God damn the Preacher Man

Yesterday I attended my aunt’s funeral to pay my respects to an exceptionally caring woman who extended her compassion to the animal kingdom. Much was shared about her rare and genuine goodness, but at the end of the ceremony the preacher had to go and spoil it for me. He proclaimed that her selfless acts were just God working through her (like she was just a puppet or some kind of brain-dead zombie who never had an original thought of her own). He said the the “fact” that she was created in God’s image meant she was a reflection of Him. (So, God is a hunched-over, little old lady?)

I left there thinking: What about those who are intentionally cruel to animals or other people—are they also a reflection of God? If so, why is He so two-faced, when He’s supposed to be all about love and kindness? Did He bring selfishness and cruelty into this world just to fuck with us, or is He, Himself, in fact not infallible?

___________

On a related note (sorta), the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics put out this:

Photo and idea for title thanks to Steppenwolf

Photo and idea for title thanks to Steppenwolf

  1 July 2013

IS RELIGION GOOD FOR YOUR CAT AND DOG?

A new research project at Oxford will examine whether animals benefit or suffer thanks to religion.

Inspired by Baptist Preacher Charles Surgeon’s claim that a person cannot be a true Christian if his dog or cat is not the better off for it, the Centre will explore whether religious traditions are animal-friendly.  The questions to be addressed include whether religious people and religious institutions benefit animals? Are they more or less likely to be respectful to animals – either those kept as companions or those used for other human purposes?

The project is being organised by the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. It will be multidisciplinary, multifaith, and draw in not only theologians and religious thinkers, but also other academics including social scientists, psychologists, historians, and criminologists.  “We want to know whether religion makes any difference for animals”, says Oxford theologian, Professor Andrew Linzey, who is Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics.  “We often hear of how religion is detrimental to human rights, but is it also detrimental to animal protection?”

The first stage of the project will culminate in a Summer School on Religion and Animal Protection at St Stephen’s House, Oxford, from 21-23rd July 2014. St Stephen’s is an Anglican Theological College and a Hall of the University of Oxford.

Academics interested in contributing to the project should contact the Centre’s Deputy Director, Clair Linzey, in the first instance depdirector@oxfordanimalethics.com or (+44) (0)1865 201565.

19 thoughts on “God damn the Preacher Man

  1. Soul-less animals were “sacrificed” to god/s for appeasement. Sometimes, humans sacrificed other humans be it their own children to appease god, e.g., the gods of the Andes for one. What does that say about their view of god? What does that say about their wanting to eat animals that they covered with sanctimonious piety.

  2. Agree with your sentiment. I consider my atheism and AR stance to be completely intertwined — largely based on the understanding that “we” are one of “them” and our central nervous systems function identically. There is only shame in being a highly evolved ape when your culture has painted the apes as filthy, inferior beasts. I’m not saying all religious folk justify animal abuse in the name of their holy books (quite the contrary, at least in some cases), but have you seen YouTube videos of some of these Christian bowhunting groups? You won’t find a group of more bloodthirsty savages — “in the name of Jesus”. And the whole dominionism thing has been an unmitigated disaster for every non-human animal on the planet — but that’s an entire discussion in itself.

  3. I think religion screw things up for one reason there are too many different religions too many different interpretations of the Bible just like the 10 commandments which in my mind you don’t need that many it all comes to respect and not kill somehow they can tear that apart and decide who gets to live and who gets to die. politics and religion are supposed to be separate but somehow the politicians can slip religion in the back door when they get corner. At least with the legal system its cut and dry, if a highway is posted 55 and you’re doing 75 and you get pulled over you get a fine and points and if you get too many points you’ll lose your license for a year, but with religion it’s all just words, really what punishment do you really get for doing or not doing what they say.

  4. I once heard some tv evangelist warn everyone that you could strive to be the best, kindest, most loving, fairest person in the world, but that was in no way any ticket to Heaven…may even lead you to Hell as you’re woefully misguided! The only ticket to Heaven is to surrender your mind and heart to all the hokum about the tyrannical but “all-loving” god who will severely punish you for not worshipping “him,” and you must believe that bizarre insane fiction about the “sacrifice” of Jesus as absolving you of ALL your sins but only if you believe in and love him, allow him to “save” your soul, and blah blah blah. All senseless, crazy, nothing that improves people’s character or morality in any purely good way. But some people can stay in those dominion religions and rise above all that, going back to the roots of good human character before all the revisions of the bibles by lunatic self-serving tyrants. Like those who adhere to the teachings of St. Francis among Catholics, etc., and the growing number of vegan Christians, Jews, and Muslims. But they have to be somewhat heretical and really strong characters to go against their mainstream. Hah, like we all do. Thanks for this good thought provoker, Jim.

  5. I once got into an argument on the commuter train with a man who felt that I should be placing humans above animals, he said, “People first and then animals.” So I said, “Which people?” He said, “All people.” So I said, “Really? Rapists. Murderers. Child molesters? Hitler, if he were alive today? Those people should come before animals because they are human?!” I then said, “Animals rank first in my world because you don’t see them killing one another for a GD percentage. When was the last time you heard about a serial killer Elephant?”

    No, sorry in my world: animals first humans second.

    I hate to say this, but some of the nastiest people I have ever run into were Bible thumpers… complete and utter hypocrites too.

    As for all those preachers, well I don’t need a middle man to tell me what God wants, what God approves of or what God feels. If God has something to say, why doesn’t he show himself and say it? He’s an absentee landlord. This is why I’m a spiritual person, not religious. To me, religion is just doctrine.

  6. Actually caring for the earth and animals is very biblical. Ever read Ecclesiastes 3:19-21. Or Proverbs 12:10. Those “Christians” you are referring to in this don’t know those verses either. We are COMMANDED to be stewards. That does not equal dominion. Men were also commanded to cherish their wives as they would their own bodies. Think men got that one confused as well? Oh, yeah. Let’s face it…the real issue is man. Not religion. How many women serial killers are there? How many men are killed by their wives or girlfriends? I know it does happen but much smaller instances than when the shoe is on the other foot. How many women hunt? Only the bimbo ones trying to impress their redneck men.

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