Speaking about ‘divine command theory’ and some “religious people”, “who are blowing themselves up, convinced that they are agents of God’s will”, neuroscientist Sam Harris has insightfully said that:
“[T]his, to me, is the true horror of religion: It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions what only lunatics could believe on their own.”
There certainly is something special about religion. It alone makes what still seems to be a majority of all humans appear to be lunatics, in at least some respects. It’s often obsessed with valued texts giving homage to the wholesale killing of humans and with the practice of having telepathic contact with a psychopathic imaginary friend. Who’s not afraid of that combination?
What every Western democracy across the planet, from Canada and Australia to France, which yesterday evening was yet again militarily attacked by religion from within, needs to acknowledge, is that, through the centuries, it’s been shaped by secular movements. The Renaissance in the 15th century, the emergence of capitalism in the 16th century, the scientific revolution in the 17th century, the Enlightenment in the 18th century, and the democratization in the 19th and 20th centuries, were all secular movements. These movements have all pushed back the immense might of religion. But, as always, every Western democracy is still threatened from within by the persistent and lethal religious virus.