in classic form, richard dawkins stirs the pot, although i’m guessing he’s not going to convince anyone who doesn’t already think along these lines:

“I am trying to call attention to the elephant in the room that everybody is too polite – or too devout – to notice: religion, and specifically the devaluing effect that religion has on human life. I don’t mean devaluing the life of others (though it can do that too), but devaluing one’s own life. Religion teaches the dangerous nonsense that death is not the end.”

“Our leaders have described the recent atrocity with the customary cliche: mindless cowardice. “Mindless” may be a suitable word for the vandalising of a telephone box. It is not helpful for understanding what hit New York on September 11. Those people were not mindless and they were certainly not cowards. On the contrary, they had sufficiently effective minds braced with an insane courage, and it would pay us mightily to understand where that courage came from.

It came from religion.”

i think there are many points that richard is glossing over, including the simple fact that it is not religion per se, but religion doctrine manipulated in the hands of a powerful rhetorician that is the issue. however, i think the point is still important to keep in mind, especially when you listen to george bush proclaiming that the u.s. is on a crusade to rid the world of evil doers:

“”We’ve never seen this kind of evil before,” the president said.

“But the evildoers have never seen the United States in action before either, and they’re about to find out.”

He vowed to “rid the world of evil-doers,” delivering a fresh round of warnings against Osama bin Laden.”

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