Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The “faith” delusion

I thought I would take a quick break from my evolution series (look out for the next one soon!) to comment on a big US story that broke recently. The story is a pitiful tale of delusion and violence, a doctor (George Tiller) was gunned down whilst attending a church, he died of his injuries and leaves behind a wife and family. This sad tale might be seemingly all too familiar, a tale of gun crime in modern America perhaps; except that Dr Tiller ran an abortion clinic that offered late term terminations to women in Kansas. This is not the first attempt on Mr Tiller's life and it is almost certain that this crime is (quite unbelievably in the 21st century) a direct result of ancient literature.

Rather than drill into the rights and wrongs of late term abortion (although in this case these operations were only performed when the life of the mother was at risk) I thought I would take a look at the response of the Christians, the so called "pro life" campaigners (although clearly the definition of "life" is flexible), here are a sprinkling that I found (some random ones from twitter).

Commenting on Dr. Tiller's death, Mr. Leach said, "To call this a crime is too simplistic." He added, "There is Christian scripture that would support this."

Randall Terry said, George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God.

George Tiller the baby killer was shot dead this morning. God bless the gunmen who hopefully won't be caught.

Hmm, I know it's wrong, but I feel like the Late-Term Abortion Doctor George Tiller, got what was he deserved.

Rev Rusty Thomas said: He died the way he lived. His was a bloody death.

I guess Obama the Messiah can't resurrect Tiller the baby killer.

Clearly in any large society of people, statistically, you will get lunatics and fundamentalists that are simply mentally ill, but in this case we seem to have an entire sub-culture of hate fuelled by a delusion, this delusion is more commonly called "faith", a belief that what it says in a 2000 year old book are the words of the creator of the universe when there is not a single scrap of evidence suggesting it is true. I would have more sympathy if these people actually followed ALL the words in their magic book, but predictably they are hypocrites, cherry picking the parts that suit them and discarding those that don't, for example you don't see many of these people casting off all their worldly goods or stoning each other to death for working on the Sabbath or coveting their next door neighbours SUV. Unluckily for Dr Tiller this particular passage was apparently and seemingly randomly, one that these particular "Christians" think is true.

Moderate religious people and those who haven't really thought about it much often respond to Atheist protestation with puzzlement, why bother, why get upset over something you don't believe in, leave them to their religion, live and let live, what harm can it do etc, well here in a small way we see the harm, what more is there to say?

The strongest conclusion I can draw from it is that religion fails to provide a reasonable framework for morality, since it is so easily and regularly subverted to rationalize evil, it is time that rational people stand up and be counted and "faith" is openly criticised for what it really is, delusion.


Lisa said...

I think there IS christian scripture to support this, cherry-picked as you stated.

A really great post summing up so many of the things that are distasteful in religion.

Steve Borthwick said...

Thanks for your kind words Lisa, it always amazes me that otherwise normal, intelligent people fail to see the connection between faith and nutty things like this.

Faith means "anything" can be justified.