The Inherent Danger of Unicornists
I can honestly say I've never met an adult who truly believes in unicorns. I know some young girls and boys who are adamant about the issue, but never any adults. Whenever I ask an adult why they don't believe in unicorns the answer is almost invariably the same. No one has ever seen a unicorn and there's no evidence to suggest they exist, therefore they must not exist. And with that it's all nicely wrapped up and explained away.
The problem is, when someone like myself uses that same measure to conclude that the idea of god is also a myth, these people want to argue. If unicorns can't be invisible and therefore undetectable, then how can god? Or vice versa. If not being able to detect unicorns and offer proof of their existence is enough to dismiss them, then this should also apply to god. The believer, whether in god or in unicorns or any other myth, will say that their chosen delusion is outside of the laws of nature. This is rather convenient since it makes their delusion something we supposedly can't measure. Of course this could be applied to the unicorn as well.
The Unicornist Crusades
The other issue at play here is that no one has ever threatened my life or threatened to do harm to me simply because I don't believe that unicorns exist. Unicornists have never banded together on a crusade of bloody rampage to force others into unicornist beliefs. They've never stoned people to death, burned them alive, tortured them with such cruel devices as The Rack, or imprisoned people for not believing in unicorns. Can we say the same of religion? Only if we're willing to flat out lie about it.
This same logic can be applied to Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. No one is going to try to hurt me or infringe on my civil liberties over the matter. Well, at least no adults are going to at any rate, although some children might become rather violent about the topic. But when it comes to god there are plenty of grown ass adults who are willing to bring violence to the table simply because I make the case that if you can't see a god and don't have any solid evidence that one exists, that said god is most logically born of the human imagination. Worse still, this has been happening since time immemorial.
Unicorns Don't Kill People, People with Unicorns Kill People
Whenever I bring up the subject of the inherent harm that religion has brought upon humanity, it never fails that someone will say that it was all on the people who did those things and that it is wrong to blame religion. The problem with that logic is that it doesn't tell the whole story. You see, it is quite obvious that people will harm each other over anything and even nothing at all, but what is not so obvious is that in most cases a person needs a justification or rationalization for their actions. It doesn't matter if that justification is actually rational or not. It simply has to be there to calm our screaming conscience. If we can convince ourselves that our actions are justified then we are apt to do whatever we want.
This is where religion becomes the culprit, because religion has always been the ultimate justification for inhumanity. When the Jews wished to commit genocide against the Canaanites and others as they conquered ancient Mesopotamia, they simply told the people that doing so was the will of their god. And so Jewish men went in and murdered men, women and children, then returned home to sleep soundly in the conviction that the atrocious crimes they'd committed were not only justified but were actually condoned and prescribed by their god.
Now here we sit over 2,000 years later and nothing has changed. Muslims murder in the name of their god and point to the teachings of the Quran as a justification for it. Christians in Africa murder their own children and others, saying they are witches and point to the bible as a justification for this. As we speak, Israeli leaders try to find a way to justify the genocide of Palestinians and I have no doubt that many of them point to the Torah and Talmud as the perfect justification for doing just that.
Fuck You and the Unicorn You Rode in on
I won't apologize for my position. It's grounded in facts, not delusions. I won't respect someone's delusions just because they hold them dear. I won't simply vilify those who commit offenses in the name of religion, without recognizing that the main culprit here is a doctrine that acts as a justification for inhumanity. No matter what supposed good religion has brought humanity, it is infected with a virus that fuels fevered minds that are full of hatred. At the heart of all religion is a notion that god's will trumps basic civility and human rights including the right to even exist. This notion is not only ludicrous, but it undermines the very fabric of human society and morality.
So I'll leave you with a quote from Steven Weinberg:
"With or without religion, 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."
Photo Credits: flickr/ranil_amarasuriya - Ranil Amarasuriya