Monday School: Religion doesn’t kill people?

It’s Monday! The start of a new week only means one thing: It’s time for Monday School! Your ongoing ‘Rational Corrective To All That Nonsense You Learned Yesterday!’

Today’s lesson was inspired by a debate that is currently ongoing on an Atheist page I subscribe to on Facebook. I enjoy jumping into a good clash every now and then, but this person said something so ridiculous that is has drawn fire from many Atheists, including myself. This cause me to think of today’s question: Should religions be held accountable for all the evil that is done in its name?

It’s a fair question. If you state that abortion is murder and that the people doing it is bad and then one of your followers goes out and shoots an abortionist… are you innocent or guilty of negligent homicide for calling this person evil? It’s a fine line but one that has been debated on this page that I drop by every now and then. During this debate, one person said that when religions stop hurting and killing people on a daily basis, then people can have a real talk about the entire ‘live and let live’ attitude.

It’s a fair statement, it’s hard to preach ‘live and let live’ to Atheists when your religion is responsible for death almost everyday. To that comment, a believer lost his collective shit and left the following comment:

“Dude, religion doesn’t harm people, guns don’t harm people, people harm people and use religion and many other things as the excuse… God doesn’t say those things… PEOPLE say God said they should… The problem here isn’t Religion, it is ignorant people on a self-imposed mission…”

The ignorance that is oozing out of this response is overwhelming. First of all, the entire NRA ‘guns don’t kill people, people kill people’ nonsense is complete bullshit. Countries all over the world prove through tough gun control legislation that it is in fact guns and easy access to them that are responsible for a lot of gun deaths. Nations that impose restrictions see a drop in those deaths so it’s hard to argue with results, right? Apparently according to this guy, he’s right no matter what the data says.

There is also another flaw in this “Dude’s” logic. Guns still exist without people, whereas religion on the other hand needs people to believe in order to exist. Also, Religion is more than just a faith in today’s society, they’re organizations… and as such they can and are held accountable for the bad things they do. If this person were correct that religion isn’t responsible for what other people do, then why do court cases concerning the sex abuse scandal still move on against the church? Could you imagine the outrage if BP actually had the balls to walk into court and actually try to argue that a corporation isn’t a person and therefore isn’t responsible for what happened in the Gulf of Mexico a few years ago? That kind of logic is absurd. BP is responsible for the spill in the gulf, the church is responsible for covering up the child sex scandal as well as all the pain and suffering their scripture rains down on the world.

The truth is many religions, especially Christianity and Islam are responsible for a great number of atrocities that still continue today: Female and male genital mitigation, female subjugation, slavery, LGBT discrimination, inter-community religious violence in India, Pakistan, Burma, Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, Russia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and too many other countries to list, the war on drugs, the war on reproductive rights, clerical sex abuse, discouraging condom use even in light of the AIDS pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa, refusal to believe scientific evidence that conflicts with “holy” texts leading to anti-intellectual and anti-science bias.

Do I need to go further or start going into specifics?

Everything from honor killings to child marriage to people being executed for being gay to “slavery wasn’t that bad” being put in school textbooks along with stories that dinosaurs lived with humans 4000 years ago are all harmful to our children and future generations. We have a scientific evidence that proves certain parts of many religious texts are without a doubt, 100% false. The planet is not flat. The Earth orbits around the sun, not the other way around. The world is a lot older than 6000 years. These are not ‘theories’… they are facts and they are indisputable.

Despite the discoveries of these truths, religion continues to kill people. It does so everyday. Women and children are subject to abuse, rape, torture and even sold off as slaves all in the name of God. This is wrong, it is immoral and it is one of many reasons why organized religion is in fact evil. The majority of today’s suffering has one thing in common: it’s done in the name of God. That is something religious people should be ashamed of, especially considering that their holy books preach peace and for people to turn cheeks and love their enemy and so forth.

The fact that religious people are influenced and even in some cases instructed by their teachings and dogma to commit these atrocities then justify them by what is started in their holy books does make religion in fact an underlying motivation. Religion isn’t just part of the problem… it is the problem, period.

The Bible, The Qu’ran and Tanakh all say women are inferior to men, gays should be killed, fornicators should be killed, slavery is good, kill your enemies, beat your wives, beat your children and don’t suffer unbelievers in your midst. These texts are considered infallible and in some cases as the only source of human knowledge despite the fact that there isn’t a single shred of credible evidence to back any of it up. And while it’s technically men and women who act upon them, it is in fact religion that is influencing them to act. It is their religion that informs people of their only choices and thus influences their behavior. If we were to remove the religious element, they wouldn’t be compelled to behave in that manner because no one would be telling them that’s how they’re supposed to act.

I’m sure many people will attempt to point out that some or any person somewhere still do bad things without religion, but that doesn’t change the fact that the majority of people committing these atrocities, are doing so because they are being told it’s God’s wishes. What upsets Atheists most is the ignorance and refusal of non-violent theists. Their silence in the face of all this evil gives people the impression that they condone the actions made by their radicals. When asked to protest with us against these atrocities, we are met with silence. This is the problem with religion, no method to reign in their own radicals. This is where the laws of man need to step up and overrule the laws of unproven deities. If you can’t be moral because your God told you to, enjoy a nice six by six cell until you can. Religion is supposed to be about peace, but can someone then explain why over ninety-five percent of all incarcerated people in North America are religious? If Atheism is really immoral without God, why are they so under-represented in prisons?

Here is the bare buns truth of it all: thoughts and ideas can hurt people. When people feel or think that what they are doing is in the name of some unheard and impotent God, that is when other people, innocent people, are affected and usually in deadly ways. This is why I dislike religion and those that follow it without question. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that has been presented, many continue to stick their heads in the sand and allow one atrocity after another carry on without protest.

PJ

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