In sixteenth-century Paris, a popular form of entertainment was cat-burning, in which a cat was hoisted in a sling on a stage and slowly lowered into a fire. According to historian Norman Davis, "[T]he spectators, including kings and queens, shrieked with laughter as the animals, howling with pain, were singed, roasted, and finally carbonized." Today such sadism would be unthinkable in most of the world.
In reality, the most secular countries—those with the highest proportion of atheists and agnostics—are among the most stable, peaceful, free, wealthy, and healthy societies. And the most religious nations—wherein worship of God is in abundance—are among the most unstable, violent, oppressive, poor, and destitute.Morality is not dependent on religion. In fact, it is observed in the animal world. A recent New York Times article begins:
Some animals are surprisingly sensitive to the plight of others. Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others. Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days.Regardless of what is changing, we should not give up hope when we see all of the violence in the news. Pinker ends his article with this thought:
Whatever its causes, the decline of violence has profound implications. It is not a license for complacency: We enjoy the peace we find today because people in past generations were appalled by the violence in their time and worked to end it, and so we should work to end the appalling violence in our time.
I'm a very lucky person with every allergy known to man but still happy to be enjoying a wonderful life living in the best place in the world!