I was recently asked in a comment: “… what makes you think that religion will irrationally destroy the human race if left alone? All the religions, not only the Christian, speak about good personal and moral values, how would this destroy the human race?”
The response is lengthy (and getting off topic from the previoius post), so I felt it deserved its own coverage.
First of all, if Christianity or any religion were ONLY about good moral values, I would never have said what I did. But unfortunately, every religion that has survived into today has survived for a reason: it hitched its wagon to a myriad of ideas that helped that religion survive. Some of these ideas are good, but some are profoundly bad. All the following are ideas common to most major religions in the world today (feel free to insert the names of your own deities, holy books, and religions):
- You are a better/saved/redeemed person because you are <insert religious affiliation>
- Only good things come from <insert deity name>.
- You should trust <insert deity name> and do not trust your own intellect. Your intellect will deceive you.
- If you are deceived, you might go to <insert name of terrible place> after you die.
- Instead of thinking too much, you should let the <insert name of holy book> guide your actions.
- When you are being Holy, you are doing good things, which is really <insert deity name> doing those things.
- Defending <insert religion name> is the obligation of every holy person.
- Anyone who attacks the holy doctrine of <insert religion name> must be opposed.
- According to <insert name of holy book> this opposition can sometimes take the form of violence.
- Dying for <insert name of religion> would make you a martyr (i.e., a hero.)
- This life is not important, only the next one, so if you end up killing people in the name of <insert name of religion> you are actually doing the work of <insert name of deity>.
Let’s take an example of a random Islamic man. He feels he is “good,” and is likely seen as “good” by his friends and family. He is hospitable, friendly, generous, gives to the poor, etc. He believes that these good works come from some “divine” unction that he is quick to attribute to his faith. That is, after all, the humble and holy way to approach one’s own goodness. That same man, given the right circumstances, might also fire an RPG into a school. He will do it in the name of his faith, and in so doing believe he is doing “good.”
And don’t think that Christians are immune to this behavior! To all Christians, I would ask this question: do you believe the Bible is 100% God’s word, 90% God’s word, 50% God’s word, or maybe only 10% God’s word? If you think it is 0% God’s word, then why are you a Christian? If you think it is only 10% God’s word, then the “magical” properties you give that 10% of the book validate the same magical properties used by those people who say that the Bible is 100% God’s word. In the end, Christianity is a force that will not rest until it validates 100% of the Bible as God’s word. The same is true of Judaism, and Islam. So the same “divine” unction that compelled the crusades, the burning of witches, and the persecution of the Jews could find its potential in every Christian alive today. Only today, the Spanish Inquisition would really mean total nuclear annihilation.
So that is why I think Religion will ultimately destroy humanity if left to itself.