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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Is Belief In God A Virus?

While the theistic worldview operates on the fundamental assumption that God exists, the atheistic mindset displays direct contrariety in the sense that it interprets daily experiences as being separated from the existence of a supreme deity. Atheism maintains that mankind through the lens of the scientific laboratory alone is the final standard of authority for decision making in every aspect of life. But one of the very fascinating, yet vitriolic, charges advanced by prominent atheistic scientists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitches is that religion is a mind virus.

In other words, these people have argued that theism is a completely unnatural, destructive meme, which is a biological term for non-genetic trait sharing, that perverts our ability to formulate accurate perceptions in life. According to the logic of the anti-theist argument, this mental “virus” strives to invade the minds of healthy, rational secular individuals through brainwashing or indoctrination. This worldview depicts religion as being a mental illness that has originated from vindictive causes. Therefore, participating in religion or teaching children religious concepts is viewed by atheists as being absolutely perilous to the continued survival of society. In summary, the religion virus argument maintains that the proliferation of religious beliefs must be separated, if not terminated, from all spheres of human interaction, which encompasses but is not limited to education, economics, science, and politics.

There are a number of different reasons for the atheistic animosity against the promotion of religious ideals in the world, which are beyond the scope of this paper. While some people want to use science as the means of discovering all the answers to the questions of life to the exclusion of considering belief in God as a plausible answer to problems, others simply do not want their views on moral issues to be condemned or governed by a superior, divine authority. But much more apparent and serious causes for the negative approaches to incorporating religion into daily facets of life have developed.

People have either abandoned Christianity altogether or have utterly misunderstood the true character of the gospel because of hypocrisy among professing Christian leaders who are supposed to be acting in a godly manner, harsh treatment by fellow Christians, and by the creation of religions that promote barbaric ways of life. These factors certainly should warrant the concern of Christian churches, but the claim that religion is a virus does indeed have several internal logical inconsistencies and available angles of refutation.

The underlying problem with the religion virus argument is that it completely distorts the true nature of Christianity, for this religion does not enforce ways that are contrary to the ways of freedom, love, beauty, kindness, hope, peace, and righteousness. These moral principles form the basis of the gospel message. In reality, the Judeo-Christian worldview is the only tenable way of life because it is the only religion that promotes true goodness. This can be said of no other perspective of life. The real problem with atheists is that their hearts have been hardened against God's will. Though individual members of professing Christian denominations may be acting in a corrupt manner, this fact by no means refutes the validity of the Christian religion. Afflicted individuals simply need to dig deeper into God's revelation to mankind for answers to the difficulties presented in life. 

Philosophies such as Stalinism, Maoism, and Nazism favored moral relativism and nihilism, yet provoked major horrors in the history of mankind. These were entirely secular worldviews. Is it not ironic how secular people make the claim that religion is the cause of all evil? 

Belief systems are evidences of people upholding particular sets of ideas. They may tend to be exclusive in nature. It is normal for parents to share their own worldview with their children. It is also normal of belief systems to encourage practices to enhance faithfulness to that particular system of faith, which can include the continual introduction of ideas unique to that particular faith, having assemblies, or eating together with other members of that same belief-system. Furthermore, most belief-systems do encourage the promotion of a particular set of ideas. Sincere members of a particular belief-system evangelize outsiders about the teachings of their particular belief system because they believe that their worldview is correct, not because of an invasive pathogen that unwillfully perverts a normal thinking pattern. Otherwise, atheism also qualifies to be a "virus of the mind" because it shares the same common characteristics of religions in the sense of remaining faithful and strives to propagate its own unique sets of ideas. But religions consist of rituals, customs, and practices that are deliberately chosen, not influenced by an invasive pathogen that unwillfully perverts a normal thinking pattern.

If the hypothesis that religion is a cruel, unnatural control mechanism that can only be brought about through acts of indoctrination is correct, then we should anticipate finding few adulthood conversions from atheism to Christianity. On the contrary, the test for religion being a mental virus has soundly refuted the proposed idea that religion is a mental virus because the presupposed conclusion is flatly contradicted by presented data. Atheism has continually been abandoned by several thousand people as a result of people being convinced by the principles taught within Christianity (or by other world religions). In fact, religious people are generally happier than secular individuals. 

The metaphorical portrayal of religion as being a virus is constructed on entirely pseudo-scientific premises. It has no rational or philosophical grounds to rely on, but rather is a form of emotional rhetoric. The religion virus argument is nothing more than an attempt to provide justification for rejecting God and His moral precepts. Such objections to the theistic worldview form as a result of a hatred of God and a poor understanding of the gospel. Consequently, Christians need to: 1.) Know the contents of their faith, 2.) Provide reasons for why they believe what they believe, 3.) Reveal true love for all people, and 4.) Examine personal conduct. The best thing that we can do for those who willfully disobey the commandments of God is to pray that His Holy Spirit softens the hearts of those who have hardened their hearts against Him. Though atheists have a valid point regarding the potential harm of man-made religions, there still exists a radical contrast between true and false religion.