Most, if not all, of the most monstrous atrocities ever persecuted by man against his fellow man were committed either under the banner of religion or the flag of patriotism – which is precisely why I feel absolutely no pride in confessing that I am both religious and patriotic. But I am primarily a humanist. I believe that no principal should ever be exalted above humanity for this inevitably leads to intolerance and the implicit condonement of inhumanity. As I see it, the single most defining purpose of both governments and religions should be to effect the humane and ethical treatment of all human kind, not just a geographically or ethnically select few. If not that, then what? How can we ever justify any attempt to preserve our humanity through inhumane means? [John 18:36, Matthew 22:37-40]
Is it not the great end of religion, and, in particular, the glory of Christianity, to extinguish the malignant passions; to curb the violence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the asperities of man; to make us compassionate and kind, and forgiving one to another; to make us good husbands, good fathers, good friends; and to render us active and useful in the discharge of the relative social and civil duties?