Against all gods 22

A. C. Grayling, Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, writes in his book Against All Gods (Oberon Books, London, 2007):

It is time to reverse the prevailing notion that religious commitment is intrinsically deserving of respect, and that it should be handled with kid gloves and protected by custom and in some cases law against criticism and ridicule. It is time to refuse to tiptoe around people who claim respect, consideration, special treatment, or any other kind of immunity, on the grounds that they have a religious faith, as if having faith were a privilege-endowing virtue, as if it were noble to believe in unsupported claims and ancient superstitions. It is neither. Faith is a commitment to belief contrary to evidence and reason… [T]o believe something in the face of evidence and against reason – to believe something by faith – is ignoble, irresponsible and ignorant, and merits the opposite of respect.

He further asserts that ‘it is the business of all religious doctrines to keep their votaries in a state of intellectual infancy’, and that ‘inculcating [any one of] the various competing falsehoods of the major [or minor, for that matter] faiths into small children is a form of child abuse, and a scandal’.

With these opinions we agree.

But we are not  sure that he is right when he  declares in the same book that religion is on the decline, and ‘as a factor in public and international affairs it is having what might be its last – characteristically bloody – fling’.

If he is alluding to the jihad being waged by Islam on the rest of the world – as he surely is – it is certainly bloody. But whether it will prove to be religion’s last act on the world stage, or  fail in its aim to spread Islam as the predominant faith and only system of law on earth, is uncertain. A belief that mankind as a whole is continually progressing towards an ever more reason-directed future, can only be held on faith. Grayling seems to have that belief, that faith. But we do not.

With the spread of Islam through Europe, and the election of Obama in America, there is a double threat  to individual liberty, and so to the triumph of reason; because reason can flourish, create, and persuade, only where individuals are free.

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, Europe, Islam, jihad, Judaism, Religion general, Socialism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Friday, August 28, 2009

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