What religion is the most dangerous in your eyes, today and in the past?

(This is the 8th question in Brett Keane’s Atheist Challenge)

What religion is the most dangerous in your eyes, today and in the past?

Islam, easily, through sheer power of  numbers and fanatic devotion. It’s difficult to choose any other, in light of recent historical events, such as the September 11th attacks, the actions of the Taliban, the Danish cartoon riots (and the more recent attack on the cartoonist), and much, much more.

That wasn’t always the case, however. Historically, Islam brought us much in the way of knowledge and exploration, before it retreated into fear and superstition. In the past, it was Christianity that brought us the crusades. the inquisition, the witch trials, and much, much more.

Both religions have brought us so much knowledge, discovery, and beauty, but at a great, great cost – and there seems to be a cycle that eventually turns them to ignorance and fear of the things they used to promote.


2 Responses to “What religion is the most dangerous in your eyes, today and in the past?”

  1. 1 Martijn
    January 7, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I disagree with the whole concept of a religion being dangerous. It is always the people who are dangerous. With this post you condemn a whole lot of people who don’t have anything to do with either 9/11, the taliban or the cartoon riots. They are just hard-working law abiding citizens in any country who believe that after death Allah wil be there to judge you.

    To me, that is not creating understanding between theists and atheists. To me, this is judgement of other people’s lives. You do not want to be told that you have no morality becaus you have no faith. These people do not want to be told their faith is dangerous because there are people who are dangerous.

  2. 2 funandprophet
    January 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm


    I’m a little confused by your comment. At first you take issue with me saying that certain religions are dangerous and that it’s the people who are really dangerous – then you claim I’m condemning people who believe in those religions. There’s some inconsistency there.

    A religion isn’t the people who subscribe to it. It’s a belief system that includes a set of rules that govern how its followers will live their lives. And it is those rules, combined with the way that they are interpreted and the willingness of the adherents to follow them to the letter of that interpretation, that is dangerous.

    Of course I don’t think that all Muslims were responsible for 9/11, or that all Christians were responsible for the Crusades or the Inquisition – it’s the ideas in their doctrine that promoted those things, however, and some of their adherents chose to act upon them. I have often said that the vast majority of religious people are far more moral than their religion is – they don’t kill unbelievers, homosexuals, or witches on sight, keep slaves, or sacrifice animals, as their holy booka instruct them to.

    The fact is, these dangerous ideas exist within religion. If followers want to call themselves Muslims or Christians, they must confront this, at least with themselves.

    As always, thanks for your comment.

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I am an atheist, a person who does not believe in the existence of any gods.

Many people don't know a lot about atheists, and have questions about them. In this blog, I do my best to answer them, to help build an understanding between atheists and theists.

Do you have a question? You can post it in the comments to any of my blog entries, and I will do my best to answer it in a new entry.


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