Religion and Liberty

I’m not a religious person. I have an unconventional Mormon background but rejected the faith of my parents for a large number of reasons. I’m not hostile to religion, either. At least, I try not to be (it’s hard sometimes!). I’ve seen first-hand what religious organizations can do for humanity. When I was living in a Ghanaian village of no more than 300 people, I had access to no more than two hospitals in the village. One was run by the Seventh-Day Adventists, and the other I cannot remember (the SDA hospital was closer). It was most likely a Catholic one. Religious organizations representing Islam, Judaism, Christianity and even Buddhism were ever-present in Ghana, and they all provided much-needed skills and supplies to that magnificently socialist state.

I attribute my atheism and my libertarianism to my skeptical nature. If you can prove to me that God does indeed exist, or that paternalism is good for me and my fellow man, then I will turn on a dime. I don’t know very much about anything, after all.

Anyway, religion has been under attack in the West since the Enlightenment. There are both good and bad reasons for this. One of the best reasons is that religious authorities often burned dissidents at the stake for opposing their claims to authority. In much of the world today, especially in some Muslim regions, non-believers are subjected to stonings, beheadings, and torture when the authority of the ecclesiastical class is challenged. However, in today’s Western world, the war on religion is a rather petty affair. Most skeptics don’t want to argue about the existence of God, they simply want to denigrate believers at best, and persecute them at worst. Continue reading