Best of JCM: Top 10 Reasons Religion is a Negative Force, part 1
This really isn’t the eighth most popular post. That honor belongs to the sequel to this post. Instead of separating the two, I have decided to consider them as one.
Kieth Murphy, a user in the ThinkAtheist Forums, posted his Top Ten reasons why religion is a negative force in the world. Not surprisingly, every single reason is a non-starter. Let’s dive in with #10:
Religion and religious persons impose their faith into public policy and politics. Where it clearly doesn’t belong.
There’s a problem with this line of thought. Faith is more properly thought of as loyalty, not blindly accepting premises without proof. So if one is loyal to God, then religion “done right” is going to affect every single decision you make, and that includes what public policies to vote on.
For all the talk about religious hypocrites and how they make religion look like a sham, it seems that this objection is asking the genuine follower of a religion to become a hypocrite when voting.
In other words, “You religious people are wrong, so vote like us. Conform.”
Religion is still very much mediatory in the schools of nations such as Republic of Ireland, where it has no place. Churches were built for a reason. This makes many members of other faiths and no faiths feel uncomfortable and excluded during a time when young persons find it difficult to fit in as it is. It isn’t a matter of talking about religion, but actively telling young persons to practice it mandatory.
This is a hypocritical complaint. Atheists generally defend the position that society creates morals. Well, if society feels its in their best interest to teach the practice of a state religion in schools, then who are we to judge or try to change that?
On the other hand, if morals are independent of society (a position theists most often defend), then a moral reformer can come along and challenge society’s mores and act as a catalyst for change. There isn’t a place for that in moral relativism; there is only what society decides is right for its situation.
To issue this complaint makes the defender of relativism a hypocrite.
If the complaint is made by the rare atheist who defends objective morality, then it begs the question. Why is it best to leave to religious education in churches, but not in schools? True religion done correctly changes the core of your being; you are a new person through the power of the Holy Spirit. That should touch every facet of your life, even your schooling. Therefore, a society primarily Christian should teach Christianity in schools, a society primarily Muslim should teach Islam in schools.
Moving on down to #8:
Many nations make it difficult for the non-religous to have any sort of successful career in politics (and being honest about their lack of faith at the same time)
This is my favorite. This is roughly equivalent to an ardent supporter of Nazism complaining that he can’t get elected to represent a Jewish borough. The people will elect a representative that will vote as they would. So if you are unlike your community in some way, then you aren’t going to get elected.
Then we have #7:
Many religious groups impose their views of abortion on others and seek to make abortion illegal. Because of religion in other nations it now is or has been for sometime, outlawed medial practice. Abortion is not murder, murder is the illegal killing of a human being, not a pre-human being.
This begs the question. First we need to prove that abortion is the best alternative and that life doesn’t begin at conception. There are, in fact, many reasons to think the opposite of both points.
Religion demonises many educational fields in contrast with its doctrine, such as certain aspects of history and many accepted theories
I’d love to know what he’s talking about here. Most likely Creation vs. Evolution. But there are many documented cases of Intelligent Design proponents being bullied, terminated, or forced to resign for supporting ID.
In my experience, our side is much more open to free inquiry than the other side. Question evolution respectfully and reasonably on PZ Myers’s blog and see if you get a polite education on the fundamentals of evolutionary theory and how well it’s supported in multiple branches of science, with helpful links and suggested reading. (Spoiler alert: You won’t. They’ll try to make you cry by calling you names with crass descriptions of bodily orifices combined with colorful metaphors for excrement.)
Tomorrow, we’ll look at what this user put at the top of his list.