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Richard Dawkins on Religion and Terrorism

By Mike Cornwell from USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Mike Cornwell from USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Author of bestseller The God Delusion believes that it’s religion itself, and not just Islam, which is to be blamed for religious extremism.

Scientist and humanist Richard Dawkins believes religion is definitely a huge motivator for extremists[/tweetit]. Although religious groups have come forward denying their religions have had a role to play in terror attacks, Dawkins says that truth is very clear and it is undeniable fact that terrorists are motivated by religion, and do whatever they do in the belief that by their actions, they are being “good people.”

Richard Dawkins on Religion and Terrorism[/tweetthis]

In an interview with Scott Simon from NPR, Dawkins admitted although there have been instances when religious men and women, clergy included, have made tremendous contributions to humanity in times of war, famine, poverty and so on, the number of those who have done so is very small and insignificant. He adds a similar number of non-believers and atheists too have contributed a lot to society, pointing out that it may have more to do with a personal motivation to do good than a desire stemming from religious beliefs.

That said, Dawkins still maintains that all terrorism is inspired by religion. He makes his point saying, “religious faith really does motivate people to do terrible things. If you really, really believe that your God wants you to be a martyr and to blow people up, then you will do it. And you will think you’re doing it for righteous reasons. You will think you are a good person.” For Dawkins, religious extremism and religion itself are not mutually exclusive, as all religious leaders claim it is.

Dawkins also pointed out even though there are a number of good religious people, there are a lot of those who threaten the lives of others, accusing them of blasphemy and apostasy. Through a program that he is associated with, the Secular Rescue, he says he has come across many such incidents. In fact, there are countries that where blasphemy and apostasy are both punishable by death. He says the good which religious people do – which is just about as much as how much atheists do – cannot balance out these atrocities.

The God Delusion author suggests that churches and places of worship have a greater responsibility today to send out people to alleviate suffering and pain, using their enormous sources of funds and income.


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