What with today being St. Valentines day, I was thinking about sex again. In particular I was thinking about the whole “be fruitful and multiply” thing. What I asked God about, was that it seemed to me that it was kind of a redundant thing for him to tell us to do, after he had made sex so compelling in the first place.

He agreed. Then he went on to explain that he never really told us to be fruitful and multiply, that was one of the things that got tossed into the Bible by special interest groups. It’s in there for a couple of different reasons. If you actually look the phrase up, you’ll find it often doesn’t refer to people but rather to other animals. In these cases it’s mostly in there for reasons of economic development. Most animals that people deal with fall into the category of livestock, so if we grow lots of them, we increase our gross national product, or the ancient equivalent. Even those animals that aren’t livestock are part of a diverse and thriving ecosystem which means indirectly they still support us.

Now when the men that wrote the Bible urged us to be fruitful and multiply, ourselves, God tells me they were usually doing it as a kind of religious arms race. The surest way to get people to believe in a religion is to raise them in it. You want to train them to believe it’s all true before they get old enough to realize that you’re fallible. The obvious solution then, to making sure that your religion has more members than the other guys, is to out-breed them. Big families make for big attendance at Sunday services. They’re also very useful as cheap labor, in an agrarian society, and not incidentally also good at keeping the woman of the house from having enough energy to demand equal rights.

So it turns out a more crass way of saying be fruitful and multiply is to just say “shut up and breed.” This explains a lot about religions.

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