Religion has inspired many people to create great works of art – e.g. Michelangelo’s paintings, Bernini’s sculptures, Mahler’s symphonies, Milton’s writings, and Eurasia’s many splendid architectural wonders: temples, mosques and cathedrals etc.
However, this artistic urge in humans can manifest itself in response to any prevailing cultural milieu. James Joyce’s Ulysses, one of the great works in modern literature, is a secular work, Wagner’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen is based on Teutonic pagan myths, Tolkien’s much-loved The Lord of the Rings is partly inspired by Norse and Celtic mythology, while Frank Gehry’s modern architecture is free from religious inspiration.
So religion doesn’t have any special status in doing good.
Defenders of religion often point to the abolition of slavery or the civil rights movements as inspired by religion. However the same religions were used for centuries to defend slavery and racism.
An examination of the standard of living between the countries of the world reveal that it is the less religious countries of north-western Europe who have better standard of living across a range of criteria: gender and class equality, health care, education, literacy, longevity, low infant mortality, cleanliness of the environment, foreign aid, and civil liberties. On the other hand, many religious countries repress their populations by way of the subjugation of women, denial of equal rights to homosexuals, gross income and wealth inequality, high military spending, lower social outcomes, etc.
Posted: June 1st 2007
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