When it comes to Richard Dawkins and atheism, I live by the words of The Dude. “You’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole.” Being right and being good are very different things.
With that in mind, here is a review of the latest Karen Armstrong book. The book argues religion does not poison everything. Rather, religion is poisoned by power. Power corrupts, and successful religions convert those with power. Armstrong, a former nun, has a unique view of religion, and her thoughts are consistently interesting.
Excerpts: “‘Religion causes all the wars.’ It’s an odd thing to say. Among the many causes advanced for the Great War, I have never heard religion mentioned. Same with the second world war. The worst genocides of the last century — Hitler’s murder of the Jews and Atatürk’s massacre of the Armenians were perpetrated by secular nationalists.”
And: “All terrorism is now routinely attributed to religious intoxication. Richard Dawkins tells us that ‘only religious faith is a strong enough force to motivate such utter madness in otherwise sane and decent people’. But Armstrong points out that suicide bombing was more or less invented by the Tamil Tigers, ‘a nationalist separatist group with no time for religion’.”
And: “The sad truth is that religions are corrupted by success. The more popular they become, the closer they are drawn into the ambit of state power, the more their practice and doctrine have to be remodelled to suit their new overlords.”