The Virus of Faith


Religion“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Steven Weinberg

I strongly urge you to watch this documentary by Richard Dawkins, which takes a good, long, hard, rational look at the damage that religion is doing to the world, and the bigotry and fundamentalism it is perpetuating. There are some truly frightening people out there, fully convinced that their version of truth is divine truth, and determined to drag us back into a dark age of ignorance. And what is even worse, they are indoctrinating the adults of tomorrow with their own twisted version of reality.

How many times has the cry echoed throughout history while the most horrific atrocities were committed: “God is on our side.”

I hope, without much hope, that one day the human race will wake up to itself and abandon primitive superstition. Only then can we hope to embrace tolerance for our fellow humans, ethical behaviour untainted by the expectation of reward or punishment, and fully enjoy all the wonderful diversity of which we are capable. Now that would be heaven on earth.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. anaglyph
    Feb 06, 2007 @ 09:47:42

    I was disappointed to listen to a very patronizing Stephen Crittenden on The Religion Report on ABC’s Radio National last week. Crittenden was interviewing (I use the term loosely – it was more of an Inquisition) atheist Sam Harris, who spoke cogently and concisely about things that Dawkins mentions in Virus of Faith. Crittenden, who up until this programme I had thought to be a fairly balanced individual, was almost apoplectic with indignation, referring to ‘atheists’ at one stage as ‘You People’. The transcript is here, although it doesn’t really capture Harris’ reasoned tone and Crittenden’s spluttering.


  2. Clarissimus
    Feb 11, 2007 @ 12:57:16

    The truth is, Richard Dawkins doesn’t really exist! Find out the truth for yourself here:


  3. Universal Head
    Feb 11, 2007 @ 20:23:11

    Yawn … yep, definitely proof that the worst crime of all is actually not blind adherence to primitive religious beliefs – but being unfunny.


  4. truth is relevent
    Feb 20, 2007 @ 15:22:23

    I think that there is a viable argument for both sides. It comes to my attention that many of the worst atrocities have occured “In the name of God”, but that is no reason to reject all religious views. If you look at the root of religion it is quite simple. “Why am I here and What is my purpose?”. Perhaps this life is just the result of random events. But in my opinion, there is too much order amongst the chaos. Besides not all religions teach that you must adhere to one principle. Take the Baha’i for instance.


  5. Universal Head
    Feb 20, 2007 @ 16:13:40

    ‘Atrocities in the name of God’ – well, it’s just one reason among many.
    How strange that you defend religion by saying ‘not all teach you must adhere to one principle’. So which religion do you pick? Which version of which religion? Which particular historical period of which version of which religion?
    And also, the very nature of religion means that there is no viable argument for it except faith. Religious people have only recently begun to desperately attempt to defend their beliefs with pseudo-science. One cannot argue against faith, obviously, as anyone can choose to believe in anything they wish, even if it’s Poseidon or L.Ron Hubbard. I can argue against lack of evidence however.
    I think that religion is uniquely unqualified to answer the questions “Why am I here and what is my purpose?” Rather than continually asking those questions, continually striving to further understand the natural wonder of the universe, it answers them with black-and-white solutions based on blind belief and obsolete, and absolute, moral and intellectual codes that no longer apply in our society. It breeds prejudice and fundamentalism, intolerance and a belief in one’s own cultural superiority that has no basis in truth.
    The root of religion is fear of death, a refusal to believe that we are not the centre of the universe, a way to control societies and wield power, and a simple answer to something that has no simple answer.


  6. Truth is Relevant
    Feb 21, 2007 @ 06:05:30

    I believe that you should be able to adhere to your religious beliefs without someone constently telling you that you are wrong. I have many Freinds who are Agnostic and Athiest. Myself, I am a Christian, however I do not press my views upon anyone else. I believe that an opinion is a powerful thing. I am not going to try to “convert” any of you. I respect your right as human beings to disagree. Religion can be a great thing for a society if it promotes understanding.
    I have studied religions for the better part of 4 years and I have recently declared Philosophy as my Major. I have talked with members of different religions, I find their Ideas facinating. I may not agree with them but I do not immediatly dismiss them with out some research. I have been told that Biology is the Science of Life, Psychology the Science of the mind, and Philosophy the Science of the Soul.
    Immanuel Kant stated that we have with in us the will to do good and the will to do evil. Perhaps these Drives control us. Perhaps the world is controlled by fear of death. But I would rather hope that it be controlled by love of life. That is what faith is all about. Believing when you don’t want to believe. Because what else are you going to do. Hope is a powerful thing. I will admit that I don’t have all of the answers. But I am looking for them…


  7. Universal Head
    Feb 21, 2007 @ 07:39:09

    “I believe that you should be able to adhere to your religious beliefs without someone constently telling you that you are wrong.”
    And I believe that I should be able to express my opinions that religion is a load of superstition and man-made hocus-pocus without some Christian telling me I’m going to be burn in hellfire for all eternity. (You sound like a reasonable person, I’m talking generally.)
    “Religion can be a great thing for a society if it promotes understanding.”
    I imagine reasonable people who follow religion believe that religion should – but it so rarely does, as history shows us. Mightn’t it be better if we learn understanding without the crutch of religion? Helping others without expectation of heavenly reward? Showing tolerance and compassion without forcing our belief systems on others?
    You might think I’m being hypocritical, as I seem so emphatically anti-religious. I’m not against the positive lessons of religion at all, as I’m not against any ethical behaviour. But I am against the aspects of religion that promote disharmony in our world, and let’s face it, look around you, religion does that. I say it’s time the human race threw away these ancient superstitions and stood on it’s metaphorical own two feet.
    Please do not make the common error that because I am not religious I am devoid of hope, or am not looking for answers. The whole point is that I do look for answers, but not in religious cant, with its rigid codes and weight of cultural imperatives. The world is full of wonder, as an afternoon kids show here in Australia used to say!
    “Believing when you don’t want to believe. Because what else are you going to do.”
    There’s so much to do. Enjoy the world as it is – enquire about it, learn about, stretch the boundaries of your knowledge. Obviously I don’t always do all these things, I’ve got a job to do and a mortgage to pay like everyone else. But I believe in the wonder of the world as it is, not how I want it to be, or how some religious leader tells me it should be. Your statement really does not inspire me in the least. Have the courage to live without belief in Father Christmas.
    It’s 8.30am here and I’m not really awake enough for philosophical debate! I’m glad you’re not trying to convert anyone (hold on, isn’t that going against one of the tenets of your religion?). As for me, I must express my opinion, because I get frustrated at seeing the world go down the plughole because of religion. If religion could save the human race, hallelujah – but what is blindingly obvious is that religion ‘moves the goalposts’ continually depending on what particular version is being touted at the time, and while it may provide some personal relief to those who yearn for simple answers to complex questions, it has never really got to grips with the big challenges that face humanity.


  8. Truth is Relevant
    Feb 22, 2007 @ 08:09:37

    I was raised catholic, I never went to a catholic school, I still claim it as my religion. But, for a personal reason. It is the religion of my anscestors. I am not a regular church goer because I cannot agree with everything that any one religion has to say. But, I refuse to call my self “non-denominational”. I will not rule out other religions or philosophic leaders just because their religion is different than mine. I have read “Siddhartha”. I have also read “The Stranger”. I have studied (while not in depth) every religion from Aboriginal to Zorastrinianism. I find the subject of relgion fascinating. But, I refuse to isolate myself from all posibilities. Which is why I don’t support Evangelism, I believe that you can give a man a compass and a map but only he can walk the road. We all have our paths in life to take. I have enjoyed this philisophical “debate”. Thank you for being such a good sport.


  9. Universal Head
    Feb 22, 2007 @ 08:43:44

    And you. Cheers.


  10. Thomas
    Apr 18, 2007 @ 00:15:27

    I am an admirer of Richard Dawkins and his struggle to rid the world of superstition in the form of organised religion. Maybe you’d be interested in some some recent research on this topic. Thanks!


  11. Universal Head
    Apr 18, 2007 @ 10:21:23

    Interesting, and thanks for the link to your blog. As much as I agree with the conclusions, the research seemed a bit fuzzy – they may have been blasting the victim with noise because they’d had a bad morning, y’know?
    Still, I don’t think there’s any doubt that ‘God is on my side’ has been a rallying call for violence for as long as man has had a god concept.


Leave a Reply