Recently atheist authors have been attacking religion on several fronts. One line of attack has been to say that religion has supported heinous, immoral, violent and barbaric activities. Therefore, as one author put it, “God is not great.” In other words, if religion supported such activities, then how in the world could anyone believe in religion.
In this brief essay, I will not try to defend religion, for I agree with many of the charges raised against it. God is perfect. Religion is not. Many evil things have been done in God’s name that God does not condone. When religion does evil, it is wrong.
Also, I will not try to list the immoral acts done in the name of secular philosophies. Millions have been slaughtered by those claiming to have been delivered from faith in God, proving that atheistic philosophies provide no protection against human evil. They have been instruments for evil just as much as religion has.
The truth is that we humans are inherently violent and sinful, and we will use any excuse to exercise the barbaric side of our natures. Religion nor reason causes violence, but both are used as rationalizations for it. Those that think they can stop human violence by eliminating religion are extraordinarily naïve, offering a simplistic solution that does not get at the root of the problem: basic human nature.
The point I do want to make in this essay is that if one evaluates the new atheists’ worldview with their own argument against religion cited above, it destroys their own worldview. By their own standards, their philosophy is far more vile than any religion and thus unworthy of serious consideration by any modern human.
Let’s suppose there is no God as they claim. Where did religion come from? Religion would just be a product of evolution. If there is no God, religion would be just be one type of adaptation created by evolution to help mankind survive.
However, this also means all the evil things done in the name of religion would also be the creations of evolution. When religion was considered to have produced these acts on its own, the new atheists said it proves we shouldn’t believe in religion. Thus by their own standard, we shouldn’t believe in evolution either, because if there is no God, evolution is the ultimate source of evil acts that have been done in the name of religion.
In addition, religion cannot be said to be responsible for all the violence done by people in the name of atheistic philosophies, but evolution would be. It would have produced them too. Also, the vast majority of human evil is not done for religious purposes or in name of non-religious philosophies. The vast majority of human violence is done by people for very practical purposes: money, sex, power and survival. Religion cannot be held responsible for all the violence committed by humans without any spiritual motive, but evolution can be. If there is no God, evolution is the only place it could come from. These evils would just be variations created by evolution to see which behaviors would help humanity survive in light of new environmental and social conditions.
The concept that the new atheists promote as their alternative to religion is evolution. But when we judge evolution by the very standard these atheists use to judge religion, evolution is shown to be the most repugnant concept ever conceived by man. For, if there is no God, the mechanism that has produced by far the most heinous, immoral, violent and barbaric acts in human history is evolution. If religion is bad because it has produced some human evil, then evolution would be worse, because if there is no God, it would have produced it all.
Whatever standard you use to judge others by can be used to evaluate your own position. When the above argument used against religion is turned onto evolution, it utterly demolishes it.