Since there is no worldwide religious consensus, the belief in divine revelation produces this devastating dichotomy: Either God is not almighty because He was incapable of making Himself clear regarding the existence of one true religion, or the Almighty created mostly defective people who can’t recognize His clear message. Consequently, faiths based on a revelation by a god who claims to be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent must either inculcate a prejudice against nonbelievers or an aversion to impartial consideration.
Another demographic fact corroborates the conclusion that existing religions must inculcate an aversion to impartial consideration. Most countries have traditional religions; and even in the United States, there still is a correlation between an individual’s faith, and his or her parents’ religion. If most people are simply inheriting their faith then they are not choosing it; therefore, they are not choosing it responsibly. Why would a good god reward someone who selfishly embraces a religion without bothering to determine that it is a morally correct decision? If the opportunity for eternal bliss is determined mostly by the inadvertent circumstances of birth, then no existing religion could be the product of a just god.
Discrepancies destroy the credibility of an allegation; so a mysterious god shouldn’t expect to be believed. Nevertheless, the religious are so concerned with their selfish pursuit of an unjust and unreasonable reward that they don’t care whether their beliefs are just or reasonable. For instance, if you ask Catholics why their Church was once a terrorist organization that started religious wars, tortured infidels, and brutally murdered heretics, some of the true believers might quietly assume that you are in league with the devil and hope that God strikes you dead “to show that you are wrong.” Moreover, in order to maintain their status as moral authorities, religious professionals encourage their followers to endorse unjustified beliefs on faith. This outright denial of the importance of rational self-control is the most poisonous idea ever proposed; without responsible reasoning there is no restraint to propaganda or prejudice.
Responsible reasoning is so important that a halfway decent god would not have failed to emphasize it. Responsible behavior shows love; therefore, it is the key to morality. But, responsibility requires reacting to reality; so responsible reasoning requires the courage to face disturbing facts, the concern and the patience to learn about important issues, and the humility and discipline to avoid pleasing presumptions. Concern, patience, courage, humility, and discipline are virtues. In absolute contrast, immorality is produced by thoughtlessness and presumption; and every selfish prejudice is sustained by a lack of regard for responsible reasoning. Consequently, even the greatest moral principles are often meaningless when they are not implemented with responsible reasoning. For example, religions that proclaimed the golden rule still actively supported monarchy, feudalism, colonialism, slavery, and chauvinism; and religions that condemn killing still show little concern over unnecessary war. The religious disregard for responsible reasoning explains crusades, jihads, and inquisitions. In addition, it explains how the Christian-conditioned Nazis assumed their supremacist and aggressive beliefs without concern for objective justification. And, it even explains how the Christian-conditioned Bolsheviks embraced communism, atheism, and totalitarianism without sound reason or evidence. Tyrants like Bin Laden, Hitler, and Stalin will continue to attract extremist mobs so long as religions condition their adherents to embrace beliefs, like greedy children, with no concern for responsible reasoning.
To eliminate tyranny, we must accept our adult responsibilities. We must take personal responsibility for our choices; and we must accept the need for responsible reasoning. If we truly take control of our lives and demand responsive, effective, efficient, and honest political representation, then responsible governments will adopt sensible policies, and an era of peace will result.
Thomas Ulatowski is a local resident.