The 'fever swamp' of belief-dependency endangers us all
To the editor: In 2018, according to Pew Research Center, a quarter of U.S. adults identified with Christian evangelism. Currently, too many Americans and legislators call for an end to the separation of church and state to incorporate the authority and historicity of the Bible in lawmaking.
Growing religious nationalism, here and abroad, are essentially armed camps that form the intrinsic nature of endless conflict. Like self-feeding fires, constructed to continuously burn, organized religions are driven to achieve their conservative authoritarian control over an inherently pluralistic populace. Authoritarians and religious dogma have no use for multicultural pluralist societies where individual values are respected and allowed.
In the ancient Book of Genesis, authoritarian patriarchal control materialized in the newly created Adam in the image of the biblical god. The audacity of the suggestive power that man is godlike was unprecedented. The patriarchal mandate that this godlike man establish "domain over every living creature" on the Earth, set in motion an arrogant, selfish, and reckless species. This empyrean domain where man's will and their God's will become as one, helped to alter the mental-evolution of human consciousness from a down-to-earth animal to a principally fantasist species.
As this mangod fantasy-world mutated at an alarming rate, Euro-Western Civilization of predominantly white people embraced supremacy as their rightful place in the realm of socialized belief-dependency. The rapid decline over the past 500 years of many environmental habits, as the patriarchal missionary forces of white people assumed earthly control, resulted in the unsustainable loss of many of Earth's lifeforms.
In his 2016 book, “Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life,” American biologist, Edward O. Wilson (1929-2021) wrote, “We would be wise to find our way as quickly as possible out of the fever swamp of dogmatic religious belief through which we still wander. Unless humanity learns a great deal more about global biodiversity and moves quickly to protect it, we will soon lose most of the species composing life on Earth.”
A significant reason why many people cannot and will not take Edward O. Wilson's advice "as quickly as possible," is that belief-dependent people worship the very epitome of autocrats — "God" himself. Moreover, the creation of a man in the image of a god given domain over the earth set man apart from the natural environment he depended on for his very existence. But mankind covets its godlike image. It gives believers status and a sense of false supremacy. Every way man turns he is trapped in this fossilized "image" of himself and will not willingly relinquish it without a fight.
Mark Twain said, "Man is kind enough when he is not excited by religion." That religious excitement runs deep, too deep for purblind believers to set it aside. The will of the people to be democratically autonomous, free of one-man rule, is too weak to find their way out of the "fever swamp" of belief-dependency anytime soon. With no sustainable Plan B to conserve an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources, this "man's domain" has endangered us all.
Brattleboro, Nov. 14