- Religion and Philosophy»
- The Role of Religion in History & Society
3 bad types of religion
There was a time in human history when religion left the stage by not being the primary worldview for people and was replaced by humanism and science. It was a long process but it is all centered around the Enlightenment era which happened after the Protestant Reform and before mass secularization in European states. However, Enlightenment and humanism even nowadays go hand-in-hand with religion, but it’s refined form, although there are 3 types of religion which modern age usually does not support and scientists usually call upon those 3 bad types of faith to disprove religion or an act of faith as a whole. These 3 types are:
Let’s start with the one that is the most primitive: superstition! Some people tend to have very strict “religious rules”, even though those rules might have nothing to do with religion as a discipline of merging and being intimate with supreme being or either in a sociological sense, as a way of binding of people. Especially in countries which have richer and older traditions that are still in touch with their pagan roots, people have more tendencies toward superstition of some local kind, like, for example they evade working on a certain date because that date is connected to a certain Christian saint and it is said that everyone who does laundry/washes dishes/hair or gets out of the house for a nice ice cream with chocolate topping might get hurt or killed in a strange way. They also find this evident and obvious because their neighbor was mowing grass on that-and-that-saint’s day and he got a stroke the next month and died because of it. Of course, superstition is present in all countries and is a global phenomenon – we are all a bit unpleasant about the number 13, hold belief that a black cat should not cross our road, we should not open an umbrella inside a room and so on – those are pop-culture superstitions, but they all are linked to religious symbols in numerous ways. But, believing in superstitions is a kind of religion attitude that is regressive, that kind of religion does not open us to the true nature of God but it is the root of limiting the power of man and forcing the religion to become just a set of pointless rituals.
The next in our way is fanaticism. Politicians are well versed in using fanaticism as a form of manipulation of masses of religious people. But there are also fanatics who might do certain things or hurt other people on imagining they are doing that for a higher purpose, who opposed to society and even tried to make martyrs out of themselves! Such is Andres Breivik. And Muslim fundamentalist terrorists who share his vision but have a different name for it. By definition, a fanatic might think he is a religious person but all his deeds are against common good. He follows God just with his mind and not with his heart. That’s why fanatics are so disfigured.
Then we come to enthusiasm. Most of you might think that enthusiasm is a good thing, and that only a confused person will condemn it. But, enthusiasm in a religious sense means that we think God is speaking to us directly. That we can hear His voice! And things might get pretty messy then, because we might hear that God wants us to kill those heathens, atheists, Buddhist unbelievers or people who listen to Metallica. But we might not only hurt others, we might hurt ourselves. To skip fanatic and enthusiastic murders and suicides that happen in cults, which are an offspring of major religions, and those people who say that the hand of God guides them which is a statement somewhere between fanaticism and enthusiasm, we can say that the main thing about enthusiasm is that it believes that this world is the most perfect of all worlds. It is just as God intended it to be, with all the grief, wars, liars, hypocrites and we should be happy about it, each and anyone of us should be happy with this world and not try to change it because God has a plan for us and he loves us! On some level, we should agree with it all, but on our mundane level we should not accept fate and this world as it is. We might just think about fixing it, making it better. If all people believed that the medieval societies are the best social structures and that God intended majority of people to live in the mud, we would not have these conditions we have now. So, enthusiasm might lead into regression, into conflicts but if it is turned toward people and not toward God, it might bring prosperity but not by believing that this world is the best and fairest of all worlds but by inspiring people to make some changes to it. Sure, the ratio of good and evil in this world might always be the same – the good might never win and hold that victory until the end of days, and this might be the only world we have got but that does not mean we have to make peace with it and just pretend it doesn’t matter because deep in our hearts we know that it matters – have you done anything to make the world a better place, even knowing things are never going to be perfect?