Friday, January 16, 2009

President Bush, the World isn't just Good and Evil

One of my biggest objections to religion is not the specific beliefs, but rather the way of thinking, the tendency to cast everything into simplistic black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. This was amply illustrated yesterday by President Bush's farewell address:
I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere.
But Mr. President, what about the innocents you murdered by invading Iraq?

At least six independent agencies have estimated of the deaths attributable to the Iraq war. The lowest reliable estimate puts the count at over 100,000 civilians, non combatants – more than thirty times the number of people who died in the World Trade Center attack of 9/11. In fact, the real number of deaths may be much higher, over 280,000 Iraqis who died. And the majority of these were killed by American bombs dropped from American airplanes and missiles, not terrorists.

Want even more horrifying numbers? Fifty five percent of the dead are women and children. By the most conservative estimate, that's fifty five thousand women and children whose blood is on our hands.

These were innocent people. Civilian deaths. Why isn't America horrified at this? Why is it that President Bush can be outraged by 3,000 American deaths, but not understand that when you bomb a country back to the stone age, hundreds of thousands of innocent people – children, grandparents, mothers, everyone – will die?

I believe that George W. Bush's religious background was at least partly responsible for these deaths. Accepting religious beliefs requires a suspension of logic, a belief in things that plainly are without a factual foundation. Children are deliberately taught to suspend logic, to trust feelings and emotions rather than intellect and reason. "Faith trumps reason" is an official part of all modern religions:
Divine revelation, not reason, is the source of all truth.
– Tertullian of Carthage (150-225 AD)
A man like George W. Bush sees the 9/11 attacks in black and white, good and evil. He is apparently incapable of understanding that war is also evil, that fighting evil with evil is never a simple choice. If he'd been raised without religion, would he have been wiser? Could he have seen that the choices were complex and grey, not black and white? I don't know.

But I do know that George W. Bush has demonstrated yet again that Christianity does not make a person more moral.

1 comment:

  1. Bush is gone!!


    Heck, I'm not even American but I wanted Bush to loose both elections..pity about the quality of the opponents I guess.

    The neo-cons are on the slide.

    So far, Obama has made smart choices when it comes to educational and scientific staff to drive policy forward.

    Hail to the chief!!


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