This is a world where cars drive without drivers, successful treatment for all cancer combined is now over 50% and Richard Branson with his iconic goatee is offering space travel for everyone in the near future. This is also a world which inhabits 7 billion Self-aware apes; that of those who are old enough to make the choice – almost 80% hold themselves to an archaic practice that was developed to rationalize what early man couldn’t understand about the world around him. (1) I will weigh up and compare the pros and cons of religion (or following a religion) in current society and adding my own opinions along the way.
What are the pros of following a religion? I think hard when I ponder this, as for any pros I can think of I can always think of a counter pro when not following a religion. You can look into the history of course as religion rightfully moved humanity forwards in early civilization. Many people say science was born through religion, ironically, a bit like Darth Vader killing Darth Sidious. (2) You could say religion brings people together, allowing communities to have something to bond over giving them a sense of meaning and purpose. Especially for communities that have an average low standard of living or high death rates like in Africa, religion can give great comfort, for the delusion of death will make the great pain and suffering a lot more comforting. (3) Religion has also brought some of the greatest art we have ever seen like the Ellora Caves or The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci but again that isn’t current society, im talking about the past. (4) You can argue that many charities are run by religious organizations, even though the majority of theses Charities run by religious organizations are usually going into the churches back pocket.
T hoes are for the most part the only real pros I can think of that only a religion can offer. Religion is based on a myth that the universe operates according to supernatural rules and forces of a creator that is the source and authority of morality. This is yet to be proven, however many billions do not believe in evolution and that the earth is only 6000 years old, thus disagreeing with science itself. Organized religion has stifled science for more than a thousand years. This becomes a big issue in current society for progressing humanity and technology further as religion in many countries is the forefront of its teachings, which not only spreads false facts but also halts progression in our next generation. Just think of Galileo Galilei, who was threatened with a ban when he proposed the view that earth was not the center of the universe. (5) The US governments ban on stem cell research, based on religious influence has slowed down discovery in the US whilst other countries are continuing to make important advancements. (6)
Theses religious dogmas have also slowed down the progression of equality as same sex marriage had only been legalized in the US from June 26, 2015. Leviticus 18:22: ” Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” This delightful passage in the bible that has twisted humankind into hating and victimizing homosexuals throughout history – even though homosexuality is rooted from a biological standpoint, showing how every specie in the animal kingdom has their gay “community”. (7) (8) An example of people who follow the Bible strictly are the westboro baptist church who are extremely vocal about their views on homosexuals. In pictures you can see kids from the age of 3 upwards holding signs say “GOD HATES FAGS” or “FAGS DOOM NATIONS”. This not only shows how certain passages in the bible or any religious text can drive people to hate and how they can indoctrinate their children into this hateful mindset.
One of Americas largest hospitals that happens to be a catholic hospital has stated that it can also deny women abortions because of its religious affiliations. In the US conference of catholic Bishops which set the rules for CATHOLIC Hospitals, it has stated that its hospitals should let a woman die rather provide an emergency abortion. (9) This is an example of how religions can heavily affect people’s lives, even if there not religious. This is in a country where the church and the state are separate.
Religion has also held men is a higher status then women with passages in the bible like –
1 Timothy 2:11-12 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
Or in Islam
Quran (2:223) – “Your wives are as a tilth unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will…” A man has dominion over his wives’ bodies as he does his land.
Quran (4:3) – (Wife-to-husband ratio) “Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four” Inequality by numbers.
Again, this is another example of how religion has stopped humanity from progressing and uniting, putting men on a higher pedestal is still a very big issue in non-western countries. Saudi Arabia, a country where the government and religion are one allows for many disgusting abuses of power. Women are not allowed to “show of their beauty” resulting in being covered head to toe in a long cloak and head scarf restricting them from sun light to the face or any real human interaction involving eye contact or even a mere smile. They aren’t allowed to swim in public pools, freedom of driving, interact with men whom are relatives from too long, hold their lovers hand in public or even compete in sports. (10)
As for the religious fundamentalists who follow in the absolute word of their sacred religious texts – theses deluded people are the perfect examples of how bad religion truly is. (11) Western culture has watered down faith, separating religion from having any real governmental power. However many people from different faiths, mainly Islam, want to seek a return to the fundamentals of the religion and live similarly to how the prophet Muhammad and his companions lived. This is the same Muhammad that robbed, murdered in mass, married a 6 year old and took slaves. (12) Theses fundamentalists that we know as radical Islamist’s want to carry on Muhammad’s purpose, and to implement Islamic values in all spheres of life. The way some try to implement this can be seen through Isis, as told in the Quran.
“Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection – Qur’an 9:29”
Quran 9:111 – “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.”
The Quran clearly states that if you fight and die for the cause then you will be promised paradise. So for the fundamentalists this is a no brainer, even tho is the Quran it also states not to kill an innocent person. This is just another example of the religious contradictions that are filled in all holy books that you can either pick and choose or follow to the dot.
There’s no denying religion is dying, the increase in people who have no affliction with religion is at an all-time high. For the first time ever, Norway has more people who do not believe in God than do (13) and for a country that has “In God We Trust” on their dollar bill, the states have now doubled since 1980 with over 20% holding themselves to no religion. (14) Even for England, NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey showed having no religion reached 48.5% in 2014, outnumbering the 43.8% who define themselves as Christian. (15) Churches are being closed by the hundreds, deconsecrated and rehabilitated as housing, offices, restaurants or just abandoned. I find it no coincidence that religion declines when human security and well-being rises as less and less depend on the church or a high entity fill that void. The new age of global information now allows anyone from any crevasse of the globe to learn and understand more about the 4.6 billion year old earth they live on.
In conclusion, my opinion is that religion is doing more harm than good in our current society, from terrorism to scientific restrictions to separating countries from one another and making immigration far more scary then it has to be. Religion may have helped in the past but the past is no more. Our next generation should be raised in a fashion where no religion is forced on them, it can be learnt in their own time as they grow up. This form of child abuse needs to stop as it not only affects them mentally it affects everyone else. Let’s teach facts, lets teach science, lets teach compassion and most importantly lets teach doubt. Religion is based on ideas and bad ideas should be challenged. It is time for humanity to come together and progress further forward leaving our out dated, dangerous ideologies behind us.
- 1 http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-exec/
- 2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_science
- 3 http://brilliantmaps.com/simple-africa-relgions/
- 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfITRYcnP84
- 5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair
- 6 http://www.pewforum.org/2008/07/17/stem-cell-research-at-the-crossroads-of-religion-and-politics/
- 7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior
- 8 https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2015/jul/24/gay-genes-science-is-on-the-right-track-were-born-this-way-lets-deal-with-it
- 9 https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/oct/15/catholic-hospital-denies-michigan-woman-treatment-on-religious-grounds
- 10 http://www.theweek.co.uk/60339/nine-things-women-cant-do-in-saudi-arabia
- 11 http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-religious-fundamentalism.html
- 12 https://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/islam-the-crimes-of-prophet-mohammed/
- 13 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/norwegians-believe-in-god-majority-do-not-for-first-time-ever-a6943706.html
- 14 http://www.ibtimes.com/america-religious-20-us-has-no-religion-while-still-mostly-christian-2464820
- 15 http://www.natcen.ac.uk/news-media/press-releases/2016/august/british-social-attitudes-religious-decline-comes-to-a-halt/