The Orlando Shooter and the Evil of Religious Fundamentalism

To put this as concisely as possibly, my take on the Orlando mass-shooting is that it is rooted ultimately in the animus to sexual minorities — a portion of humanity that for whatever reason has *always existed* [see footnote] — that is instinctive, because the behavior of such minorities conflicts with the basic evolutionary urge to propagate, to reproduce, so that your tribe can compete with other tribes for survival. And this animus and these priorities have been captured into scripture by the ancient desert religions, Islam and Christianity and Judaism, for precisely these reasons — such people did not contribute to the growth (via children) of those ancient tribes. (Especially in times when many children died in infancy, and so being fecund was essential — in contrast to current times when most children survive infancy (because *science*!, not religion), and even gays manage to turn out the occasional child, despite not being heterosexual.)

This animus, in the sense that is about tribal identity and growth, is deeply rooted in human nature; it is in a sense, instinctive, for reasons understandable in primitive tribal cultures. In our modern world — where, if anything, expansion of the global population might best be discouraged — it takes culture, and increased exposure to other peoples (tribes) from around the world who are different, to ameliorate the instinctive animus to others, or to people who do not contribute to the expansion of the tribe. That people today, like (perhaps) the Orlando shooter, and certainly various radical Christians, cite scripture in order to justify their animus, exposes the dangerous irrationality of relying on fundamentalist interpretation of religious scriptures. They are rationalizing their instinctive hatreds, instincts that are destructive in the modern world.

The future of the world, of humanity, must be to overcome these ancient prejudices, acknowledge reality, and expand the tribal sense to encompass all of humanity.

The ancient scriptures, Jewish and Islam and Christian, would be best disregarded, like all the theologies of the many thousands of forgotten religions that did not happen to get written down. People in this modern world should learn how to think for themselves, rather than deferring to the supposed wisdom of people who lived millennia ago, of sheepherders and tribesmen who thought the world was flat, and acknowledge the reality in which we live, and the shared humanity of everyone on the planet.

(Footnote: that the evidence indicates sexual minorities have always existed, as far back as recorded history, is a separate, fascinating, topic for another time.)

PS: posted on Facebook, an hour ago:

I drafted these comments, hesitated to post it, and this morning saw almost the same words in a Richard Rodriguez op-ed in today’s Los Angeles Times. That is, the issue isn’t so much about Islam, as about fundamentalist religion of all flavors, with the certainty that God hates the same people you hate, and confirmed by scripture, whether Qur’an or Old Testament. (Echoed by Christians, recently in the news, including pastor Roger Jimenez, Theodore Shoebat, pastor Steven Anderson, and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, as well as Kevin Swanson, proponent of the death penalty for gay people at a conference last year attended and presumably endorsed by Ted Cruz.) Rodriguez:

“The desert religions of Abraham — Judaism, Christianity, Islam — were shaped by an encounter with a God who revealed himself within an ecology of almost lunar desolation. In such a place, the call to belief was tribal, not individualistic. Sexuality was an expression of faith to increase the tribe. Allegiance to God and to one’s ancestors was fulfilled by giving birth. …

This entry was posted in Culture, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.