A 20 year old woman has just drowned to death in Dubai because her father, a Muslim, decided her drowning was a better fate than her having been touched, and therefore ‘dishonored’ by the lifeguards who could have easily saved her life.
Religion is a cancer of the understanding, and that is why these things happen.
To explain what I mean by ‘cancer of the understanding,’ it’s important to first explain the term ‘understanding.’
The understanding is, for me, a word used to describe the capacity that our thought has to perceive the world and form a rational response, be that response theory or action. If you see a bear in front of you on the trail, and you respond by not approaching the bear, your understanding in that situation is functioning properly. If, on the other hand, you run toward the bear expecting it to move, there is something wrong with your understanding. It has been corrupted in some manner.
This ‘man’ who let his daughter die instead of being ‘dishonored’ was functioning with a similarly corrupted understanding. Instead of acting rationally when faced with a very obvious set of circumstances, he opted instead to hearken to some twisted inner religious monologue which told him to let his daughter die.
Cancer, basically speaking, is a set of diseases in which abnormal cell growth can spread to other parts of the body and cause damage. Religious thinking functions similarly. Once the seeds are planted that it is acceptable to approach reality with little regard to rationality, those seeds will grow and become nefarious. So, you may think the purpose of having children not eat pork, or pray toward Mecca, or eat a wafer of break that is supposed to be the body of some dead guy of ambivalent existence, is to turn them into moral human beings, what you’re telling them is that to perceive situations and form acceptable irrational responses is sometimes better than to act rationally.
That is why religion is a cancer of the understanding.