To be moral, according to Jesus, man must shackle his reason. He must force himself to believe that which he cannot understand. He must suppress, in the name of morality, any doubts that surface in his mind. he must regard as a mark of excellence an unwillingness to subject religious beliefs to critical examination. Less criticism leads to more faith - and faith, Jesus declares, is the hall mark of virtue. Indeed, "unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18.3). Children, after all, will believe almost anything.
The psychological impact of this doctrine is devastating. To divorce morality from truth is to turn man's reason against himself. Reason, as the faculty by with man comprehends reality and exercises control over his environment, is the basic requirement of self-esteem. To the extent tat a man believes that his mind is a potential enemy, that it may lead to the "evils" of question-asking and criticism, he will feel the need for intellectual passivity--to deliberately sabotage his mind in the name of virtue. Reason becomes a vice, something to be feared, and man finds that his worst enemy is his own capacity to think and question. One can scarcely imagine a more effective way to introduce perpetual conflict into man's consciousness and thereby produce a host of neurotic symptoms.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
So, to rectify that, here are a couple paragraphs from the end (pp. 322-323 of the soft-cover, 1989) of Atheism: The Case Against God, which I'm pretty sure is the best book on the subject: