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Foreword P3 Introduction P8 The Story of Life: Chronology P13 I Evolution P14 How Abrahamic Religions Appeared P28 II Primates P29 III The Illusion of Afterlife P34 IV Intolerance P37 V Believers P50 VI The Law P54 VII The Child P59 VIII Ignorance P61 IX Changes P69 X The Hydra P71 XI Paradox P74 XII Religion P79

XIII Fornication P84 XIV Science P85 Conclusion P91 Glossary P95

FOREWORD My goal is to: - fight religious intolerance. - try to get people to realize that religions are nothing but cults*, that their doctrines* create sexism*, homophobia*, intolerance and wars, and that they have simply become useless to mankind. Of course, I know how enormous this task is because it is a sensitive issue. Religious beliefs have been part of our daily lives for a very long time, and many people think they are necessary to human beings. I have no intention to lecture anyone. I am not an anarchist*. I am a democrat, a non-believer, and I think I have just got some common sense. All I want is to share with you my reflections and convictions about religions and the damage they do in and to the world. Here are now a few explanations that will help you to read and understand this book. - You will find the symbol* throughout the text. It means that particular word is explained in the glossary at the end of the book. - When a date is followed by BC, it means Before Christ: it is the accepted way of saying that something took place before the year 1 of our calendar year 1 being the alleged year of the birth of Jesus Christ*; this calendar is used in western countries. The year 1 represents the entry into our era (the christian era); after this starting point, the dates can sometimes be followed by the letters AD (Anno Domini). Now, a few definitions:

- a cult: organized group of people who share the same ideas and express them within a religion. - an atheist*: a person whose life is never conditioned by a religion (no influence on food, sexuality, or moral references). An atheist denies the existence of gods, the notion of afterlife* (life after death) and all religions. Atheism is not a cult. As a common rule, people who reject all kinds of religious beliefs are called "atheists". The words atheist and non-believer have the same meaning. - a believer*: a person who applies a religious doctrine, either fully or partially. He or she is convinced that life on earth is only a "passage" that will continue after death (in heaven or in hell). He or she believes in the existence of a creator god (or several) who sees to everyones destiny*. - man: when I talk about "man", I mean male human being. When I want to refer to both men and women, I use the word "human" or "human being". The only exception is for "prehistoric man" which is how scientists call the first "families" of human beings. Here are a few words with a more personal explanation: - blindness : distraction, confusion. This term perfectly suits the believers state of mind when speaking about their religion. They systematically lose the greater part of their capacity of reflection as soon as religious belief is concerned. Faith damages people's faculty of reasoning. - intolerance : when people refuse to accept differences, attitude of rejection. To me, this is the word that best suits religions.

Religions want women to be submissive, homosexuals and atheists to be punished, contraception to be banned They also question scientific progress. These are a few examples of religious intolerance. Regarding the religions I am referring to: In this book I will only talk about the three Abrahamic* religions: - judaism*, christianity* and islam*. The words religions, religious beliefs, faiths, cults or legends will apply to them only. When I refer to other religions, I will specifically name them (ex: mythologies*, prehistoric religions). I have voluntarily left aside the countless other faiths since their influence is relatively limited. I have chosen not to talk about hinduism and buddhism either. They are two very important religious faiths (the first having engendered the second) to which I will dedicate a whole book, knowing they have cultural and historical links. Attempting to explain and contradict all those different faiths in one book only would have generated too much confusion. Why? Because their doctrines are very far from one another (monotheism* and life after death for Abrahamic religions, polytheism* and reincarnation for the others). It is important to know that buddhism is more a form of "spiritual thinking" than a religion as we usually understand it. Doctrine does not hold a major place in it. This explains in part why more and more people are attracted to buddhism: it appeals to those who are eager for spirituality but who are opposed to intolerant and obscurantist* ideas. However it remains male chauvinistic* (from the Dalai Lama to the buddhist monks, no women in sight!). BIBLIOGRAPHY: All historical, scientific, cultural and religious facts that have been used in this book come from encyclopaedias, magazines and newspapers renowned world-wide.

My main sources are: - Dictionaries: le Robert 1996\Encarta 1997 ; Larousse 2008. - Encyclopaedias: Encarta 1997\ La nature, Editions Hachette. - Newspapers: le Monde\Figaro\Libration\la Republica. - Magazines: Science & Vie\ l'Expansion\ les supplments du Monde\ le Nouvel Observateur\ le Point. In the book, I quote numerous passages taken from the bible* or the koran* in order to illustrate my reflection. - the bible: new revised standard version on-line King James version on

- the koran: electronic version on

The reality of the biblical and koranic facts and characters is not established. However, to facilitate the reading of the book, I have chosen not to use the conditional tense when referring to them. A FEW NUMBERS: The main religions in the world count: - judaism: 20 million believers. - christianity: 2 billion believers. - islam: 2 billion believers. - hinduism: 800 million believers. - buddhism: 400 million believers. There are also a lot of other religions. And we must not forget that there are more than 1 billion of non-believers in the world, with lots of young people among them: - 50% of young French people do not believe in god. - in Scandinavia, this proportion reaches 70%. This book is written in familiar words so that everyone can understand it. It is direct and I show no complaisance towards religions. In this book, I tell the different stages of the evolution of human beings from prehistoric times to the present day with religions as a main thread.

But I also consider the formidable perspectives of scientific research. And you will find as well my personal reflections about religious beliefs and all that is related to them. So enjoy your reading!

INTRODUCTION God did NOT create humans... but humans created god. I am an atheist because I am convinced that religious beliefs are nothing but stories, tales invented by men who are called "prophets*". Adam*, Eve*, miracles, winged angels, heaven or hell All this does not exist. Death, suffering, the future are all frightening elements for most of us. Religious figures* have used these fears and exploited them by creating cults such as judaism, christianity and islam. So they comfort us and tell us that after we are gone, another life is awaiting us in heaven! We are told that an almighty god guides the fate* of each one of us. It sounds so much easier But this is nothing but legends. Unfortunately religious figures have thus imposed intolerant and dangerous rules on the world. In the bible and the koran it is said that: ------------------------------ All people having a different faith from yours, or worse, who are atheists, are your enemies: THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Leviticus. Chapter 20. Penalties for Violations of Holiness. 27. A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned to death, their blood is upon them.

Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach. Chapter 12. 4. Give to the godly man, and help not a sinner. 6. For the most High hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance unto the ungodly, and keepeth them against the mighty day of their punishment. THE KORAN Sura IX 5. So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, 123. O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil). --------------------------------------- That a wife must be subjugated to her husband. THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT First epistle to Timothy. Chapter 2. Instructions Concerning Prayer. 11. Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. 12. permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. 13. THE KORAN Sura IV 34. Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; Sura XXIV 31. And say to the believing women that they cast down their looks and guard their private parts and do not display their

ornaments except what appears thereof, and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms ---------------------------------------- That homosexuals deserve to die: THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Leviticus. Chapter 20. Penalties for Violations of Holiness. 13. If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them. ------------------------------------- That jews are traitors who deserve a harsh punishment: THE KORAN Sura II 61. And abasement and humiliation were brought down upon them (the children of Israel/the jews), and they became deserving of Allah's wrath. Sura V 64. And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say. ---------------------- That anyone having sexual intercourse for pleasure must be punished: THE KORAN Sura XXIV 2. (As for) the fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them, (giving) a hundred stripes, THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Leviticus. Chapter 20. Penalties for Violations of Holiness. 10. If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.

THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT First epistle to the Corinthians. Chapter 6. Glorify God in Body and Spirit. 18. Shun fornication*! Every sin that a person commits is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against the body itself.

Among the victims of religions, you also find scientists and intellectuals. Religious figures have always seen them as their enemies. Simply because they dared to question creationism*. Anyone declaring that the earth revolves around itself or that a human being is an evolving mammal* was assured to be in serious trouble!!! This is the reason why, since these (so-called religious) legends were invented, men and women of science have suffered all kinds of violence and persecution. And this is still going on today. For these cults, science must not contradict religions but on the contrary support the biblical explanations of the origin of life. They would like science to be "under control" just the way it was in the Middle Ages!!!! And this movement is not only restricted to theocracies*; it is mainly spreading in the USA and develops in all western countries. Some religious figures would like to impose teaching creationism on the same level as evolutionism*. Other groups of people suffer because of those cults. They are usually all the men and women who do not believe and do not follow the extravagant tales invented by a few men. And not only these "stupid" rules generate discriminations*, but they also endanger our own survival. Almost all the wars, terrorist attacks and tensions that occur in the world are directly linked to religious beliefs.

- tensions between India and Pakistan (hindus against muslims). - violence in the Near East (jews against muslims). - violence in Ireland (protestants against catholics). - violence in Africa, in Asia (christians against muslims). - terrorists attacks plotted by fundamentalist muslims. I do not condemn all believers who, in a large majority, are manipulated by these cults and are often the first victims of inter-religious violence. I am opposed to all religions without distinction, as well as clergy*, because they represent a danger to mankind. Many people think that religious beliefs are good and wise but that they are turned into something bad because of their wrong interpretation by humans. This is not true!! Priests, imams and other rabbis do nothing but relay "the laws" of the books, textually!!! Fortunately, few people really apply religious doctrines, otherwise we would be living in a totally crazy world where utter obscurantism would rule. It is also important to say that Abrahamic religions have negatively influenced our behaviour towards all other forms of life. Since they put humans above everything else on earth, they have moralized our lack of respect for nature and the destructions it implies. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Genesis. Chapter 1. 26. Then God said, Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

THE STORY OF LIFE: CHRONOLOGY - 13.5 billion years: creation of the universe after the Big Bang*". Enormous quantities of matter were projected into the void and gave birth to the first stars of the universe. - 5 billion years: birth of the sun, then, around 4.5 billion years, of the earth. - Between 4 and 3 billion years: on our planet, the first forms of life appeared. They were microscopic and in the water. - 500 million years: a great number of animal and plant species were formed. - 350 million years: life left water and spread on earth and in the air. - 230 million years: the dinosaurs appeared. - 200 million years: the mammals appeared - 65 million years: the dinosaurs disappeared. - 55 million years: the primates* appeared. - 30 million years: primates more evolved appeared: the apes. - 8 million years: some apes evolved more quickly than others, finally giving birth to prehistoric men.

I - EVOLUTION The common ancestor to both human beings and apes* (which we are very close to) is a primate that was on earth more than 20 million years ago. He used to live exactly like the other animals. His life amounted to 3 simple things: - eat - not be eaten - reproduce He lived in small groups and moved on his four limbs. Between 8 and 5 million years BC, he became a biped*. This is the time when humans started differentiating themselves from the other animals. It was a progressive process which took place over hundreds of thousands of years. Many families of prehistoric men cross-bred and succeeded one another to finally produce modern humans. Several hypotheses try to explain bipedalism*. Thanks to progress in biology*, scientists regularly refine their research. It is quite likely that, like in all evolution, several factors played a part: a natural physical disposition a significant climate change the geographical separation of a group of apes (our direct cousins) from another... As a result, it completely modified the human beings physical appearance.

And it especially enabled his brain to develop. It freed his hands so he used them as tools and he learnt to use a stone or a stick while running to escape or attack Soon, he used pebbles or flint to cut or joint preys. First, he just found stones that were naturally cutting, then he started shaping them to get sharper objects. He started thinking more and more. Cooking meat also played an essential part in the development of his intelligence, because cooked meat is rich in proteins necessary to brain activity. All these elements and a few others made the volume of the brain grow from 500 cm3 for the first prehistoric man to an average 1,400 cm3 for modern man. This is how he differentiated himself from animals, using his intelligence in addition to his animal instinct. From prey, the human being became hunter. So as time went by, he became the dominant species. A new step in his evolution was reached when he discovered fire and learnt how to use and control it. All this happened about 400,000 years BC. As millenniums went by, his head and body changed. He looked less and less like an ape. His face and physical appearance became more refined and he lost some of the hair he had over his body. He became more and more intelligent. Around 200,000, articulate* language appeared. At that point, he had established himself on almost the entire planet. But humans living around the Mediterranean Sea and in Chinese Peninsula were going to be the initiators of mankinds greatest changes: - they domesticated the first wild animals (-10,000) - they grew the first fruit and vegetables (-10,000)

From 100,000, they buried their dead with some of their belongings. They imagined an afterlife, thus responding to an emerging fear: what happens when we die? They invented the first gods. The first religions had a great number of divinities, one for every life event: the rain, the sun, fecundity, death Humans presented them with offerings they were often animal sacrifices. It is a religious tradition that has remained in modern beliefs. Nowadays, the act of killing an animal to offer it to a "god" is part of the ritual in Abrahamic religions. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Leviticus. Chapter 22. Acceptable Offerings. 21. When anyone offers a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, in fulfilment of a vow or as a freewill-offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be acceptable it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. Leviticus. Chapter 3. Offerings of well-being. 7. If you present a sheep as your offering, you shall bring it before the Lord 8. and lay your hand on the head of the offering. It shall be slaughtered before the tent of meeting, and Aarons sons shall dash its blood against all sides of the altar. They built sanctuaries* for their gods. They chose among the men of the tribe those who would be in charge of enforcing the divine decisions (they were the ancestors of the priests, rabbis or imams). Humans had just invented the first prehistoric religions.

At that time, humans were hunters-gatherers who would ceaselessly move in search of food. They settled with the arrival of agriculture and breeding ( 10,000 years). They built villages where shelters were built to last. The evolution of humans continued. They knew then how to work different metals: copper, bronze, iron They used clay to make containers. Art (see prehistoric art*) appeared. Another major turning point was passed when they invented writing: they were able to write down all they could only tell before. In 5,000, humans started creating the first civilisations*. The most well-known are the Egyptian, Greek or Roman. The Chinese Peninsula also gave birth to a major civilisation but since it is not directly involved in the advent of Abrahamic religions, I will not talk about it. Humans were now able to organise their lives completely. - huge cities were built: Alexandria, Athens, Rome and many others, mainly around the Mediterranean Sea. - armies were maintained. Every antique civilisation possessed a powerful army. It would ensure the countrys stability and above all the organisation of new conquests. - laws were written. Politicians established laws related to every sector of peoples lives: trade, education, land dividing, tax-paying - entertainment was invented (plays, dance shows, sports events). These attractions could draw crowds of several thousands people. Amphitheatres were built to this purpose. The most famous one, the Coliseum* in Rome, could hold nearly 90,000 people.

- the first philosophers appeared; they were going to leave deep marks on human thinking. - humans developed their religious beliefs in a spectacular way by building temples, pyramids or all kinds of gigantic monuments (obelisks, sphinx) that were entirely dedicated to the gods. The clergy held a major place in society. They were in charge of explaining to the people the role and the importance of each divinity* in the creation of the world and in natural events, and their main task was to explain religious doctrine. Heaven, hell and baptism* were invented. Mythologies were born. (*Heaven, hell and baptism were not invented by modern religions - judaism, christianity, islam - but by the religious figures in antique civilisations). Each people had their own beliefs. Their divinities and rituals were different and depended on whether they were Greek, Egyptian, Persian or others However, mythologies had several common points that were going to be used as a basis for the invention of Abrahamic religions: 1 Creation of the world and human beings by god. 2 Obligation to obey the divine laws. 3 Divine judgement after death. Advent of the one god concept But in the middle of Antiquity, a people of nomads began to imagine that there was only one god. The Hebrews* had just invented monotheism in 1,300. Actually, they only used again and completed a legend that was invented a few centuries before by Abraham*.

This legend took up the three points mentioned earlier (1, 2, 3). Exactly like the mythologies. But new rules were added: - there was not a multitude of gods any more but only one: THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Exodus. Chapter 20. 2. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3. you shall have no other gods before me. - it was forbidden to name or represent god in any way. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Exodus. Chapter 3. 13. But Moses said to God, If I come to the Israelites and say to them, The God of your ancestors has sent me to you, and they ask me, What is his name? what shall I say to them? 14. God said to Moses, I am who I am. He said further, Thus you shall say to the Israelites, I am has sent me to you. 15. God also said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the Israelites, The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: This is my name for ever, and this my title for all generations. Deuteronomy. Chapter 5. 8 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath... - some men were chosen by god to announce his commandments, predict the future and do miracles. They were called prophets. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Book of 2 Kings. Chapter 17. 13.Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, Turn from your evil ways and keep

my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law that I commanded your ancestors and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets. - the Hebrews defined themselves as gods chosen people, the only one deserving his trust. As such, they inherited a country (roughly the present israel and palestinian territories). THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Exodus. Chapter 6. 2. God also spoke to Moses and said to him: I am the Lord. 3. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name The Lord I did not make myself known to them. 4. I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they resided as aliens. 7. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians. 8. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord. - they established a ritual that unites them with god: circumcision. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Genesis. Chapter 17. 9. God said to Abraham, As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10. This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11. You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.

After being orally promoted, this legend was written down and became the old testament.

It is composed of numerous stories that were mixed together and completed to finally give birth to the book we know. The writing of the book lasted 1,000 years. This is how the first of the three Abrahamic religions was invented: judaism But the Hebrews were also at the origin of the second major monotheistic religion: christianity It occurred at the beginning of our era. The person who invented this new religion was a jew called Jesus. He said he was the son of god and proclaimed himself the messiah*.

THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT Gospel of Matthew. Chapter 1. The Birth of Jesus the Messiah. 21. (an angel of the Lord speaking to Joseph about Mary) She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Chapter 3. The Baptism of Jesus. 16. And when Jesus had been baptised, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17. And a voice from heaven said, This is my Son, the Beloved); with whom I am well pleased. This new legend was written down and became the new testament. It was not written by Jesus himself but by people who were said to be close to him (see bible*).

From the very beginning, christianity wanted to be the continuation of judaism, but it did not work. Jesus explained to the jews that god had changed certain rules such as: - divorce was now forbidden (it was authorised by jews). THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT Gospel of Matthew. Chapter 19. 3. Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause? 4. He answered, Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5. and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? 6. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. 7. They said to him, Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her? 8. He said to them, It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning it was not so. 9. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery. - there were no food or drink taboos* any more (while the jews still had many of them, like pork, alcohol...) THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT Gospel of Mark. Chapter 7. 14. Then he called the crowd again and said to them, Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15. there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile. 17. When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18. He said to them, Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside

cannot defile, 19. since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? (Thus he declared all foods clean.) - circumcision was not compulsory any more but replaced by baptism (with water). THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT Acts of the Apostles. Chapter 10. 42. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. 44. While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46. for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47.Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? 48. So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

But the biggest change came from the fact that this religion was no more intended for Hebrews only but for all mankind. THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT Epistle to the Romans. Chapter 1. Prayer of Thanksgiving. 14. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish 15. hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome. Acts of the Apostles. Chapter 28. Paul preaches in Rome.

28. Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen. This is why the bible (the book of christian religion) is composed of the old testament (the book of jewish religion) and of the new testament (the book written by Jesus' disciples). The jews did not agree with this. To them, it was, from the beginning, a new religion. The area where Jesus lived was Palestine; at that time, it was under control of the Roman armies. At first, these armies gave christians a hard time and persecuted them. Then around the year 400, Romans adopted christianity and it replaced their mythology. The followers of this new faith spread their ideas throughout the world. They did so thanks to monks* who travelled everywhere and converted numerous groups of people, which allowed christianity to develop very quickly. Contrary to judaism which remained a united religion, christians, after the division of the Roman Empire, split into two main groups: - the catholics. the peoples that lived in the western part (Italy, France, Spain, Germany) took the religious figures who were in Rome (the pope, among others) as spiritual leaders. - the orthodox. those who lived in the eastern part (Balkans, Turkey, Greece) followed the religious figures from Constantinople* (the patriarch*, among others). 1,000 years later, another group was created: - the protestants. Protestantism was the result of a protest, and this is where its name comes from.

Some German priests and noblemen rebelled against the corruption and enrichment of a part of the catholic religious figures. They parted from the church of Rome to follow their own faith. Thus judaism was born, so was christianity, and in the year 600, the third Abrahamic religion was invented: islam. It started with a man, Muhammad*, who proclaimed himself a prophet and who was at the origin of the koran: the religious book embodying the muslim doctrine. This book was written by Muhammads close relations several decades after his death. At that time, in 600, the Arabs were polytheistic* and idolatrous (they worshipped statues, the desert). Muhammad established the idea of the one god. He decreed that islam was the primary (the most important) and universal (intended for everyone) religion. He established the jihad* because he lived in Medina* (Saudi Arabia) surrounded by many jewish, christian and polytheistic tribes. He waged wars against them in the name of god and was able to quickly impose his new religion. THE KORAN Sura IV Obligation of Holy war 71. O you who believe! take your precaution, then go forth in detachments or go forth in a body. 74. and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward. Sura II Call to arms against the Meccans. 191. And kill them wherever you find them

193. And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah (everyone must become a muslim) Sura XXXIII Actually, Muhammad did not deny the bible or all the prophets, all he wanted was to impose the koran as the ultimate sacred book, and impose himself as the last prophet. THE KORAN Sura II The Cow 87. And most certainly We gave Musa (Moses) the Book (the torah*) and We sent apostles after him one after another; and We gave Isa (Jesus), the son of Marium (Mary), clear arguments and strengthened him with the holy spirit, Sura III The Family of Imran. 67. Ibrahim (Abraham) was not a Jew nor a Christian but he was (an) upright (man), a Muslim* SuraXXXIII The Clans 40.Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Apostle of Allah and the Last of the prophets; and Allah is cognizant of all things. The muslim faith is a blend of elements from judaism (circumcision, rejection of pork in food) and ancestral Arab beliefs like the pilgrimage to Mecca* which is very important for muslims. This Arab tradition is much older than the beginning of islam. Muhammad adopted it when he invented this new religion.

A political and religious figure (smart and competent), from preaches to wars, Muhammad constituted an Arab state whose power quickly spread. After his death, the caliphs* went on spreading his ideas. Thus islam developed from India to Spain through North Africa. Wherever the Arab armies were triumphant. After Muhammad's death, muslims were soon to split in two main branches: - the shiites*: Ali Muhammad's son in law became the third caliph. With his supporters (the shiites) he advocated a very rigorous practice of islam. They wanted to impose the rule that all caliphs should be Muhammad's direct descendants. They considered the koran as the only sacred book. - the sunnis*: They were in favour of applying the muslim doctrine less strictly. They said that a caliph should be chosen for his skills, not for his family origins. To them, the hadiths (books relating Muhammad's life) were very important. All the hadiths form the sunna, this is where the word sunni comes from. Their disagreement soon turned to confrontation, then to war. This is how we can summarize the way humans invented, over a 2,000-year span, the three monotheistic religions. These religions have always generated wars, massacres and all kinds of persecutions. I have no intention of judging religions on their past damaging effects. My goal is to get most of you to understand that the future of mankind should unfold without them.

How Abrahamic religions appeared: 100,000: humans started burying their dead with some of their belongings. They had just invented the afterlife, ant it was followed by the invention of the first gods. - from 100,000 to 5,000: birth of the first prehistoric beliefs. They first developed around the funeral rites to, little by little, spread to all aspects of the humans lives. The doctrine was conveyed orally. A sort of clergy was put in place. 5,000: advent of the mythologies. The religious laws were written down and became numerous and important. The clergy developed and became very powerful. - from 2,000 to the year 600 AD: the Abrahamic religions appeared. Religious beliefs were invented by the primary intelligence of human beings.

II - THE PRIMATES You have to understand that when I talk about evolution, it is at the scale of time (not at the scale of a human beings life which is very short): The earth has existed for 4.5 billion years. The first prehistoric men were there less than 8 million years ago. By way of comparison, if the earth was 24 hours old, humans would not be more than a few minutes old. I know that many of you think it is impossible that we are descended from a primate. Your brain will not allow you to accept that our ancestor was an animal. BUT think about this: - if we do not wash for 10 days, we smell like an animal. - women breast-feed their babies like any other female mammal. - we reproduce like they do, we eat like they do. We are not different from animals, we are different animals. Our major characteristic is the size of our brain. It is much bigger and works better in human beings than in any other animal, and this is where our intelligence comes from. This process was very slow. It took several million years for us to change from wild animal to what we are now. Each of our physical and intellectual changes took hundreds of thousands of years to occur.

You may find the figures enormous but at the scale of the evolution of life, they are nothing but specks of dust. People often tell me: a hen is a hen, in a thousand years from now, it will still look the same! Yes, that is right. But what in ten or a hundred thousand years? And in a million or ten million years, what will it be like? Do not forget that a million years is one thousand times one thousand years One thousand times one thousand years! And evolution never stops. For instance, the average height of young individuals is increasing steadily. It means that, like all the other living species, we evolve. We are mammals just like a horse, a dolphin or a gorilla! Our ancestors were not Adam and Eve but primates. There are usually two explanations for creation: A scientific one: - evolutionism: the universe is several billion years old; all the species evolve if and when they are adapted to their environment, if not, they disappear The theory of evolution was first proposed by Darwin* in 1859. The other one is religious: - creationism: a god is supposed to have created the universe, all the species and the human being, all this in a few days (the genesis*). THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Genesis. Chapter 1. Six Days of Creation 1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2. the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3. Then God said, Let there be light; and there was light. 4. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. 11. Then God said, Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it. And it was so. 13. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. 24. And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind. And it was so. 27. So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Chapter 2. 2. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done... 7. then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. 21. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. So now, it is up to you to judge which explanation looks more unbelievable or on the contrary more logical This religious story of the creation of the world in a few days is only a legend among many others. A few religious figures realised how absurd hard-line creationism was.

So they invented a new hypothesis about the origin of life: intelligent design. This hypothesis does not deny the reality of the evolution of living species (among them humans) but claims that this evolution is due to and controlled by god!!! The followers of this movement try to conciliate creationism and evolutionism in order to make it appear like a scientific theory.

There is no divinity in the origin and evolution of life. But physics, chemistry* and factors linked to the environment (ideal temperature, water) The first living beings appeared on earth 4 or 3 billion years ago. This microscopic form of life started in the water and then spread everywhere. It is the evolution of those beings that created all the species which populated and still populate our planet. This slow transformation lasted hundreds of millions of years and still continues today because it is a never ending movement. The human being simply belongs to this natural process that consists in the necessity for a living species to be adapted to its environment in order to live and evolve. Scientists know: - how long the earth has existed (4.5 billion years) - when the first forms of microscopic life appeared (4 to 3 billion years) - how long the Dinosaur Era lasted (from 220 million to 65 million years BC) - how prehistoric men evolved to become what we are. - and many other things

Thanks to numerous fossils (fragments or prints of extinct plants and animals that are found in the earth), scientists have understood a great part of the evolution of all the different species, from the origin of the earth to the present day. Of course, science does not explain everything yet! - The chemical and environmental events that led to the advent of life remain uncertain. - Do we know for sure that we are alone in such a vast universe? - The earth, before becoming a planet, was a concentration of dust; the sun was a gaseous mass, and the other stars were either one or the other. So where do these dust and gas all that stuff that was part of the creation of our planet and the whole universe come from? These are a few of the great scientific questions that will find an answer in the future. For science is taking gigantic steps forward, and discoveries in every field are constant. Do you really think that the fact of not knowing yet where life comes from forces you to believe in improbable tales of divine creation? Of miracles? Of winged angels? Of controlled evolution? These are only legends that bring nothing but ignorance and intolerance.

III THE ILLUSION OF AFTERLIFE Do you know why we invented religions? Human beings invented religious beliefs when they started fearing death. The way the first prehistoric men acted was dictated by instinct. They thought that when one of them disappeared, it was part of the cycle of life; they reacted just like any other animal. Everything changed when their intelligence developed: - it made them realize that life was precarious. - the natural feeling of attachment they had for their relatives evolved in what we could call love. From then on, the death of a loved one or the fact of contemplating their own became unbearable. So to find some consolation and reassurance, they "invented" a life after death (the afterlife). Then as time went by, the gods were invented. Religion entered the lives of human beings. Since that time, we have always asked ourselves many questions to which we want answers: - what is the goal of life? - what happens after death? - is god responsible for what happens on earth? And of course, religious figures brought false responses, "simplistic" but so comforting! - the goal of life? To serve god or else fear his wrath.

- what is there after death? A marvellous country where everyone is sweet, where water and food are plentiful: but only for those who served god during their lives! for the others, it will be hell - does god influence the events taking place on earth? Of course, everything happening on earth is the result of his will, and if you suffer in your life, it is an ordeal wanted by god! No problem, you will find a place in heaven So it is primarily the hope of a new and better life in the afterlife that made and still makes billions of people believe in the existence of god. It is nothing but a fantasy: Death is the end of all. The only "traces" of our lives that remain after we die are the memories we leave to the people we know. Actually, we store in our memory lots of information about the dead: their physical aspect, the sound of their voice, their personal smell, various anecdotes When we think of someone who is dead, we sometimes have the impression we "feel" his or her presence, but it is simply because our brain relays to our conscience the information we have "kept in store". Who has not heard about some people who believe they communicate with a lost one or who think they see him or her everywhere? It is nothing but an illusion created by their own memory. A lot of people think that our body and our "soul" (a word used by religious people to represent our intelligence and our emotions) part when we die. Why separate the two? Our intelligence, our imagination, our feelings... they are all born in our brain. Of course, its global mechanism is very complicated but it is primarily a mass of nerves that needs to be supplied with blood to function (just like the other organs in our body).

When we die, there is no more blood "feeding" the brain. So it stops functioning Everything stops. Wondering about death is not the "privilege" of believers only; it is normal for most of us to be concerned, even frightened by this perspective... Human beings have been in need of inventing the idea of an "afterlife" for 100,000 years. And even if we "evolve", this fear of nothingness will remain in most people. So, if it disturbs or frightens you, try to imagine your own version of what happens after death, leaving aside religious doctrines of course. The road leading to atheism may, for some people, require to proceed step by step. Lots of people do not believe in religions but just cannot resign themselves to the idea that death means the end of all (they can be called deists* or agnostics*). They believe in a "supernatural force" (one or several gods), in a possible reincarnation but reject religious doctrines. They are half-way between faith and atheism.

IV - INTOLERANCE Are religions of any use to the present and future of mankind? I think they are not. We do not need these legends any more. They are harmful. For example, they give "legal" and "moral" justification to a lot of intolerance and lies: 1) WOMAN Men have "dominated" women since prehistoric times. It simply comes from the fact that we are mammals. In this animal category (to which we belong), the "male" is physically stronger than the female. What did the different faiths do with it? They declared that it was "god" himself who wanted women to be subjugated to men. So religions established laws saying how women were supposed to live and behave. As a result, womens condition has been depending on these cults for millenniums and is evolving much too slowly. Religions are largely responsible for the difficult if not miserable condition of a majority of women in the world. Almost all the women living in countries where religion plays a significant role live painful lives: they are beaten, subjugated, have been regarded as a sub-human species for thousands of years. I particularly think of Africa where women do so much with so little. This continent will emerge from "chaos" thanks to them.

And we must not forget that if in western societies womens condition cannot be compared to that prevailing in theocracies, some false ideas are still conveyed in democracies*: that women are not as capable or intelligent as men for example Womens battle is far from being over. - No, woman was not born from a mans side: THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Genesis. Chapter 2 How man and woman were created; 18. Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner. 21. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23. Then the man said, This at last is borne of my bones and flesh of my flesh; - No, a woman must not be subjugated to anyone. According to these cults, she was punished by god, and condemned to obey men for her entire life. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Genesis. Chapter 3 The First Sin and its Punishment. 16. yet your desire* shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT First epistle to the Corinthians. Chapter 14. Orderly Worship. As in all the churches of the saints, 34. women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. THE KORAN Sura IV

34. Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; So all women have the right to do is take care of the house and bear children? Dont you think that men are the ones who invented these stories in order to rule over women as they please? Have you never noticed that prophets and religious leaders are always men? That religious ceremonies are always celebrated by men? But of course, if you want something done, you are best to do it yourself, arent you? Yes, man and woman are equal. It is convenient for some and in the name of a god to confine a woman in a house, to hide her behind a veil, to prevent her from learning or working. But it is unfair! A woman is pointed at because she is supposed to have committed the "original sin" (according to these cults, a woman has betrayed god and it is because of her that we have all become mortals). THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Genesis. Chapter 3. The First Sin and its Punishment. 11. God said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat? 12. The man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate. 17. And to the man he said, Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;

19. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; Are those legends religions that come from Antiquity still going to deprive women of their most basic right for long: Freedom? Freedom to conceive life when they want, to study, to freely choose their companion, to communicate To simply live. Women are the future of mankind. They are generally less "warlike", less violent, better organised and more humane than men. They are more sensitive. Moreover, they give birth to children, and thus repeat the cycle of life. Women are not as strong physically, it is the only area where man can still pretend to be superior to a woman. But physical strength is not something really vital any more. Intelligence prevails nowadays, and equality exists there. Both men and women have their own characteristics that must not divide us but, on the contrary, help us unite against problems. Differences between men and women are complementary, which participates in the richness and harmony of our societies. The two genders are made to get along well, be in charge and work together Dont you think that it is right and more pleasant to live in a world where human beings share power? Women must be fully involved in the social and political life and education of the developing countries, just like in our western societies. Women living in theocracies must be in charge of their own future. Then there will be a chance for the situation in all those countries to improve.

They have to get organised in structures or political parties in order to fight all the religious rules they are subjugated to. I know it won't be easy because in those countries, men have absolute power. But with enough courage, they will succeed. In western countries, equality of the sexes is recognised, and it is mainly due to religious figures having no political influence any more. The number of women involved in society is high and must still grow. When you see how present they are in democracies higher education, you understand that the future will unfold with them. But women are not the only victims of those legends. A whole people has regularly been ill-treated over the centuries. They are blamed, provoke spiteful comments and arouse suspicion: the Hebrews (or jews). 2) THE HEBREWS (or JEWS) They founded monotheism. They are at the origin of all these legends, from Abraham (a nomad who invented the one god concept and judaism) to Jesus (a Hebrew who invented christianity) to Muhammad (an Arab who invented islam). And paradoxically, they are the first victims of these beliefs. They are despised by christians because according to biblical texts, the Hebrews are supposed to be responsible for the death of Jesus. THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT

Gospel of Matthew. Chapter 26. The Plot to Kill Jesus. 3. Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4. and they conspired to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. Chapter 27. Jesus brought before Pilate. 15. Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah? 21. The governor again said to them, Which of the two do you want me to release for you? And they said, Barabbas. 22. Pilate said to them, Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah? All of them said, Let him be crucified! 24. So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, I am innocent of this mans blood see to it yourselves. 25. Then the people as a whole answered, His blood be on us and on our children!

These are a few of the religious writings that served as a pretext for killing so many jews. Muslims see them as traitors because they do not acknowledge Muhammad as the last prophet and islam as the religion that should be above all others. Moreover they consider that they betrayed Jesus (seen by Muslims as a prophet and not the son of god). THE KORAN Sura II 61. And abasement and humiliation were brought down upon them (the jews), and they became deserving of Allah's wrath; this was so because they disbelieved in the communications of

Allah and killed the prophets (among them Jesus) unjustly; this was so because they disobeyed and exceeded the limits. Sura V 64. And the Jews say: The hand of Allah is tied up! Their hands shall be shackled and they shall be cursed for what they say. Nay (no), both His hands are spread out, In the koran, there are lots of other passages dedicated to the so-called jewish betrayals, with the result that a vast majority of the muslim population hate them. But in spite of all this hatred (coming from christians as well as muslims) the jews have continued their existence as a people. All the ordeals they went through fortified them on and on. The bonds between them got stronger. They are very supportive to each other. Judaism is the most intolerant of all religions. But obscurantism only involves some of them, because the jews who strictly follow all the religious obligations are few. People always focus on the extremes. They do not see all the scientists, researchers, doctors who bring so much to mankind, who treat you, or the lawyers who defend and counsel you. They do not practice these professions thanks to their origins but thanks to their skills. The Palestinian issue makes them appear as torturers but in this particular conflict, the fault is on both sides. The legend of judaism is, for a large part, based on the fact that god supposedly gave a land to the Hebrews: Palestine (roughly the current Israel / Palestinian territories). THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Exodus. Chapter 6. Israel's Deliverance Assured. 2. God also spoke to Moses and said to him: I am the Lord.

3. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name The Lord I did not make myself known to them. 4. I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they resided as aliens.

The desire for this "promised land" added to the hatred the muslims feel for the jews cause terrible tensions between the two communities. It is only when they both have given up their religious doctrines that they will be able to live in peace 3) THE ARABS The Arabs are also, indirectly, the victims of these religious legends. Today they are accused of always being in the wrong; they are seen as fundamentalists, as warriors Their countries are poor and disorganised, with a few exceptions like the Gulf monarchies.

Did you know that the Arabs built an empire that went from Spain to India through North Africa and the Near-East? This empire lasted for centuries. During that period of time, they permitted significant progress to be made in mathematics, astronomy*, geography and medicine, among other subjects. Do you know who Muhammad Al Kharazmi was? He was an Arab, a geographer and a mathematician. He invented algebra. His treatise d'al-djabr provided operations for the solution of first- and second-degree equations and gave the word algebra.

Philosophers and scientists like Ibn Al Haytam*, Ibn Tufayl*, Al Kindi*, Al Farabi*, Averroes* and many others left their mark on European sciences and thinking for centuries. The Arabs translated and commented numerous books by Greek philosophers dating back to the Antiquity. These books were translated in Latin and in Hebrew and contributed to the advent of the Renaissance*. These manuscripts were introduced in Europe through Spain (which was under Arab control at the time). Lots of Arab cities were beautiful, had public lighting, and the houses had running water. While at the same period, the big European cities were dark and dirty (Europe was right in the Middle Ages). Simply because at the time, the role of religions was the opposite of what it is now. In Europe, religions were all powerful, sometimes the clergy had more power than the kings. They terrorised the intellectuals, philosophers and scientists (all those who dared to contradict them). Society was under a lead cloak, there was no freedom at all: either you followed the religious rules, or you were killed. At the same time, religion had a lesser role in Arab society (the doctrine was not applied so rigorously and left room for philosophers). That is why their society was richer and more diverse nonmuslims* enjoyed some freedom and actively participated in the cultural enrichment of the Arab world. But as time went by, the situation reversed. In Europe, the influence of religion lessened. On the contrary, with the wars and invasions, with freedom of thought called into question, the Arabs returned to the fundamental principles of islam. It smothered all liberties and diversities.

Society entered a dark age: - religious laws were strictly enforced. - tolerance* disappeared. - intellectuals and scientists became the enemies of the religious figures. And what is really tragic is that the Arab world is still in the same cycle. Regarding muslims, I often hear that they must unite and combine their forces. Of course: the more intolerant people together, the stronger they get! This is just pure nonsense It is not muslims who must unite but Arabs. They already have a representative organisation (the Arab League). But it is not very useful or just to show an opposition between two countries on a particular matter. This organisation can and must do a lot more. The Arabs represent a great ethnic group*: They must overcome their disagreements and find out what unites them. They have lots of assets: - economic (oil and gas) - demographic (a young population, eager for consumption) - geographical (many sunny countries by the sea or the ocean) Today, the words violence, intolerance and ignorance are often used to qualify them. This is unfair and due to religion. They must speak in one voice, strong but just. They must free themselves from these legends. Then, women will be able to involve themselves in society and bring their skills to it.

And the Arab countries will regain their place among the nations that create, invent and progress. This is also true for Iran. This nation is now confronted to obscurantism, but they also used to be pioneers in philosophy and science. Someone like Avicenna* for instance, reminds us the considerable role of the Iranian culture and science played in Europe. 4) HOMOSEXUALS Religious figures see homosexuals as abnormal beings who must be punished! This is pure nonsense! These people live just like you and me, they work, have hobbies, feel joys and pains The only thing that differs is the way they love. So what? There are over 450 identified animal species where some individuals show homo- or bisexual* tendencies. It is absolutely normal that a human (being an animal) may also have this kind of behaviour. As a matter of fact, until Antiquity, it appeared quite common. The Greeks and the Romans lived their homo- or bisexuality in complete peace. Those who regard these nations as "primitive" or "pagan" should read a couple of encyclopaedias and they would realise that they were great civilisations to which we owe a lot. What did the Abrahamic religions do in the name of god? They outlawed homosexuals. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Leviticus. Chapter 20. Penalties for Violation of Holiness.

13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them. As a result, it engendered homophobia and hate for people who are absolutely normal and whose sexual life is simply adapted to their wish. So you will easily understand why the death penalty is applied to homosexuals in many theocracies, and why this sexual preference is considered a crime in many other countries (it is still the case in some American States today). And dont forget that homosexuality was still punished by law in European democratic countries 20 or 30 years ago only. I am personally shocked by the way people behave with homosexuals: insults, mockery, rejection The only thing that differentiates them is their sexuality. So what? Everyone is free to love who he/she wants and the way he/she wants! In the name of who or what should anyone decide whether someone is "normal" or "abnormal"? Tolerance, respect for everyones choices in life should be the guiding motives of a human being. 5) SCIENCE Religious figures have always wanted science to be under their influence. For centuries, the smallest scientific discovery had to gain the clergys approval otherwise you were burnt at the stake. If someone explained that the earth is round or that humans are descended from a primate, they would be horribly punished. And it is still true today. How many men and women have been sent to prison or killed just because they defied a religious power? Of course, democratic societies have allowed researchers to work freely, and progress in lots of fields is spectacular.

However, religious figures will not admit defeat. Just see the way they oppose genetic research (which will be tomorrows medicine), or, among other things, the way they try to question evolutionism and you will understand how vigilant we must remain to face their obscurantism. Their doctrines have always "demonised" researchers and free thinkers. So religious beliefs play an active part in the movement of fear and suspicion that surrounds science and its discoveries. No imaginary god will solve mankinds problems, only scientific research will. I could also mention atheism or sexual freedom The negative influence of religious figures is found in numerous areas. And we must not forget either that among the victims of religions, there are believers of all kind:

V - BELIEVERS Fortunately, religions have lost some of their influence, mainly in the developed countries, and little by little, it is going to spread to the rest of the world. There are 1 billion non-believers on earth and this number is constantly growing up. Yet, believers remain a large majority. There is not one but several ways of believing. First we find those who believe more from habit than conviction. They know perfectly well that our ancestors were not Adam and Eve. They follow very few religious rules, yet, they are believers. This is mainly due to their family upbringing. From their earliest childhood, they were told again and again all those stories about god, heaven and hell They just repeat what their parents and friends do. They tell themselves that religion is like a house, a car or a family: in order to succeed in life, you have to have one From time to time when they are in trouble they rely on god to get some help. And of course, they take comfort from thinking that after death, life continues in a wonderful place: heaven. They do not fully practise their religion and refuse the violence that faiths generate.

Yet, and even if it is to a lesser degree, this behaviour also contributes to maintaining a climate of intolerance (sexist, homophobic) and obscurantism (fear of science and belief that everything relies on fate). Then we find those who believe primarily in despair. Unfortunately they represent a very significant number. We are talking here about those human beings who live very tough lives very often, they are found in developing countries. Faced with lifes problems, their only hope is to find "heaven" up above after living "hell" on earth But it is only a dream! You have to understand that there is only one life and that there is no "second" chance I know it is hard to accept when you fight daily for survival. But imprisoning yourself into the cults that religions represent brings no solution. The poor lives of these faithful populations go by without any improvement. They are fatalistic and hold god responsible for all the events happening in their lives. They keep saying "God wanted it to happen", "Thank god", "If its gods wish" I have also noticed that lots of older people suddenly become very faithful. They know the end is near and they fear it. They cling to religion to find some hope. Old age does not bring wisdom but increases the fear of nothingness. And finally, we find those who are sincerely convinced by religious doctrines and who apply them entirely. They have constituted groups of individuals who are totally out of the norms of modern society and they represent a danger for everyone. - fundamentalist jews

- jehovahs witnesses - talibans and so many others You are afraid of all these people? But all they do is strictly apply religious rules. Do you really think that Israeli colonists are fundamentalists who are ready for anything to "colonise" new lands in Palestine?

THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT The book of Joshua. Chapter 13. The Parts of Canaan Still Unconquered. 1 Now Joshua was old and advanced in years; and the Lord said to him, You are old and advanced in years, and very much of the land still remains to be possessed. 2 This is the land that still remains: all the regions of the Philistines, and all those of the Geshurites 3 (from the Shihor, which is east of Egypt, northwards to the boundary of Ekron, it is reckoned as Canaanite; there are five rulers of the Philistines, those of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron) This is why Gaza is so important to the jewish fundamentalists. You tell yourself that jehovahs witnesses are a cult because they live turned in on themselves and prefer spending their time with those who share the same faith rather than with their own parents? All they do is follow "Jesus message". THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT Gospel of Luke. Chapter 8. The True Kindred of Jesus. 19 Then his (Jesus) mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, Your mother and your brothers are standing outside,

wanting to see you. 21 But he said to them, My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it. THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT Gospel of Matthew. Chapter 10. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; You see muslim fundamentalists as murderers? All they do is fulfil their obligation of "holy war" (jihad). THE KORAN Sura IX Declaration of war against non-muslims. Condemnation of judaism and christianity. 29 Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad) have prohibited Sura II 191 And kill them wherever you find them These are a few of the religious rules that plague the world

VI THE LAW I think that religious doctrines are simply incompatible with the great humanistic* values that are defended by all the free and democratic countries. - equality of the sexes - tolerance toward all minorities or groups of individuals. Thanks to our political system, we establish laws that guarantee freedom for everyone and punish those who demonstrate sexism, homophobia, racism But religions convey all those intolerant notions without being disturbed. It has to be one thing or the other: - either religions are above democratic laws and then they can keep on spreading their intolerant ideas, - or they must obey the rules that are in force, and in this case, the books where their doctrines are expressed (the bible and the koran) cannot be distributed as they are any more. I expect from the courts an answer to this simple question. Example: the law forbids and punishes all calls to murdering any group of individuals (at least in democratic countries): THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Leviticus. Chapter 20. Penalties for Violation of Holiness. 10 If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbour, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.

THE KORAN Sura XXXIII The Clans Against the unbelievers and the jews. 61 Cursed: wherever they are found they shall be seized and murdered, a (horrible) murdering. I sincerely think that publishing such things is simply illegal. You have to understand that religions were invented several thousand years ago. The ideas they convey are totally outdated and dangerous. Dont you think it is ridiculous for humans to hate and kill each other just because they follow rules that are totally absurd and were written by a few men? Here are a few examples: - in the koran, it is written that jews must be fought against, but Muhammad probably wrote it because at the time, he lived near jewish tribes and fighting them was vital for islam to spread and new territories to be conquered. Muslims do not pay attention to the historical context, and the result is a terrible hatred between muslims and jews. - about the Hebrews, their religious book (the old testament) promises them a land. At the time of Moses*, the Hebrews were nomads and such a promise made them quickly convert to this new faith. Look at the result today: some Israelis are ready for anything to occupy and defend alone a land they believe were promised to them. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Numbers. Chapter 33. Directions for the Conquest of Canaan.

50 In the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 51 Speak to the Israelites, and say to them: When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 52 you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their figured stones, destroy all their cast images, and demolish all their high places. 53 You shall take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides; they shall trouble you in the land where you are settling. 56 And I will do to you as I thought to do to them. All imaginable treaties can be signed in the Near East, as long as muslims follow their religion that labels the jews as enemies, and that the jews see Palestine as a "land given by god", there will only be destruction and hatred between them. Another example: in the bible, we are explained that a woman must give birth in pain and that she must be subjugated to her husband. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Genesis. Chapter 3. The First Sin and its Punishment. 11 He said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat? 12 The man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate. 16 To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you. Consequently, in many countries, women live in miserable conditions. We can say that a majority of them live in subjection, and enjoy no freedom at all

It is a shame. The way societies evolve today results in more and more people from different origins and cultures living side by side. Exchanges, contacts and unions are more and more frequent. Religions represent an obstacle to this kind of mixing because they are based on intolerance and withdrawal into oneself. According to religions, you must not marry or make friends with someone who does not belong to your faith, or who has no religious faith at all. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Deuteronomy.. Chapter 7. A Chosen People. (about non-jewish nations) 3 Do not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, THE KORAN Sura II 221 And do not marry the idolatresses (the non-muslim women) until they believe, and certainly a believing maid is better than an idolatress woman, even though she should please you; and do not give (believing women) in marriage to idolaters until they believe So religious beliefs must be seen as remnants from Antiquity, archaic and useless remnants, and must be left aside in order to address the real problems of mankind: - freedom for all women, - fight against all kinds of intolerance, - protection of the environment, - sharing the wealth, And so many more It is particularly important that atheism should develop everywhere. It is essential that non-believing become the rule.

So that finally, religions do not have any ascendancy left over our societies. But the road is still long before getting there because lots of preconceived ideas still prevail: - religious beliefs bring moral standards. Without them, the world would be a mess!! - you cannot live without religious beliefs! It is true that our modern societies were influenced by the (very moralistic) judeo-christian current, but also by the very free Greek and Roman thinking. Arts, philosophy, drama, science, politics, pleasure All this was brought to us by antique civilisations.

VII THE CHILD In theocracies, all the child-care services and nursery schools are under religious control. Religious figures know perfectly well that an early teaching of the religious doctrines will turn children into good believers. 5-year-old children in a theocracy can neither read nor write (just like in any other country) but they have already been taught that god decides for everything, that they are not allowed to eat or drink this or that, that women must be subjugated It is nothing but conditioning, brain-washing. In those countries, usually only men can play a role in social, professional and political life the result of religious supremacy They "organise" the education of the children while disadvantaging little girls even more. So in those countries, even though almost all girls get primary education, they are hardly given access to secondary schools (from 11 or 12 years old) and even no access at all after 14 or 15 years old. Why? Simply because religious figures with the approval of the male sex agree to their knowing how to read and write but oppose their becoming cultivated and learning an occupation involving responsibilities. To them, a good woman is a submissive woman. Things must change. Let children grow up without ever mentioning religion. You will see that when they have become grown-ups, the proportion of believers will have dramatically been reduced.

For example: - take 100 little children. Never talk about religion or atheism before they are 10 years old. Then you tell them the two hypotheses on the origin of the world: the religious hypothesis and the scientific one. If people did this, almost all the 100 children would be nonbelievers! I know how significant the weight of tradition is, and that changes occur little by little, but for your children, for a more tolerant world and for the equality of the sexes, stop believing in those legends that only rely on fear and lies to exist. Women must represent an opposing force to men. Men control schools and nurseries and teach what they want. But thanks to the emotional bond that women share with their children, they can fight obscurantism. Who could do it better than a mother? They must explain to their children that men and women are equal. They must convince themselves that all those unfair rules were not written by god but by men in their sole interest. A child is like a blank page, and with each brushstroke, the picture is taking shape. Your knowledge and your care draw in part the outline of his or her future personality.

VIII - IGNORANCE Believers are convinced that before the advent of the one god that is to say the advent of the Abrahamic religions human beings had neither faiths nor laws. This is not true! The antique civilisations could function thanks to the political laws that had been established by those who were in power (kings, Pharaohs, emperors), but also thanks to the very strong religious beliefs that prevailed. Mythologies played a very important role in the society. Human beings did not need Moses, Jesus or Muhammad to invent their legends to sentence a murderer or have a moral code. At the time of the Egyptians, the Greeks or the Romans, mothers loved their children just like today. People mourned their dead like we do today. At that time, some people were generous, others were real bastards just like today. Human beings did not become good or bad in one day and depending on whether they believed or not. It is true that slavery was widespread at the time of Antiquity. Poor men, women, and even children lived miserable lives. But a slaves life was as terrible among the jews, the christians and the muslims. Slavery was massively used in some European countries with the clergys blessing.

Millions of Africans were the victims of such traffic under the pretence they constituted a sub-human species. And this inhuman practice still continues today in some countries (among them lots of theocracies). The religious books (the koran and the bible) do not ban slavery, it is actually quite the opposite. They are filled with advice on how you are supposed to act with slaves and what you must do to differentiate them from the free human beings. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Exodus. Chapter 21. The Law Concerning Slaves. 6 and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him for life. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach. Chapter 33. 25 If thou set thy servant to labour, thou shalt find rest: but if thou let him go idle, he shall seek liberty. 26 A yoke and a collar do bow the neck: so are tortures and torments for an evil servant. 27 Send him to labour, that he be not idle; for idleness teacheth much evil. 28 Set him to work, as is fit for him: if he be not obedient, put on more heavy fetters. 30 If thou have a servant, let him be unto thee as thyself, because thou hast bought him with a price. THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT First epistle to Timothy. Chapter 6. 1 Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honour, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. THE KORAN Sura XXIV The Light

33 and give them of the wealth of Allah which He has given you; and do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, when they desire to keep chaste* Just try to tell a believer that Moses did not write the torah, Jesus the bible and Muhammad the koran, well, he or she will think you are a liar. While it is the simple truth. They were probably the initiators of these religious books but the books themselves were written by people that were said to be close to the three men. The torah, the bible and the koran were written decades after Moses, Jesus or Muhammad died. Lots of muslims think that Muhammad was poor and illiterate and that only gods hand could write the koran! It is wrong! Muhammad was born in a family of merchants, and he was married to a rich widow called Khadija (she was his first wife, he had many others). It is said that the koran was dictated to Muhammad by god? He did not write this book but supposedly by people who knew him, many years after his death. The jews think that the old testament was written by a few prophets! It is a mistake, hundreds of people participated in the writing of the story. A lot of catholics do not believe in the bible being judeochristian and Jesus a jew. Yet, it is the simple truth. And Jesus did not want to invent a new religion, he only wanted to give a continuation to judaism. THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT Gospel of Matthew. Chapter 5. The Law and the Prophets.

17 Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. The jews did not adhere to this idea and it gave birth to christianity. Some people think that it is better to live in countries where religious doctrines serve as governing programmes! This is just ridiculous. Thanks to their humanism, human beings were able to create modern, rich and tolerant societies: Democracies. They are secular* societies where religions do not play such an important role any more. We are now able to institute laws that make society improve. Those rules, established by our elected representatives, may not be perfect but they aim at making our society better and more humane: - ban on slavery, - fight against all kinds of intolerance, - equality of the sexes, - access to social and health care for everyone, - child protection, - right to abortion - right to divorce, - easy access to contraception, And we could fill a whole page with them Democracies also allow all religions to be represented. Freedom of opinion is a fundamental right for everyone.

Everyone is free to believe what they want and say what they think, providing they remain within the boundaries of the law (racism, religious fundamentalism) Of course, this political and social system (democracy*) is far from perfect but it is the best we have found up to now. Those who are not convinced it is should live for a few months in a dictatorship* or a theocracy and they would see the difference In those countries, they will discover: lack of freedom, living conditions similar to the Middle Ages, poverty, absolute intolerance towards women in particular Some believers will take the Gulf monarchies as examples (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait) because the people there are supposed to live in comfort and wealth but who really lives that way? Only a part of the population does (those who were born there) while most foreigners are just exploited. Some are reduced to slavery. Even among the most fortunate, you have to be man because even though women enjoy beautiful jewellery and houses, they have no right at all: they cannot vote, they cannot drive a car, they cannot decide. They live in a golden jail. The religious restrictions imposed on the other faiths are very strict in theocracies in Saudi Arabia for instance, jews and christians are not allowed to practice their religion. Faiths engender stupidity. Just listen to the pope advising not to use condoms, while AIDS is causing terrible devastation. It is an aberration since it is the only existing means to protect oneself from this disease. Only because religious doctrine bans contraception, under the pretext it encourages fornication They offer another solution: abstinence* It is pure nonsense. Human beings need to live their sexuality freely.

Forbidding or ruling the way they practice sex is against nature. Now listen to their antiquated comments on abortion. Dont you think anyone should be free to decide how many children they want? What is more criminal? - kill a few week-old embryo? - or raise up a child in poverty? It is important that faced with such serious decisions, everyone should be able to choose freely. No religion must impose you to do this and not do that! It is the same thing with divorce. Everyone should be free to divorce when they want. Do you know why it is difficult, if not impossible to divorce in some countries? Simply because religions set the rules of marriage. Why should you keep on living with someone you do not love any more? - for the childrens well-being? - for fear of changing habits? - for fear of solitude? Divorce is an improvement for all those who cannot bear their couple life any more. Ask yourself questions like: - what can I do to make my life more pleasant? - what could we do to help the poor? - how can we help millions of women get away from their miserable lives? - what should we do to save the planet? These are true matters of reflection and they have nothing to do with what the believers ask themselves: - did god create man in his image?

- is Jesus more important than Moses? - is Muhammad the last prophet? - are there more women than men in hell? I also hear some believers threatening the non-believers: - the time of the last judgement will come! - you will go to hell! Obscurantism and fear are the grounds on which religions have always grown in order to impress, terrorise and manipulate the populations. Never forget either that blasphemy* is severely punished in many countries. Some believers tell me "It is impossible that so many cathedrals, churches and mosques were built only because of legends!" And didnt the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians also build temples, pyramids and spectacular monuments for their religions? Even though the materials and building techniques were then very limited. They were driven by an immense faith too. Their religious belief was so strong that they built gigantic monuments to the glory of their gods. If you had told a Greek, a Roman or an Egyptian that their religion was going to disappear because of the advent of new faiths, and that one day, there would even be over one million atheists, he/she would have called you a lunatic! So if I tell you today that one day believers will only constitute a minority, don't think I am a lunatic The day will come when churches, synagogues and mosques become museums. Just like pyramids and temples from the Antiquity, they will be historical remains. Some argue that faith brings kindness. Yes of course, among believers you will find very good people Or others very bad, on the contrary!

It is the same for atheists. Do you think that kindness or wickedness depends on whether someone believes in god or not? No, they are only behaviours dictated by instinct. We are capable of the best as well as the worst, it is in our nature. A human being can save a life or be a murderer.

IX - CHANGES While for millions of years, the evolution of the first families of prehistoric men was very slow, that of Homo sapiens* was particularly quick. Researchers think that this process of transformation, fuelled by our capacities for reflection and analysis, has been accelerating again for a few years. These changes in behaviour are first the privilege of a few precursors, and they are joined by the immense majority later on. We can notice it with the radical changes some of our habits have undergone. For example, let us take hygiene and lifestyle: - physical appearance becomes more and more important. - we want to live in good health and as old as possible. As a result, we have developed balanced diets, sports practice, the use of beauty products and cosmetic surgery. Men as well as women are concerned. It represents a great change in mentality compared to a (recent) period when alcohol, cigarettes, rich food (with fat and sugar) and physical inactivity were signs of wealth. Governments conduct prevention and repression campaigns against drinking, smoking and obesity, because they are aware that public opinion is ready to change its bad habits. Why wouldnt something that works for hygiene and lifestyle work for faiths? In countries where the social and political life is totally separated from religion, a part of the population (mostly young people) is losing interest for these cults. It means that they lose the need to believe and that atheism is expanding in our societies. Moreover, our leaders know for a fact that religions generate intolerance.

So let me ask the question: Why wouldnt public services help intensify this phenomenon? Why not start by making people aware of the fact that these cults convey sectarian messages? A first step would be for instance to place on religious books that are on sale (the torah, the bible, the koran) a warning like caution! this book contains sexist and homophobic comments We must dare make religions lose their sacred auras (at school, in the media) and denounce their doctrines that are so full of hatred. We mistakenly think that society is responsible for our needs, our desires... It is not that simple. Society also addresses our expectations. We shape the world around us as much as the world around us shapes us. The Internet has rapidly become a fantastic tool for work and communication not because a few technicians decided it but because the human being feels the need to communicate and work faster, more easily and with the entire world! Some decision makers will anticipate fashions and desires, make a phenomenon last or intensify it. However, they cannot do without people's free will.

X THE HYDRA* I usually compare a religion to a hydra. And this is why struggling against those cults is so difficult. We must follow two main lines: - Repression: The fight against religious fundamentalism must continue with military actions in foreign countries and police interventions on national territories. The networks must still be infiltrated and their financing interrupted. The most radical preaching places must be out under control. - Prevention: These cults must lose their sacred auras and selling the bible and the koran as they are must be forbidden. These books convey ideas that are conflicting with democratic values (equality, tolerance, freedom). Through the media (press, television, radio) and the Internet, we must fight religious obscurantism with specific programmes and sites that will demonstrate how useless these cults are. The school programmes (including those intended for very little children) must insist even more on the natural evolution of the living species, and they must describe more precisely the damage religions have done from their origins to the present day. We must help all those who, in theocracies, rise against these cults. The democratic countries must be the precursors of this movement for the following reasons:

- the humanistic ideas they defend (sex equality, tolerance) are the only ideas all the peoples in the world must be able to rely on. - only in democratic countries can we enjoy the freedom to criticise such institutions as religions, therefore we must show the example to all. Mankind has reached a decisive stage in its evolution. We are at the dawn of huge changes: - oil is becoming scarce and new sources of energy will replace it. The consequences for users and producers will be enormous. - the advances in biology (genetics* and neuroscience*, among others) will allow our appearance and character* to be modified. Life expectancy will dramatically increase. - artificial intelligence* will develop spectacularly: what role will it play? - hundreds of millions of people will see their buying power grow and will become full-fledged consumers (India, China, Brazil). What will the consequences be for the environment and the economy? - wealth sharing, global warming, ecology, weapons of mass destruction The issues are numerous and worrying. And you sincerely think that human beings should add religious questions to all these problems? That their lives should be influenced by laws coming from another age? Those who think that more faith will save humanity are deeply mistaken.. Unfortunately, it is only when religions start endangering the survival of mankind that people will realise how dangerous they are.

Try to imagine for instance what a world where several theocracies would possess the atomic bomb would be like Isn't it terrifying? Yet, I am deeply convinced that mankind is heading for a long and great future. Science will bring us numerous solutions. But before, we must make sure that religions decline. They must stop influencing our societies in order to free mentalities and allow the entire human potential (men and women) to be totally expressed and used for a better and plural world.

XI PARADOX Religion is loving your neighbour. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Second Book of Samuel. Chapter 22. 38. I pursued my enemies and I destroyed them, and did not turn back until they were consumed. 39. I consumed them; I struck them down, so that they did not rise; they fell under my feet. 40. For you girded me with strength for the battle; you made my assailants sink under me. 41.You made my enemies turn their backs to me, those who hated me, and I destroyed them. 42. They looked, but there was no one to save them; they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them. 43. I beat them fine like the dust of the earth, I crushed them and stamped them down like the mire of the streets. 44. You delivered me from strife with the peoples; you kept me as the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served them. 45. Foreigners came cringing to me; as soon as they heard of me, they obeyed me. THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT The gospel according to Matthew. Chapter 10. Jesus says: 34. Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword

35. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. THE KORAN Sura IX 111. Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat and the Injeel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement. Religions is loving your neighbour... only if he or she believes the way I do, prays the way I do, thinks the way I do! We are also told that faiths provide moral standards; I just think they bring confusion. Some texts are full of common sense and others completely intolerant and sectarian. Here are a few examples: THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Exodus. Chapter 20. The Ten Commandments. 13 You shall not murder. 15 You shall not steal. And a few chapters further THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Numbers. Chapter 31. 7 They did battle against Midian, as the Lord had commanded Moses, and killed every male.

9 The Israelites took the women of Midian and their little ones captive; and they took all their cattle, their flocks, and all their goods as booty. 17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by sleeping with him. 18 But all the young girls who have not known a man by sleeping with him, keep alive for yourselves. Or else THE BIBLE NEW TESTAMENT Gospel of Luke. Chapter 6. Love for Enemies. 27 But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; And in the same book, we also find: Gospel of Luke. Chapter 6. Blessings and Woes. 24 But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. 26 Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. Regarding the koran. THE KORAN Sura IV 127 And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband, there is no blame on them, if they effect a reconciliation between them, and reconciliation is better And now the opposite: THE KORAN Sura IV

34 Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; These are only a few examples but they perfectly demonstrate the ambiguity of religious doctrines. As a result: - some believers think that murder is forbidden while others think it is justified in some cases. - some believers say that men and women are equal while others consider that men dominate! It is as if democratic laws prohibited one thing and its opposite at the same time, which would give something like: - the speed limit in town is 50 km per hour except for those who are in a hurry! - it is strictly forbidden to beat your wife except if you consider she deserves it! - it is prohibited to make noise at night except for those who like partying! But the greatest paradox we find in religions is that they try by all means to erase our "animal" nature. Therefore, fighting fornication or homosexuality is an obsession for religious figures. They know quite well that these behaviours come from our animal origins. But the faiths stubbornly want to preserve the superiority of the male (man) on the female (woman). While it is in fact the most primary of our animal instincts. Isnt is paradoxical??? This is the reason why religious books (and their contradictions) must be looked upon as very old pieces of work. As such they belong to the past.

Religions will only represent an episode, a parenthesis in the long history of mankind. They are nothing but the reflection of our ancestral fears. They will disappear one day. In probably less than a hundred years, the faiths will be considered a historical "curiosity". Recalling them will make a lot of people smile

XII - RELIGION 1) Evolution of religious beliefs. Religious beliefs have changed along with human evolution. The Homo sapiens beliefs became the mythologies and then the modern religions (Abrahamic or others). When the prehistoric tribes changed and became the peoples of Antiquity, their notables (the most important people in the tribe) changed functions. The chief of the tribe became the king, the Pharaoh or the emperor. The hunters became the soldiers and the sorcerers became the religious priests. Since that time, politicians have been establishing laws under the control of religious figures who see to their conformity with the divine moral code. This has been going on for thousands of years. However, some leaders have, over the centuries, opposed the power of the clergy, which enabled some scientists and other visionaries to express all their talents. Then the Renaissance came: It was a period when religious obscurantism lost some of its influence in favour of a greater freedom of thinking and creation. This movement of freedom accelerated with the Industrial Revolution* (from 1800) and prefigured the advent of secular societies). 2) Abrahamic.

Lots of wars and massacres were perpetrated in the name of religions. Yet, we cannot deny that they played a significant role in the evolution of the human being and that they are a part of our heritage. Judaism: - It helped a simple tribe of nomads (the Hebrews) to become a settled population who developed a rich civilisation. - Practising their religious doctrine allowed them to continue their existence as a people for millenniums despite the loss of their land (until the state of Israel was constituted in 1948). - Being convinced that they are "gods chosen people" conditioned them in a way that they became particularly efficient in many fields (science, trade, finance, law, art) - this conviction (added to the persecutions they have endured for millenniums) makes them feel strong solidarity with one another and it increases their chances of success even more. Christianity: - It contributed to the civilisation of many barbarian tribes that surged through Europe. - During the first years of its development, it gave a vision of religion a little more tolerant and less warlike. Islam: - At the beginning it brought progress for womens condition. Women lived miserable lives in total deprivation at the time when the koran was written (around the year 650). Muhammad established numerous laws that gave women fundamental rights, particularly in the family sphere. At the time, it was quite a significant improvement. - It allowed the creation of a large empire along with an Arab identity that was at the source of lots of scientific discoveries and progress in fields as various as mathematics, astronomy and geography.

- It facilitated the translation of many books by Greek philosophers. These books were introduced in Europe through Spain and contributed to the advent of the Renaissance. Abrahamic religions also made charity to the poor an obligation, and established a holiday And of course these faiths provide the hope for a new life after death and it remains essential for many people. But these faiths primarily convey messages of intolerance, hate and stupidity that generate obscurantism, which is in opposition to our democratic ideal. They engender tensions throughout the world and could easily endanger the entire mankind. When I talk about the damage done by religions today, I am mainly thinking of islam. We are forced to observe that islam is the faith prevailing in theocracies. But since it has only existed since the year 1400, it is equivalent to what christianity was in the Middle Ages! I am not against islam, I am simply against religions. If I had written this book 200 years earlier, things would have been worse. At the time, almost all todays democratic countries were in the hold of the christian religion, and the number of theocracies in the world was very high. Christianity did as much damage as islam. Because of the Inquisition* countless people were tortured, convicted and burnt over the centuries. And even though this repressive "nightmare" fortunately came to an end, we are forced to admit that christianity is still very much around in western societies. They continue to try to impose their intolerant and sectarian ideas in plenty of domains. They still influence strongly the policies of some countries.

Therefore we must remain vigilant, not yield an inch to these cults, and continue the fight against their absurd doctrines. My reflection would not be complete if I did not talk about judaism. It is probably the most intolerant of all Abrahamic religions (if all the "laws" contained in the old testament are respected). There is only one country in the world where this faith is predominant. But since it is a democracy (I am of course talking about Israel), the damaging effects of religion are relatively limited. The political parties that are influenced by religion (thankfully, they represent only a minority) would like the doctrine of the torah to be applied in its entirety it would represent a 500year-step backward for the society. Israelis do not suffer too much from the fanaticism associated with this particular faith. A majority of the population lives in a modern and free society, and their everyday concerns are their own well-being and their familys (just like in all western societies). Of course, there is a terrible problem between jews and muslims (see Chapter IV-Intolerance). On this subject, here are some passages from the bible that show why Jerusalem is so important for the jews. THE BIBLE OLD TESTAMENT Psalm137. 5. If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! 6. Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy. 7. Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalems fall, how they said, Tear it down! Tear it down! Down to its foundations!

8. O daughter Babylon, you devastator! Happy shall they be who pay you back what you have done to us! This town is also sacred in the eyes of the Arabs. The Mosque of Omar* (the Dome of the Rock) is the third holy place in islam (after Mecca and Medina). This is why Jerusalem is at the heart of the Israelo-Arab conflict.

XIII - FORNICATION Be tolerant of those who have a different sexual life from yours. - gays, - lesbians, - partner swappers, and all others On the other hand, fight those who use children to satisfy their fantasies. Paedophilia* is a crime against humanity, it is a mere act of barbarity. I am neither a homosexual nor a partner swapper but I make it a principle that everyone is free to have the sexual desires they want. These people live like you and me. They work, have hobbies and worries, fall in love So why should they be regarded as abnormal beings? It all comes from religions again. They have set rules for sexual activity in their usual way, that is to say with intolerance: - love between two men: forbidden. - love between two women: forbidden. - making love just for pleasure: forbidden. Sex is a pleasure people should be able to practise (if they want) without restriction.


In many fields, scientific (energy research*, chemistry, astronomy) and technical discoveries are growing in number:

But the research in a particular field will lead to massive changes in our lives: - Biology. It will make it possible to alter the body and the mentality of human beings in particular thanks to the research on genes* and cells* (including the neurones*). 1) The Body: Science will have done such a great leap forward that it will be possible to treat or replace any organ, limb or part of the human body. The perspectives for treating all diseases (serious and less serious) and handicaps are formidable. You are dubious? Just read any scientific magazine and you will realise that this is already part of our everyday lives. This kind of research could also open the way for something fantastic humans have always dreamt of: - immortality. (almost...) Progress in this field promises to be spectacular the mechanisms of ageing are already known. As a result, it will probably be possible to extend human life much more than what we can imagine today. First, life expectancy will dramatically increase, and maybe one day, mankind will be able to toy with the dream of eternal life.

Religions that use humans' fear of dying to indoctrinate as much as they can with the notion of afterlife will particularly suffer then! 2) The Mentality: Two elements determine our personality: - what is acquired from experience: everything we learn during our lives, thanks to education, upbringing and while adapting to our environment. - what is innate: our natural characteristics transmitted from generation to generation. Today, to correct their harmful behaviours (aggressiveness, racism, individualism...) human beings can only act on what they have acquired from experience. Upbringing, education, social environment may help us partially reduce our faults. But this is not enough. If we want to stop being a danger for the planet, for all forms of life and for ourselves, we must go further and also work on what is innate. It has not been a long time since we discovered that the way we act is partly linked to certain genes. Genetics and neuroscience will allow us to change all the "harmful" features of our character. For example, we could imagine altering our individualistic* nature to become beings for whom sharing is something "normal" or to suppress our violent instincts. This society will theoretically be possible in the future. But is it conceivable, desirable or indispensable (as I think)? A good topic for a vast debate... The progress in biology will also revolutionise agriculture, making it possible to create new varieties of fruit and

vegetables that will require very little water, will be more nourishing and will need fewer pesticides. The world agricultural production will be considerably improved. The fields of application are numerous. All this is getting you worried, of course... ... and you are right! The risks are as enormous as what science can do: - isnt a genetically modified plant dangerous in the long term? - how are we going to deal with our retirement pensions if life expectancy increases? - how can we feed the world population if it grows dramatically? - will all this progress only serve the powerful and the wealthy? Or will it be accessible to everyone? - what if sectarian leaders used genetic modifications in order to destroy certain minorities or develop armies of supermen? (Hitler and some cults have already shown the dangers of such research) In my opinion, a solution would be that scientific work like this be done by representatives of both genders, democratic, pragmatic and atheistic. Why? Because man is globally a threat to mankind. His behaviour dictated by instinct makes aggressive and warlike. Consequently, over the centuries, along the wars and all the conflicts (he himself prompted) he invented more and more destructive weapons. Today, these weapons are putting the whole mankind in jeopardy.

Moreover, by his animal nature, he tends to dominate women with the consequences it involves: male predominance in lots of areas, violence and injustice toward women The role of woman will be essential. Because if man is the only one to decide what the future behavioural* modifications will be, the risk is high that those modifications will be used only to reinforce the present situation. It is hard to imagine that men will willingly choose to lose their instinctive supremacy! Of course, this also applies to women. They must not be the only actresses of such a fantastic change either. The risk of wrongdoings would also be high. The justified resentment that will have built up after thousands of years of submission could turn into fierce revenge. So this evolution would ideally require an association of tolerant and visionary human beings to be put in place, so that neither of the two sexes can dominate the other but that equality be simply obvious. For our own survival, we are forced to discover again and again. Mastering fire, inventing the wheel or the steam machine changed dramatically the way humans live. For some it was experienced as a real tragedy. But all these changes allowed us to live better. Since prehistoric times, the human being has been an amazing innovator and it is still the case today. We keep on evolving and biology is part of the process. The only difference is that modern science has accelerated this phenomenon. Our usual references will probably fall apart. All that organises our lives will probably be transformed.

Chances are high that our lives will be very different from what we know today. Imagine a future where life expectancy would be 150 years (or even more)! A world where human behaviours would be based on understanding, tolerance, sharing So it is possible to dream that one day, humans will be "genetically modified" so that they can be intelligent, peaceful, willing to share... When I talk about genetic manipulations or the advances in neuroscience, I am not making a wish, I am just stating a fact. Thousands of scientists are working on genes throughout the world. Of course research in that field is not easy because the way genes work is a very complex mechanism. But to think their work will only be used to modify a couple of plants or treat some rare disease is a mistake. Therefore the question is not whether it will happen but when and how the genetic manipulations will be used. Besides, thanks to scientific progress, lots of researchers work on the origin of life and of the human being. For instance, we know now that we have a significant number of genes in common with the chimpanzee, our natural cousin. Other discoveries will follow. We are only at the beginning of a new era which will allow us to understand and explain why and how life appeared and developed. I think Homo-sapiens is condemned and will disappear. Will he hand over to another living species (as some think) or give

birth to a new family* of human beings, the genus being* as I imagine? Scientific research must not be reduced to biology only. The discoveries in countless fields will continue and multiply. For instance, robotics* will deeply change humans' lives. Shortly we will have to deal with an artificial intelligence that will develop more and more. Chances are high that the genus being and the robots will become unavoidable actors of future societies. It is important to be aware of all this while keeping trust in science.

CONCLUSION Do you seek refuge in religious beliefs because the world and all its problems frighten you? Because the future is full of uncertainties? No imaginary god will help you find answers. Only human beings themselves will find the solutions to the challenges they are faced with. Do you think that only religions can guarantee a moral code? It is wrong, humans are fully able to establish laws that are equitable so that everyone can live peacefully. Do you think that without religions love would not exist? This beautiful feeling that unites and thrills us does not belong to any cult. Loving is part of human nature. The idea of living without religious beliefs frightens you? Do you believe they are indispensable to the human beings? Do you tell yourself that they are part of our education? These are only preconceived ideas that you were taught when you were a child. The idea of death being the end of all frightens you? It is normal but unfortunately it is the reality. The only thing that remains after you are dead are the memories you left to your loved ones.

Believing is a need that was created by our "primary intelligence" during prehistory. We keep on evolving and we start losing this "spiritual necessity". I know very well that it is impossible to erase several thousand years of religious beliefs with a snap of the fingers. It will require some time and concrete actions to get rid of those cults one day. However there is an encouraging sign: The number of atheists rises steadily among the young in democratic countries. . This phenomenon (the fact that many young people are nonbelievers) is not as visible in theocracies or developing countries because children are daily subjected to religious indoctrination. But we must keep in mind that over the centuries Europe has become the cradle of humanism. Therefore, Europe must be in the front line to fight religious intolerance and obscurantism. Europe has to show the way to the entire mankind. Human beings change depending on the environment they are in. They adapt when the situation requires them to, which allowed them to survive and develop. The tensions and wars generated by religions will grow in number, unfortunately, and it will end up in immense chaos. Chances are high that we will massively reject those cults that endanger the whole mankind. We have already entered such logic of terror: - India and Pakistan hate each other so much that a nuclear war may break out one day.

- the Near East crisis between Palestinians and Israelis generate hatred and tensions throughout the world. - Iran may well become in a few years a nuclear military power ruled by lunatics who will hate all those who do not share their religious beliefs. - religious terrorism has become so powerful that it influences the policies of many countries. - those fundamentalist groups also destabilise the world economy. We must also be vigilant in our western societies where religious figures continue to make their intolerant voices heard on subjects like contraception, sexuality or scientific progress. Some protestant religious figures try to impose "creationism" as a science. They want it to be taught in schools and try to infiltrate the scientific world. This movement has mainly remained limited to the USA so far but the international scientific community is worried and calls for everyones vigilance toward those manipulators. In the neighbourhoods where muslim immigrants concentrate, there is a revival of islam: - more and more women are veiled and submissive. - arranged or forced marriages are more and more frequent. - the different communities do not mix any more. - mosques are full of young believers. When you are confronted to such regression, you can threaten all those religious figures, fight them or negotiate, it will only delay the outbreak of a potential catastrophe (some predict a clash of civilisations). Of course, the fight must continue, but what we must especially do is prevention, and make those faiths lose their sacred auras, by:

- openly criticising religious doctrines (at school, in the media). - helping all those who are the victims of these cults. - rehabilitating science in the eyes of the majority. - fighting religions using the law. We must explain to all the peoples in the world that religions are nothing but legends invented by a few men. The future of humans lies in tolerance and the respect of all. What religions would like us to do is just the opposite. For everyones well-being and to prepare the future properly, mankind must stop believing.

********** So these were the ideas I wanted to share with you. They will probably not please everyone but they fully express what I think. I am deeply convinced that the future will be atheistic, under feminine influence and that it will progress with the flow of scientific advances.

GLOSSARY Abraham: according to the bible, 2000 BC. Man of nomad origin who created monotheism. The jews, christians and muslims regard him as one of the first prophets. He is said to be the ancestor of the jewish and arab peoples by his sons Isaac and Ismael. Abrahamic: qualifies the religions coming from Abraham (judaism, christianity, islam). Their doctrines are very close to one another; they are based on the existence of one god only, who created all living beings and who decides for all events (destiny or fate), life on earth being only a passage because another life is awaiting the dead: in heaven for the good, in hell for the bad. A few differences are found, regarding the food taboos for instance, and more generally in the rituals: prayers, baptisms, religious celebrations, weddings. Abstinence : to voluntarily refrain from having sexual relations. Adam and Eve: the first man and woman who appeared on earth according to the Abrahamic religions. Afterlife: for believers, a wonderful place where we go after we die.

Agnostic: person who thinks that the existence of god or another divinity is neither certain nor impossible. Neither a believer nor an atheist. Al Farabi: 870-950/Damascus. Muslim philosopher. His study of the Greek philosophers influenced the jewish and European philosophy. AL Kindi: 800-870/ Baghdad. He translated in Arabic numerous texts from the Greek philosophy and did his best to reconcile philosophy and religion. Anarchist : person who refuses all rules and all kinds of authority. Articulate language: means of communication based on words and not screams (like animals). Artificial Intelligence (AI): ability, for a machine (a robot), to analyse data, solve a problem, have an autonomous reasoning, and maybe in the future to have feelings. Astronomy: scientific study of the sun, moon, stars, planets Atheist, (atheistic): person who does not believe in god or in religions. Non-believer. Averroes: Arab physician and philosopher (1126 1198). His interpretation of Aristotle's work deeply influenced the christian and jewish thinking in the Middle Ages. He also published a medical treatise known in its Latin translation as Colliget. Avicenna (Ibn Sina): Iranian physician and philosopher (9801037). He was one of the major Oriental scientists. His Canon of medicine and his interpretation of Aristotle's work had a great influence in Europe until the 17th century. Behavioural: all the reactions of a person; the way he or she acts.

Believer: person who follows all or part of a religious doctrine. Bible: book containing the jewish and christian doctrines. It is composed of: - the old testament (jewish bible) where are gathered texts traditionally dated from 1,000 to 200, written by dozens of people. - the new testament (the gospels), containing texts (27 books) written between the year 50 and the year 150 by Jesus' supposed companions. The christian religions (catholic, protestant, orthodox) use the entire bible, while judaism uses only the old testament and particularly the first five chapters (which constitute the torah). Big Bang: according to this scientific explanation, the universe started expanding after an explosion of matter. Biology: scientific study of the living matter (including human beings). Bipedalism, (biped, bipedal): walking on two feet. Bisexual, (bisexuality): someone who is sexually attracted to both men and women. Blasphemy: act or words that believers consider insulting to their god. Caliph: muslim sovereign with political and religious powers. Cell: smallest functional unit of a living organism.. All living beings are made of one or several cells. Character: what makes a person different from others, our personality. Chaste: voluntarily refraining from sexual pleasures.

Chauvinistic (male): relating to those who are convinced that men are superior to women. Chemistry: scientific study of the structure of substances. Christianity: has existed since the beginning of our era. The christian doctrine is found in the bible. The man who founded this religion was Jesus. The followers of this faith are called christians. Civilisations: organised nations ruled by a chief, an army, a faith, laws Nowadays we live in modern civilisations. Clergy: group of people in charge of regulating and enforcing the faiths (priests, rabbis, imams). Coliseum: originally called Flavian Amphitheatre, its construction ended in 80 AD. Constantinople: this city was founded by the Roman emperor Constantin in 324/336 on the site of Byzantium (ancient Greek city). It fell in 1453 in the hands of the Ottoman Turks and was given the name Istanbul. Creationism: religious hypothesis pretending that in six days god created man (Adam), woman (Eve) and all the animal and plant species living on earth. According to this hypothesis the species do not evolve. Creationists think that the earth is at most 10,000 years old!! Cult: organised group of people who share the same ideas and express them within a religion. Darwin (Charles): English naturalist who first established the theory of evolution (see evolutionism). His 1859 work Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection where he explained, among other things, that we are cousins of apes, came as a bombshell in a society where it was accepted that we are the descendants of Adam and Eve.

Deist: person who admits the existence of a god and an afterlife but who does not acknowledge religious doctrines. Democracy: political system where all the political parties have the right to be represented. The government is freely chosen by the people. The democratic countries are characterised by, among other things, freedom of speech and the defence of the great humanistic ideas (sex equality, tolerance) Desire: sexual appetite. Destiny (fate): will of god who, according to religious faiths, irrevocably determines everything that happens. Dictatorship: political system where power lies in the hands of one person, one assembly or one party. Discrimination: treating a person or a group worse than others. Divinity: divine being (goddess, god). Doctrine (religious doctrine): all the rules and facts which constitute a religion (laws to obey, miracles) Energy research: scientific research on the different existing or potential sources of energy (oil, gas, solar or nuclear energy). Ethnic group: group of people sharing common traits of civilisation, language and culture in particular. Evolutionism: scientific theory assessing that the earth is 4;5 billion years old and has been hosting life for 3 billion years. The first forms of life were unicellular organisms (composed of a single cell) which, after diverse mutations (evolution), finally produced all the plants and animals (including the human being). Species evolve naturally if and when they are adapted to their environment, if not, they disappear.

Family of human beings: our direct ancestors, Australopithecus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Neanderthal man and many others succeeded one another, crossbred and finally gave birth to Homo sapiens, the modern human being. Fate: see destiny. Fornication: having sexual relations only for pleasure. Gene: basic unit of heredity. Genes are found in cells. They allow the transmission of specific features from one generation to the next (predisposition of a group of individuals for physical endurance, work or violence). Genes are for a great part responsible for our mental and physical characteristics. Genesis: first chapter of the bible where the divine creation of the world is told. This narrative is accepted by jews, christians and muslims. Genetics: scientific study of the genes. Genus being: this is how I call the category of human beings which, in my opinion, will replace Homo-sapiens. I think they will be physically close to present human beings, but with radically different behaviours, hence the notion of new family. Hebrew, (Hebraic): nomad tribe from Asia that settled in Palestine and was at the origin of monotheism. The words jew or Israelite usually apply to the descendants of the Hebrews. Homophobia, (homophobic): hostility toward homosexuals. Homo sapiens: last family of prehistoric men. The human being is a Homo sapiens. Humanism (humanist, humanistic): theory, doctrine which favours the humans and their well-being. Opposed to religious or sectarian constraints.

Hydra: (legendary animal from Greek mythology). Snake-like monster with seven heads that grew again if they were cut off. Also used for a recurring evil that is hard to get rid of despite all efforts. Ibn Al-Haytham: Bassora 965-1039. Arab scientist, the author of numerous works of mathematics, optics and astronomy. As a great connoisseur of Greek authors, he inspired the Renaissance scientists. Ibn Tufayl: beginning of the 12th century. Arab philosopher and scientist. He was a vizier, a physician and was interested in astronomy. Individualist, (individualistic): person who thinks and acts in his/her own interests only, regardless of what other people do. Industrial Revolution: the transformation of a manual labour based economy into one dominated by industry and mechanisation. This was made possible by, among other things, the invention of the steam-machine. The Industrial Revolution started in Europe in 1800. Inquisition : religious jurisdiction in charge of judging the socalled crimes against the catholic church. Active from the 13th to the 16th century, it allowed the clergy to terrorise the nonbelievers, jews, free thinkers, homosexuals who endured the most horrifying tortures. Islam : has existed since the year 630. Its doctrine is found in the koran. The founder of this religion was Muhammad and the believers are the muslims. Jesus (Christ): a jew who lived in Palestine. He founded christianity at the beginning of our era. He is regarded by christians as the main prophet.

Jihad: religious obligation for all muslims. It is a holy war waged in order to spread or defend islam. Judaism: has existed since 1,000. Its doctrine is found in the torah. One of the main founders of this religion was Moses and the believers are the jews. Koran, (koranic): book containing the muslim doctrine. It was written between the year 632 and the year 650 by people who were said to be close to Muhammad. Mammal: vertebrate animal breathing with lungs and whose females breast-feed the offspring. The human being is a mammal. Mecca: Saudi Arabia, Muhammad's hometown. First sacred site in islam. The pilgrimage to Mecca is an obligation for all muslims. Medina: Saudi Arabia. A holy city in islam where Muhammad is buried. Messiah: legendary saviour of mankind sent by god. Monk: man who devotes his life to praying. Monotheism, (monotheist, monotheistic): belief that there is only one god. Moses: according to the Bible, -1 300. Of Hebraic origin, he was one of the main founders of judaism and of the nation of Israel. Mosque of Omar (Dome of the Rock): in Jerusalem. It is the oldest monument in islam (7th century). Muhammad: of Arab origin, he initiated islam. He was born in Mecca in 570 and died in 632. He is regarded by muslims as the main prophet.

Mythology: religion of the peoples of Antiquity. Neurone: specific cell of the brain belonging to the nervous system. Neuroscience: scientific study of the brain and nervous system. Non-muslim: to muslims, they represent the believers who follow the rules contained in the bible (old or new testament), that is to say the jews and christians. The other believers or the non-believers are usually simply called atheists. Obscurantism (obscurantist): behaviour of those opposed to the spread of education and culture, and to scientific progress. Paedophilia: sexual attraction to children. Patriarch: name of the religious head in Constantinople (orthodox church). Polytheism, (polytheistic): belief in more than one god. Prehistoric art: first picture, drawing or engraving from around 30 000. Primate: animal (mammal); the apes and the human beings are primates. Prophet: in religions, person who conveys gods message, does miracles and predicts the future. Religious figure: person having some authority in a religious group (priest, imam, rabbi). Renaissance: it started in Europe around the 15th century. This period of time was characterised by universal curiosity, the love of literature, arts, science In sharp contrast with religious

intolerance. The Renaissance greatly contributed to the advent of our modern societies. Robotics: techniques allowing the design and manufacturing of automated machines, robots. Sanctuaries: places dedicated to gods: caves, standing stones The first sanctuaries date back to 10,000. Nowadays, sanctuaries are churches, mosques, temples, synagogues Secular society: a country where religious figures are only in charge of what is related to their faiths (celebration of the religious feasts, maintenance of the buildings used for worship); on the other hand, they play no role in the political life (writing the laws) or in education (they do not teach in public schools any more). Sexism: hostility toward women. Shiite: minority branch of islam (around 15%). Sunni: branch of islam representing about 85% of muslims. Taboo: ban on something for religious reasons. Theocracy: country where religious figures play a significant part in political life. Tolerance: accepting that someone thinks or acts differently from you. Torah: sacred book used in judaism, constituted of the first five chapters of the old testament.