Sunday, 11 January 2015

Disabling the Safety Valve

From time to time people commit odious crimes in the name of religion, yet most religious people do not feel impelled to behave like that, and many atrocities are committed in the name of non-religious causes

It is therefore often held that religion plays no part, that people who'd be delinquent anyway just use their religion as an excuse.

I think that may let religion off too lightly.

One thing that can hold us back from extreme action is a habit of thinking before we act and scrutinising our motives critically. Many religions, on the other hand, advocate what they call 'faith', which involves making some beliefs immune from criticism. Someone with faith in an impulse to kill is unlikely to reason themselves out of their folly.

Religion may not teach people to murder, but  training people to block reason with faith may disable a useful safety valve.

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