March 2, 2006

"What's Wrong With Religion?"

Regular readers of this blog have seen me give countless reasons for my claim that religion is a destructive force. However, the most common question I get from those who are new here is why I say religion is destructive. "What's wrong with religion? Look at all the good that has come from religion."

Maybe they are right. Maybe the good from religion far outweighs the bad. What exactly is the bad? Off the top of my head and in no particular order, religion has brought us:

1. Christians slaughtering pagans (315 - 6th century)
2. Christians slaughtering Muslims (Crusades)
3. Muslims slaughtering Christians (Crusades)
4. Christians torturing and killing "heretics" (Inquisition, witch trials)
5. Christians burning books, heavy metal records, etc.
6. Muslims calling for the death of an author they didn't like (Rushdie)
7. Christians supporting slavery on biblical grounds (~ American Civil War)
8. Christians opposing suffrage on biblical grounds
9. Muslims calling for death to all Christians and Jews (cartoon rage)
10. Jews and Muslims killing each other (from the origin of Israel to present)
11. Christians bombing abortion clinics
12. Muslim terrorism in America (WTC, 9/11)
13. Christians slaughtering Jews (throughout history)
14. Christians slaughtering Native Americans

Even if religion has brought (false) hope, (false) comfort, (false) optimism about the future, a willingness to accept one's fate (and not rock the boat of the ruling class), and has been used to explain why some people do good things (people who would be good people with or without superstition), this pales in comparison to the long and distinguished history of religious atrocities. For the sake of humanity, it is time to let go of this destructive superstition.