Are We Actually Seeing A Reversal Of The Evolutionary Chart?

Ed Raymond

There are several published charts by scientists that illustrate how the human has progressed from green swamp slime to ruler of the planet. A popular one shows 15 characters from monkeys to gorillas, to apes, to orangutans, to chimps, to knuckle-dragging Neanderthals, and finally to human beings like us developing over the last 25 million years. The chart seems to show some progress over time. However, the 2016 election clearly indicates we are beginning to reverse the evolutionary chart. Evidently the human being, the 15th on the chart, is still in several stages of development.
We have had cisgenders, transgenders, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, nonbinaries, and many other gender-nonconforming humans for millions of years. But religions have kept us from recognizing the reality of the human condition through the ignorance of old men parading as prophets. There is only one answer to those who don’t want to recognize the marvelous diversity of gender we have. A very wise human said: “True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it.”  We recently have had two humans—who could be placed somewhere on the evolutionary chart—who fit this axiom. One is George W. Bush, who was not dumb, but never made the effort to learn anything. Another is the current Republican candidate for the presidency, Donald Trump, who is dumb, who thinks he is so rich he doesn’t need to know anything. Both of them walk backward on the chart.
We still have world leaders who don’t understand the complexities of the genders who sit in their parliaments or pews. Gender theory covers the concept that while a person may be biologically male or female, they have a right to identify themselves as male, female, both, or neither.  Pope Francis thinks there is a global war against traditional marriage and the family: “We have to defend ourselves from ideological colonization.” No, Pope Francis, there is no war against “traditional marriage,” there is a bigger war against gays fought by many ‘Christian” churches.  We defenders of a progressive evolutionary chart have to defend ourselves from ignorance perpetuated by religion. Pope Francis shocked the conservative Catholic world a few years ago by saying “Who am I to judge?” when asked about LGBTQ rights. He just made another judgment. He said recently, “When a (gay) person arrives before Jesus, Jesus certainly will not say, ‘Go away because you are a homosexual’.” Yet Pope Francis is the leader of a Christian church that emphatically claims homosexuals are “intrinsically evil.” And then we have the religious gobbledegook about how homosexuals and transsexuals should be treated with respect—while saying that the teaching of gender theory is unacceptable “indoctrination” of the young. Pope Francis may be relatively close to the progressive end of the evolutionary line, but his Vatican critics are near the back of the line. He’s in a difficult spot.

The Super-Wealthy And Their Sense Of Entitlement

Almost every study of the economics of the super-wealthy indicates that many of those who have gained billions have a very unhealthy sense of narcissistic entitlement. They are very enthusiastic about their own talents and attributes and believe they have earned the right to a position of power over others. A majority of the super-wealthy have little empathy for those less fortunate; therefore, are unwilling to expend part of their fortune on the economic needs of other members of society. They even have less concern about their impact on the environment than people with median average salaries. Many of the super-wealthy demonstrate and behave more unethically than the average citizen in their drive to make a fortune.
A recent study of 261 super-wealthy individuals revealed that 21% had clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits as described in the mental disorders manual of the American Psychiatric Association. This is why I have labeled Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president, as a psychopathic asshole and congenital liar. He’s a classic case. Only one percent of the general public has these traits.
The people who have somehow acquired these psychopathic traits are the ones who hide their money overseas in tax havens spread on little islands around the world, avoiding an estimated $700 billion in taxes, and letting their countries of origin flounder in lack of infrastructure, poor social safety nets, and abject poverty. The one percent of the richest American males live 15 years longer (10 years longer for rich women!) than the poorest one percent. On a global scale, because of the lack of funds due to tax havens, it’s estimated that less than 10% of the world’s health research budget is spent on health problems that account for 90% of the deaths caused by diseases.
The most recent example of super-wealthy psychopathic traits is the action of Mohammed bin Salman, a  Saudi Arabia crown prince of the royal family of Saud. While the Middle East has been exploding for decades over religion and horrific poverty of the masses in the deserts, the super-wealthy, because of black oil under those brown deserts, live in blissful unawareness of the lives of their subjects. While vacationing in France from his boring life and collecting expensive toys, he liked the look of a 440-ft yacht anchored in a harbor owned by a billionaire Russian vodka maker. He immediately sent an aide to make a deal. In a few hours he became the owner of a $550 million yacht and moved in. Where does this guy fit on the evolutionary chart?

Are Millionaires More Religious Than Paupers?

There are some fascinating results about religion and economics in a wealth survey conducted by New World Wealth, a worldwide nonpartisan research firm. Of the 13.1 million millionaires in the world, 7.4 million, or 56.2%, say they are Christians, 6.5% identify themselves as Muslims, 3.9% are Hindu, and 1.7% are Jewish, and 31.7% as other, which might meant other religions or no religion at all. Seven of the ten wealthiest countries are “Christian dominated,” according to New World Wealth.
The New York Times recently had an article about the hardest places to live in the United States based on the factors of education, income, unemployment, disability, life expectancy, and obesity. The researchers determined that ten counties in Appalachia and the Southeast were terrible places to call home. They also discovered there is a strong link between religion, privation, and poverty. Research by Dr. Tom Rees suggests that the absence of strong safety nets and the opportunities for upward mobility, the hallmark of poor counties, and the conditions listed above, drive people to God and religions for comfort. Sometimes the local church provides clothing, childcare, food drives, and other basic needs, thus attracting the downtrodden to attend services.
   Ministers in fundamentalist churches often talk about “God’s ultimate plans for everyone,” thus creating some anticipation of gold streets and a happy afterlife. The problem is religion does not solve the problems of education, income, and unemployment. Other research indicates the poorest countries in the world are also the most religious. The United States, the richest nation--supposedly, is now considered to be one of the more religious of the richest seven Christian nations, but that is because we have a much higher percentage of people in poverty than other rich nations.

The Christian Prosperity Gospel Seems To Neglect The Camel Passing Through The Eye Of The Needle

The prosperity gospel preached in some Christian churches, the idea that God rewards those who follow the teachings of the Bible with financial success and excellent physical health, seems to fly in the face of the camel and the rich passing through the Biblical eye of the needle. Oh, well…..A list of the richest Protestant pastors and ministers who follow the prosperity gospel may surprise some. Kenneth Copeland Ministries near Fort Worth, Texas, has a 1,500 acre campus, a huge church, a private airstrip used by a $17.5 million jet and other aircraft, and a $6 million mansion, all privately owned by Kenneth Copeland with an estimated $760 million net worth. He likes to claim he is a worth a billion. He must really squeeze the needle. Pat Robertson of TV fame and the Christian Broadcasting Network has a net worth of $100 million, has run for president. He also runs the Christian Coalition, which is a giant fundraiser for conservative political candidates. Benny Hinn is the third wealthiest minister. When we traveled a lot through the South I used to be entertained by Benny conducting his miracle healing powers on people out of his TV audience. He would put them into some kind of trance and as his patients fell, he had a stage crew catch them before they hit the floor. Great theater! Terrific stuff! Televangelist Joel Osteen of Houston and his Lakewood Church has garnered $40 million while playing the “aw shucks” bit. His money pitch is seen in a 100 countries. The prophetically named Pastor Creflo Dollar rounds out the top five richest ministers at $27 million. The Most Reverend Dollar needed a little plane to spread his version of the prosperity gospel so he bought an $85 million Gulfstream. I guess angels can fly. The ubiquitous Billy Graham is sixth on the wealthiest minister list at $25 million. Billy was the spiritual advisor to several presidents. He was not very successful with the paranoid Richard Nixon who created long enemies lists and cursed all of the time in private. Leading the also-rans in the rich parade is the purpose-driven Rick Warren at $25 million, followed by Bishop J.D. Jakes who lives in a $1.7 million mansion in Dallas and watches his $18 million stockpile carefully, There are many other rich in the religious business but I’ve run out of space and haven’t even got to Catholic cardinals and bishops.

The Church Of The Flying Spaghetti Monster May Be An Answer To Your Prayers

If you are fed up with your current religion and have checked “other” or “none” on the latest religious survey, the recognized Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster may bring you back to the pews. The church has been around for a decade after a battle about the teaching of the theory of intelligent design in Kansas high schools along with the theory of evolution. The Christian Right was always pushing the theory of intelligent design on the teaching of science in the public schools. How do you teach intelligent design for more than the two seconds it takes to say: “God did it?” There is no concrete evidence while there are billions of years of evolution to examine for exhibits. A 24-year-0ld physics major asked the question: “Could you also prove that a flying spaghetti monster didn’t create the universe?” The idea caught on, and the “church” enticed people around the world who had given up on conventional religions.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster Church is quite strong in Europe, humans having given up on the extreme anti-human stands about gays, contraceptives, and abortion made famous by the Roman Catholic Church. The FSM church uses the symbol of spaghetti, two meatballs for eyes, and the idea that Friday is a Sabbath because the spaghetti monster created the world in only five days instead of seven. The church is quite active in Putin’s Russia. New Zealand officially recognizes marriages conducted by FSM ministers. The flagship FSM Church in Brandenburg, Germany has a weekly mass patterned after the Catholic, only it uses noodles and beer instead of bread and wine for communion. Instead of the tall hat worn by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, FSM ministers wear an overturned colander as their religious headgear. The Flying Spaghetti Monster Church does something that other churches do not. It guarantees that if you are not satisfied with the FSM Church, “your old church will probably take you back.”  The FSM Church gives non-believers something to think about.