We’d be better off without religion?

We’d be better off without religion

I am amazed by the extraordinary ignorance, sloppiness, distortion and dogmatism of many critics of religion. It seems that in anti-religious circles the biggest, loudest bullshit artist is the hero. It does not take much effort to present a compelling critique of many instantiations of religion. But to critique religion in the general and abstract with strawman arguments and blatant sophistry is just another form of bigotry, rivaling anything the worst of religion has to offer.

Lyn Allison is positively Maoist.

Only Ian Plimer does a good job of answering in the negative.

I would have pointed out that the question is fundamentally invalid. Religion is not uniform in its expressions and to treat it as such is disingenuous. And of course, these critics of religion mention only the worst instantiations of religion; they have nothing to say about the good.

Unsurprisingly, they have nothing bad to say about regimes which have tried to subjugate, suppress and eliminate religion, such as Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Hussein’s Iraq, Shwe’s Burma or Hitler’s Germany. That’s the short list. Indeed, just about every war in history was started by a nation which in some way, to greater or lesser degree, subjugated or suppressed some forms of religious expression – usually those critical of the abuse of state power.

And what is a religion? I would define a religion as a ‘way’. For example, a way to enlightenment, a way to salvation or a way to a better world. Using this definition, some instantiations of secular humanism are clearly religious in promoting their ethos as a way to a better world. Would we be better off without secular humanism? (That’s a rhetorical question, of course).

There is one thing we can learn from debates such as this: we would be better off without anti-religious bigotry.


One Response to “We’d be better off without religion?”

  1. We are all religious « Behold the man Says:

    […] I have argued before, secular humanism can be religious. Here is someone who argues that we are all religious, but some […]

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