Sunday, June 28, 2009

The road to religious persecution

The thinking that leads to religious persecution seems to go like this.

1) Our beliefs are true, and others are false.
2) Whether you accept our beliefs or not determines whether you go to heaven or to hell.
3) The people who promulgate these other religions are putting other people's souls in danger.
4) Even if we have to forcibly stop them from so, we can prevent them from leading other people on the road to hell.
5) Therefore, the use of force in the name of religion is justified.

However, you should notice that none of the other statements on this list follow logically from 1. The problems come further down the list.

Religions don't kill people, people kill people.

4 comments:

mattghg said...

The road to secularist persecution:

1) Atheism is true, and so obviously so that religious believers must be insane.
2) Insane people can do outrageous things.
3) The peole who promulgate belief in God are putting other people's sanity in danger.
4) Even if we have to forcibly stop them from doing so, we can prevent them from leading other people on the road to insanity, and hence possibly outrageous actions.
5) Therefore, the use of force in the name of suppressing religion is justified.

Victor Reppert said...

Or, at least we can forcibly prevent people from abusing their children with such nonsense.

IlĂ­on said...

A point of commonality between the religious (*) persecutor and the atheistic/secularistic persecutor is that both are ignoring a vitally important component of their own world-view.

The religious persecutor is ignoring human freedom and moral responsibility.

Or, if the religious persecutor is a Calvinist, that he's ignoring his own insistence that God has pre-ordained who shall and shall not dwell in God's presence and that no choice of any man plays any part in this.

The atheistic/secularistic persecutor is ignoring that (as John Mellencamp put it) "nothing matters, and (so) what if it did?"



(*) Where "religious" refers to the Judeo-Christian tradition. The point I'm making doesn't apply to Islam; for Islam abjures freedom and commands that the faithful impose their faith by the sword.

Genius said...

I think they are ignoring that their actions rely on them having power and ignoring that they will have side effects that continue into places and times where they don't have power.

A simple example is a religious revolution via percecution being likely to be co-opted by future generations for just plain percecution.