The Law Lie - 2 - Justice

In the previous post in this series dealing with the God Lie, I tried to show some history that exposes the lie that morality is defined by the gods. I presented evidence suggesting that it wasn’t any god but nature (i.e., experience) that taught animals (including humans) how to evaluate morality, i.e., “the extent to which an action is right or wrong.” In turn, moral values (as with all values) must be evaluated with respect to some objective, and it was nature (not any god) that ordained that the prime purpose of all life is to continue, which is then the fundamental basis for the evaluation of morality. In the previous post I included examples demonstrating that, soon after writing was invented (approximately 5,000 years ago), humans recorded moral “rules” that experience had taught them – rules that later religious people [such as the authors and “redactors” of the first books of the Old Testament (OT), whom I’ve been identifying as Ezra and co-conspirators (Ezra & C-C)] claimed were given to them by their gods.

In this post I want to show some history exposing the lie that justice is the jurisdiction of the gods. As in the case of morality, no god had (or has) anything to do with justice; instead, nature (i.e., experience) taught and continues to teach social animals about both the meaning and the demand for justice. Justification for that claim is, however, somewhat more complicated than the similar claim about morality, in part because justice is (in some ways) a more complicated concept than morality. In particular, there are a number of different types of justice, which I’ll identify as natural justice (or nature’s justice), personal justice, and interpersonal justice. In turn, a complicated form of interpersonal justice is social justice, which is also commonly subdivided into different types, including retributive justice (in response to crimes), distributive justice (allocating resources, benefits, and responsibilities within societies), restorative justice (compensating for injustices), and procedural justice. Below, I’ll start with the meaning of the simplest type of justice (natural justice) and while proceeding through each type, I’ll try to show how “the god idea” corrupted and continues to corrupt their meanings.

1. Natural Justice
Natural justice is “just” the principle of causality: every outcome has its causes. Millions of years ago, animals learned the principle of causality by experience; those animals that didn’t learn (for example, that noises have causes) are now extinct. Humans, however, with their powers of imagination greater than animals and their unfortunate propensities to believe in the absence of evidence, identified incorrect causes of, for example, the wind (e.g., the wind god Woden), thunder and lightening (e.g., the gods Thor and Zeus), and volcanic eruptions (e.g., the Aztecs’ Popocatépetl and the Hebrews’ Yahweh). Such misidentification of causes and labeling of unknowns with names of fictitious gods continue today, with theists (approximately 80% of all humans!) convinced that the cause of the universe and life is “Allah” or “Brahma” or “God”, all of which, in essence, are abbreviations for “I dunno”.

That unknown causes are labeled with otherwise nonsensical words would not, in itself, normally cause many problems. Major problems, however, did occur (and continue to occur), because some lying and/or mentally-challenged and/or mentally-ill people (commonly called clerics) claimed (and continue to claim) abilities to communicate with – and worse, speak for – the fictitious causes. This month, for example, Pope Benedict XVI (a fellow who claims to speak for his god and usually and appropriately wears an elaborate dunce cap) promoted, within his clerical hierarchy to Bishop of Linz, a fellow by the name of Father Wagner (although it would seem to be appropriate to investigate the claim that he is a “father”). Earlier, Wagner informed the world that the principal cause of hurricane Katrina (which hit New Orleans in 2005) wasn’t temperatures of the tropical Atlantic’s mixed layer in excess of 80°F and stimulating wind shears, but instead
…the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina was “divine retribution” for excessive sexual permissiveness, including tolerance of homosexuality… He noted that Katrina destroyed not only nightclubs and brothels in New Orleans but also abortion clinics, adding “The conditions of immorality in this city are indescribable”.
Wagner’s “explanation” of the cause of Katrina, however, conflicts with the “explanation” offered by Mohammed Yousef Miaifi, that Katrina was
a wind of torment and evil that Allah has sent to this American empire.
It also conflicts with the “explanation” provided by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef:
America was punished because the Bush administration had pressured Israel into withdrawing settlers from Gaza.
Not incidentally, a similar flood of inane clerical pronouncements inundated humanity “explaining” the cause of the tsunami that hit Indonesia on 26 December 2004, leading many scientific humanists to hope for major, tectonic shifts in the crustal brains of such retards, who seem to have zero understanding of natural justice – or maybe they know, but they’re hooked on the perks that their pronouncements provide them.

Admittedly, though, it’s difficult to determine if such clerics are both fools and liars. They’re certainly fools, if for no other reason than to promote “explanations” that have zero evidence to support them. The liars are those clerics who concoct such “explanations”, knowing full well that they’re just pulling their “explanations” out of thin air. Similar indictments are appropriate for all clerics throughout history: various lying clerics concocted stories to “explain” how their gods created Earth and its life, why people die, why there are different languages, why floods and other natural disasters occur, etc., and later foolish clerics and religious people accepted (and still accept!) such “explanations” as the “true” causes. In addition, in some cases, later, lying clerics and politicians realize that the “explanations” are pure bunk, but they promote the stories anyway, for the profits accrued by selling such crazy stories.

Whenever any god is introduced in such stories (as in all “sacred scriptures” and “holy books”), the god violates natural justice, in that natural links between cause and effect are violated by something “supernatural” (i.e., something that doesn’t exist, since everything that exists is, perforce, natural). Accepting such violations of natural justice destroys our ability to understand natural processes: if some god could snap his fingers (or whatever) to form light, then we’d never understand physical process such as electromagnetic waves; if some god could snap his fingers (or whatever) to create life, then we’d never understand biological processes; if some god could snap his fingers (or whatever) to flood the earth, then we’d never understand meteorology or the hydrological cycle – and similarly for all alleged “miracles”, all of which violate the principle of causality. Stated differently, one of the firmest pieces of knowledge that humans have been able to determine is that no miracle (in the religious sense of the word ‘miracle’) has ever occurred. Therefore, all claims of religious miracles are either misunderstandings or lies, since all such claims violate natural justice.

2. Personal Justice
Appreciation for natural justice (that all effects have their causes) provided and continues to provide all animals (including humans) with a firm basis for the concept of personal justice. Again it’s nature (i.e., experience), not any god, that relentlessly teaches each and every one of us the meaning for personal justice throughout every day of our lives: when an animal seeks some food, when a baby reaches for a rattle, when an infant crawls to obtain a toy, when a child stands to reach an object, and so on, including when adults try to reach their goals, nature teaches us that when we’re able to influence an outcome, then we generally get what we deserve. In some cases, however, the “response time of the system” is slow (i.e., we don’t immediately get what we deserve) and some of us (e.g., smokers, alcoholics, drug addicts, gluttons, and religious people) are slow learners – at our own expense. Furthermore, the concept of personal justice (that we generally get what we deserve – and don’t get what we don’t deserve) is only a general rule, admitting many exceptions.

Sometimes, too, there’s confusion between natural and personal justice. For example, it isn’t personal justice that a baby is born with birth defects, a tornado destroys a person’s home, another person wins a lottery, and similar; instead, those are cases in natural justice (effects have their causes), including outcomes whose probabilities of occurrence were miniscule. Yet, even in such cases, some ingredients of personal justice can arise. Thus, the mother of the child born with deformed limbs would experience some personal justice if, during her pregnancy, she ingested thalidomide after she should have learned that it caused birth defects and its sale was banned worldwide. Similarly, if someone were injured by a tornado, there can be some personal justice if the person didn’t take appropriate precautions. And even a lottery winner experiences some personal justice, in that, although he bought into a game rigged against him, at least he tried to win.

The god idea, in contrast, destroyed (and continues to destroy) the concept of personal justice. Once people decided that some god controlled some outcome, then rather than try to influence the outcome directly (e.g., by seeking better hunting grounds, by domesticating animals, by planting crops, by building dams to stop floods, by storing grain for leaner times, etc.), then religious people chose to try to influence outcomes by propitiating the gods – undoubtedly with the urging of their priests who collected the offerings for the gods (and what the gods didn’t consume, the priests did). The resulting destruction of personal justice is illustrated by the unwise Sumerian proverb (from about 4500 years ago):
Fear of god creates good fortune. Lamentation absolves sin. Offerings extend life.
Similarly, from The Advice of the Akkadian Father to his Son, written in about 2200 BCE, there is the unfortunate recommendation:
Worship your god every day. Sacrifice and pious utterance are the proper accompaniment of incense. Have a freewill offering for your god, for this is proper toward a god. Prayer, supplication, and prostration offer him daily, then your prayer will be granted, and you will be in harmony with god.
And although it's sad to contemplate, consider that, today (4200 years later!), the majority of the people in the world apparently still “believe” that they can achieve favorable outcomes by praying to their gods, violating personal justice.

As a recent illustration of such idiocy, Roman Catholics learned this month that “indulgences” are back:
According to church teaching, even after sinners are absolved in the confessional and say their Our Fathers or Hail Marys as penance, they still face punishment after death, in Purgatory, before they can enter heaven. In exchange for certain prayers, devotions, or pilgrimages in special years, a Catholic can receive an indulgence, which reduces or erases that punishment instantly, with no formal ceremony or sacrament. You cannot buy one – the church outlawed the sale of indulgences in 1567 [Martin Luther’s denouncement of them ignited the Protestant Reformation 50 years earlier] – but charitable contributions [I wonder if donations only to Catholic charities are acceptable!], combined with other acts [and I wonder what kind of “other acts” the Catholic priests want!] can help you earn one.
I enjoyed the comment on the referenced story by William Manning of Boston, MA:
This can be our next great [financial] bubble! Bundle and securitize indulgences and let’s get them puppies on an exchange! How did Goldman Sachs ever let this one slip through their fingers?!
But in a way, such idiocy doesn’t thwart personal justice, because with their prayers, confessions, penances, indulgences, etc., Catholics (as well as all religious people) will, in the end, still generally get what they deserve.

3. Interpersonal & Social Justice
The concept of interpersonal justice (including social justice) is similar to the case for personal justice: our expectations and desires, based on personal experiences, that we should generally get what we deserve. The major complication of interpersonal justice, however, is that more than one person can influence the outcome; consequently, there’ll commonly be different opinions about who gets what's deserved.

In the simplest case of interpersonal justice, when only two people are involved, an ideal outcome was expressed well by an author whose name I’ve both forgotten and couldn't find using Google. Possibly the author was Eric Fromm. The author stated something close to: “Justice in interpersonal relationships is that you usually get out of them pretty much what you put in.”

As with personal justice, though, any “general rule” for interpersonal justice admits many exceptions. As an example, you may hold the opinion that a certain person should be a loyal friend, given all that you have done for him, but he might choose not to be your friend, assessing you to be a sycophant. As another example, one group obviously holds the opinion that those living in Gaza suffered a terrible injustice with last month’s bombings by Israel, whereas another group obviously holds the opinion that the inhabitants of Gaza got what they deserved for permitting Hamas to shoot rockets into Israel. As Ralf Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) said:
One man’s justice is another’s injustice…
Given that “One man’s [opinion about interpersonal or social] justice is another’s [opinion about] injustice”, the obvious question is: Whose opinion is “right”? In response to that question, nature (i.e., experience) taught all animals (including humans) another critical lesson – but it has taken humans a very long time to learn its full meaning. The lesson that animals know is “the law of the jungle”, i.e., “might makes right”. But another obvious question (at least for humans) is: What’s meant by ‘might’?

In the beginning for humanity, the ‘might’ in “might makes right” meant the same as it is does in the rest of the animal kingdom, i.e., “physical power”. For patriarchal societies, for fundamentalist branches of the Abrahamic religions (i.e., Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, etc.), and for all bullies ‘might’ still unfortunately means “physical power”. Thus, just as the strongest stud rules his herd, in patriarchal societies the father rules his family (and the Bible and the Koran condone his ruling by force), and according to the con artists of the Abrahamic religions, God (or Allah), “the almighty”, is omnipotent (all powerful) and, therefore, always “right”.

As people assembled in larger groups (e.g., in the first Sumerian cities, populated more than 5,000 years ago), they discovered that, if they acted collectively, “there’s strength in numbers”, i.e., collectively they could have the most ‘might’. A major problem with such a choice, however, soon became apparent: almost invariably a group needs a leader, and although experience has shown that some leaders were benevolent [e.g., Urukagina (the leader of the world’s first known revolution, which occurred in the Sumerian city of Lagash in about 2350 BCE), Cyrus the Great, George Washington, the leaders of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, Mahatma (“great soul”) Gandhi, Martin Luther King…], yet in many other cases, the group leader became another malevolent tyrant (e.g., Sargon “the Great”, Alexander “the Great”, the “butcher emperor” Constantine, Muhammad, Hitler, Stalin, Mao…). In later posts I’ll provide some examples of groups seeking their opinions of social justice by relying on “might makes right” with ‘might’ derived from the truism that “there’s strength in numbers”; i.e., some examples of revolutions driven by “people power”. In this post, however, I want to focus on another approach that people found would sometimes work.

The first written record summarizing this alternative approach (showing that at least some humans had learned that ‘might’ needn’t mean either “physical strength” or “strength in numbers”) seems to be the Sumerian proverb (from more than 4,000 years ago):
Strength cannot keep pace with intelligence.
Of course, with every weapon invented (ever since bows and arrows replaced clubs) the inventors demonstrated that ‘might’ needn’t mean “physical strength”. But besides more lethal weapons, “mental weapons” can also be used to effectively overcome tyranny, satisfying the people’s desire that their opinion about social justice prevail. An illustration appears in the world’s oldest written story, the Sumerian’s Epic of Gilgamesh.

Now, for readers who haven’t read The Epic, a tremendous treat is available for you. You might want to delay reading the rest of this post until after you’ve read The Epic – although I admit that I’m worried that you won’t return, because The Epic is so engaging! The translation by Maureen Gallery Kovacs of the version of The Epic written (about 1,000 years before Ezra & C-C) by Sîn-leqi-unninni (or Sin-leqe-unnini or Shin-eqi-unninni, the world’s first-identified author and who was in the same league with Homer and Shakespeare) is available here, a summary by W.T.S. Thackara is here, and even I provide some background information and note a few highlights of The Epic here. If you want to start by watching some summary videos on YouTube, you might want to start here. If you plan to engage in a internet search for “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, then I might as well bid farewell, now!

For those still with me, what I want to do, next, is review a part of The Epic that deals with social justice. Then, I want to call readers attention to how horribly Ezra & C-C corrupted the concepts of justice compared with what was available to them in The Epic. As a summary, I’ll express my opinion that any student anywhere in the world polluted by the Abrahamic religions shouldn’t be awarded a high-school diploma without demonstrating substantial understanding of The Epic. If that were required, I expect that, within a few generations, the world would be rid of the damnable distortions of justice known as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mormonism, etc.

To begin, notice that at the start of the story about Gilgamesh, i.e., about “Gilga the hero” [apparently a story about the 27th century king Gilga of the Sumerian city of Uruk (spelled Erech in the OT and, in its time, probably the world’s largest city, with a population of about 50,000)], he’s depicted as a beast of a man, “a loose bull, nose up in open field”, claiming the right to be the first to sleep with any new bride, as well having sexual relations with other men’s wives and maybe also with other men’s boys. Feeling the injustices of the tyrant Gilga, the oppressed citizens of Uruk complain to the council of the gods, and consistent with the reality summarized by “as below, so above” (rather than the astrologers’ ridiculous “as above, so below”!), the council of the gods relay the people’s concern to Uruk’s city god, the sky god, god of heaven (and eventually the greatest of the Sumerian gods), Anu. In Kovacs’ translation, the council of gods confronts Anu with the accusation:
You have indeed brought into being a mighty wild bull, head raised! There is no rival who can raise a weapon against him. His fellows stand (at the alert), attentive to his (orders!), Gilgamesh does not leave a son to his father, day and night he arrogantly… Is he the shepherd of Uruk-Haven, is he their shepherd (?)... bold, eminent, knowing, and wise, Gilgamesh does not leave a girl to her mother!
The chief god Anu passes the buck to the goddess Aruru (“the almighty gentle mother goddess of the Earth and birth; she who first created humanity from clay”), leaving it to her to clean up the mess (again consistent with “as below, so above”!):
It was you, Aruru, who created mankind(?), now create a zikru to it/him. Let him be equal to his (Gilgamesh’s) stormy heart, let them be a match for each other so that Uruk may find peace!
In the above quotation, the meaning for the word zikru has been the subject of debate. The simplest interpretation is that the man created by Aruru (named Enkidu) was to be the people’s champion, but a case can be made (e.g., see here) that Enkidu was to be Gilga’s homosexual lover.

How the temple priestess Shamhat “tamed” the initially primitive man Enkidu with her womanly ways is another great part of the story (Tablets I & II). The story ends with (Tablet II, Column IV, line 50):
So Enkidu came then to know of Gilgamesh who harshly ruled and was not loved by those men whose girls he often played with all night long.

And before they entered through the gates of Uruk’s mighty walls, Enkidu was hailed as one who might be sent to rival any king who might treat gentle folk unfairly.
Subsequently, Enkidu and Gilgamesh became fast friends, the people had a story, and the story had a lesson: a lesson that social justice is just opinion, that whose opinion is right depends on might, but that ‘might’ needn’t mean “physical strength”, since “strength cannot keep pace with intelligence.” Thus, with the alleged help of the gods, the people used their intelligence to find a way to overcome the strength of Gilga, distracting him from his wanton ways by providing him with a worthy friend who would be his companion in brave new adventures.

If everyone had learned the lesson that “strength cannot keep pace with intelligence”, we would probably now have a more-peaceful world. History shows, however, that people didn’t learn. A major problem seems to be that, although the Sumerian proverb that “strength cannot keep pace with intelligence” may be correct, it neglects to address that the ‘strength’ (or ‘might’) in “might makes right” had a huge head start – after ruling in the rest of the animal kingdom for millions of years. Consequently, although in the long run (measured in tens of thousands of years!) intelligence may outpace strength, yet during the past 4,000 years, the might of the Akkadians, Amorites, Hittites, Kassites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Huns, Christians, Muslims, Imperialists, Fascists, Communists, etc. was based not on intelligence but on armaments. And still today, “smart bombs” seem to vastly outnumber “smart people”.

To help people smarten-up, to help intelligence finally catch-up with strength, to test the wisdom in the Sumerian proverb “strength cannot keep pace with intelligence”, to achieve greater peace not just for Uruk but the world, it seems that we must be wiser than our ancestors. The quotations above suggest that peace in Uruk couldn’t be achieved without justice. That same idea is applicable today:
In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 1969, the Nobel Committee referred to the motto enshrined in the foundations of the ILO’s original building in Geneva, “Si vis pacem, cole justitiam.” [If you desire peace, cultivate justice.] As another example, if the documentary about the Los Angeles riots associated with the Rodney King trial is correct, then apparently the rioters chanted the corollary: “No justice; no peace.”
But since social justice is just opinion, peace would seem to require uniformity in opinion, which is essentially impossible to achieve. Instead, as I’ve argued elsewhere, the best we can achieve is apparently as described by the Ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus (c.540 – c.480 BCE): “an attunement of opposite tensions, like that of the bow and the lyre.” In turn, if a melodious attunement of opposite tensions is to be achieved, then most important is that opinions be based on evidence (i.e., on experience, i.e., by applying the scientific method) rather than on speculations (the essence of all organized religions).

Almost 5,000 years ago, according to The Epic, the ancient Sumerians living in Uruk had evidence to support their opinion about Gilga’s injustices. Then, however (so the myth informs us), the people (consistent with their superstitions) petitioned the gods with grievances, gods who the people assumed were in charge of justice. Of course, that’s the story in the myth – written by priests! In reality, if anything similar to the story actually occurred, then more likely is that the temple priestess, Shamhat, knew that Gilga was a beast, heard that a “wild man” was living in the woods, and by herself (or with the help of friends), she set out to tame the wild man, to become the people’s challenger of Gilga. Today, as incredible as it may seem, not only do religious Jews, Christians, Muslims, Mormons, etc. still consider their (non-existent) gods to be “just”, they accept myths about their fictitious gods as evidence!

That religious people today imagine their gods to be “just” is evident in their “holy books”. We’re told in the “holy Bible”, for example, that the first symmetry-breaking quantum fluctuation in a total void that led to the Big Bang (i.e., “God”) popped in to tell Isaiah and Jeremiah:
“For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity.” (Isaiah 61, 8)

“… I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight…” (Jeremiah 9, 24)
Followers of the other Abrahamic religions consider the above quotes to be “sacred scripture”, and in their Koran, Muslims have in addition:
Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining His creation with justice… (Sura 3, 18)
Strangely enough, though (at least I hope it seems strange to followers of Abrahamic religions), the clerics of the gods of Ancient Mesopotamia claimed essentially the same. Thus, Utu (Sumerian) or Shamash (Akkadian) was described as both the Sun god and “the god of justice”. Later, in Babylon, Shamash’s two sons, Misharu and Kittu were the gods of justice and truth, respectively. Still later in Babylon, when Marduk (originally son of the Sun god Shamash) was promoted to “chief god”, one of his fifty (!) names was Shazu, who “oversees justice and subdues rebellion, he has rooted out malice, wherever he goes the wrong and the right stand separate.” Given those identifications (one to two thousand years before Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, et al. claimed that theirs was the god of justice!), one would hope that “modern” Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons would become at least a little suspicious that they’ve been had – by clerics promoting a pack of lies.

In reality, interpersonal and social justice aren’t provided or promoted by any god but, as with morality, arise from behaviors that experience demonstrated (and chose by “natural selection”) to be beneficial for the survival of members of the social group. Readers interested in examining support for that claim might want to start at the blog of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University. For animals such as mice, monkeys, and canines, failure to achieve perceived justice commonly results in fights, consistent with “might makes right”.

For humans, with social interactions commonly more complicated than among other animals and with desires of the majority of humans to suppress the law of the jungle, assessing and achieving social justice is commonly more difficult. During tens of thousands of years, controversies among humans were resolved by the leaders of tribes, councils of elders, and similar. Clerics of the Abrahamic religions, however, claim that their god oversees such deliberations in procedural justice and promotes distributive and retributive justice. For example, we find in the Bible that the first symmetry-breaking quantum fluctuation in a total void admonished:
Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd… (Exodus 23, 1–2)

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. (Leviticus 19, 15)

Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. (Deuteronomy 16, 19)

Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. (Deuteronomy 24, 17)
Similarly, we find in the Koran
Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others)… (Sura 16, 90)
But such ideas obviously weren’t conceived by clerics of the Abrahamic god; instead, the ideas were copied from thousands of years earlier, developed in both Mesopotamia and Egypt. Some examples from Mesopotamia can been seen in Sumerian proverbs, including
The expenses of those who neglect justice are numerous.

He who despises a just decision, who loves wicked decisions, is an abomination.

Thanks to the word of his personal god, the fate of the man who speaks just words is favorable, and he is with him throughout the day.
Many more examples are given in the book (partially available at Google Books) by Elisabeth Meier Tetlow and entitled Women, Crime, and Punishment in Ancient Law and Society, Vol. 1, the Ancient Near East (Continuum Int. Publ. Grp, 2004), including the following.
Royal Sumerian lawgivers expressed their goals of justice and protection of the poor and oppressed, including women, especially vulnerable women such as widows without children. They believed that these goals could be achieved through written laws, impartial courts, and a workable system for the administration of justice. The city-states of Sumer developed judicial systems early in the third millennium. First the assemblies of the city-states functioned as courts and later there were panels of judges. Trials were conducted in a formal manner: facts were gathered in evidence, the arguments of both sides were heard, guilt was deliberated by the assembly, and in the case of conviction, sentence was handed down. Defendants had the right to appeal, generally to their ruler or to the king of the dominant city-state in the area. Women were treated the same as men under the laws and in the courts of Sumer…

The Early Dynastic king Ur-Nanshe [or Ur-Nina, 24th Century BCE] of Lagash built a temple and named it for the god of justice. Four centuries later, king Gudea of Lagash wrote that justice came from the gods and in practice justice meant protecting widows, orphans, and the poor from the rich and powerful. King Lipit-Ishtar of Isin proudly claimed that he establish justice in Sumer and Akkad by implementing fair judicial procedure and by erecting a stele of his laws.

[There are] few extant sources of laws… one exception was Uru-inimgina, king of Lagash in the late twenty-fourth century BCE. Only a few of his laws are known… describe the abuse of power by the aristocracy and priests… who oppressed the poor and the powerless. King Uru-inimgina stated his intent to protect the vulnerable, especially poor mothers and widows, from further oppression… [He] forbade his officials and priests to enter and steal from the gardens and orchards of women. Upper-class men and women were forbidden to steal fish from the ponds of the commoners…

[Gudea, ruler of Lagash from ca. 2144–2124] paid attention to the justice of Nance [or Nanshe, daughter of Enki and who “judged the wicked and fought for social justice”] and Nin-jirsu [the god of war]. He provided protection for the orphan against the rich, and provided protection for the widow against the powerful… A day of justice dawned for him. He set his foot on the neck of evil ones and malcontents…

The extant text includes a prologue and thirty-four laws… The prologue described the ways in which king Ur-Nammu [Third Dynasty of Ur: 2112–2004] acted to establish justice in the land of Sumer and banish crime, violence, and strife. The stated purpose of the laws was to establish justice by correcting abuses prevalent at the time and by mandating the protection of widows, orphans, and poor persons against oppression by the wealthy and powerful…

The last non-Amorite dynasty of ancient Sumer was the first dynasty of Isin, of which Lipit-Ishtar was the fifth king. He promulgated his collection of laws about 1930 BCE. A prologue, an epilogue, and thirty-eight laws are wholly or partially legible. In the prologue, Lipit-Ishtar stated that he was chosen king by the gods “to establish justice in the land, to eliminate cries for justice, to eradicate enmity and armed violence, to bring well-being to the lands of Sumer and Akkad.”… In the epilogue, the king proclaimed his accomplishments: the establishment of “fair judicial procedure”; the eradication of enmity and violence, weeping, and lamentation; and the establishment of right and truth.
Another example from Mesopotamia (during the first Babylonian period) is contained in The Great Hymn to Shamash:
You [Shamash] give the unscrupulous judge experience of fetters [i.e., throw the bum in jail!]. Him who accepts a present [i.e., a bribe] and yet lets justice miscarry, you make bear his punishment. As for him who declines a present but nevertheless takes the part of the weak… it is pleasing to Shamash, and he will prolong his life…
In Ancient Egypt, meanwhile, the first written reference to social justice appears to be from the “wise man” Ptah Hotep, from the 24th century BCE, who wrote:
As a leader, if you have to decide on the conduct of a great number of people, seek the most perfect manner of doing this so that your own conduct may be without reproach. Justice is great, invariable, and assured; it has not been disturbed since the age of Ptah [the creator god – although other translations use, here, the name of the god Osiris; in that case, the quotation would be consistent with the suggestion that there was an early Egyptian ruler named Osiris, who was later worshiped]
Another example from Ancient Egypt containing ideas about social justice is from The Teachings for Merikare, written sometime between 2135-2040 BCE by a father to his son, Merikare, who apparently was to be the successor of the father’s social position:
Be skillful in speech, that you may be strong… words are braver than all fighting… Do justice, that you may live long upon earth. Calm the weeper, do not oppress the widow, do not oust a man from his father’s property… Beware of punishing wrongfully; do not kill…
It seems clear that such ideas from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia were copied into the OT, which contains:
Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s boundary marker…Cursed is the one who perverts justice for the resident foreigner, the orphan, and the widow. (Deuteronomy 27, 17 & 19)

Rob not the poor, because he is poor; neither oppress the afflicted in the gate. (Proverbs 22, 20-21)

Remove not the ancient landmark. (Proverbs 22, 22)
In fact, statements almost identical to the above are included in The Saying of Amenemope (an Egyptian), recorded in the 11th Century BCE:
Beware of robbing a wretch or attacking a cripple.

Do not move the markers on the border of the fields.
So, the clerics who wrote the OT (and the New Testament or NT, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, etc.) clearly didn’t develop new concepts either of a “god of justice” or details about social justice. Instead, they simply repackaged such ideas described thousands of years earlier by Egyptians and Mesopotamians, who in turn were summarizing ideas about social justice that people had developed tens of thousands of years earlier – and some of these ideas about justice were known by social animals such as monkeys millions of years ago! Furthermore, and more significantly, the Abrahamic clerics’ repackaged “god of justice” isn’t just.

Justifying that last statement (i.e., showing that the god of the principal “holy books” of western culture isn’t just) is a major undertaking. Elsewhere, 30 chapters of my online book describe some of the “sick policies” promoted in the Bible, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon, and approximately half of those “sick policies” are examples of natural, personal, and interpersonal (including social) injustices. Here, I certainly don’t want to go through those examples again. Instead, I’ll review only a single example, taken from the first few pages of the Bible (dealing with the myth about Adam and Eve), an example that’s “revered” by all religious Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons – and thereby, they “revere” an unjust god.

For followers of Orthodox Judaism (who fortunately sum to only a small percentage of all Jewish people), the Adam and Eve myth is straightforward. Adam and Eve were told not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they disobeyed God’s order, and as a result, they – and all their descendants (including us!) – were punished: men would need to work for a living, women would need not only to bear the pains of childbirth but also to submit to their husbands as their masters, and all humans would die. But that judgment (allegedly by God, but in reality, merely the machinations of some misogynous myth makers) was unjust. Thus, Adam and Eve did nothing wrong (and therefore, shouldn’t have been punished at all): the myth makers had their god preclude Adam and Eve from knowing the difference between right and wrong; therefore, they couldn’t know that it was “good” to obey God and “evil” to disobey him. Further, even if Adam and Eve had done something wrong (but they didn’t – because they couldn’t!), it would be unjust to punish subsequent humans for the alleged crime of our ancestors: we’re innocent; we have a perfect alibi; we weren’t there!

Christian (and Mormon) clerics compound the injustices in the myth about Adam and Eve. According to them (following the teachings of the insane “Saint” Paul), God had mercy on subsequent humans (whom he unjustly condemned to death!) and decided to “atone” for the (non-) sin of Adam and Eve by “sacrificing” his “only begotten son”, Jesus, on the cross – and if people would just believe that Paul wasn't crazy (plus pay the clerics for running their con game), then they're promised (for what it's worth!) that they'll be rewarded not with dunce caps but with eternal life in paradise. But Paul's (crazy) speculation just compounded God’s injustice, since thereby, he allegedly killed someone claimed to be the epitome of innocence (Jesus) to atone for the sins of the alleged guilty. Imagine the havoc that such a precedent would wreck on procedural justice today. What would the crazy Christian and Mormon clerics have us do: kill innocent babies in their cribs to “atone” for the crimes of murderers on death row?!

Muslims adopt a different twist on the same myth. Earlier in the biblical myth (Genesis 2, 18–20) God has Adam name all the animals:
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will provide a partner for him.” So God formed out of the ground all the wild animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man named all the animals, the birds of the air, and the living creatures of the field…
What language Adam used to name the animals isn’t mentioned – but then, whatever language he used, all he needed to do was issue a series of distinct grunts and the animals would have “names”!

But upon hearing the above story, Muhammad (or subsequent Muslim clerics who wrote the Koran) spun the story differently; as a result, in the Koran it appears as follows (Sura 2, 31–39).
And He [God or Allah] taught Adam all the names [of the animals, rather than let Adam name them], then presented them to the angels; then He said: Tell me the names of those [animals] if you are right. They said: “Glory be to Thee! we have no knowledge but that which Thou hast taught us; surely Thou art the Knowing, the Wise.” [Allah’s “claim to fame” is that he knows the (arbitrary) names of animals? What silliness!]

He said: “O Adam! inform them of their names.” Then when he [Adam] had informed them of their names, He said: “Did I not say to you that I surely know what is ghaib [unseen and unknown] in the heavens and the earth and (that) I know what you manifest and what you hide?” [The evidence that Allah is omniscient consists of his demonstrating that he knows the names of the animals? Somebody’s gotta be kidding!]

And when We [the Royal ‘We’] said to the angels “Make obeisance to Adam” they did obeisance, but Iblis [Satan] (did it not). He refused and he was proud, and he was one of the unbelievers. [Good for Satan! Why on Earth (or anywhere else) should anyone “show obeisance” to someone who happens to know the names of animals?! To this day I hope that no one would “show obeisance” to someone who memorized some jargon!]

And We said: “O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the garden and eat from it a plenteous (food) wherever you wish and do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust.” [It’s “unjust” not to do what you’re told? Suppose that (as in the Koran) Allah told you to beat your wife if she doesn't obey you and to kill people if they don't believe in your fairy tales?!]

But the Shaitan [the Devil, same as Iblis] made them both fall from it, and caused them to depart from that (state) in which they were; and We said: “Get forth, some of you being the enemies of others, and there is for you in the earth an abode and a provision for a time.” [Not a very profound pronouncement!]

Then Adam received (some) words from his Lord, so He [Allah] turned to him mercifully; surely He is Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. We said: “Go forth from this (state) all; so surely there will come to you a guidance from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, no fear shall come upon them, nor shall they grieve. And (as to) those who disbelieve in and reject My communications, they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.”
And if that isn’t unjust (and unmerciful!), then I don’t know what is. In essence, the Koran’s claim is that, unless you believe in its myths, then you’ll burn in Hell for eternity. In response, my considered opinion (delivered with all respect that’s due to anyone who advocates such unmerciful injustice - and idiocy) is: “Blow it out your ear!”

Now, the above was just a single illustration of injustices promoted by clerics of the Abrahamic religions; it dealt with only the first myth in their “holy books”; the reader might then agree that space limitations on this post preclude my showing hundreds (?) of other examples. Instead, I’ll relay that the sick policies in the NT, alone, drove me to concoct the following limericks, dealing with:

Natural Justice

As for miracles done (so it’s said!)
Like feed thousands from two loaves of bread…
Well – such stuff they relate
Lead sane people to state:
“Nature’s justice got dumped on its head!”

If he really possessed what it takes,
If his magic surpassed that of snakes,
Then to start: fix the Earth –
Since tectonics give birth
To volcanoes, tsunamis, and quakes!

Personal Justice

Although Jesus said he was the way
(And the truth and the light) I just say:
If words still have meaning
The way that I’m leaning:
The worst thing in the world is to pray!

As for healings it’s claimed that he did
Cure the sick and the odd invalid,
But to say that the blame
Fell on sins of the lame
Is a crime that a god should forbid!

Interpersonal Justice

Although Christ, without jest, clearly told
All the rich no more money to hold;
He said: “Just buy friends,
“Thereby, make amends” –
But what “friends” can you buy with mere gold?!

Though Jesus told people: “Be meek;
Let villains slap cheek after cheek.”
I find that I stumble:
Should they be called humble
When heaven’s the goal that they seek?

Distributive Justice

Yes, Jesus said give to the needy,
To all who just whimper “please feed me”;
Those who don’t – go to hell
Those who do – fare quite well –
Cause heaven is home for the greedy!

Although Jesus kept blessing the losers
(All the needy, the weepers, and users),
I know bloody well
That it’s evil as hell
To say naught but “alas” for producers!

Retributive Justice

Although Jesus said those, all alone,
Without sin were to cast the first stone;
His reasoning’s sad:
To not punish bad
Is the way still more evil is sown!

Although Jesus said we should abstain,
Yet I think we should firmly explain:
No matter how long,
To torture is wrong,
To judge humans you must be humane!

Procedural Justice

Although Paul said that Christ was divine,
The atonement HE made I decline:
Since I wasn’t there
I really don’t care –
The original sin wasn’t mine!

Although Jesus did brazenly state
That a heaven or hell we would rate,
What he said was just rot,
For true justice is not
To have tyrants decide on our fate!

Social Justice

Although Christ said that gold makes you sad,
And the perfect should yield all they had,
It’s not clear to me
That he ever did see:
Spreading evil to others is bad!

Although Jesus preached pacifist lore
(That to those who would take you give more),
He was no “Prince of Peace”,
Since it never would cease:
Because yielding to tyrants breeds war!

General Justice

Although Christ didn’t see his own premiss
It’s imperative to see what it is:
If people are served
Beyond what’s deserved,
It corrupts the essence of ‘justice’!

Although Jesus caught lawyers' attentions,
About justice he never once mentions:
True justice is not
Some god’s juggernaut
But attunement of opposite tensions!

Although Christ with God’s justice was awed,
There is something that all can applaud:
A new time has come,
Without Christendom,
When the people own justice – not God!

If Jesus came back here today,
I’d tell him to take it away:
His heaven and hell,
His justice as well,
They all went their Darwinian way.

Here, instead of my providing additional examples of God’s (or Jesus’s or Allah’s) injustices that appear throughout the “sacred scriptures” of the Abrahamic religions, it might be of interest to readers to consider additional examples of how their clerics corrupted the concepts of justice that appeared in The Epic of Gilgamesh. I’ll list the following “teasers”.

Corruption of natural justice
In The Epic, it clearly wasn’t a worldwide “supernatural” flood, which is hydrologically impossible; instead, it was a river-valley flood, undoubtedly with a natural cause.

Corruption of personal justice
In The Epic, as one example of personal justice (i.e., that you generally get what you deserve), Gilga lost the opportunity for eternal life not because of any god’s involvement but because of Gilga’s carelessness: when he was bathing in a spring of cool water (Tablet XI), “a snake smelled the fragrance of the plant [“by which a man can attain his survival”], silently came up, and carried off the plant – and while going back, the snake sloughed off its casing [as a sign of gaining eternal life].”

A more significant example of the corruption of personal justice by the authors of the OT can be seen by comparing the personal satisfaction that Gilga felt for his own accomplishments (e.g., building the walls of Uruk) versus the “success” obtained via the ill-begotten gains of Abraham (from pimping his wife and blackmailing her clients), of Jacob (from cheating his brother Esau out of his inheritance), of Joseph (from his monopoly of Egyptian grain), and of Moses (from his murdering rampages).

Corruption of interpersonal justice
Consistent with the general rule of interpersonal justice mentioned earlier (that you generally get out of relationships pretty much what you put in), the best outcome for two people is that they become fast friends. In The Epic, friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu is a central theme of the entire story. In the OT, in contrast (as far as I recall – and for that matter, as far as I recall, also in the NT, the Koran, and the Book of Mormon), the theme of friendship is never developed (save for the imagined friendship between people and their god): not friendship between two men or two women (save for the possibly homosexual relationship between King David and Jonathan) and not even friendship between husband and wife (save possibly between Jacob and his second wife Rachel).

Instead of describing such “healthy relationships” and developing the theme of interpersonal justice, the authors of the OT describe multiple cases of interpersonal injustices, not only between men and women (replacing it with a master-slave relationship) but even between brothers and other relatives. It’s as if the authors of the OT focused on the lines in The Epic in which Utnapishtim (Noah) states:
For how long do we build a household?
For how long do we seal a document!
For how long do brothers share the inheritance?
For how long is there to be jealousy in the land(?)!
Thus, the OT authors describe animosities between brothers (e.g., Jacob stealing Esau’s inheritance, the jealous brothers of Joseph selling him into slavery, and Aaron’s complaining to God about Moses) and between other male relatives (e.g., Noah’s condemning his grandson to slavery, Isaac’s brother-in-law Laban tricking Jacob and Jacob's getting even, and Joseph getting even with his brothers for selling him into slavery).

In the NT, not only is the central human emotion of friendship similarly absent (e.g., among the disciples), some obvious rivalries develop among the disciples (e.g., “the one He loved most” and of course the rivalry between Peter and Paul). Also, all the disciples abandon Jesus before his trial, simultaneously abandoning any hint of interpersonal justice. Again, the only exception seems to be the imagined friendship between people and their god. And I admit that I feel sorry for such people, for example those who claim (e.g., on bumper stickers): “Jesus loves me.” The poor souls seem to take comfort in imagining that at least someone loves them. In reality, however, all they get from their investment in the relationship is a stimulated imagination – while the clerics rake in their ill-gotten gains.

Corruption of Social Justice
In The Epic, the original social injustices perpetrated by Gilga were remedied; in the Bible, social injustice is rampant. In The Epic, for example, even the chief god complained about the injustice of killing everyone in the flood:
How, how could you bring about a flood without consideration? Charge the violation to the violator, charge the offense to the offender, but be compassionate lest (mankind) be cut off. Be patient lest they be killed.
In the OT, in contrast, the clerical authors have God show zero compassion for all the innocent babies, bees, and bunny rabbits allegedly killed in the flood.

Another example of corruption of social justice can be seen in implications from corruption of personal justice. Thus, in The Epic, Gilga’s achievements (e.g., building the walls of Uruk) benefited the city’s inhabitants; yet, in the Bible (both in the OT and NT), there’s essentially zero praise or reward for producers; instead, those who prosper are the liars and the devious (such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, et al.) and those praised are the losers (e.g., “the meek shall inherit the Earth”). For me, the distributive social injustices described in the Bible (failing to reward producers and instead praising nonproducers – such as all clerics!) are so pervasive that they make the entire book reek of slavery and communism.

As my final example of social justice in The Epic corrupted into injustices in the OT, the reader is invited to consider the following quotation from pp. 44–45 of the old book An Old Babylonian Version of The Gilgamesh Epic by Anonymous, edited by Morris Jastrow (1861–1921) and obviously written soon after another tablet (“the Pennsylvania tablet”) of The Epic had been found during the 19th Century:
We now obtain, thanks to the new section revealed by the Pennsylvania tablet, a further analogy with the story of Adam and Eve, but with this striking difference, that whereas in the Babylonian tale the woman is the medium leading man to the higher life, in the Biblical story the woman is the tempter who brings misfortune to man.

This contrast is, however, not inherent in the Biblical story, but due to the point of view of the Biblical writer, who is somewhat pessimistically inclined and looks upon primitive life (when man went naked and lived in a garden, eating of fruits that grew of themselves) as the blessed life in contrast to advanced culture, which leads to agriculture and necessitates hard work as the means of securing one’s substance. Hence the woman through whom Adam eats of the tree of knowledge and becomes conscious of being naked is looked upon as an evil tempter, entailing the loss of the primeval life of bliss in a gorgeous Paradise.

The Babylonian point of view is optimistic. The change to civilized life – involving the wearing of clothes and the eating of food that is cultivated (bread and wine) is looked upon as an advance. Hence the woman is viewed as the medium of raising man to a higher level.

The feature common to the Biblical and Babylonian tales is the attachment of a lesson to early folk-tales. The story of Adam and Eve, as the story of Enkidu and the woman, is told with a purpose. Starting with early traditions of men’s primitive life on earth, that may have arisen independently, Hebrew and Babylonian writers diverged, each group going its own way, each reflecting the particular point of view from which the evolution of human society was viewed.

Leaving the analogy between the Biblical and Babylonian tales aside, the main point of value for us in the Babylonian story of Enkidu and the woman is the proof furnished by the analysis, made possible through the Pennsylvania tablet, that the tale can be separated from its subsequent connection with Gilgamesh. We can continue this process of separation in the fourth column [of the tablet], where the woman instructs Enkidu in the further duty of living his life with the woman decreed for him, to raise a family, to engage in work, to build cities and to gather resources. All this is looked upon in the same optimistic spirit as marking progress, whereas the Biblical writer, consistent with his point of view, looks upon work as a curse, and makes Cain, the murderer, also the founder of cities. The step to the higher forms of life is not an advance according to the J document [i.e., the part of the Pentateuch authored by “J”].

It is interesting to note that even the phrase the “cursed ground” occurs in both the Babylonian and Biblical tales; but whereas in the latter (Gen. 3, 17) it is because of the hard work entailed in raising the products of the earth that the ground is cursed, in the former (lines 62–63) it is the place in which Enkidu lives before he advances to the dignity of human life that is “cursed,” and which he is asked to leave. Adam is expelled from Paradise as a punishment, whereas Enkidu is implored to leave it as a necessary step towards progress to a higher form of existence.
Subsequently, Christian, Muslim, and Mormon clerics adopted the same injustices, not only against women but also against all people who seek progress toward a more civilized life. The crazy clerics promote the weird idea that the best way forward is to go backward! Thus, they assume (not only without any evidence to support their assumption but also in conflict with all evidence supporting the concept of evolution) that humanity started in paradise, and they speculate (again with zero scientific support for their speculation) that not only was “the fall of man” caused by women but also that, if only humanity will obey the clerics, then paradise will once more be realized – a glorious “end time” when their god (and they!) will rule.

In reality, what the clerics of the Abrahamic religions support is not evolution but devolution (as in ‘degeneration’ or ‘retrogression’) as well as corruption:
• Corruption of natural justice (claiming that their “supernatural” god can perform “miracles”, modifying natural links between causes and effects),

• Corruption of personal justice (claiming that invoking their god will give the petitioner not what’s deserved but what’s desired), and

• Corruption of interpersonal and social justice (claiming that their opinions – that women are second class citizens, that abortions, homosexuality, masturbation, etc., are “abominations before the Lord”, that rulers rule “by the grace of God”, and all the other ingredients of the damnable God Lie – are not just their opinions but “God’s will”).
For me, it brings to mind what Socrates said: “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” I would have preferred if he had said something similar to: “There is only one good, willingness to learn, and one evil, refusal.” But in either case, the same conclusion seems clear: the ignorance of clerics – in particular, their refusal to learn basic science – is evil.

As a result, as I’ve argued elsewhere: since social justice is just opinion, the worst of the clerics’ evil is that a harmonious “attunement of opposite tensions” can’t be achieved (and without it, peace won’t be achieved) until opinions are based on scientific evidence rather than religious speculations. I’d therefore argue not “to achieve peace, cultivate justice”, but to achieve peace, plow all religious weeds under (there to decompose) and in their place, plant science. In turn, that means rejecting all “knowledge” claimed to be obtained by “revelation” and replacing it with knowledge obtained by the scientific method: rely on data not dogma!