Tuesday, September 11, 2007

How Problematic Is Religion?

Friends, if I had to nominate the major cause of conflict in the world today most probably religion would top my list. The battle for hearts and minds between the major religions of the world has raged for centuries and many have died believing they were fighting for the one true God.

Problem is that there are many gods and variations of the main ones. We have the Christian one (even catholics and protestants do not agree on theological matters as the Northern Ireland issue showed), the Muslim one, the Judaic one, the Hindu ones, the Buddhist one...the list goes on and on and on. Each god makes different claims but one claim is common to all: ours alone is the one true religion. Commonsense tells us that they can't all be right. Some people might even consider the very numbers of them is in itself highly suspicious.

The strange thing is that all of the gods being worshiped sprang into being many thousands of years ago when human civilization was at a rather primitive stage and science was barely in evidence. The world has changed remarkably since yet religious theology is basically unaltered. The fact that there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support any of the claims of religion has made little difference and billions are still deeply involved with their conflicting beliefs. Generation by generation parents indoctrinate their children and nothing changes (I myself was, for a period of five or six years, heavily caught up in religious belief and understand only too well how strongly it affects one's thinking processes and one's view of the world).

What has changed are the institutions which underpin religion. They have grown very powerful and very wealthy and they are caught in a life and death struggle with each other to gain new converts and to maintain or increase their power and wealth. They often influence Government policy and the war in Iraq can be seen as a few White Christian Nations invading and occupying a Muslim Nation. White Christian America can be seen as supporting Judaic extremists in Israel in their forty year occupation of Muslim Palestine which they are trying to steal.

How do we, in the year 2007, manage to extricate ourselves from a mindset that was prevalent 2,000 years ago? How can we make progress towards a better world when so many minds are filled with religious fantasies, ones they are prepared to die for? How do we get the influence of religion out of all Governments?

My feeling is that we'll never achieve peace while religion holds sway. What do you think?


Naj said...

Fully agree!

As long as peace-loving doesn't make up a NEW religion!

Check out my post! some religions are kinkier than others ;)

Renegade Eye said...

I'm not pleased with secularism, as a reason to go to war against Islamism. Hitchens seems to believe US policy is promoting secularism. How naive.

Daniel said...

Naj and Renegade, two of the beautiful people, ones who are trying to make the world better in spite of immense opposition and apathy!

Sometimes I think 'just walk away from the mess, leave them to it.'

People like us can't. We keep trying to make sense of life. Cheers.

Desert Peace said...

It's not religion that is the problem.... it's the people that MISpractice it.
ALL major religions teach love and tolerance,the world would be a better place if this is what was truly practiced.
Unfortunately, the church today (all of them) have nothing to do with religion anymore... it is nothing but a big business.

geoff said...

Mate, it's you who has an obsession with religion. For the rest of the world it's "take it or leave it". Except for some poor bloody Muslims of course, for whom "leaving it" means a nasty cut throat or worse.

Surely you must see this?

Why do you hide from these facts?

pissed off patricia said...

I think people justifying their actions by using religion is the real problem.

Monica Thatcher said...

Religion.. It's a funny thing, as all religions say that they are the true religion and also that the 'other' religion's followers will all go to hell or whatever their in word is for it. You are therefore, if you are religious, bound for hell anyway....I once had a long discussion with a Jehovah s Witness... I think he couldn't wait to get away! He was on about how true heaven is a place on earth and that come the battle of Armageddon only 'the righteous' will be allowed to live there. The rest will be burnt with fire and brimstone...dear oh dear.. I just agreed with him that he was right, Heaven is a place on Earth, so why doesn't he start helping make it so... Instead of frightening people into hallucinating demons. I then tried to get him to join me in convincing others to make Earth more enjoyable... He thought 'that' was fantasy!!!

betmo said...

the only way to get religion out of the way is to get folks to understand that the ENTIRE thing is man made. all of the myths and legends and monothiesisms- ALL are man made. secularism has its issues but hey- i'll take my chances with it.

M. Frederick Voorhees said...

Renegade, I totally agree with you about Hitchens. I read "god is Not Great" before I knew anything about Hitchens' views on the war, and was STUNNED when I found out how neoconservative he is with regards to the war. (In fact he has even self-defined as a neoconservative on that particular issue).

Desert Peace, I agree with you wholeheartedly. What's your proposed solution? Should we try to patch up islam & christianity, or should we scrap them and aim for a post-religious world that encourages "love and tolerance" without the promise of a dubious afterlife in exchange for our troubles? I prefer the latter.

Octavian said...

I'm very glad I found this blog. It goes along well with my exploration of my perspective of Informationalism. Very interesting.

Gracie said...

Very insightful post, Daniel

One does have to take a serious look at the religious dogma that has caused so much violence in the past and wonder. It's hard to believe that a loving God in control would want or allow these events to occur but the religious leaders always have answers for people like me that ask questions.

Having grown up in a conservative, fundamentalist church, I look back at the brainwashing and understand why so my Christians feel guilty or afraid to question their teachings. The church can be brutal. I still struggle so I appreciate articles like you have written.


Kvatch said...

My feeling is that we'll never achieve peace while religion holds sway. What do you think?

Couldn't agree more, but with the caveat that 'unbridled capitalism' is a religion of sorts.

Sunder_A said...

Please, please, I humbly beg you, in all sincere interest for fruitful, reasoned discourse--do your research! Statements such as, "Each god makes different claims but one claim is common to all: ours alone is the one true religion," and "all religions say that they are the true religion and also that the 'other' religion's followers will all go to hell or whatever their in word is for it," cause me to cringe. Because these statements are nonfactual. There are, in actuality, religions existing in the world today that explicitly teach (1) that they are not the one true religion, (2) that there is no such thing as 'the one true religion,' (3) that in all probability, Hell is a made-up place, created by religious authorities in order to threaten people, therefore (4) nobody is going there.
You are entitled to conclude, upon researching these religions, that you don't like them, that they, too, are objectionable in some way, etc. "Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own facts." Please base discussions, and the positions you take therein, upon facts, not fallacies that can be shown to be such by the most minimal research (i.e., Google, Wikipedia). Please also consider the possibility that, by discoursing as though the huge, powerful religions are the only ones that exist, you cede them even more power. Yours for courteous, meaningful dialogs,

Daniel said...

Dillan, please play your childish games somewhere else.

P.S. What a shame you can't use your undoubted intelligence for positive purposes. Cheers.