An argument that comes up repeatedly when discussing religion’s (lack of) merits is the idea that religion may have a few minor things it has done that are not so good (like systematic child rape, mass genocides, supporting such nefarious types as Hitler, the crusades, etc) but these things are small compared to all the good things done in the name of religion. While somewhat subjective, there is quantifiable evidence to show that proportionately much greater “good” (acts of charity and social welfare) are done by governments and other secular organizations than are done by churches, which do their acts under a US church welfare system of subsidizing religion through tax exemption, and often abuse their unique position in this regard to proselytize those they serve. BUT, this isn’t the focus of this piece. There are better articles by better writers on that subject. What I want to touch on here is the logical path between religion and “evil” (murder, exploitation, suicide, etc).
“Science flies you to the moon, religion flies you into buildings.”
The reason religion is not a good thing, ever, even though it may incidentally do some “good” in it’s course, is the logical path between belief in fictions and murderous acts. While not every religious person is likely to commit deplorable acts, on the contrary most religious people are otherwise rational people who wish no harm on their fellow man, it is still true that there is a clear and logical path from ghost worship to murder. Atheism is accused of being the precursor to an immoral, depraved state… the nihilistic and selfish ideology of monsters. Even if one were to believe in these aspersions, there still would be no logical path between a lack of belief in unprovable superstitions and evil intent and actions. However, there is clearly a simple matter of degree to consider when taking in religious inspired degradations. While many Catholics may be well intentioned, it is still their ideology that is used as the justification for lying to millions of Africans about condoms and therefore indirectly helping to kill millions of them with AIDS. While most people of the god believing persuasion may be perfectly happy to let their neighbors live peacefully, it’s only a matter of dedication and commitment to their belief system that seperates them from sick people like Lou Engle of the New Apastolic Reformation who “…advocated acts of Christian martyrdom to end abortion and same-sex marriage. This “apostle” claims LGBT people are possessed by demons….” The simple fact that it is only a logical hop and a skip between “Jesus doesn’t like gays” and “Let’s kill the gays.” is a scary proposition. (Although in reality Jesus never mentions homosexuality in the bible, not once.) Millions of people around the world are just a few thoughts and some bad circumstances away from conclusions that allow people to shoot doctors, bomb clinics, kill people who disagree with them, strap bombs to their chests and blow up crowded hotels and yes, fly planes into buildings in New York City killing thousands. The counter argument usually takes the form that “Well, those aren’t real Christians/Jews/Muslims/Hindu’s, they are misinterpreting the Bible/Torah/Koran/Gitas…” as if there is one clearly correct interpretation of the command to go out and kill the enemy in the name of God/Jesus/Mohammed/Allah/The Flying Spaghetti Monster…
And what is the logical outcome of disbelief? Rational, scientific, logical and critical analysis of reality as given by the provable, verifiable and repeatable evidence around you. Non belief in Santa Clause doesn’t make one a selfish person who hates gifts and merriment. Non belief in the Easter Bunny doesn’t make a person hate sweets and hard boiled eggs or craft projects involving dye and plastic grass. Non belief in god doesn’t turn you into… well.. anything. I can’t even come up with the rest of that statement since god belief and the ideals and practices of religion do not boil down to one specific set of characteristic traits. Hence, this article. Every child is born an atheist, they have to be convinced by adults to believe in things they can not see through enticements like presents under a tree, candy in a basket, 72 virgins and eternal life with one’s family. Non belief in made up non-entities is the natural state that each person arrives into this world with. It is only through indoctrination that the Lou Engles and Osama Bin Ladens of the world are able to convince otherwise decent people that it’s ok to hate, poison, degrade, demoralize, terrorize and even murder other human beings in the name of their superstitions and fanstastic claims of a supernatural invisible man in the sky who has an agenda for you and a real chip on his shoulder.