We don’t have to look very far to see the devastating effects extreme religion and “holy wars” have had on the world. ISIS and Al-Qaeda are only the most recent examples of wars launched in the name of religious beliefs.
John Adams briefly contemplated a world without religion when he wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1817.
Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, “This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it!!” But in this exclamation I Should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell.
A World Without Religion
We have never come close to living in a world without religion. Yet, attempts have been made to wipe out religion within particular nations. For example, Stalin’s USSR, Mao’s China, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia. In each of these cases, Adams speculation proved to be true. With no moral compass guiding the ruler, he was the law. And the result was oppression, cruelty, suspicion, scarcity of all basic needs, and the death of millions of people.
A Moral Code
Many people have tried over and over to blame God for the ills of society. They long for an environment that is free from the constraints they feel God has foisted upon them. Yet, without some sort of moral code that originates outside of humanity, people will always succumb to their own version of morality. In this version, the saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely is true.
Thus, we need a moral code that directs and, yes, constrains our natural tendencies. In the end, eliminating religion is not the answer. People doing their best to live out their faith is.