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Keith Ward: IS RELIGION IRRATIONAL?
 
Each single religion thinks other religions are irrational.  Freethinkers simply take an extra step and instead of regarding all religions but one irrational regards them all as non-rational and/or irrational.

 

A belief when stated can be obviously irrational. The only proof that somebody is irrational is when they open their mouths. The notion that rational people can believe in irrational things and still be rational is dangerous. Usually what happens is the person says something insane and people judge him rational because of his genius in many matters and his use of logic. But the fact remains that none of that proves his insane belief is rationally held. His rationality has to do with other things not this one. And you would have to be him and see his thinking processes and see how he arrived at the absurd belief before you can say he at least thinks he is rational.  Nobody can do that so a belief that looks irrational or to be at least non-rational should be considered guilty of irrationality until proven innocent.

 

Saying somebody is convinced about their belief being true is a way of arguing that their position should be considered. That may not be the intention but it is obvious that a belief held deeply and in a very convinced way may have something to it.  That is why if a belief that is too far-fetched or dangerous or held too strongly it needs to be challenged.


Somebody has an irrational belief.  The evidence in logical order of importance and usefulness for the person being irrational at least with this particular belief is:

The clear irrationality of the belief and the terrible or non-existence evidence for it. Remember that evidence for the irrational is an abuse of evidence and is not evidence at all.


The evidence that the person is holding the belief rationally though it is still wrong is more of an indication than evidence and thus is not very strong. It cannot be strong.


And you cannot know if there is evidence or if the evidence is understood properly for you cannot become that person to think like he does.

And the proof that he is rational in so many things is irrelevant.

 

So the buck stops here: an irrational belief needs to be taken as a reflection on the irrationality of the holder.

If religious belief is irrational then it follows that the people were not reasoned into belief. Some say that you cannot be reasoned out of beliefs you were not reasoned into. Only luck then can help you. Others say you can be reasoned out but it can be a long difficult process. The latter considering how much each generation changes its mind about stuff that seemed set in stone forever before is probably the correct view. People accept this view for if they didn't nobody would bother trying to talk sense to anybody. People need help in reasoning before they can be reasoned out of anything. They need to be shown how to think coherently. But we can be sure that there are many no matter how much help they get will still accept religious nonsense. And a child or very young person will be hard to reason out of religious belief for they believe for they are conditioned and programmed to.
 
Not all religions claim to be rational. Incredibly Christianity despite its outrageous doctrines claims to be rational. Having reasons to believe something does not prove that the belief is rational only that the belief is trying to be. An irrational religion believes in things, things may be true or false, for stupid reasons. A correct and good belief can be irrational if it is accepted for the wrong reasons. No religion should claim to be rational - no rational religion would! It should demonstrate its rationality.
 
Many faiths are just polar opposites. There is the belief that there is no spirit but only matter. There is the belief that a man and woman should marry and be monogamous and there is the belief that a man can take as many wives as he wishes. There is the belief that capital punishment is fundamentally wrong and the belief that it should be allowed for lots of "crimes" including losing your faith. There is the belief that messages from God should be full of peace and love and wishy washy and there is the belief that God wrote the Bible despite the fact that it contains abusive and nasty messages and advocates murder in his name. The people that hold these beliefs cannot be equally rational. People judged as educated and intelligent defend them. It could be that a person believing in any messages alleged from God is irrational but surely the one who believes the pro-violence ones is more irrational than the person who believes in sweetness and light messages? Religion has got power and credibility through having educated and intelligent members. People believe because of this. But in fact it is totally irrelevant. And besides you cannot believe in religion and the huge claims it makes because intelligent people seem to believe or proclaim their faith. If you believe say in God and what he has supposedly said because smarter people than you seem to, then you are idolising those smart people. You are believing because of them. That is glorifying a human interpretation. God and how he is interpreted are not necessarily the same thing. Interpretation is risky. It is always about wanting to believe what somebody else says and thus making a God out of their religious speculations. It is idolatry.
 
Christianity does not like to be called irrational. But it is. It makes assumptions and makes serious claims but cheats people by not giving them or by being unable to give them good enough evidence to back up the claims. It is strange that Satan and the Demons as the letter of James tells us, have the evidence that God exists. We do not. The demons have witnessed the miracles done by God while we have to depend on what people who fancy themselves as historians say. If God finds it okay to let evil beings have the evidence then why not us? He is inferring that there is something evil about having suitable evidence. Christianity, and Roman Catholicism is very vocal in this issue as is Bible based Christianity, teaches that to fail to believe in what it teaches is a sin that will lead to damnation in Hell forever. Catholics call it a mortal sin and say it is so serious for you cannot connect to God who is goodness itself without understanding and accepting enough of what he has said or revealed. The only possible way one could take such a position on unbelief is that: "If people who don't believe thought about it enough they would believe." For that to happen, it has to be reasonably straightforward to show the faith is a plausible and good thing, the best faith to have. But it is not. The evidence for any specific set of revelations be it Mormon or Catholic or whatever is simply insulting. The real purpose of the doctrine that unbelief is a sin is to scare people into belief and to insulate them against the insights of unbelievers and other religions. Ecumenism is just a window dressing. So we see that because there are so many differing faiths that disagree on what doctrines matter most and what don't and on what God has revealed, if there is a true religion, the evidence for its having a genuine divine revelation will be impeccable or at least of a standard that outranks all the the rest. It would mean however that most religions if not all are irrational.
 
I borrowed the following paragraph from an ex-Christadelphian website.
 
Humans are not “rational” thinkers; they are “rationalising” thinkers. They spend 99% of their time seeking to find evidence to support what they already believe about their choice of partners, choice of school, car, home, political allegiance, household appliance, favourite brands etc AND their choice of religion. We “rationalise” the evidence to support what we have already decided. We also “rationalise” evidence to suit conclusions that we have decided on the basis of emotional decision-making, which is how most of our decisions are made. That’s why we make so many “human” mistakes; because we are not clever enough to adequately assess all of the available evidence, so we take short cuts and use our emotions to make the decisions on the basis of passion instead. We are not slaves of reason, we are slaves of passion.
 
Despite such commonsense, we have the likes of Keith Ward assuming that religion is rational. If there is one right religion it follows that the rest are based on rationalising. Why is he so confident that there is such a thing as rational religion?
 
We should not make up our minds before considering the evidence but after it! Ward proves that his book is obfuscation for it totally ignores the need for evidence in support of the doctrines of his sect of Christianity.
 
Today's top atheists are accused of creating a blanket condemnation of religion. They are said to refuse to admit that there is a lot to be learned from religion for they categorise religion as irrational and they refuse to admit that some religions are not that bad and others are bad. They are said to have the tendency to misrepresent religious teaching to make it look silly.
 
Keith Ward, Christian theologian, says all that. But not all atheists go that far.
 
Christianity teaches that our reason has been distorted and warped since the fall of Adam and Eve which is why we are prone to sin and to refuse the happiness of a relationship with God. The fall need not have effected our reason. God then must have done a miracle to make sure that it would. CS Lewis said that we can't really know anything if our mental faculties and our reason are unreliable. Once you ditch reason you cannot use reason to argue that reason is or can be reliable! The Christians say that if our reason is caused by blind forces and a material process in the atheist Darwinian way then we cannot trust it. But we know by experience that we can. It doesn't matter how it was made or came to be - we can trust in it. Therefore it is irrational to say we need to believe in God in order to trust our reason. Christianity undermines reason. If atheist Darwinism undermines it too then it at least is not as bad. Go for the lesser evil.
 
Ward says that people pray and go to Church not as part of a scientific experiment but to worship God (10, 11, Is Religion Irrational?). Clearly then they should be testing their religious experience all the time to make sure its valid and not a delusion or that they are mistaking feeling for faith. So they would have to make sure they have the right disposition to worship God. Faith is a head job not a heart job. The wife can believe in her husband's integrity without feeling it. Ward has just let it slip that religionists are being irrational. Surely there is nothing wrong with worshipping God (assuming!) and treating him like an experiment?
 
On page 19 Ward states that it is accepted that it is wrong to experiment on people without their consent. Yet he believes in a God who uses even sinners in his plan against their will. God is all powerful. Even when we sin, he has let that happen (since he is all-powerful nothing can happen without his power allowing it, nothing can happen without his permission) and intends to bring good out of the sin. Is a man who accepts such a violation of our right to choose when it is God who does the violating, any better in his heart than a man who would do it himself? Would you trust his Christianity if it rose to power?
 
Atheists object to the notion that God comes first if there is a choice between doing his will and helping people. If you can't do both you have to adore God. That doctrine is the first ingredient of extremism and intolerance. Christians will object that we have nothing to worry about because if we serve God and give him all our love we will look after his children. But that is not the point. They are saying that hypothetically people should be sacrificed for God. They harbour the evil under all the seeming virtue.
 
Ward, though a theologian, misrepresents faith in God in order to dodge atheist criticisms. For example on page 25 of his Is Religion Irrational? we encounter the surprising statement that we do not worship God to tell him we think how wonderful he is. Instead we worship him to become aware of eternity and the eternal mind of God. It seems he sees worship as an attempt to feel eternal and sense God and mentally become a bit more like the all-intelligent God. But that is not worship. Real worship is telling God how wonderful you think he is. What Ward offers is really people wanting the buzz of acting and thinking like God. How humble! Such puffing up leads to religious addiction and fanaticism. It is godless in the sense that it is using God to bolster up your own ego. It is not about God as such. Ward is trying to encourage believers to become godly for their own sakes not God's sake. He wants them to be selfish in a bad way. And if they become selfish like that then clearly they could cause a lot of trouble for all war and religious prejudice is based on egotism being fanned into flame.
 
Ward says on page 31 that belief in God makes a difference to life and maybe the biggest difference of all. Again he is lying. If God exists it is claimed that we cannot exist without his help and he loves us immensely. Thus we should find that it does more than make a difference. God is more important than that. It should make all the difference. Ward is afraid to say this because nearly all of us do not consider God to be that important. Even the pope does not live and eat and drink and breathe God all the time. If he did he would be praying instead of playing the piano.
 
And if God is perfect goodness then its incorrect to say that belief maybe makes the biggest difference. There is no maybe about it. To say that God alone matters is to suggest that those who don't worry about God much are in a grave state of delusion and they are disordered.
 
In social terms one religion may seem more okay and easygoing and helpful than another to the atheist . Ward does not mention that the reason many atheists see all religion as dangerous is because of the sinister implications that are present under the nice surface. The mad Muslim terrorist has the guts to show his religion's true colours. The Catholic nun has not.
 
Ward looks at Marx's take on the fact that religion tells people there is a god caring for them and there will be a heavenly paradise for them to enjoy forever. Marx thought this was all about manipulating the poor and the suffering to accept their lot so that they would not make any trouble (page 41). Ward says we need not necessarily think that. Indeed such manipulation can and does happen. Ward says religion and belief in God give us hope that all our efforts will not be in vain. For him the atheist believes in a short and ultimately purposeless life. The really good person will do good regardless of hoping that it will be in vain or not. This is a major Humanist perception. If Christianity opposes it then it deserves our opposition. The Humanist serving others believing that he has only one life and there is nothing but non-existence at death is making a bigger sacrifice than the Christian who is confident that he or she will live forever.
 
Ward says if God gave us goodness on a plate that would not be as good as the goodness we work for and battle evil for. He accidently refutes the Christian Heaven where all tears are wiped away. If it is true that goodness we develop is better than goodness we get on a plate then ideally we should have to work on it forever meaning Heaven should not be perfect ever. Also, it is good to reach a high level of goodness through overcoming evil. The Christian who thinks evil will not an issue anymore for him when he goes to Heaven cannot be as good a person as the one who would struggle against evil for all eternity. Thus the Christian Jesus and the saints are only insulted when the Churches say they are in Heaven!
 
If evil has a divine purpose as believers say, then perhaps we may never finally wipe it out. Perhaps we will just overcome problems to meet new problems for all eternity.
 
Ward says on page 61 that if you believe in God to make yourself happy that will fail. Such belief would not be real and would fade away. It would be like kids who do not believe in Santa but try to make themselves believe that they do in case there is a Santa and they get no presents. He is right that the belief would not be real or lasting. The reason for the belief is not reverence for truth or God but one's own emotional wellbeing. The Churches should teach Ward's principle more. It is because most people imagine they need to think there is a God to be happy that the belief is so prevalent and criticising it is thought to be what a sociopath would do.
 
Belief in God and goodness are said to be the same thing. If it is good to be heterosexual then God would be the perfect heterosexual if he could be meaning he cannot be a homosexual just like we cannot both be gay and straight. Thus to imagine God allowing gay sex or not taking it seriously as a grave sin would be really to have the wrong God. 
 
Ward promotes Christianity - a manmade faith that masquerades as divine. He as good as admits it is manmade when he says that in the earliest Church there was no standard of doctrines and there were no creeds. There was no New Testament recognised as an authority (page 92). He states on page 96 that our reason is so weak that our questions about free will, ultimate moral principles and the self-existent idea of God are unresolved. He adds that we cannot depend on reason alone to have faith in God that means we will be continually in a state in indecision. At least he is showing that he is guessing that God exists rather than believing!
 
Ward says on page 96 that religious faith should be taught to children. He says they need to know how good it may be for them and get some idea of what it means to others. Children tend to believe what they are told. He says that they will take religious faith as true as a matter of trust. But wisely he says he hopes they will outgrow this and think for themselves. He rejects the thought that children should not be taught religions so that they can make up their own minds later. He points out that they can't make up their own minds if they don't know what religion is about.
 
The atheist and secularists object to religion being taught as propaganda to children. Children should be taught about religion but not taught religion.
 
It is scandalous how Ward wants children to be taught there is a God. Children think in simpler ways than adults. For the child, a bad event such as getting sick or a parent dying etc or the dog needing an operation is a sign that God is withdrawing his love. He is punishing the child by withdrawing love.
 
He says that God gives revelations leaving man to interpret them. He states that all revelation is interpreted revelation (page 104). He say that God works gradually on people to help them interpret it better. He regards the commands by God to exterminate nations as a poor understanding of revelation and as the Jews grew in understanding they began to see God as compassionate and tolerant (page 105).
 
What Ward is doing here is cherry-picking the Bible. If you want to hold that a book is God's revelation and his written word, the least you would expect is that the book will not look like something man-made. A man-made scripture could command grave evil. A man-made scripture that doesn't has more right to be mistaken for the word of God!
 
Christian cherry-pickers like to say that they embrace the CORE values and the CORE doctrines of Christianity. Ward by claiming that the Bible teaches that God is tolerant is indicating that this is a core doctrine and the command from God to kill is not. But how could you call the tolerance a core doctrine when the Bible both says it is right and that it is wrong? If you really treat it as a core principle, you will not consider any nasty bits of the Bible as God's word. That is not an honest approach. It means that people will be able to manipulate Bible teaching as they please and turn Christendom in a Babel of contradictions and confusion.
 
Cherry-pickers often extend their understanding of core principles to history too. Mormons for example read in their scriptures how Joseph Smith found the gold plates in a stone box on a hill. No box has ever been found. They will say that the core issue is that there was plates and the box story is not as important. It is not central. But it is important. No box means no plates - period. If proof turned up that Jesus was a devil-worshipper, Christians might say that the core principle is that his teaching was still good. Talk about core principles is just a smokescreen for rationalising.
 
Having core principles or doctrines does not mean that other doctrines and principles become optional. In fact it means that though they may be less important they are NOT optional. For example, if your core principle is that stealing is wrong that does not mean you can permit somebody to dodge minor taxes. You would be undermining the core principle.
 
An interpretation of a revelation is not the same as a revelation. In fact the interpretation becomes what matters. And as for God helping us to understand the revelation why has he done such a poor job with all the countless disputes and sects of Christianity a Babel of conflict? In fact this stuff about God helping is the very thing believers use as an excuse to hide the fact that they pretend their interpretations are the word of God. It is people making their own interpretation the word of God that has led to all the sects and fanatics going about.
 
Reason says that if God is good then he will do what is best whether we ask him or not. Ward however says that prayer changes the conditions God takes into account before doing what is best (page 128). For example, John won't pray and thus won't develop a loving relationship with God. God will not give John good health because John will not use it to get closer to God and become a saintly person. If John opens his heart to virtue he will make the circumstances right for his prayer to be answered.
 
This means that the best God will do will not be as good as what he can and will do if John will pray. This makes prayer magical. One brief prayer by John that he forgets seconds later makes all the difference. God cannot or will not do the best unless the prayer happens. Why should prayer be more important than the help John needs? The superstition is evident.
 
Let us ponder more on this. Suppose prayer, regardless of how short or half-hearted it is, creates a condition for God to help.

 

Scenario 1

Scenario 2

Martha needs to be sent a good doctor to help her cancer

 

Martha needs to be sent a good doctor to help her cancer

 

Martha does not pray.

Martha prays

GOD DOES NOT HELP

GOD HELPS HER


Consider the two scenarios. God could help her whether asked or not. It is vile to suggest that in a matter so grievous that being asked matters especially when God helps people who don't ask. Even if he was not asked, he is boss and does not need to be asked.
 
If praying is made a condition for helping her, that is denying the fact that all that matters is that she needs help. That shows absence of real compassion. What would you think of a doctor who will not help a patient unless the patient sings a song for him? What would that say about his approach?
 
Ward's notion leads to superstition. If God can make prayers a condition before he will help, then the way is opened up for people to claim, "God will not consider curing you unless you say this prayer here. Or unless you go to Mass three times". It's rationalises magic and superstition.
 
Ward tells us on page 129, that atheists and unbelievers understand religion as a major force for evil in the world and according to them it breeds division and conflict and that the surer the religion is that it is the truth the more intolerant and vicious it can be. He says he does not believe that religion is necessarily that bad. To say it is not necessarily that bad implies that it can be that bad.
 
Religion means to bind or to obligate people to believe in certain things. The religious person, though he or she may dialogue with other religions, is not allowed to be open to the possibility of admitting the other religion is right and not allowed to consider converting. True tolerance recognises the right and freedom of a person to cross over from one faith to another. Religion is intrinsically intolerant.
 
When I do evil, I am attracted by the good I see in it. If I am a religious person, I will see this good as part of God. We all disagree on what is good or not. Thus my God will differ from yours in the most important matters - good and evil. It is not true that Catholics have one religion. Each person is his or her own religion and they all pretend to be one religion.
 
Ward rejects the view that even if a Christian is not mad, his or her beliefs certainly are mad (page 130). Even from this study alone we can see that the beliefs are crazy.
 
Ward claims he does not mind being told his beliefs are false and that the evidence is weak but he does mind being told they are ridiculous and gruesome (page 131). But if the evidence is weak then what else can they be but ridiculous? And the Christian notion of a God writing a Bible that commands murder in the name of religion is gruesome. What about his command that men must be circumcised?
 
Ward says that the world wars were not down to religion and that the desire for sex and money and power are the big motivations behind violence (page 132). He says religion can contribute to this violence but its role when it does is small. He says religion is not necessarily intolerant.
 
World War II was caused by a man religious in his own way - Hitler. This was not about sex or money. It was about a man who knew that true power is to be found through religion so he created his Nazi religion. If you want power, you have to start a religion and religion is based on the notion of thought-crimes. Religion helps to control people through controlling their hearts.
 
Pope Pius XII did nothing about the genocide of non-Roman Catholics in Yugoslavia. Religion tends to let the state do its dirty work for it. That is even worse than going and doing the dirty stuff itself.
 
Ward says that militant Islam is not violent and intolerant on religious grounds. It is a reaction to how Muslims are treated by non-Muslim nations (page 132, 133). He then claims he condemns terrorist forms of Islam absolutely.
 
Then why do they quote the Koran to justify their actions? If religion had nothing to do with it, they would simply make the case for a just war and leave the Koran out of it unless they pick out the bits where the Koran may be benevolent.
 
A person who seeks to obscure or distort the fact that religion's do have gods and scriptures that endorse violence is desensitised to that violence and becomes part of the problem of religiously motivated violence. He is helping those who wish to make war for he lulls society into a false sense of security. He by implication will have those who tell the truth that gods and Bibles endorse harm silenced while those who lie that religions are all about peace get all the airtime.
 
Ward says he believes in Christianity and that it is faith that is possibly true. Like an agnostic, he would say that it is possible that prayer works and makes one closer to God. Some agnostics say prayer is reasonable even though they say they do not judge if there is a God or not. They argue that this is every bit as reasonable as a man stranded on a desert island who yells for help though he may never be heard. Giving thanks to a God who may not be there would be just as important. But God does not have senses or feelings. Thus the cry for God to take pity or the desire to give him thanks is misplaced. It would be insane to be thankful to a God who is so unlike us that he has no feelings or no body.
 
Atheist Sam Harris's declared that insofar as a Muslim considers Islam to be the only viable way to God and that the Koran explains this way correctly they will view anybody who doubts Islam with contempt. Ward criticises this view (page 134). He claims that the Koran says non-Muslims such as Jesus and Mary must be revered so this is not true. He says that Muslims regard Christianity and Judaism as paths to God and Islam teaches that each nation has its own prophet. He then says that if there is only one revealed way to God, that is not a permit to despise those who do not have the way. The reason he gives is that God wants to be freely followed and will not compel anybody for he loves everybody.
 
Ward tells some lies here.
 
The Muslim will certainly regard the sceptic as at best and unwitting opponent of the truth and of God. Contempt is around the corner. And what about the person who thinks they know Islam is true and they still oppose it and encourage doubt? The Muslims should or will regard at least some doubters with contempt.
 
And the claim that each nation has its own prophet is irrelevant to today's Muslims who say that Muhammad was the last of the prophets.
 
Ward quotes the Quran as saying that he who kills a person unless the person is a murderer or spreading mischief in the land is as bad as a person who has killed the whole world. This is supposed to prove, according to him, that Islam does not believe in killing unbelievers. But the text DOES permit killing. And surely some unbelievers in Islam are spreading mischief in the form of a false religion and can be killed?
 
Harris stated that religion brings out our power to be incredibly brutal. To this Ward says, that only thinking or feeling that others are less human than us, thinking or feeling that they are dangerously irrational and stupid, or thinking or feeling that only the fittest should survive makes us violent brutes. He thinks religion does not do it for it says all are equal and precious (page 135). On page 136, Ward says that given the chance most human beings have been intolerant when they got the power to repress others. Religious people may feel they are repressing and controlling us by prayer so in principle they are no better than dictators.
 
I like Ward's definition of a liberal society as one that allows free expression of beliefs and ideas that do no obvious harm to others (page 136). But I would add there is a risk of non-obvious harm. That is why liberal society must not shy away from checking out the disadvantages of the beliefs.
 
But Ward is hypocritical. Jesus himself preached about the horrors of Hell a lot and this would have disturbed children. Also, its a worry for a Christian child if a beloved parent won't turn to God. The child will fear her or him going to Hell.
 
Page 138 deals with Sam Harris's assertion that to say our intuitions about right and wrong in relation to the wellbeing of others and ourselves are sourced in religion is absurd. Ward takes this to mean that Harris is opposing those who say that we have got the truths from Heaven and we must not think about them at all but just accept them. Ward says that we must only believe in revelation from God if the revelation is kind and morally blameless.
 
Ward is contradicting Jesus' teaching that the main commandment is to love the one true God of Israel with all one's heart and soul and strength and mind. If we decide what is good then if we start to think that God agrees with us then clearly God is not being put first. We are putting ourselves first and using God to hide that. Also, the commandment appeared in the context of commanding us to obey the Torah or Law of Moses in the Bible which contained many brutal revelations. God wanted two men caught having sex stoned to death.
 
Page 140 accuses atheists of holding that morality is a human invention. Ward says we need to hold that God sees what is really good for us and tells us so we do not invent morality but learn about it from him. He says atheists have a morality but it is not a morality about anything being objectively right or objectively wrong. This is nonsense. Torturing a baby to death for no reason and when there is no justification is undeniably bad for it causes great suffering and takes a life. You don't need a God to tell you that you shouldn't do it. And if you do then what does that say about you?
 
Christians accusing atheists of treating morality as a human invention suggests they think that atheists should not be tolerated. The person who is against morality is necessarily against the law of the land too. The law is based on morality.
 
Christianity is lying that you need to believe in God to believe in morality. You can believe in God and not know right and wrong very well.
 
Belief in God does not necessarily mean you are not inventing your morality. Ward would have to agree that cults such as Mormonism invent morality despite believing in a kind of God. His argument seems to imply that you need to believe in God as he has revealed himself to the real Christian religion. Belief alone will not help. One needs to know what one believes in and revelation is needed for that.
 
Page 141 mentions Harris's declaration that Christians lie and distort the facts in order to avoid having to endorse the Bible God's commands that we exterminate certain people for the glory of God.
 
Ward denies this but it is true. Even Christians saying those rules were made by God but he changed them since are saying that in principle God can command genocide. They are saying they would get involved if they were transported to the times before the changes in a Time Machine. They claim the right to honour such evil as the will of God thus they cannot complain if some prophet comes along saying the rule has been reinstated.
 
Page 154 states that Harris and atheists are right to declare that blind faith without evidence is dangerous and irrational. But what is not said is that religious blind faith is the worst of the lot.
 
Page 169 says that religion is not dangerous though there are dangers in religion. This seems to be saying that the dangers exist because of the abuse of religion and they are not religion's fault. But if the dangers are in the abuse of religion how can you say the dangers are in religion? Ward is a soft-soaper.
 
We tend to be irrational in many ways and rational in others in all our relationships. Birds die every day. We let our cats kill them. We eat the more intelligent birds for dinner. Yet despite this we can love our canaries. We can be devastated when they die. This seems irrational. If a bird is valuable it is not valuable because it is your pet but because it is a bird. So all birds dying should devastate us. In fact our love for one bird is akin to idolatry - it denies other birds the same value in our hearts. It is not their fault they are not our pets and we demean them. Do not say, "It is not that we demean them! It is just that we think our bird is special." But that proves the point and denial of our darkness just makes us worse. Our irrationality makes our relationship to God suspect. Is it really God we intend to serve or love as he is or are we pretending to care a lot about God as he is? Belief in God is not a good thing for most if not all are fake worshippers. We are so good at pretending that we care about good as it is. No we care about what we want it to be. Because of this problem, the genuine believer in religion or God will study and be open to changing their religion if it turns out that it is not the one true faith and therefore a hindrance to truth. There are few who even care!
 
The lesson in this that our service of God and belief in him needs to be as rational as possible and nearly completely rational. Suppose there is a God. God is not like us and will not need us to feel love for him - he is a God for whom action matters not feelings or sentiments.
 
Conclusion
 
Keith Ward errs or lies on every major point. His distortion fools no one. He has persuaded us that religion is indeed irrational.

The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, edited by Michael Martin, Cambridge, New York, 2007
Is Religion Irrational? Keith Ward, Lion Books, Oxford, 2011