Monday, October 15, 2007

Inherently Immoral?

From what I understand, one of Christopher Hitchens' saws is that religion is inherently immoral. I'm not exactly sure what his arguments are (I haven't yet had a chance to read his book "God Is Not Great"), but I don't think I can go along with him on this.

It seems to me that religion is neither inherently moral or immoral. It's just irrational. Irrational beliefs, as I have said many times on this blog, inevitably lead to irrational behavior, and often immoral behavior too. But in and of itself, absent the human ability to turn any idea, thought, or tool into a weapon or a reason to destroy, I'm not sure religion is any more inherently immoral than a hammer, which can be used as both a tool to build and a weapon to destroy.

Now, as my friend Paul points out, all humans are, at times and to a greater or lesser degree, irrational. One of my favorite quotes is that "humans are thinking machines, just not very good ones." And humans act and think irrationally for lots of reasons aside from religion. But the reason I particularly target religious belief and the religious for irrationality is that religion, in general, makes a virtue of irrationality, and is therefore inherently dangerous, but not necessarily inherently immoral.


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