For my first post on Medium I thought it may as well be an inflammatory one so I am just going to put it out there, I think religion is useless and harmful. I see nothing that religion can offer that can’t be achieved in it’s absence. Don’t get me wrong, spirituality is good and worth having. It’s the organised religions that rub me the wrong way. I pride myself on being a logical and reasonable fellow and the level of suspension of disbelief required for religions is too much for me.
Let’s take a look at some definitions. (courtesy of Dictionary.com)
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
3. confidence; faith; trust: a child’s belief in his parents.
4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.
There are slight differences between the two. A belief seems to, for the most part, refer to a single thing and contains less overall religious tone. Faith seems to be a collection of beliefs with a greater overall religious tone. Either way, someone who believes in God or has faith in their religion is letting you know they can hold something as true with no proof whatsoever.
I may have forgot a definition.
1. the science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference.
2. a particular method of reasoning or argumentation: We were unable to follow his logic.
3. the system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge or study.
4. reason or sound judgement, as in utterances or actions: There wasn’t much logic in her move.
5. convincing forcefulness; inexorable truth or persuasiveness: the irresistible logic of the facts.
It’s at this point you should be realising that there may be some conflict between these three words. If I asked someone to prove to me that the bible was all true, who could? The bible is a book written hundreds of years after the supposed events within it, written by multiple people multiple times over. It is like playing the biggest game of broken telephone with stories meant to teach relevant (at the time) morals and ideals to people at a time of religious strife in a particular region.
It’s worth mentioning that any system that requires a mental “leap” to believe in it may have inherent flaws worth being critical of.
Technology has advanced, why not the tenants of religion? If you were sick and had the choice between antibiotics or being bled with leeches, what would you pick? Maybe you see where I am heading with this.
Spirituality provides the ability to believe in a higher power or intelligence without the doctrine telling people that women are inferior or that gays are abominations or not to drunkenly eat pork on a Sunday unless its throat is slit and blessed by a guy in a dress.
Maybe I am being harsh but no harsher, I’d argue, than any religion that has participated in a holy war of any kind. Millions have died in the name of something that may not even be real. In the absence of religion those same people may have found another reason to kill each other, but how many do you suppose would have sacrificed their lives if they were not convinced that an all-powerful being was watching and waiting to reward or punish their eternal souls based on how obedient to their religion they were?
If we ever want to advance as a race, I believe that whatever truths there are to learn in this world will be discovered by science and and an application of logic even if only to the degree of reliable inference.
Thank you for reading.
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