Wednesday, April 26, 2017

An Example Of The Detrimental Effects Of Religion

There is a lady. Let's call her Carina.

Carina is 75 years old. Raised an atheist by socialist parents, she converted to catholicism at 30.

A few weeks ago, she told her children about how St. Anthony, the saint in charge of lost items, helped her find her lost wedding ring. Not only that, but her minister found the keys to the sacristy, which he had misplaced during some repair work on the building, after he had prayed to St. Anthony for help.

She was absolutely serious about that story. She really thought that the saint had helped her.

Now, Carina is highly intelligent, well educated, and had a pretty straight career going as long as she was still in the work force.

Ten years ago, she might have told the same story, but in a different tone. There would have been some irony, some winking, some tongue-in-cheekness. All that is gone.

It would not be that tragic. In fact, it might be amusing. Except that, due to the family situation, Carina has a certain amount of power over her ex husband. She drags him to church and practically forces that host down his throat. Her ex husband, of course, has left the church a million years ago and never wanted anything to do with that organisation after he left it. He used to be a very strong-willed individual, stubborn even, a successful businessman. Now he's in a wheelchair after a stroke, has trouble communicating and just lacks the willpower to assert himself. His current wife plays along because she won't risk to be the troublemaker.

Would Carina do stuff like that to anyone, if it were not for religious reasons? I highly doubt it. All her life, she was in favour of tolerance, a liberal within her community, an organizer of shared services between christians, jews, hindus and buddhists, all without any attempt to proselytize.

Of course, this development is probably due to old age, at least in part. But I maintain that a lifetime of training yourself to believe in idiotic, inconsistent, counterfactual doctrines comes at a cost. I maintain that religion is the huge destroyer of empathy, the enemy of compassion.

One cannot save another's soul without harming their personality.

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