left biblioblography: Oh The Humanity – Are We Not Human Also?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Oh The Humanity – Are We Not Human Also?

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!Monster That Challenged The World

If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist? ...Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Thomas Law, June 13, 1814

In April, a crazed black man named Anthony shot an innocent girl, and committed suicide. Prior to this, he was seen ranting and raving about how atheists weren’t human.

Jerry Falwell once said, “If you're not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being.”

Also in April, a Catholic bishop by the name of Walter Mixa quoted Dostoevsky as saying, “If God doesn’t exist, then everything is permitted.” And blamed the entire Nazi mess on atheism.

Just recently, a Catholic cardinal stated that atheists weren’t ‘fully’ human.

Not long ago, Elizabeth Dole attacked an opponent on TV with ads that accused Hagan of being an atheist – as if this were a crime also.

We have an alleged ‘professor of journalism’ defending her anti-atheistic commentary (and to be sure, I engaged her myself).

There are sufficient grounds for us as individuals and as a collective to be enraged, to be somewhat less courteous. After all, in some states, we can have our children taken away from us.

In fact, if you’re an atheist, you don’t have to look very hard on the Internet to find something that will utterly get up your nose. Or. as Dorothy Parker once quipped, “What fresh hell is this?”

I can readily withstand the accusations of being intellectually feeble (laughable at best), or of not having thought it all through (risible at best, these people tend to slop out scripture quotes as if I’d not read a bit of their book), but the unkindest of all is the accusation of somehow being less human.

There are various viewpoints on what it means to be human. Of course, the ICR claims we are just a vast network of servants. Here’s the scientific explanation. But I think the Pioneer 10 plaque outlined the definition best.

The first step is the biology, of course. To quote Shakespeare:

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me, I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

Act III, scene I – Merchant of Venice

Substitute ‘Jew’ for ‘Atheist’, and you ken me drift. At what point, then, does the human being terminate his/her relationship (regardless of biology, or in spite of) to all others of their species? Let’s look at the definition of inhuman:

  1. Lacking kindness, pity, or compassion; cruel. See synonyms at cruel.
  2. Deficient in emotional warmth; cold.
  3. Not suited for human needs: an inhuman environment.
  4. Not of ordinary human form; monstrous.

Let’s look at the definition of inhumane:

Lacking pity or compassion.

The general prevalent concept is that to sever one’s humanity from one’s fellows, is to commit a crime (or crimes) utterly lacking in empathy of any sort. Crimes such as mass murder, serial rape, or pedophilia usually qualify (oops! There goes a huge portion of priests from a denomination we’re all familiar with!).

The long and short of it is, boys and girls, is that a large percentage of folks seem to think/believe that we are somehow lessened in quality as humans if we don’t pay homage to some transcendental (read: supernatural) source-of-all-things. It’s a fairly common misbelief, as my years on the internet have taught me.

Oftentimes, our species exhibits an internal xenophobia that, while an defense evolutionary mechanism, runs contrary to the dictates of sense and logic.

It is a long, hard road that we have to tread, because ideological bigotry is perhaps the last abstract frontier left to conquer.

Just remember to circle the wagons when the time comes.

Till the next post, then.

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