We’re jumping off the idea of religious pluralism and why, since religions can’t all be true, we must not therefore be flippant or utilitarian in our approach to who or what we decide to follow.
The following quotes are from someone you’ve probably heard of. See if you can guess who it is.
The quotes above are from serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and several of them come directly from this interview. It's a long video, but it's fascinating if you have the stomach for it.
There’s a lot to be said about Dahmer and the interview brings up some interesting points that may offer an explanation as to what turned an otherwise normal boy into “The Milwaukee Monster”, but what I find the most pertinent for my own studies is the rationalization that Dahmer had for his acts. Clearly, there were other things at play; Dahmer speaks candidly about fantasies of violence, sexual obsessions, compulsions, etc. that are obvious signs of a troubled mind, but at the same time, the quotes above demonstrate how Dahmer’s worldview allowed him to commit such horrible crimes.
Now, I don’t want to make the claim that atheism necessarily leads to murder and cannibalism, but the case has been extensively made that, if there is no God, then it becomes difficult – impossible, even – to ground morality in such a way that we can say that Dahmer’s acts or any other crime are objectively wrong. It is common for various insects to eat their young or their mates yet no one says that such behavior in the animal kingdom is wrong, it’s just how nature works. If we, as the Darwinist supposes, are just a more highly evolved form of animal then the same rules apply to us as well. It’s not my intent to get into an analysis of the moral argument for God’s existence at this point, rather it is to show that the Jeffrey Dahmer story is simply the logical conclusion of a worldview.
However, this is not the only example of an idea being taken to its logical and horrific conclusion:
Examples of ideas gone horribly wrong are not restricted to atheism. As Buddhism has moved into the Western world, it has developed a suicide problem. It is reasoned by many that, if the end goal of Buddhism is to free yourself from the desires of this world and escape the cycle of birth and rebirth, then highest expression of that is to take your own life. Some Buddhist writings even seem to condone this.
In addition, Examples of Islam’s problem with terrorism and Jihad are not only well known, but go back for centuries to the life of Muhammed himself. The fact that there are so many terrorist organizations popping up in the world, some as small as a band of roving militants in the Sudan and some as large as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram or ISIS, makes it difficult to dismiss these groups as fringe lunatics rather than people taking a different but valid interpretation of the Quran and the life of Muhammed.
None of this is to say that the end result of an ideology has bearing on its truth value. Quite the opposite, I believe that we should take the truth as it is, regardless of whether or not we like it. However, what this shows is that we need to be very, very careful about adopting any particular idea because the consequences of following an incorrect idea to its logical conclusion can be tragic.
Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have victims.
Writer, artist, lay theologian, student of comparative religion.