Lorena had a great question on her blog last week. For those of you who aren’t interested in following the link, she has a friend who said the following and she wanted to know how other non-theists would respond to it:
I had a classmate in high school. He was a pastor’s kid and did all the right things. He was courteous, loving, kind, friendly, etc. If religion can make a person like that, then I see nothing wrong with religion.
Here’s what I would say:
- That sounds post hoc. There are wonderful and terrible people in every religion. That doesn’t mean that one causes the other.
- Are some individuals influenced to become better human beings by their beliefs? Of course.
- I’ve also seen some people’s beliefs lead them to act much less loving, kind and compassionate than they would otherwise behave.
- Is either phenomenon limited to Christianity? Heck no. Any group with more than one member is bound to include at least one jerk.
- What about people whose behaviour isn’t tied to what they believe? Some of us have (de)converted to other labels without growing horns or a halo.
- There’s nothing wrong with being religious. There’s also nothing wrong with not being religious. What matters is how you treat people. Everything else is neckbearding.
- The only time I get irritated with other belief systems is when they’re shoved into areas in which they don’t belong. See: every U.S. presidential election I can remember.
- Why is everyone arguing about this? Let’s all go out for lemonade and cookies instead. My treat. 🙂