Monday, 22 April 2013

The blind spot of religion.

Religion has a huge blind spot when it comes to believing things on faith.

Ask someone of any religion if it's ok to take things on faith and they will say "yes" because its one of the pillars of their thought process.

They believe something with no solid evidence (the creationists try to say they have evidence but it's just thinly veiled justifications) and it allows them to make all kinds of absolutist moral judgements without recourse to any argument beyond the authority of their faith.

Recently the Family Research Council which is one of those "lets start a christian faith based organisation with a christian faith based agenda but give it a name that doesn't sound christian so people wont see our inherent bias " organisations posted an anti gun control message, from which I quote:
If Congress wants to stop these tragedies, then it has to address the government's own hostility to the institution of the family and organizations that can address the real problem: the human heart. As I've said before, America doesn't need gun control, it needs self-control. And a Congress that actively discourages it--through abortion, family breakdown, sexual liberalism, or religious hostility--is only compounding the problem.
This was written before the Boston bombing and in specific reference to tragedies like the recent Newtown shootings. While I agree that self control is the most important thing when it comes to guns, I'm not sure that they can justify legalising abortion and allowing divorces and same sex marriages as causing their society to rot away.

What stuns me is that apart from a major mental malfunction or radical political indoctrination, the only force we know of that can cause someone to justify and rationalise the horror of mass, unprovoked murder is religion.

And ONLY religion gets upset enough about growing "liberalism" to think that violent actions needs to be taken - everyone else just gets on with living their lives now with additional liberty. Remember that just because you have the right to have an abortion that people will stop having children or using birth control. Just because people can get divorced does not mean that they will and just because same sex couples can marry does not mean that any other marriage commitment by a heterosexual couple is in any way diminished.

The "hostility" they see towards religion is nothing more than the observation increasing acceptance that religious values and the values of religious institutions should not get disproportionate representation in the making and application of laws and public governance.

The reason for this recent move is that religion is not an inherently good guide to deeds, each religion contains dogma that does not reflect public values and often contradicts the values of other faiths. Government, laws and policy must be cognisant of the true shared values and welfare of the people. If this does not reflect religious doctrine then it shows religion is failing the people not the other way around.

Acts of violence are routinely carried out by people of faith, suicide bombings are an obvious example, as is israels displacement of an entire people to gain land they felt was given them by god, or the practice of female circumcision -generally accepted outside practicing faiths as a brutal form of mutilation.

Of course in todays world it easier to find islamic examples (such as stoning for infidelity etc) than christian ones without using the over cited example of bombing abortion clinics. However this is because christianity benefits from generations of forced liberalisation - left to it's devices do you honestly think it would not still be burning people for heresy?

It reminded me of an appearance on Bill O'Reilly by Sam Harris some time back where he pointed out the believe in getting 72 virgins as a reward for martyrdom was no more crazy than the belief that a sip of wine and a mouthful of wafer actually became human flesh and blood in your mouth. Of course, as Sam points out these have massively different outcomes and moral impacts but they are both absolute beliefs that are (to a non believer) manifestly crazy.

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