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Why Every Woman Knows Her Body Was NOT the Creation of an Intelligent Designer

Why Every Woman Knows Her Body Was NOT the Creation of an Intelligent Designer

In 1987, teaching creation science in public school classrooms became illegal. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards v. Aguillard may have barred the teaching of creation science, but, shortly thereafter, the term “intelligent design” (ID) was coined as a euphemism to offer an argument against a purely scientific explanation for the creation of the world and as an argument against biological evolution of species in particular. Christian apologists now use words like “irreducible complexity” to try to refute the fact that we evolved from earlier beings. Conservative Christians formed the Discovery Institute to push ID as a theory that should be taught in schools.

But if a woman thinks carefully about her body and how it functions, she will know that an intelligent designer did not create it. Let’s take a look.


If a woman has been through childbirth, she can tell you that while it is exciting to deliver a child, it hurts like hell. I remember the birth of our son. My husband and I had attended a natural childbirth class. When the doctor advised that I get an epidural (after 12 hours of labor), my husband suggested I just continue to take deep breaths. You can imagine what I told him to do with the deep breaths suggestion. Then, I had an epidural and knew in an instant the anesthesiologist was my new best friend. I never had another child, but if I had, I would have asked for the epidural the moment that I pushed open the hospital doors.

The reason for the pain in childbirth is understandable with a quick lesson in evolution. When our ancestors started to walk upright, the shape of the pelvis began to change to accommodate a walking gait. Specifically, a narrower pelvis developed. Over hundreds of thousands of years, human brains gradually became more complex and grew bigger to accommodate a higher level of intelligence. The coincidence of these two changes resulted in a baby with a larger head being delivered through a narrower pelvis. Pain, therefore, results as the mother pushes a bigger baby through a smaller opening. (Today, where a child cannot be delivered through this opening, a caesarean section must be performed.)

Women need not believe that they are being punished for original sin by being made to bear unbearable pain in childbirth. There is a logical explanation for what she experiences, and the “original sin” musings of ancient believers can be set aside in favor of a more rational explanation for pain in childbirth.

Menstrual Cycle

Most women might agree that it was not intelligent to create a woman capable of getting impregnated EVERY month. (On the contrary, many women might think such a design was a cruel joke). The impact of a woman having thirteen menstrual cycles in a year is that—prior to reliable birth control—a woman got pregnant about every two years if she was having regular intercourse. I once investigated my family genealogy and the national census listed the ages of the children of one of my ancestors as 2, 4, 6, 8 and so on. You can see the pattern here: women had many children in two-year increments. This was likely not the pattern in early societies, but once nutrition reached a certain level, this became the norm. I found it very prevalent in the 19th century for example.

In general, menstrual cycles are limited to primates. But did you know that in most placental mammals, there is no shedding of the uterine lining? It just gets reabsorbed into the body—no need for tampons there. Biologists debate whether the monthly loss of blood was an evolutionary advantage or not. Whether it was to our evolutionary advantage or not, it is not serving us well today.


Why isn’t it on the inside? Wouldn’t it make more sense for the clitoris to be located on the inside of the vagina where the man’s penis rubs against it during intercourse? Being on the outside, the clitoris is usually only stimulated through external forms of contact that require some extra effort on the man’s part or the woman’s. The organ’s exterior location just isn’t very effective for stimulating a woman through intercourse. Don’t get me wrong, that is pleasurable of course, but inside would have been better. Its location can, in part, be explained because the clitoris and the penis both developed from the genital tubercle. A protein on the Y chromosome causes the tubercle to develop into a penis, hence, the outside location. Without this protein, a clitoris develops.

Since the first publication of this article, I have received several comments about the fact that in the last ten years, it was discovered that there are parts of the clitoris that extend into the body cavity and wrap around the vagina. Who knew? Read more here. Someone also pointed out that the clitoris inside the vagina might not work so well during childbirth.

The exterior location of the clitoris has also allowed genital mutilation to be practiced. A barbarous practice still prevalent today primarily in areas of North Africa, this involves cutting out the clitoris resulting in the female losing any pleasure this organ allows. Had it been hidden inside the vagina, maybe this practice never would have arisen.

In the same location, there is another major flaw—the juxtaposition of the urethral opening and the vaginal opening. The vagina also shares a wall with the bowel. This anatomy is responsible for urinary tract infections and fistulas. The latter often occur when very young girls give birth and endure long labors. A fistula is a hole between the vagina and the rectum or bladder. The resulting seepage causes a woman to be incontinent. The Fistula Foundation has been set up to provide repairs to these women. If a repair is not made, her community often shuns the young woman.


Desmond Morris in his book, The Naked Ape, postulates that large breasts developed in women when intercourse moved from the man approaching the woman from the back to a woman facing a man during intercourse. In the first instance, the large buttocks of a woman were what attracted the male. In the second, the breasts evolved to substitute. Given the current status of female breasts displayed in pornography, the shunning of mothers nursing in public, and the possibility of being arrested for indecent exposure should a woman be bare-breasted in public, the obsession with a female’s breasts continues today regardless of whether Morris was right or not.

However, large breasts are not necessary for lactation to occur. In fact, some women with larger breasts encounter too much engorgement during nursing. The flow of milk is triggered by how much the baby nurses and is not dependent on a large breast, which is just evidence of a large amount of fatty tissue.[1]

It is probably hard to imagine what it would be like to have breasts like a man’s (although that is pretty close to how I was shaped as a young teen—28AAA bra). While men do experience breast cancer, this is much more prevalent in women. Man’s risk of cancer is 1 in 1,000 and a woman’s is 1 in 8.[2] As a breast cancer survivor myself, I would have happily given up female breasts to avoid it.

If you want to learn more about evolution and intelligent design, read Abby Hafer’s excellent book The Not-so-Intelligent Designer. She also outlines problems with men’s bodies. The real point of this essay, however, is to show how illogical and unreasonable the ID argument is. The facts simply do not support it.




Abortion Opponents – Power, Control, and Hypocrisy

Abortion Opponents – Power, Control, and Hypocrisy


While Evangelical Christians and Republican Presidential Candidates tout superior morality as a rational for their opposition to abortion, the history of religious views on this issue and its use to gain political power and control reveal morality places a distant third.

The Bible’s Support of Abortion and Killing Fetuses

The Christian Old Testament is replete with its lack of reverence for either a woman’s body or the life that is growing inside her. Many scholars have long indicated that the ritual undertaken below for a suspected adulterous wife might very well have been the administration of an abortifacient. Previous translations of the original Hebrew attempted to blur the clarity of this curse. The widely accepted New International Version does not.

But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”—here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries. (Numbers 5: 20-22 NIV)

The following verse, one of many, shows the utter disdain of God’s chosen people for women and their fetuses.

At that time Menahem, starting out from Tirzah, attacked Tiphsah and everyone in the city and its vicinity, because they refused to open their gates. He sacked Tiphsah and ripped open all the pregnant women. (2 Kings 15:16 NIV)

And when God gets mad at Israel, what does he use as punishment?—killing of unborn fetuses.

Give them, Lord—what will you give them? Give them wombs that miscarry and breasts that are dry. (Hosea, 9:14 NIV)

Early Christianity Supported Abortion

The early Christian church did not recognize the fetus to be a person (defined as ensoulment) until after the quickening, the time at which a woman could first feel the fetus moving inside of her, defined today at approximately 18-20 weeks. Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic friar from the 13th century who later achieved sainthood, defined life as beginning after forty days of gestation. These views continued well into the 19th century. Even the Catholic Church permitted abortion up until quickening prior to 1869.

Nineteenth Century Move to Make Abortion Illegal – Role of Doctors

Starting in the mid-1800’s, states began to restrict and/or prohibit abortion. There were several factors that prompted this action. The first involves the fact that abortions were predominantly performed by unlicensed women. Even though the Catholic Church through its promulgation of the Malleus Malleficarum in the 15th century killed hundreds of thousands of people, mainly women, on accusations of witchcraft when doctors sought to enter the medical profession, midwives and women healers still persisted. Recipes for herbal abortifacients were passed on from generation to generation. This information is available even today and can be found with a simple Google search. In the mid-19th century, one famous abortionist, Madame Restell in New York, advertised her services in the local newspapers. The ads were couched in somewhat veiled language such as treatment for “suppression of those functions of nature” that any woman understood to be the termination of a pregnancy. Male doctors (no woman was admitted to formally study medicine in the United States until 1847) first attempted to limit abortions through state law to put untrained doctors, midwives and herbal healers out of business. While they were somewhat successful, the formation of the American Medical Association in 1849 substantially increased their clout. While touting the morality of their actions to make abortion illegal, some of their comments reveal their desire to eliminate competitors. What is also interesting in the following quote from the 1857 reports of the AMA is the castigation of drugs, which of course today is one of the mainstays of medical healing.

Every phase of quackery is characterized by an over-weening faith in drugs, and a delusive confidence in specifics, inspired by the brazen effrontery of the charlatans who “by this craft have their gains,” and who employ themselves in encouraging the people to become, with the aid of their new system of drugging, “everyone his own doctor.”

And of course, women were judged unable to make an intelligent decision about their bodies on their own.

If each woman were allowed to judge for herself in this matter, her decision upon the abstract question would be too sure to be warped by personal considerations, and those of the moment. Woman’s mind is prone to depression, and, indeed, to temporary actual derangement, under the stimulus of uterine excitation, and this alike at the time of puberty and the final cessation of the menses, at the monthly period and at conception, during pregnancy, at labor and during lactation; a matter that also seems to have been more thoroughly investigated by the authority I have so freely drawn from in reference to the question of abortion, than by any other writer in this country.

Nineteenth Century Move to Make Abortion Illegal—Women’s Suffrage Movement Backlash

The mid-19th century saw two major social movements—the first led to the abolition of slavery and the second led to a constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote. The women’s suffrage movement sought not only to secure the vote, but also to emphasize a broader role for women. Educational opportunities for women increased and women sought employment in new fields and professions. But this change was not welcomed by those who still thought that women’s role was in taking care of the household and raising children. Frederick Engels, a socialist in 19th century England, pointed out the support this role gave to burgeoning capitalism. The woman kept the male fed and clothed and gave birth to more workers. It is not a coincidence that attempts to make abortion illegal coincided with women’s desire to break out of the traditional role of mother and wife. Our Bodies, Ourselves, a seminal work from the 1960’s women’s movement, sums it up well. “Antiabortion legislation was part of an antifeminist backlash to the growing movements for suffrage, voluntary motherhood, and other women’s rights in the 19th century.”[1]

Nineteenth Century Move to Make Abortion Illegal—Fear of Immigrants

Dr. Horatio Storer, responsible in large part for the AMA’s resolution against abortion also provided evidence of another factor in the fight to make abortion illegal—fear of the new wave of immigrants. “Shall” these regions, he asked, “be filled by our own children or by those of aliens? This is a question our women must answer; upon their loins depends the future destiny of the nation.”[2] Immigration to the United States reached its peak in the 1850’s. A large share of these immigrants were Catholics from Germany and Ireland.[3] Not dissimilar to today’s attempts to limit Muslim immigration, people feared the Catholics were taking over the country. Making abortion illegal would have the effect, ostensibly, of producing more Protestant children. Physicians, eager to eliminate competitors, coupled their pleas to white, native-born legislators’ fears of “losing political power to Catholic immigrants and women.”[4] The Quiverfill sect today has the same goal in mind—populate the earth with people who adhere to your religious views, in their case Christian fundamentalists.

Various measures were used to make abortion illegal, most importantly state laws. At the time of the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion was completely illegal in 30 states with the remaining 20 having some form of restrictions. The first state to restrict abortion after quickening was Connecticut in 1821. In 1873, the Comstock Act was passed which made it illegal to send information by mail about abortion. By 1890, most states prohibited abortion unless it involved saving the life of the mother.[5]

An interesting twist to the 19th century history of abortion is that juries often refused to convict either abortionists or women who chose abortion. Abortion was part of the culture of U. S. society and it continued in spite of prohibitions as it did throughout the 20th century as well.

It must be said that there were also other issues that moved people to outlaw abortion in the 19th century, they just weren’t the dominant ones. Some cited the dangers of the procedure as part of their concern even though other surgical procedures were just as risky. Others used religion citing that “God by His eternal “fiat,” at the moment of conception, creates and breathes into the product of that conception a living soul.”

Rise of Abortions during Great Depression

The Great Depression of the 1930’s caused widespread hardship throughout the United States. Without enough food and shelter for adults, additional children put women over the breaking point. The rate of abortions increased during this time and prompted discussion of a change to the current abortion laws. As an example, “in 1939, 68 percent of medical students in the U.S. reported that they would be willing to perform abortions if they were legal.”[6] As Ricky Solinger discovered in his research for an essay on abortion in the second half of the 20th century, “before the war many women had found cooperative doctors, as evidenced by the vast number of approved medical indications for ‘therapeutic abortion’ (a list that kept expanding through the 1930s).” In addition, a poll in 1937 found that nearly 80% of women supported birth control and prompted the AMA to abandon its official opposition to birth control.

The End of World War II Sent Women Back to the Home

While there had been a trend to allow abortion even in medical clinics throughout the 1930’s and 40’s, that all changed when the men came back from the war. If you have ever watched the movie “Rosie the Riveter” about women’s place in the workplace during the war, you will remember the woman welder who just wanted to keep on with her work after WWII. It was not meant to be. Not only she, but many other women, were forced out of their war era jobs and expected to go back to their homes to take care of their husbands and have kids.

Thus it is not surprising that this era saw an increased prosecution of abortionists and an increasing portrayal of women who sought abortions as sluts. To quote Solinger again, “To promote their defensive ends, the men who ran the show almost always adopted an offensive mode: cryptoporn, titillating the crowd while at the same time provoking shame and repugnance.”

Thalidomide, NOW, and NARAL

In the 1960’s, a drug, thalidomide, taken to prevent morning sickness and nausea, tragically caused thousands of birth defects in babies born to mothers who had taken the drug. This caused many to rethink their opposition to abortion. During this same decade, the women’s movement spawned the National Organization for Women led by Betty Friedan and the National Action Rights Abortion League. Fighting against a history of women’s bodies as someone else’s property, women began to speak out about reproductive freedom resulting in the passage of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

Republican Strategy

While Catholics had been opposed to abortion at all stages of pregnancy since the late 19th century, other religious groups had remained divided on the issue. Certainly there were those who spoke out about abortion from a religious perspective, but this was not the dominant voice in conservative politics. The November 8, 1968 edition of Christianity Today, the leading evangelical magazine, contained several articles on reproduction including abortion. The issue contained what was called “A Protestant Affirmation” that stated: “Whether or not the performance of an induced abortion is sinful we are not agreed, but about the necessity of it and permissibility for it under certain circumstances we are in accord.”[7]

In 1971, the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution calling for “legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such circumstances as rape, incest, clear evidence of fetal abnormality, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”[8] This is a fairly liberal view of the right to an abortion.

At this time, prior to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the majority in both political parties supported the right to abortion. As Jill Lapore, a frequent writer on the subject of abortion for The New Yorker explains, “In June of 1972, a Gallup poll reported that sixty-eight per cent of Republicans and fifty-nine per cent of Democrats agreed that ‘the decision to have an abortion should be made solely by a woman and her physician.’ Fifty-six per cent of Catholics thought so, too.”[9]

In the early 1970’s many mainstream Republicans like Richard Nixon were pro-choice. But his advisors convinced him to change his views in order to win re-election. But it was Republican political strategies in two elections that made abortion the divisive issue it is today. From an article in the New Yorker in 2011 comes the following analysis.

In 1970, the year Nixon signed Title X, the Department of Defense adopted a policy that doctors on military bases could in some instances perform abortions. In 1971, Patrick Buchanan wrote a memo recommending that the President reverse that policy, as part of a strategy to insure that George McGovern (the candidate Nixon wanted to run against) would defeat Edmund Muskie for the Democratic nomination. Observing that abortion was “a rising issue and a gut issue with Catholics,” Buchanan wrote, “If the President should publicly take his stand against abortion, as offensive to his own moral principles . . . then we can force Muskie to make the choice between his tens of millions of Catholic supporters and his liberal friends at the New York Times and the Washington Post.” A week later, in a statement to the Department of Defense, Nixon borrowed the language of the Catholic Church to speak of his “personal belief in the sanctity of human life—including the life of the yet unborn.”

The strategy worked and Nixon was reelected in November of 1972. A similar strategy proved fruitful in Iowa as well in the 1978 U. S. Senate election. Randall Balmer was a pastor’s son from Iowa. In a longer analysis of politics in Iowa, he states the following.

Iowa, in fact, served as the proving ground for abortion as a political issue. Until 1978, evangelicals in Iowa were overwhelmingly indifferent about abortion as a political matter. Even after the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, most evangelicals considered abortion a “Catholic issue.” The Iowa race for U.S. Senate in 1978 pitted Dick Clark, the incumbent Democrat, against a Republican challenger, Roger Jepsen. All of the polling and the pundits viewed the election an easy win for Clark, who had walked across the state six years earlier in his successful effort to unseat Republican Jack Miller. In the final weekend of the 1978 campaign, however, pro-lifers (predominantly Catholic) leafleted church parking lots all over the state. Two days later, in an election with a very low turnout, Jepsen narrowly defeated Clark, thereby persuading Paul Weyrich and other architects of the Religious Right that abortion would work for them as a political issue.

Finally, in the late 1970’s, the Moral Majority movement, led by Jerry Falwell, brought together both social and economic conservatives around a supposedly pro-family agenda. Their targets included gay rights, sexual freedom, women’s liberation, the E.R.A., child care, and sex education. One of the key strategists, Paul Weyrich, stated clearly why abortion was included. This was “the issue that could divide the Democratic Party.” Paul Brown, the founder of the American Life League, stated in 1982, “Jerry Falwell couldn’t spell ‘abortion’ five years ago.”[10]

  1. Hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of the Right’s use of abortion as a political issue is exacerbated by the other positions it takes that seem diametrically opposed to a concern for children. Republicans in Congress have sought to reduce or eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood even though no federal funding is provided for abortion services. Instead, this move would eliminate health services to women and men for STD screening, access to birth control, and information on sex education and family planning. Research has shown that use of contraceptives available today drop the abortion rate by over ninety percent.

Republicans have often sought to eliminate or reduce food stamps (the SNAP program) that provide nutrition for families including their children. Temporary assistance programs for families (TANF) are also a target of budget cuts. These programs provide needed support to families with children where parents do not have the means to provide for themselves and their children.

Other programs that come under attack are sex education in the public schools. 26 states currently require abstinence-only to be taught as the best method in sex education classes. Research shows that abstinence-only sex education does not reduce sexual activity or prevent teen-age pregnancy. Instead it simply leaves young people unprepared to take adequate measures to assure conception does not occur. Bristol Palin, now the mother of two children born out of wedlock, earned hundreds of thousands of dollars advocating for abstinence education proving just how ineffective the program is.

The attacks on doctors who perform abortions and attacks on legal clinics where abortions are performed number in the thousands. The November 27, 2015 rampage at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility by alleged gunman killed three people and wounded nine more is simply the latest violence spurned by the anti-abortion rhetoric, particularly targeted by Congress against Planned Parenthood based on highly-edited video footage.

Finally, there is the hypocrisy of the gulf between the doctrine of the churches and the practices of the parishioners. The Freedom from Religion Foundation latest newsletter just reported that

A survey done by LifeWay, a Christian research group, shows that 70% of women who had abortions indicated their religious preference is Christian, including 25% who are Catholic. According to the survey, 76% of the 1,038 women surveyed said the church had no bearing on their decision. Only 7% discussed their abortion decision with someone at church.

I first got involved with writing my book, Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion (Fall 2016), and creating this blog because of the U. S. Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that allowed a religious exemption for this privately held company so that it did not need to provide certain forms of birth control for its employees. I will continue to work to make people aware of the intrusion of religion into the lives of men and women in this country. I am a woman. It is my body. It is not the property of the state. Period.

Karen L. Garst







[6] Leslie J. Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973 (Berkley, CA: University of California Press, 1996), p. 134.


[8] Ibid.


[10] John Gehring, The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2015) p. 68

Ten Reasons Humans Created Religion – Part A

Ten Reasons Humans Created Religion – Part A

To make sense of their world

Humans are meaning seeking beings. They want answers to questions: why did the sky erupt in fire? Why did the sun go dark? Why did my newborn daughter die? And the list goes on. For many of these occurrences, early humans felt pure terror. Even when we know what causes an earthquake today, it still causes fear and alarm for those affected. So how do we make sense of these events? Early humans created an explanation by positing the notion of some kind of a supernatural entity that was angry at them. Many of the early deities, not surprisingly, were sky gods—they lived “up there” and rained down fire and calamities on the humans living below. To appease these deities—to make them less angry—people developed practices such as animal and human sacrifice as well as other rituals. As Robert Wright explains, humans tried “to raise the ratio of good to bad.”[1] As our knowledge of our world grew, primarily through science, we learned that events such as eclipses are predictable and that the universe is immeasurably vast. As this happened, the sky god moved from the physical sphere to a more spiritual one. Unfortunately, some religions today have mired themselves so deeply in their stories, that they have become oblivious to new discoveries in science, with some believing that the earth was created in 4004 BCE because of the calculations of the 17th century Archbishop of Armagh (Church of Ireland), James Ussher.[2] 39% of Americans recently polled believe that the earth was created less than 10,000 years ago.[3]

To provide for a sense of belonging

Humans are not the only species on this planet that operate within social groups. They are also not the only ones that show empathy. Barbara King writes about the youngest son of Flo, an ape, who was unable to cope with his mother’s death. He stopped eating and died 3 ½ weeks after his mother. The roots of our dependence on others go deep.[4] Most scholars believe the word religion comes from the Latin word religare, which means to bind fast. While the word bind has both positive and negative connotations, it indicates something that holds people together. Modern religion has a myriad of activities that provide cohesion for a group: stories that trace the history of a culture, rituals such as communion, music in many forms, and ceremonies that cover virtually every aspect of life from birth to death. The negative aspects of the word to bind also come into play with the practices of some religions, such as disfellowship in Jehovah’s Witnesses, which banishes members from their families and friends when they leave the church.

To seek help in their endeavors

Imagine a Paleolithic cave. It is a refuge from a harsh environment. Evidence of fires near the entrance show where the people lived, ate, and gave birth. Female figurines, often with pregnant bellies, are mostly found in this area. In the back of the cave, one finds the wall paintings of animals, such as those at Lascaux in France. Some of these paintings show evidence of being painted over multiple times. This is the space for the hunters and the shaman. What can they do to assure success in the hunt? Does the shaman lead them in incantations? Does he perform another type of ritual? Shamans, as studied in existing cultures, are the first religious “experts.” It is likely they existed in the Paleolithic era as well. As Robert Wright explains, shamans are a crucial first step in the emergence of organized religion. They move the group from a “fluid amalgam of beliefs about a fluid amalgam of spirits and what religion came to be: a distinct body of belief and practice, kept in shape by an authoritarian institution.”[5] The shamans gave the hunters hope that they would be successful. Given the fact that even today we only notice when a good result comes from religious efforts such as prayer (and forget all those times when it does not), it is not surprising that the hunters became reliant on the shamans.

To unify diverse people

It is believed that hunter-gatherer groups were more or less egalitarian. As small groups, they were fairly homogenous. When our hunter-gatherer ancestors developed agriculture, they became more sedentary. Instead of wandering small bands, these tribes coalesced into larger entities. Undoubtedly, there was great diversity among these tribes who may have had little contact with others. Religion, with all that comes with it, can unify a group. As an example, as people came to the Nile, they brought their individual tribal gods with them in the form of a mascot or tribal fetish.[6] As the country unified these diverse groups, a more cohesive theology developed to worship Ra, the sun god, who also became the symbolic father of the Pharaoh.[7] Unity also makes it easier to defend one’s ground, which became a necessity once agriculture developed. It is always easier to fight “the other” when your leader is telling you that they don’t believe in your god. We see this today as ISIS attracts people from diverse nations to fight all who do not believe as they do. In some ways, nothing has changed.

To instill order

Settling in villages requires some type of order. The larger the community, the greater the need for a set of codes or laws to not only guide behavior, but to provide punishment for those who refuse to obey. Religion helped provide that. The very first laws were discovered in Elba (modern-day Syria) and date from 2400 BCE.[8] More well-known is Hammurabi’s (1792-50 BCE) code, carved on a stone tablet (and now in the Louvre in Paris), whose purpose is stated clearly from the beginning—”Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak; so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash, and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind …”[9] The Ten Commandments, which is found in two versions in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy and formed the basis of Jewish law, came much later around 1000 BCE. In Judaism, it was the Levites who served as priests in the temple. As priests, they served to enforce the rules and norms of the state. Temples were indeed the first statehouses. All of these examples, of course, predate any notion of separation of church and state.

See next week’s post for reasons six through ten.

Karen L. Garst

November 27, 2015


[1] Robert Wright, The Evolution of God (Boston, MA: Little, Brown, and Company, 2009), 32.



[4] Barbara King, Evolving God: A Provocative View of the Origins of Religion (New York: NY: Doubleday, 2007), 32.

[5] Wright, 31

[6] Don Cupitt, After God: The Future of Religion (New York: NY, Basic Books, 1997), 6.

[7] Ibid.


[9] Ibid.