Friday, January 16, 2009

Does Religion Poison Everything? and Other Stupid Questions

Surely religion doesn't poison everything; surely that's an unfair exaggeration. Well, consider that the Catholic Church has made public the five very worst moral offenses it can bring itself to countenance, and has noted that

[f]or the "five worst sins" ... confession is not enough, and a special dispensation from the Pope himself is needed for absolution ...
So what are these offenses? Murder? Rape? Torture? Lying? Genocide? Running too many commercials during the end of a movie? Doing all of the above while putting pygmy rabbits in blenders? No. This is their list (quoted as summarized here):
  • "abortion"

  • "using the Eucharistic host in Satanic rites;" and pointedly including non-Satanic maltreatment of enchanted crackers:
    In July last year an American academic, to make a point about freedom of thought and religion, drove a nail through a Communion wafer and then threw it in a rubbish bin.
  • "paedophile offences committed by the clergy;"

  • "violation of the secrets of the confessional;"

  • "offences against the person of the Pope"
These are the Catholic Church's top five moral offenses. It is no surprise that a world view grounded in falsehoods, fantasies, and wish fulfillment ends in conclusions and priorities such as these. Not that competing Christian sects, Islam, or Judaism fare any better: in all of these cases, equally false premises lead to equally false conclusions. Garbage in, garbage out.

No, religion does not poison everything. It only poisons the very most important of things by distorting right and wrong beyond recognition.

More on this can be found from Rust Belt Philosophy, Ophelia Benson, The Bad Astronomer, and last but not least, the great defiler himself, PZ Myers, who feebly attempts to name greater offenses than the mistreatment of enchanted crackers.

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