My Life is Words
Words and ideas turn on the lights in the brain
Created in God's image. Reality or the product of an overactive ego?
Religion, it seems to me, and there is ample evidence to support my belief, has caused more pain, suffering, and death to humans and other living creatures than all the wars and pandemics in the history of humans put together. What is it that drives some of us to be so passionate about our religion that it blinds us to our humanity? Why do we go off in a rage at another religion or take the words of some ancient being to mean we can lord it over all things on the earth?
I believe it is our egos that came up with this notion and that continues to need to be fed by the belief that we are "superior." Let's take a look at the Hebrew Bible, the first to "document" this idea.
And God said: 'Let us make man in our image/b'tsalmeinu, after our likeness/kid'muteinu; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.' And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him, male and female created He them. And God blessed them; and God said to them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.'
If that isn't an exercise in the human ego, I've never seen or read one. We, and only we are created in God's image, and we hold dominion over all other living things on the planet, and one assumes if we ever find life on another planet, we update that to include that life. That is pure narcissism, more so that even Trump is capable of. And, let's not forget that this was all written by a bunch of old men who wandered off by themselves and came back claiming to have conversed with God.
We might also note that the statement 'Let us make man. . .' was written by a man. It was not 'Let us make humans or men and women'. In fact, the entirety of the Bible, Torah, and Koran were written by men, men with, one must assume, rather large egos and who appear to have been motivated to create a world in which men ruled and mostly had their way.
Tradition credits Moses as the author of Genesis, as well as the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and most of Deuteronomy, but modern scholars increasingly see them as a product of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE. Moses walked the earth in the 14th & 13th centuries BCE. Whether it was Moses who set down these words, or others, it was still somewhere between about 2,500 and 3,200 years ago that all this was written and the intellectual properties of humans back then might be subject to discussion.
Studies were done, and continuing studies as well show that dolphins and whales are exceeding intelligent. We can't be sure how bright because we have yet to learn how to communicate with them, but they are unquestionably very intelligent animals. They have complicated languages, societal rule, and a sense of self-awareness, attributes we like to point to that make us human. What if God really created dolphins in His image and we humans have circumvented God's plan?
We have continually used the excuse, myth, or belief that we are just like God to justify running roughshod over all living things on the earth. That callous attitude includes other humans who we have determined, for a variety of reasons, often words in our religious texts, are not part of God's plan and we are therefore justified in killing them off or enslaving them or simply ignoring them. Was this really what you think God had in mind, assuming there is a God and that this God has a mind like ours?
The only evidence we have of our God-like personage is the presumed words of a man who lived over 3,000 years ago and who, like Pat Robertson, claimed to have exchanged texts with God. The people of that time protected their households by putting lamb's blood on their doorway so that the Angel of Death would know to pass over their homes. Moses "parted the Red Sea to escape the approaching Egyptian soldiers. These texts are full of genuinely outrageous events that we would never believe today, but represent how the people of that time thought.
Moses was preceded by Abraham who lived in the 18th century BCE, or about 500 years before Moses, and to whom it is said Moses was related. Abraham is said to have lived for 175 years. Others in Genesis are said to have lived 600 years and more. Notwithstanding "faith" this would seem, and it is likely that the cycle of the moon, or a month, was a year in which case 600 years would be 50 years old and the oldest person mentioned, Methuselah at 969 years-old would really have been around 81.
Again, these examples are cited to point out that the people of this time knew very little, were afraid of almost everything, and while perhaps well-meaning, their statements and contributions pale in their importance to human development compared to the likes Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Da Vinci.
This very brief visit to the Old Testament in search of examples of the mindset at the time is merely a way to point out that there seem to be some fanciful tales in the Bible that can sorely test a realistic mind.
Given the extent of suspicion and mysticism that prevailed at the time, it is not unreasonable to believe that the authors of Genesis and other books of the Bible may have been given to flights of fancy about who we are and how we came into being. Much of what happened back then, plagues, disease, natural disasters, and regular human events like birth and death were not understood the way they are today.
Abraham, Moses, and many others back then were the sleuths who were trying to do a couple of things I suspect. They indeed were curious about how we came to be, but the science of evolution simply didn't exist then. In fact, no science existed then, only imagination and storytelling. Astronomy, the first of the sciences didn't occur until about 1600 BCE.
Did the people in the Bible exist? Of course, they did, with the possible exceptions of any that may have been created as part of a convincing story that needed to be told. Did the voice of God really emanate from a burning bush? In the mind of Moses, I suspect it did, but in reality, I simply can't accept that as fact.
And, for these reasons, and more, I think it was the ego of humans that elevated us to some omnipotent status over all other living creatures, and not the work of a supreme being. And, given that hypothesis, I would like to see us develop a bit more humility toward each other and toward all life on this planet as opposed to the discrimination and bigotry of religion and begin to behave differently toward all life.