Friday, August 21, 2015

With God, everything is permitted

The title of this post is a deliberate misquoting of the famous line from Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" in which Ivan (one of the brothers) is supposed to say "If God does not exist, everything is permitted". Many religious apologists use this line as a way of making a claim that without a belief in "God" (of some flavour) then people would just behave like animals, raping, stealing and murdering etc. It's a stupid argument and neglects to acknowledge the necessary evolutionary adaptations favouring cooperation, required for social species like ours to thrive. Not to mention our obvious instincts for empathy and fairness which are universal, innate and shared to some degree with most of the great apes.

In actual fact the the opposite of this quote most accurately reflects reality; one only need look at what ISIS in Iraq are doing to see that if you believe you have divine permission (as written in your 7th century holy book) to rape, steal and murder then that's exactly what you do! This utterly shocking article in the New York Times tells a tale of how members of this barbaric movement are using the Koran to justify the systematic rape of children, slavery and murder of non-believers; much like Christians used to do before the obvious insanity of theocracy was driven out of Europe (mostly) by relentless secular and scientific progress.

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