The Gifts of Religion


What has religion contributed to the world?

• Fanatism.
All the big monotheistic religions have the seed of fanatism inbred. Moderate religion is the mother of religious fanatism! You cannot have one without the other. The unlimited intolerance is also particular for monotheisms. The tragic idea of holding the only true religion combined with the idea of having the right to force it upon everyone else, is the mayor reason for war, death and human suffering for centuries in our history. And sadly, still today.

• Suicide bombers.
Have you ever heard of atheistic suicide bombers? Or of fierce supporters of Johannes Kepler’s laws or of Confusius’ teachings, followers of the philosophy of Aristotle or fans of Darwin’s evolution theory blowing themselves up in a crowded area to promote their case? It takes religion to convince people to blow themselves and innocent bystanders to smithereens, and at the same time think this act is a good thing and is promoting their case.

• Martyrdom.
The idea that throwing away your only life on earth in exchange for pious promises of a dubious esoteric afterlife. Strangely enough, it is never the religious leaders who eagerly grasp this chance of instant bliss. No, the leaders always seem to let others experience this joy of martyrdom.

• War and genocide rooted in religious differences.
History provides us with countless examples, and religious differences are sadly still a defining part of many of today’s conflicts.

• The absolute religious intolerance
is particular for the monotheistic religions which all insist on religious exclusivity. According to them there is only one God, and therefore all other religions are not just false, but must also be destroyed. “For he who is not against us is on our side” (Mark 9:40). Religious intolerance is the dominant reason for war, suffering and death for two millennia.

• The idea that if you believe in certain fairy tales you also get a license to punish,
harass and burn other people on behalf of a fictious deity. This idea is central to the abrahamitic religions, and has been executed with joy and passion by religious people up through history. Regrettably, the idea is still very much alive and widespread by believers today.

• Inquisition.
To form a huge organization just to criminalize, persecute, torture and burn other humans because of differences in opinion on how to interpret some confused Bronze Age texts from the Middle East, is something only religion can make people do.

• Witch hunts.
It was religion which came up with the very idea of existence of ”witches”, a delusion that certain people (mostly women) actually could do magic and sorcery. As we all know it is only religious leaders who are allowed to do such things.

• Crusades
– war campaigns started and waged primarily on religious (that is: fictious) grounds.

• The idea, if someone is having a different made up belief system than your own made up belief, this is a crime punishable by death.
Especially, to have a different fantasy friend in the sky is a sufficient reason to kill them. An amusing twist is that Christians and Moslems often see each other as infidels, but are in fact sharing the very same God, which they of course both stole from the Jews (who also are infidels in their eyes). Oh well, if you just are religious enough, such details are obviously of no importance.

• Dumbing down the population.
Keeping the population down in ignorance and encouraging superstitious thinking. The religion’s dominant role in society through centuries has produced a general population who is illiterates when it comes to critical thinking, and are thus receptable for any kind of silly woo-woo notions and quack medicine. A population in which childish and comical superstitious ideas are taken seriously and thrives, thanks to public endorsed indoctrination in schools, media and public life.

• Religious teaching weakens children’s mental development
and produces adults who are intellectual underachievers, and are willingly throwing their money after any cynical quack or self-proclaimed prophet, and any crackpot philosophy coming their way.

• The very concept of Heresy and Heretics.
The idea that having another view on how your invisible fantasy friend really is and what he thinks, is a crime deserving the capital punishment.

• The malicious concept of “Sin”.
A notion saying you should always feel guilty for being born, for being human. You are born in sin, and as a sinner, and God is angry with you, but you can make him happier by suffering and have a miserable life, or better, by making someone else suffer in his name.

• Repressing the human, technological and philosophical development of society.
In every society where religion is given political power, it has used every means possible to fight any scientific, social or political development which has improved our understanding of nature or giving people a better and longer life. The fixed, unchangeable dogmas of the religions do not permit to be questioned or challenged. Any knowledge or discovery which can be suspected to infer with the religious teachings have been suppressed and even persecuted. Religions are based on blind faith, and any questioning and doubts are the work of Satan and must be crushed.

• Destroyed huge amounts of important writings and knowledge
from the ”pagan” philosophers of Antiquity. The Church replaced the Antiquity’s advancements in mathematics, philosophy, medicine and natural sciences etc with worthless studies of the confused and flawed “knowledge” of ignorant Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents guessing how the world around them functioned and came about. Many see our schools and universities of today as a development of the Monastery “Schools” and their predominantly studies of the Holy Scriptures. In reality schools existed already in Antiquity, long before Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The system of transferring knowledge from a teacher to a pupil is as old as mankind itself. After the church rose to power in the fourth century the content and value of this knowledge became mostly rubbish until the Renaissance, when religion lost its monopoly on teaching.

• To think that a very inconsistent book with mostly confused and rambling religious writings of anonymous writers, compiled and edited by unknown religious editors through centuries, - contains the ultimate truth. This in spite of the fact that any claim made by the book which can be tested and controlled, has been dead wrong.

• Semantic confusion.
In religious lingo fairy tales are historical facts, myths are truth, black is white, death is life and hate is love. Christianity is the reigning world champion in Orwellian newspeak and doubletalk.

• The very idea that our bodies and our natural sexuality are something bad and dirty, something demonic that should be fought. You obviously only become a whole wholesome human when you die. This bizarre idea is only logic for death-cults like the Abrahamitic religions.

• Thinking that penitence, pain, suffering, humiliation, submissiveness, self-destruction and ascetism make your “loving” God, love you more. To punish your-self to please your invisible fantasy friend in the sky, is usually something sorting under the more serious end of psychiatric disorders, unless of course if it is done in a religious context. Then it is even considered as a particular pious thing to do.

• To think that women are inferior to men, and of far lesser value. A strange notion especially since humans as a species wouldn’t exist without both sexes. The idea is a blatant evidence that the abrahamitic religions are the fruits of childish male megalomaniac fantasies, fermented and polished in generations by naive male intellectual underachievers (believers). Why many women still wish to be part of these bizarre patriarchal, woman-suppressing religions, is incomprehensible.

• The notion of what consenting adults are doing in their private bedrooms is of paramount importance and relevance for a Deity. Why this is of importance for the highest being is not entirely clear. Particularly if humans of the same gender should find bodily pleasure together in their own private chambers, the Lord Almighty himself, and many of his earthly representatives, get very upset and loses their marbles. What relevance and grave consequences such a highly private conduct between adult individuals has for the Almighty and his earthly representatives is not entirely obvious.

• Unborn people are of vastly more value than born people. That’s why religious anti-abortion fanatics can kill doctors and mothers on behalf of a lump of cells, which of course, is a directly result of original sin (and maybe the papal ban of contraceptives).

• The ludicrous idea of prayer,
that God briefly should set the laws of nature aside, just for you.

• Clergy.
Acceptance that some chosen people, according to themselves, are better to convey the inner thoughts, will and opinions of a fictious supreme being, and still to take these people seriously as grown ups.

• For a huge amount of pious religious people to look forward to dying and to the end of the world.

• The facts that adult people can express utterly childish and bizarre ideas about spirits and hocus pocus, and still be taken serious and considered as responsible citizens and parents.

• To think that children benefit from having their minds polluted with insane ideas which are long since rejected by science.

• On the positive side, religion has been a never ending source of crazy ideas, absurd stories, comical ceremonies and hocus-pocus, and hordes of ridiculous self righteous, pompous believers crawling like scared abused dogs for their imaginary master goblin in the sky. This is all things we could be rolling on the floor laughing about, hadn’t it been for all those millions of lives lost to religious crusades, inquisitions, wars, torture etc up through the last two millennia, giving the laughter a bad aftertaste in the mouth.

"Religion is an insult to human dignity.
With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.
But for good people to do evil things,
that takes religion."

Steven Weinberg