correction - William Cavanaugh isn't a theologian but is a professor of theology at a chicago university
Challenge to Athiests - is Religion a Pox on Mankind?
Thanks Ruby, I will check out the book later.
Cofty, of course you are right, (as usual dammit), it was the much missed Hitch who entitled his book:
"God is not Great :-how Religion poisons everything".
I cannot fault that premise. Religion is Toxic.
In answer to the question in the title = yes.
However the impulse came about in mankind - and however it could be used for good - it has been (and will remain) a blight upon us.
I reckon anyways.
(Brilliant link btw - learnin iz fun!)
I am not so sure that religion will always be with us. The Human mind evolved, quite quickly really, to take on new concepts, and reject old ones.
I forsee a time when nearly all Humans have matured mentally to the point where religion is not just seen as redundant, but as a poison.
We non-Theists are simply better evolved than believers who subscribe to a religion. (Phizzy hides quickly in a secret Bomb shelter).
Individual's belief and faith may continue for a little longer, but religions, made up by men, for the benefit of men, to control other men, and to keep women enslaved, will go. And not before time.
"Religion poisons everything."
'how religion poisons everything' is a rather ridiculous title for a book. As David Bentley Hart says:
"one does still have to wonder how he expects any reflective reader to interpret such a phrase. Does he really mean precisely everything? Would that apply, then—confining ourselves just to things Christian—to ancient and medieval hospitals, leper asylums, orphanages, almshouses, and hostels? To the golden rule, “Love thine enemies,” “Judge not
lest ye be judged,” prophetic admonitions against oppressing the poor, and commands to feed and clothe and comfort those in need? To the music of Palestrina and Bach, Michelangelo’s Pietà, “ah! bright wings,” San Marco’s mosaics, the Bible of Amiens, and all that gorgeous blue stained glass at Chartres? To the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, and contemporary efforts to liberate Sudanese slaves? And so on and so on?"
Yes Laika it means that. Even the golden rule is ruined when approriated by religion.
Not appropriated by religion, invented by it.
I'm not sure why a long list of religious people who advocated the Golden rule helps your case?
As Mr Hart goes on to say:
"Surely it cannot be the case that, if only purged of the toxin of faith, these things would be even better than they are; were it not for faith, it seems fairly obvious, most of them would have no existence at all. And since none of these things would seem to fall outside the general category of “everything,” it must be that Hitchens means (assuming he means anything at all) that they fall outside the more specific category of “religion.” This would, at any rate, be in keeping with one of the rhetorical strategies especially favored in New Atheist circles: one labels anything one dislikes—even if it is found in a purely secular setting—“religion” (thus, for example, all the twentieth-century totalitarianisms are “political religions” for which secularists need take no responsibility), while simultaneously claiming that everything good, in the arts, morality, or any other sphere—even if it emerges within an entirely religious setting—has only an accidental association with religious belief and is really, in fact, common human property (so, for example, the impulse toward charity will doubtless spring up wherever an “enlightened” society takes root). By the same token, every injustice that seems to follow from a secularist principle is obviously an abuse of that principle, while any evil that comes wrapped in a cassock is unquestionably an undiluted expression of religion’s very essence.