Boyé Lafayette De Mente
People in cultures that have been profoundly influenced by the Judeo-Christian God concept have been taught that life is sacred, and that only God can legitimately give and take life—human life, that is, since God (it is said) gave mankind dominion over all other life forms (otherwise we would not be able to kill and eat animals, fish, fowls and a variety of other forms of life without committing a sin).
The idea that a God created all life—especially human life—and that life is sacred is so transparently invalid that it should have made any belief in the concept patently impossible. And yet it is one of the primary teachings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The life-is-sacred myth is, of course, a concept created by the founders of Judaism and Christianity as a means of weaning people away from their instincts to mistreat and kill others and to reprogram them to be respectful, kind and cooperative. In the eyes of these ancient founders only a God would be capable of such a miracle, and rightly so.
As it happened, however, the primitive destructive instincts of the human species were so strong that just being told that life was sacred was not enough to suppress these instincts in many people, with the result that mayhem and murder continued to be a distinguishing characteristic of humanity.
In fact, not long after the creation of the life-is-sacred concept, religious leaders themselves began to use violence in the name of their God in an attempt to force others to believe as they did and to obey the rules they had devised in an effort to control all thinking and behavior.
Life is indeed precious to most human beings, but the history of humanity demonstrates that there is absolutely nothing sacred about it. Those who continue to profess belief in the sacred concept merely demonstrate that the human mind can be manipulated like any computer software program, and when confronted with reality they resort to claiming it is a matter of faith, not facts.
It is the universe itself that is the Great Creator. It is infused with an inherent force to create life in forms and functions that are seemingly countless…in environments that are incredibly diverse and extreme. On Earth, new forms of life are discovered almost daily as scientists and others dig deeper into the reality of existence.
Regardless of the form and function of any life form, in whatever environment, life to that particular form is precious, but it is not sacred. All life forms, including humans, are subject to being obliterated, often in an instant, by natural forces or by other life forms.
Life is, in fact, based on life forms killing and eating other life forms—a food chain that is exactly the opposite of the religious concept that life is sacred. Nature creates life and life destroys life in order to survive and grow and become more adept at devouring other forms of life (not counting incidents of human cannibalism, of course).
Human beings are the most advanced form of life known, and some humans are capable of creating masterpieces of art, architecture, literature, music and technological marvels. In many areas, scientists and technicians are literally transforming life itself in “god-like” ways.
And yet, large numbers of human beings are still driven by the instincts of their primitive ids to use force, to repress, to maim and murder to get what they want. This destructive behavior, on an individual as well as on group and national levels, is often done in the name of their God.
There is obviously a great deal of good in cultures influenced by Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but the myths and myopia of these religions spawn and often justify irrational behavior that continues to bring immeasurable suffering, destruction and death to millions of people.
We need a new universal cultural paradigm that is devoid of theological-based myths and ignorance, and is based instead on the positive potential of the human species—a potential that now includes actually becoming god-like in our ability to do good…or evil.
Copyright © 2007 by Boyé Lafayette De Mente
Boyé Lafayette De Mente is the author of more than 60 books on the etiquette and ethics of business, social behavior in general and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico.
For a list and descriptions of his books, see his personal website at: http://www.phoenixbookspublishers.com/, or type his full name into Google’s Books search box.