It is so refreshing to read an honest, straightforward, defense of religion. Case in point, Fr. Thomas Crean’s essay in the April/May 2010 issue of Philosophy Now magazine.
Fr. Crean begins with the assumption that judging a religion good or bad depends on whether or not that religion is true or false. For example, the Catholic Inquisition, which tortured and killed thousands in the name of doctrinal purity, is good if the doctrine of the Church is true, and bad if it is false. This makes perfect sense.
Thousands of Jews, among thousands of others, died at the hands of the Inquisition. Their crime? Not being Catholic, or, in the case of those Jews forced to convert to Catholicism before being tortured by the Inquisition, not being Catholic enough. Now if Catholicism is merely a figment of the imagination of Catholics, and hence false, murdering people for not adhering to it is wrong. But if Catholicism is true then those who deny it or pollute its teachings are a danger to the salvation of all humanity, and their murder is justified. How can you argue with this?
According to Fr. Crean, religion is powerful and morally neutral. Good people of faith will use their faith to do good in the world, evil people of faith will use that same faith to do evil in the world. If so, what good is religion at all?
What do you think? How do you know if your religion is true? What does the truth of your religion allow you to do vis a vis the false religions demanding equal standing in the community of human religions?