I agree with everything Hitchens says in this video, despite everything I said in our discussions of religion.
Seeing the strength and comfort many people derive from religious faith is not the same as being blind to the evil done by religious organizations grown too powerful.
But history shows us that the evil done by big religion is no worse that the evil done by big government, big business, or big banks. And the worst evil is done when these entities become bloated and collude with each other.
Churches, corporations, banks and states are good things. But too much of a good thing is bad.
Our efforts should therefore go, not into eradicating them, but into eliminating their capacity for oppression by limiting their size and setting them against each other to prevent them from colluding.
So, okay. Religion has a dark side. Everything does.
The thing that makes a big difference between the evil of big business and big religion – or, rather, any business and any religion, that among businesses, there are good ones and bad ones.
There are people who are truly trying to meet their customers’ needs by providing a good product or service at a fair price. There are, however, some businesses/businessmen who are scamers and cheaters, selling inferior products and/or cheating their customers. They take the money, but do not deliver what was promised.
Still, these are a minority among business people and you have to move to lage corporations for this to be more common than not.
Religions – from the smallest shaman to the largest corporate religious organizations – they are ALL fraudsters. Their business model is based on pay me now and believe that I will deliver something impossible after you cease to exist. Or, pay me now and I will perform a dance to make gods listen to your supplication.
This s downright fraud and deceit and it cannot be treated as anything else, whether the fraudster believes his or her own lies or not. They cannot possibly demonstrate the truthfullness of their claims yet they accept money for the ‘service’ and are not being cahrged with fraud.
That is wrong and that is why religions are fundamentally and wholly rotten enterprises: their whole modes consists of willful fraud. Any other business would be culpable and charged with fraud under the law. But, for historic reasons, cloak the brazen fraud in religious language and you get a ‘get out of jail’ card: literally.
And ‘too little fraud’ is not as bad as too much fraud.
Well, if all you see is fraud then you are looking in all the wrong places.
You and I have had many long and deep debates on the subject, during which I have referred to many of the core concepts. And not one of them is fraudulent.
Religion is concerned with the most profound metaphysical, spiritual and moral issues. These are the most profound questions the human mind is able to ask.
The aspects you object to – like the eternal-life metaphor of the cycle of existence and the personification of the ultimate creative principle – are not central. They are didactic constructs to help the uninitiated understand the teachings at the most basic level.
There are as many people with an IQ of 80 as there are with and IQ of 120, and the teachings have to be cast in a form that works for all of them.
With that stance, you will certainly take away the innocence of childhood too soon, and have nothing to replace it with.
Nothing sufficiently compelling, that is.
People need to mature to a certain point before they can safely take the personified faces off the archetypes that underlie their morality.
The trouble is that people mature at different rates, and some never get to that point.
These days, that actually means most of them, because society is specifically engineered to produce adult children. The average thirty-year-old today is less mature than the average thirteen-year-old was when I was that age.
And that means the people who will never outgrow the need to put faces on their archetypes now form an increasing majority.
The direct, inevitable result of ripping the faces off these people’s archetypes is precisely the crisis of morality we now face in the West.
And that is one of the main foundation stones of the cultural Marxist agenda.
Again,this is a point on which I must disagree with you, CodeSlinger.
I rather think that protecting children from religions and other mind pollution like that (Santa Claus, anyone?) robs them of their innocence and makes them vulnerable to all kinds of deception.
Teching kids, from before they can speak, to question everything and not ‘put faith’ in stuff people try to make them believe, giving them the confidence to think things through for themselves: now that is how to stop both religionists and Cultural Marxists from polluting their minds.
I am very happy you had raised Aesop, as I was planning to raise him myself.
What I do mean is that you can teach morality and embed cultural archetypes with fables, like Aesop’s and with fairy tales. They serve the same function, but without pretending to ‘be the truth’ and fraudulently extorting money from poor and rich alike, money they then use to subvert power.
The simplest and most gullible are the ones most hurt by the fraud that religions perpetuate.
A fraud is a fraud is a fraud, no matter how much you dress it in religious garb.