On Beliefnet, Rod Dreher offers a study in contradictions, starting with the title: Atheism and our inhuman nature. If human nature has a tendency towards evil, then evil isn’t inhuman, is it?
Then, as part of his argument for the necessity of religion, he cites atrocities in the Congo, then states:
This is not a matter of religion, or no religion. This is a matter of human nature, and what human beings are capable of absent civilized restraints. If you think people are bad with God, just imagine what they’re capable of without Him. I finished the Kristof column and thought to myself, “How is it that people still believe in the basic goodness of man?”
So if this is not a matter of religion or no religion, why, exactly, would religion help? In places like the Congo, or Rwanda, or any of the other places horrific things take place on a massive scale, are we to believe that by introducing (presumably) Christian morals, the rape, torture, and genocide would magically go away? This is a bit like shipping solar-powered bibles to earthquake victims who are starving and dying from lack of the most basic supplies – ignoring the overwhelming *real* needs in favor of imaginary ones. Not to mention completely overlooking the unspeakable persecutions currently being inflicted on gays in Uganda by a government heavily influenced by “The Family.”
But that’s not a contradiction, it’s just stupid. This is a contradiction:
And I believe having God — in the sense of professing belief in Him — is not enough to prevent individuals and sometimes entire societies from turning to evil (I think from time to time of a story I told here about Serbian butchers — Orthodox Christians, presumably — massacring innocent Bosnian Muslims; it was related to me by my friend Rich, who was haunted by the black mold on the wall of the warehouse, feeding on the bodily fluids of the murdered men). But if we are to be good, God must be present, and present in a real way in our hearts, such that His laws are binding on our conduct.
The cognitive dissonance is absolutely deafening. It’s like there’s an invisible 11th commandment, “Thou shalt disagree with thine own self.” Or maybe “Thou shalt not make any fucking sense at all, for the sensemakers are an abomination unto the Lord your God.”
In other news, Religious belief is likely a by-product of human moral reasoning, suggest psychologists.