Why religion is good for us

Dear prof. Dawkins,

I have really enjoyed reading your book ‘The God Delusion’. The way you have argued that it is both highly unklikely as highly undesirable that a personal God exists, is very convincing. Not suprisingly, the main ammunition you use to shoot holes in religion comes from the theory of evolution. Also, as to be expected, a lot of your attention is directed towards one of the most religious western countries: the USA. It appears that you think religion, or: believing in a supreme being, is a bad thing for the USA, the most powerful nation in the world, as well as for the rest of the free world. I think it is not and I would like to explain why.

we-have-more-love-then-you-coloured.jpgYou may have heard the stories, which may well be urban legends, about a man who put his wet cat in a microwave oven to ‘dry it off’ and got a lot of financial compensation from the manufacturer because they did not state in the manual that a microwave oven was not intended for such use. Or a woman who got financial compensation from a fast food chain because she pilledtheir hot tea over her leg which hurt quite a lot. I also heard of a traveller that slipped on a wet floor at an airport, broke a leg, then sued the airport and is now a millionaire. There are a lot of these stories around, undoubtedly some of them are true. The basic idea of alle these financial compensation stories seems to be: stupidity pays. Not everyone that sues for financiel compensation is stupid ofcourse, but a lot of times… stupid people get rewarded.

I think you can, quite roughly, describe ‘evolution’ as; the traits of a species that are most benificial to this species will be passed on and amplified to future generations of this species. Should that indead be the case, and if we can assume that on the basis of the above examples we may conclude that it can be very benificial to be stupid, would the theory of evolution not say that we, Westerners, get more stupid with every generation? This cannot be true, can it? (Please note that it is not my opinion that everyone in free world countries are stupid, I am merely pointing out that it seems stupidity -like putting your pet in a microwave oven- is rewarded and therefor is a desirable trait. ).

If there is a God up on the skies looking down on us, personally creating each and every individual and granting parents the honour of having this Godmade person born into their families, we would not be getting more and more stupid at all. There could be a divinely set level of stupidity/intelligence. You also wrote about cases where a placebo can have as much effect as the actual medcine. So, suppose that the evolution theory is true and there is in fact, no God. Could we then, perhaps, let our religious brothers and sisters believe that there is a God after all? If only for their sake? For their mental health? Their self esteem? How do you think they would feel if we found out that with any passing generation we are getting dumber, all because of Charles Darwin.

I hope, with this short message I will have helped in making you see the light. If you do insist on providing clear scientific evidence there the can be no God, it might very well be that you get sued by a believer.

Sincerely yours.

2 thoughts on “Why religion is good for us

  1. Evolution is a description of a natural process and applying natural processes to human society is tricky at best. Capitalism and law are not part of nature, we invented them hence to attempt to ascribe evolution to the workings of these two forces in our culture is a little out of place.

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