God isn’t our problem

This blog is not going to be relentless debate about science and religion.  But since we got started on the subject, I have one more thing to say at the moment.  Two books attacking religion have hit the best seller list recently.  The first is by Richard Dawkins at Oxford University, an undisputed giant in the field of evolution.  The other is by Christopher Hitchens, a well-known and experienced journalist.  Both more or less suggest that religion causes people to do a lot of evil things and that the world would be better off without it.

I don’t quite see it that way.  Yes, every religion in the world, including Christianity, has been used by societies and individuals to justify the most horrifying atrocities, and supported the slaughter of millions of our fellow humans.  Yes, sometimes religion is used as a crutch by people too afraid to accept the responsibility that belongs to each of us.  Yes, Freud, who called religion a father-substitute, and Weber, and Marx can all point of evidence of the wholesale abuse of religious belief.

But would getting rid of religion solve our problems?  Or would we find some other justification for our murderous and egocentric behaviors?  I suspect the history of the 20th century suggests the latter.  Millions and millions of people were killed by godless regimes, using secular theories that were overtly aetheistic. 

It’s not the idea of God that turns us into childish or murderous beasts.  It is we who turn the idea of God into some ghastly blown-up caricature of our own feeble selves.

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About Terry Sissons

Terry Sissons is the author of The Big Bang to Now: All of Time in Six Chunks, and this blog is a dialogue about the universe and what’s happened in the last 13 billions years.
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