March 23, 2006

Religion the Cause of All Violence in the World?

Terry Libby wrote in a letter to the editor recently his opinion about why people commit violence.
“Violence was one of our ancestors' major tools of survival... We inherited our violent capacities from the animal world, and I don't mean muskrats and beetles, but directly from our ancestors. Civilization is in part an attempt to both diffuse the harsher realities of nature, and tame our species' naturally selected instincts. Religion is partly an expression of human nature. A sort of magnifying glass that causes, intensifies or aggravates the brain's neurotic tendencies… The world is full of violence because its religious manias are based on the mentalities of ancient barbarians.”
It sounds to me like someone has been reading the atheist philosophers of the past. It was Karl Marx who said, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people.”
So what is the answer to world violence, bloodshed and war? Libby says, “Heck, that's easy -- Me. De-brainwash [people] from the lies and delusions of the myth-pushers, and I promise, more world ‘peace’ will follow.”
There’s one small problem with Libby’s assessment and answer of atheism. We have centuries of history that reveal the opposite. While Christianity has had its punctuations of violence, those dots are mere pinpricks against the complete backdrop of the Christian faith. Furthermore, such violence is clearly an aberration to true faith and is always revealed to be in spite of--not because of--the faith.
Atheism on the other hand, has at its core, a license and a history of violence with man as its own highest authority. In the absence of a Supreme Being there is no one and no reason to mitigate such behavior. The history of atheistic despotism illustrates the absurdity of world peace as the expected outcome of atheism.

Historically, it is undeniable that Christianity mitigates and decries the worst of man’s nature whereas atheism, provokes it; energizes it. Libby is grossly mistaken both philosophically, and historically to conclude that the absence of religion would be the panacea of the world’s woes. You think there’s violence in the world now; remove all influence of God and what you’re let with is hell on Earth.


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