Outsourcing your brain

Today I read this article  It’s in Norwegian but in these Google translate times I guess many of you can just translate it in your browser. Knowing how inaccurate the translation can be, I’ll give you a summery.

Espen Ottesen argues in this article that it is “impossible to separate religion and politics”. There you have it – impossible. Ottesen is the information officer for “Norsk Luthersk Misjonssamband “ witch translated is something like “the Norwegian Lutheran Missionary society” (http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norsk_Luthersk_Misjonssamband ). He has written a couple of debate books and is often seen in the public debate.  Not just anybody in the Norwegian society, in other words.

So, he says it is impossible for a religious person to separate their religious views from their political views. In his opinion to be secular is to believe in something that will never happen, even though he understand people who are in favor of it. To him this is just a fact, and not a problem. He writes that even though he agrees that you need to separate religious and political power, his religious belief has political consequences. Not in all matters. It will not affect his opinion about railroad politics or how to organize social services. On a subject like euthanasia on the other hand, it does.

Euthanasia is a difficult subject of course, but to Ottesen it’s simple. It’s connected to whether it is allowed to take life or not. As a Christian, the answer to this question is a simple no. He can find many arguments for his position on the subject, but they don’t matter. In his religious conviction, life is sacred, and there’s no point in debating it. This is where he nails it.

This is where the poison starts its spread. This is why religion is dangerous. This is why people like Ottesen are dangerous. They do not understand that allowing religious theology and conviction to determine rules and regulations in a society is a dangerous path. I think I know why.

In their own opinion, religious people usually think of their own religion as pure good. This is rather strange, since they usually find a lot of evil all over the world – including within themselves. But let’s leave that for now. Their self-image of goodness and purity blinds them. Having God on their side nothing else matter, and they fail to see humanitarian arguments and ethics. It’s what makes Ottesen dismiss all arguments for or against euthanasia. They are irrelevant for him.

You could say the same thing about ideology of course, but ideology usually rests on some sort of rational argument or thinking. It might look very much like religion, but since there’s no God behind it it’s debatable based on rationality and humanitarian reasoning. It’s not a Godsend dogma. Now, Ottesen might be right about helping people to die, but that’s just by chance in his case. If his bible told him something different, that would be his position.

Allowing theology to decide political views and thereby structuring political solutions is to outsource your thinking. It is also an open door for all types of ideas to shape our society. From the most gruesome to the benign. We’ve seen it in history, and we see it all around the world today. From the radical to the more liberal, religious people bring their poison to the table. Some places they don’t do much harm, in other places they do great damage. They do harm, though. They do it all for the good, of course. They submission themselves and everybody else to God.


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