Does Pinker’s “Better Angels” Undermine Religious Morality?

An excellent post on Why We Reason about Steven Pinker’s latest book “The Better Angels of our Nature” on the decline of violence through history and religious morality. If you like it, you can vote for it here. I do, and I did 🙂

Why We Reason

It is often argued that religion makes individuals and the world more just and moral, that it builds character and provides a foundation from which we understand right from wrong, good from evil; if it wasn’t for religion, apologists say, then the world would fall into a Hobbesian state of nature where violence prevails and moral codes fail. To reinforce this contention, they point out that Stalin, Hitler and Mao were atheists to force an illogical causal connection between what they did and what they believed.

One way to answer the question of if religion makes people and the world more moral and better off is to look at the history books. For that, I draw upon Steven Pinker’s latest, The Better Angels of Our Nature, an 800 page giant that examines the decline of violence from prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies to the present. Pinker opens his book with the following: “Believe…

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