This is one of many remarkable documents from the 20th century that are only now coming
Hitler usually had a formal dinner party every evening, to which he invited staff officers,
party officials and important guests. During these dinners der Fuehrer would hold forth on
various topics. He was so enamored of his own brilliance that he decided these pearls of
wisdom should be recorded for posterity. In those days, of course, recording equipment
was very elaborate and cumbersome, so he simply ordered a stenographer to write down
everything that was said. These notes were then turned over to Party Chief Martin
Bormann to type up, edit and lock away. Since the conversations were private and
unstructured, Hitler expressed himself freely, confident that no one else would even know of
their existence – his intention being to some day use them as notes for his final magnum
opus. But things didn’t work out quite as he had planned, and the files eventually fell into
the hands of collectors. In 1951 a radically edited version of these notes was published in
German by an admirer. In 1952, partial chronological versions were printed in both French
and English, but it wasn’t until 1980 that a complete German version was compiled, which
became the basis for the present English translation.
The book finally resolves one of the great enigmas of the last century: What was Hitler’s
true attitude about religion? As it turns out, the primary reason for this confusion was that
the dictator was a master of duplicity. In all his public statements Hitler always represented
himself as a devout Christian. He bragged about being born and raised a Catholic; he
was an altar boy; he attended parochial school; he claimed to have received his mission in
life through a vision of the Virgin Mary; he arranged a treaty with the Vatican which
provided many special privileges for the Catholic Church, including state funding,
compulsory religious indoctrination of all school children, and a ban on any criticism of
Christianity. All the Church had to do in return was to say prayers for Germany and the
Fuehrer at every Mass and public occasion, but most importantly it must not criticize any of
his policies. In general, both sides adhered to the terms of the treaty, although they
complained equally about violations by the other. In addition to his Concordat with the
Catholics, Hitler made similar arrangements with the (Lutheran) German Evangelical
Church to provide state funding for their activities. He used the Maltese Cross as a
symbol of the Wehrmacht, and embossed “Gott mit uns” (God with us) on the belt buckle of
every soldier. The swastika itself was an ancient religious symbol. He claimed that the
Holy Roman Empire was the first great Reich; the Bismarck Empire was the second
Reich, and his Third Reich would purify and restore Christian civilization to the decadent
continent. When he twice escaped assassination attempts, he announced that God had
saved him for the completion of his holy mission. His home was filled with religious
artifacts and, while it is true that he never attended Mass, he missed no photo-op to
appear with Church officials in full regalia. His speeches were filled with religious
references and, through the Ministry of Propaganda, movies and radio programs always
promoted “God and Country.”
Against all this, the Allies were highly motivated to depict him as an atheist, in order to
whip up religious fervor against him. All the evidence just cited was carefully suppressed
and false statements were constantly attributed to him, both during the war, and afterward.
So wherein lies the truth?
The truth is that Hitler despised Christianity, but he felt that it was a necessary evil in order
to keep the ignorant masses under control. He cites all the usual criticisms of Christian
doctrine with which we are familiar. But then he goes off on tangents that are just as loopy
as the racial theories with which he was obsessed. He thought of himself as ultra-scientific
and rigorously rational. But he had no higher education and no understanding of either
science or philosophy. In fact, he was highly anti-intellectual and hated professors as much
as priests. This kind of semi-educated person is often the source of crackpot ideas, and
Hitler had no shortage of them.
His one overriding assumption was that virtually every nationality constituted a separate
“race,” and that each race had instinctive behavioral characteristics: The French were
cowardly; the English were greedy; Russians were barbarians, etc. The German race
was, of course, superior in all respects to everyone else and therefore “destined by nature”
to rule the world. He undoubtedly would have denied it vigorously, but his attitude toward
the Jewish “race” was identical to the attitude toward Satan with which he had been
conditioned as a child, i.e., all the “evil” in the world is caused by Jews. Of course, anti-
Semitism had always been an aspect of Christian teaching, so most religious Germans
accepted this lunatic theory as axiomatic.
Hitler was certainly not an atheist. He believed in an anthropomorphic God who was
concerned with human affairs. He believed that this God designed the universe, and had
preplanned the “destiny” of humankind, but that current religious leaders were thwarting
“God’s Will.” He apparently accepted the New Testament as factual and the historicity of
“Jesus Christ.” But where he departs from orthodoxy is that he claimed Jesus was not a
Jew, but the Aryan offspring of a Roman soldier from Gaul. It was Saul the Jew who had
distorted the philosophy of Jesus and turned it into the horror that is the Church today.
Hitler would likely have identified himself as a deist, a non-denominational theist, or
perhaps even a heretical Christian. But he thought the only thing worse than traditional
Christianity was atheistic Communism. With a breathtaking leap of logic, he thought that
Jews created Christianity in order to discredit belief in God, so that people would then be
driven into the hands of Communism. Judaism, Christianity, and Communism were
therefore all part of Satan’s plot to destroy the world, and the True God had chosen Hitler
to save it.
Hitler was a pompous gas-bag, which makes for very soporific reading, but the book is
essential for understanding 20th century history and our world today.
|Hitler's Table Talk 1941-1944
Enigma Books, 2000, Second Printing
Book Reviews by Milt Timmons
|Published in Rational Alternative,
Like many others, I first heard of Madalyn Murray when she filed her lawsuit against the
Baltimore Board of Education in 1960, protesting their unconstitutional practice of
requiring students to participate in public prayer. I was thrilled when she appealed the
case to the Supreme Court – and won!
That legal decision triggered a chain reaction of further lawsuits and public debate about
the proper relationship between religion and government that has led directly to today’s
“culture wars” between “red states” and “blue states.”
After hearing her radio program in Los Angeles, sometime in the 1970s, I learned about
a local chapter of American Atheists and immediately joined. Over the years I began to
realize that Madalyn was more interested in advancing her own career than in advancing
the cause of atheism. But I continued to support her because she was the world’s only
full-time professional atheist, and she was the only one doing the kind of work that
needed to be done.
When she and her family disappeared in 1995, I avidly followed the investigation through
every news item and every newsletter from the AA staff. It was with some relief that we all
discovered, on January 28, 2001, that they had not simply absconded with corporation
funds, as had been widely speculated, but that the three chief executives of American
Atheists had indeed been kidnapped, robbed and murdered. Nevertheless, there were
many questions left unanswered.
Ann Seaman’s book finally answers all those nagging questions. This is not an anti-
atheist book; I think it is a well balanced and thoroughly researched biography of a very
complex woman. Seaman appears to have interviewed everyone who ever knew her, or
any of her family, as well as the killers and their families. She had complete access to the
records of the journalist and the private investigator who refused to give up on the case
even after local and federal law enforcement had abandoned it. She even had access to
Madalyn’s diaries, and the complete confession of David Waters, the mastermind of the
entire caper. But as part of his plea bargain, this confession was not available to the
public until after his death from cancer in 2003.
The book is structured like a movie thriller. Seaman opens with the funeral of Madalyn
Murray O’Hair, her son Jon Garth Murray, and the daughter of her other son, later
adopted by Madalyn, Robin Murray O’Hair. Then she flashes back briefly to the trial of
Gary Karr, who was part of the criminal conspiracy, and who fingered David Waters as
the ring leader.
At this point, Seaman begins the biography of Madalyn with histories of her
grandparents, her parents, and of Madalyn’s childhood. She was an unwanted baby, who
was born with a deformed chest, and her family life could charitably be called
dysfunctional. But Madalyn was a survivor; she had a genius level I.Q., and she was
determined to rise above the chaos and deprivations of her background, no matter what.
We follow her life through various jobs, affairs with the fathers of Bill and Jon Garth, her
lawsuit on behalf of Bill, leading to her win in the Supreme Court in 1963 – which was then
followed by so much public hostility that the family had to escape to Hawaii the following
Finding, to their dismay, more Catholics than Buddhists in Hawaii, they would later
escape to Mexico, where she would meet and marry an ex-Marine named Richard O’
Hair. In the meantime, however, Robin made her appearance as the product of one of
Bill’s early marriages, and was then left in the care of Madalyn and Madalyn’s mother.
At this point, we flash back to the childhood of David Waters. His background was
somewhat similar to Madalyn’s, but he chose a criminal path early in life. He also had a
genius level I.Q., but it was accompanied with good looks and charm – which gave him a
sense of entitlement and a sociopathic personality. He was a natural gang leader.
Similarly, we go into the backgrounds of Gary Karr, another career criminal, and Danny
Fry, an alcoholic nebbish who was always looking for easy money.
As we follow Madalyn and Richard from the establishment of the Atheist Center in Austin,
Texas, through her many trials and tribulations, Seaman follows a time line, cutting back
and forth from what Madalyn was doing in a given year, to what Waters, Karr, and Fry
were doing at that time. And like any good movie director, she cuts back and forth more
and more quickly as we approach the climax.
Most of Madalyn’s problems were of her own making, because of her unscrupulous and
overweening ambition, her irascibility, and her abysmal lack of talent as a CEO. But she
was a hard worker, a prolific writer, and dynamic speaker. Ann Seaman details eighteen
of her most important lawsuits regarding the intrusion of religion into government, and her
announced plans for many more. She didn’t expect to win most of these suits; she called
them “educational litigation,” and indeed she succeeded in raising the consciousness of
all Americans regarding the church/state issues we are still fighting. In the history of
freethought, she will occupy a significant place.
What finally happened to the half-million dollars in gold coins that the robbers stole? Ah,
that’s the most satisfying twist of all! I’m sure screenplays are now being drafted. I just
wonder who will be cast to play the part of Madalyn.
|America's Most Hated Woman
The Life and Gruesome Death of
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
Ann Rowe Seaman
|Published in Secular Nation Magazine
Second Quarter, 2005
During any conversation among atheists, the name of Frederick Nietzsche is likely to
be invoked at some point. So who was this man and what is his relationship to modern
Friedrich Nietzsche (pronounced Free drik Nee cha), the son of a Lutheran pastor, was
born in Rocken, Saxony, in 1844. His father died shortly thereafter and Nietzsche was
raised by his devoutly religious mother and two maiden aunts. He went off to boarding
school at age 14, then on to universities at Bonn and Leipzig. Establishing a brilliant
record, he became a professor of Philology at Basel University by age 24.
Unfortunately, as a college student he apparently contracted syphilis, which led to a
gradual deterioration of his health, forcing him to retire from teaching at age 35.
Thereafter, he devoted himself to writing until he was finally overcome by syphilitic
psychosis at age 45. He was institutionalized until his death in 1900, at age 56.
Note that his degree was not in philosophy, but philology, which today would probably
go under the rubric of Comparative Linguistics with specialization in ancient Greek,
Latin, and Sanskrit. Thus, his expertise was in literature, rather than philosophy or
science, and his writing seems to be less concerned with clarity and logical
development of thought than with their poetic expression. His most famous and
coherent book was Thus Spake Zarathustra, imitating the oracular, biblical style of
writing in order to satirize Christian doctrines while using the iconic founder of
Zoroastrianism as a mouthpiece for his own philosophical lucubrations. I found the
book moderately entertaining, but easier to put down than to pick up again.
In his typically hyperbolic fashion, Nietzsche claimed this book to be the most important
literary event in history. One of the few important people of his time who shared that
view was Richard Strauss, who was inspired to write his famous Tone Poem by that
name – better known today as the theme from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Most of Nietzsche’s other “books” are not really books at all, but unedited notebooks.
They are collections of random thoughts, written in obscure aphoristic style, and in the
characteristically German form of sentences that run on for half a page, filled with
cryptic parenthetical allusions, and finally ending with a verb. He seems incapable of
writing a simple declarative sentence. Everything was expressed in complex,
metaphorical, periphrastic passive voice, filled with double and triple negatives,
compounded by a very peculiar style of punctuation. So, English speaking readers
must rewrite each sentence for themselves to fish out any glimmer of meaning. It is
probably more profitable to read ABOUT Nietzsche than to struggle with his own words.
Reading his work is very much like trying to make sense of the Bible; and like biblical
hermeneutics, interpreting what Nietzsche may or may not have meant has become a
cottage industry. His work is so ambiguous and self-contradictory that anyone can read
into it anything they like. Thus, he has been championed by Nazis, Communists,
Anarchists, Libertarians, Monarchists – every political stripe imaginable. Only among
Christians is he unequivocally anathematized.
He did make it fairly clear that he was disgusted by Prussian militarism and the anti-
Semitism which was rampant at the time. But Nietzsche’s early death left his sister as
executor of his estate. She eventually became a Nazi sympathizer and redacted
several of her brother’s works to make them appear pro-Nazi. Probably Nietzsche’s
most famous concept was “The Will to Power,” adopted by the Nazis as a slogan to
rationalize their conquest of other countries. There is even a book by that title with
Nietzsche’s name on it. But he did not write it; his sister did – by compiling a pastiche
of his statements taken out of their original context.
What Nietzsche really meant by the Will to Power was not the political power of one
country dominating another, but is today recognized as the commonplace desire for
individual “empowerment,” the desire to grow, the freedom to “Be all that you can be,”
as the Army slogan says. But in religiously oppressive 19th century Germany, the
“Need for Achievement” or “self-realization” was regarded as a sin. So his espousal of
this concept as a primary motivation for human behavior, rather than simple hedonism,
or obedience to authority and “fear of God,” was seen as a scandalous idea. George
Bernard Shaw took a somewhat ambivalent view of how practical Nietzsche’s ideas
are, and wrote a comedy about how dismayed Victorian society was by these concepts
in “Man and Superman.” In the playbill, Shaw explicated his interpretation of Nietzsche’
s philosophy in “The Revolutionists Handbook.”
Throughout his poetic musings Nietzsche touches on many different subjects, but the
one theme to which he always returns is the perversity of Christian doctrines. Toward
the end of his career, he finally managed to focus his thoughts on this subject in The
Most of his criticisms are nothing new to modern atheists, and more succinctly stated
by other authors in recent years; but he was one of the first who dared commit them to
paper – and survive.
It goes without saying that his books were privately printed and sold only a few dozen
copies at most. But Nietzsche regarded this contemporary scorn as a badge of honor
and confirmation of his genius. Eventually mankind will evolve into der Űbermench, he
said, a superior type of person among a society of similar freethinking rationalists,
uninfected by the sickness of Christianity.
He equated Christianity with nihilism because, he said, it is a cult of death, exalting a
non-existent afterlife as more important than the here and now. Anything which was
healthful and life-affirming was therefore condemned by Christians as sinful.
The religion invented by Paul of Tarsus was based on resentment toward the rich and
powerful – which meant the Roman Empire, as well as the Jewish establishment in
Judea. The lower classes always despise the upper classes and wish to destroy them
and everything they stand for – leading to the rapid spread of Christianity among the
dispossessed of the Empire. Even Edward Gibbon agrees that it was not only the
barbarian invasions that destroyed Rome, but the inner rot of self-absorbed Christians
who dreamed of going to a Never-Never Land after death rather than exerting
themselves to protect the greatest civilization the world had ever known.
After collapse of the Empire, the Christians finally got what they wanted: an Age of
Faith, devoid of advanced civilization, in which they slavishly groveled before an all
powerful church. Science and democracy were Unforgivable Sins in Christian eyes.
The only aspect of Nietzsche’s critique which I found surprising is that he takes at face
value the biography of Jesus as depicted by the four Gospels. He seems to have
thought there really was a man named Jesus, who really did and said the things
described therein (except for the miracles), and who willingly died on a Roman cross in
order to demonstrate his pacifist ideals.
Even in Nietzsche’s day, most of the Bible was known to be fictitious. That’s why
Nietzsche famously said that “God is dead – and we have killed him.”
A recent book by Robert Sheaffer, titled The Making of the Messiah builds a
convincing case that the crucifixion never happened. The law of the land at that time
specified that any criminal cases had to be tried by the Sanhedrin, and if the verdict
required execution, then it must be carried out according to Jewish law. The law
specified that the prisoner was to be stoned to death in the morning and then hanged in
a tree as a warning to others. But the body must be taken down and buried before
sunset. In fact some passages in the Gospels, overlooked by the redactors, do refer to
Jesus being hanged.
The image of a criminal hanging by the neck, however, did not make a very appealing
logo for a mass movement. So the whole story of the Roman crucifixion was concocted
by a band of rebellious Jews to arouse resentment against the Romans. The T shape of
a Roman cross was modified to the simplified version of an Egyptian ankh, which was
widely recognized as a symbol of eternal life. Thus, the whole crucifixion story was a
hoax created for the propagandistic purpose of overthrowing the Roman establishment.
This was an ancient story, stretching back to the fourth century, so it is surprising that
Nietzsche ignores it.
Instead, Nietzsche claimed there was only one true Christian – puerile as his pacifist
philosophy may have been – but he died upon a cross for his principles. The religion
created by Paul of Tarsus, on the other hand, was a complete reversal of Jesus’
message – as Paul transformed it into blind faith in his doctrine of salvation through
belief in the “atonement” of Jesus’ self-sacrifice. Thus, this new religion changed from a
non-violent way of life into a technique of totalitarian control through the enforcement of
One of Nietzsche’s main concerns was how humanity should cope with the death of the
old gods, since many intellectuals were in a state of nihilistic despair after Darwin and
loss of faith in the Bible. The answer to this existential malaise, said Nietzsche, is to
follow your own bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say; find out who you are, what your
talents are, and then live that life joyfully, or with – as Paul Kurtz titles one of his books –
Exuberance! This life is the only one we get, so enjoy it to the fullest and without fear of
a non-existent Boogie Man.
Nietzsche’s influence has grown over the years, through people like Sigmund Freud,
George Bernard Shaw, H.L. Menken, Martin Heidegger, and Jean Paul Sartre. Some
say his ideas have even led to restructuring whole academic disciplines. Without his
concept of “perspectivism,” they say, we might not have such departments as cultural
anthropology, comparative religions, literary “deconstructionism,” or “situational ethics.”
Other philosophers, such as Bertrand Russell, however, dismissed him as an
More than 100 years after his death, what would Nietzsche have thought of today’s
world? Certainly, his old nemeses the Christians are as entrenched as ever. But there
are signs of hope. A large percentage of nations now realize the wisdom of keeping
clerics out of state houses. But most importantly, I think he would take heart at the
hundreds of atheist, Humanist, and freethought organizations springing up like
wildflowers all over the world and gaining power through the Internet. I think he might
feel that his glorious day of der Űbermench may eventually be realized.
by Friedrich Nietzsche
See Sharp Press. Tucson, AR, 1999
Published in The Rational Alternative,
|Review Published in the
Atheists United Newsletter,
This is a very entertaining philosophical novel with a fiendishly clever plot. First
published in 1991 as a Norwegian hardback, it became a best seller throughout
Scandinavia. An English translation was published as a U.S. hardback edition in
Gaarder began his career as a high school teacher offering a class in philosophy; but
finding no textbook suitable for young readers, he decided to write his own. The
resulting novel makes no apology for its didacticism; but even the most expository
sections are presented in such a clear and succinct manner that it remains highly
engaging, even for those already familiar with the history of ideas.
Interwoven with the nonfictional elements is an allegorical fantasy which is as amusing
as it is edifying. The story follows the adventures of a Norwegian girl named Sophie
who, about to celebrate her fifteenth birthday, begins receiving lessons in the history
of philosophy from some mysterious professor. As she pursues the correspondence
course, she soon finds that she is interacting with another girl, in another dimension,
who will be celebrating her fifteenth birthday on exactly the same day. (In Norway, that
is the age at which one becomes a legal adult.)
Each philosophical movement Sophie studies is illustrated by its manner of
presentation, or by some plot twist in her life. More and more “miracles” begin to
occur – which bear more than a passing resemblance to those in the Bible – but which
are finally explained in a most satisfactory way.
After tracing the evolution of Western thought, from ancient Greece to the present day,
the implication is clear that belief in traditional theism causes neurosis, and that
interfering in people’s lives, the way Jehovah is said to have done, would be an
irresponsible way for a deity to behave.
The book is highly recommended for all ages – and is particularly suitable for those
friends and relatives who would never read a book billing itself as explicitly atheist.
(A Novel About the History of
Published by Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux,
1994, 523 pages
It was Richard Dawkins who, arguably, first created the idea of the “meme” as an
analog for a virus which affects the mind rather than the body. Unlike a biological virus,
which can only be spread through physical contact, a meme can spread from one
person to another by various forms of communication. A meme can be any idea: a
melody, a commercial jingle, a joke, a catch phrase, a fad – or a religious doctrine.
Dawkins pointed out that by using this concept of the meme it then becomes possible
to study the spread of ideas epidemiologically.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Darrel Ray has now proceeded to do just that by
concentrating on the meme of religious doctrines. He calls this the god virus. Then he
proceeds to analyze the etiology of this virus of the mind in precise detail.
Now, the term “religion” can have an infinite number of meanings, so it is important
to define what he is talking about. When he speaks of “the god virus,” he is referring to
the specific set of metaphysical concepts that distinguish one major religion from
another, or one denomination from another; and these are doctrines that must be
accepted on faith rather than by objective evidence.
Throughout the book Dr. Ray speaks of the god virus as having specific goals.
Scientifically literate people know that plants, bacteria, or viruses don’t really have
goals in the same sense that humans do – but they behave as though they do. That is
why theists insist that there must be some supernatural force guiding them. In the case
of biological viruses we know that the real organizing and guiding force is the principle
of natural selection.
In the case of computer viruses, however, they actually were designed by human
beings for the specific purpose of propagating themselves and seizing control of
infected computers in order to make them do things that their owners never intended.
So too with the god virus. Religious doctrines were created by human beings for
specific purposes, and the means of propagating those doctrines were designed to
control the behavior of other human beings for the benefit of the designers rather than
those who are controlled. Thus, the goal of the god virus is always to gain more and
more power – by force wherever possible – or persuasion when necessary.
Dr. Ray refers to those who spread the disease as “vectors” and those who have
been infected as “hosts.” The essential elements of all major god viruses include at
least the following:
1. There is an invisible anthropomorphic god who demands certain rituals and
2. This god is claimed to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.
3. There is also an evil god who is in eternal battle with the benevolent one.
4. They worship a holy book, written by their god.
5. There is a priesthood to interpret the holy book.
6. The holy book is alleged to contain everything that anyone needs to know.
7. There must be unconditional obedience to the priesthood.
8. The priesthood promises eternal bliss for the obedient.
9. There are threats of eternal torture for everyone else.
10. Prayer and sacrifice are believed to bring good luck.
11. One of the essential sacrifices always requires giving a substantial amount of
money to the church on a regular basis.
12. Misology, or anti-intellectualism, is regarded as a virtue, as well as ethnocentrism
13. The priesthood claims that the world will end shortly.
14. They claim their mission is to bring peace and happiness to everyone.
15. They claim their doctrines alone can save the world from chaos and destruction.
The details of these elements, of course, differ widely from one religion to another,
and all religions claim that theirs is the only TRUE one; everyone else is deluded by
Vectors include parents, preachers, teachers, politicians, books, movies, TV, music,
friends and relatives. The most effective transmission of the virus is vertically, from
parent to child. But it can also be spread horizontally, although less reliably, from
various authority figures via all means of communication.
Children are totally defenseless, so they are the primary targets. If they can be
thoroughly infected then they will become effective vectors for the rest of their lives.
Other vulnerable targets include those with lower I.Q., lesser education, limited
income, and those under extreme stress: e.g., the sick, the elderly, the unemployed,
alcoholics, drug addicts, immigrants, prisoners, divorcees, the grief stricken, soldiers
in combat, etc.
The primary method of infection is to induce fear and guilt in the target. This is
accomplished by playing on the universal fear of death and its consequent wish-
fulfilling delusion of life after death. They claim that after death everyone faces a
Judgment Day by their god, and that those who have obeyed all their rules will go to a
paradise, while everyone else faces eternal torture. In order to be “saved” from this
lugubrious fate it is necessary to join their church, participate in its rituals, believe in its
doctrines and follow all the orders of the priesthood.
Once a host begins to participate in the rituals, then the concept of “sin” is
introduced in order to generate feelings of guilt. “Everyone is born a sinner and in
need of salvation from hell” is drummed into the heads of all participants. Feelings of
inadequacy are exploited, and all normal human drives are labeled as sinful.
Throughout the ages, vectors have found that the most effectively suppressed drive is
the sexual urge. Therefore all religions have devised a great variety of taboos
regarding sexual expression. Since human beings are biologically incapable of
following all these rules, they are then left in a perpetual state of guilt and fear of bad
luck and hell. The only way of relieving this uncomfortable feeling is to do what they
have been told to do: i.e., participate in more of the rituals. Going to the prescribed
church and participating in the rituals releases endorphins in the brain, creating a
temporary feeling of pleasure, but the rituals are also designed to reinforce the
feelings of guilt and fear. It is like an alcoholic or junkie who feels worse and worse
until he gets relief by another dose of the poison that made him sick in the first place. It
is a vicious circle.
The rituals themselves involve many hypnotic techniques: the emotionally stirring
music, the beautiful architecture, the sing-song delivery of the sermon, repetition of the
same doctrines and rules of behavior, participation in group chanting and singing, etc.
All these lull the target into a highly suggestible state – the purpose of which is to
implant post-hypnotic suggestions that will cause the host to go into a trance-like
pattern of programmed behavior when certain triggers are encountered.
Every infected person then behaves like a Manchurian Candidate. They can live
perfectly normal lives until some triggering subject arises – which then turns them into
an irrational robot that is only capable of those behaviors programmed into them by
their vectors. The most obvious of these behavioral changes is that they become
incapable of recognizing the inconsistencies and irrationalities in their own religious
doctrines, while remaining perfectly aware of the irrationalities of other religions. But
victims are also incapable of recognizing their own best interests in a great variety of
other subjects as well. If their doctrines are threatened in any way, they perceive the
source of the threat as an agent of Satan who is trying to seduce them into hell. This
fear response is then translated into anger and hostility as they desperately try to
defend their doctrines.
Another obvious characteristic of the severely infected is that they deny their
doctrines lead to hatred of anyone who disagrees with them, although their behavior
proves otherwise - as is painfully obvious throughout the Middle East. They also claim
they have no desire to gain political power, in spite of their tireless efforts to do so. On
the contrary, they always claim they love everyone and that their doctrines are the only
way to bring peace and harmony to the world.
One highly effective technique for recruiting new targets is through the pretense of
charitable works. So, churches spend much of their income in building hospitals,
orphanages, and the like. But that is only a ruse. The real purpose is to spread the
disease. Most of the money they collect for these public agencies is actually spent in
maintaining the vectors and evangelizing new recruits.
In order to see past the mask of benevolence it is only necessary to observe how
they treat apostates and heretics. Once someone has been inducted into a religion,
getting out of it is like trying to get out of the Mafia. In areas where the virus has seized
control of the government, such as Islamic countries, apostasy or heresy is punishable
by death. In democratic countries, however, they can only get away with ostracizing a
disbeliever. Someone who has shaken off the disease is shunned by family and
former friends, often fired from their job, kicked out of their home, vandalized, and
threatened with physical harm.
Effective vectors are hard to find and expensive to develop and maintain. That is why
the Catholic Church, for example, goes to such great lengths to cover up the crimes of
their priesthood, and why Protestant congregations are so willing to forgive the
transgressions of their superstars.
Dr. Ray says that some people will always be susceptible to the disease, so it is
important for us to understand how the god virus works, in order to devise strategies
for controlling its spread and for treating those unfortunates who have fallen victim to it.
The virus will never cease its efforts to gain complete control of government. Therefore
we should continue our fight to maintain separation between religion and government.
We should also continue to weaken its virulence through science education. And when
we must deal with an infected relative or coworker, we should realize that confronting
their irrational doctrines is futile. They will simply refuse to listen and perceive us as a
dangerous enemy. The best strategy is to treat them the same as anyone else with a
mental disorder. Disregard their peculiar behavior while still treating them with
personal respect. Over time they may come to realize that being disease free is not so
terrible after all.
The idea of evolution was not really new in the early 19th century, and it was only
after Charles Darwin tied it all together in a coherent theory that it all made sense. So,
too, there is nothing especially startling in the concepts discussed here. But Dr. Darrell
Ray has created the first coherent theory of religion. I think this is a very important
|The God Virus:
How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture
by Darrel W. Ray, Ed.D
IPC Press (c) 2009
Bonner Springs, KS
|Review Published in The Rational
R. Crumb states in his introduction that his main literary sources were the “King James
Version” of the Bible (presumably the 1895 revision), plus “The Five Books of Moses,”
translated by Robert Alter in 2004. He says that “in a few places I ventured to do a little
interpretation of my own, if I thought the words could be made clearer, but I refrained from
indulging too often in such ‘creativity,’ and sometimes let it stand in its convoluted
vagueness rather than monkey around with such a venerable text.”
Of course, the very act of illustration is a matter of interpretation, but Crumb says that,
even though he is not a believer, he did not allow himself to indulge in ridicule. Apparently he
hoped to sell this book primarily to believers who would buy it for their children. On the cover,
however, there is a blurb that warns “Adult supervision recommended for minors.” He says
he did extensive research into ancient Hebrew culture, including clothing styles, architecture,
and geography of the period – which included viewing scores of movies based on biblical
stories – in order to capture the original zeitgeist of the era in which they were written.
It is obvious that Crumb’s real motivation was to display just how primitive and brutal these
ancient people actually were. In contrast to the Hollywood versions, in which everything is
glamorized, Crumb’s graphic style inherently makes everyone ugly. The men are all grizzled
and oafish, while the women, even those who were supposedly beautiful, come off as
lumpish and homely.
Another blurb on the cover says that “Nothing is left out.” Indeed he does cover all 50
chapters, and I couldn’t find a single sentence that was omitted, although the exact phrasing
may have sometimes differed from my King James Version. Even all of the redundant
verbiage is there. Occasionally he introduces a footnote to explain the meaning of some
reference. But I disagree with Ben Akerley’s review (Rational Alternative, Jan. 2010) that it is
a “full-throated lampoon of every single chapter and verse.” Crumb's approach is more
subtle than that. On the contrary, he never adds any snide commentary. He just lets the text
and the illustrations speak for themselves without any authorial exaggeration.
I immediately bought the book as soon as it became available because I had attempted to
do the same thing a number of years ago and I wanted to see how Crumb approached it. But
my intention was to illustrate it in the style of Mad Magazine, with footnotes pointing out all
the absurdities, contradictions and bad writing style. I got as far as Chapter Four before I got
too bored to continue with it. I greatly admire Crumb’s tenacity and ingenuity in creating
some image to illustrate every three or four sentences, no matter how inane and repetitious
But I still wish somebody would publish a full-throated lampoon of the whole Bible,
illustrated in the style of Mad Magazine. I can’t think of any book with more comic potential or
more deserving of satirical treatment.
|The Book of Genesis Illustrated
|Published in The Rational Alternative,