Dangers of ReligionsSee also: Criticism of religion
Some prominent atheists—such as Bertrand Russell, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Richard Dawkins—have criticized religions, citing harmful aspects of religious practices and doctrines. Atheists have often engaged in debate with religious advocates, and the debates sometimes address the issue of whether religions provide a net benefit to individuals and society.
One argument that religions can be harmful, made by atheists such as Sam Harris, is that Western religions' reliance on divine authority lends itself to authoritarianism and dogmatism. Atheists have also cited data showing that there is a correlation between religious fundamentalism and extrinsic religion (when religion is held because it serves ulterior interests) and authoritarianism, dogmatism, and prejudice. These arguments—combined with historical events that are argued to demonstrate the dangers of religion, such as the Crusades, inquisitions, witch trials, and terrorist attacks—have been used in response to claims of beneficial effects of belief in religion. Believers counter-argue that some regimes that espouse atheism, such as in Soviet Russia, have also been guilty of mass murder.
Famous quotes containing the words dangers of, religions and/or dangers:
“Anyone with a real taste for solitude who indulges that taste encounters the dangers of any other drug-taker. The habit grows. You become an addict.... Absorbed in the visions of solitude, human beings are only interruptions. What voice can equal the voices of solitude? What sights equal the movement of a single days tide of light across the floor boards of one room? What drama be as continuously absorbing as the interior one?”
—Jessamyn West (19021984)
“All religions have based morality on obedience, that is to say, on voluntary slavery. That is why they have always been more pernicious than any political organisation. For the latter makes use of violence, the formerof the corruption of the will.”
—Alexander Herzen (18121870)
“One of the dangers of the American artist is that he finds himself almost exclusively thrown in with persons more or less in the arts. He lives among them, eats among them, quarrels with them, marries them.”
—Thornton Wilder (18971975)