Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Religious Nutbars at it Again

If they're not knocking on your door on a Saturday morning trying to get you to become a Mormon, a Jehovah's Witness or something else, they're off in somebody else's country throwing acid at little girls who want to learn or smashing planes in to buildings.

The odd time, they'll do something useful as an accidental byproduct of their religious beliefs - build a hospital, give to a charity or make a brilliant piece of music. But let's be honest, this sort of thing is tangential to the apparent purpose of religion which is grouping people together in conformity to allow a priestly group to control their behaviour and finances.

Now you're probably thinking that what I'm saying is unfair. You're probably thinking that your religious belief (if you have one) isn't like those other ones. You don't throw acid at people, smash planes in to buildings or order an Infinite Crusade against Muslim terrorists. Why would I group all of these people together?

I group them all together because they all enforce the same mainline doctrine: that people should obey a set of rules and a moral code without thinking about it.

Just as Abraham was rewarded for being willing to mindlessly set his son on fire, a priest tells his followers to believe things without evidence. He tells them to believe because the belief "feels right".

Rest assured that the people throwing acid on the little girls' faces and the people flying those planes in to those buildings all "felt right" about what they were doing. They were convinced to discard their own moral centres and obey the dictates of a cleric somewhere.

You'll read in the article that the Taliban deny having anything to do with the incidents involving the school girls. Of course they deny it. I'm quite certain that there was no order coming down from the clerics instructing their followers in these actions. But the stage was set by them. They created the hatred. They stoked the fear. They taught the irrationality and nurtured it with carefully selected quotes and passages from holy works, just as popes, bishops, rabbis, imams and other religious leaders have for millennia.

We can't continue to make decisions this way.

We can't afford to allow people to cloak their supposedly "moral" dictates with the uncritical cloth of religion. We have to stand up to them and tell them their beliefs are nonsense. We have to demand evidence - not feelings, but evidence - if they demand action from us. We have to demand logical explanations for their versions of "morality" and an analysis of the results they've had from imposing it on people.

As long as we all stand back, prevented by some taboo from criticizing this insanity, we will all continue to suffer.

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