Saturday, June 30, 2007

Do not Fear the Gods

In my research on Epicurus, I found this
The Epicurean Blog: This same double-standard operates when Dawkins links creed and behavior. If religion in practice fueled the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the sectarian wars of the 15th and 16th centuries would not atheism in practice be responsible for the 20th Century European charnel houses created by Hitler and Stalin? Orr criticizes the distinctions that Dawkins cites to avoid that conclusion, differences that Dawkins will not allow when considering religion.
I responded:
Dawkins does not link Hitler's and Stalin's atrocities to atheism because his premise is that atheism is not a false belief. We should not believe Christianity because it is false, and we should not be respectfully deferential to it because it is dangerous.

If we assume that a person with no false beliefs would commit no such atrocities, and that atheism is true, then we must attribute atrocious actions of atheists to other, false beliefs they hold. I don't know what distinctions Orr criticized, but truth is the one that matters.

That an idea is dangerous is not an argument that it is false, but that a idea is dangerous and false is an argument that it should be confronted.

He didn't write a book about the tooth fairy because belief in the tooth fairy hasn't shown itself to be very dangerous.

-A new fan of Epicurus