It appears to me increasingly that religion is an anti-freedom con game. The purpose of the con is for you to give up your sovereignty. It starts by discouraging independent, rational thought. Religion tells human beings that they cannot achieve happiness by independent thought. It tells human beings that they must defer the judgement of their own minds, and accept as true that which is asserted in a holy book or by religious leaders. It tells human beings to accept as true not only those arbitrary religious claims that cannot be supported by physical evidence, such as the existence of an all-knowing god, but also those claims which are demonstrably false, such as the claim that there is a conscious entity who pre-existed the existence of anything. In short, religion tells human beings that faith trumps reason and the independent judgement of ones own mind.
Having discouraged independent thought and encouraged unearned trust in the alleged word of an alleged god, religion proceeds to take advantage of that trust. It provides the irrational faithful with a mixture of true, arbitrary, and false beliefs; beliefs not only about the nature of existence, but also about ethics: beliefs about what one must and must not do; about how one must treat one's fellow men, and why. It often asserts a relatively good afterlife available only to those who zealously accept and follow even the arbitrary and demonstrably false claims. Arguably without exception, religions tell individuals that an all-powerful god exists who commands that one must put the belief of other persons' needs ahead of ones happiness. Indeed, many religions add the notion that happiness can be achieved only by making oneself ones brother's keeper, and by doing without material values. And, even worse, some argue that one has done nothing virtuous if, by sacrificing for others, one experienced some happiness.
For those who, in the face of religion, refuse to defer; who refuse to replace reason with faith; for those who choose to think independently, and who demand evidence; for those who reflect the notion that their own happiness is a sin, and that their only reason for living is to sacrifice themselves; for all such people, religion resorts to technique number three: coercion. In democratic countries the religions and their adherents can regularly be found to call upon governments to punish those who violate their god's laws. It calls for the imprisonment or expropriation of those who provide or depict human sexual pleasure; for the imprisonment or expropriation of those who consume, or make it possible to consume, substances that ease our anxieties; for the fine or imprisonment of those who dare to open their retail stores on an alleged holy day, like Christmas or Easter. In theocratic countries, popular support is unnecessary and the full merger of faith and force is complete, crushing reason and personal happiness under its sandal.
In these three ways:
religion leaves individuals dependant upon chance and upon the whims of others.
Freedom, properly defined, is control, by ones own mind, over the disposition of ones own values. By "ones own values", I refer not only to the material things one owns, but also to the actions of ones own body. The role of government, in a free society, is to ensure that you are not deprived of control; to ensure that no person uses dishonestly or force to obviate the need to obtain your consent, to ensure that you are not deprived of the ability to act upon your own rational thoughts; to ensure that you are not prevented from being able to live as an independent, free thinking adult. And who are free thinkers? Irreligious people such as atheists and agnostics.
When religion is used to deprive someone of control over his life, liberty, or property, the role of physical force is to render the victim's mind irrelevant. Coercive physical force targets the mind.
When religion is used to deprive someone of control over his life, liberty, or property, the role of false or arbitrary claims is to cause even the most rational mind to err. False and arbitrary claims target the facts of reality.
Also, there is good evidence that churches are criminal organizations under international law. Firstly, they and there officers have been duly convicted of committing and concealing crimes against humanity, such as murder, rape and other forms of abuse. Secondly, they actively protect and enable child raping clergy in their ranks and harm and traffic children. And thirdly, they continuously defraud and rob taxpayers every year through their tax exemption.
I'm surprised religions and religious organizations are allowed to exist to this day, especially in countries that claim to be "free". They do not belong in the modern world.
As I observed some time back, the lord's prayer itself insists that people abrogate their own will in favor of that of their intangible deity. A more sweeping denial of rights or freedoms, I cannot think of.
This reminds me of a blog I wrote recently. https://www.facebook.com/notes/james-yount/yahweh-the-redeemer-of-s...
Wonderful point. Identifying Yahweh as a TRIBAL god explains a great deal of the violence which occurs in the OT at the hands of the Israelites. Sadly for them, it doesn't excuse it.
As I understand, the central tenant of Islam is also submission. I don't want a direct link from here to there, but if you google, on Islam submission it gets you to the right sites to read on that.
And thinking about it, a common theme of making sacrifices to gods of various pantheons, from Greek to Roman to Egyptian to Aztec to Mayan, is submission.
I think in Buddhism a more common concept is letting go - but sometimes there is also making sacrifice to buddhist deities as well.
So what you say can be applied to a variety of religions.
Certainly. I wasn't just referring to Christianity.
By theocratic countries, I was referring to Islamic countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Democratic countries are places like Canada, the United States, Australia, etc.
Without submission you have no followers. The military used to have that. Cults have that, and the religionists today have that as a sense of "loyalty." Add suffering and you have the whole package. We all think that we "suffer" so the believer must suffer with christ. This was considered when certain gospels were not included in the bible.
you seem stalwart in your decimation of info.. cheers.
"where' religious hostility is on the rise:
If you have religion of any kind you do not have freedom.