Surveying the religious booths every year at the Ann Arbor art fair, I am always struck by the fact that they are staffed by people who are convinced of their own revelations and miracles, while most so readily disparage the revelations and miracles of other faiths. To a mainstream Christian, Jew, or Muslim, nothing is more obvious than that the founders and prophets of other religions, such as Joseph Smith, the Rev. Moon, Mary Baker Eddy, and L. Ron Hubbard, are either frauds or delusional, their purported miracles or cures are tricks played upon a credulous audience (or worse, exercises of black magic), their prophecies false, their metaphysics absurd. To me, nothing is more obvious than that the evidence cited on behalf of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is of exactly the same type and quality as that cited on behalf of such despised religions. Indeed, it is on a par with the evidence for Zeus, Baal, Thor, and other long-abandoned gods, who are now considered ridiculous by nearly everyone. –If God Is Dead, Is Everything Permitted? [no], pp. 345-346 in HitchensWhat's inspirational about Professor Anderson's testimony is that we have reason to hope that religion will fade away eventually. Two problems with this, however: (1) Religion isn't rational and doesn't listen to reason very well. (2) Everyone alive on the planet now, and for some time to come, will die long before religion does.1
- As my friend Ken privately wrote me recently:
...when religious institutions begin to fragment and wither. We still need several more centuries for that. [emphasis mine]I quote Ken, not because he is my friend, but, like Professor Anderson, he is an astute, critical thinker.