Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ditto That Last Religion Thing

A Toxic Mix? President Bush, himself a born-again Christian, courts religious voters at a church in New Orleans (Photo - David Scull for Newsweek)

Newsweek sure has grown a spine since that whole "retracting the Koran flushing at Guantanamo Bay" dust-up in 2005. The story that goes with the above photo is entitled "A Dissent: The Case Against Faith" and was penned by none other than Sam Harris, whose website is accessible through the link on this blog -> -> ->

Here's a sampling for all of you Elton John fans out there :

Despite a full century of scientific insights attesting to the antiquity of life and the greater antiquity of the Earth, more than half the American population believes that the entire cosmos was created 6,000 years ago. This is, incidentally, about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue. Those with the power to elect presidents and congressmen—and many who themselves get elected—believe that dinosaurs lived two by two upon Noah's Ark, that light from distant galaxies was created en route to the Earth and that the first members of our species were fashioned out of dirt and divine breath, in a garden with a talking snake, by the hand of an invisible God.

It is, of course, taboo to criticize a person's religious beliefs. The problem, however, is that much of what people believe in the name of religion is intrinsically divisive, unreasonable and incompatible with genuine morality. One of the worst things about religion is that it tends to separate questions of right and wrong from the living reality of human and animal suffering. Consequently, religious people will devote immense energy to so-called moral problems—such as gay marriage—where no real suffering is at issue, and they will happily contribute to the surplus of human misery if it serves their religious beliefs.


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