Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
"The Bible Says So" - by Joan Dunayer SPECIESISM, Old-Speciesist Philosophy, pages 11-12
Many Christians believe that nonhumans exist for human use because the Bible says so. As expressed by one man, "God put us in charge over animals."
Saying that humans are entitled to dominion over nonhumans doesn't make it so. (Some sexist men likewise claim that men are entitled to dominion over women.) Humans wrote the Bible, so it isn't surprising that the Bible glorifies humans and gives them license to exploit other animals. Given that the Bible sanctions HUMAN enslavement, we hardly can expect it to censure nonhuman enslavement. In addition to being sexist, tribalistic, and otherwise biased against particular human groups, the Bible is speciesist.
Genuine arguments are based on evidence and reasoning. People who look to the Bible for their beliefs have a fundamentally irrational worldview. Christian old-speciesists have absorbed the human-aggrandizing myths that "Creation" culminated in humans, "God" made humans in "His" image, and Jesus (human and male) was divine. In Christianity, humans are more god-like than other animals. They're God's "children," whereas other animals are merely his "creatures." Extremely human-centred and hierarchical, Christian doctrine is incompatible with animal equality.
At best, old-speciesists who base their beliefs on the Bible have some sense of noblesse oblige toward nonhumans. They feel a condescending benevolence but not respect. They see other animals as inferiors in need of control or care rather than equals entitled to justice. In their paternalistic and proprietary view, God the Father gave nonhumans to his children, humans. Nonhumans are human property, the opposite of individuals with rights.
Christian old-speciesists display Christianity's bias against nonhuman animals. Like the Bible, they maintain a sharp moral divide between humans and all other animals. (They would say "humans and animals," which is logically equivalent to "blacks and humans" or "women and humans.")
Many religious speciesists deny human-nonhuman kinship. It discomfits them to think of HOMO SAPIENS as one animal species among millions and downright alarms them to see themselves as animals, primates and apes.
Nonhuman apes are more closely related to humans than to monkeys. If nonhuman apes and monkeys are primates, so are we. Biologists now classify gibbons, orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees, AND HUMANS as apes. African nonhuman apes (gorillas, bonobos, and chimpanzees) share a more recent common ancestor with humans than with Asian nonhuman apes (gibbons, and orangutans). If gorillas and orangutans are apes, we are too. Genetically, bonobos and chimpanzees are closer to humans than to either orangutans or gorillas. They share about 96.4 percent of their genes with orangutans, 97.7 percent with Gorillas and 98.4 percent with humans. We belong in the same genus (Homo or Pan) as bonobos and chimpanzees. But old-speciesists prefer to think of humans in splendid isolation.
Having failed to evolve beyond the myths of former centuries, many old-speciesists don't believe in evolution. As expressed by one sport hunter, evolution indicates human "kindredship" with "animals," so anyone who believes in evolution could conclude that killing nonhumans "constitutes murder." He decided not to believe in evolution. That way he can have his gun and use it, too.
Anxious to maintain feelings of superiority and preserve a human monopoly on moral and legal rights, old-speciesists grossly exaggerate human uniqueness. To varying degrees, all animal species overlap physically and mentally. At the same time, each animal is unique.
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