The notion of a moral community resolves many paradoxes of human behavior. How is it, after all, that a Nazi guard could return each day from his labors at the crematoria and then be a loving father to his children? The answer is surprisingly straightforward: The Jews he spent the day torturing and killing were not objects of his moral concern. Not only were they outside his moral community; they were antithetical to it. His belief about Jews inured him to the natural human sympathies that might otherwise prevented such behavior.
Unfortunately, religion casts more shadows than light on this territory. Rather than find real reasons for human solidarity, faith offers us a solidarity born of tribal and tribalizing fictions. As we have see, religion is one of the greatest limiters of moral identity, since most believers differentiate themselves, in moral terms, from those who do not share their faith. No other ideology is so eloquent on the subject of what divided one moral community from another. Once a person accepts the premises upon which most religious identities are built, the withdrawal of his moral concern from those who do not share these premises follows quite naturally. Needless to say, the suffering of those destined for hell can never be as problematic as the suffering of the righteous. If certain people can’t see the unique wisdom and sanctity of my religion, if their hearts are so beclouded by sin, what concern is it of mine if others mistreat them? They have been cursed by the very God who made the world and all things in it. Their search for happiness was simply doomed from the start.
Source: The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, Pages: 176
Contributed by: HeyOK