An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
It inevitably happens. Atheists will look at the current crisis in the Middle East and see in it an apologetic for their atheism...another, in a long list, of reasons why religion is bad. In THIS editorial, the author begins with the assumption that "religion is not a primary need."
Naturally, I am going to spout off...as a former atheist who would have jumped onto this same bandwagon, I am obliged (sorta) to explain why the author is full of fecal material.
The author is proceeding from a very narrow darwinistic worldview, as such he ought to no better than to "worry" about humans killing each other. His worldview should expect as such, as surely as a chimpanzee might kill another chimpanzee for ____________ (fill in the motive, make sure to include "food" as an option.)
Killing one aother over religious issues has not - as of yet - inhibited mankind's ongoing survival. Rather it seems we've done just fine in being "fruitfull and multiplying" despite what the author feels is our need to kill one another over religion. I see no reason to expect further religious fighting to bring us to extinction, but even if it does...hey, that's darwinism in action, get used to it.
Also, I'm not entirely sure that "recreation" qualifies as a "primary need" along with air, food, and water....but I digress.
One day, when I have more time than I do now, I will sit down and do the math. As this author tries to imply with this line: "But we kill each other over religion. By the millions we kill each other." But how about some real stats? Do we really know how many people have been killed over religion? How many people have been killed for Atheism? Didn't Stalin and his state of official atheism kill some 30 million people? Hmmm...I gonna go out on a limb and guess that religion doesn't have a corner on killing millions.
"We plot nuclear war and plan the use of other weapons of mass destruction to assert such 'truths.'" Hmmm...I've never seen a nuke used as a sort of bathroom tract, but maybe the author has experienced something different than me? I know, personally, of no Christians plotting a nuclear war to assert the truths of Jesus Christ.
A couple of more specific points: What is happening now in the Middle East is about far more that religion, if the author thinks otherwise then the author is a dunderhead. A second point, while all people may be created equally, the same cannot and MUST NOT be said of religions. Furthermore, if religion were to vanish tomorrow, does the author really believe that humans would see a radical decline in the number of wars and murders? Has the author ever considered times when religion has actually stayed the hand of war? Given pause to the mind of a potential murderer? What in atheism would lead me to concern myself with killing, anymore than a chimpanzee would be concerned with eating a rival clans baby chimpanzees? As far as I know, the animal world can be a very violent and brutal place with not a lick of religion to be found.
The claims that more people have died because of religion in the past century always rely on numbers that include the Jews killed by Hitler and the Christians killed by Stalin. I guess the logic goes like, "If they weren't Jews, Hitler wouldn't have killed them. Therefore, religion is responsible for their deaths."
"Look what you made me do!" is the reasoning of wife-beaters, and has no place in an honest debate. But, here it is.
'The First Scientific Proof of God' (my new book) says that secularism and atheism will degenerate The scientific proof of God also shows that Science and Religion have always been one but never detected. Beyond the book on these points, see http://georgeshollenberger.blogspot.com/.
You argue that religion and atheism have caused more unnatural deaths than other factors. You make sense because man's evil behaviors originate in the human mind. This evilness originates from the mind of man through the many different symbolic languages that nations have developed as highly irrational national languages.
When I retired from crime research with the US Department of justice, I speculated that the cause of man's evilness has a root cause. It just took me a few years to find this fundamental cause. This causality is also found in my new book.
Religion has only lately been the driving factor behind violence in the Middle East: nationalism, fascism, tribalism, and other rather mundane -isms were the driving forces. There was a time when Palestinians venerated Marx far more than Mohammed; Che over Ali.
And out of all the violence in the twentieth century, very little of it can be tied to explicitly or even mostly religious motivations (unless we want to make things like Maoism and Marxism fall under the religious category). The rise of religiously motivated violence has developed out of nationalist-driven violence- granted, often salted with some religious sentiments and often deriving from religious divisions- ie the Pakistani/Indian conflict before jihadist groups developed and began blowing up people, and eventually usurping the more nationalistic terrorists. Another case in point would be the conflict in Northern Ireland, in which religion was a major factor (more so than many other places) yet was subsumed in a much more ethnic/nationalist conflict.
Even today much radicalism, whether it be Islamic or Hindu or whatever, even while much more religious in nature than through much of the last century, is still tied to nationalism or ethnic identities.
But attacking religion as the root of all evil is terribly convenient, for both leftists and (some) rightists: it distracts from the reality in which quite godless (often proudly so!) ideologies of both left (mostly) and right cheerily slaughtered untold millions in the last century, with little or no religious contamination.
This unfortunate columnist is living proof that no one should be allowed to pass the 7th grade without a demonstrated command of basic logic. And I do mean basic: just Aristotelian Square-of-Opposition stuff, what makes a syllogism valid or invalid --- you know, kid stuff, or what used to be, before education was redefined as social conditioning. If this twit were a student of mine, I'd rap him up-side the head and make him write 1000 times on the chalkboard, "I will not take money for committing every informal fallacy in the book, and camouflage it as intellectual discourse."
At bottom, any atheist who actually bothers to show some kind of warrant for his position already falsifies that position. This is because, wittingly or unwittingly, a thoroughgoing atheist is committed to some form of materialistic monism or, what is very similar, philosophic naturalism. That is, the physical is the Whole Show. Fine: If you believe that, then you should just shut up about it, because every defense or attempted rational demonstration of your conviction is trans-natural, presupposing all kinds of things such as meaning, coherent symbolic systems, and beings who can connect with each other's MINDS, as distinguished from that squishy thing inside our skulls --- you know: Personhood. In short, atheists should only be seen. If they are heard "giving reasons," then someone should ask them why that random collocation of atoms known as speech or writing has any more authority than anything else.
But let's assume, just for laughs, that this hack thinks that logic is important. In that manifestly unlikely event, he should define his terms before using them for predication. What is survival, and why is it important? If it's just about eating, sleeping, defecating, and reproducing in a non-personal, dead-end reality, then one could argue that nationalism, religionism, and all other -isms, when put into practice, are just evolved ways of marking one's territory (like peeing on your own lawn) so that the aforementioned biological functions have sufficient space in which to occur. "Isms," then, are necessary for survival, so what's the problem? Why would he make value judgements about what is mere necessity? Obviously, Evolution, in its infinite wisdom, has decided not to weed out this obstinate tendency toward worship, sacrifice, loyalty, duty, martyrdom, etc. Who is he to question Infinite Wisdom?
And oh yes, James, including recreation on the list of Necessities is just plain comical. Can everyone say faux pas?
But then, so far from seeing the actual state of affairs (religion, nationalism, and so on, as virtually universal realities) as the latest and greatest manifestation of Evolution, he now wants us to understand that these are impediments to Evolution. Again referring back to bloody obvious logic, two questions should immediately occur: 1. How did such manifestly non-physical features evolve in the first place, on materialist or philosophical naturalist presuppositions? 2. After he's answered Question 1. (yeah, that'll happen), I'd like to hear him explain why the Infinite Wisdom of Impersonal Matter chose to allow the evolution of its own obstacle.