Sunday, September 19, 2010

Is Religion Evil?


We are all animals, and within each of us is an animal's capacity for violence.  Rational thought controls that animal; irrational thought lets it slip.  It is man's capacity for reason that leads him, too infrequently, to do that which protects the things we should value.  Deliberately crippling that capacity by poisoning it with irrationality threatens all we should hold dear.

Whenever you introduce an illogical premise into a thought matrix almost all conclusions that follow are going to be incorrect.  Anyone who has taken simple high school level geometry should know this.  For example, in Euclidean geometry if it were taken as a given that pi equals 3 and the internal angles of a triangle always add up to 210 degrees, then all attempts to construct proofs or otherwise solve problems would result in an incorrect answer. 

An atheist would never fly an airplane into a building because he or she has no rational reason to believe that there is life after death.  Atheists would never kill people because of their genetic background because atheists have no rational reason to believe that there is a supreme ruler of the universe who wants certain groups to rule the world as his highest form of creation. (Make no mistake, the crimes of the Nazis were caused by religion, and the Nazis were not atheists.  I will deal with this in a later post.)

Atheists would never support polluting and exploiting our planet without limitations because they don't believe that some preacher dead for 2,000 years is about to come back to life and solve all of our problems.  They would never actively try to aid the fulfillment of prophecies supposedly heralding the end of the world as so many Christians are doing today with regard to the Middle East.  I could go on, but I think my point is clear.

Anything which interferes so profoundly with rational thinking as religion does prevents the thinker from coming to correct conclusions.  It is this perversion of logic that leads to the atrocities.  These atrocities are not just in the past.  They are going on today, and there is no reason to believe that they will stop as long as religion prevails. 

This inability to reason correctly has given us everything from human sacrifice, to the inquisition, to the attacks on the world trade center in 2001.  A school of thought with such an effect and such a track record has no value, and, as a current threat to us, everything we value and everything we should value, we should not call it anything other than evil.

The greatest horrors of history can almost all be blamed directly and justifiably on religion.  The religious like to point to Mao and Stalin as examples of the evils perpetrated by atheists, but yet, as they do so often, they utterly fail to see their own role in those things.  First, remember that Mao and Stalin did not kill because of atheism, they were motivated by communism.  Second, most of their victims died as a result of the fact that communism was a radical change and didn't work.  Third, remember that communism was a reaction to the systems of economic oppression that the church actively fomented for centuries.

For 16 centuries, at least in the West, there was an unsavory alliance between religion and those in secular positions of power.  The clergy and the aristocracy combined to enslave the rest of the population.  (And, make no mistake, that is religion's purpose--and a topic I will discuss in a later post.)  Was it not predictable that in places where a middle class was not permitted to rise that there might eventually be an upheaval brought on by the resentment of the poor?  If you aid in the perpetration of evil, don't be surprised if the victims hold it against you.

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