History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Religion: balance of good and evil

June 9th, 2006 · No Comments

Judging religion is a bungled job on the part of most scientists. Dennett’s Breaking the Spell is so pitifully ignorant of what religion is that it discredits the stance of scientists in general. Religions deserve challenge, but to attack them on the basis of Darwinism backfires completely, and makes biologists look silly

I see no way to draw up a balance sheet, to weigh the good done by religion against the evil and decide which is greater by some impartial process. My own prejudice, looking at religion from the inside, leads me to conclude that the good vastly outweighs the evil. In many places in the United States, with widening gaps between rich and poor, churches and synagogues are almost the only institutions that bind people together into communities. In church or in synagogue, people from different walks of life work together in youth groups or adult education groups, making music or teaching children, collecting money for charitable causes, and taking care of each other when sickness or disaster strikes. Without religion, the life of the country would be greatly impoverished. I know nothing at first hand about Islam, but by all accounts the mosques in Islamic countries, and to some extent in America too, play a similar role in holding communities together and taking care of widows and orphans.

Tags: Science & Religion

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