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Ten Clues Your Religion Might Be BS

Updated on July 18, 2016

For those who've spent a lifetime embracing a particular religious creed, it may be difficult to understand how anyone else could find it wanting. However, if you can see your own religion reflected in the following clues, you may begin to perceive that what you've believed all this time is actually just a load of BS:

CLUE ONE: IT THREATENS YOU. The only thing worse than suffering extreme physical torture is to endure such torture for an eternity. Fear of such a maliciously compounded threat is a powerful motivation, and it's no accident that the world's major religions regularly employ the threat of Hell in a heinous attempt to coerce those who don't embrace their doctrine. Yet such threats are a poor substitute for a convincing philosophy. As Emerson once reminded us, knowledge is the antidote to fear.

CLUE TWO: IT WANTS YOU ON YOUR KNEES. Some religions tell us we're born broken, and that the only way to heal ourselves is to kneel with our eyes closed, or with our forehead to the ground. Obedience to God is demanded, and respect for the authority of priests, ayotollahs and popes is expected. But, like every other living thing on planet Earth, we are children of the stars, made of the elements formed in stellar explosions. It's human nature to grativate toward those magnificent origins -- to get off our knees, stand up and reach back to the stars.

CLUE THREE: IT WANTS YOUR MONEY. A fundamental theme of religions is that God exists in a realm separate from ours, and the nominal focus is presumably on our journey to someday reach that heavenly realm. However, there is a much more obvious emphasis placed on enriching and enlarging the worldly domains of those who lead religions here on Earth. The tithe and the collection plate have transformed religion into one of humanity's most prolific and profitable industries.

CLUE FOUR: IT DOESN'T WANT YOU TO THINK. One of the most reliable precepts of reason is that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. As rational beings, we consistently employ such skepticism in the pursuit of truth, knowledge and understanding -- EXCEPT within the realm of religion, where blind faith and trust in divine authority are paramount. Not coincidentally, one of the most universal and essential attributes of religions is a mythology based upon miraculous or supernatural events -- the very sort of extraordinary claims that, in all other instances, demand skepticsm.

CLUE FIVE: IT'S MORALLY INCONSISTENT. It's an article of faith among believers that their religion gives them a moral compass, but in most cases it simply isn't true. Among the thousands of rules found in "holy" texts, there is usually only ONE immutable dictate -- absolute obedience to God -- and it has nothing to do with morals. EVERYTHING else -- hatred, deceit, theft, slavery, rape, torture and even war and murder -- is often arbitrarily sanctioned or even encouraged by God according to his whim. Ultimately, there is only ONE genuine foundation for human morality: empathy for others.

CLUE SIX: IT'S DIVISIVE. Of all the sectarian differences that divide humanity, none have universally inspired more passion, hatred and conflict than religion, and none are more difficult to reconcile. When the stakes are heaven and hell, when the world is divided into believers and infidels, bigotry comes easy and compromise doesn't. Yet no definition of identity is more artificial, truly existing only as a mental imprint bestowed by the geographic accident of one's birth, through the customs and traditions of one's family and society.

CLUE SEVEN: IT HATES HUMAN SEXUALITY. Sexual intimacy and intercourse are among the most natural -- and the most physically, emotionally and spiritually fulfilling -- expressions of bonding between human beings. Yet many religions devote a great deal of attention to controlling and suppressing human sexuality. And it's symptomatic that the most popular religions, created and dominated by men, are distinctly misogynistic, where women -- maligned as potential vessels of evil -- are considered as inferior to men as men are to God.

Ken & Gloria Copeland's humble abode
Ken & Gloria Copeland's humble abode

CLUE EIGHT: ITS "HOLY" BOOK IS A MESS. Though they form the very foundation of their religions (and are supposedly the inspired word of "God"), most contemporary "holy" books are extremely poor examples of literature: muddled narratives full of contradictions and inconsistencies that are difficult to read and understand. They are often so incoherent they can be interpreted to accommodate any personal ideological preference, which perhaps helps explain why they are the most widely printed and distributed -- and arguably the least thoroughly read -- books on Earth.

CLUE NINE: YOU HAVE TO RATIONALIZE IT. Explaining away the glaring inconsistencies and confusing paradoxes of most religions often requires logical and semantic contortions that would be the envy of any olympic gymnast. Apologists often expend significant time and effort deflecting such quandaries without actually considering their validity. If a religion truly reflected the revealed wisdom of a divine deity, it would be brilliantly unambiguous, consistent, concise and require no excuses, corrections or intellectual dishonesty.

CLUE TEN: IT'S FULL OF HYPOCRITES. The world is full of believers who proclaim a particular faith then proceed to violate its supposed tenents: For example, those who claim to speak for Jesus but ignore his discouragement against material wealth; those who assert the glory of jihad...for everyone but themselves; those who encourage others to "trust" in God, then procede to rig the game of life in their own favor; adulterers and closeted perverts who preach "family values"; and by far the most numerous -- those who apply skepticism to every religion but their own.


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  • Paladin_ profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Michigan, USA

    Hehe. Given your propensity for repeating dead arguments, I HIGHLY doubt you'd be able to stick with that one! ;-D

    As for your spamming, after much contemplation I've decided that, in this particular case, the best action I can take is none at all.

    Not only do I HATE censorship purely on principle, I see it practiced so much on apologetics and creationist websites (creationist YouTubers are especially notorious) that I have no desire for atheists to acquire the same reputation. If we're going to stand for the truth, we can't stoop to the opposition's tactics.

    Thus, with the notable exception of your 4,000 word copied and pasted comments on my "Isaiah 53" hub, I'm going to leave your comments as posted, with a reminder to others who visit hereafter that much of it has already been addressed in the comments of other hubs -- mostly the one titled, "God Is Dead...And I Killed Him."

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 

    6 years ago

    If I've repeated myself it's only because you've resurrected dead arguments :)

    I'll make a deal with you. If you don't repeat yourself then neither will I :)

  • Paladin_ profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Michigan, USA

    Joseph, I'm considering -- though I'm strongly inclined against it -- deleting the massive comments you've posted here.

    Three considerations factor into this decision -- first, I must try to discern at what point such postings become "spam."

    From what I can see in a quick scan (which is all my currently available time allows for the moment), with the exception of your last comment, EVERYTHING you've posted here, you've also posted -- word for word -- on numerous other hubs, including mine. And, with the exception of those last comments, I've already read and addressed EVERYTHING you've written. In fact, we've literally spent MONTHS discussing and debating them!

    Second, it seems that most of what you've posted has no relevance to the hub itself. That's not normally a problem, as discussions and debates on my other hubs have trailed off into numerous tangents. But, combined with the 'spammy' nature of your postings, it may be enough to tip the balance.

    Third -- and most importantly -- I must consider my regard for the absolute free and open discussion of issues on my hubs. Not only am I committed to such discussion, I fully recognize their value, as I feel our previous discussions have only made me a more capable and better informed anti-theist.

    But what's the point of repeating the same discussions over and over on different hubs?

    What say you?

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 

    6 years ago

    "After all, if God is going to forgive all of your sins (except blasphemy), why should you act morally, especially when it conflicts with your yens?"

    First, your premise is flawed for God does not forgive hardened sinners. At Hebrews 10:26,27 we read, "For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left, but there is a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a burning indignation that is going to consume those in opposition."

    More importantly, though, I personally do not practice sin because I love Jehovah God and, as such, do not want to do anything to sadden him. I owe him a great deal - up to and including my very life - and want him to always feel proud of me :)

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 

    6 years ago

    RE: Exodus 20:13

    New International Version

    "You shall not murder."

    New Living Translation

    "You must not murder."

    English Standard Version

    “You shall not murder."

    New American Standard Bible

    "You shall not murder."

    Holman Christian Standard Bible

    "Do not murder."

    International Standard Version

    "You are not to commit murder."

    NET Bible

    "You shall not murder."

    GOD'S WORD® Translation

    "Never murder."

    English Revised Version

    "Thou shalt do no murder."

    World English Bible

    "You shall not murder."

    Young's Literal Translation

    "Thou dost not murder."

    New World Translation

    "“You must not murder."



    loʼ tir·tsach′ -“not murder”

    Observe that the Heb. verb ta·harogh′, “should kill,” is not employed here.

    Compare with Exodus 2:14 -

    "Are you intending to kill me?"

    hal·hor·ghe′ni ʼat·tah′ ʼo·mer′?

    Literally: “Are you talking so as to kill me?

    When Jehovah God calls for the execution of an evildoer it's not murder; it's justice.

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 

    6 years ago

    It’s true, all sound individuals rely on their innate moral awareness, their conscience. This is why, since time immemorial, even the most primitive cultures, regardless of their metaphysical values, enforced laws and regulations against homicide and various other acts of evil.

    But the truth is that, just as with our verbal communication abilities, for instance, our conscience has to be refined, calibrated, made more robust. If not, it could be stunted, or worst, perverted such that evil behavior is deemed good with good ones perceived as evil.

    Because of this, the eternal well being and happiness of mankind is inextricably bound to the objective moral values and responsibilities lovingly given to us by our Maker. Without these you have absolutely nothing to guard your conscience from becoming disoriented perhaps even corrupted.

    An exceptional instance of this can readily be observed with child soldiers. They are demonstrably much more coldblooded and ruthless when compared to their older counterparts. “More than 300,000 children—some as young as 7—are fighting as soldiers in 41 countries around the world,” said an Associated Press dispatch. Most are between the ages of 15 and 18. “Besides being used as front-line fighters, children are used to detect land mines and also as spies, porters and sex slaves, according to the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers.” Drugs are often administered to make children fearless. Those who refuse drugs are killed, said a 14-year-old rebel soldier in Sierra Leone. Regarding his fighting in 1999 when he was 15, a North African youth reported: “They put all the 15- and 16-year-olds in the front line while the army retreated. I was with 40 other kids. I was fighting for 24 hours. When I saw that only three of my friends were alive, I ran back.” The Coalition’s report stated that governments recruit children because of “their very qualities as children—they can be cheap, expendable and easier to condition into fearless killing and unthinking obedience.”

    And so we arrive at the heart of our exchange. Whether or not someone possesses a conscience isn’t truly the issue. It’s if or not an individual possess a reliable one, and particularly, if he/she honestly obeys it.

    This predicament calls to mind a very old Cherokee lore. It goes, roughly speaking, like this:

    “An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

    "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

    The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."”

    With that in mind, take into consideration what another equally wise and ancient passage reveals:

    “This is what Jehovah has said [] “I, Jehovah, am your God [Creator], the One teaching you to benefit [yourself], the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk. O if only you would actually pay attention to my commandments. Then your peace would become just like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” - Isaiah 48:17,18 (Brackets mine.)

    As would any caring mother or father, our Creator, Jehovah God, is keenly interested in our well-being. To this end, he instructs us on the best ways to preserve and also make full use of the conscience he produced us with.

    To close, here’s a remarkable example of this loving guidance at work as reported in a well known intercontinental journal:

    “In Liberia, Alex served as an altar boy in the Catholic Church. But at the age of 13, he joined a warring faction and became a notorious child soldier. To make himself brave in battle, he turned to witchcraft. Alex saw many of his companions killed, but he survived. In 1997 he met Jehovah’s Witnesses and found that they did not look down on him. Rather, they helped him to learn what the Bible says about violence. Alex left the army. As his faith began to grow, he followed the Bible command: “Let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”—1 Peter 3:11.

    Meanwhile, a former child soldier named Samson came through the town where Alex now lived. He had been a choirboy but in 1993 became a soldier and got involved in drug abuse, spiritism, and immorality. In 1997 he was demobilized. Samson was heading for Monrovia to join a special security force when a friend persuaded him to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, and as a result, he developed a Bible-based faith. This gave him the courage to abandon his warlike ways. Both Alex and Samson now live peaceful and moral lives. Could anything but Bible-based faith make changes in lives that had been so brutalized?” -

    Has it become apparent to you now exactly why each of us needs to scrutinize and make use of what the Bible teaches?

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 

    6 years ago

    Would a sadistic warmongering god ever extend mercy? Yet, when the people of one particular Canaanite city , Gibeon , sought mercy , Jehovah extended it . ( Joshua 9 :3-27 ) Could a bloodthirsty war god have done so ? Of course no , yet a God who delights in peace and justice would certainly .—Psalm 33 :5 ; 37 :28 .

    Over and over again , the Bible connects God’s blessing with tranquility because Jehovah is a lover of peace , not war . ( Numbers 6 :24-26 ; Psalm 29 :11 ; 147 :12-14 ) Due to this fact , when King David hoped to erect a holy space of worship to Jehovah , God explained to him : “You will not build a house for my name, for you have shed a great deal of blood on the earth before me .”—1 Chronicles 22 :8 ; Acts 13 :22 .

    While on earth , the Greater David , Jesus Christ , referred to an era when God’s love of justice would cease to permit him to stomach the modern-day ungodliness we observe the world over . ( Matthew 24 :3 , 36-39 ) As he did with the Flood of Noah’s time as well as in the devastation of Sodom and Gomorrah , Jehovah God Almighty will very soon take judicial measures to scour the world of narcissistic , ungodly individuals , thereby paving the path for tranquil conditions to exist under his heavenly Kingdom rule .—Psalm 37 :10 , 11 , 29 ; Daniel 2 :44 .

    Now, even though the Bible recounts Jehovah God’s past adverse judgments frankly, you need to keep in mind that such were invariably against ungodly individuals and in defense of the innocent . After all, “Minatur innocentibus qui parcit nocentibus.”

    By way of example , it was not until the entire world of Noah’s time finally became “filled with violence” that Jehovah declared : “As for me, I am going to bring floodwaters upon the earth to destroy from under the heavens all flesh that has the breath of life .” ( Genesis 6 :11 , 17 ) Surrounding another judgment , it absolutely was only as a result of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah had “abandoned themselves to sexual immorality and were bent on perverted sensuality” that God caused it to “rain sulfur and fire .”—Jude 7 , The New Berkeley Version ; Genesis 19 :24 .

    Did God relish bringing all flesh to ruin in Noah’s day ? Or did he derive some fiendish pleasure from destroying the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah ? For an answer , let us look at the events surrounding the Flood of Noah’s day . The Holy Scriptures inform us that it devastated God that “every inclination of the thoughts of [man’s] heart was only bad all the time .” Their maleficence ' saddened his heart. ' Nonetheless , God dispatched Noah , “a preacher of righteousness ,” to sound a monition as well as to construct an ark for the preservation of the godly .—Genesis 6 :3-18 ; 2 Peter 2 :5 . ( Bracket mine ) So you see, undesirable judgments from God Almighty have at all times resulted only because evil men and/or women adamantly refuse to forbear their depravity and evildoing , not because Jehovah delights in doing away with individuals . Now you might ask yourself , ‘Did not Jehovah spur the Israelites to battle with various other nations and obliterate these ?’

    The Amalekites , just to illustrate , were “the first one of the nations” to launch an unprovoked assault on the Israelites after the Exodus , at Rephidim in the vicinity of Mount Sinai . For this reason , Jehovah decreed absolute annihilation for the Amalekites . ( Nu 24 :20 ; Ex 17 :8-16 ; De 25 :17-19 ) Twice in the course of the period of the Judges these acrimonious foes of Israel shared in attacking Israel . They did it in the times of Eglon king of Moab . ( Jg 3 :12 , 13 ) Yet again , with the Midianites together with Easterners , they ransacked the territory of Israel seven years before Gideon together with his 300 men dealt them a great defeat .—Jg 6 :1-3 , 33 ; 7 :12 ; 10 :12 . As a result of their unrelenting violence , in the period of the kings Jehovah ‘called to account’ the Amalekites , instructing King Saul to strike them down , which he actually did “from Havilah as far as Shur , which is in front of Egypt .” ( 1Sa 15 :2-33 )

    Meanwhile , demon worship , child sacrifice , sadistic violence , together with a range of disgusting sex worship were the order of the day with the Canaanites . Being a God of justice , Jehovah would not make it possible for these types of sickening practices to thwart the tranquility and safety of godly human beings , in particular Israel . ( Deuteronomy 5 :9 ) To illustrate , imagine if the neighborhood where you reside was without a legitimate police force or militia to apply the laws and regulations of the land—would that not give rise to sheer bedlam and violent rioting of the worst kind ? Equally , Jehovah was required to take action against the Canaanites owing to their licentiousness as well as the legitimate peril they presented to pure worship . For this reason , he decreed : “the land is unclean, and I will bring punishment on it for its error, and the land will vomit its inhabitants out.”—Leviticus 18 :25 . “ It is because of the wickedness of these nations that Jehovah is driving them away from before you” , he conveyed to the Israelites at Deuteronomy 9 :4-6 , “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land .”

    Divine justice was undertaken every time God’s executional forces—the Israelite armies—destroyed the Canaanites . That God decided to make use of human beings to execute this judgment , in lieu of fire or flood , could not lessen the verdict . Consequently , when warring with the nations of Canaan , the Israelite legions were mandated : "In the cities of these peoples, which Jehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not allow any breathing thing to live. Instead, you should devote them completely to destruction, the Hit′tites, the Am′or·ites, the Ca′naan·ites, the Per′iz·zites, the Hi′vites, and the Jeb′u·sites, just as Jehovah your God has commanded you; so that they may not teach you to follow all their detestable practices that they have done for their gods, causing you to sin against Jehovah your God." —Deuteronomy 20 :16-18 .

    As opposed to Ares , Otrera , Keres , Enyo or Eris , among others , Jehovah God is a respecter of life . Accordingly , He would not endorse indiscriminate slaying . Deuteronomy 20 :10 and 11 instructed the ancient Israelites , ““If you approach a city to fight against it, you should also announce to it terms of peace. If it gives a peaceful answer to you and opens up to you, all the people found there will become yours for forced labor, and they will serve you."

    Even though Israelite troops were permitted to marry captives they had to attend to them with the same rights and honor due to an Israelite wife . Poles apart from what's seen in today's wars , Israelite soldiers were absolutely barred from raping or otherwise abusing women . Jehovah instructed , "If you go to war against your enemies and Jehovah your God defeats them for you and you take them captive, and you see among the captives a beautiful woman and you are attracted to her and you want to take her as your wife, you may bring her into your house. She should then shave her head, attend to her nails, and remove the clothing of her captivity, [for hygienic reasons ] and dwell in your house. She will weep for her father and her mother a whole month, and afterward you may have relations with her; you will become her husband and she will become your wife. But if you are not pleased with her, you should then let her go wherever she wishes. But you may not sell her for money or treat her harshly.” -Deuteronomy 21:10-14 ( Bracket mine . )

    Unmistakably , then , Jehovah is not the bloodthirsty God he is undeservedly charged of being . Having said that , he will not shrink back from rendering justice whenever it is due . God’s love of goodness demands that he take action on behalf of those godly ones who love him by eradicating the evil system that oppresses them all . When he does so, authentic peacefulness will certainly flourish earth wide as the genuinely meek ones unitedly worship Jehovah, “the God of peace .”—Philippians 4 :9.

  • Paladin_ profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Michigan, USA

    Thanks, Say Yes! And thanks for visiting and commenting.

  • Say Yes To Life profile image

    Yoleen Lucas 

    6 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

    This is an excellent list! I especially like the one about not being allowed to think. Anyone who wants their followers ignorant should be suspected right off the bat!

  • Paladin_ profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from Michigan, USA

    Joseph, where do you get the idea that God is "slaying evildoers in defense of the innocent?" Have you actually read the Old Testament? God CONSTANTLY kills -- or commands to be killed -- countless "innocents" merely because they happen to worship the wrong god, or live in the wrong location. Or -- in the notorious example of the flood -- kills almost every living thing on the planet, simply because he's upset with mankind. God doesn't kill "in defense" of the innocent. He KILLS the innocent!

    As for your second comment, I'm somewhat flabbergasted that you must even ask how empathy and compassion "impose moral duties" upon us. Empathy is the ONLY genuine foundation for human morality -- not some authority figure or outdated book of fables. And compassion is an extension of that.

    Morality isn't JUST a matter of personal opinion, though personal human perception certainly plays into it. We each begin to have a core understanding of right and wrong as soon as we begin to comprehend that our actions affect others.

    As for your question, I'll ask something similar of you: After all, if God is going to forgive all of your sins (except blasphemy), why should you act morally, especially when it conflicts with your yens?

    You can kill, rape, torture and cheat millions, and all that is required of you is to accept Jesus' salvation, and you're suddenly on the same train to heaven as the pious. That's not moral accountability. That's a "get out of jail free" card.

    Even more pointedly, do you HONESTLY need a book of mythology to tell you that killing, raping, torturing or cheating others is wrong? Would you HONESTLY do these things at will if you didn't believe in God? Please tell me that's not the case!

    Non-believers are accountable not only to laws and societal pressures, we're attuned to the consequences within our own conscience. And we don't harm others because we don't like others harming us -- empathy in action.

    I've long been tempted to ask a believer this, so perhaps I'll try it with you: You undoubtedly know that one of God's commandments is "thou shalt not kill," and you probably find it agreeable. However, God also commanded us to kill witches, those who work on the sabbath and brides who aren't virgins on their wedding night.

    Do you find those agreeable as well? If so, why? And if not, why not?

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 

    7 years ago

    How does empathy or compassion impose any moral duties upon us? How do empathy or compassion hold us accountable for our moral decisions and actions?

    After all, if morality is just a matter of personal opinion, why should you act morally, especially when it conflicts with your yens?

  • Joseph O Polanco profile image

    Joseph O Polanco 

    7 years ago

    Do you honestly believe it wrong for God Almighty to slay evildoers in defense of the innocent?

    More importantly, on what objective moral basis do you dare condemn anyone's actions as immoral? Who made you God Almighty?


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