This weekend, I'm tackling an oft-used reason in support for religion: The idea that people of faith are more moral people.
The typical argument here in the US is that church attendance is a good thing for any child because it instills a strong moral compass, shaping them into stronger, more moral adults.
The reality seems to be quite the opposite, especially given the events of the militia (read: domestic terrorists) occupying federal land in order to get what they want (the issue I have is not with their goals, but their methods).. Not to mention the countless expositions of hate and more in the name of religion.
Studies have in fact shown that there is a strong correlation between religious children and a lack of altruism.
From a personal perspective, I was raised in a Christian home. I went to church every Sunday. I even attended a private Baptist college. My mother encouraged me, however, to explore myself and my faith. So, I did.. And now, I don't claim any specific faith.
I felt burdened by faith. I felt strangled. I felt that my life, and my choices, were no longer up to me. Worse still, I occasionally let vitriol slip into my mind, convincing me that certain people were damned to hell because of choices they made, and so I shouldn't associate with them.
Once I freed myself from my shackles, I found that I was free to be who I wanted.. And I wanted to be a good person. I wanted to do good things. Most of all, I wanted to love and respect all people, regardless of what they believe. Not because of a voice in the sky, but because of my own desires.
My charity is not a burden. My love for others is more genuine now than it was before. Most importantly, I can also say that I respect ALL faiths, and the choices that those who practice make, as long as they don't harm others in said practice.
To keep this balanced, I would like to note that I don't believe faith is inherently wrong. My issue is when a faith is led by those who corrupt it, in turn corrupting the followers of the faith.
There are good Christians and bad ones. Good Muslims and bad ones. Good Catholics and bad Catholics. Good atheists, and bad atheists.
No religion truly defines morality, because ultimately, it hinges on the mind and acts of humanity to carry it forth. Join me in saying Faith Doesn't Equal Morality! Wear the temporary tattoo, or just share this article with your friends!
The Headlines Project is a social experiment where I print (using temporary tattoos) short "headlines" on my bald head with a web address on the back of my skull linking back to these posts. View the other Headlines.