Is Religion Fraudulent? Yes and No.

From: N
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2018 10:59 AM
To: Walter Block
Subject: Religion and Fraud

There are some religions out there that tell people that if they convert, donate a lot of money, and then perform a special ritual, their cancer will be healed. Should this be regarded as fraud or protected as religious freedom? Second, if you regard it as fraud, why? I think the most common answer would be that it’s fraud because there is no evidence that the ritual and donation cure cancer. If you take that to its logical conclusion shouldn’t we regard many religions as fraudulent, as many say convert and pay me money and I’ll enable you to live forever. Now there is no evidence that religion enables people to live forever, so isn’t this fraud? It seems to me that we have to accept both conclusions or neither.

Dear N: As an atheist, I think all religion (which promise afterlives, heaven, hell, etc.) is fraudulent. That is, they offer false narratives. However, as a libertarian, my claim is no one should be found guilty of a crime without overwhelming evidence. That is, the burden of proof rests with the prosecutor, and he has no (and can have no) evidence that these religious claims are false.


12:15 pm on April 27, 2018