Dennis Prager – Why and How Religious People Can Do Evil in God’s Name
Religion is the best answer to evil when done right; however, when done wrong it can do great harm. Dennis explains why having God or religion in one’s life doesn’t guarantee goodness. He also explains why secularism (no religion) will not work as an alternative. Human beings need to believe in something transcendent.
Major Points of the Lecture:
1. Secularists do not acknowledge secular evil, only religious evil.
2. It is too easy to say that Christians who do evil things, for example, are not really Christians. However, it is possible to believe in a religion and still do evil (i.e. Islam).
3. Islamists believe in God (as they understand him), but still do evil. They must believe in transcendent things because they are willing to kill themselves in the name of religion.
4. Every religion must identify its “essence.” Jews and Christians have more or less defined their essence as not harming others, or loving one another. Islam, meaning “surrender”, might say that their essence is to surrender to God.
5. If all religious people were kind, everyone in the world would become religious. The lack of kindness is one of the barriers to religious conversion.
6. What each religion does with the text and how they translate it will define their actions. Some religions translate parts of their text to harm or kill others, and some translate those same sections with a symbolic meaning.
7. America has consciously developed as a country rooted in two religions, hence “Judeo-Christian,” which has been an overwhelming source of good in this country.
8. Religion when done properly, will make you good. If you don’t want to be good, you can use religion to make you worse. Nothing automatically makes you a better person, not even religion.