Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Religion vs. Social Contract

A debate about religion between Hitchens and Sharpton is reported in the NYTimes.

It is surprising that Hitchens did not mention the ancient and well-respected concept of the Social Contract. It is quite possible for people to behave well, not because they fear God's wrath, but because they prefer to behave well. They see good behavior as being necessary to a peaceful and happy existence.

There is absolutely no evidence that religious people behave any better than atheists. Consequently no case can be made that God and the fear of God's punishment or hope for God's rewards is at all useful. On the contrary, there is much evidence that deeply religious people launch wars and murder gleefully people who do not subscribe to their particular beliefs. The Crusades, the Inquisition, the jihads, the Irish troubles prove beyond any doubt that religion is a curse on the human race. Perhaps some day we will all put religion aside and study philosophy to find guidance for good behavior.


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