The Disadvantages of Being Religious
Definition of Religion
- The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.
- 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
- A system of belief or religious practice based on supposed communication with the spirits of the dead, esp. through mediums.
- 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
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?
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
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?
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
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?
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.
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.
What is Jesus Saving Us From?
- Faith, Salvation and Armageddon
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.....
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?
Understanding the Illusion of a god or gods
© 2012 Lela