Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Religion is Immoral

Atheist When I see stories like this I'm reminded why I reject the notion of religious belief.

Members of Iran's feared Basij militia forcibly marry female virgin prisoners the night before scheduled executions, raping their new "wives" and making it religiously acceptable to execute them …

Question: Who would claim this is moral behaviour? Answer: Those who committed this atrocity.

And in their own twisted little context, they’re right.

After all, under strict Islamic law, the greater immorality would be to execute them as virgins, so raping them prior to execution is the greater moral act.

And this, dear friends, is what religious belief does.

It tells us our natural and evolved sense of right and wrong can’t be trusted. It tells us our moral sense comes from without, bestowed upon us by an all-knowing God. It tells us to deny our innate sense of justice and submit to a greater will, even if we don’t understand it.

Of course in practice that “greater will” is the Word as interpreted by the priesthood and clergy.

If we’re lucky, the clergy in question will trust their innate sense of justice and selectively promote the truly good messages from their scriptures. We see this, for example, in Christian ministers who leave out the bits about burning in hell and concentrate on Christ’s social justice message.

But all that’s happening then is that the religious message is being manipulated to ape the simple message of humanism. The religion becomes subject to the person.

If we’re doing that, then why bother with the religion at all? If the message has value, then all this supernatural window-dressing is just a distraction.

And it can be a dangerous distraction, because sometimes we’re not so lucky.

Combine that “greater will” instead with a dictatorial theocracy and a brutalised culture, and all of a sudden the person becomes horribly subject to the religion.

The person is considered nothing more than a tabula rasa for the clerical moral code. The individual’s sense of right and wrong is rendered wholly irrelevant.

And before you know it, raping virgins is perfectly OK.


Dave ~ said...

Heavy topic, but true.

If religion, any religion, concentrated on the good, helped those in need and lead by example rather than spend their time demonising science, then i might go easier on them. It is possible.

Go back a few years, OK, a lot of years, to the middle ages, Islam was the only shining light in an age of horror and ignorance. Islam was forging ahead with scientific and scholarly advances. Now....not so much.
The trouble with religion is that while some may start their faiths with the good intentions (but, as we know that not always the case) it is always diverted by petty personal greed, pride and malice. I have a problem with all religions because they are all built on ignorance and superstition - BUT anyone who believes in something ridiculous can still do good - it's just a shame most settle for multiplying ignorance, self aggrandisation and using it as an excuse to destroy.

Quick Joe Smith said...

I think that it is like any institution insofar as they tend to shift inevitably towards self-preservation as a primary goal. The rituals, the buildings, the influence, an increasing amount of energy is focused onto these instead of whatever the movement was about before it had lots of fancy buildings, political influence and funny robes. Maybe they always had the robes.

In Buddhism, it's a form of attachment. It is often illustrated by the idea of using a raft to cross a stream or river. Once you're on the other side, you no longer need the raft. Sometimes people just keep dragging the raft across land long after they've no further use for it.

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

I don't know if the militia are dragging raft. To me it appears as if they are pushing a barrow, using religion as an excuse to carryout sexual violence. They know that they can get away with state/religiously sanctioned rape

Quick Joe Smith said...

To me they are very much carrying unneccessary religious and cultural baggage.

While religions may begin as very revolutionary movements (Islam being no exception there) and instigate a lot of social change, they eventually lose their way and somehow assume the role as apologist for tradition, whether it's good or bad (or, in this case, horrendeous).

Not many religions are capable of embracing anything new.