Abortion: Collision

CH: You see the woman thrown to the ground in the street by a man or two men, and kicked hard in the stomach. To get to the interest: What is your instant reaction? Is it one of revulsion? Or not? Who’s going to say they’re indifferent? You’re probably welcome to do so if you like. Do you need divine permission for this? I would say not. And another question: The woman is visibly pregnant. Does that make it seem more revolting to you? Is your revulsion thereby increased? Who would not say yes to that?
DW: Planned Parenthood. (With bemused self-satisfied smirk on his face.)
CH: Who would not say yes to that?
DW: Planned Parenthood.
CH: Don’t be flippant –
DW: I’m not being –
CH: Don’t be flippant –
(Possible editing break here…)
DW: If it’s a common moral property then why, when you see a woman being kicked in that fashion, to be more consistent – and this is why I was emphatically not being flippant – people will run up and say to the kicker, “Do you have a license? Don’t you know the place for that is down the street? And you have to advertise in the Yellow Pages? And you have to get funded from Congress?” What do you mean flippant?
(Possibly another editing break here…)
CH: Where do you think you got that knowledge? Did you get it from Sunday school? I believe this is our common moral proxy. Without it, we’re lost. If we say we only owe it to the munificence of a dictator, we have volunteered to become serfs. You can be an atheist and you can be a sadomasochist, you can be an atheist and a psychopath, you can be an atheist and a fascist, to be a communist you practically have to be an atheist – it doesn’t commit you to anything. But it certainly does not commit you to the absurd belief, that if you don’t have a supernatural belief, you have no morals.
Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) and Douglas Wilson (1953-), debating at Martin’s Tavern, Washington, D.C., Collision: Christopher Hitchens vs Douglas Wilson: Is Christianity Good for the World?, movie, 2009

Collision was a very enjoyable documentary up to this exchange. The debates were civilized, respectful, and more intelligent than most debates between atheists and theists. And then this asinine interjection. Why does rationality fly out the window when abortion raises its ugly head?

This is yet another example of the wrong way to debate abortion. This is also one of the rare instances when Hitchens dropped the ball – he should have excoriated Wilson for interrupting an important discussion with a cheap shot at Planned Parenthood. (Unfortunately, we don’t know what may have been edited out of this exchange.)

Is Wilson saying that employees of Planned Parenthood would not feel revulsion at the woman being kicked, and they would not also feel more revulsion at a pregnant woman being kicked? Of course they would. Depicting them as inhuman monsters that would approve of a pregnant woman being savagely beaten does no one, no argument, and no cause any good. Wilson should be ashamed. Apparently his religion has not taught him to act like a decent human being. Apparently his religion does not prevent him from acting like a royal asshole.

Planned Parenthood does not advise all women who come through their doors to get abortions; they make sure that women who do get abortions do it legally and safely, as a last option after parenting and adoption. The goal of their organization is to help families and children. Demonizing them and their organization is petty, mean, and immature, not to mention unlikely to result in any kind of constructive debate.

Wilson is being a pious bully, much like the god he apparently believes in. He should have stayed off his anti-abortion soapbox and followed through on the original point Hitchens was valiantly trying to make in spite of Wilson’s childish rudeness. That would have been the right thing to do, but instead he just couldn’t help himself, displaying the classic phenomena of the thoughtless, autonomic knee-jerk reaction, dragging the discussion down to his own base level of dogmatic mediocrity. Wilson seemed like a reasonably pleasant and relatively semi-rational theist up until this point in the movie, but here he showed his true, intolerant, hate-soaked colors.

The conclusion from this sad episode? As Hitchens was trying to say, religion isn’t the source of morality and it isn’t needed in order to figure out what is moral. This incident is a perfect example of why Christianity is not good for a person or for the world.

Can there ever be a rational debate about abortion, without hysterical pro-lifers sniping at militant pro-choicers? There’s part of the problem right there. Do you see it? My university bioethics professor advised us that any debate should not use slogans, as they cloud the issues and impede useful discussion. However, the professor constantly referred to the anti-abortion position as “pro-life” and the pro-abortion position as “pro-abortion”. (I think he wanted to use the term “pro-death”, but perhaps he thought that would too obviously expose his “anti-choice” position.) So I raised my hand and asked him if the labels “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are conducive to a useful, constructive debate, since they are also slogans. To my shock, he claimed he had no idea what I was talking about. It turns out he wasn’t a very good bioethics professor.

On the other end of the spectrum, the subject of abortion came up when I was talking to a friend who is a nurse. It was a long time ago, but it sticks in my craw to this day. I said that abortion should be avoided whenever possible, and should be a last resort after an extremely difficult and heartrending decision. Then I said “I can’t imagine anyone making the choice to kill their unborn child.” She angrily replied, “Would you rather have the kid unwanted or abused?” End of discussion. Keep ’em or kill ’em – those were the only solutions, in her mind.

Even then, my spouse and I were dealing with years of infertility, which were followed by more years of fertility treatments, miscarriages, stillbirths, and finally adoption. Yes, adoption is an option! It’s the best thing we’ve ever done. (I just wish it was easier to do, or at least would take a determinate time to complete.) Given this history, when I hear of people who get abortions or wish they had a girl instead of a boy or vice versa or complain about ever having kids, it makes me very angry. And when I hear about another case of FAS or other forms of parental child abuse it pisses me off. Really. Pisses. Me. Off.

But I digress. Back to the contribution of religion to this eternal, insolvable debate. Religious fundamentalists are pro-abstinence, which would be a mildly laudable position if they were not anti-sex education, anti-sex, anti-condom, anti-contraception, anti-HPV vaccine, anti-morning-after pill, anti-public schools, anti-disestablishmentarian, and totally, absolutely, rigidly, dogmatically, narrow-mindedly, heartlessly, unsympathetically, fanatically anti-abortion. And those who rail against contraceptives on the ridiculous principle that they encourage rampant promiscuity or because they believe that sexual intercourse should only be for procreation are idiots, frankly. Dangerous and destructive idiots at that. And if you are against both abortion and contraception, then you are part of the problem – your irrational ideology is in direct opposition to any reasonable solution. If this insanity is dictated by your religion, then what good is your religion?

A more reasonable position is that abortion should be legal, safe, and rare. The main alternative to abortion is not abstinence. It’s adoption. It’s education. It’s support for families. It’s compassion for couples who have made a mistake that will affect the rest of their lives. It’s funding. It’s more organizations like Planned Parenthood, not fewer.

Yes it’s a woman’s choice. Yes it’s her body. Yes it’s legal. But it’s wrong to kill a fetus. Does someone actually think it’s right to rip a human fetus out of its mother’s womb? Can anyone sincerely, unreservedly, and uncompromisingly be “pro-abortion”? Only merciless psychofanatics, I suspect. Forget about when human life starts or when the soul magically enters a human being – these are all red herrings. You might as well argue how many fetuses can dance on the head of a pin. On the other hand, support for later term abortions is repulsive – thoughtless, pitiless, ruthless, callous, cruel, inhuman and inhumane, hard-hearted and cold-blooded as hell. The only exception should be when the mother’s life is in danger. But making abortion illegal helps no one, including fetuses. Unwanted children add misery and suffering to society. No woman should have to die because she’s desperate enough to kill her fetus. Two tragedies are not better than one. Making every effort to make abortion rare helps everyone. It’s simple human decency.

If only all the funding and effort that is continually wasted on anti-abortion hysterics and religious campaigns and photoshopped fetal carnage could be spent on effective education about contraception, pregnancy, parenting, adoption, and responsible sexual behavior. Provide free contraceptives to poor people. Support pregnant women. Give them options. Give them child care and parental leave. Provide enough food, clothing, shelter, financial assistance, education, and medical treatment for poor families. Think about how to improve living standards and the quality of life for families. Promote and facilitate adoption, including adoption by gay parents. Put your money where your mouth is, maybe even (gasp) tax money and tax incentives. Unwanted children, FAS children, and other children mentally and physically damaged by their parents are a tragedy and a detriment to society. They are victims and we all share the blame. What are you doing about it? Are you adding to the misery in this world, or are you trying to make this world a better place?

So stop calling yourselves pro-life and pro-choice, and stop calling each other evil and extremists and murderers and misogynists and fascists. Stop being rude. Stop thinking only in absolutes. Summon up a little empathy, not just for partially developed human beings, but for victims of rape and incest too. Have a little sympathy for families that have to deal with horrific fetal deformities, terminal infant diseases, and pregnancies that endanger the health of the mother. Stop quoting the Bible – it has nothing to say about abortion specifically and it includes divinely approved infanticide and feticide. And for God’s sake, stop bombing clinics and shooting people. You’re making your religion into a tragic joke. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be the first time.

Instead of attacking each other, let’s get together and cooperate to minimize abortion the compassionate way, where mothers and fetuses and fathers and children are all important, where we reluctantly recognize that sometimes horrible compromises might have to be made, but we do everything humanly and humanely possible to prevent tragedies. Religion shouldn’t even enter into it.

And stop being flippant.


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The Meaning of Life: Jonathan Gabay

Live for each moment.
Give as much as you can and take as little as you need.
Live life with your eyes open – see the beauty of the world, and the suffering.
Live life with your heart open – let your compassion and love embrace all things.
Virginia McKenna (1931-), quoted in The Meaning of Life, Jonathan Gabay, 1995

The Meaning of Life is another book of quotes on this elusive yet perennial subject, this time compiled by Jonathan Gabay, who solicited opinions from people all over the world. He also added some quotes that were not from his survey.

Considering they originate largely from educated and successful people, most of the quotes were surprisingly shallow, trite, or glib. Some of the contributors with an excessively inflated sense of self-importance had their secretaries respond for them – apparently even the meaning of life does not require the personal touch if you consider yourself a highfalutin hoity-toity VIP. Or perhaps being a highfalutin hoity-toity VIP actually provides most of the meaning in their lives. Or perhaps I just like saying “highfalutin hoity-toity VIP”. Anyway, several of the contributors tried to be funny or oh-so-clever, with very limited success, much like myself. Many, perhaps most, didn’t even address the question of the meaning of life at all. The worst of the worst was a submission from Billy Graham, where he spouted his usual superficial dogma of The One True Religion as the answer to “sin, sorrow and death”, complete with the standard threats of doom, gloom, and coming damnation. More like the demeaning of life!

Two contributors of the theist bent quoted Micah 6:8, “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” I don’t see a meaning of life in there, but at least it was less obnoxious and threatening than Graham’s tirade.

One contributor quoted Shaw (that seems lazy — I thought they were supposed to be quoting themselves), but the quote was actually concatenated from two different sources:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Man and Superman: A Comedy and a Philosophy, Epistle Dedicatory to Arthur Bingham Walkely, 1903

My life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is a sort of splendid torch, which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Sussex Daily News, 07 March 1907

It’s an interesting exercise to try to categorize the more coherent opinions in this book:

  1. Love
    Follow the Golden Rule: Do as you would be done by. Love, be selfless, sacrifice yourself.
  2. Society
    Make the world a better place. Sympathize, empathize. Care, help, support, understand, respect others. Be concerned about others. Be good, kind, generous to others. Do good works. Contribute to society and the common good of your community and the world. Volunteer.
  3. Enjoyment
    Be happy, smell the flowers, live for each moment, enjoy life, enjoy music, have fun, pursue pleasure and amusement, laugh and make others laugh.
  4. Relationships
    Be a good parent to your children, cherish your family and friends.
  5. Creativity
    Be creative, make music, art, etc.
  6. Achievement
    Learn, gain knowledge and understanding. Break through your limitations. Be fully committed to pursuing your ideals and dreams. Battle for your beliefs and pursue your goals. Nurture your talents. Life is what you make of it, so make the best of life and be the best you can be.
  7. Authenticity
    Be yourself. Don’t pretend. Dare to stand alone.
  8. Virtue
    Practice the cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, restraint, courage.
  9. Religion
    Glorify God, have a relationship with God (presumably platonic), prepare for the glorious afterlife, avoid hell, fulfill God’s purpose (whatever that is – it sounds like you have to figure that out for yourself). Shun reason, logic, science, and independent thought. Embrace dogma, doctrine, faith, belief without evidence, and the supernatural. Blindly follow The One True Religion or suffer the horrific divine consequences.
  10. Life
    There is no meaning of life or purpose to life, but life has value and there can be meaning in life. Life itself is the meaning of life, so preserve life. Life is a journey, not an end in itself.

Most of these points are giving advice about how to live life, and not at all illuminating the meaning of it. Oh well, it looks like we still don’t know the meaning of life after all!

Here’s the rest of the best of the best from the book:

Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.
Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964)

The purpose of man’s life is not happiness, but worthiness. Happiness may come as an accessory, we dare never make it an end.
Felix Adler (1851-1933), Creed and Deed, 1877

Geologic history shows us that life is only a short episode between two eternities of death, and that, even in this episode, conscious thought has lasted and will last only a moment. Thought is only a gleam in the midst of a long night.
But it is this gleam which is everything.
Henri Poincaré (1854-1912), The Foundations of Science: The Value of Science, 1913, translated by George Bruce Halsted

Life is to be lived, and hopefully in living, one can find pleasure, achievement, amusement, love, friendship and tranquility. To me, movement is tranquility.
Stirling Moss (1929-), car racing champion, quoted in The Meaning of Life, Jonathan Gabay, 1995

The meaning of life is the road, not the goal. For each answer is delusive, each fulfillment melts away between our fingers, and the goal is no longer a goal once it is attained.
Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931)

I don’t think life has any meaning.
It has beauty, it has ugliness. It has happiness, and pain, love, hate, great rewards and sometimes enormous responsibilities. It has laughter.
But it has no meaning. A cowslip in the hedgerow doesn’t mean anything, neither does a sunrise over a tropical sea, or a thunderstorm. They are wonders of Nature, but they don’t mean anything.
If I had to give a short answer it would be ‘Life is meaningless, but it is wonderful. Where would we be without it? You’re dead right we would.’
Ronnie Barker (1929-2005), quoted in The Meaning of Life, Jonathan Gabay, 1995

Individual existence seems of little value and any meaning must lie in the continuum. All we can do is to paint our dreams on the patch of worn canvas allotted to us. We must use the brightest freshest colours we can find, knowing that the shapes will blur, the colours wash away and that soon someone else will come to paint over our brief effort at creation.
Marjorie Wallace (1945-), quoted in The Meaning of Life, Jonathan Gabay, 1995

And finally…

The meaning of life is searching for the meaning of life.
Sylvia Anderson (1937-), as told to her by Brains, the scientific and engineering genius behind International Rescue, seen on the Thunderbirds TV series and movies, quoted in The Meaning of Life, Jonathan Gabay, 1995

At the risk of upstaging supermarionated genius, I leave you with these superficially wise words:

The meaning of life is to find meaning in life.

Life is what you make it.

What if the hokey pokey is what it’s all about?
Unknown, bumper sticker


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The Meaning of Life: Celebrity Wisdom

  1. Life is to be enjoyed
  2. We are here to serve God
  3. We are here to seek wisdom and self-actualization
  4. The meaning of life is a mystery
  5. Life is meaningless
  6. We are here to help others
  7. Life is a struggle
  8. We are here to contribute to society
  9. We must create meaning for ourselves
  10. Life is absurd
    Richard Kinnier, Jerry Kernes, Nancy Tribbensee, Tina Van Puymbroeck, Contents, “The Meaning of Life” According to the Great and the Good, 2010 (from a study by the authors, “What Eminent People Have Said About the Meaning of Life”, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, volume 43, number 1, winter 2003)

There it is. The meaning of life. Settled. Well, meanings, actually. Four of them say life has no discernible meaning – life’s a mystery, a struggle, absurd, or just meaningless. Another one says we’re here to serve God, which sounds more like a prison sentence rather than something meaningful or even desirable. Or perhaps just another form of struggle, like a struggle against slavery.

So that leaves enjoyment, wisdom, self-actualization (whatever that is – the term has become almost meaningless psychological jargon), helping others, contributing to society (which includes helping others, one would think), and finally, to create meaning for ourselves.

There are a number of book titles that directly mention the meaning of life. Including the above book, some of the ones I’ve read are:

  • “The Meaning of Life” According to the Great and the Good, Richard Kinnier, Jerry Kernes, Nancy Tribbensee, Tina Van Puymbroeck, 2010
  • The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction, Terry Eagleton, 2007
  • What’s It All About? Philosophy and the Meaning of Life, Julian Baggini, 2004
  • The Meaning of Life, Bradley Trevor Greive, 2002
  • The Meaning of Life: A Reader, E. D. Klemke, editor, 2000
  • The Meaning of Life, Jonathan Gabay, editor, 1995
  • Life and Meaning: A Reader, Oswald Hanfling, editor, 1987
  • The Meaning of Life in Five Great Religions, R.C. Chalmers, John A. Irving, editors, 1965
  • On the Meaning of Life, Will Durant, 1932

Their arguments fall into the ten categories above, more or less, with one additional category: The question “What is the meaning of life?” is itself meaningless. This is an approach typical of philosophers: question the question. But in this case the approach is the correct one, in my opinion. The more sensible question is: “How can we find meaning in our lives?”

Let’s look at some of the more useful quotes “according to the great and the good”, who are celebrities, because obviously famous people are more intelligent and know more about life than anybody else. (I’ve corrected the quotes for Gilda Radner, Lillian Smith, and Benjamin Franklin, and I’ve attributed the correct Robert Byrne to his quote – he’s the pool player, not the chess champion! This makes me wonder how accurate the quotes are that I couldn’t verify. Just because they’re academics doesn’t mean they’re not sloppy. Now if celebrities had edited this book, I’m sure the accuracy would have been impeccable…)

First, enjoy life!

Carpe diem! Rejoice while you are alive; enjoy the day; live life to the fullest; make the most of what you have. It is later than you think.
Horace (65-8 BCE)

Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.
James Dean (1931-1955)

A wise man once said that all human activity is a form of play. And the highest form of play is the search for Truth, Beauty and Love. What more is needed? Should there be a “meaning” as well, that will be a bonus.
If we waste time looking for life’s meaning, we may have no time to live – or to play. Our graceful, smiling cousins in the sea may be wiser than us.
“Consider the ant,” said the Bible. Good advice, to primitive peoples struggling to survive in a hostile environment.
But perhaps we should consider the dolphin.
Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008)

Seek wisdom! Self-actualize!

Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.
José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955)

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), Familiar Studies of Men and Books, 1882

Life’s a mystery…

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902), Part I, “Lord, What is Man?”, The Notebooks of Samuel Butler, 1912

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
John Lennon (1940-1980), Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) song, Double Fantasy album, 1980; first published appearance of this quote may have been Allen Saunders (1899-1986), Reader’s Digest, 1957

Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end… Life … has ambiguity. Life … is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.
Gilda Radner (1946-1989), It’s Always Something, 1989. “Delicious ambiguity” is a quote from her psychotherapist, Joanna Bull. Gilda Radner died of ovarian cancer at the all-too-young age of 42.

To find the point where hypothesis and fact meet; the delicate equilibrium between dream and reality; the place where fantasy and earthly things are metamorphosed into a work of art; the hour when faith in the future becomes knowledge of the past; to lay down one’s power for others in need; to shake off the old ordeal and get ready for the new; to question, knowing that never can the full answer be found; to accept uncertainties quietly, even our incomplete knowledge of God; this is what man’s journey is about, I think.
Lillian Smith (1897-1966), The Journey, 1954

Contribute to society!

If you have not found something to die for, you have no reason to live.
Malcolm X (aka Malcolm Little, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz; 1925-1965)

If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1738

Create meaning for yourself…

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
Robert Byrne (1930-), The Third and Possibly the Best 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1989

That last quote about sums it up. There is no meaning of life, but there can be meaning in life. And that’s entirely up to each one of us.


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What Is Your Religion Good For?

Like a bra, religion lifts but it also separates.
W.G. Potter

Religion has indeed given us many good things:

  • Art (complete with depictions of hell and torture that could be classified as snuff porn)
  • Music (and some god-awful lyrics)
  • Literature (but if you believe the Bible is literally God’s word, then apparently omniscience does not make one a consistently good writer)
  • Architecture (although all that money could have been spent more beneficially)
  • Charitable organizations (unfortunately, many have conversion as their primary goal)
  • Community (or perhaps just a convenient way to socialize on a regular basis)

However, religion has been the driving force behind many destructive things:

  • Inquisitions, torture, witch hunts, burning at the stake, persecution of atheists, apostates, agnostics, heretics, infidels, or anyone else that begs to differ
  • Crusades, genocides, conquests, wars, terrorism, suicide bombings
  • Pedophile priests, child brides, polygamy, misogyny, sexual discrimination, subjugation of women, homophobic persecution, male circumcision, female excision, antisexualism, harmful myths about masturbation
  • Bans on contraception, condoms
  • Celibacy, abstinence, self-castration, and other attempts to deny our human nature
  • Theocracies, dominionism
  • Fundamentalism, racism, Zionism, anti-Semitism, religious intolerance, religious fanaticism and extremism, honor killing
  • Slavery, animal and human sacrifices
  • Televangelist hucksters and other religious con men, religious fraud
  • Scientific ignorance and suppression, creationism, intelligent design, mental illness treated as demon possession, disease and disaster explained as God’s retribution for sins
  • Parents refusing medical treatment for their own children, prayer as a substitute for taking positive actions
  • Censorship of art, music, and literature, book banning, book burning, destruction of historical documents, artifacts, art, and architecture, anti-blasphemy laws backed up by religious hysteria, violence, and murder
  • Chipping away at the wall of separation between church and state, publicly-funded separate school systems, government-funded proselytization (aka “faith-based initiatives”), religious exemptions from human rights laws
  • Sermons, doctrines, dogma, scripture, and other religious propaganda asserting that human beings are inherently evil and worthless
  • Needless guilt for just about everything

Is it a wash? I don’t think so. Religion is still behind many of these things today.

So religions lift, but they also separate. Ideologies unite, but they also divide. Religion is an ideology and like other ideologies, religion unites, but it also divides. Religions are divided from other religions, denominations from other denominations, sects from other sects, religious people from secular people, the priestly hierarchy from laypersons, fanatics from moderates, conservatives from liberals, men from women, and worst of all, rationality from the human mind.

Ah, but it’s not really religion doing all these bad things — it’s people, right? So is religion just a magnifying lens, an amplifier, focusing and intensifying pre-existing human faults like prejudice, intolerance, and violence? If so, then what is religion good for? Is religion just an effective way of manipulating people into doing something, good or bad? If you can use religion to convince others to start wars or commit genocide, then what is religion good for? If your religion inspires you to threaten, assault, murder, burn, and bomb because of mere cartoons, then what is your religion good for? When pro-lifers murder doctors and priests rape children, what is religion good for? If your religion inspires you to discriminate against people based on their sex or sexual orientation, if your religion inspires you to muzzle and oppress everyone that disagrees with your particular dogma, then what the hell is your religion good for? It’s time to stop tolerating intolerance. Religion that inspires hate is a curse on society. What is that kind of religion good for? Good. For. Nothing.

So consider this …

With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.
Steven Weinberg (1933-), Facing Up: Science and Its Cultural Adversaries, 2001


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