This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
On religion and persecution
I guess that's the whole thing, the concept of accepting a liberal democratic system. Autocratic political systems usually seek religious, or anti-religious uniformity. Democratic ones don't, because you can't run a democracy in a religiously pluralistic culture without allowing religious freedom. Christianity doesn't mandate the development of a Christian state, although Christian autocrats have tried to have one. But all the Bible says about governing is "Render unto Caesar." Islam's a different story, it's a recipe for running a government, which is why America was foolish to try to force a Democratic Iraq. Communists were autocrats, and so they did some persecuting.
You do get fantasizing from Dennett about putting Baptists in cultural zoos, and you Jerry Coyne said this:
Somehow—and this will never happen, of course—it should be illegal to indoctrinate children with religious belief.
Rhetoric that treats religion as a delusion that is dangerous to society opens the possibility that someone using political power might try to wipe it out using that power. But such an attempt would be difficult within the framework of a democratic governmental system. But it might occur in subtle ways.
While this line of reasoning, to a large extent, lets atheists of the hook from the charge of wanting to force their lack of religion on others, it also goes a long way toward showing that blaming Christianity for religious persecutions is a misplaced charge. The cure for religious or anti-religious violence is not giving government the job of generating religious uniformity. That's why you have to go back a few centuries for cases of Christian based violence. The trick is to stop using the government to enforce religious belief, something that Christians have pretty much accepted for the last few centuries.