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Excerpt from Dreams

If Christians Are Right (p. 31)

From chapter "Monotheism"

If Christians (and other monotheists, such as Jews and Muslims) are right, and traditional indigenous peoples (and other pantheists and/or animists) are wrong, this means humans are made in God’s image (or rather, male humans are made in God’s image, or rather, male humans who are not slaves are made in God’s image), and all others are not. Alder trees are not made in God’s image. Nor are cascaras. Nor redwoods. Nor Port Orford cedars. Nor bumblebees. Nor huckleberries. Nor thimbleberries. Nor salal. Nor Pacific lampreys. Nor coho salmon. Nor chanterelles. Nor rough-skinned newts. Nor Sangihe white-eyes. Nor orangutans. Nor bonobos. Nor albatrosses. Nor right whales. Only humans. Only men. Rich men. Slave owners. Not women. Not slaves. Not donkeys. Not cows. Not bison. Not pronghorn antelope. Not black-footed ferrets. Not rivers. Not mountains. Not oceans. Not winds. Not tallgrass prairies. Not banana slugs. Not mysteries. None of these. Man was made in God’s image. Which means God looks like man. Not woman. Not soil. Not bubbling spring. Not black bear. Not sun bear. Not grizzly bear. Not polar bear. Not sloth bear. Not Andean bear. Not Asiatic black bear. Human. Man.

If Christians are right, and everyone else is wrong, then the world was made for humans, and humans were given dominion over the earth by God. God said, “‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. God blessed them, and God said unto them, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’”To make sure we get the point, in the space of one hundred and fourteen words, God said three times that man was made in God’s image, and twice that man (made in God’s image) should have dominion over the earth, as well as saying that man should subdue it. So if Christians and other monotheists really are right and other cultures are wrong, God wants man (made in his image) to subdue the earth. Sadly, in terms of consequences for the real world—for those not created in God’s image—this dovetails all too nicely with the possibility that the scientists are right. In either case, humans try to run the whole show, to the grave detriment of the world.

If Christians are right and other cultures are wrong, then there is one God and one God only, and He is a jealous God (jealous of what, I’m not sure, since He’s the only God; one would think that the combination of being unique, omniscient, and omnipotent would be sufficient to make even the most insufferable neurotic a tad less insecure; maybe He needs a good therapist), and He has Chosen a specific People to be His, and He has commanded His Chosen People to dispossess, conquer, rape, kill those who refuse to worship Him. His Chosen People have done this thousands upon thousands of times, killing hundreds of millions of humans, and God only knows how many nonhumans. If Christians are right and all other cultures are wrong, this is what God has wanted, and what God wants, and what God causes to happen.

If Christians are right, women were created subservient to man, as were robins, meadowlarks, grasshoppers, prairie dogs, blue-tongued skinks, and cottonwood trees. Men are the head, women are the (sinful, dangerous, enticing, seductive) body. Men, the head, made in God’s image, are prescribed certain rights of sexual access to the sinful, dangerous, enticing, seductive bodies of women. Even when women do not agree. Because man is made in God’s image. If Christians and other monotheists are right.

If Christians are right, accessing other sides directly is dangerous, scary, and evil. Accessing other sides must be done only through the mediation of select priests, who even themselves are trained only to access God (who is a jealous God) and no one else on other sides, where danger and evil remain even though God is the only God. There are others—lesser, lesser—who still, like the bodies of women, have the ability to seduce us, and to endanger our immortal souls.

If Christians are right, then women who access other sides, or who seem like they access other sides, or who may access other sides, or who men believe access other sides, or who men believe may at some time in the future access other sides are a double danger: first, women; and second, associated with other sides. This double danger has been a torturable, burnable, rapable, killable offense. We have all heard God’s words: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”And many women (and male witches, too) suffered, and many women (and male witches, too) were killed.

If Christians are right, then God is good and humans are not. The body is a place of sin and temptation. The earth is a place of sin and temptation. But God is perfect. God tells man to subdue women. Men do. Men are sinful (though not as sinful as women). God is perfect. God tells man (created in His image) to conquer Europe, Africa, North America, South America, Asia, Oceania. God brings man human slaves. God brings man nonhuman slaves. God brings man forests. God brings man rivers, lakes, oceans full of fish. God brings man untold riches. God is good. Man is in God’s image. Man is sinful.

If Christians are right, then God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth because humans are so sinful. Jesus came to earth without sex, because sex is of the body, and bodies are sinful. Jesus came to earth to show that it is possible for someone to live without ever once sinning, without ever once breaking one of God’s laws, to show everyone that God’s laws are fair and reasonable, which means that the reason men (and women) can’t live up to them is that men (and women) are sinful and weak. God is strong. Jesus is strong. Men are weak. Women are weaker.

If Christians are right, then Jesus also came to provide the perfect complement and ally to his abusive Father. If Christians are right, God is a classic jealous, rageful, vengeful, abusive patriarch who rules through violence and the threat of violence (called love), who threatens to destroy you (or destroys you) when you cannot or will not meet His demands, demands which seemed unrealistic until His Son showed you they were fair. Jesus then also calmly and quietly told you that victims should not fight back, should turn the other cheek, should love one’s enemies (except perhaps one’s enemies lower on the hierarchy, one’s enemies—God’s enemies—whom God wants you to dispossess, to rape, to torture, to enslave, to kill [and of course this includes nonhumans]), to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to be meek and subservient to His Father, who loves you all so much that He sent His only Son to live a sinless life in this shithole den of sin.

If Christianity and other monotheistic religions are right and other cultures are wrong, then we should not love the earth. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”You’d think it couldn’t get much clearer than that, but a late-twentieth-century Christian analyst clarifies even more: “The world: all that is hostile toward God and alienated from him. Love of the world and love of God are thus mutually exclusive.”

If Christians are right and indigenous cultures are wrong, we should not love the heart-stopping flight of swallows, or the spongy roughness of the skins of redwoods. We should not love the look of unhesitating affection in a dog’s eyes, nor the dog himself. We should not love the color of the late afternoon sun deep in a forest: the yellows, greens, browns, and the way they slide each behind the other behind the other. We should not love our mothers, fathers, siblings, children, friends, lovers. We should not love the soft texture of our lover’s thighs, nor the feelings we get when we unexpectedly recognize our lover at a distance. We should not love the shape of our lover’s fingers, nor their taste in our mouth. We should not love watching twin baby bears tussling, nor the love and affection their mother shows them both. We should not love the winds that make tall native grasses bend in waves. We should not love spiders blowing in the wind, silk threads gleaming behind them. We should not love the land where we live, the golden chinkapin, the soil, rocks, mushrooms, solitary bees, dragonflies. We should love none of these.

We should never, ever, love ourselves, our own bodies, our own psyches, our own experiences, our own lives. We should never love who we are. We should never love our relationships to those others with whom we share our homes—who make up our homes—and whom we want to love but we should not. We should love none of these, and should love only our Father, who does not live here but elsewhere.