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May 1st, 2012, 06:31 PM
Back in the habit.
Join Date: Feb 2011
The gun analogy CWP and QK were talking about further up the page got me thinking about an exchange from
, which I used to watch many years ago before I was quite so jaded against religion
"Guns don't kill people. People kill people."
"PEOPLE WITH GUNS KILL PEOPLE!"
For the sake of the analogy, lets replace the word 'gun' with 'religion'.
"Religion doesn't kill people. People kill people."
"PEOPLE WITH RELIGION KILL PEOPLE!"
Now, going forward, I know that religion is not the only reason people kill each other. There are a multitude of them: jealousy, rage, insanity, personal gain... the possibilities are endless in a system as complex as the human brain. But consider this scenario:
A Christian and a Satanist walk into a bar. They do not know each other personally, but they are aware of each other's religions because in this world each person is required to advertise on their person what faith they follow. Therefore the Christian is wearing a white T-shirt with a powder blue C, while the Satanist is wearing a maroon shirt emblazoned with an orange S. They enter from opposite ends of the room and on sight pull their guns out of their belts and shoot each other in the head, spraying scarlet blood over the plain grey shirts of the bar's other patrons, who are all without religion.
Do you think, had these two men been wearing the same shirts as the other people in the bar, they would have hated each other on sight and been galvanised into murderous action? Had religion not been involved, would they have sorted through the Rolodex of possible reasons to hate a person and killed each other anyway? No, and it's a serious underestimation of the human race to think that they would.
That's because the analogy is flawed from the beginning; it implies that people kill each other not because they have an actual reason to motivate them, but simply because they happen to have a gun in their hand. More troubling is the implication that if they didn't, they'd pick up a sword. Religion is not the gun, it's the reason that people pick up the gun. One of many possible reasons, yes, but the reasons are not interchangeable. If religion had never existed, it would not mean that the deaths that would have been caused by religion would be evenly distributed among the other potential reasons for murder. It would mean that one of the reasons would be removed and less people would be dead.
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