Philosophical Musings

October 28, 2006

Religion and Ideology

Filed under: history,ideology,postmodernism,religion — Elad Kehat @ 8:32 am

A letter by Mr. Marqués De Tamarón from Madrid, to the editor of The Economist (October 7th, 2006), in response to their review of Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion reads:

“SIR – Your laudatory review of “The God Delusion” seems to accept the tenet that “it was religious faith that ultimately turned [the September 11th terrorists] into killing machines” and that “religious moderates make the world safe for fundamentalists.” However, the historical fact remains that the most murderous sets of beliefs ever adopted were those two great, modern and officially atheist ideologies, communism and National Socialism. So much for scientific hubris.”


Mr. Tamarón’s mistake lies in classifying communism and National Socialism as atheistic. For issue at hand – how blind faith can turn zealot’s morals upside down – extreme ideology and religion (especially monotheistic religion) fall into the same category. Both are often used as a tool by power crazed leaders to drive their brainwashed followers to commit atrocities.

What enables such deeds in both cases is the firm belief in one truth, and in a small cadre having a monopoly on that truth. If extreme ideologies have waned in the west, along with religion, it is because our post-modern society has largely freed itself of mono-verity and adopted pluralism instead.



  1. Remember when the Church was truly in control of every aspect of our lives…don’t some of us still call that era the “Dark Ages” of Europe? 😉

    Comment by Daij — October 28, 2006 @ 8:35 am | Reply

  2. Regarding the Dark Ages Comments by Daij…

    Actually, the phrase was coined during the Renaisance to describe the literature of the era. As for the “Dark Ages” western civilization was delivered from them by the Reformation. Assuming that Daij has done his reading, he would know that the Reformation was a religious revival (i.e. Protestant Reformation) wherein the values of “Freedom of Religion,” “Freedom of Assembly,” “Freedom of Thought,” and “Separation of Church and State” were birthed by the Reformers who no longer wanted to live under the oppressive weight of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Bibles were published in the language of the common man so that the common man could read the Bible and think for himself. All of this was started by a young, obscure (34 year old) Augustinian monk named Martin Luther (who had his own problems). Guttenberg invented the printing press and used it to distribute Bibles in the common languages of the people (read his dedication and comments on his own invention).

    But no Diaj, if you had done your history you would no that even the writings of Aristotle and other “pagan” greeks were preserved in Monasteries during the dark times of the black death, the invasions of the Mongols, the Muslims, and even the Norsemen who raped pillaged and plundered.

    Now Diaj, some would consider the Dark Ages as the rise of socialism in Europe in its various virulent forms like National Socialism in Nazi Germany, or good old communism in Eastern Europe and China were hundreds of millions have perished (homosexuals, Christians, and others). They killed more than the Crusaders and the Muslim hordes that reached into Spain and even Poiters France.

    Diaj, have you read about the Crusades? That’s where the Roman Catholic Church sent people into the “Holy Land” to liberate Jerusalem. During the process the Crusaders killed Jews, Muslims, and oh yes, non-Catholic Christians like the Copts and the Druse.

    However, compared to Lenin, Hilter, Stalin, and Mao these the Crusaders were a blip on the radar screen. By the way, weren’t Lenin, Hilter, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Kim Il Jung (the daddy of the present leader in North Korea) secular humanists of the Marxist tradition.

    Look at a map some time. If you want to see dark ages, look at North Korea. Look at France and the rest of Europe where 2000 police officers have been killed or wounded this year but are prevented from political correctness from really addressing the issue.

    And this October 31st remember Calvin, Luther, Knox, and others who began the work of reforming “the Church” separating the Church from the state and the state from the church and laying the ground work for the freedoms you enjoy today to plunge yourself back into a modern dark ages.

    Ah… my rant is done. Also, enjoy the freedom to read outside the blogs of your choice and investigate new ideas. Happy Reformation weekend. The Reformation “began” October 31, 488 years ago.

    Comment by keith — October 28, 2006 @ 1:48 pm | Reply

  3. Dude, it was meant to be a joke…

    Comment by Daij — October 28, 2006 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  4. Keith –
    I generally agree that protestantism is one of the few religions that has contributed to freedom and individual empowerment. It is exactly because it is built on the notion that every person should have direct access to the word of God. The translation of the bible from Latin to the common tongues of Europe served to break the totalitarian rule of the Roman Catholic Church and let people think for themselves.
    Eventually however, it has also led to secularism – when you let peole think for themselves there’s not knowing what they’re going to think…

    Comment by philobuster — October 29, 2006 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

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