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How does religion influence and promote atheism?

Updated on July 18, 2012

How does religious intolerance boosts atheism

I feel the need to write this hub as a consequence of a series of incidents in which I have consolidated and reaffirmed my decision to stay away from organized religion. As a believer of God and an ex-Christian (away from the religion, not necessarily the faith) it is my duty to share my experience so that young people be aware of some inconsistencies they will and probably are noticing already when they go to church, and how these inconsistencies are a time bomb which may turn people from devout Christians to hardcore atheists.

God is not religion

In previous hubs I explained why it is illogical that one religion in particular is the right one and the others are wrong. Some Christians insist and insist again and again, using the translated, modified from 2000 years+ ago Bible, that they are the ones with the truth and cannot analyze the wrongness of the idea that everybody that does not follow the Christian religion will be condemned to hell- this faith does not tell us that God is full of love. I used to believe this truth long time ago, when I was younger, but as I grew and began to dare to question, there is nothing that can convince me now such a belief is right. Plain and simple: if the requirement to be saved is to literally follow Christ, so that Muslims, Jews and any other group of religious people are wrong without questioning, then God is nothing but a merciless dictator. The requirement is nothing but a blackmail towards non-Christians and what I am going to mostly discuss here is how people, with their stubbornness to refuse to let go of this blatantly erroneous way to define and believe in God, are just making atheism grow stronger and healthy.

Humans do not like totalitarian authorities

If you look into Jesus’ life, He spent three years doing things that was, according to the Jews in that time, illegal and death-deserving. What did he do? Preach a gospel of tolerance and mercy. Jesus did things in order for everybody to know the true nature of God- love and wisdom, mercy and support, peace and hope. Jesus was a leader so in some circumstances he had to point things in a way that today it seems like they cannot be questioned. The problem is that what He preached was not to be taken so precisely literal. Jesus worked in the basis of parables and used indirect symbolisms and metaphors to preach. Today, the intolerance and mercilessness that Jews projected is now being practiced by a significant number of Christians. I would dare to say that if Jesus was to come today just when he came the first time, the highest Christian authorities would send him to the cross yet again.

I used to be devout Christian who tried to go to church as much as I could. But I could not help noticing certain things in almost every church I went that made me feel uneasy. As a child, a Bible study teacher threatened me to talk to my parents about an accidental incident in which she tripped over my feet, even when I apologized quickly. Some family members of mine who are church goers have never shown any sympathy for me. I had an incident with two of them who decided to block me from their Facebook. My father was humiliated by a Pastor after she went to him and stopped him from talking during a preaching service. And I have been deleted comments and posts in different posts in different pages from Christian people, including pastors and apparent Christian leaders, for postures similar to the one in this hub. Not to mention a day in which I was going to an island to visit a beach and the person in charge of the boarding of the ferry was extremely rude to a family and told them that she did not care what they would do she was the boss there… and resulted to be a church Pastor.

All of these incidents keep me well away from church, even though I still know some nice Christians who have not inherited or adopted this kind of extreme mediocrity. And this is not only to me- but friends as well, one friend of mine told me once after an incident whose details are private and is not relevant to this hub, he went to a Pastor for help and instead he humiliated him. There are other incidents which I have lived or seen and today, there is no way I could go back to church. I understand this is not something that happens everywhere and all Pastors are this way. But the most fundamentalist and conservative ones are driving many people away not only from religion, which is not really bad, but also from God which is, indeed, bad.

And all of these experiences, bad ones, are sustained by the same argument of literally following the Bible. Thousands of churches remain in their strong and unyielding intolerance for homosexual people as well as other groups they consider are “sinning”. They won’t show any mercy. They would not know how to show kindness to people looking for the true God. So is this then, something that confirms what many atheists accuse religious people of? Mind control and fear?

Atheists can sometimes sound even more intolerant than religious people- years ago I spent hours debating and arguing with them as I was still a conservative Christian, and today I can say that while I still refuse atheism, I clearly understand why they are so against religion, because I myself have lived really frustrating experiences with religious people.

Intolerance shows fear

People disagree in life. Some can say that capitalism is better than socialism and have their reasons, and some can think in the opposite way. If this world was filled with people who had the same thoughts and beliefs, there would be no knowledge, no variety, and no diversity. As children and younglings, it’s natural to show some intolerance against things that we do not agree with, but when this extends to adulthood, there is trouble. We all know why we can’t agree with rape, murder, promiscuity and unfaithfulness. These are bad things and we feel inside in our heart why they are wrong. But politics and religion do not share the same characteristics. When religion is taken personal and the person is unable or unwilling to take on a disagreement, that person becomes fanatic.

If there is something that has caused millions of deaths, chaos and destruction through history, is the religious fanaticism. People who want to push their religion on others’ throats. Today fortunately law has stopped fanatics to force their mindset to those who don’t agree with them, even when sometimes there is one or another incident related to religion. The principle is really basic- intolerance means fear. When you get offended after someone challenges you to reconsider something you follow, that means there is something inside you that recognizes the possibility that person might be right, but you don’t want to admit it and because you have fear to face it, you don’t want to hear or know about it again. Otherwise, you simply ignore the person and go on or if you think you are right then respectfully give your arguments without sounding rude or fanatic. This happens with homophobia- people who get really offended if someone “doubts” his or her sexual orientation, is because there is a fear of recognizing the possibility. If you are not gay, and someone asks you if you are, just answer no, there is no need to get angry. When you ask someone to shut up especially in a rude and disrespectful way, or you hang on the phone or delete a comment or destroy a letter or do some kind of “escape” then you have fear.

Hypocrisy in the churches and atheism

During a night, after so many unfortunate incidents with many Christians, together with a series of issues happening in my life, I was on the verge or turning atheist. For some people in my family it would have been devastating that I turned into one since I was a very devout Christian. But the reason why I did not turn into one is because I was able to understand the God and spirituality have nothing to do with religion. Religions are methods to know about God, and the “uniqueness” of each one according to the different followers have is because of their human nature to believe they are right and the rest are wrong. But some people turn atheists because they have concluded that religious people are so intolerant that they are a fraud and that their religion is a fraud devised to control human minds and instill fear into them. I would not be as harsh as to say they all are, but I indeed believe some are. Otherwise, how come so many Christian act in one way in the church and another when they are outside? Why do so many Christian girls end up in love with secular men and do not like to be with Christian men like them? Could it be because deep inside they are not Christian and they are just pretending to be? Is fear making them stay “Christian” but they would certainly love to know nothing else about church and religion? Why did my friend felt even badder after talking to the Pastor after his situation and now he is very rebellious against church (though not like me, he still struggles, I am out for good)? Could it be because the Pastor cares nothing about his situation but that he can still control him? If a Pastor really knows his calling, he can never allow a person to feel he cannot trust him. This is not that he has to agree with the person who goes to him, but being rude and mean is definitely not part of the calling of any Pastor.

Why did that lady tell me as a child “I’m going to tell your parents” after I apologized for the incident of tripping over my feet? Could it be because she was really nothing but trying to please the Pastor in her assignment but she despised doing it? Why did some of my family members choose to block me from their Facebook pages instead of trying to clear things up and showing their forgiveness as instructed by Jesus? Hypocrisy and falsehood is so rampant in so many churches today that it’s not really difficult to see why atheism is growing and so many ex-Christians now have a strong agenda against church, though they also take it against God and spirituality when it should not be so.

Religious fanaticism and intolerance boosts and promotes atheism

And how it does it! Basic math: Intolerance in churches + People daring to question and discover = Separation from church. It happened to me and it happens every day all over the world. Instead of interpreting the Bible and the different sacred books in a logical, altruistic way, some people just take it stubbornly literal and won’t allow anything to challenge their mindset. They are sure they are the ones to be saved. Billions of others? Sorry… hell. Does not matter how hard you try to be a good person, how much peace you promote and instill to others. “If you don’t accept Christ”… you’re done for. Fried in hell for eternity. This is so silly it makes me really want to return the food I eat. This is God? Someone with zero tolerance? Zero mercy? But “the Bible is clear”… No sir. The Bible is not clear. The Bible has been twisted already for the convenience of the Catholic and different Protestant churches, some books have been taken out and some have added things in convenience of the church. Look how God has nothing to do with it, which is the reason why this is not a good argument to support atheism. But definitely, the Bible is a complex book that needs to be read with thorough caution and with logic. Whatever interpretation we give it that puts God into something that is loveless, merciless, preferential or something negative, is plain wrong. Salvation through Christ is nowhere near “accepting Him” by mouth or by prayer. It has to be meant, shown and demonstrated. How? Being like Him. MerciFUL, not merciLESS. Open to everybody. Recognizing the good in people no matter what religion or faith he or she follows. Accepting Jesus means to be more like Him, to strive to be like Him. Some Christians believe that salvation by grace means you should not worry about your sins because Jesus has covered them. That basically can and is taken dangerously and continuously as a license to sin. This error needs to stop because there are more and more fake Christians out there that turn people like me and millions of others out of the religion every day. Look, Jesus knows we can never be like Him. But the intention of trying to be counts, and is what the salvation through Him is really. This means that the Christian message of salvation is not wrong- it is what men have interpreted of it so far. Catholics tend to be more flexible on this, even when I have my opposition to some Catholic traditions but at least they are much more minor than those I have on Protestant Christianity.

As some Christians refuse what I am talking about, the confusion it creates in some is so strong that even when they struggle to not give it away, they finally do and some can turn into religion enemies. Religious intolerance feeds atheism; it promotes it and makes sure it keeps on growing because the religious nonsense can unfortunately cause some humans who have not yet discovered what God really is to conclude it is all bogus. Atheism leaves so many questions hanging without answer that it can’t be the answer. While there is still no clear answer on what is the right path to God, perhaps there is more than one path. Perhaps if we don’t count the human mistakes in the religions, they are all right on track for people to be granted salvation, so long they are followed the right way which is, in summary, living life as sinless as possible.


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