Worship is immoral March 8, 2011Posted by Ezra Resnick in Belief, Ethics, Religion.
Religion is not only false; it’s immoral. One reason it’s immoral is because it’s false: holding beliefs for which there is no good justification is irresponsible, since actions guided by false beliefs often have disastrous consequences. Of course, even if one of our religions were true, that wouldn’t mean that all its precepts and commandments are moral: even if the Bible was authored by the creator of the universe, executing homosexuals and blasphemers and adulterers would still be wrong.
Apart from all this, however, even if some religion’s doctrines were true and all its rules were ethical, it would still be intrinsically immoral — because religion requires worship. As pointed out by Scott Aikin and Robert Talisse:
The thought is frequently associated with Bertrand Russell: The worship of anything is beneath the dignity of a rational creature. That is, we argue that worship is immoral. Consequently, for any type of religious belief, if it requires one to worship anything, then it is intrinsically immoral. The argument turns on the claim that any conception of worship that’s worth its salt will involve the voluntary and irrevocable submission of one’s rational faculties to those of another.
If there did exist a being vastly more intelligent, more powerful, and more moral than us (and the Biblical God certainly doesn’t meet that description), it might merit gratitude, admiration, respect — but never worship. And what kind of supreme being would want to be worshiped, anyway? Or glorified? Or obeyed blindly? The best humans we know never seek such things.
Just like religious faith, worship is inherently immoral, and encouraging it causes much evil in this world — whether the object being worshiped exists or not. There’s always some human authority happy to step in and take advantage of the religiously cultivated inclination towards submission, obedience, and servility.
(via Butterflies and Wheels)