating the followers of Allah toward suicidal murder.

There have been people who have tried to organize religions that offer nothing but peace and love. They have been pretty unpopular, however. The Bahai faith comes to mind: Iranian Muslim psychos regularly murder them with impunity.

I have a news flash for you all. The God of the Bible, the Koran and the Torah does not exist. We made him up like the Easter Bunny, Feng Sui, and the Tooth Fairy.

Of course, that's just my opinion. If I'm wrong I'd like to apologize to God up front.