3 Reasons Religion Fails
God Receives Emergency Alert from Africa
1. The Absence of God in Times of Existential Crisis
God isn't there. While a woman is being raped, this forever present God is supposedly working in mysterious ways. When a priest is molesting children, it is clear that God is not there.
What I'm trying to point out is the inherent absence of a God that is said to have love beyond our understanding.
I recall years ago when I was a Christian in grade 10, being angry, confused, alone, struggling to find answers to the perplexing problems presented in this article. Walking at night in the darkness a little way from my hometown trying to clear my head, I shouted out at God to show himself, to say something, to give me a sign or an answer or an indication that he gave a fuck. I felt that maybe Jesus my personal savior had sympathy for the agony of feeling so abandoned, afterall, he did cry out on the cross nine hours in to his crucifixion, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Maybe Jesus would understand? No, my heart broken shouting into the wind was followed by such an abysmal silence, I can still feel the pain of it to this day. I wanted so desperately to connect to God, to know he was there, and to feel the reassurance I had been promised so many times by teachers, parents, and pastors. All I really got out of that moment of supplication is a humiliating memory of facing the indifference of nature with some expectation of a loving response.
I wish I could convey the disappointment I felt as I slowly came to terms with the realization that I had been living a lie, that so many billions also held on tightly to this false notion that there is a love out there beyond us.
In conclusion I want to remind you to really be there for your friends and family, because in this life the compassion of others is our only real refuge.
And to my christian readers I would like to say, I mean no disrespect to you, I aim only to criticize ideas, not people.
2. Glaring Hypocrisy That Saturates Religious Culture
If it wasn't for the sometimes hideously blatant hypocrisy in religion, I would still be a strong Christian. The first example that comes readily into my mind is Jesus saying pretty clearly, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." And, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
So I don't see how our modern Christian, follower of Jesus, can so easily rationalize and justify the purchase of a brand new vehicle, a very large and impressive house, maintain a lush green lawn free of weeds, while children continue to starve to death by the thousands every day.
I can't understand how a christian friend of mine can be so consciously ignorant of her own religion that she is currently developing her acreage into a fully landscaped paradise. Yet somehow a state of forgetting, of setting principles, commitment, facts, and truth to the side, can be achieved without even a sweat of the palms, or a spike in blood pressure. Not the least bit of guilt or even a demonstration of trying to hide some form of shame. This friend met me for coffee a while back and I noticed the fashionable handbag she carried, not even a cheap knock-off but truly the overpriced, greedily consumed, impractical, social status object that is a Michael Kors handbag.
3. Denial/Ignorance of Barbarism Allowed by God
Denial among religious people can easily be seen in the form of cherry picking. Muslims and Christians alike are very picky about which verses from their respective holy books that they will read, teach, or focus on in general. This means that most of the religious texts are ignored, in favor of the more friendly, easily digested, softer portions.
A verse from Psalm 137 is a celebration of revenge, and it's particularly gruesome. You would never hear this verse in a church service, bible study, and definitely not in sunday school. "Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us / He who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks." Then in this verse a man sends out his concubine to appease an angry mob outside his house, again, not something you will ever hear at your local church, nevertheless, it is contained within the Holy Bible. “So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.” (Judges 19:25-28)
I have brought up these verses with my Christian dad and friends, my mom, my pastors, my youth leaders and camp counselors when I was a young questioning, skeptical, and curious 15 year old. How did they respond? Well, attacking me of course, saying that I am twisting the scriptures, taking things out of context. Granted these are just verses, taken out of their original passages as a showcasing of the common brutalities in the Bible. That doesn't change the fact that these are apparently the focus of an all-knowing, perfectly good, all-present being that created this universe. Why would a perfectly good God create such suffering when he has the power to design any kind of experience? I am no theologian, and I don't think I have to go to bible school to understand that these verses are a demonstration of the immense evils allowed by the one being with perfect free will, who ultimately decided on and knew in totality, the origin and fate of every being that ever exists.