• Christopher Tanner

Sometimes, For All to Live, Something Must Die

Christianity’s most outrageous and ruinous conceptual coup has also been its most brilliant, and has positioned the church for success in perpetuity by poisoning the well of humankind until the end of time. In a single stroke, this odious religion has enslaved a large portion of the human species by implanting the following malignant, two-headed brainworm into a hundred generations of potentially reasonable people:

a) Instead of being an integral and necessary part of the way the universe works, death is a curse (hence dreaded – not simply feared, as our biology would have it) incurred by “sin”(hence “a shame,” especially if self-inflicted).

b) Christianity offers a way to avoid that curse even as one appears to succumb to it.

The latter an inconvenient datum that is rationalized to insignificance (Granny didn’t really die, she just went home to be with Jesus), a way into eternal life. And it indoctrinates children with that nonsense before they’re old enough to recognize the difference between fantasy – especially of the wishful thinking variety – and reality.

That’s why Christianity is never going to go away. Talk about brilliant! Is any more effective program of mind control even conceivable?


It’s no wonder the authoritarians among us love the institutions of religion and push their agenda every chance they get; thanks to this brilliant, deeply-entrenched mindfuck, the masses make slaves of themselves and the ruling class hardly has to lift a finger.

Apologies to those who grow tired of hearing me talk along these lines, but I feel that I simply must say what I’m about to say, and so I say it often in a wide range of company (which has, needless to say, garnered me something of a “reputation”). Here’s what cannot be said often enough, or with enough urgency: the human species faces unprecedented existential threats, and we are so far doing nothing meaningful about them. We’ve been lulled to sleep by a powerful campaign of brainwashing, and religion has played a huge role in that campaign. (I’ve become convinced that religion has been the primary driver of what Jean Paul Sartre called Bad Faith – a divided condition in which we lie successfully to ourselves). That brainwashing has consequences for everyone. It yields such travesties as James Watt, Ronald Ray-gun’s Secretary of the Interior, who informed the American people during the mid-80s that it’s unnecessary to conserve natural resources since Jesus is going to return within the lifetime of most of us anyway. Watt suffered no consequences for his outrageous claim: a great many Americans – those who put the Gipper in office – no doubt agree(d) with him.

The only way James Watt could possibly have believed such a patent absurdity was by being indoctrinated during childhood in a cult that demonizes death (and with it, the world in which death occurs) and offers eternal life in its stead – surely a bargain no one could refuse, and which very few children raised in the milieu could see though. For such a man to be making policy in the name of hundreds of millions of people – to say nothing of those not yet born – is nothing short of criminal madness. And that is the state in which we find ourselves; sad to say, little has changed during the last three decades. If you don’t believe that, have a close look at the men who “represent” the citizens of Oklahoma in the Congressional chambers of the United States. Thank you very much, Christianity.


For the sake of the human species – for any hope of a sustainable future for our kind – religion is going to have to die out, and soon. It keeps people from thinking clearly, and we need clarity now more than we ever have; polar ice is melting at a stupefying rate, sea level is rising inexorably, a heat-charged atmosphere is running amok weather-wise with ruinous consequences to agriculture, forests, grasslands and freshwater lakes, aquifers are being drawn down at a rate far in excess of their recharge rate even in normal times, the pH of the overfished oceans is dropping steadily and the reef-builders are dying catastrophically, our population is burgeoning, now three full years past the 7 billion mark (so we’ve added – what? another two hundred-fifty million in the meantime?), Fukushima is poisoning the world, several climate-change tipping points have been reached and numerous feedback loops set in motion, and we keep pumping CO2 into the air at an accelerating rate despite our feeble attempts at “talks.”

The reason the “talks” don’t succeed is that the most logical voices – the voices of the realists – are drowned out by that boisterous chorus of wishful thinkers: free-market champions, natural resource cornucopians, global warming deniers, techno-triumphalists – people who imagine themselves to be living in the world they wish rather than the one that actually exists: you know, the kind of world that you see represented on the cover of Watchtower magazine. It’s the reason why, after four centuries of astronomy, there are still vast hoards of (voting) people who embrace astrology.

Where do people get their bent toward wishful thinking? Where do they learn that? Where do entire cultures learn that?

I think the answer is obvious. What’s not obvious is the solution to the problem. It’s not even obvious that there is a solution in principle.

What does seem certain to me is that religion has had its day and its days are numbered, for one reason or another: either it will die because we awaken out of the nightmare (just) in time to stem the consequences of the worst of our follies, or it will die with us – and will have been the primary driver of that death.


I’m sorry, Christians, but I have to call it the way I see it. I hope you will always understand that I respect you, and wish you and your loved ones a life of peace, plenty and happiness. But I cannot extend those warm feelings to your religion. I think that you have been hoodwinked – as I once was – into embracing a truly vile, life-hating cult that will ultimately triumph over all other cults by wiping them out in the most spectacular act of species suicide that the universe has ever witnessed.

Please look honestly at what you defend.

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