Saturday, April 22, 2017

So Much For The Blessed Meek

It's recently come to my attention that God gave Man dominion over the earth, which explains everything. The news came in the context of a typical political Facebook thread and was stated flatly and irrefutably. Which is not to say I couldn't refute it--just that my arguments would be as seed cast upon stony ground.

Four-plus billion years on this marble and everything was coming along so nicely! Little sparks of ingenuity happened all over, and sure, there are always winners and losers, but anyone with a little resiliency did pretty well, overall. And then we came along and began to chisel out our own little niche, as one does. We couldn't fly, and we weren't fast, and we weren't strong, and we couldn't see or hear particularly well, but we were clever. So we got even cleverer. In fact, at this point your average human ape is smarter than your average other ape. That's a fact. That doesn't mean that there aren't some exceptional apes that are cleverer than a whole shitload of humans, and don't make me name names. So this is just a broad generalization.

Still, as interesting as the big clever brain turned out to be, there were some early signs of trouble. Every single place we went, the large animals went extinct. One after the other. You can actually map the migrations of humans by the extinction dates of the big critters. Africa has the lion's share, as it were, of those still remaining. It is thought that since we evolved in Africa alongside the big animals, they had a chance to learn how to avoid us. But when we cast out for the hinterlands, the resident megafauna had an unfortunate tendency to walk right up to our big clubs and spears. The thousand-pound thunder ducks were doomed. The giant sloths. Mammoths. Wooly rhinoceroses. Saber-toothed cats. Giant beavers and short-faced bears. But we were just getting started.

Not saying it's necessarily causal, but everything really went to hell when we began to write. It wasn't the overuse of adverbs or the lack of an arc, either.

First it was just bookkeeping and accounting, like tallies of sheep and grain stores and such, and writing puttered along for a few thousand years, but then, boom! Bible time. The Bible itself dates back to either 400 BC or the Beginning Of Time, depending on who you ask. Claims to authorship are similarly all over the map. In any case, the important thing to note is that on the first day, man created God.

I don't mean to get anyone in an uproar over God in any of his or her specifics.  You can believe anything you want, and fight about it with whomever you want, and I'm staying out of it. But this particular Bible-God was definitely created by man. How can we tell? First thing, he was created in our own image. What are the odds? What is the chance the Creator of the Universe looks like, say, Donald Trump? I'll tell you. Zip. But here we have a God who looks exactly like us, only souped-up. Right there, the fix is in. Right away, we've given ourselves a supernatural legitimacy that we totally did not earn.

Then we started writing the dialogue. And that's where that self-dealing really comes to the fore: we're the only critters with a soul, because God blew it into us while we were still dusty. Which means we have dominion over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth. It's all ours, baby. You couldn't get a better deal if you put all your cronies in power and had them write the legislation. And now we can take everything including ourselves right up to the brink of extinction and beyond, and it's all okay because God put us in charge, right there in Chapter One, when we made him.

What a hell of a waste of a fabulous brain to take it just to the point in evolution where it can admire itself. Because then that's all it does.

27 comments:

  1. "God" giving man dominion over the earth makes as much sense as parents making their toddlers the head of the household, with the capability of making all the decisions. And with the same result, as we're seeing. He should've given it to some other creature, like the elephant or the dolphin. They'd probably do a better job. They certainly couldn't do much worse.

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    1. Or fungi. They seem to have it all together.

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    2. And haven't you guys got the mother lode, right under your feet?

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    3. Probably got more than you, yeah.

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    4. I vote for fungi running the world.

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  2. God? No. Man in all his hubris, gave himself dominion over all else. And what a mistake that turned out to be.

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    1. If women were given dominion over all else, it still wouldn't be real good, but maybe everyone would have to do their own laundry. As it is, we're leaving our streaky shorts all over the atmosphere and everything.

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  3. The idea of our higher power looking like a smiling dolphin is refreshingly appealing.

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    1. Or--while we're on the subject of smiling--a salamander!

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  4. Now it all makes sense. Man made God in his image. Well said, Murr, and sadly so.

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  5. Cleverly said, and full of the truth.

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    1. I don't even always have dominion over my own bowels.

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  6. All religion is man-made. Every, single, one of the estimated 4000 plus religions which are out there. And their deities.

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    1. 4,000? Now I'm scared. The odds of betting on the wrong horse are so high!

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    2. Yup. Some great stories, though.

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  7. ...and most people believe the other 3,999 are wrong.

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    1. I saw a wondeful letter to the Editor on just this point. The writer said that he agreed with 99 per cent of theists. And emphatically agreed that the others were wrong about their deity. He just wanted them to take the final step about their own...

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  8. I read somewhere (and I now can't find the source) that if God created man, that explains nothing, but if man created God, then that explains everything. Seems right to me. And isn't it odd that we've all capitalized "God"?

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  9. All these brains and what have we got to show for it? Just stuff and not much else. Then there's the shitgibbon in charge of our area.
    Dominion? I barely have dominion of the air that touches my body. In fact I don't.

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    1. I'm not even sure dominion is something to be hoped for.

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  10. Man invented God for someone to blame when the merde hit the fan. But if God invented man in his (?) image then what's all the fuss about intersex and transgender or did he just miss a page in the recipe book.

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  11. I would really like it if we could change dominion to stewardship. We could use a lot more care instead of beating things with sticks.

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    1. It will be so hard to do proper stewardship as long as there are so danged many of us, but yes.

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