Is Religion Necessary to Give Human Beings Hope?

What hope means for families of children with rare diseases in clinical  trials | RCNi

Jeff Siker, liberal Christian scholar: You’re absolutely right that religious faith is not fundamentally rational. I’ve often thought that Jews in the second century viewed Christians the way most Christians today view Mormons — they seem like nice folks, but they believe some weird things! As for massive human suffering, I’d argue that we’re the ones who allow unchecked and preventable suffering to continue. No, that doesn’t explain why a 3-year old gets cancer and dies. Rational thinking is indeed important, but so is the capacity of humans to believe and hope even in the face of what seems to be a hopeless situation.

Gary: Yes, it is important to have hope, but is it ethical to give false hope to people? Isn’t reality, no matter how cold and discomforting it may be, better than a lie? As a scholar, you know that the evidence for the resurrection is weak. You know that the authors of the Gospels were not eyewitnesses or the associates of eyewitnesses. You know that the Gospel stories are most likely highly embellished. Yet, you teach little children and gullible adults to believe this ancient superstition because it gives you pleasant “experiences” in your “community”.

Think about the harm you are doing, my friend. Superstitions are dangerous and even deadly. Abandon your comforting superstitions, maybe not for your benefit, but for the good of future generations. Let them grow up in a world free of religious superstitions and the hate and violence that those religious superstitions generate.

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