Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia, Author: Michael Shermer.
The Moral Arc, Author: Michael Shermer.
Most of these 19th-century utopian experiments were relatively harmless because, without large numbers of members, they lacked political and economic power.
But add those factors, and utopian dreamers can turn into dystopian murderers. People act on their beliefs, and if you believe that the only thing preventing you and/or your family, clan, tribe, race or religion from going to heaven (or achieving heaven on Earth) is someone else or some other group, then actions know no bounds. From homicide to genocide, the murder of others in the name of some religious or ideological belief accounts for the high body counts in history’s conflicts, from the Crusades, Inquisition, witch crazes and religious wars of centuries gone to the religious cults, world wars, pogroms and genocides of the past century.
We can see that calculus behind the utopian logic in the now famous ‘trolley problem’ in which most people say they would be willing to kill one person in order to save five. more>