A world without monotheism

By skepticlawyer

I originally posted this comment to the Richard Dawkins forum (which gets rather bitter and nasty over time). I’m writing a novel based around the issue now, but the question originally came from one of my students.

———————————

This topic came up when I googled the question ‘what would civilisation look like without monotheism?

I realise this is a strange topic to be googling on a Sunday evening but it’s been floating around in my head since a student asked it of me when I was tutoring Comparative US and UK Constitutional Law a couple of terms back. 

In order to avoid the inevitable slings and arrows that will no doubt come my way, I’ll own up to being a lawyer now (a barrister, what USAnians would call a ‘trial lawyer’), but I’m currently completing my DPhil at Oxford among the dreaming spires, and (good) lawyer jokes are always welcome :). I’ve been a practitioner for a quite a while; this represents a return to study for me… which is an interesting experience. I’ve never met Richard Dawkins since coming to Oxford, although I have been to some of his public lectures at the Sheldonian, and I think I’ve seen him in a carpark around here a couple of times ;)

My student was a very bright American studying at Stanford on a year’s exchange to Oxford. He was open about the fact when we were discussing relevant 1st Amendment cases and Roe v Wade that he loathed monotheism in general and Christianity in particular, but he wasn’t a skeptic. He considered himself pagan, and thought that the world would be a better place without monotheism. Hence the shape of the question (focussing on monotheism generally, not Christianity specifically).

Now I admit I found his question intriguing, for a couple of reasons. 1. I’m a classics major; I know a bit about ancient paganism. 2. I’ve spent time in a country that (if you wanted to be rude), you’d describe as pagan (Japan). I read Latin and speak/read/write pretty fair Japanese. Like any half-decent anthropologist, I’ve been a ‘participant-observer’.

I discussed classical paganism with him for a bit, and established that he wasn’t into what some of my classicist friends call ‘fluffwicca’. He was well aware that paganism (like other religions) can be both beautiful and terrible, and has strengths and weaknesses. I explained that it seemed to me that its strengths were tolerance and a capacity for syncretism (watch how Buddhism has blended with Shinto in Japan for a sense of this). Its weakness was a genuine lack of compassion. In Japan, the ‘compassion’ stream comes from Buddhism. In a Roman Empire without Constantine, it’s quite likely that the ‘compassion stream’ would have come from Christianity.

I read around the topic for a while and found many of the arguments played out in this thread in academic journals and books, along with many others. Like someone pointed out at the top of the thread, teasing out causes and consequences soon turned into a bad joke, with people making ambit claims for Islam, for Christianity, for classical paganism, for science and technology in the ancient world, for science and technology in the medieval period, yadda yadda. It was a nightmare. I also found a more focussed debate on how and why Christianity knocked classical paganism off its perch, with some scholars arguing that at least some bits of classical paganism were evolving into monotheism, and that the process was largely peaceful, and others arguing that the Christians behaved like the Taliban, deploying the coercive powers of the state to destroy the religious competition. 

In the end, I found the latter arguments more persuasive, and I’ll nominate one book that convinced me of this case so you know I’m not making this up out of whole cloth: Ramsay Macmullen’s Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries (Yale, 1997). I also came to the view that Christianity genuinely was very different from the religions that preceded it, and was persuaded of that view by Robin Lane Fox in Pagans & Christians (Viking, 1987). I read books that took the contrary view, including a very strange one that suggested that the whole of classical antiquity was plagued by some vague sense of psychological anxiety and so needed Christianity. None of these passed my lawyer’s smell test, although I freely concede that lawyers use evidence in ways different from historians and that I am not trained in history. We lawyers are, however, careful with evidence: our livelihood depends on it. Lane Fox admits that he uses evidence like a lawyer (and he does), which meant that I had ready intellectual access to his method of arguing and style of scholarship.

Lane Fox argues very persuasively that without Constantine, Christianity would have just been another religion of the Roman Empire, and that it had probably reached its growth limit: early Christians were already becoming endogamous (endogamy kills your faith unit real slow instead of real quick, but it does kill it in time), and the religion simply wasn’t going anywhere in the countryside (‘paganus’ [sing] simply means ‘country person’, although it later took on rather pejorative tones, once Christianity became the state religion).

When I next had time to discuss paganism with my student, rather than disputing what the relative contributions of Christianity or Islam or classical antiquity were to modern scientific progress and the scientific method, I engaged in a different exercise: what would a technologically advanced pagan civilisation look like? If the Romans had had an industrial revolution (which is a plausible piece of speculation) what sort of world would they have built?

A few things came clear to me, many of them coloured by my time in Japan.

1. Pagan societies tend to be shame cultures, not guilt cultures. This has quite dramatic effects on the tone and tenor of one’s society. A good discussion of the difference is available here.

2. Pagan societies do not care about abortion and (before science) exposure/infanticide. Indeed, the 12 Tables of Roman Law actively enjoins parents to expose disabled infants. Give them modern science and technology, and there would be no debates about abortion (it is used as a form of birth control in Japan), but it is quite likely that they would enact what many lawyers call ‘Peter Singer’ laws. It would be legal to kill one’s own children up to, say, a month after birth if they turned out to be severely disabled, or if the mother had bad post-natal depression. Parents would have very considerable control over their children; there would be no laws enacted ‘in the best interests of the child’; parents would be assumed to be doing their jobs. That said, divorce laws would be very liberal (unilateral and no fault, initiated by either the husband or wife, as under Roman law). Marriage would be by contract, not state endorsement. There would also be no issues with same-sex marriage (legal under Roman law, and widely condoned in Roman, Greek and Gallic culture). The Romans thought the Greeks overdid it, but acknowledged (as Plato pointed out in the Symposium) ‘there are women who turn away from men and prefer the company of their own sex’. Plato’s comment was specifically about lesbians, but there is a mountain of evidence from classical antiquity about both homosexuality and lesbianism. There would also be gays in the military (the Greeks and Romans thought gays were uncommonly brave in military contexts).

3. There would be no Marxism, but the welfare state would also either not exist or be much more limited than it is now. Much of the pagan mirth at Christian expense concerned the practice of ‘caritas‘, which is a Latin neologism. It had no verb form and was invented (by Christians) to describe their ministry to the poor (it is the origin of our word ‘charity’). Try to imagine a world without soup kitchens, and where educated people (in particular) laugh at unconditional welfare, making arguments very similar to modern economic arguments about ‘moral hazard’ and ‘dividing the pie’ rather than ‘growing the pie’. Here is a quotation from Zosimus, the last pagan historian of antiquity:

They renounce legal marriages and fill their populous institutions in cities and villages with celibate people, useless either for war or for any service to the State; but gradually growing from the time of Arcadius to the present day they have appropriated the greater part of the earth, and on the pretext of sharing all with the poor they have, so to speak, reduced all to poverty.

Here is a quote from Julian the Apostate, the last pagan Roman Emperor:

These impious Galileans not only feed their own poor, but ours also; welcoming them into their agapae, they attract them, as children are attracted, with cakes. Whilst the pagan priests neglect the poor, the hated Galileans devote themselves to works of charity, and by a display of false compassion have established and given effect to their pernicious errors. See their love-feasts, and their tables spread for the indigent. Such practice is common among them, and causes a contempt for our gods.

I’m a specialist in law and economics, and these people sound like Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman on steroids, believe me. Remember, too, that they’re making arguments like this in a society that — while it had considerable social mobility — also had slavery. Nothing in Marxism — or socialism, or welfarism — makes any sense without Christianity. Many people would love a world without Marxism (it has slaughtered millions), but we may not want to do without the welfare state. It is a large and perhaps unbridgeable difference, as people discover when they spend time in Japan (where welfare is very limited). The Romans had the ‘corn dole’, true, but it is important to remember that it only went to the working poor — people who had spotty or seasonal employment. Roman welfare policy — like Marcus Aurelius’s state funding of education for orphan girls, for example — was very much ‘hand up’, not ‘hand out’.

4. We would still have a system of ‘filial piety’, as exists in Japan (and, to a lesser extent, China). Children would be expected to care for their parents in old age; there would be very little welfare for the elderly provided by the state. We would practice ancestor worship; the Roman lararia is identical in every respect to the Japanese kamidana (godshelf). The symbols of filial piety in both cultures (a young man carrying an aged parent on his back) are identical in Rome and Japan. In Rome, it is in the Aeneid; here is the Japanese version. 

5. Our armies would operate without benefit of Geneva Conventions; our warriors would be brave and true, but they would be uncommonly fierce when crossed. There would be no concept of ‘fighting with one’s hand behind one’s back’ as many modern western armies do; we would at all times and in all places fight to win, even if it meant vast slaughter. We would frown on surrender (Japan’s bushido and the warrior ethic of the pagan Roman world are very similar). Expect more Nankings. Expect more ordnance dropped on people who disagree with us. Warriors would also be our ‘alpha males’, with women throwing themselves at soldiers and ‘loving a man in uniform’ (as in the Roman world). The anti-military counter culture of the 60s, like Marxism, could not exist.

6. A Roman Charles Darwin would not sit on Origin of Species for twenty years. Some of Darwin’s arguments on natural selection are presaged by the great Roman atheist Lucretius; genetics and the ‘agricultural revolution’ would proceed apace. However, there would also be nothing, and no-one, in this society to hold up their hand and say, ‘careful with that test-tube, Eugene’. There would be widespread tolerance of human experimentation on war captives, for example (as in Japan’s Unit 731 during WWII). Gattaca, anyone?

In short, expect a smaller, less interventionist state, better on sex and gender but worse on class and poverty. Expect extreme militarism; expect civil religion that looks vaguely American but enshrines Emperor-worship; expect no surrender; expect liberal abortion laws and a sex-positive culture; if we lost in battle, expect our leader to appear on national radio or television assuring the people that he isn’t a god.

If this seems strange and speculative, it is worth remembering that lawyers argue by analogy, by and large, as do anthropologists. There is no time machine to take us back to, say, Australian Aboriginal society of 20,000 years ago (where the first cremations took place). Legal cases are also reasoned through by analogy  and comparison. Indeed, we have to compare what we see around us and draw conclusions that are at least plausible based on what we think may have happened. It is quite likely that some of my speculations are wrong, but every single one of them is based on careful research and extensive knowledge of the relevant languages and cultures. They also assume that religion is not going to go away, that — whatever form it takes — it will be a large part of our society.

You pays your money and you takes your choice, I suppose.

22 Comments

  1. Desipis
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    There’s an interesting parallel between this post and a TED presentation by Devdutt Pattanaik about the differences in culture between the West and India. It covers the influence of base beliefs (monotheism & after-life vs polytheism & reincarnation) on peoples approach and views on other parts of life.

    Although there’s been western heavy influence, I think India may be a good example of what a polytheistic modern society might look like.

  2. Posted November 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I wonder SL if you’ve read C S Lewis’s later novel ‘Til We Have Faces’. A reworking of the Cupid and Psyche myth as told by the Queen of a fictional pagan land (it’s part Greek and part Sumerian). This Queen challenges her pagan Gods for taking her sister (Psyche) away from her, and in the end comes to an understanding very similar to the traditional Christian understanding of the universe (or at least Lewis’s understanding of that understanding). So the novel kind of has a foot in both the pagan and the Christian world views, and since it’s framed as a dramatic argument it manages to entertain particular religious/moral/physical ideas and conceptions and challenge those ideas at the same time.

    (Sorry, I’m a bit of a mad C S Lewis proselytiser. V. interesting reflections here, too!)

  3. Posted November 23, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Great post.

    Not a lot of liberalism (in any form) either, which, of all Western philosophies, is the most obviously secularised Christianity.

    The question of the effect on science is a meaty one. Particularly as it is hard to tease out the effects of religious obsession vis-a-vis cultural collapse.

    It has long struck me that a pagan West would probably be a bit like India, since Hinduism is mostly Vedic paganism given an intellectual kick to cope with the threat of Buddhism. The analogue would be if Julian has successfully sponsored Neoplatonists to refurbish classical paganism.

  4. Posted November 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I thought Julian was thinking of creating a competing philanthropic system to counter the effects of the Galileans.

    As well as polytheistic india, the essentially atheistic Taoist/Confucian tradition that heavily influenced China for long periods of time could be another good point of reference and extrapolation.

  5. Patrick
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I coped with that up to a point, perhaps because I don’t know enough to object.

    But we got to the evolution of modern warfare, and I have to wonder how credible that bit is. William Tecumseh Sherman was a devout Christian, IIRC, as were the British commanding the Boer war, or for that matter President Truman, and all were feted by Christian nations. The Grave of a Hundred Head speaks of pagans converted doubtlessly to Christianity, in furtherance of a Christian empire. The Croats, Serbs and other largely-indistinguishable-to-anyone-else tribes almost all consider themselves Christian, and have done so for all the centuries that they have butchered each other.

    Personally, I have always linked the modern form of compassion more with wealth (of society, or the average man, not the elite) than anything else.

    To my mind wealth engenders compassion in two ways: one, the rich man can afford compassion more readily, and two, the rich man travels more and learns more and thus brings his once-alien brothers closer.

    After all nothing, not common religion not nothing, has done more to reduce racism in Australia than people’s daily experience of foreign races.

    But maybe I am missing something, I certainly don’t really have a pagan perspective on anything.

  6. Jacques Chester
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Some of the symbols in Japanese shintoism look similar to western antiquity because they are actually the descended from the same symbols.

    Alexander and his heirs occupied parts of northern India for centuries, and a lot of greek art, myth and legend syncretised with hinduism and later buddhism before it was transmitted through China and then on to Japan.

  7. John
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    This topic came up when I googled the question ‘what would civilisation look like without monotheism?

    Robert Sawyer goes further, writes a damn good novel of hominids without religion. Interesting.

  8. John
    Posted November 23, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Sorry troops, I forgot the link:

    http://www.scifidimensions.com/Jul02/hominids.htm

    It is the Neandertals that have no religion or metaphysics.

    As you are exploring this issue SL having a look at this text might help. Perhaps, maybe, oh so hard!

  9. Posted November 23, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I think the India analogy is a fair one, although not a perfect fit. It is certainly true that mass public religious ritual in the Roman world looked very Hindu (right down to the garlanded statuary and candy-coloured temples — yes, all those bas-reliefs and statues were garishly painted). The Romans loved saffron and turmeric and used both in their rituals; a Roman religious festival would have looked a bit like Holi.

    The domestic religion, however, was distinctly Shinto, quite likely for the reasons Jacques mentions.

    Patrick:

    Personally, I have always linked the modern form of compassion more with wealth (of society, or the average man, not the elite) than anything else.

    I think this is largely true, which is why I’m a bit Whiggish (even though it’s unfashionable these days). That said, I do think it’s important to avoid the assumption that wealth, science and technology will always and everywhere make us better people or make our societies nicer places to be. Often they will, but there are enough nasties out there (as you quite rightly point out) who are likely to rub their hands with glee at the thought of all that extra firepower and not much else…

    Julian was certainly planning to copy Christian charity, and as he’d been raised a Christian he may have had the skill to do it, too. It would have required a pretty big cultural shift on the part of pagans, however, at that stage still the majority of the population of the Roman Empire.

    John: will check it out.

  10. Posted November 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Monotheism… hmmmm…. what about dualism? Anything with a devil figure is dualistic and has two opposing attributes… “for us or against us” thing going. At least the Manichees and the Zoroastrians admitted dualism, even if the Zoroastrians didn’t have a hangup about the Big Bad Dude.

    Perhaps a philosophical pantheism and a purer monotheism wouldn’t have those absolutes, and, like the polytheists and atheists, would see things in shades of grey rather than the either/or thing the dualists-in-denial have going.

    Dunno. Just thinking on my feet, and wondering if others had thought of things in a dualist light (/pun intended/)

  11. Posted November 24, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    hi breaking my no comment for the rest of 09 for the second time.

    I just like to add something about the geneology of religion as I understand it. There are roughly three stages. The first is animism: seeing the ‘divine’ in everything about: rocks,. animals, trees etc. Then polytheism in which broader forces of nature are personified anthropomorphically.

    These two,and the shift from one to other are concurrent with what Marx would’ve referred to as a revolution in the economic mode of production. After the Agrarian revolution, the division of labour was expanded greatly and what we’d think of as a class system emerged. One such privilege obtaining would be the ability to observe the heavens systematically. I suppose that the ascendence of the sky-cult pantheons occurred as a result of a priestly class that was able to track the movements of constellations, planets etc more closely.

    The particular nature of the religious personae continued to be derived from nature. This is well-illustrated by the fact that until the trade-routes extended sufficiently to allow connection between northern Europe and the Mediterranean world the ancient Egyptians had no Storm God. There isn’t much by way of storms there. But trade imported the gods as well as the furs.

    There were many forms of Manichean Monotheism extant in the West from around 500 BCE or so. These declared many things but two thing common to most were that reality is a war between Good and Evil and that Good is personified by an omnipotent and eternal father God.

    Perhaps by the high tide of the Roman era people had begun to realize that all of these sky-cults with their various sects were ultimately front for the same thing and started to speculate about an even more powerful all-encompassing creator God behind it all. Perhaps this also had to do with the extended knowledge that comes of the development of science and technology in the Roman world. They had long grown weary of animal sacrifice as a determinant of success in battle or harvest and had decided to rely on more banal and reasonable criteria. The old religion, in other words, no longer made sense in the new world.

    Given the beating that Western monotheistic cosmology has taken from Galileo, Darwin, Hubble et al. Given that the cosmos no longer seems to have us at the centre of it. Indeed given that we are on a tiny rock in vast void punctuated by occasional galaxies…

    And given that religion always follows our knowledge of nature and the possibilities afforded us by the technology that comes of this I expect that some new religious paradigm will emerge. What, I won’t say. But it’s the same old monkey so it’ll be beautiful in some ways and batshit in other fer sure.

  12. Posted November 24, 2009 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Patrick: Western/European civilisation was really the only one to develop any notion of limiting warfare (as distinct from ritualising it), as Eric Jones discusses in The European Miracle. That seems to be a Christian origin thing.

    As for modern welfarism being based on wealth, up to a point yes. How much compassion you do depends on what you can afford. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Christian advocacy of compassion as a virtue was a new thing for Mediterranean cultures and the medieval Church did genuinely engage in what we would call forms of “welfare”.

  13. Posted November 24, 2009 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I just like to add something about the geneology of religion as I understand it. There are roughly three stages. The first is animism: seeing the ‘divine’ in everything about: rocks, animals, trees etc. Then polytheism in which broader forces of nature are personified anthropomorphically.

    These two,and the shift from one to other are concurrent with what Marx would’ve referred to as a revolution in the economic mode of production. After the Agrarian revolution, the division of labour was expanded greatly and what we’d think of as a class system emerged. One such privilege obtaining would be the ability to observe the heavens systematically. I suppose that the ascendence of the sky-cult pantheons occurred as a result of a priestly class that was able to track the movements of constellations, planets etc more closely.

    The problem with this is that it doesn’t hold (like so much of Marxism). Japan (and much of East Asia) is now developed/1st world and so on. Their religions are still a mixture of animism and polytheism, and look like being so for the foreseeable. I have always found the argument that religion follows three stages to be unmitigated tosh, simply because (and I bet you’d never thought you’d hear me say this) it is completely Eurocentric. It also allows atheists to make the glib comment that going from one God to none is inevitable. As we’ve seen, it ain’t.

  14. Mole
    Posted November 25, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I was always struck by the finding that the Romans had experimented with steam power.
    http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/rochelle.f/The-Discovery-of-steam-power.html

    I do subscribe to the idea the reason it wasnt taken up was the relative ease of getting slaves to do the same jobs.

    But if there ever was a time for the pagan to have ecliped the single gods that would have been it.

  15. Posted November 25, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    it is completely Eurocentric

    Indeed. Perhaps I should’ve qualified this by saying so. Or more accurately it centres on the religious traditions transmitted throughout the Occident but truly originating in Sumeria. If we s’pose itoriginated anywhere.

    Eastern Culture tends to stress harmony so instead of actively wiping previous religions off the face of the Earth they accomodate them. The West did this to a lesser extent bu, say, turning pagan fertility rites into a celebration of a guy getting nailed to a bit of wood. (Yay!)

    The idea that religion follows three stages is oversimplistic, like all models. It does not allow for the transition, for example, of a maternal goddess centred culture to the patriarchal one. There is scant evidence due in part to the persitent refusal of Linear A to be deciphred etc but, and my knowledge here is approx 10 years out of date, it appears that there is an archaic animism with common features world wide followed by various branchings off. In the West this manifests as the emergence of polythesitic sky cults followed by monotheism.

    I was discussing the Western branch strictly. The Dharmic tradition is entirely other.

    I have yet to meet an Asian who adheres to the religious traditions of their culture.

  16. Posted November 26, 2009 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Mole: you’re almost certainly correct that it was slavery that stopped the Romans from having an industrial revolution, just as it was hostility to debt financing that stopped one from happening in Renaissance Italy. The Romans had the free market and debt financing, the Italians had the science, but the former had slavery, and the latter had the RC church (which, unfortunately, wasn’t talking to the smart monks in the Salamanca school who had gone back to the Roman law principle that something was worth precisely what people were willing to pay for it, and who also argued that there was nothing wrong with lending money at interest).

    In order to have an industrial revolution, you need relatively little science. The only thing you need to know is that atmosphere has weight and so can exert pressure (for a steam engine). It is quite likely Heron of Alexandria had figured this out empirically, too. What you do need is expensive labour, which makes coming up with labour saving devices a worthwhile exercise.

    Research by Daron Acemoglu and Robert Allen indicates that in Britain in 1709, average wages were ten times higher than those in continental cities such as Paris or Strasbourg and six times those in Beijing. Economists generally argue that wages were higher in Britain at the time in part thanks to the Glorious Bloodless Revolution of 1688, which constrained the state’s power to impose ad hoc (and high) taxes, unlike for the people who lived under the Hapsburgs, the Bourbons and the Qing. If people know they can keep more of their wealth when an investment comes off, they’ll happily invest.

    It is also no secret that the Industrial Revolution in Britain really went nuts after 1807. What happened that year? The abolition of slavery. A similar growth pattern can be observed when contrasting slave-holding states of the US with non-slaveholding states before the civil war.

    In short, slavery does two things:

    1. Where slaves are cheap (as they were for much of classical antiquity), there is no incentive to come up with labour saving devices.

    2. Where skilled slaves are expensive (as sometimes happened in antiquity, but not in the antebellum south), there is an incentive to exploit them only for one’s private use or gain. In the Roman world, any ‘tinkering’ of the type we associate with the Scottish Enlightenment tended to be done by slaves, not free people with incentives to invest.

    In both cases, the price mechanism is fucked up beyond all recognition, and an industrial revolution is impossible.

    Abolishing slavery and free markets are — combined — more important than good science. If you have the free market, and you ditch slavery, the science will follow. And quickly.

  17. AJ
    Posted November 27, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Factories also need a middle class to demand their products. The very wealthy (because you can’t show status in mass produced, identical goods, atleast not without advertising) and the very poor have always been bad consumers.

  18. Posted December 2, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps by the high tide of the Roman era people had begun to realize that all of these sky-cults with their various sects were ultimately front for the same thing and started to speculate about an even more powerful all-encompassing creator God behind it all.

    In my haste I forgot to address this point. Macmullen documents the extent to which the rise of Christianity depended on the coercive power of the state and active and very brutal persecution of non-Christians (like the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, only more widespread and much bloodier, although the metaphor holds).

    Just as it’s a myth that the Catholic Church set out to suppress science (it didn’t, and where it did, this was as much in response to being challenged by the Italian city-states and Protestantism as anything), it’s a myth that Christian ascendency in the Roman world was in any way peaceful or pleasant. Macmullen even punches huge holes in the common Christian piety that Christianity represented an advance for women. It didn’t, it was a disaster, particularly for educated women, but also for commoners. Macmullen’s quotation of court records from Roman Egypt where a pagan judge fines and flogs a man for raping a prostitute while a Christian judge orders the woman executed for adultery makes the difference incredibly stark.

    AJ: Another thing to add to the mix, and also dependent on higher average wages.

  19. see below
    Posted December 3, 2009 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    ‘abolishing slavery and free markets…’ – spoken like a true marxist skepticlawyer!
    😉

  20. Posted December 11, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Tee hee… well spotted grammar fail there, I think.

  21. Ralph Seccombe
    Posted November 14, 2014 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I love the essay A World without Monotheism, 23 November 2009.
    How’s the novel going? I’d love to read it!

One Trackback

  1. By uberVU - social comments on November 23, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by searchtempo: A world without monotheism: I originally posted this comment to the Richard Dawkins forum (which gets rather bi.. http://bit.ly/085ODyF

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*