Vantage point

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

In Defense of Religion!!!!

I am an atheist. I think god does not exist. I do not believe in any religion.

There aren't many atheists in a sample population. So we atheists tend to stick together when it comes to debates and discussions. My atheism, like theirs, follows from what I think is rational thought and logic.

So recently I was surprised to find myself disagreeing with a lot of atheists. Several columnists and writers, chief among them Richard Dawkins, have been tearing apart religion, holding it responsible for many of the world's problems. Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, etc. They speak of injustices commited in the name of religion over the years and contend that if there was no religion, the world would be a much better place.

Now whether the world would be a better place or not is something I can not be sure about. I would love to live in a world where people would not believe in a flawed and illogical concept called god. But would that world necessarily be better? I can't say.

Human history is full of massacres, oppression, injustice, and not all of them have been driven by religion. We humans are not angels, and there is hatred inside us. It will express itself. Religion has been just an excuse in many cases. It could easily have been anything else. World Wars, The American Civil War, The Korean War, Vietnam War and the Bangladesh uprising were not caused by religion. Neither did religion drive the cold war. Blaming religion seems like a classic case of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

When there are wars, massacres, and oppression, these are between two groups. These groups could be formed on the basis of anything - race, ideology, power, or religion. Most religions do not talk about killing people from other faiths. Zealots go on a killing spree because of intolerance and a desire to have their own way. And intolerance has been one of the baser instincts, long before religion came along.

By laying the blame for the world's problems at religion's feet, many atheists are actually weakening their own case. What they are saying isn't logically sound and is easily open to valid attacks.

Unless of course, this is a deliberate strategy. Maybe the atheists have seen that irrationality seems to rule the world. So let us beat the believers using their own weapons. ;)