Why do people with Judeo/Christian/Muslim beliefs so frequently disagree with the Theory of Evolution? Why do they always ask the same questions: what gives life purpose without gods; how would you know the difference between right and wrong if there wasn’t a god? They ask these questions like the answers are as unfathomable as the mystery of existence itself, but the real question is how can people be programmed to live counter to everything that made them Human.
People’s inability to grasp the possibility that there is any other answer than the one they were taught as children, is the real mystery. And, since we’re asking questions, Non-believers have questions too: why is evolution such a dangerous idea; why would someone kill someone to stop the acceptance of this theory; what is it they fear?
For those who hold positions of wealth and influence, I mean power and influence, within the religions operating on this planet, the most alarming thing about the Theory of Evolution is the implication that for millions of years humans lived, successfully, in large complex social groups without religion. Add to this the discovery that we are just one of many sentient species on this planet and we lose our exclusivity. Evolution, along with the knowledge that humans are not the only sentient creatures, implies compassion and morality is the natural result of the evolution of a sentient mind, not something handed down to human beings, exclusively, by a god.
The danger, therefore, is that once we accept that evolution is true and that there are many other sentient creatures doing just fine without gods, everything underpinning religion and theism falls apart. Evolution doesn’t just make gods unnecessary for the creation of life; evolution makes gods unnecessary for the creation of morality, ethics, and purpose. Evolution takes from religion its most central tenants and robs religion of its power to control society. Evolution robs a few million bureaucrats of their jobs.
This is why the Theory of Evolution, which the leadership of these religions know is a fucking fact of life, is instead delivered to the masses as an attack on God. This is why people are willing to kill other human beings. The fear these institutions have instilled in people for thousands of years causes them to believe that an attack on their beliefs is an attack on their soul. The Theory of Evolution, when fully understood, as it stands today, is such a dangerous threat to the leadership that mass-murder becomes a necessary option.
How then did morality develop? Morality and ethical behavior came to exist in the same way any other successful feature of a species develops, by evolution. Morality, ethics, and even a sense of purpose in one form or another, as evidenced by the behavior of many modern non-human species, is a natural byproduct of the evolution of the sentient mind. Creatures that develop the characteristics necessary to create large, complex social groups have an evolutionary advantage over those that do not.
If it is true, then, that gods are not required, and there is overwhelming evidence it is true, then this would mean religious beliefs and theism are superfluous to human flourishing. In other words, everything religious people believe is not only wrong, but completely unnecessary and has, also, caused unimaginable harm to human civilizations. Religion is the Neanderthal of human inventions, and, like the Neanderthal, religion is doomed to extinction. The only real question is how many more lives will be destroyed before it is gone.
The answers to theists’ questions are simple truths. Life has always had meaning, and we behave morally, because it is advantageous to do so. We know this is true because it has been happening for hundreds of thousands of years before the creation of gods.
What gives life meaning? Meaning was created with life. Life gives life meaning. Nothing else is required, it really is just that simple and evolution proves it to be true. This scares the hell out of people who have been taught as children that life is pointless and meaningless without a god. This is why they will kill to stop the spread of these ideas.
And, BTW, there are few things more destructive to humanity than teaching children that without gods and religion they could be murderous bastards, living pointless lives. These destructive beliefs rob children of their humanity, ultimately robbing humanity of the contributions of billions of people.
This is why the damage religion has inflicted on humanity, and continues to inflict, will always be greater than whatever minor achievements to which religion lays claim. Achievements that would have happened earlier and with less loss of blood had we not found religion first. Religion is the lock, not the key.
Religion has been a disastrous idea; evolution proves it was an unnecessary idea. Evolution isn’t just a theory, it is the most dangerous theory in modern history. Exposing children to the Theory of Evolution is a revolutionary act that will help free humanity from the tyranny of religion, something we must do if we are to survive as a species.
To quote the late Christopher Hitchens, who famously proclaimed, “Religion poisons everything.”
“It attacks us in our deepest integrity, in the core of our self-respect. Religion says that we would not know right from wrong, we would not know an evil, wicked act from a decent human act without divine permission, without divine authority or without, even worse, either the fear of a divine punishment or the hope of a divine reward. It strips us of the right to make our own determination, as all humans always have, about what is and what is not a right human action.”