from http://www.secularhumanism.org

2. If religion were necessary for morality, there should be some
evidence that atheists are less moral than believers.

People of faith regularly allege that atheism is responsible for some
of the most appalling crimes of the twentieth century. Are atheists
really less moral than believers? While it is true that the regimes
of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot were irreligious to varying
degrees, they were not especially rational. In fact, their public
pronouncements were little more than litanies of delusion—delusions
about race, economics, national identity, the march of history, or
the moral dangers of intellectualism. In many respects, religion was
directly culpable even here. Consider the Holocaust: the anti-
Semitism that built the Nazi crematoria brick by brick was a direct
inheritance from medieval Christianity. For centuries, Christian
Europeans had viewed the Jews as the worst species of heretics and
attributed every societal ill to their continued presence among the

While the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a
predominantly secular way, its roots were undoubtedly religious—and
the explicitly religious demonization of the Jews of Europe continued
throughout the period. (The Vatican itself perpetuated the blood
libel in its newspapers as late as 1914.) Auschwitz, the Gulag, and
the killing fields are not examples of what happens when people
become too critical of unjustified beliefs; on the contrary, these
horrors testify to the dangers of not thinking critically enough
about specific secular ideologies. Needless to say, a rational
argument against religious faith is not an argument for the blind
embrace of atheism as a dogma. The problem that the atheist exposes
is none other than the problem of dogma itself—of which every
religion has more than its fair share. I know of no society in
recorded history that ever suffered because its people became too

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Religion and spirituality Maharishi mahesh yogi


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