I bring to you today not one, not two, but three, yes THREE stories of how religion has improved the world, and which demonstrate the important moral guidance people gain through religious faith. As we know religious people frequently challenge us atheists on our lack of morality, I think there are lessons to be learned for us in these stories. Let us now gaze upon the morals of those who get their morality through religious faith and be in awe of their clear superiority to our own. At the end of this post, we must all ask ourselves, "How can we be good without (insert god of choice here)?" Click the headlines to read the full articles.
14-year old Bangladeshi girl lashed to death for adultery (getting raped?):
Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.
Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.
Hena dropped after 70.
Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.
Amazingly, an initial autopsy report cited no injuries and deemed her death a suicide. Hena's family insisted her body be exhumed. They wanted the world to know what really happened to their daughter.
Pakistani man cleared of blasphemy charges in court of law gets killed by vigilantes anyway:
Mohamed Imran had been accused, jailed, tried and cleared: if anything, society owed him a debt as a man wrongfully accused.
But his crime was blasphemy. He was meant to have said something derogatory about the prophet Mohammed, so in Pakistan justice worked a little differently.
Two weeks after he returned to his small patch of farmland on the rustic outskirts of Islamabad, his alleged crime caught up with him.
Two gunmen burst into the shoe shop where he was sat talking to a friend..... the gunmen found their target and Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws claimed another victim.
The curious part about this blasphemy case -- and many other such convictions and allegations under the controversial law -- is that they do not specify what the accused is meant to have said.
The first complaint delivered to the police in 2009 refers to a conversation Imran allegedly had with another man in a cafe, but says the exact blasphemous phrase cannot be repeated as that too would be an act of blasphemy.
Man allowed David Koresh to have sex with his 14-year old daughter:
Doyle sits in his cluttered living room, detective paperbacks, tomes on theology and Laurel & Hardy videos crammed on bookshelves. The only item that has room to breathe is a photograph of his 18-year-old daughter, Shari.
She was one of Koresh's "wives."
That Koresh bedded his daughter makes Doyle shift in his seat, and when he speaks of it, his jaw tightens.
Doyle says his daughter started having sex with Koresh when she was 14. Koresh fathered at least 13 children with sect followers and engaged in sexual acts with underage Davidian girls, according to the Justice Department, numerous affidavits of Davidians and interviews CNN conducted with survivors.
Davidian Kiri Jewel testified during 1995 congressional hearings on the siege that Koresh slept in a bed with women and children, and she believed that he had impregnated a 14-year-old. Koresh, she said, often talked about how the young girls at the compound pleased him sexually. Jewel described in graphic detail how Koresh sexually assaulted her. She testified that she wasn't afraid of getting pregnant; she was too young, she explained. She'd not even started menstruating yet.
Doyle insists that his daughter Shari, even at a young age, was capable of deciding whether to have sex with Koresh. The teen was also clearheaded, he says, when she chose to remain inside the compound despite having the chance to leave.
"She wanted to be with David and to hear and follow the message," her father says.
There is silence for a moment. Doyle knows that trying to justify Koresh having sex with underage girls incites nothing but outrage from nonbelievers. And, initially, when David began preaching a message that his holy seed must be spread to any girl he preferred, married or in pigtails, Doyle admits he was bothered by it.
"I wondered, I asked, 'Is this God or is this horny old David?' "
But Doyle's concern didn't last long.
"I couldn't argue because he'd show you where it was in the Bible."
Sheila Martin, too, condones Koresh having sex with underage girls. "In the Bible, if a girl is old enough to menstruate, then she can be a wife," she insists.
There are three crucial points to understanding the Branch Davidian brand of religion.
First, God can appear in the flesh as a man. Second, that man doesn't have to be a good person. Third, if you question whether that man is God, then you are questioning God. In other words, the devil is responsible for your doubt.
"Now," Doyle asks, "are you going to give the devil control?"