Odd condemnation of religion

Regarding Robert McKinney’s March 14 letter, “Giving compassion a chance“: If I ever make it to McKinney’s side of Hokkaido, I’d love to have a beer with him to get to the bottom of his hostility toward religion, which has again blemished these venerable pages.

Does McKinney really believe that “so much cruelty in this world” is due to religion? Cruelty isn’t a tenet of religion; it’s condemned by it. If McKinney doesn’t believe in God, that’s his business, but must his atheism manifest itself so bitterly?

Atheism — not religion — is at the root of most of history’s violence. Communism, of which atheism is a core element, is responsible for the deaths and persecution of hundreds of millions of people. So, would removing religion really make the world better? Of course not!

McKinney cites “spare the rod, spoil the child” as his representative Biblical verse, and calls for “less religion and more compassion.” Doesn’t he know that the penultimate story of compassion — about the Good Samaritan — also comes from the Bible? I guess “spare the rod, spoil the child” was more convenient for McKinney to cherry-pick.

U.S. President George W. Bush’s alleged claim that God told him to invade Iraq in 2003 was never verified — no recording of it exists — but McKinney includes the report of it in his anti-religious litany anyway. Pope John Paul II and other religious leaders, by the way, opposed the action against Iraq.

McKinney claims that Japan’s wartime aggression “had the full blessing of a highly militarized Shinto emperor,” while he omits to acknowledge that it was the overwhelmingly Christian Allies who ended that aggression.

McKinney admits that a Catholic priest later “expressed regret” over blessing the “Enola Gay” B-29 bomber and its crew members on the morning of the Hiroshima mission. But why mention that at all if the priest apologized? Talk about anti-religious rage.

I suspect that McKinney isn’t really bothered by religion’s “bullying” or “lack of compassion,” but rather by its holding moral teachings that he doesn’t want to hear.

jennifer kim
obihiro, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

  • GIJ

    Another serial writer of letters to the editor to the Japan Times. Why does a person like Jennifer Kim choose to live in an irreligious country like Japan anyway? And as for her claim that atheism is at the root of most of history’s violence–well, that would imply the world was a relatively peaceful place until atheism arose as a reaction against the persistence of religious dogma in the 19th century. That was not the case. Religious people are obsessed with the violent communist regimes that ruled over Russia, China, and Cambodia in the 20th century, but they tend to ignore the many, many other violent, non-atheistic regimes that have ruled all over the world throughout history.

    • Spudator

      I enjoyed Jennifer Kim’s “serial” letter. I thought she did a good job of pointing out the faulty reasoning behind Robert McKinney’s take on religion and certainly helped put his ideas in perspective. And she’s probably right in her conclusion that McKinney is just using the alleged issues of bullying and lack of compassion to rationalise his dislike of religion. It’d be interesting to know the real reason for McKinney’s dislike.

  • Hanten

    If you told someone that you worship an old guy with a white beard who no-one has even seen they’d think who were mad. What are they going to think if you go to war in his name? Or shame people for not following his rules?