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Religion - Fairy Tales For Adults

Updated on June 21, 2012

Note: This hub will use Christianity as an example because it is both the easiest and most succinct method of portraying my point and also has the most real life implications (Christianity being the religion with most adherents).

Following a discussion with what has to be the most rational theist I have ever encountered, I learned from her that she believes in the Bible, as many Christians do, only to the extent that it provides a moral guideline that is not offered anywhere else.

Though there are many problems with this.

Feel free to leave a comment at the end of the article voicing any concerns or compliments you may have.

Share this hub if you feel it might be of interest to someone else.

Big J
Big J

A Type of Liberal Christianity

-As a theistic Christian you do not believe a large part of the bible (the old testament).

-You do not believe that the events of the bible were meant to be taken literally.

-You see intrinsic value in the bible as a guideline for behaviour found (at least predominantly) in the stories of Jesus (not say, the Old Testament and its slavery and hatred).

Therefore, I can assume that (addressing to the points in order):

- You believe that the bible should be re-written to contain only the moral and useful parts of the bible (not say, the mosaic laws) so that way there would be an en masse non-"TLDNR" version so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of the Bible without filtering through the immoral parts.

- You believe that there should be a disclaimer at the beginning of the book reading "WARNING: content is fictional, any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental" or perhaps "Based on a true story" if you so believe.
- Finally you believe that what the bible teaches is a better moral guideline then say a philosopher's book, education or book on morality.

(TDLNR = Too Long Did Not Read)

Too Long; Didn't Read
Too Long; Didn't Read

Following On

So to take these points and put my own conclusion on them:

The positive position of Christianity (and other religions) within our society is essentially what can be called "fairy tales for adults" wherein the stories are believed to be fictional, though carry a very important message. This is believed to be positive because some people pass the judgement that there is no existing alternative of adult based morals.

Allow me to pass this judgement about these christians however. It seems to me, that any adult who decides to turn to the bible for moral guidance is already a good and moral human being. The fact that you took the step to become more moral suggests that you wanted confirmation of your own morals. You did not have to be taught that murder is (usually) wrong and that lying is bad, or the urges you had for the neighbour's wife may have been inappropriate, you just wanted something to reinforce the idea, which happened to be the bible.

But what about a friend? Or any book about philosophy and morality in existence. These also feature stories of morality and would have reinforced these moral foundations of yours. It seems to me that you value religion on the basis that it helped you to some degree.

I devalue religion because I believe that the one positive that it provides (moral guidance) is flawed from the start (it's deontology) and therefore should be replaced by an alternative. Utilitarianism.

You might say that you must "work with what I've got" so If I were to ask you "should we try and replace religion" I can only assume that your answer would be "yes". That to me seems paired with the question "is religion good?" and the answer "no".

When there are working alternatives (atheists can be very moral people too, without having to read tomes containing lot's of gibberish), shouldn't we as rational human beings diverge the funds, donations, buildings, facilities etc. of religion to moral education ?

Not the first time, come to think of it...
Not the first time, come to think of it...
Thanks, Noah.
Thanks, Noah.
Some of us had been training for the big day.
Some of us had been training for the big day.

An Extreme Analogy

Religion is much like a politician saying "killing 100,000 people in London has positive and negative points because although it will kill a lot of people and cause pain and confusion amongst the masses, it solves over-crowdedness in London". This would be a true statement If not for the fact that there are ready and better alternatives. Therefore, the first option is obsolete and wholly negative. With the same facilities and resources used in the first option, we could produce the same or better results, without the downsides (contraception, state imposed child limit, emigrating 100,000 people instead).

With religion, it's clear that it has positives. It provides a (albeit questionable) guidance of living. I would not say that the teachings of Jesus are immoral. But neither would I say it's a complete or absolute morality. Our view of morality should be able to change because Jesus' way may not be the best one. A fixed morality is destined to fail, because circumstances change unpredictably.

For example, the ten commandments, which many people seem to love, are all very questionable and interpretable. Killing can be the moral thing to do in many cases.

Old Bill has done more for the world than the Pope or Jesus.
Old Bill has done more for the world than the Pope or Jesus.

To Conclude

In essence, I feel that religion should be replaced by secular education because from what I know, a secular person is more than capable of finding morals through general education, without suffering the many downsides of following a religion.

For me and a few other hubbers at least, "Grimms' Fairy Tales" offer better (in the sense of both morality and clarity) than the holy scriptures.

Keep in Mind
In this hub, I have used Christianity as the basis of my argument. Please bear in mind that christianity is arguably the most moral religion of all, and it still has problems.

Other religions like Islam and Judaism are systematically even more immoral by modern standards (Stoning, Mosaic Law etc.).

Please feel free to comment :)


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    • Rhonda D Johnson profile image

      Rhonda D Johnson 5 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

      Maybe there will always be some form of religion. Humans will always seek some way to propagate what they believe and forge some over-arching authoritative signature onto their pursuit of gain, which is basically what religion boils down to.

      Keep it coming.

    • profile image

      coloradopainter36 5 years ago

      I only wish I could say these things as clearly as you do.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      I have marked your hub as “Awesome” because it is very well written and makes a lot of sense, albeit not sense that I would entirely agree with. I think that the utility of religion is a subject that people could argue about for ever. I feel personally that God has always operated positively in my life and I have hopes that, when the time comes, His grace will mean my salvation. But I don't feel that this position has given me any right to disrespect people who disagree with me sincerely. You I would count as one of those.

    • RBJ33 profile image

      RBJ33 5 years ago

      Atheist- what a harsh word - you almost have to hiss when you say it. Its like a word made up by "the other side" to demean those that didn't believe as those that made up the word. So how about apatheism, or deism, or henotheism, or monotheism, or panentheism, or panetheism, or polytheism, or transtheism - there are so many choices!!!! The bible was written by superstitious old men decades after the events they wrote about. Its over 2000 years old. The US Constitution is only a couple hundred years old and has been amended several times. I don't see any amendments to the bible. Formal religion is the worst thing that ever happened to society.

    • profile image

      dzaputo 5 years ago from NY

      Very good read. I'm not sure how sold I am on the morality of Jesus though. Sure, he supported the sick and poor, but preached that people should forsake the here and now in anticipation of the kingdom of heaven coming to earth within his generation. Think of the implications of this... it's like the people who sold all there belongings last year because they were told the end of the world was going to be on May 21st 2011, by that radio prophet Howard Camping over on Family Radio...just my thoughts...cheers :)

    • profile image

      greek warrior 5 years ago

      I totally agree with everything your saying. the bible is just a guidline for beahavoir. I went from being a Christian to being a muslim to coming to the conclusion religion in general is merely books filled with fairy tals.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 5 years ago from Southern California

      Interesting take on religion.

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 5 years ago from London

      WD Curry 111

      The only reason I can think of for "atheist" being under Religious Beliefs on American forms is because it is the religious equivalent of "no religion". I can't imagine that these forms have both "atheism" and then "no religion" as options.

      Atheists couldn't form a church, religion or meeting of atheism because there aren't any shared beliefs amongst them except one.

      Not all atheists believe in evolution, for example.

      And as for Elijah, do you agree that when humans actively search for something, they end up finding something regardless of whether it exists or not?

      Many people claim to hear a clicking sound when someone asks them "do you hear that clicking sound?"knowing full well that there isn't one.

      I believe it is the same for God.

      If we actively search for God, many people will make up things and say it is that. If he is real, he would be apparent with no searching whatsoever.

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      I don't know the letter or the law. All I know, is that "atheist" is one of the standard things you can write in the "religion" box when you fill out government applications or forms in the military (and like that). When they pack your body bag, that is your religion. I suppose agnostic is recognized as well. When the fundamentalists at a not for profit catch wind of the fact that you are discussing God, or the lack there of, they can drop the dime, and you will get a reprimand.

      If atheists were smart and worked the angles right, they would hold meetings, and establish themselves as a tax free religious ministry.

      As far as the fragility - the downtrodden "system kids" I worked with were resilient. I wasn't so noble. I needed a job, and I didn't know what i was getting into. I miss it, but not much. It could be difficult.

      As far as proof . . . It is like Elijah in the desert. He was waiting to here from God. There was a tornado. It wasn't God. There was an earthquake. It wasn't God. A gentle wind wafted. Elijah almost missed God, because his voice was in the gentle wind. Anyone who says, "God said this or that" in an audible language, didn't hear God. Things have taken place since Elijah's day to make every person eligible to be a priest. What if the story is a legend? It doesn't matter if you catch the symbolism.

      God won't say anything to anyone who doesn't turn their face "his" way. I only wanted to hear from the God I imagined. It is not the same as the one that I did hear from. We don't hear because of the clutter. It isn't in your ears, and it is rarely clear. It is in another form than human communication. It is in anther realm . . . soul talk. It isn't easy to learn the language, and constant study doesn't help much.

      I can't "lead other's to Christ" well, because I believe God (for lack of the better term) interacts with everyone differently. I'll say this. One day I found myself on my face saying, "Woe is me . . . I am ruined. I am a man of unclean lips."

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 5 years ago from London

      Ahh good I thought so, that's very noble of you, I imagine you learned about the fragility of young minds and influences upon them more than I or many others will ever get to know :) Hopefully an overall enjoyable and enriching experience. As well as self satisfying.

      No no I know you didn't but from my hubs you could rationally assume I was. And I anticipated that you would in advance so that you wouldn't!

      Atheism is a religious belief by law? Could you clarify that point with a reference to the law that say so? Atheism is a single belief. By definition it is not a religion. If the management accused the atheists of religious proselytization it would have been misconduct.

      Remember that proselytizing is not just used in a religious sense.

      And I imagine atheists would cool their heels, they have nothing to defend in the sense of no emotional bond to a God. Not standing up for your God and God's will is often seen as a lack of faith or even sin. Not standing up for atheism isn't an issue haha, it's only the most stubborn atheists that would get themselves fired over a belief!

      An agnostic for years you say? And what gave you conclusive proof of a God?

      And thanks, you too :)

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      Devereux the not for profit. I worked with severly emotionally disturbed adolescents for 10 years. I should have just said that rather than make you spend your time on it.

      I don't think I called you an atheist. I mentioned that atheists (not all) disregarded policy to convince others that there was no God. They didn't see it as proselytizing, because they didn't realize that atheism is a religious belief by the law. They cooled their heels a lot faster than some of the Christians when confronted by management.

      I was an agnostic for years. It is better to be a seeker of wisdom than settle on a false foundation that retards your growth.

      Peace. Keep writing!

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 5 years ago from London

      Hahaha thanks for stopping by WD Curry :)

      "It is akin to forcing religion on someone" Isn't it the opposite? It's literally saying "let's leave all religions out of this". To force any one religion upon a people would not by definition be secular, after all.

      Do you mean "The Devereux Foundation" the charity? It seems it's either that or a law firm or town in Normandy (France) or Colchester Milton Keynes (UK)? From context I imagine it's the charity. If so, that's very good of you :)

      Yes our beliefs do not necessarily have to mean we cannot be friends, though that's not to say it can't be an obstacle.

      To me, the people of religion have nothing to do with my arguments against religion, it's the belief that I am arguing from a secular (non-influenced) point of view. I was raised and still am an agnostic, so my upbringing had no influence upon my current views, before you throw the big atheist word at me.

      I judge people by their beliefs and actions. Like everybody else. If you believed it's fun to murder, I wouldn't be your friend. If you believed in stoning people as a good method of punishment, I wouldn't be your friend, regardless of the holy scripture that taught them that!

      So just to clarify, I have nothing against religious people, but many if not all religious beliefs.

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 5 years ago from London

      @Emma Speaks, thank you very much :)

      And I'm glad you do agree. Your examples are good ones too, there is just so much to filter through before you get to the parts about actual morality.

      I was actually going to mention the Grimm brothers because Borsia mentioned them before. Do you think I should? I didn't want a bunch of comments about how "Cinderella" cannot be compared to the teachings of Jesus etc.

      Actually I think I'll do it, thanks :) You were the turning point in my decision process haha :L


    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

      Did you tweek your avatar? It looks more 3d. Tight. Your desire to replace religion with secular education is being realized in America. It is akin to forcing religion on someone. I'm not saying religion should be taught in school, but it might not be a good idea to replace it. I am not sweating you, because you are moderate. Some religious zealots could take a lesson from you.

      I worked at Devereux (google it). It is illegal (federal) to proselytize in such a setting. The atheists didn't let it stop them. I know a couple of people who got fired for preaching all the time. They thought they were being persecuted, but l thought they missed the point of what "God called them to do there."

      Most of us had way different beliefs, but we were a close knit group. One of my favorite people and good work friends was a Wiccan. You should have heard my Christian friends squawk when I agreed to carve a "female figure" out of a huge fallen tree for their hang out.

      It never happened. They couldn't come up with the cash.

    • emmaspeaks profile image

      emmaspeaks 5 years ago from Kansas City

      You make some very interesting and good points. I love how you take the time to outline it all out for the reader. I, of course, agree. As a former christian, I look back now at all the "fairy tales" that were used to make me a "better" person, but I often found myself wondering how Abraham killing his son, for example, was going to make me a better person, or how a prostitute washing the feet of a man made her any better. These stories have absolutely no bearing on our lives today. I find more comfort in a Grimm fable.