I call bullshit. It does none of those things. In fact, I contend that it is perhaps the most dangerous idea currently extant on the planet Earth. It is irrational and it is because it is so irrational that it has no natural brakes placed upon it. You’re not going to get someone going “hey, we ought to stop this, it’s kind of crazy!” It’s all crazy! It is a philosophy, not of intelligence or evidence or critical thinking, but of mindless adherence to ideas that are irrational on their face and which teach concepts that can easily lead to violence. The Qu’ran says “kill the infidels”, to the left is what we see when people take it seriously.
Now I don’t have a lot of love for Bill Maher really, I think a lot of his views are ridiculous, but he did make some good points in his film Religulous, the last 5 minutes of which is here:
When people ask me why I oppose religion, this is why. No matter how harmless some of it seems, no matter how happy it makes some people, at it’s core is a base irrationality that is extremely dangerous. In fact, the idea that the world is going to end isn’t the scary part, the absolute belief that it will is. People who are so completely enamored by the idea may, because of their fanatical faith, take steps to ensure that it actually comes to pass. What happens when a large group of crazy individuals, convinced that they are the instruments of God, try their hardest to cause the apocalypse? After all, 10% of people worldwide think that the world will not only end, but do so within their lifetimes. That’s millions upon millions of people who are just waiting for Jesus to swoop in an kill the unbelievers. Would we be all that surprised if they decided to speed up the process on their own?
Religion is dangerous. It gets more dangerous when fanatical minds embrace it, but even the most casual of believers feeds the fire by providing cover for the real crazies. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that it’s harmless, many millions of people who have been maimed, tortured or killed at the hands of theists would disagree. It’s time this madness stops. Who is with me?