Debunking the Defamers of Religion


When you read what this text requires practitioners of an ancient religion to do, you will be horrified. (Wikipedia Photo)

It has been disturbing of late to hear politicians and pundits maligning one of the world’s great religions, reasoning (if that’s the right word to describe the process) that the actions of fundamentalists reveal the nature of the religion as one that counsels brutality, slavery, murder and death. It is perhaps not surprising — given that these fundamentalists have been responsible for virtually every violent act of terrorism in the United States since 9/11/2001 — that they have drawn so much invective down upon their whole belief system. I resolved to put the matter to rest by doing what none of the commenters seem to have done; by reading closely what the unfamiliar scriptures actually have to say.

Sadly, I must report that instead of debunking the defamers, I found confirmation of what many of us thought were reprehensible slanders.

When you go in search of the truth, you just never know what you’re going to get. Unpleasant though it may be, let me share some examples, found in what these deluded people call their “holy” book, of mandated and prohibited practices.

Mandated: Slavery. It is not only condoned here, but recommended, along with a manual of best practices: one should buy them only from neighboring countries or from people with temporary visas (1); if you snag a Hebrew male, you have to turn him loose after seven years, but of course there is no such provision for the females (2).

Mandated: Keeping the Sabbath. Any person who sees another doing work on the Sabbath Day is required to kill him. Keeping the Sabbath is “holy to the Lord,” so much so that the death sentence is made explicit three times (3).

Prohibited: Swearing. Anyone who blasphemes is to be taken out by all who heard the words and stoned to death. No exceptions for foreigners (4).

Prohibited: Adultery. Whether it’s plain vanilla adultery, incest, gay sex or bestiality, it’s all the same — both participants must be put to death (5).

Prohibited: Impaired Worship. This one I have to quote verbatim:  No man who has any defect may come near [the altar of the Lord]: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.”  (6)

Prohibited: Tattoos. “Do not…put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.” As the death penalty is not specified here, one assumes that a severe lashing will do (7).

Prohibited: Barberism. It is forbidden to trim the hair on the side of the head, or to trim the beard (8).

There are, one supposes, more proscriptions in this vein, similarly addled in their intent and barbaric in their punishments. But enough. Clearly, the case has been made, and we ought to deny all these people residence in our country. Our homeland security depends upon it.  

Oh, and for those committed to truth, the whole and nothing but, all of the edicts cited here can be found in Leviticus and Exodus, in the Christian Bible. Specifically:

  1. Leviticus 25: 44-45
  2. Exodus 21: 2,7
  3. Exodus 31: 14, 15 Exodus 35:2
  4. Leviticus 20:14
  5. Leviticus 24: 10-16
  6. Leviticus 21: 18-20
  7. Leviticus 19:28
  8. Leviticus 19:27
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22 Responses to Debunking the Defamers of Religion

  1. Kate says:

    Great post…Jesus’ adage (paraphrased) “Pluck the beam from your own eye before you attempt to remove the mote from your brother’s” certainly applies here.

    I appreciate your well-written posts and wish they came out every day.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      And I appreciate your wish, although it would condemn me to a life of crazed desperation. One a day?

  2. colinc says:

    So, the Qur’an opposes Barberism while fully endorsing and encouraging barbarism! :) Moreover, thanks for referencing the same/similar edicts in that other, “revered” tome of asininity, saved me the trouble. ;o

    • Tom Lewis says:

      Just to be clear: There are no quotes from the Koran in this article, and barberism was an intentional pun.

      • colinc says:

        Thank you for the clarification. I see now that I had read the above article too quickly and inattentively and had made an incorrect assumption based on your vague (for lack of a “better” term) opening which seemed to correlate to the preponderance of Islam-bashing being spouted by too many pie-holes across too many media outlets. However, to clarify my position, I care not which tome espouses what dogmatic beliefs, they are ALL crap and their edicts ONLY serve to further stupefy the already weak-minded. Nonetheless, the pun was, um, er, cute.

  3. Rick walker says:

    The fundamentals that you list come out of the Old Testament. The New Testament
    seems to not be of importance to you. The truth is,that it is crucial to understanding
    the fundamentals of the Christian culture. Many of those listed in your article are no
    longer relevant to the Christian way of life. They are out of date by about 2000 years. I think you should stick to secular subjects because you are very good at them. Stay away from the bible and religion because you don’t seem to have the
    basic knowledge to write a fair critique of religion’s role in the current world situation.
    If you don’t understand the relationship between the New Testament and the Old Testament then you know very little about the bible or the Christian religion.
    To say I am disappointed in you, Tom, is putting it mildly. I read all of your posts
    and I have great respect for your efforts to bring awareness of the world situation
    to your audience. However, this post touched my hot button and I had to respond.
    The bible must be considered in it’s entirety. You cannot interpret the bible by just
    studying the Old Testament. It is only half of the equation. To get the final answer
    the New Testament must be included.

    Sincerely, Rick

    • Andrzej says:

      My first comment here (and will be short).

      If Old Testament is no more valid, why so many of American Christians:
      – claim that Earth is 5000+ years old (verbatim)
      – believe the Earth was given to them for their exploitation
      – rather often forget this small part of New Testament (“love your neighbor as yourself”)
      – …

      I could go on here for tens of another examples, but I know that one is never going to convince religiously blinded… their faith is so deeply imprinted that they will not buy any argument against.

      Best Regards from Poland,

  4. Keith Elder says:

    The late great George Carlin comes to mind:

  5. Mike Kay says:

    Whenever anyone considers religion, the field inevitably narrows to the three pernicious abrahamic creeds. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all have their their roots in the mythical Abe, and all share a genuine fanaticism for their exoteric trappings.
    The notion that an absentee God could be obsessed with micromanaging certain cross sections of humanity is viewed by believers as perfectly reasonable. Thus the mind set that their version of God’s rulebook is the only correct one.
    Interestingly, all three reject mysticism, and have a long history of deriding, attacking, incarcerating, and murdering mystics. It is the mystic who informs the faith, who breathes life into dead calcified religious dogma. This occurs everywhere, except with the big 3.
    Ultimately, the essence of big 3 faith is the mindset that the closer and more accurately one embodies the hundreds of rules and behavioral expectations, the better one’s chance of hanging with the big dude once one croaks. Of course this breeds all manner of fear, doubt, and neurosis-as well as it’s flip side, pathological certainty, and all points in between. No one is ever tempted to resolve the conundrum of the loving creator driving his creation mad.
    Indoctrination and rabid wish fulfillment aside, there is absolutely nothing to admire about the big 3. Genuine, rather than fantasy history reveals a past of powermongering, warmongering, genocide, willful destruction of knowledge, and an alarming inclination towards bestial dark ages.
    Humanity has had better religions. Hopefully they will be rediscovered before the way of Abe leads us into yet another world war.

    • SomeoneInAsia says:

      Largely agree with respect to Mike’s post.

      The three Abrahamic faiths have brought no end of sorrow to humanity since their first appearance. Any good they may have incidentally brought about has been far outweighed by all the bad things that can be credited to them.

      You’ve got to love the name Abraham.

  6. Javak says:

    Carlin had a lot to say, and so does Tim Minchin

  7. Tom says:

    Thanks for seeking Truth continually Mr. Lewis – it’s appreciated by your readers (when they aren’t all caught up in the bullshit).

  8. Laughing my butt off, as was my far more religious girlfriend ( yes, we are living in sin ). I appreciate the style, classic. As a fellow writer I can appreciate your reaction to the suggestion you blog daily, but let’s at least get to work on another book, yes? I’ll be one of the first to buy it regardless of subject.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      Thank you. I’m thinking an encyclopedic treatment of oil company ethics. Care to reserve your copy of volume I?

  9. Tom says:

    The part that’s not so funny anymore is the justified killing in HIS name:

    Do Mass Killings Bother You?

    We now know this. A young man who had successfully killed on a large scale went to his religious leader with doubts and was told that mass killing was part of God’s plan. The young man continued killing until he had participated in killing sprees that took 1,626 lives — men, women, and children.

    I repeat: his death count was not the 16 or 9 or 22 lives that make top news stories, but 1,626 dead and mutilated bodies.

    Do such things bother you?

    What if you learned that this young man’s name was Brandon Bryant, and that he killed as a drone pilot for the U.S. Air Force, and that he was presented with a certificate for his 1,626 kills and congratulated on a job well done by the United States of America? What if you learned that his religious leader was a Christian chaplain?

    Do such things still bother you?

    What if you learned that most of the people killed by U.S. drones are civilians? That the pilots “double-tap,” meaning that they send a missile into a wedding party or a house and then wait for people to try to help the injured and send a second missile into them? That as a result one hears the injured screaming for hours until they die, as no one comes to help? That a drone pilot sent a missile into a group of children from which three children survived who recognized their dead brothers but had no idea that various pieces of flesh were what was left of their Mom and Dad and consequently cried out for those now gone-forever individuals?

    Is this troubling?

    What if President Obama’s claim of few or no civilian deaths was proven false by well-documented reporting? And by the fact that most victims are targeted without even knowing their names?

    What if a leading candidate for president in the past week were to both declare that the way to win a war is to start killing whole families, and stage a public Christian prayer session in order to win over a certain demographic of voters?

    Is that bothering?

    What if it became clear that police officers in the United States have been murdering people at a higher rate than drone pilots? Would you want to see police videos of their killings? Would you want to see drone videos of their killings? We have thus far gained limited access to the former and none to the latter.

    What if it were discovered that gun murders in San Bernardino are almost routine. Would they all be equally tragic?

    My point is not to cease caring about the tragedy that the television stations tell you to care about. I wish everyone would care 1,000 times more, and even better do something to take away the guns and the hatred and the culture of violence and the economic injustice and the alienation.

    My point is that there are other tragedies that go unmentioned, including larger ones. And exploiting one tragedy to fuel hatred toward a large segment of the human population of earth is madness.

    • Zarko Straadi says:

      In short: Mass murder is OK if the weapon you’re using is sufficiently expensive. According to the U.S. Department of Offense,anyway.

  10. Gingerbaker says:

    Are you actually trying to argue that the percentage of extremists in Christianity and Islam are comparable?

  11. John says:

    Religion, all religions, are the scourge of mankind.

  12. Rick walker says:

    Historically, atheists kill the greatest number. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao eliminated people by the tens of millions. Hard to top those numbers.

    • SomeoneInAsia says:

      Excellent observation. Especially if you take MODERN INDUSTRIAL CAPITALISM into consideration as well. Modern industrial capitalism is the ultimate form of atheism. It sees the pursuit of material wealth as the be-all-and-end-all of human life. Its adherents have brought death and destruction to countless human beings, just like Stalin and Mao, plus causing untold damage to the natural world as well. One of its greatest founding figures, a certain John Maynard Keynes, counselled total disregard for the weal of future generations on the grounds that ‘in the long term we are all dead’. And now it’s going to sink the whole Titanic for us all, with the result that billions of us are going to have to go.