Faith Strength or Fatal Weakness


We are taught from the time we are small children that faith is very important. To have faith is to believe without question and beyond reason. Is this what we should be teaching our children before they have developed critical thinking skills? We are taught that the Bible, the Koran the Torah and the book of Mormon are sacred texts which we are to accept as the literal word of God without question.

This type of faith is fertile ground for fanatics and terrorists they can become. Unquestioning, uncritical faith is the first prerequisite along that slippery road that ultimately leads to believing that is it okay to kill those who do not believe as you do. It was faith such as this that led men to fly airplanes into buildings on September the 11th 2001. Without the unthinking belief in a special paradise reserved for martyrs and prophets, 9/11 would never have happened.

Children given the tools of reason and critical thinking do not grow up to kill people in the name of God. Teaching them to believe without question, in Bronze Age myths, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, robs them the tools necessary to make informed decisions later in life. As we saw on 9/11, this can have tragic consequences. The perpetrators of the horrendous crimes of the day acted without reason. They acted out of blind faith.

It’s a religious belief of bad thing?

No, it is not if it is tempered with reason. In fact, it is probably an evolutionary adaptation that has helped our species to survive. The problem is that it is an adaptation that is misfiring now. In earlier times, when we lived in isolated villages and small tribes, a commonality of belief helped to make us a cohesive group. What was a benefit in earlier times can now lead to estrangement? When we set ourselves apart, in a small group of people that believe as we do, it tends to dehumanize those who do not share that belief. They are somehow something less than we are. If they cannot see the obvious truth in what we hold dear, anyway we treat them is okay. After all, they must be morally defective not see the truth. To be that dumb they must all be subhuman and anyway they are all dirty and smell bad.

If we are to go forward and end the madness we must make our religion inclusive rather than exclusive.

It could be said that we would be better off without religion. Religion can be a dangerous thing in the hands of people who do not use reason to control it. We have seen it before when it took the form of inquisitions, crusades, and genocides, all in the name of God. We see it in today’s holy warriors, the suicide bombers and the bombers of abortion clinics.

For the sake of the survival of our species, we must learn a better way. Religion in one form of another has been and probably always will be a characteristic of our species. We must teach our children to think critically about it and applying reason to it. We cannot continue, without question, the beliefs and teachings of the past. It is time for a new Age of Enlightenment if we are to survive.

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