Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Root Of All Evil

It's refreshing that militant Darwinist Richard Dawkins has been given the opportunity to attack religion- all religion- in his new TV series The Root Of All Evil.

On the other hand there's something a bit stringy and gristly about his case.

While it's quite true that the worldwide revival of fundamentalist religion- Islamic, Christian, Hindu- is one of the scariest developments of recent years, it's quite false to argue that religion has been behind all that is bad in human history.

The greatest atrocities of the 20th century were committed by atheist or areligious regimes- Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Communist China, Communist Cambodia. The First World War had little to do with religion and everything to do with nationalism.

Human beings like to believe. They like to believe en masse. It keeps them warm. But they don't particularly need to believe in God. Any ideology will do.

And Dawkins igonores the good that religion can accomplish. It was evangelical Christians, as I wrote the other day, who broke the slave trade. And- on a different tack- recent research has shown that, as a matter of statistics, believers are more likely to be happy and fulfilled than unbelievers.

Religion is a stalk, a branch, a tendril- not a root.
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