IMMUNITY AGAINST DISEASE AND DOGMA by Jim Walker As the human population continues to grow

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IMMUNITY AGAINST DISEASE AND DOGMA by Jim Walker As the human population continues to grow, the potential for dangerous viral and bacterial diseases increases. The Black Death plague in the 1300s caused the death of one third of the population of Europe. The influenza epidemic in 1918 claimed millions of lives. Today we see strains such as HIV and hanta viruses that result in tragic deaths. Understanding how viruses work may lead to the prevention of other great plagues. Viruses work by modifying the DNA code from healthy cells to use for their own reproductive systems. They literally rob our genetic code and dictate the reproduction of cells for their own purposes. Some of the more dangerous viruses will treat a cell without the viral code as the enemy and will get attacked. If the cell does not convert itself to a new viral host, it will get killed off. Many times the virus spreads to such an extent that the host body dies as a result of the disease. Fortunately, many times we can control or prevent the spread of these viruses by vaccine, or in the case of sexually transmitted diseases, by the use of condoms and safe sexual practices. Some of humanity's belief-systems can also work similar to viral infection. Many religions and political systems modify the language system for the purpose of their own propagation. They establish a "moral" code (bibles or political manifestos) based on the control of human desires for the purpose of the reproduction of the belief-system. As a result, any sexual conduct outside the belief-system gets labeled immoral, dangerous, or sinful. Any sexual conduct within the realm of the belief-system (marriage) gets the nod of approval, even if the sexual conduct involves very same sexual act from outside marriage. As a result, the spread of the "word" propagates through generations of humans from the carrying out of a written code. Anything which presents a threat to this code will become the enemy and must get dealt with. For example, the early Roman Catholic church, established the Holy Inquisition to deal with its "heretical" enemies. Crusaders fought in distant lands against other belief-systems to help establish the growth of the Christian religion. The Church described secular systems as the instruments of the Satan and anyone falling outside the "faith" received the threat of eternal punishment in Hell. People who believed these religious codes became infected with the belief-system and lived their lives in fear. Not surprisingly, the Church spends much effort on defining sexual mores for the benefit of its religion. To this day, the Roman Catholic Church forbids sex outside of marriage and the use of contraceptive methods by its believers. This has caused the spread of predacious numbers of Catholics around the world while at the same time, tries to curb reproduction outside of religious marriage. Many Christians deny birth control and use scriptural code as a command for its faithful followers: "Be fruitful and multiply." Although the reader may view this viral description of belief-systems as metaphorical, the world renown biologist Richard Dawkins regards these replicating belief structures not just metaphorically but technically. When a person receives a fertile thought, it literally parasitizes the brain, turning the thought into a vehicle for its propagation in just the way that a virus may parasitize the genetic mechanism of a host cell. And this doesn't involve just talking- a belief-system can actually realize itself physically, millions of times over as a structure in the nervous system of individuals the world over. DNA has served as the only replicator on earth for millions of years until the advent of the relatively recent evolution of culture, language and belief-systems in primates. This new replicator evolves and mutates many times faster than DNA; and similar to DNA in its early development, it can lead to many disasters and dead ends. When a belief-system contradicts the biology of its host body, it can result in misery and violence for its host. For example, if a belief-system preaches sexual abstinence, a human being who possesses an inherent sexual biology who tries to live asexually, cannot do so without dire consequences. We see today the disaster of this example in sexually repressed serial killers and in the priesthoods of many churches throughout the world. So problematic has this become, even the Catholic Church has admitted to the sexual problems of priests. Just as with deadly viruses, evolutionary strains tend to become less destructive with time, sometimes becoming passive against anti-viral agents; the same appears true of religious and political belief-systems. The original systems tend to act violently but as time goes by, separate strains evolve. In the 1500s, Protestantism separated from the Catholic Church, and before that, secular political systems grew against feudal kingdoms. Freemasons and freethinkers began to practice freedom of religion, separation of Church & State, secular marriage, free education, and government by the people- all of which the Roman Catholic Church had long fought against. Today, we have many passive faiths, Protestant, Unitarian and secular that produce useful and constructive social benefits. And unbelievable as it may seem for religionists, some people today actually live productive happy lives with no religion or belief-system whatsoever. Over the years, the Catholic religion has lost much of its power. No longer do Holy Inquisitions occur and fewer Christians follow the sexual tenants. Unfortunately, many of our wars, prejudices and hatreds still stem from belief-systems practiced around the world. Even as passive beliefs grow, so can a new deadly systems emerge to cause death, destruction or the loss of freedoms. Several new fundamentalist strains have gone back to the original viral code to interpret Biblical statements, literally, and to carry out its demands on anyone not of the faith. As a result we have recently seen the calling for sexual abstinence, the return of women's status of inferiority, death of homosexuals, anti-Semitism, and of the more dangerous- a calling for the Armageddon-like destruction of the world to meet the Biblical prophesy of "paradise restored." As science advances, so comes the technology to produce greater instruments of destruction. It appears imperative, for people who value the human species, to arm ourselves with anti-viral tools to prevent the possible extinction of our species, not only against viruses, but against self-destructive belief-systems. We need a better understanding of viral diseases and immune systems as well as an understanding of how our minds work and to create immunities against dangerous intransigent belief-systems. As animals, humans appear among the weakest of all the mammals. We live by our intellect and without it we cannot survive. Our ability to use language, reason, and to create, gives us the tools for survival. If instead we choose to live by dogmatic beliefs, we sacrifice the very ability which appears unique to humans. A belief establishes a limit to one's understanding. Anything outside a belief, contradicts that belief, and therefore prevents further exploration and understanding. Instead of worshipping unseen gaseous spirits and bowing to the hierarchy of the Biblical "god-church-man-woman" order of inferiority, it may better serve us to worship each other as equals; and to value life over after-death; and to promote our innate creative abilities instead of stifling them. By rejecting dogmas which work against our human natures we can, instead, use our productive ability to not only create art, new medicines, and technologies, but as intelligent sexual animals, we can begin to understand our human natures for the benefit of population control, sexual expressive freedoms and pleasure. from Freethinkers BBS (305) 863-0830, TeleFinder, 14.4K bps, Miami, FL *********************************************************************** * * * American Atheists website: http://www.atheists.org * * PO Box 140195 FTP: ftp://ftp.atheists.org * * Austin, TX 78714-0195 * * Voice: (512) 458-1244 Dial-THE-ATHEIST: * * FAX: (512) 467-9525 (512) 458-5731 * * * * Atheist Viewpoint TV: avtv@atheists.org * * Info on American Atheists: info@atheists.org, * * & American Atheist Press include your name and mailing address * * AANEWS -Free subscription: aanews-request@listserv.atheists.org * * and put "info aanews" in message body * * * * This text may be freely downloaded, reprinted, and/other * * otherwise redistributed, provided appropriate point of * * origin credit is given to American Atheists. * * * ***********************************************************************

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