Religion and Science
My email box has been flooded recently with a variety of links regarding the inherently violent nature of religion with only one clear conclusion to be drawn: religion is a social ill which needs to be corrected. Or, to use their terminology, a cultural virus to be vaccinated against.

Richard Dawkins equates religious instruction with mental abuse. While the doctrine of hell may cause sleeplessness in some, it needn't. There is another way. And at any rate, teaching it certainly isn't as painful as experiencing it.

In a lecture delivered to Amnesty International, psychologist Nicholas Humphrey asserts that while freedom of expression is a fundamental right, it should be limited in an area fundamental to who we are as humans: the expression of religion. Comparing imparting one's religious values to female circumcision, he argues that the "cultural virus" (Dawkin's term) must be eradicated by separating the parent from child. He provides an interesting test:
...I want to propose a general test for deciding when and whether the teaching of a belief system to children is morally defensible. As follows. If it is ever the case that teaching this system to children will mean that later in life they come to hold beliefs that, were they in fact to have had access to alternatives, they would most likely not have chosen for themselves, then it is morally wrong of whoever presumes to impose this system and to choose for them to do so. No one has the right to choose badly for anyone else.
Now, I have a question. Since I came to Christ as an adult, once I had an alternative to the pseudo-scientific dogmatism presented to me in the public school and the spiritual vacuum provided by my parents, I guess the teaching of America's public schools fails the test. I would not have chosen that path for myself and made appropriate corrections to that path once the necessity became clear. So we are back to the question of who is best qualified to make decisions for the child until he is cognitively mature enough to make such decisions for himself. The parent or the state?

Another attack on religion, from someone who also proposes changing the Constitution to read "Freedom from Religion" instead of "Freedom of Religion. And a distorted argument. I had to read it twice to make sense of it, but as a note of clarification, "religion" does not deny the existence of objective truth, and thus using or referring to the scientific method by a Christian does not negate any religious views of the world.

These arguments do not occur in a vacuum and ideas have consequences. Lenin targeted the "bourgeois" (and parents lost the right to give their children a religious education), Hitler targeted the genetically "inferior" (and made sure there was no way for a child to be educated but through the public schools, completely eliminating private schools and encouraging children to spy on their parents for the state) and Pol Pot, in his plan for a classic, utopian society, targeted all religions and completely reorganized the fundamental system of the family.

Dawkins' and Humphrey's ideas are not new. The natural consequences are documented in the photo essays linked above. While many are beginning to claim that religion is the source of the world's wars, we cannot overlook the genocide which has occurred in the attempt to eradicate it.

As Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl writes in The Doctor and the Soul,
I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and in the lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers.
(The photo is of an unidentified girl, tortured and then murdered in the Cambodian genocide. The photo is from the Cambodian Genocide Program archives.)

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