Monday, September 08, 2003

Double Standards on Religion

Gregg Easterbrook has an interesting post up on the double standards at work in media coverage of religiously motivated political actions, in this case, on the Alabama's Ray Moore of Ten Commandments infamy, even as the religiously inspired efforts of Governor Bob Riley to eliminate state taxes for the poor are ignored. That religion, and the Christian brand of religion in particular, can be as much a force for good as for evil is something that all too many people on the left fail to grasp.

Yes, Christianity has been used to rationalize all sorts of injustices, but the examples of communism and Nazism in the 20th century ought to disabuse us of the notion that religion is at all necessary for the rationalization of inhumanity. A great deal of good has and is being done around the world by people who are driven by religious motivations, and it seems only proper to me to give these people their due, even if one doesn't like, or even respect, the particular religious systems to which they adhere. Religious devotion is not of its' own a mark of intolerance and wickedness.

Certainly, from a purely philosophical point of view, it is more impressive for one to choose to do good and to help one's fellow man without being prompted to do so by a deity, and with neither the fear of hell nor the prospect of heaven to keep one on the straight and narrow, but men are imperfect creatures who find it hard enough to do the right thing as it is, without theoreticians demanding of them a superhuman loftiness of moral vision. If you are moved to act with kindness and decency towards others you encounter, why should I care what moves you to do so?