Defending the Faith: September 2003 Archives


| | Comments (5)

The Barrister has recently had an exchange with Andy of the World Wide Rant. Seems Andy professes to be an Atheist because religious folks are a bunch of hypocrites (I for one am guilty as charged), and, he asks, if God is good, why does he allow suffering in the world. In other words, Andy is an atheist for the usual, rather poor, reasons. The other day Andy put up a post that he intended to use to show how religious faith of any kind leads folks to do all sorts of evil deeds, even murder. I'm afraid, however, that his post proves just the opposite.

Andy's post tells the story of a Hindu man who murdered an Australian missionary and his young son because the missionary was encouraging people to each hamburgers, a grave offense to Hindu's who hold cows to be sacred creatures. Andy concludes his post with the statement

" It's a sad tragedy that religious fervor claimed the life of someone who was working for a greater good in India. It's even sadder that it was basically because of a hamburger.


It is evident from this post that there are several underlying assumptions that Andy relies upon to show that religious faith is evil. First, that is wrong to take an innocent life, and second that a human life is infinitely more valuable than a hamburger. Behind both of these is assumptions is the assumption that the reader will recognize the first two assumptions are true, in other words, that there are certain things that are eternally, objectively and unchangeably true. Without these assumptions his post makes no sense as a case either for right or wrong.

You see, if there is no eternal, universal, objective Good, if there is no God, then anything is permissible, good or evil becomes no more than a matter of personal opinion or preference. The idea that a human life is more valuable than anything on earth is nothing if not a distinctly Christian belief. Andy, in his attempt to ridicule religious faith, relies, as he must, on the Christian understanding of the human person. If there is no God, there is no human law that can be eternally and objectively valid. At any time laws against murder, rape, incest, etc could be changed, they would simply be subject to the prevailing view of the society at any particular time. There would be no reason to assume that it is wrong to kill a missionary and his son over the eating of a hamburger.

It might be well to remember that while it is true that people do evil things in the name of religion, people do far greater evils in the name of irreligion. The really world class killers of the 20th century, for example, were people who were explicitly anti-religious, i.e. Stalin, Hitler, etc. Even today, the greatest holocaust of our time, the abortion horror, is done by people who hate any idea of religious value. And for every Christian who, violating the tenants of his faith, commits a sinful act, there is a Mother Teresa attempting to bring Christ to the next person she meets.

The point is, we all sin. Christianity teaches that as a fundamental truth. It also teaches that when we act sinfully we are acting to separate ourselves from God, not to further His cause. Arguing that religious faith is false because God allows evil is spurious. Using that argument, no one could involve themselves with any human activity under the sun; even sports fans, for example, would have to shun teams they follow because athletes at every level openly commit sinful acts. We would have to quit our jobs because our bosses allow sinful people to work side by side with us. The only source of good we have must come from outside of ourselves, it certainly doesn’t come from anything any of us do.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Defending the Faith category from September 2003.

Defending the Faith: October 2003 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.