4 comments on “Religion is the Cause of Terrible Behaviour

  1. My issue with this argument, aside from what you’ve described above, is that it usually fails to “show its work”. Strong beliefs that are not based on evidence cause bad behaviour – nationalism, race supremacy, tribalism, take your pick. Religion is a strong belief that is not based on evidence. And therefore, by the transitive property, blahblahblah.

    The idea that one MUST have religious feeling to commit atrocities is nonsense, and even those who make the original claim recognize this fact. There is an association between certain forms of religious belief and violence, but those forms of religious belief bear a striking resemblance to other forms of belief that do not invoke the supernatural.

  2. You give a philosopher’s definition of causality. Bit such a definition is useless. In the modern world, the definition we use when we really want to understand problems is the scientific definition. (“Scientism! Scientism!”)

    For example, science tells us that you should exercise to stay healthy. But you cannot draw a simplistic billiard ball causal chain between jogging on Tuesday and living longer decades from now. Instead, you must use statistics.

    Now it is reasonable to say that we lack sufficiently controlled experiments or studied participants to say anything with any scientific confidence. That would be fair enough. But let us at least use a useful definition of causality informed by the last 200 years of thought and research rather than the kind that an Ancient Greek would have used.

    With respect to ethics and religion, one important point is that religion gives an adherent something to fight about with metaphysical implications. Killing or dying is small potatoes in such a fight. Ideologies and nations can also become emotionally motivating to the extent of being almost metaphysical, but I see that as an indictment of ideology and nationalism, not a defense of religion.

  3. I look forward to you presenting a philosophically-uninformed “scientific” definition of causality: such a definition doors not exist.

    The counterfactual ideas that I have outlined above are drawn from David Lewis’s work. From 1973.

    I find it best to know what I’m talking about *before* presuming to criticize a position.

  4. Continuing to derail while not responding to criticisms of earlier comments will result in comments going back into moderation. When you address the existing criticism, your additional comments may be released from moderation.

Leave a Reply