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The Disadvantages of Being Religious

Updated on August 24, 2016
Austinstar profile image

Lela earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, TX. She has been writing for the online world for years.

Worldwide Religion

Religous distribution by country
Religous distribution by country | Source

Definition of Religion

Noun:

  1. The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
  2. Details of belief as taught or discussed.

From Dictionary.com as provided by Coming of Age:

Religion: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Definition of Atheism

Noun: The theory or belief that God does not exist.

Definition of Spiritualism

Noun:

  1. A system of belief or religious practice based on supposed communication with the spirits of the dead, esp. through mediums.
  2. The doctrine that the spirit exists as distinct from matter, or that spirit is the only reality.

These three term meanings are often inaccurately expressed. For the purpose of this hub, these will be the exact definitions used.

I asked the question, "What is wrong with religion?" in the Q&A section of HubPages. I also posed the same question in the Forums. This hub is about the answers that were posted.

Fire and Brimstone

Fiery Demons in the Sky
Fiery Demons in the Sky | Source

Hell, Fear of Hell and Using Hell to Control People

Could this be the biggest error that religion makes? Although there are some religions that do not preach about Hell, at least one of the world's major religions does teach that the opposite of Heaven is Hell.

Fire and Brimstone preachers tell their followers that if you do not believe in the literal word of God and accept Him as your Lord and Savoir and give up all worldly pleasures, that you will "rot in everlasting Hell". Pretty strong stuff.

This tactic in religion is a way for a preacher to instill fear into you and to control your behaviors. These people see power as a virtue. This is truly a religious error.

Satan, Demons and Hatred

Any religion that teaches hatred against the "Great Satan", or suspect Demons are their enemies are committing a huge error in religion.

Yet we see as we examine the world's religions that hatred is widely taught in religious classes. The Israelites are taught to hate the Canaanites; the Muslims are taught to hate the "Great Satan" and Christians were taught to wage "Holy War" against the enemies of Christ. The Inquisition was a Christian war against Jews and Muslims and the Inquisitors conducted cruel and unusual punishments against Christian deterrents.

If religion is defined as the worship of a personal God or Gods, then why teach hatred?

Religious Bans on Food?

Bacon or Hell, which will you choose?
Bacon or Hell, which will you choose? | Source

Dogmatism, Rigid Beliefs and Brainwashing

Definition of dogmatism

Noun: The tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true, without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others.

If you believe that eating pork is super bad for you, then you are practicing dogmatism. There is no proof that pork is "evil". Perhaps overeating pork is bad for your health, but the evidence suggests that properly prepared pork is no worse for you than beef or any other animal protein. Yes, in the past, it was "unclean" due to improper storage and cooking, but that has nothing to do with a person's eternal soul.

Religion makes the error of dogmatism into an extreme rigid belief that hurts. Brainwashing someone into thinking they are "unclean in the eyes of their God or Gods" because they eat pork is really bad religion.

Allowing a baby to die for want of an exchange blood transfusion is dogmatism that kills.

Good and Evil

The symbol of dualism in all things in nature.
The symbol of dualism in all things in nature. | Source

Duality of Religion

In religion, duality means two things.

  • The world and its people are ruled by opposing forces of good and evil.
  • The idea that people have a physical side that is different from their spiritual side.

The error here is that these concepts are very confusing even to philosophers and religious leaders.The truth is that no one really knows the truth.

Some people believe ice cream is good. Some people believe ice cream is bad. Which person is correct? Some people believe love is good. Some people believe love is bad. Which person is correct? All of this comes down to personal opinion. People erroneously believe that good is a physical power and so is bad. They are concepts and opinions, not Gods or entities.

Spirituality declares that we have a spirit that may also be called a soul. It is connected to, but separate from our physical bodies. Some people believe that they can actually see, touch, hear and feel these spirits. It is a religious error to think that everyone can do so or that the concept is actually true.

Lack of Charity to Fellow Humans

It looks to the non-religious people that places of worship are trying to outdo themselves with opulence. Much like politicians that raise millions of dollars so they can get elected, so too do churches, mosques, temples and other religious buildings.

Why on earth do religious places need such pomp and ceremony? Money raised by religious places should be spent on charity towards humanity, not on gold and fancy clothes for their leaders.

Of course there are religions that do quite a bit of charitable work, but it's a shame that it is the exception and not the rule. To many, religious greed is an error in action.

Are You Godly?

How does one become Godly?
How does one become Godly? | Source

Lack of Godliness

One does not have to search far to find religious leaders being caught in some of the most heinous of crimes against their followers. Pedophilia and homosexuality are way too common. Many leaders commit any number of sins and expect to get away with it because they are "men of god" or some such nonsense. They know they are sinners and readily admit it, but expect forgiveness for their sins simply because they have a "personal relationship" with God.

Their biggest error is expecting special dispensation just because they have chosen religion as a career, but do not really set any kind of good example. In fact, these people are allowed to continue their un-godliness unchecked. They have convenient ways to circumvent worldly punishment for their unholy actions.

Bigotry, Discrimination and Judgement

These things are huge deterrents to religion. The cult-like attitude of almost every religion in the world is summed up by the statement, "My God (or Gods) is the ONLY way to salvation!"

Bigotry, discrimination and judgement have been practiced since the beginning of mankind. Any sort of strangeness or differences were readily judged as "not normal" and these behaviors were ostracized. The unfortunate victim of a birth defect or someone whose eyes slanted the wrong way were never allowed to participate in the important decisions. Many were labeled as demons, witches or evil.

Religious leaders often use these concepts to wield power over their followers. They unequivocally state that their followers are "chosen" people. That only their flock are the perfect ones. If you are a member of the special group, then all is fine. If not, it is a prime example of being judged and discriminated against.

Religion and Slavery

Israelites enslaved after military defeat
Israelites enslaved after military defeat | Source

Old Ideas Never Die

The religions of today are still based on concepts and customs of thousands of years ago. The old ideas expressed were community proclamations for their times. Many of those ideas should have changed over time, yet religious teachings continue to express and even demand that the population of today follow the "old ways". Fear of change is universal.

So many ideas of old were based on superstition and primitive views. Religious laws and edicts were handed out for reasons that were only valid in certain places at certain times. When those things changed, the laws and edicts should have changed with them. No one sells their daughters into slavery these days. Or do they?

Religion is Not a Ward of the Planet

"Go forth and multiply". Religions encourage everyone to have many children and overpopulate the planet. The religious leaders do not worry about pollution, problems with food supply or wars over territory. They need more followers and people to give money to the churches, mosques, temples and cults. They need more tax cuts from the governments who in turn need more people to pay taxes to the governments and supply bodies for their wars which are usually initiated for religious reasons. "Our God commands us to fight against Evil" or else he will destroy his creation again or some such similar idea.

People who take these sentiments to heart are killing our Earth. But, of course, they really are only concerned about your "afterlife" and the promised rewards to come. To Hell with everyone and everything else in the here and now.

Be Fruitfull and Multiply

  • As of March of 2015, the current world population is 7.2 Billion.
  • Between October 31, 2011 and March 12, 2012, the world population reached and exceeded the SEVEN BILLION MARK!
  • The population has grown from 200 Million in year 1 A.D. to 8 Billion people predicted in 2025
  • The daily addition to the world population (accounting for births and deaths) is close to 200,000!

Why do Angels Need to Pray?

Statue of angel on cemetery in Bielsk Podlaski, Poland
Statue of angel on cemetery in Bielsk Podlaski, Poland | Source

Promoting False Hope

Several religions of the world profess to have a prophet that has died and returned to Earth to testify that life after death is not only possible, but incredibly perfect in every way. Even people today that have been resuscitated describe the beautiful white light that awaits us when we die. There are rumors that bad people that have been resuscitated report seeing a lake of fire or the devil himself.

These rumors are like the Chinese whisper stories. They start out as one thing and end up as something totally different. People tend to hear what they want to hear and this is also what they repeat to others. Then that person hears what they want to hear and repeats it again. And on and on the story goes until there is not even a flicker of the original story.

Religions are like this. They promote stories of stories and descriptions of things that don't really exist. By doing this, everything is exaggerated and a false reality is promoted as real.

Corruption

Religious leaders, like politicians, are subject to corruption. If you appear to have any sort of power over others, there are people who will take advantage of this and try very hard to corrupt your views on things to suit their nefarious purposes.

These people can be very persuasive and will resort to any means necessary to have you do their bidding. They are puppet masters. They get some sort of satisfaction just knowing that you will obey them.

A true religious leader may not even suspect he or she is being manipulated. It seems that if a leader makes this error they would know it, but sadly, many do not. Some leaders enjoy the adoration and false power so much that they will do anything to keep that position even if it means being played by a handler.

Lack of Physical Proofs

Atheists believe there is no proof whatsoever of a God or Gods. Some people even go so far as to call atheism a religion. Read the definition of religion again and you can see that atheism is truly not a religion. It is only a theory and assumption upon looking at the lack of proof for a God or Gods.

The ancient texts for each major religion all promote "miracles" as proof of existence for their Gods. The strange thing is that these miracles no longer happen or they can now be explained by normal science and behavior.

With all the cameras and trained observers in the world today, you would think that documentation of real miracles would be commonplace. Sure, people can tell stories about stories of miracles that either happened to them or their friends. But they never have actual proof that Gods performed these miracles. It is always subjective proof.

Many religious items are reputed to be from miraculous events and perhaps the miracle was only that they did not understand the physics involved. Some so-called miracles were merely magic tricks to impress the gullible.

Contradictions and Complications

There are two general schools of thought here. One is that religious texts can never contradict themselves. After all they are inspired by a perfect God or Gods.

The second school of thought is that religious texts contradict themselves way too much because they are written by imperfect beings who are recording stories of stories or allegorical scenarios.

Small contradictions over time become huge complications for modern life. Given that the stories handed down have been retold thousands of times means that the original data has been corrupted by time and human nature. Every little nuance of a story can be picked apart and redone. New facts negate old facts.

Unrealistic Expectations

Entirely too many people claim to "know" the truth of God's will. They believe in their hearts that God expects people to live, eat, worship, marry, love and comport themselves in certain prescribed ways. They believe that certain things are an "abomination" in God's eyes.

When people do not behave in these preconceived ways, they are expected to leave the Church, or change their behaviors or else they will be punished in the extreme.

If your religion participates in these unrealistic expectations, then they will forever be in error of what humanity is all about.

Culture versus Religion

The culture you were born into presents you with predestined options. If you are born into a culture of vegetarians, you will probably never be able to eat and enjoy meat. If you are born into a culture of certain mainstream religions, you will probably practice that same religion. All others will feel foreign or "wrong" to you. This is called Culture Shock if you ever visit a country other than your own.

It takes a tremendous amount of courage and effort to rid yourself of cultural thinking. Most people can never do it. It is part and parcel of their conscious and unconscious thought. Being right or wrong really makes no difference.

Harm of Religion Video by Richard Dawkins

Classifying Your Thoughts

Of the four definitions in this hub, which one best describes your personal definition?

See results

Understanding the Illusion of a god or gods

I highly recommend The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins is a professor of evolutionary studies in England and he is highly knowledgeable about how people today think in terms of religion.

© 2012 Lela

Comments - No copy and paste answers please. They will be deleted.

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  • Austinstar profile image
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    Lela 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    @nicomp, I already did - https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/What-are-...

    @SYTL - It's ok if you don't know what your religious choice is. It will come to you some day. Just keep an open mind.

  • Say Yes To Life profile image

    Yoleen Lucas 3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

    Your Bubblews post about the baby who was refused a blood transfusion is prompting my comment here.

    I attended a Christian high school; growing up in violence-riddled Oakland CA, it saved my life. Decades later, when the school was threatened with closure, I wrote a letter to the school board and a woman who had acted as my counselor, telling them how they'd benefited me and thanking them for it. I told them to copy my letter and distribute it to the alumni, so that they could all contribute money and save the school. (You can read the story in my hub, "The Case For Christian Education.)

    One of the ways the counselor woman tried to distract me from the subject was to ramble on about how a boy I'd made a fool of myself over in high school had the most charming younger daughter. The only thing that bothered me was that she would sink to that level. I had long since discovered the boy was an @$$hole, and his wife wound up filing for divorce because of infidelity. The counselor did not take into account that 1) I can't have kids, 2) Even if I could, I'm Rh negative, which means most likely any baby I had would have been like the one you described, and 3) With my background, I have no business dabbling in parenthood, anyway.

    The school closed, and I wrote her and the school board another letter blasting them for not practicing what they preached (the parable of the 10 talents; perhaps I should include this letter in the Comments section). They moaned an excuse.

    I still consider myself a Christian, but more and more I'm beginning to discover smoke screens. I didn't vote in your poll, because I didn't know what my choice is.

  • nicomp profile image

    nicomp really 3 years ago from Ohio, USA

    Now you can write a hub titled "What is right with religion."

  • Austinstar profile image
    Author

    Lela 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Ericdierker - I do not hate, and you cannot possibly speak for the way I feel about things. You have no right to pretend that you know how I think.

    It is your opinion that I come across that way. You are entitled to your opinion. Thank you for your comment.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    But in truth you condemn those of us who do, in your own way. You hate.

  • Austinstar profile image
    Author

    Lela 3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Dear JOP - Constantly repeating arguments stated and answered does not make your comments have substance.

    I do not believe in God, Gods, Angels, Demons, Invisible Dieties or any other superstitious gobbledygook.

    You are also free to believe or disbelieve whatever you so choose.

    Thank you for your comments.

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 3 years ago

    You’ve trivially transformed each and every spiritual faith into a demon then simply slayed these with your hollow rhetoric. Your particular contention is not with all spiritual beliefs but false religious beliefs. Christ’s teachings have continually been - and are still - absolutely nothing less than a marvelous blessing for everyone ( http://bit.ly/14G3fPF ). Why , then, do you dump the proverbial baby out with the bathwater?

  • profile image

    Deepes Mind 4 years ago

    I can imagine that a person raised in the desert is still raised by parents and much of his ideology would be based on what he was taught by his parents (which is an outside influence). Even being away from media, his/her thought processed is still influenced by something. outside influence HAS to be (it least in some part) a factor in someone's life. How else can they learn to read or write in order to let their books be seen? That kind of mind cannot exist (in my opinion). How would they learn survival? I think I can understand where you are coming from though. But that ideal falls slightly outside of MY personal realm of possibility. I guess I lack imagination...lol

  • Austinstar profile image
    Author

    Lela 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Rory, can you just imagine what a book would be like if it had been written by someone raised without the religious jibber jabber? Can you figure out what a person would say in a book if they had been raised in the desert for their entire thinking life with no TV, other books or influence of any kind? A book written by someone who had zero outside influence? Someone who learned about the universe by thinking entirely on their own? I truly wonder what that kind of mind would be like.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Life is good.

  • profile image

    Deepes Mind 4 years ago

    Even in writing a new book with your own "unique" thoughts could still be analyzed and seen as just a different way of explaining something that someone else has already said before. A lot of independent thought can only come about by quoting others to a degree and making their words your own by injecting your own philosophy into them. Like for instance, I agree that quoting bible verses is B.S (quoting your words), But I believe that it isn't Quoting Bible verses that is b.s. It is quoting bible verses AS THEY ARE WRITTEN that is b.s (My thoughts). The issue with quoting bible verses is that the verses themselves are taken too literally as they are written by a majority of people that only take one definition of a word and run with it instead of looking at the various definitions and applying them in context to different situations. For example, i wrote an idea on the concept of submission in a hub. While I did quote the bible as a reference, I also broke the definition down (like you did in this hub) and applied context to each definition. A lot of "independent" thought isn't totally independent, in my opinion. Independent thought consists of taking an established idea, analyzing it for yourself, then formulating and injecting your own conclusions to push the thought further.

  • Austinstar profile image
    Author

    Lela 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Hmmm, well never quoting anyone comes to mind. Faith is blind thinking as opposed to having confidence in something. Stating your personal views without having to mimic others. Coming up with original ways to solve problems. Absolutely no copying and pasting.

    Quoting bible verses is total B.S. in my opinion. One can take any verse out of any book and state an opinion. But writing a completely new book would be an example of thinking for yourself.

  • profile image

    Deepes Mind 4 years ago

    Could you elaborate on your last comment please? What do you mean when you say think for yourselves?

  • Austinstar profile image
    Author

    Lela 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Ok guys, I am going to define 'religion' as a tool for human behavior. I can't see anything wrong with it unless you try to bang your tool over my head or the heads of children who can't possibly know better than to do and think what they are told.

    Politics is also the same kind of tool as is education and peer pressure. Just learn to think for yourselves and I'll be happy.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Get this: I have a hand/involvement with; Episcopal, Anglican, Catholic(Eastern and Roman) Methodist, Presbyterian and Lutheran, much in, US English, Vietnamese and Mexican. I like Wesslyan, Luther, Joel Osteen and am a student of the Pope and Patriarchs. I have studied Native American faith and Biddha, Shinto and Hindu.

    I like them all. I view all and apply to Love. I find bonding and Charisma in rituals. I see the glory in Rites.

    Bad religion is a personal choice. Good religion is a perspective.

  • profile image

    Deepes Mind 4 years ago

    I love it Eric. your first definition is a very descriptive version of the second websters dictionary. the other definitions are just gorgeous!!

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Rory (sorry about the "Roy") These are wonderful comments. I say we drop that corny Webster style definition and just adopt mine. Religion is a man made systematic method to bring behavior into a set dogma.

    Religion is a set organization of rituals. Faith is not primary but secondary in religion based groups. Religions are not divine.

    I follow a philosophical line with Wittgenstein and Bowsma, Definitions must be contextual and characteristic descriptive.

  • profile image

    Deepes Mind 4 years ago

    Religious debates will do that. LOL.. Honestly, religion in itself (by the first definition) is not organized. neither is the second definition. Just because a group of people have the same ideas don't make them organized.. lol.. I get the point of the organizations of religion. I just replied to another post that the problem isn't religion itself. Religion (the first definition) is the just a set of beliefs. The real problem is the second definition's ("organized religion.. mainly people) interpretation of the first definition. Because several words in the dictionary have several different definitions, people will focus on the the definition that will most closely reinforce their own beliefs instead of applying each specific definitions in context to a specific situation. It is this lack of contextual application that causes the problems within different religions. the real reason for the problems with organized religion is that there are too many organizations in religions and each organization is convinced that only their way is the correct way thus (at least in christiandom) leaves room for judgment passing (which coincidently is a sin as much as everything else that will lead to God's judgment that most so-called "Christians" will end up in hell anyway despite their beliefs.

  • Austinstar profile image
    Author

    Lela 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Rory, thanks for the excellent comments and you are correct. I was attempting to discuss the second definition of religion in general. It is an effort to point out what could very much be improved in organized religion. I hate the discussions that just boil down to insults and stubbornness.

  • profile image

    Deepes Mind 4 years ago

    And my name is Rory...LOL

  • profile image

    Deepes Mind 4 years ago

    Great point Eric and I agree with you 100%. I saw the post as dealing more with the second definition of religion itself as the first. My response (I thought...lol) Was dealing more with the system of religion as according to the second definition rather then the first definition which is individualized.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Roy, I think I see your point. But when you lump religion and faith or spiritualism as the same you lose me. Clearly religion is a man made organization, Faith is personal between a higher power and oneself and spiritualism is the growth toward further understanding of all. The headline bad religion is a bait.

  • profile image

    Deepes Mind 4 years ago

    This article was well written in my opinion. Although i can recognize how and where part of the title (namely the "bad religion part) might raise some concerns concerning bias, I personally didn't take it that you were saying that religion is bad in itself. I also note that this article was more about the answers that were posted in an earlier forum that you put up. With that being said, I have my own opinion of what is wrong with religion. The arguments and points raised by some of the other posters is part of the problem with religion in itself. I looked up the word religion on dictionary.com and there are two definitions that I want to examine.

    re·li·gion [ri-lij-uh n] Show IPA

    noun

    1. a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

    2. a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.

    I believe both definitions can be considered true. The second definition is more dealing with the different classifications of a belief system whereas the first definition is more of an individualized ideal. The real issue is that a lot of society have almost merged the two together to the point to where what is supposed to be an individualized principle has been overtaken by the "majority Rules" principle. That because a lot of people believe the same thing then the belief is correct. This couldn't be further from the truth. The baseline true concept religion is to take your own understanding from material that is presented to you. Another issue is that the so called "religious" books are being taken too literally by a majority that just goes by the definition that is most widely used by a majority of society instead of for what they are. I do believe in God and consider myself a Christian which is a person who tries to follow the teachings of Jesus. The teachings of Jesus are not the total Bible itself. The Old testament are full of parables and myths which provide a reductionist explanation for more complex ideals (I.E: Adam and Eve is just a story that was written to explain how man became separated from God and sin entered the world) and the new testament contains a lot of principles and ideal for people to live by when taken into proper context. But religion is a lot like politics. Because a majority believes the same thing it is considered true and correct. Do I have proof of an existence of God? Nope nor does anyone else. Science and technology can only prove so much up to a certain point in itself but A Majority believe in that rather than a God. as it was said earlier both sides of the same coin. It comes down to your belief structure.. What the most amusing thing to me is the fact that as it was stated John lennon was atheist as well as a lot of other prominent people, but (Disclaimer: I'm playing devil's advocate without trying to inject my own personal beliefs one way or the other) if there is a heaven these atheists have a better chance of getting in then the Religious. The final decision of who gets in belongs to God..

    For you here that are atheist, The religion I study from the bible says passing judgement is as much a sin as any other sin and it is all not pleasing to God. Therefore I do not have a heaven or a hell that i can place you in and will never try to put myself in that position to make that determination. But a problem with Religion is that some of the people practicing it believe they are so close to God that they place themselves in the position to where they are speaking for him.

    Again great article and good discussion.

  • Mark Knowles profile image

    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    Ah - yes I guess disenchantment with religious people is appropriate, I suppose. Clearly they tend not to contribute to the betterment of humanity. Not sure that is an appropriate comment regarding the source of the cosmos though. "Irrational," is probably more apt.

  • Coming of Age profile image

    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Mark-In response I would say disenchantment quite obviously with the possibility that folks who do approach life’s issues/questions from a ‘religious’ point of view can contribute to the betterment of humanity, or even that they MAY be correct in their assessment of the source of the cosmos.

    I failed to answer a question you posed in an earlier comment…“whether or not you (I) think people can aspire to something more without a belief in and love for "God." Yes, of course I do. I think I stated so, somewhere else. I see great potential in the idea that if folks understand that this life is, or even may be, all there is, then the way they live and understand the ‘gift’ of life becomes all the more significant.

    “There is no doubt in my mind that religion is divisive, and simply doing away with it in favor of a "human" approach, accepting that this is all there is and trying to further understanding of ourselves without the wall of division that religion creates would probably be a good thing.”…That’s a particularly disturbing (possibly communistic) comment from my view and has as much potential to become militant as does anything else. I wonder now if you aren’t also disenchanted with the U.S. Constitution. Even Ayn Rand (an Atheist), understood that ’altruism’ (acting for the good of others) was inherently un-moralistic.

    For my part, I have no doubt that if people could/would act more like Buddha, Gandhi, or Jesus of Nazareth, truly understanding the actual intent of their ideals, without the wall of division that is (seemingly) inherent of the ‘human condition’ that too would be a good thing.

    Sorry I can’t hang around any longer right now, I’m taking lunch and will need to get back to work shortly.

  • Austinstar profile image
    Author

    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Eric, "We attribute our great gift of Love through Jesus. No particular reason just that he exuded love and like you exude some sort of anger."

    Please explain this statement and the specific reasons why you think I am such a hater.

  • Mark Knowles profile image

    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    Ericdierker - sorry - I missed your suggestion that "transcends religion," Can you explain that to me please?

  • Mark Knowles profile image

    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    Hey - if the so-called "love and understanding" you guys claim to feel was genuinely shown by religious believers instead of simply claimed - I doubt this discussion would be happening.

    There is no doubt in my mind that religion is divisive, and simply doing away with it in favor of a "human" approach, accepting that this is all there is and trying to further understanding of ourselves without the wall of division that religion creates would probably be a good thing.

    I am not sure we need to "replace it" with anything other than this sort of discussion. The only people who think we need to replace it with something seem to be religious believers.

    I have done away with religion and discovered that I did not need to replace it with anything other than my own common sense.

    COA - What? My disenchantment of what possibilities exactly?

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Maybe you are right. But until you come up with positive notions of what the replace religion, you are just negative. I suggest one that transcends all religions and you do not even recognise my suggestion. Again I feel a loss at your negativity. I also appreciate that your responses are geared toward futhering more comments. That is worthy of a hub writer. But nowhere in your responses do I see futhering love or understanding.

  • Austinstar profile image
    Author

    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Oh dear, even if you are warned, you end up getting burned anyway. So the warning really serves no purpose.

    We're doomed.

  • Coming of Age profile image

    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Mark-I did enjoy my day, thanks. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough…I first wrote “what some may call” collective consciousness. In my later reference of a collective, I only meant that in cultural/societal terms mankind has always moved forward together (not always for the betterment of humanity)…Aspire to be better collectively for the human race, would probably be more appropriate. There is no “him/her” in any of it…This implies a persona, a persona created seemingly by your disenchantment with the possibilities.

    Aspirations as far as ‘religious’ in nature, I assume you mean? I don’t really have any at this point in my life, except one that I have always had, to “do unto others”. At the same time, if I can in some small measure help others to eliminate their bias (and they me) along the way I would like to think the generations behind you and I will inherit a better (more civil) world.

    As far as how religions get started, I can’t help you except to say that when early humans first developed the capacity for abstract thought, religion was probably born, but you know that already don‘t you. If you think that I am interested in developing a new religion, you’re sadly mistaken. I am more interested in living life to the absolute fullest while I can…Somewhat of an adrenaline junky, I am afraid.

    All of this seems to be drifting off course…The subject is (bad religion). Whether my definition is disingenuous to you, Austinstar, or anyone else is irrelevant. Whether you find my personal definition, the one from the dictionary, or that of Peter Berger nebulous is also not relevant. Show me how it’s nefarious! How is religion bad? Make the case. Austinstar has put forth a lot of what appear to be rhetorical questions…Is this the worst thing religion may be doing? etc. (loosely quoted) I don’t see anyone making a case the way I could for instance if I were writing an article about how cigarettes are bad. I might ask the rhetorical question; “have you considered how smoking affects you and the ones around you?” but then if I really think they are bad in order to make a convincing argument I would have to back it up accurate historical information, medical statistics, possibly some personal experience and then top it off with a conclusion.

    If that is done in a concise manner, it becomes difficult for an individual to argue that cigarettes are good for you in a convincing way. Simply because institutionalized religion doesn’t work for one, clearly proves nothing about whether it work for others. Cigarettes on the other hand will have ill effects on everyone, and it can be shown effectively. Yes, people still smoke, but ask any smoker that you know, and I think you’ll be hard pressed to find one that isn’t aware that tobacco bad is for their health.

    Motivating by fear (for instance) is it bad? I can argue from personal experience, that it is not always the case. When I was a kid we moved into a house that had the old radiant heaters. As you know, they can become very hot and these did not have safety mesh around them. My father told me stay away from them they will burn you, I was afraid. Sometime later a friend and I were rough housing in our living room and both of us ended up getting burned…Not too pleasant as you can imagine. Now, if hell were a real place, or even if I personally thought it were, it seems to me, not to be an altogether bad thing to warn people; “you don’t want to go there”

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    I'm sorry, I do not wish to exude hate. I neither hate nor love religion. I fear for the welfare of my world which is often taken advantage of through religion. My only wish is to improve religion with this hub.

    These topics actually came as responses from real people to a question I asked on the forums and the Q&A section of HP. I did not even include my opinion of what is "wrong" with religion which is that religion needs to cease to exist immediately if not sooner.

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    Eric Dierker 5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Hey, this was a well thought out piece of writing. I told my youth today not to use the Bible as a source for an essay. These things are not understood by mere writing they require discourse. You have brought us that.

    Hate does exude through your writing. I wish it were not so. I wish you felt the love me and my family feel, not through religion just through love. We attribute our great gift of Love through Jesus. No particular reason just that he exuded love and like you exude some sort of anger.

    Again I thank you for this thought provoking channel of discourse and further understanding. You are brave and in that you are beautiful.

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    Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

    My friend & I plan to go back and go through it all again - there was so much! And they had to keep the rooms so cold for the sake of preservation - next time we'll wear sweaters.

    I might write a hub about it. It was incredible - from massive stone carvings to the most intricate, delicate tilework. Gold and turquoise jewelry for odd parts of the body; so many evidences of creative sensitivity amidst incredibly outlandish beliefs. What's new under the sun, huh?

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    Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

    Descartes may have been a genius to some but at the end of the day it is only his standpoint, his perception that made that statement. I am therefore I think is more in line with my perception. He was not the only 'genius' that walked the planet.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Yes, it is easy to look back on the Minoans or the Mayans or even today's odd cultural beliefs. It appears difficult to turn that mirror on ourselves. We think we have it right now. But there is no way of knowing this. I cannot "preach" my own beliefs into others. I can make people aware of them, but that's it.

    Art is very nice as "a picture is worth a thousand words".

    I hope you will do a hub on the Mayan exhibit, I would love to read it, Nellianna.

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    Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

    Motown, thank you. That was kind of you to mention it.

    Too bad people don't more find the value in each other and extend benefit of doubt to all our ever-present peccadillos.

    I went to the Dallas Museum of Art Thursday for an exhibit of ancient Mexican/Mayan art. It was amazing, and all clustered around beliefs of that time. And today I picked a book off my book shelf about the Celts, subtitled "Life, Myth and Art. Again - clustered around beliefs.

    If one looks back into Egypt or Babylonia, Greece or Minoa, one finds myriads of opposing beliefs, often so strongly held or imposed that everything in everyone's lives were governed and overshadowed by them, no matter how absurd. The royalty of these beliefs ruled it, lest it change; - priests or whatever they were called. Now it is interesting ancient history, and quaint - and absurd.

    I only mention it to illustrate that there is benefit of doubt due to anyone of any age if he/she is a human being.

    Moments of history which tower above often were built upon cruelty and stood on the backs of slaves. Somehow memorable moments which "shine" had little to do with anything but the love shining forth from them.

    This hub has been interesting and enlightening in many respects. Thanks, Lela and commenters.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    A lot of people think I am "trying" :-) They do not realize that I am succeeding at it.

    As far as being biased, this is what sells crunchy peanut butter to some and smooth peanut butter to others. It's elementary, my dear Dr. Knowles.

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    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    Yeah, but I thought you were trying not to be biased? :D

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    I still like, "Religion is opiate for the masses". It kind of says it all. It fulfills a need of some kind, it calms their animalistic desires in some fashion and it helps the economy.

    What I don't understand the "morals" clause. There are just as many homosexuals, pedophiles, thieves and killers in religion as anything else, yet they don't see it.

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    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    LOL - Fair enough. Do whatever you want in your Universe lol

    Must admit - COA's definition of religion seems somewhat "disingenuous," and I am genuinely interested in what he/she said afterwards, because that seems a more "real" definition.

    Basically you "sense" "something" that you cannot define, give it a label, (in this case we had several offered) we had:

    unifying ‘life-force’

    Wakan Tanka

    the great mystery

    Collective Consciousness

    and of course - the "Biggie" - God.

    COA professed a "love" for this God which allowed him/her to help us collectively to "aspire" to "something more".

    These are all rather nebulous, ill defined terms that sounds exactly like a genuine definition of religion.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Hi Mark - Since I am supreme commander of MY universe, I don't need to aspire to anything. I think, therefore, I am. Descartes was a genius.

    It's really all we need to know and be.

    COA - I don't care for your definition of religion at all! I will stick to the dictionary and unlink you if you prefer. The universe does not preclude nor transcend man. The universe IS, therefore it has always been and always will be. Every single iota of matter, space and energy exists now and has always existed.

    We are part and parcel OF the universe and we cannot be separated from, nor created, nor destroyed. We don't need an afterlife, we ARE the "life". Therefore we do not need to aspire to anything.

    Someone once said, "Religion is the opiate of the masses". Religion stimulates or calms some portion of our brain that needs to "believe" in something. I don't get it and I doubt the masses will ever understand my universe. It matters not, because this is real. The purpose of our earthbound lives is to live and nothing more. "Aspiring" to power, greatness or godliness is only an illusion. Everyone, no matter how rich, or poor, or atheistic or religious will die (or reassemble). Our brains will cease to function in our current state, but our matter "lives" on.

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    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    I was not criticizing - I am genuinely interested in how religion develops, and what you describe seems a more accurate description of the term. Including the need to ascribe it to a "collective" rather than making it solely a personal thing.

    I am also genuinely interested in what you aspire to and whether or not you think people can aspire to something more without a belief in and love for "God."

    Enjoy your day.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Welcome to your opinion Mark...Sure people can be inspired by many things. I only offereed my own explanation because you asked. Criticize it as you will, I am not offended. I am however off to the hills (my church) once again, for the day.

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    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    Interesting. You "love" an "unknown aspect" that you cannot define? This is genuine religion. Claiming a love for something that you cannot properly define.

    And I would also appreciate it if you did not speak for me in your "collective," because I do not need to use this word to aspire to something more. I would be interested to understand why you need to claim to "love God' in order to do so. Can you not aspire to something more without doing so? And - what do you aspire to exactly?

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Mark-You’re correct, my profile says that. I also suspected that you might bring it up, so I’ll answer as directly as I can….I do not believe in an anthropomorphic god keeping a tally sheet on folks. I see very little evidence that there is an entity in the sky having direct interaction or influence on the world.

    On the other side of the coin, I do believe that there is a unifying ‘life-force’ that binds all living creatures together. The Lakota peoples called it Wakan Tanka (the great mystery), some folks might refer to it as a Collective Consciousness. There are any number of names that people have chosen throughout time to call what cannot readily be explained...You may believe that science has (or can) provided all of the answers, I would respectfully disagree. I think, there is always going to remain one more question (one more mystery) once you get down to what may seem (to some) the most elemental component. Thus we are left indeed with a mystery, by personal choice I call that God, and I do love the unknown aspects because it allows us as a collective to aspire to something more.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Good Morning Austinstar-I did re-read the hub this morning, and I think you toned it down somewhat, maybe enough to begin a dialogue that can open up some peoples minds to actually look at what might be wrong with their personal religion. I am not sure that to be the case, we’ll see.

    It was not necessary to list me in your article with the dictionary.com definition, but it‘s okay with me that you did (if you care)…I was simply pointing out that I personally found your definition a bit narrow.

    In actuality I like this one:

    "Religion is the human attitude towards a sacred order that includes within it all being—human or otherwise—i.e., belief in a cosmos, the meaning of which both includes and transcends man." (Peter Berger)

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    Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

    Me too. And, I have to say that so far, everyone (while perhaps very adamant about their opinion) has remained respectful of the individuals participating in the discussion. I love that! :)

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Doesn't being up in the hills enjoying nature all day qualify as "relaxing"? :-)

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Sweet! This was my intention - to start a dialogue. I do love a good discussion.

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    Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

    I read through the hub again, Austin, and I like the changes. There is less of a biased tone than before. I think, though, that as an actual opinion piece, there's bound to be some bias, and it makes sense. I still maintain that there wasn't anything wrong with the original piece, and that it brought forth a great deal of important information to be considered.

    It has started a great conversation!

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    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    Coming of Age - I am all confused in that case, because your profile page clearly states that you "love God," - so -which is it?

    This "God" is the river you have created. No "God" or "religion," - especially the Christian religion - and there is no river to divide.

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    John Harper 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

    Just want to say that these comments are a wonderful example of what debate and discussion should be about, and I congratulate Austinstar and CoA for the way they communicate openly.

    " The closest I can come to is that I believe in infinite space, matter and energy with no beginning and no end."

    ...and I can agree with that also. :)

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Hi Austinstar-I will be glad to read it again, the idea that you would actually change (to whatever degree) something in it at this point and state so in a comment is a reflection of your character that I absolutely respect….Please wait till tomorrow though, I have been up in the hills enjoying nature all day and frankly I’m ready to relax.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Well, Mo, since I am attempting to present problems for religions to work on, I should avoid bias for it to be taken seriously. I have no religious affiliation. I swear I don't sacrifice babies/animals or attend Atheist conventions. My view of the universe is profoundly different from anyone I have ever met. I fail to even explain it adequately. The closest I can come to is that I believe in infinite space, matter and energy with no beginning and no end.

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    Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

    Everyone is entitled to a religious bias, though, COA. Challenging hers because you think it's wrong is no different from her challenging those of others.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Coming of Age - Hopefully, I have corrected the biased statements you listed. I agree that I can be prejudicial against religion. Pretty much all religion.

    Please re-read the article and let me know if you spot anything else that needs to be addressed. I hold a B.A. in Journalism and I was taught to actively avoid bias, but it can't be helped sometimes.

    I would pretty much like to present this hub as an error identification, so that religion can look at where it is going wrong and attempt to improve things. IMHO this is not the definitive list, but it's a beginning. You can't fix things that you believe aren't even broken.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    M2C-No argument on what you state Jesus was intolerant of…I’m not arguing for Jesus, nor am ignorant of his teachings. If you wish to be respectful of an opinion that is based on far less than accurate information, that’s your business. I respect your bridging gaps with love ideal. Since you seem to be comfortable with biblical references, I’ll remind you that love rejoices in the truth.

    If I’m wrong I want my friends, or someone else for that matter, to point it out so that I can take another look my own biases…No one is completely free of such things, so we all need to work on it (my opinion) to rid the world of real hatred…Do you think this article really tries to understand anyone, respect their beliefs, or take an unbiased approach? I do not. I think the mood is set in the article to promote division not unity.

    Want to read something from an Atheist with an honest unifying approach? I recommend Chasuks hub “What THIS Atheist Believes About Jesus“.

    Yes, I have read those things about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. I have no opinion of it one way or the other. I am far more interested in peaceful reconciliation than who he may, or may not, have slept with. As for the reference I made to the Civil Rights movement, if you’ll care to look back you will also notice that I qualified it by using the phrase ’in no small part’. There’s been no argument from me about your using the “not solely” qualifier either, I saw no reason to challenge a redundancy. Nor did I bother with what Austinstar wrote about southern Christians etc. Here’s the rub, and I know you know it, but it bears repeating anyway; individuals or groups can do an act of evil in the name of whatever entity or institution they choose, but that does not make the entity or group whose name was used to justify the deed complicit, or bad.

    We live in a country founded on secular ideals right out of the Age of Enlightenment, with laws based partially of Judeo-Christian tradition. Free speech dictates that Austinstar can spout off whatever she wants to about whomever she wishes, but in the same way I would challenge a kkk member writing an article saying that all black people are bad because of homicide rates in the inner city, I will challenge her religious bias. My opinion is that to do otherwise is where the real injustice lies.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Mark-As for your river analogy, I accept it with the caveat that the ‘river’ is created out of bigotry and intolerance from both sides of the argument. Also, my own bridge analogies were for the purpose of making a point for M2C to consider…“Bridging gaps” are her stated purpose, not mine.

    Regarding your other statement, I pointed out just a couple of several obvious errors. Start by proving those otherwise, pandering will get you nowhere. I will admit when I am wrong without hesitation.

    Please don’t presume to know anything about what I believe, I‘ll be glad to let you know if it is of interest…The ”your god” comment is an overreach. I don’t’ know that there is a god (God for anyone offended by not capitalizing), and I don‘t attempt to prove or disprove that. My terminology of self from a belief characteristic would be ‘Agnostic Christian’. Perhaps I have not shed the mantle of my parochial school upbringing and that’s why I include the moniker. I don’t think that true though because I never bought into Catholicism to begin with. The sermon on the mount particularly, and most things attributed to the historical teachings of Jesus remain relevant to me personally and I would say those are the actual reasons I hold onto some semblance a ‘religious’ ideal. However, I’m just as comfortable with simply being labeled singularly Agnostic, or Christian.

    I am arguing with the tenor of the article because it is opinion, based on faulty information presented as factual and therefore lacks credibility. In a word, It’s akin to saying all law enforcement officials are bad because some cops beat up suspects.

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    Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

    COA, I'm glad my answers speak for themselves. They were intended to be direct. Jesus was intolerant of some things, and I tend to be intolerant of those things. He was intolerant of hypocritical religious leaders (I believe those are mentioned in this article), he was intolerant of those who set themselves to judge others before acknowledging their own failures and addressing them. He was intolerant of those who behaved as though appearances were more important than substance.

    As regards the Civil Rights movement, there's a great deal of truth in what Austin says about where the problem arose from in the beginning. White, Southern Christians who believed that their faith supported their actions. And one last point - I am not the kind of person who believes that one bad deed is enough to strip a man of all the good he may have done in his lifetime, but have you ever entertained the thought (while considering the Christian part in the Civil Rights movement) that one of the most notable people of the time as regards nonviolence was Martin Luther King, Jr. and they have verifiable proof that the man was an adulterer?

    Religion is not perfect. God is. His followers are not perfect. He is. Do we do an awful lot of good in His name? Heck, yes! But do we mess up an an awful lot and then say it's because the (Bible, Koran, Torah) say so? Yup.

    I think there's a WHOLE lot right with religion, but that doesn't stop me from agreeing that there's a whole lot wrong. And, I often find myself having to be way more loving, forgiving, tolerant, and accepting of those within my faith than outside of it.

    cclit - Thank you for the kind compliment, btw. I try to be honest. And I try to fix what I can from inside rather than tearing the whole structure down and trying to rebuild.

    Austin - where's my beer?

    Nellieanna - I like where you're coming from. It's so ... honest. :D

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    I might add a paragraph or two on "Misinterpretation of Religious Texts" Some of the answers I received on the question alluded to this "error", but like all opinions, religious interpretations are highly subjective, hence the difficulty in religious agreements around the world.

    Opinions are like a$$ holes, everyone has one.

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    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    Coming of Age - there are no "obvious errors" in this article. This is a collection of people's opinions as to "what is wrong with religion".

    Without the river you create with your god - there would be no need for a bridge.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    M2C-Thank you for your direct answers, they speak for themselves.

    In order to span a river by bridge, supports are built on both sides and construction meets somewhere in between. Where attitudes are concerned, it’s reasonable to think bridging gaps is a two way proposition also, in order to achieve it both parties must compromise, or make concessions. It’s something by nature that human beings just aren’t able to achieve in all cases. As you aptly pointed out in your earlier Luther reference it doesn’t even always happen with the most ardent believers. I’m not saying that means that anyone should give up, but honesty must be an integral part from both positions.

    Jesus wasn’t tolerant or placating of every opinion or action as you well know. He contradicted the Pharisees, he upset money changers tables while offering some poignant words, he chastised Peter at Gethsemane and so on. I’m not Jesus, so I can’t know what he’d have to say about the article. On the other hand, I can point to the obvious errors and perhaps that too can begin to start a process of “bridging gaps”.

    “Love is what brings two people to the middle of a bench when there is plenty of room at either end”

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Good answer on the second question, Mo. I mean most of the civil rights were being violated because of Christian values in the first place. Specifically the Southern Bible Belt Christians who still think (to this day) that there is nothing wrong with segregation and/or slavery.

    I can remember being in "Sunday School" and being taught that all black people bore the "Mark of Cain". I had no idea what that meant other than they were "inferior" to us white folk.

    I grew up and once dated a black man during the 70's and you would have thought that I was the most heinous human being on the planet! I had known this man for many years. We ended up having a great time together and I adored his family. I think they liked me too, but I am one of those whiter than white blonde people and I wonder if they felt sorry for me.

    Gosh, then I went to Mexico and even bothered to learn the language. I guess my family thought I had lost my mind. I think in their minds Mexicans may have actually been worse than AfricanAmericans!

    I have to tell y'all that they are all thinking that the end times have arrived because a black man is president and the only man that the "decent hard working morally superior Republicans" can up with is a MORMON! I am laughing in my shoes I tell ya.

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    Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

    Ah, COA - you refuse to placate and believe that's what I'm doing. Perhaps. I prefer to think of it as listening for the sake of understanding and hoping to bridge gaps that have existed for far too long.

    You'll notice above that Mark points out that I'm not a 'proper' Christian. In many ways he's right. I'd rather be a loving one with the type of tolerance that I believe Jesus had. Perhaps I'm mistaken in how I go about showing that to others, but I trust that He will hold me accountable for my errors.

    To answer your questions: "Here’s a simple question: On the whole, has religion (spirituality if you prefer), been a good influence in your life?"

    --Yes, it absolutely has.

    "Would you not agree that a mountain of injustice was moved by activism during the Civil Rights Era?"

    --Yes, I would. But not solely through the nonviolent measures of Christians.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Hi Austinstar,

    I'll answer my own questions...

    No, it has not. Surprised? Don't be, my belief in the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are a different matter, and those have been. As you have in the past pointed out (correctly I will add), I have some inherently agnostic ideals.

    On the second question-Me too.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    COA-"Here’s a simple question: On the whole, has religion (spirituality if you prefer), been a good influence in your life?"

    Me (answering)-No, it has not.

    COA-"Would you not agree that a mountain of injustice was moved by activism during the Civil Rights Era?"

    Me (answering)-Yes, I would.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    M2C-“What I think certain of your commenters may be missing is that many of these wrongs were identified by folks that hold religion dear to their hearts.”

    I will assume since this is the first sentence in a paragraph that goes on to mention calling an “Atheist an anti-theist..”, that it is directed at my “certain” comment, or me personally.

    Well, of course I missed it, because it was never a part of the article to begin with, this is your inference, or attempt to “read between the lines“. Schism, whether by design or happenstance is certainly one of the problems encountered by Christians (and others). It rarely has the beneficial outcome that I would like to think is the intent. Sure, one could argue that the Lutherans were better off after laying the foundation of a new denomination, but the effect on the on the whole of Christianity is another matter. The subject of in-fighting between religious adherents is also another matter, and has nothing to do with this particular article.

    Was I unfair? Perhaps, but “IMO” the answer is clearly no. Fairness has to do with being free from bias and dishonesty. My intent was to “put the shoe on the other foot”, asking in effect that Austinstar take a look at her conclusions and see if her own opinions are based on unsubstantiated hearsay or fact. The article itself (to my way of thinking) is what is unfair, the overall tenor attempting to lead the reader to conclude that all religion is bad.

    I notice that you chose to pick-up on a couple of the harsher things I had to say, but was the actual information that I presented incorrect? I make no apologies for refusing to placate; to a degree that’s what I think you are doing.

    You’ll notice if you read the Civil Rights question I asked, that it has gone unanswered. To me, the reason is clear. The movement in no small part had a non-violent component stemming from religion. Was it good for the individuals who took part? Clearly not all of them, some were tortured, others killed. Taken on the whole for the benefit of society though, clearly it was…How is that a bad thing?

    If an alcoholic who drives intoxicated begins to look at his actions through a religious, or spiritual lens, becomes more self aware, and as a result sobers up, then certainly it’s a good thing for the individual, and safer for society.

    Here’s a simple question: On the whole, has religion (spirituality if you prefer), been a good influence in your life?

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    cc - Mo used to be a nun so I'm sure she would make a perfect spokesperson for Catholicism. She is extremely eloquent and a great person to know. She is also an excellent person to share a beer with :-)

    Nellianna - I know! I should have taken Semantics in school instead of Linguistics. Or both. I could have had correct pronunciation and unchallenged word meanings :-)

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    Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

    Lela - your self-reminder to choose your semantics more accurately (substituting 'issue' for 'problem', etc.) reminds me of a better choice for me in explaining is to use 'aware of' or 'perceive' many places I use 'know' when talking about matters that surpass what is actually possible to 'KNOW' in the sense of so-called empirical knowledge. That level of knowledge is what has passed scienctific tests of repeatability; but in univeral matters, there really is no lab in which to test repeatability of ideas or surmises about what IS or is not at those levels.

    Faith is the acceptance of theories, ideas, conclusions, passed-along evidences which cannot be repeated scientifically. I'm not here to say that they can't be true. But I must say that I don't KNOW, nor does anyone else, so the claim that one theory is "IT" and others are not is absurd, IMHO. I suppose it makes me agnostic, as labels go. I say that my 'religion' is summed up: "There is no problem". What IS, is - and it can be as good or as much an issue as we choose to make it here an now. If there is more, it will be. If not, it won't. We do have "this" with which to work.

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    Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

    Austin - I had to come back and read some of these comments. WOW! I'm with you on this one, but I must say Motown2Chitown should be the spokesperson - or at least a mediator - for Christianic interpretation. You're right: her eloquence is notable and if more people in the world entertained her perspective, by golly, Atheists and Christians could share a beer! :D

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    Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

    Lela and Mark -- so be it.

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    Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

    Austin, that's funny...my sister and I are almost polar opposites regarding religion as well, but we seem to want all the same things for the world - peace, love, harmony, true generosity to those in need, an end to war, tolerance for those who think differently or live differently than we do. We generally focus on that, rather than focusing on how we each choose to believe it can/should happen.

    And, thanks...you're my friend too. And I just try to be genuine when it comes to my faith. That's one of the nicest things anyone's ever said to me.

  • Austinstar profile image
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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    For sure, my next hub will be, "What is Right (in your opinion) With Religion (in general). LOL

    Mo, you are such an eloquent spokesperson for your beliefs. I find no fault with you and consider you a friend. My brother is also quite religious (we are like twins) and he and I 'argue' all the time about religion and politics. In these two things we are polar opposites. (yin and yang) LOL. But I love him to death.

    COA - the civil rights movement - wow, that is a deep subject and it is something I am truly grateful for. I would like to see the anti-war movement be so successful!

    Mark and Nellie - I think spiritualism speaks of planes of existence. Physicists speak of parallel universes. Everyone has a small part of them that wishes to live forever in some form or another.

    I had a dog once that loved to sit outside at night and stare at the stars. He may have been looking for bats (lol), but he seemed to be thinking of the universe through a dog's eyes. I think that in some way our atoms, our basic structure can never be destroyed and we are all reassembled into other forms. Our thinking brain may never reassemble into another duplicate thinking brain, but matter can never be destroyed, so our base structure will remain eternally in one form or another. If this makes me an atheist, well go ahead and label me as such.

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    Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

    Austin, IMO, some of the criticism you're getting here is unfair. If a 'religionist' had written this very same hub, they would have been lauded by some as a brave soul. Martin Luther had lots of issues with the Catholic Church. His intention was never to depart from the Church or to call it evil - he simply wanted to right some of the wrongs - which HE decided couldn't be done without identifying them.

    What I think certain of your commenters may be missing is that many of these wrongs were identified by folks that hold religion dear to their hearts. I can believe in God (and do), believe that Christ is the way to Him (and do), and do everything in my power to behave that way in my daily life (and do), and STILL think that certain elements of ALL religions have been perverted and misused by the HUMAN element within them.

    Calling an atheist an AN TI-theist is similar to calling a Christian an ANTI-humanist. I trust that if you despised religion and were out to destroy it, our friendship would be anathema to you, because you know that my faith is an integral part of who I am. Rather, you choose to open-mindedly listen to my reasons for believing the way I do, and you respect it.

    Part of the reason that folks do wind up despising religion so much is that we who are a part of it are so dead set against allowing them to voice a frickin' opinion! If it's 'heresy,' for Pete's sake, God will sort that out. But, simply because you exist, you have a right to hold an opinion and to speak it out loud.

    Broken relationships are repaired when one or the other party acknowledges that wrongs have been committed and attempts to right them. They dissolve forever when no one acknowledges the wrongs and continues to do damage through them. IMO, this type of hub (which you very clearly acknowledge as opinion) is the first step in attempting to repair the relationship between those who do and those who do not choose to embrace a religion.

    Wow. Seems to me that amazing things could happen if we'd all get on the same page.

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    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    Well Nellieanna, I am quite happy with this plane and see no reason to suppose that there is another plane and - as you are not aware of any other plane either - you obviously cannot "interpret" any others either.

    But - I think we are agreeing on the basics. lol

  • Coming of Age profile image

    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    The words are genuine Austinstar, and if it matters, you're welcome.

    When I first tuned into this channel, there was some dialogue about ‘moving mountains’.

    I think aguasilver brought up the metaphor….Would you not agree that a mountain of injustice was moved by activism during the Civil Rights Era?

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Dang it, I learned long ago to substitute the word "issue" for the word "problem". I think I should also substitute issue for "wrong" too. What the heck is wrong with me?

    I shall attempt to repair this hub someday.

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    John Harper 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

    I don't think its about "If religions want to increase their membership" or at least that should not be the objective.

    It's about showing folk that if they are not getting what they want from life, maybe it's because they are out of sync with the God who has all power, (and I do not discount that God can function in all religions, so although MY view is that God works through Christ, I have seen Gods hand in many religions) and that by reconnecting to God, we get our lives 'de-fragmented' a sort of divine virus sweep and tune up of our beings.

    I am passionate that THC oil will cure cancer, post a whole stack of stuff on that subject, and offend/alienate many Christian believing friends who hold a traditional doctrine on 'drugs' - but we need to be passionate and unafraid of alienating others when we present what we believe to be truth, no matter how against popular opinion it may be.

    My dissenters are not wrong, they are likely mis or ill informed, and there is no mileage in attacking them.

    Sorry, that seems to have drifted off topic!

    But I agree with Coming of Ages last post!

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Thank you for your kind words and suggestions. I will actually consider these.

    I'll have to check into inspired or inspiring atheists. I only know of a few that I really respect: Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan and perhaps George Carlin.

    I agree that negative hubs are probably not as good as positive ones. My biggest point to writing this hub is that you can't fix problems until they have been specifically identified.

    If religions want to increase their membership, they should eliminate the obstacles standing in their way.

  • Coming of Age profile image

    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Approve or disapprove as you wish Austinstar….For the record, and on the record in previous comments from other articles, or hubs if you prefer, I have told you my actual opinion from the little I know of you. As I said in my last comment I turned the table to emphasize a point.

    I have some other opinions, and mine stinks as much as the next, but I have read of more of your articles than you know. Your self defense article for example was succinct and well written and gave some good ideas. I have read your dream catcher article, another well written hub. I’ve taken from your food recipes. As you know well, I have read some of your articles on Atheism, and you also know, I believe that you are more than merely tissue. I know that your work is important and contributes significantly to saving lives. Being an Atheist doesn’t make someone good or bad anymore than calling yourself a Christian does…For God’s sake (excuse the pun) there have been some significant contributions to science, literature, art, psychology, government, and more that came from Atheists, Secular Humanists, Agnostics and the like. This sort of rant however, seems (to ME) to be beneath you. Yes, there are people who call themselves Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or whatever that have committed atrocious, even depraved acts against individuals, or humanity. Can’t the same thing be said about some Atheists? You know of course that it can.

    Not that my opinion matters, but I would like to see you write something positive on the contributions of some prominent Atheists, or better yet some lesser known ones. I did read your article on John Lennon, but I think an interesting twist to it could have shown how his actions, ideals, and songs influenced more actual displays of peace and love, so-called Christian values, than some if not most of the prominent evangelists of our time.

    Anyone not living on Mars (at least from my generation) knows that he walked away from religion, but how many can deal with the position that in the process he may have been a better “Christian” than they are? If there is a ‘heaven’ there will be some big surprises when people get there and find Carl Sagan, Earnest Hemingway, Ayn Rand, John Lennon…etc.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Oh, WTF, Coming of Age, I'll approve your earlier comment as it is only your opinion anyway. Apparently, you can't handle the 'truth'.

    If anyone wishes to have it removed or censored, please let me know. Otherwise, just try not to be offended by it.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Austinstar, I did not miss the point. Anyone with even a fundamental knowledge of religion should be able to see that you have stated opinion. The objection I have is that you state your opinion as though it were based on fact, and without citing present day cultural instance.

    Here’s an example: Under “Satan, Demons and Hatred“ you state “Yet we see as we examine the world's religions that hatred is widely taught in religious classes. The Israelites are taught to hate the Canaanites”….

    What religions are you aware of that teach hatred today as a matter of their doctrine? “Is widely taught” indicates present tense. So who is teaching hatred? Not Christians, unless you attempt to tie some fringe Florida fanatic or the like to the whole of Christianity. Not Jews, or even Muslims without understanding the political implications. Not Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Deists….What religions are teaching hatred?

    I am not sure if you are referring to the forum or your article, but my earlier comment that you refused did not say anything about whether God exists or not, I certainly can’t prove that. Also I did not mention faith in my earlier comment.

    Here’s the deal Austinstar, the reason you censored the comment I made earlier is because I used some pretty harsh language in it, accusing you of the things you accuse adherents to a religion of. I never cease to be amazed that if you turn the tables on some people using the same sort of rhetoric that they do by putting it into a context that effects their own sensibilities, only then do they object.

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    Jewels 5 years ago from Australia

    I liked your mention of quitting smoking. God didn't make me quit, I did it. (I did it too by the way.) Often I hear how people say God did it which totally negates any belief in oneself to have strength and will. The removal of our own presence, our own being in what we do might as well mean never being human - what's the point. I find this belief one of the most disempowering of all misinterpretations of religious texts.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    The Hub title clearly indicates that this is an opinion article. When I asked in the Q&A and in the Forums, "What is Wrong With Religion?", I did not expect to get ARGUMENTS on whether God exists or doesn't exist. I did not expect people to start blathering on about a concept called "faith".

    I should rephrase the question to read: "What (in your opinion) is Wrong With Religion (in general)?

    My headings are the requested responses. They are OPINIONS on "What is Wrong With Religion?"

    As usual, you are missing the point.

    And yes, calling someone prejudiced and narrow minded and wrong may be construed as being insulting.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I did not copy and paste any paragraphs, only sentences from your article.

    If your article is about personal opinion, then let it be called an opinion article and stand on that ground.

    Sure you can censor anything you want to in your comments section, but it is still indicative of your own predjudice because nothing in my comment was against the rules of HubPages, profane, or insulting.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Coming of Age - That quote was from Titen-Sxull in his hub which is a link capsule. I did not say that, but if you will read Titen's hub, you will find that Revelations says that Jesus will kill when he returns to collect his flock.

    Also, wasn't it Jesus that said he came with a sword?

    And you have not debunked any of the opinions on this hub as they are just opinions on Why Religions are Wrong. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, even you.

    Yes, I will practice censorship as this is my hub and I want to stick to appropriate content.

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    Nellieanna Hay 5 years ago from TEXAS

    Actually what I'm saying is that subjective opinion is subjective opinion. Truth is what IS. Opinions may claim and attempt to believe it is truth. Beliefs exist but, being inherently subjective, are synonymous with neither truth or knowing.

    I know of no other plane either, Mark, but my knowing or not doesn't preclude there being - or not being - others. Here in this one, in any case, human experience is subjective from birth to death, though it fits this plane fairly well till we start to interpret what is - or is not - beyond it.

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    You have denied my comments based on censorship and fear that you have been debunked. No matter, just another example of your own prejudice.

    You did in-fact say:

    “ When you view the story of Jesus in the full light of scripture the idea of Jesus as a Savior breaks down entirely. Oh sure he manages to save the tiny percentage of mankind that makes it into Heaven but he and his vengeful angels kill..…”

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Coming of Age - I have denied your comment due to the fact that you, in fact, have used the same old tired rhetoric as well as many copied and pasted paragraphs.

    I never said that Jesus killed, but religion and the spread of it certainly does.

    Also, I didn't strive to present "facts", only opinions on "Why Religion is Wrong".

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    Coming of Age 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Hi Austinstar....I haven’t looked in on HubPages for quite awhile, but I see that you are up to the same tired rhetoric.

    While there are some valid points to your article, such as the over-the-top extravagance of some churches (which seems to fly in the face of much religious philosophy), or doctrinal objections to blood transfusion, most of the article contains oversimplified generalizations. It is little more than your own anti-theist opinion and pandering to a like-minded reader. It’s typical of what I have come to expect of you on this particular subject. Furthermore, it lacks credible fact based information. Unlike one of the early commenter’s, I see little evidence that you did very much research whatsoever. I notice that you have signed up for and become a HubPages apprentice. That’s good, hopefully they will be able to teach you how real research and fact checking is done.

    You start of course with your own narrow minded definition of religion, or at very least the second or third credible dictionary definition. Confining it’s meaning simply to belief in deity is very convenient, I will however concede that “for the purpose” you qualified your definition to this “exact” interpretation. Since all on HubPages have internet access I will use the primary definition from dictionary.com

    Religion: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

    “The majority of the world's religions do have beliefs that the opposite of Heaven is Hell.” That statement is categorically incorrect. The fact is only four or five of the worlds major religions (of which there are over forty), believe in hell. Of those, you will find that only a couple subscribe (for the purpose of dogmatic conformity) to an idea that ‘hell’ is a place of eternal bodily torment. However, the most prevalent belief found in the religions of the world is in fact reincarnation in one form or another.

    “Christians are taught to wage "Holy War" against the enemies of Christ.” Again, you are incorrect, and only stating what can certainly be termed an ignorant or prejudicial opinion. The fact is Christians are taught to love their enemies, many are pacifist conscientious objectors where any war is concerned. Followers of the teachings attributed to the historical Jesus should hate war itself. That isn’t to say however that all of them won’t be party to war, many understand as Edmund Burke said “all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

    As for your dogmatism observation about eating pork, you fall short in the same way that many fundamentalists do. That is to say you fail to take into account the historical significance of scripture. As most historical scholars recognize trichinosis and tapeworms are the probable reasoning for the prohibition, or aversion to eating pigs. While we see few cases of trichinosis in the U.S. today, it is still somewhat common in poorer third world countries. Since trichinosis can cause death as early as four weeks of infection, there was an observable direct correlation to consumption and disease. Additionally, pigs are by nature cannibalistic and will also eat a human being, especially where the scent of blood is present if they can overpower the victim, that is enough to elicit revilement for some. You’re wrong on another count; of the two major religions that I am aware of that avoid eating pork (Jews & Muslims) neither claims that the act will damn an individual to eternal hell. The fact is Jews (institutionally speaking) do not even believe in hell. Muslims believe that Allah is all forgiving, and will pardon them especially where there is necessity.

    I won’t continue to pick apart the article, I absolutely could, but suffice it to say (since I know you aren’t stupid) that are guilty of the very same things you accuse religion of….Brainwashing, Bigotry, Discrimination and Judgment. You are clearly not satisfied with an atheistic non-belief in deity, you show glaring prejudicial views toward anyone that dares believe that they possess an incorporeal soul, particularly if they have any ties to one of the three Abrahamic religions. While my personal beliefs are irrelevant, I will concede my own doubts of an anthropomorphic God, and an abhorrence for fundamentalist automatons.

    By the way, cite a credible occurrence where Jesus killed anyone, or were you just being metaphorical?

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    Quitting smoking takes 'faith' in oneself. I quit 15 years ago and I had to think of myself as a "non-smoker' before I could quit. But God had nothing to do with that.

    "Faith is basically the strength to hold onto the promises of God" - That is indeed a good hub title and I hope you write it, because if you don't, I will.

    But ask yourself first, just what ARE the promises of God in real terms, not just some vague allusion to a "heavenly afterlife".

    What exactly does that even mean? What are the tangible benefits of having "faith in God"?

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    John Harper 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

    Good analogy Mark, if you start quitting believing that you won't succeed, you will fail. ;)

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    John Harper 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

    Whoa! another hub!!! :)

    Faith is basically the strength to hold onto the promises of God, and when you can manage to do that, then all things are possible.

    Move mountains, no not physically by faith alone, the quote was analogy, but 'mountains' (i.e. large obstructions in life) can and are moved by God, when your faith stands on the Word.

    It's really a Catch 22 situation, without faith we are powerless, and most folk do not have the faith to have faith.... the guy said “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief!” which sums it up. (Mark 9:24)

    It's what is called a circular reference in spreadsheet terms, you need faith to get faith, so to speak.

    Faith makes us do crazy (by world thinking) things, that make no sense, but come out fine, as the best solution, when we stand strong in faith.

  • Mark Knowles profile image

    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    It helped me to quit smoking. :D

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    aqua - are you saying that faith actually physically moves mountains? Or is it just a tool for everyday life?

    Like you have faith that the sun will rise every morning. (That's not based on faith at all - it's based on real physical elements)

    Faith healing? (That's based on the physical power of our immune system activated by brain chemicals.)

    How is 'faith' a "tremendous asset and strength to have"?

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    John Harper 5 years ago from Malaga, Spain

    You have the right idea, but quoted the wrong instances! and faith really is a tremendous asset and strength to have, it does work, and I see it work frequently.

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    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    Certainly confused me lol.

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    Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

    I think all Nellieanna is saying is what I said before - Truth is a matter of subjective opinion. Some people think it's carved in stone. They are misinformed.

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    Mark Knowles 5 years ago

    So - you agree. What is "wrong" with religion is it's followers claim a Truth.

    What plane of existence are you talking about? You say it as though there are other planes of existence. As far as we know - this is not True. :D

    My subjective perceptions do not alter objective reality.