BELIEF IN GOD is no guarantee of goodness. Piety without ethics -- religious fanaticism -- can be a prescription for great evil, as centuries of religious brutality and bloodshed make all too clear. A millennium ago, Crusaders massacred their victims to the cry of "Deus lo volt!" -- "God wills it!" Islamist radicals today exclaim "Allahu Akbar" -- "God is great" -- as they behead innocent hostages and crash airliners into the World Trade Center.
But you don't have to look back into history or to the global jihad for evidence that zealots who care more about God than about goodness bring cruelty and pain into the world. Consider instead the Westboro Baptist Church.