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11 Reasons Not to Have a Religion

Updated on May 7, 2017
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Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller; librarian; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.

Darwin fish symbol, which shows a fish with "evolved" legs.   The symbol is a parody of a Christian Jesus fish and mocks those Christians who don't believe in th  scientific theory of evolution, which Charles Darwin laid the groundwork for.
Darwin fish symbol, which shows a fish with "evolved" legs. The symbol is a parody of a Christian Jesus fish and mocks those Christians who don't believe in th scientific theory of evolution, which Charles Darwin laid the groundwork for. | Source

Across the world there are many religions and most people follow one. The biggest belief systems are Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Smaller religions include Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, Judaism, and others.

Religious people often argue that their belief system supplies their life with meaning, moral guidance, a social structure, as well as a sense of comfort in a harsh and challenging world.

There are arguments not to have a religion, however, and I list the main reasons used by non-religious people below.

1. Religion is based on a fallacy that the universe operates according to “supernatural” rules and forces, rather than scientific laws. Tales of miracles performed, the appearances of unearthly beings such as angels, and people defying death seem very unlikely to be true and indeed remain unproven.

We've tended in our cosmologies to make things familiar. Despite all our best efforts, we've not been very inventive. In the West, Heaven is placid and fluffy, and Hell is like the inside of a volcano. In many stories, both realms are governed by dominance hierarchies headed by gods or devils. Monotheists talked about the king of kings. In every culture we imagined something like our own political system running the Universe. Few found the similarity suspicious.

— Carl Sagan
Religious wars have plagued mankind for a very long time, perhaps as long as religions have existed.  From the Medieval Crusades, to the English Civil war,  through to modern day conflicts involving Islamic State.
Religious wars have plagued mankind for a very long time, perhaps as long as religions have existed. From the Medieval Crusades, to the English Civil war, through to modern day conflicts involving Islamic State. | Source

2. Religion has historically served as a motivation for war or conflict between different nations or groups ever since people started believing in it. Devout believers often believe that their particular creed is the only correct one and all the others are false.

3. Religion discourages free inquiry and restricts freedom of thought, by encouraging the idea that fundamental answers can only be found in a fixed and specific book, creed, or belief system. Preists and religious leaders can also encourage a culture of unquestioning loyalty among their followers. Dissenters are punished socially, through blasphemy laws, or even through mob violence in some areas of the world.

In the Hindu religion, one can[not] have freedom of speech. A Hindu must surrender his freedom of speech. He must act according to the Vedas. If the Vedas do not support the actions, instructions must be sought from the Smritis, and if the Smritis fail to provide any such instructions, he must follow in the footsteps of the great men.

He is not supposed to reason. Hence, so long as you are in the Hindu religion, you cannot expect to have freedom of thought

— B.R. Ambedkar
Many of the world's religions have a long history of persecuting minority groups such as homosexuals.  The status of women also tends to be lower in many religious cultures.  Religions also sometimes label certain races or religions as threatening.
Many of the world's religions have a long history of persecuting minority groups such as homosexuals. The status of women also tends to be lower in many religious cultures. Religions also sometimes label certain races or religions as threatening. | Source

4. Religions can cause or encourage bigotry against minority groups, such as gay people, women, and particular racial groups.

5. Unscrupulous leaders can use religion to enrich themselves, gain access to children for molestation, or to achieve sexual gratification generally.

“They like to use those fancy words. They don't like to say “raped,'” he said. “They say “misdeed,' “inappropriate touching,' “mistake.' That's insulting. I'm not a mistake.”

— Charles L. Bailey Jr., In the Shadow of the Cross
The biologist Richard Dawkins with comedian, and journalist, Ariane Sherine at the launch of the Atheist Bus Campaign.  The campaign began in London, and used the slogan: ""There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."
The biologist Richard Dawkins with comedian, and journalist, Ariane Sherine at the launch of the Atheist Bus Campaign. The campaign began in London, and used the slogan: ""There's probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." | Source

6. Religion holds humanity back. One example is the period when the Christian Church dominated Western Europe in medieval times, scientific inventions and discoveries almost ground to a standstill and it wasn’t until the arrival of secularism in the Age of Enlightenment that things really began to move again.

7. Religion often uses fear to intimidate dissenters and maintain power. Apostates are persecuted, or killed, blasphemers imprisoned, lapsed believers threatened with Hell.

He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens (his) breast to disbelief-- on these is the wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.

— Quran 16:106
Most religions offer some form of life after death.  Although the idea is reassuring to some, it can encourage the idea that this life does not matter so much and people should focus on the one after.  This might prevent some from living to the full.
Most religions offer some form of life after death. Although the idea is reassuring to some, it can encourage the idea that this life does not matter so much and people should focus on the one after. This might prevent some from living to the full. | Source

8. By promising life after death, some religions discourage people from living their life on Earth to the full. Instead followers are promised that they will get a better life once they’ve died.

9. Religions are essentially Utopian by nature. They encourage idealist ideas and promise great achievements, but faced with reality they generate hypocrisy, frustration, and disappointment among followers.

The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reason.

— Voltaire
Many religions teach ideas that go against the fundamental ways of human beings.  Prohibiting certain sexual practices, for instance, can go against a person's core biological drives.  Religions have a tendency to be idealistic, even Utopian.
Many religions teach ideas that go against the fundamental ways of human beings. Prohibiting certain sexual practices, for instance, can go against a person's core biological drives. Religions have a tendency to be idealistic, even Utopian. | Source

10. Religions are essentially man-made, rather than divinely inspired. People are encouraged to live an illusion, essentially a form of mass psychological escapism.

11. Religion absolves people from personal responsibility, because they can say that God told them to do it. This mentality creates suicide bombers, crusades, the persecution of homosexuals, and female genital mutilation.

If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.

— H. P. Lovecraft

© 2017 Paul Goodman

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    • AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

      Ashutosh Joshi 2 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      In agreement with what said above.

      Though a slight disagreement on 3rd pointer.

      The Hinduism that is decribed there is perhaps an archiac one. The modern form does have issues but still much more liberal and accomodating and not governed by vedic laws.

    • lovetherain profile image

      lovetherain 2 weeks ago from Untited States

      lots of bs.

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