By this point surely not even the faithful can deny that people can do inhuman things to others on account of their religious beliefs. If not, here’s another example:
Four former members of the Seventh Day Adventists, a US-based Protestant church, went on trial in France Monday for the kidnapping and torture of a 19-year-old woman during an exorcism. The incident took place in 2011 in Grigny, a suburb of Paris, when police entered an apartment and found the woman tied to a mattress in the attitude of Jesus Christ on the cross. The woman, identified only as Antoinette, an émigré from the Cameroun, was in shock and showed signs of recent beatings as well as emaciation and dehydration. According to her testimony, she had been bound to the mattress for a week and given only a few sips of oil and water during that time.
But what reveals the true horror of religion is what it can make us do, not to total strangers, but to people we love:
Three men and one woman, all of French Caribbean origin, have been charged with kidnapping, acts of torture and barbarism. One of the men, Eric Deron, was the victim’s former boyfriend. The others are his mother, Lise-Michelle Babin, and two men, Philippe Grego and Lionel Fremor. The prosecutors claimed that Deron has delusions of being a prophet on a divine mission. According to testimony by the accused assailants, Deron organized the exorcism after the victim allegedly leapt upon him while shouting incoherently. All four denied committing any acts of violence and claim the victim consented to the exorcism.
The only demon that infected anybody and stole away their humanity was the demon of faith, and it corrupted the four people who tortured that woman by twisting their good intentions into madness.
It is the same with every good-hearted person who would deny a loving couple marital rights.
It is the same with every otherwise empathetic Catholic who would follow the Church to deny contraceptives in AIDS-ridden regions.
The road to hell is not paved with good intent, it is paved with a lack of reason. That is how good intentions are bent to the service of human suffering. This is why religion, the greatest impediment to reasonable thinking ever conceived, must be eradicated. Faith is not noble – it is the doorway by which the demons enter.