Originally posted by DeepThought
I think his anti-social personality would have found a way of manifesting itself had he been an atheist.
We can all agree, that there are some people who will do harm almost no-matter what.
And on the flip side, that there are some people who will be kind and good almost no-matter what.
That these people exist is not an argument against everyone else in the middle being influenced for
better or for worse by the set of beliefs that form their world view.
I watched a program a couple of years back on research done on psychopaths, and what made them
different from 'normal' human beings. In that program there was a researcher who discovered distinctive
differences between 'normal' brain function in a test and the brain function of a psychopath in the same
test. Distinctly different areas of the brain lit up. The parts of the brain that didn't light up in the psychopaths
were those believed responsible for things like empathy to others.
This researcher having tested a whole bunch of psychopaths [serial killers] and finding them to all show
the same pattern tested his own brain to be one of the reference 'normal brains' for his work.
And he found he had the same pattern as the serial killers, but he wasn't a serial killer himself.
Asking around with his colleagues and friends/family, he discovered that he showed all the traits of
psychopathy, and that this wasn't a false reading. He was a psychopath... But not a serial killer.
What they believe made the difference between a normal psychopath like himself and a serial killer
is that ALL the serial killers had some kind of traumatic past [usually in childhood]. And that he,
by contrast, had a very happy stable childhood.
The point of this being that generally speaking, simply having an increased propensity for violence [etc]
doesn't mean you will become so. There needs to also be something in your environment/upbringing that
sets you down that path.
Religion, can be that extra factor.
If someone of the right personality is told that the bible [for example] is the inerrant word of god and they
actually believe it and go read the bible and take it literally... Well you know the kind of horrors present in
the bible if taken literally.
So while it is of course not only religion that can cause potentially dangerous people into actually dangerous
people, it is ONE of the things that can do so.
And if you reduce/eliminate this potential cause, the other potential causes do not automatically increase
to take up the slack. This is why it is and has been possible to reduce crime rates of all kinds by reducing or
eliminating the causes of crime. [poverty, inequality, etc]
So I don't think it is in fact reasonable to state [without knowing the facts] that any given person WOULD have
been similarly violent anyway, if a particular cause is removed.