BOOK DETAILS

2084 The Secularist Revolution: How Technology Changed the World

2084 The Secularist Revolution: How Technology Changed the World

by Stanley Yokell

ISBN: 9781478741008

Publisher Outskirts Press

Published in Nonfiction

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Book Description

2084 The Secularist Revolution examines the metaphysical aspects of creation and the use of religious mythology associated with political power. It describes the revolution that two devices that provide instantaneous translation of spoken and written languages on religious and political power and the resistance to the revolution.

Sample Chapter

It is a great mystery why some inanimate parts of this planet or possibly any other planet came together in chemical reactions that led to life. The immediate question is, “Did a supernatural being cause the reactions?”

Creation stories of various religions expound belief in a creator. Adherents take them on faith; skeptical scientists do not. Much to the dismay of religious leaders, skeptical scientists advance modern versions of Darwin’s theory of evolution. But religious believers and scientists can neither prove nor disprove that life is the work of a creator or that a creator exists.

Religious leaders throughout the world deny the validity of Darwin’s theory. Although they can provide no proof, some trumpet intelligent design and demand that schools teach it as a theory equal to the theory of evolution which they vigorously contest.

Judeo-Christian religious leaders insist that everything that is was created in a specific time; the Bible says six days. Some explain away archeological findings that contradict the Bible story by saying that six days is a metaphor for six periods to make it consistent with intelligent design.

The faithful believe in miracles like the dropping of manna from heaven to feed the starving Hebrews in the desert, the Savior’s healing of the sick and lame, the Prophet’s travel to paradise and back on a flying horse, and the seven mentions in the Bible of raising the dead to life. Religious leaders use believers’ faith in miracles to enhance their power over their followers. Skeptics think they are made-up grandmothers’ tales to enhance belief.

The Catholic church requires sainthood candidates to have performed miracles. Although the church confers sainthood from time to time, skeptics doubt that any miracles occurred. They are apt to say that people who believe in miracles or hear the Word of God suffer from mental derangement.

The stone commandments, which the Bible says God gave to Moses in Sinai, hold religious sway over Jews and Christians. But religious adherents observe them more in the breach than in the practice, even when they place copies prominently in the public square.

A great mystery that puzzles some of us is, “Did life arise purely by chance?”

If one assumes that life is the creation of a supernatural creator, we can reasonably ask, “What was the purpose of its creation?”

We have no answers nor can we answer the question, “Why did the creator make life finite?”

In our experience, all living things begin at a beginning and die at an end. It is logical to ask, “Couldn’t an all-powerful creator have made it infinite, and why didn’t it?”

Thinking about what an all-powerful creator could have done raises the questions, “Why did the creator arrange things so that his creations kill and eat each other?” and “Couldn’t the creator have arranged for its creatures to get their energy directly from the sun?”

The biblical story of the fall from grace in Eden attempts to justify humankind’s, and especially women’s, hardships. But it offers no explanation for the appetites and killings of nonhuman creatures by other nonhuman creatures.

Accepting that its life must end is the most difficult and fearful thing for a sentient creature. Because of the fear of death, a central theme of most religions is belief in an afterlife. Belief in a Savior and a future life in heaven ease the fear. What this offers to believers who confess their sins and repent is assurance of a resurrection in which they will spend eternity in a glorious heaven. The religious establishment declares that sinners who do not confess and repent will be consigned forever to suffer in burning hellfire.

Recognizing the difficulty of leading a sinless life, one religious doctrine offers purgatory or purification to a sufficiently holy state for some sins of limited degree where, after sufficient but not eternal punishment and relenting, repentant sinners gain entry into paradise.

The creators of religions wear the guise of wise men that can explain life’s mysteries and miseries and offer comfort about its inevitable end. Arguably, their true purpose is to gain power over people by using the constructs of temples, churches, and mosques, rituals, the creation story and the words of prophets to whom God or the gods speak, and the beliefs that their words evoke.

Religious leaders amplify their power and control over people by telling their followers the one and only God’s will or the will of one or more of the multiple gods in which they profess belief. They create structures of miracles, histories of prophets’ acts and their prophetic sayings which they incorporate in the faiths’ holy books.

Some religions go so far as to say that individuals cannot determine God’s will and only by intercession of the priesthood can the congregants know God’s will. The priests interpret the meanings of the holy books’ words for the faithful, thereby eliminating challenges to the power structure. Political leaders who are also religious ones use religious belief as a means of retaining and exerting power.

Religious belief has, at times, made a mockery of the scientific establishment of fact. When Galileo Galilei asserted that Copernicus’s heliocentric idea was correct 73 years after it was published, the Inquisition disagreed and cast him into jail. Despite its contradiction of the Bible’s view that the sun revolves about the earth, Pope Benedict XIV granted an imprimatur in 1741 to the first edition of the complete works of Galileo.

In 1178 of the common era, Maimonides said that God created the world 4,938 years ago. Jews worldwide use his calendar to celebrate religious holidays. Despite the participation of many Jewish scientists in studies of the origin of the universe that prove otherwise, the religious calendar continues.

In Germany, the sale of indulgences scandalized the Catholic monk Martin Luther. He could not accept that monetary fines could take the place of punishments and contrition for sins which the church would forgive upon payment of a fine. And he thought it made a mockery of the purpose of confession to permit the sale of indulgences.

Following a custom of the time, on October 31, 1517, he posted 95 theses written in Latin on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg. The theses covered what he saw as many flaws in Catholic theology. This was the root of the Protestant Revolution and the religious warfare that followed between Catholics and Protestants and between Catholic and Protestant nations and arguments within Protestantism and discrimination by some Protestant groups against others. All held non-Christians in contempt.

Islamist theology parallels that of Judaism in that Ibrahim (Abraham in Judaism and Christianity) is the progenitor. But they assign different roles to Hagar and Ishmael. To Jews, Hagar was Sarah’s handmaiden to whom she urged Abraham to go in unto so she could give birth on Sarah’s lap. It takes a visit from angels and a miracle for Sarah, who at the age of 90, was past the childbearing age, to become pregnant by Abraham . . . who was 100 . . . and give birth to Isaac. (The name means He will laugh) People interested in the angels’ visit and Sarah’s pregnancy can read about it in Genesis.

The Jewish story goes that Hagar became uppity because she had Abraham’s child and Sarah did not. So Sarah convinced Abraham to cast Hagar and Ishmael out into the desert where God gave them water and told Hagar that her son would be the father of nations.

Islamists agree that Ishmael was Hagar’s child, Abraham’s first son and the father of the Arab nation. Islamic exegesis assigns him a far different role than does that of the Bible. To Islam, he is a prophet. And there is a difference of opinion between Arabs and Jews about which of his sons Abraham was willing to sacrifice in answer to God’s test of Abraham’s (Ibrahim’s) faith.

In agreement with God’s command, Jews circumcise their male children eight days after birth. Muslims believe that Ishmael was 13 when Ibrahim received God’s command. They circumcise their sons at age 13, Ishmael’s age, when God told Ibrahim to circumcise all the males in his tribe.

But the real purpose of all the rituals is to bind believers to a faith. The religious dispute between Sunnis and Shiites and their offshoot sects stems from a power struggle between descendants of Muhammad about who his legitimate successor was. They have different interpretations of the Quran, rituals, and celebrations. The hatred and murder of this struggle are part of a continuing struggle over who manipulates the levers of power over people clothed in a theological dispute about who carries Muhammad’s mandate.

Another mystery is, “Why does humankind so fear the exchange of genetic material of the different races that evolved over the millennia?”

The answer to this question, and the attendant mistreatment of humans by other humans and promotion of fear of miscegenation, is the quest of the powerful to attain and maintain power over people through the use of racism and religious texts that support it. The biblical theory, which supports anti-black racialism, is that Ham committed the sin of incest with his mother and that is why their descendants are black. The Bible, however, does not seem to have an opinion about why the descendants of Japheth are people with slant eyes and ivory-colored skin.

Does the quest for power over people not answer the questions, “Why did explorers and conquerors treat native populations as less human than themselves? Why did South African apartheid and the American laws treat black people as only partially human? Why did the explorers and conquerors of the Aztec, Incan, and Mayan civilizations and the civilizations of the islands of the Caribbean Sea use missionaries’ conversion of natives to Catholicism and enslavement to justify their destruction? Why did they kidnap and murder native leaders who, in an ironic twist, also used native religious beliefs, slavery, and rituals of human sacrifice, to hold power over their people and enslave them?”

The Brownist English Dissenters fled the burden of the English church’s weight for the tolerance of Holland. Then, for fear of losing their cultural identity and power over their followers, their leaders led the immigration to North America where they settled the Plymouth Colony. Their search for religious freedom is a central theme of American culture.

However, when the Pilgrims arrived on the New World’s shores, they had little sympathy for the Native Americans they encountered or for their religious beliefs. Their search for power underpinned the treating of the original inhabitants as savages, stealing their land, converting them from heathen beliefs, and sometimes justifying massacring them. This marginalized and seized the power that Native chiefs and religious leaders held over their people.

The religious leaders of the Virginia Colony did the same. The Virginia colonists used the Bible’s Leviticus 25:44 to justify enslavement of miserably treated Africans and Caribbean natives who were, unwillingly, brought to the colony. The struggle for freedom and recognition as equals with equal rights to other Americans has been long and hard and only partially successful.

The agriculture of the Southern American states depended upon slavery for its workforce. The more industrialized North depended upon free labor. The basic conflict of the American Civil War between the Northern and Southern states was the antislavery movement in the North that threatened the economic power of the South.

After the North prevailed, the Southern states passed miscegenation laws prohibiting mating between nonwhites and whites. This was despite many former slave owners, such as Thomas Jefferson, for example, having fathered children by their slaves that led to a population of mulatto and quadroon slaves. Some mixed-blood slaves were so Caucasian in appearance that they could pass for white when they escaped. But they lived under the threat that their children might be black skinned even when the father or mother was white.

Political leaders use fear of genetic mixing as a powerful lever to exert power over people. Until the changes to the Constitution that succeeded the American Civil War, the Constitution’s enumeration clause treated slaves as three-fifths of a person. Imagine being three-fifths of a person!

Despite the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the American Constitution, in the post-Civil War period, segregation in the states of the Confederacy that lost and discrimination in the states that won kept African Americans in a lower class of poverty and powerlessness. Their climb to full personhood and autonomy has been arduous, long, and slow.

Other laws, tested in the Supreme Court by the Dred Scott decision, gave separate but equal education to African American children. Separate it was, but equal it was not.

Laws in the former Confederate states prohibited black people of African origin from using facilities that white people used, required them to ride in the rear of public transportation, subjected them to curfews, etc. It was not until 1950 that legal segregation came to an end. It took a long struggle by black religious leaders to gain a share of power that the white majority held.

Despite the election of an African American of white and black ancestry to the presidency and election of nonwhites, Hispanics, Muslims, and Jews to governmental bodies, much of America hates them all as a threat to the power structure to which they have become accustomed and believe is their right.

The mystery of this hatred is, “How can believers in a just God and his only begotten Son justify such prejudices and at the same time preach that we are all God’s children?”

Most religions amplify their financial power by requiring believers to contribute to the maintenance of their churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples on a regular basis, such as tithing or collections during religious services.

Although all religious doctrines speak of God’s peace and love for the poor and repeat their prophets’ words, for example, Again, I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, cited in Matthew 19:24, one needs only to visit the Vatican, great mosques and temples, for examples of religious leaders’ lust for treasure and power. Do not their living arrangements and garments show the hypocrisy of their expression of love of the poor espoused in words but rarely accomplished in deeds?

We note that it is unfair to attribute such behavior to all believers. In every religion there are charities and charitable people who truly try to help the poor and disadvantaged.

Isaiah 2:4 readsHe will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

Despite this hope for peaceful pursuits rather than warfare, the violent and bloody history of humanity’s power struggles has not changed. Indeed, in the name of God, religious leaders have often advocated warfare with and torture and murder of those with different beliefs. For example, the distortions of Muslim calls to jihad.

The wars of the Hebrews and other tribes and countries of biblical times, the disputes between Sunni and Shiite descendants of the Prophet and conquest of nonbelievers during the spread of Islam, the Catholic church’s Inquisition and auto-da-fé, the wars between Catholics and Protestants all exemplify the violent and bloody history of religion in quests for power.

During the many latter day wars, each opponent propagandized its people saying that God was on its side. During World War I, German leaders propagandized their people with Gott mit Uns (“God with us” in translation). Their enemies invariably said their struggle was for the good of God. A noteworthy variation during World War II was the American prizefighter who commented that, “We is on God’s side.”

But despite invoking God’s help, ungodly racial and religious discrimination prevails. Woodrow Wilson, the former Princeton professor, who was a mentor to the deeply religious future Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, led the United States into the First World War with his slogan of making the world safe for democracy. But his belief in democracy was limited. It did not extend to all Americans. He was a racist former member of the Ku Klux Klan and a firm believer in the inferiority of black people.

There were precious few black and non-Christian officers in America’s armed forces in both world wars. During and after both conflicts, black people were denied equal rights to whites despite the profession of religious leaders that we are all God’s children.

[1]"The smallest reward for the people of Heaven is an abode where there are eighty thousand servants and 72 houri, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine and ruby, as wide as the distance from al-Jabiyyah to San'a." Hadith 2687

Continues...

Excerpted from "2084 The Secularist Revolution: How Technology Changed the World" by Stanley Yokell. Copyright © 2014 by Stanley Yokell. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

Stanley Yokell

Stanley Yokell

Stanley Yokell is a veteran of WWII, who is a registered Professional Engineer in Colorado, with retired registrations in Illinois and New Jersey. He is a Fellow of the ASME and a life member of the AICHE and the AWS and a member of the NSPE and the ASNT and a corresponding member of the Subgroup on Heat Transfer Equipment of the ASME Boiler Code Committee.

View full Profile of Stanley Yokell

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