Thursday, December 23, 2010

Would the World Be Better Without Religion?

By Mary Theroux

A Facebook friend of mine posted his response to a poll: “Would the world be better without religion?” two days ago, generating, to date, 3,627 comments—by far the most I’ve ever seen for any single Facebook posting, and remarkable for one with 481 "Friends"...

So why this hostility to “religion”? A much-repeated phrase is something along the lines of “religion is responsible for all wars.” Yet even a cursory review of a list of wars exposes this as patently false:

* Hundred Years War: No
* Revolutionary War: No
* Civil War: No
* Boer War: No
* World War I: No
* World War II: No
* Vietnam War: No

And despite the much-ballyhooed framing of the current “War on Terror” as a “clash of civilizations,” “jihad,” or any other such, even the vast majority of Americans who support its prosecution do so under the mistaken belief that it protects Americans’ security rather than on religious grounds.

...Face it: the State does not itself function well as a protector of the poor, suffering, downtrodden; and most States have been primarily a deliverer of death, privation, famine, destruction. The most effective killing machines have been those that banned religion: China, the Soviet Union, Cambodia...

Yes, there are plenty of examples of evil-doers invoking the name of God to justify their actions. But are these isolated individuals the source of “religion” as the root of all evils in the world? Or are the truly large-scale horrors primarily rooted in divorcing ethics (what is right to do) from science and society: Darwinism’s "survival of the fittest" evolving through eugenics and Hitler’s Aryan supremacy and "final solution," to China’s one-child policy’s forced abortions and infanticide; to regimes killing millions of their own citizens while heralded as great leaps forward; to acceptance of the argument that the end justifies the means to perpetuate mass bombings; to a relentless quest to wrest autonomy from the individual and invest it in the State.

As Alexander Solzhenitsyn so eloquently summed it up:
Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
It seems to me the world rather needs more religion: more declarations that every individual is a beloved child of God not to be indentured, bombed, tortured, enslaved, or generally interfered with. And if indeed “God is Love,” then even John Lennon might have thought better of “and no religion too” as the answer to a hurting world. -- [Source: here]

---->"The only piece of art work in Lenin’s office was a kitsch statue of an ape sitting on a heap of books—including Origin of Species—and contemplating a human skull. This … comment in clay on Darwin’s view of man, remained in Lenin’s view as he worked at his desk, approving plans or signing death warrants … . The ape and the skull were a symbol of his faith, the Darwinian faith that man is a brute, the world is a jungle, and individual lives are irrelevant. Lenin was probably not an instinctively vicious man, though he certainly ordered a great many vicious measures. Perhaps the ape and the skull were invoked to remind him that, in the world according to Darwin, man’s brutality to man is inevitable. In his struggle to bring about the “worker’s paradise” though “scientific” means, he ordered a great many deaths. The ape and the skull may have helped him stifle whatever kindly or humane impulses were left over from a wholesome childhood."---Antonov-Ovesyenko, A., The Time of Stalin: Portrait of a Tyranny, Harper and Row, New York, 1981

1 comment:

  1. I don't know when John said that, but he was a bitter, angry, addicted, and beguiled man who (I'm guessing) never truly believed in love until his own little Sean came along. And then he died. I think he would've always avoided organized religion, but would've eventually concluded, rather, that love is God. I pray for him often.