Thursday, July 02, 2009

Brief Thinky Thoughts: Religion and Responsibility

Blaming religion for the actions of its adherents is like blaming the knife you used to stab someone for your choice to engage in an act of aggression.

Religion is not an independent actor with a will of its own, it is an object, a collection of thoughts, beliefs, and history with a heavy dose of myth/morality tales. Blaming the object one uses for the use you made of it is ludicrous, and is refusing responsibility for your own actions. The same applies for blaming someone's actions on their religious beliefs. You have essentially absolved them of responsibility, removed their agency and placed it in an object with no consciousness of its own.

Sense, this makes none.

Structures may encourage and support certain behaviors, but a structure cannot exist without people choosing to perpetuate it. The structure was created by the choices of individuals to begin with, and it maintains its shape through the choices of its participants. The structure itself is not sentient, does not have a personal purpose or aim. Society is nothing more than a collection of individuals.

In the end, religion is just word on a page that can be used to justify almost anything. If you dig below the religious justification, there is almost always something more there. People will use an object to further their own aims, and given the absence of a particular object, they will simply find something else to use.

If someone really wants to kill you, will taking away their knife prevent them from trying?

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