The headline is stark: “When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous”. And it tells us the problem. People who believe in religion are, by definition, delusional. When you believe you can talk with an invisible, imaginary man in the sky, you have a big problem. The praying is just one symptom of much deeper problems, and their manifestations are dangerous:
I don’t know which is more dangerous, that religious beliefs force some people to choose between knowledge and myth or that pointing out how religion can purvey ignorance is taboo. To do so risks being branded as intolerant of religion. The kindly Dalai Lama, in a recent New York Times editorial, juxtaposed the statement that “radical atheists issue blanket condemnations of those who hold religious beliefs” with his censure of the extremist intolerance, murderous actions and religious hatred in the Middle East. Aside from the distinction between questioning beliefs and beheading or bombing people, the “radical atheists” in question rarely condemn individuals but rather actions and ideas that deserve to be challenged.
Surprisingly, the strongest reticence to speak out often comes from those who should be most worried about silence. Last May I attended a conference on science and public policy at which a representative of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences gave a keynote address. When I questioned how he reconciled his own reasonable views about science with the sometimes absurd and unjust activities of the Church—from false claims about condoms and AIDS in Africa to pedophilia among the clergy—I was denounced by one speaker after another for my intolerance.
Let’s just state the obvious. When you believe you can talk with an invisible, imaginary man in the sky, you have a big problem. You should seek professional help and heal yourself. This video may help you better understand the problem: