Thursday, April 20, 2006

The plight of mustangs as evidence

What strikes me as the most compelling evidence against the existence of a wholly good, all powerful deity is the status of nonhumans in the world today. One might think that the sheer number of people in this country alone who profess devotion to the ideals of Christianity would have the effect of making people more compassionate towards the suffering of others. Sadly, this is not the case.

200 years ago there were approximately 2 million wild horses in the US. Today there are less than 40,000. This is not due to disease or natural catastrophe, but to cruelty. In Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado and Oregon, horses, even small foals, are shot to death for fun. Others are captured and sold for slaughter -- to provide low cholesterol steaks to France, Italy, Begium and Japan. The 3 horse slaughter houses in the US have carved up 50,000 horses in the past year alone.

Take this one example of the last moments of a wild mustang:

Depressed and confused, gentle Daisy stands nervously on the cold, slippery floor. She is edging through a funnel-like chute and into a large wooden stall.

Suddenly, her depression turns to terror. Her acute sense of hearing and smell, both way beyond human development, forebode her fate. Daisy begins to tremble violently. She urinates on herself. She smells death.

A worker appears, wielding a strange, mechanical instrument. He brings it down with a brutal, unyielding force. The retractable four inch bolt fractures Daisy's skull, driving bone fragments deep into her brain. Again and again the bolt violently thrusts. But it does not kill.

Daisy collapses, writhing fully conscious, still alive, still aware, onto a conveyor belt. From somewhere, another contraption snares her leg, lifting her upside down, her head dangling towards the floor. Terror and pain bulge from the innocent mare's brown eyes.

Then, the blade appears. with one vicious swipe Daisy's throat is sliced. Her heart continues to beat as her blood -- her life -- collects in a thick red pool on the floor.

(Excerpt from Lifesavers, Inc. letter.

Now what kind of god would create these creatures with the foreknowledge of their agony at the hands of cruel humans? How could any of this suffering be needed in any way? How could the allowance of such cruelty be construed as providing fertile ground for free will? Would it really limit free will to deny the French their mustang steaks?

It seems to me that our religious language is at a loss to conceive any reasonable explanation for a perfectly good and all powerful deity permitting such atrocities. And this is not an isolated case.

More to come...