Maybe it’s religion that should be censored (get on a tee)

I like typography so I was reading wordboner’s blog and he had a recent post.

Which is offensive in a way, but I understand what he is saying so it isn’t terribly so. It’s also rather witty; though I don’t like the witticism it is undeniably so.

I will ignore for the moment whether or not religion of any sort actually justifies the violence done its name and in fact whether instigators of such violence do not actually have ulterior motives. Something we ought to note is unlikely true if we dig into most instance of “religious” violence.

Essentially he asks, why would we not censor God when so much evil is done in the name of God? Religion he says is something done every moment of every day, it’s not a Sunday morning sort of thing. Real religion is a life. And real religion, apparently, causes some really bad things.

Now I find this interesting. I suppose he means God is discredited because or what people do for God. To answer which I will merely recycle an argument from Chesterton: precisely the reason we should believe in God is because people are capable of doing such abhorrent things in His name.

It is of course the case that people to bad things for all manner of reasons. People kill in the name of love. People kill in the name of mammon. People kill for sex. People kill, with very little justification necessary. But this does not necessarily mean that the excuse we use should be toned down or censored; though in some cases I agree. Ought we discredit democracy because of the Revolutionary War or fraternity because of the French Revolution or equality because of the Civil War? Clearly no.

But that aside, is it not the case that throughout history that people are always and everywhere revealing themselves as barbarians; doing things which are obviously evil in the name of anything they think is right. You can sway someone to do something immoral for very bad reasons, you can persuade a nation to die for the fuehrer or an inmate to murder in order to get in the gang. Why then we should be surprised that people would everywhere and always be convinced to do bad things in the name of achieving something unquestionably good? Why should we wonder if someone would kill for beauty if someone would kill for spite? If someone will start a fight over a slight, why would you be surprised that he would murder if he has been that everything holds dear is threatened?

Humanity has never revealed itself to be much more than a mass of particularly cognizant apes. We act poorly for bad reasons, give us a good reason and the wonder is that religious people are not much more violent. Indeed, I think we can argue that it is a great proof of religion that you could give them such huge reason to act awfully and find they are so surprisingly docile.

That you could give humanity something which gives everything a purpose and meaning, which animates everything in life, which fills his imagination with angels and demons at every turn, which makes everything a friend or enemy and then wonder that when he sees that vision threatened he turns mad is very silly. Religion is the opiate of the soul, it is a wonder that the addicts are pacific. It is a wonder that so few have gone mad and so many have become saints.

In my opinion then, the violence of religion is proof not that it is false, but that it is true.