Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why can't you leave religion alone?

Jesus and Mo offers a hat tip to The Thinking Atheist, who notes, in part:
It's everywhere. Religion is a pounding drum that has gone mostly unanswered for a long, long time. And religion is not satisfied with merely existing quietly in the homes and hearts of the faithful. Its very nature compels the believer to proselytize, preach, promote, convince, convert and prevail. If you play on the team of the religious, your game plan is to stay, always, on offense.

Throughout our history, those who raise a simple hand of protest against these advances have been portrayed as the real problem. Religion has attempted to marginalize and defeat legitimate questions and concerns by indignantly portraying any resistors as misguided, immoral, rudderless, angry, miserable, lost and alone.

And when skepticism challenges wildly improbable (or impossible) stories found in the bible, the Qur'an and other holy books, the religious wail, "Why can't you just leave us alone?"

The irony is thick.

PS. And lest you think it's just Christianity and Islam which are the problem, check this out:
In 2009 Hindu extremists attacked women in a fashionable bar in the nearby city of Mangalore, accusing them of “debauched behaviour” for drinking and smoking.

They followed up with a warning that any couples courting on Valentine’s Day risked being frog-marched to the nearest temple and forced to marry.

Of course, it's the extremists in every religion who are the big problem. But moderates, who also believe by faith, provide cover for the crazies - those people who really believe, instead of just giving it lip service.

Don't get me wrong. We can live with religious believers who strongly support freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. Absolutely!

But faith is still a vice, not a virtue. And faith-based thinking is a terrible way to determine the truth of anything.

We're social animals, and most of what we do affects other people. So accepting reality, and trying to make sure our beliefs are actually true, has a big impact on society, not just on our own lives. That may be especially the case in democracies, but it's true everywhere.

This is why we can't leave religion alone. Certainly, religion won't leave us alone, especially when it gets the political power to do what it wants.

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