Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Primary Problems With Religion

I think I have boiled down my primary problems with religion as a whole. The incidence of religion intruding upon my life can be summed up in three simple categories: superstition, misallocation of resources, and phony arguments from authority

Superstition is often the most visible sign of religion, and usually the most harmless. However, superstition usually stifles science when it enters the realm of public policy. Superstition is why the government refuses to fund “controversial” research.

We’re not talking about research where people are hurt, we’re talking about research with non-sentient cell cultures which contain human genetic material. It’s tantamount to playing with sperm, and we can’t do it because some religious folk are offended by the very notion of it.

Then there’s the dire lack of organ donations. This stems directly from either a superstition or a desire for traditional funerary services (i.e. open-casket burial). Or maybe it’s some paranoid fear that hospitals are killing people who are donors in order to harvest the organs. Whatever it is, it’s stupid superstition and myth which is forcing millions to die on waiting lists across our country.

In fact, resource allocation itself is a major problem with religion. Donations to religious organizations have very little oversight, and corruption is rampant. Just think of all the money and hours wasted on churches, temples, cathedrals, mosques, statues, pamphlets, murals, stained glass, sexual harassment settlements, etc. It’s staggering how much overhead religion has.

Then there’s the time wasted learning religion. I don’t believe the human mind has a capacity like a computer, but I believe we have a finite time on this planet, and every second spent studying religion is a second spent not studying something relevant. Even the time of people like myself is wasted trying to combat religion. What else could I be doing with my time if religion were not here to rant about? [I’d like to think I could have cured brain-freeze by now, but the world will never know…]

But perhaps the worst part of religion is the authority is inherently craves. Organized religion really needs to impose itself. It is never happy just being, it has to make sure everyone is behaving just so...

Organized religion is a growth industry. They want more babies and more converts, and anything that stands in the way of that has got to go. Condoms, science, higher education and career opportunities for women, all have no place in organized religion. And inevitably, there’s some guy at the top who everyone has to listen to…

…Unless there isn’t. While religions like Catholicism have their Pope, some religions look inward. This is sometimes the most dangerous authority of all. Many protestant faiths (and anyone who actually reads the New Testament closely) preach about an inner, personal God.

There’s quite a danger in believing that your inner most impulses originate from God. This belief in a personal God is tantamount to a cult of the ego. This is the primary flaw in religious doctrine, for the religious are told (and often believe) that they are submitting or abandoning themselves to something outside themselves, but it is all internal. There is no humility in believing you act according to God’s will. Instead, it is the ultimate egotism.


  1. The point you made about wasting time on learning religion really rings true with me. I look back over my life and think of all the hours I've lost in church, reading the bible, praying in agony, and fasting.

    Money, too (which you point out in a later post).

    It hit me when I was watching Jeopardy! once. I couldn't answer a single question-- until the Bible category came up. I cleaned that category out. I did better than the contestants on the show.

    But, I realized that in the end, I had nothing to show for it. I'd rather had that level of knowledge in some other category now -- like say history or science.

    Did I also mention wasted money?

  2. Sometimes I think we could all use a little fasting...


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