Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"...some religious views are toxic..."

From an article in the Buffalo News: 'In another commentary, R. Joseph Hoffman, a professor at Wells College, writes that, "It is time for the West to live and embrace the secularism it espouses, not to hide behind an outworn creed, a pagan pretense of religious magnanimity, a nutty and defeasible belief that religion is benign and thus should be protected. Expression - instantiated as murder, arson and riot - proves that some religious views are toxic and cannot be tolerated."'

What do you think? It's easy to say that "murder, arson and riot" are not defensible... but where do we draw the line? The article is written by and for secular humanists-- Paul Kurtz, the publisher, also publishes Prometheus Books and the Secular Humanist magazine and is a Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York at Buffalo. The authors, and their intended base readership, generally hold religion in low esteem, but they are a minority in the world. Religious people appear to dominate.

But what if the atheists are right? Is religion a malign influence on human culture and society? Does the good we associate with our religions mitigate the harm associated with religion (the Crusades, the jihad, etc --I'm sure I don't need to list them all!)?

What would a world without the public and visible presence of religion be like?

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