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10 reasons having a religion is madness

Spirituality is important, but religions? Not so much.

Whether you choose to follow Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, or any other major religion, the choice to become a follower of a major religion will not increase your spirituality and growth but hinder it.

Here are ten reasons why you don’t need religion.

1) Absolute Obedience

There may be no greater authoritarian regime than traditional religious institutions.

These institutions are designed to rule all of your free will, and they do this on purpose: the more their followers resemble sheep, the easier they are to command.

Religions are built to make you docile and weak so that they can actively preach their teachings and philosophies without worrying about dissent.

2) Spirituality is for the Uneducated

If you have any sort of higher education, then you should be well-educated enough to know that religion and spirituality do not truly add to your awareness of the universe.

Religion does everything in its power to lower your understanding of consciousness, by bottling the meaning of the universe into a book with a thousand rules that need to be followed.

This burdens your mind with false notions, giving you none of the truths you seek.

Here’s a brilliant quote from Carl Sagan:

“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”

3) Filled With Pedophiles

You know how churches and other religious institutions regularly ask for donations and contributions?

The cold hard truth is that every dollar you donate to these churches is another dollar that goes in the pockets of an organization that is known to protect pedophiles.

Hundreds of Catholic teachers and priest have been outed as pedophiles, harming young boys and girls, yet the Pope and the church continue to keep them on board.

4) Flush Away Your Time

Time is the most important asset you have, especially since you can never buy any second you waste back.

The problem with religion is that it takes a whole lot of time if you want to turn yourself into a devoted Catholic, but you are wasting this time learning concepts that could take a fraction of the time to understand.

So much of what religions teach is just nonsense, with repetitive rituals like going to church and repeating prayers and memorizing an ancient book that nobody actually listens to.

Richard Dawkins describes why the Bible isn’t necessarily evil, but just plain weird:

“To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and ‘improved’ by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries.”

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5) You Were Probably Born Into It

Answer this question: why are you currently following the religion you follow?

There is an incredibly high chance that your answer is that it’s the religion that you were born into.

You inherited the religion from your parents, who taught you to worship their god for their sense of security.

You were taught their prayers, their rituals, when to go to church and how often to repent, but how many nights have you spend actually asking why?

Most religions are actually just a collection of myths and legends from previous religions and cults; yes, even if the most popular ones like Christianity are based on nothing but pagan roots.

6) Teaches Fake Compassion

Religions love to preach compassion, but how much of that compassion do they actually follow?

Most religions have histories filled with blood. Unconditional love is a foreign concept when it comes to the promotion and spread of major religions around the world.

People weren’t allowed to willingly accept new religions; instead, most of the time they were forced into adopting religions, by their conquerors or colonizers.

How much compassion can religions with so much bloodshed actually teach?

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

7) Incest

One thing that most religious leaders these days won’t willingly admit is that their religions are built off of foundations of inbred social networks.

Religions actively promote incest and marrying and breeding within your small communities or extended families.

This way, it is easier to keep beliefs contained, and easier to grow a stronger community of believers.

Religions thrive off of creating the “us-vs-them” mindset, which is why so many religions are always at war with each other.

Writer Steve Pavlina describes it best:

“If you’re one of the saved, blessed, or otherwise enlightened individuals who stumbled upon the one true belief system, then supposedly everyone else remains in the dark. Certain religions are overtly intolerant of outsiders, but to one degree or another, all major religions cast non-subscribers in a negative light. This helps to discourage members from abandoning the religion while still enabling them to proselytize. The main idea is to maintain social structures that reward loyalty and punish freedom of thought.”

8) You Lose Spiritual Understanding

A giant misunderstanding when it comes to religions is that they will enhance your spirituality.

However, the truth is quite the opposite: by forcing yourself down the throat of a single religion, you inherently prevent yourself from understanding more than one perspective or spiritual philosophy.

Your spiritual understanding immediately loses depth, because you have blocked yourself off from the other theologies and perspectives on life.

9) You Will Fear It

The number one way religions market themselves is through fear. They teach us to be afraid of a big man in the sky judging our every action.

And like any lesson, fear is the worst way to teach it.

Because instead of actually learning the difference between right and wrong, and why evil actions are things we shouldn’t do, we are instead taught to just fear the judgment of our actions.

We do not learn why it is bad to hurt or steal from or cheat others, only that we should make sure that we do not get caught doing it.

Here’s a brilliant passage from philosopher Bertrand Russell in his essay Why I Am Not a Christian:

“Religion is based primarily upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly as the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things. In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the opposition of all the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a fit place to live in, instead of the place that the churches in all these centuries have made it.”

10) Filled With Hypocrisy

There are only two paths once you become a religious person: idiocy or hypocrisy; there’s no in between.

You can choose to either blindly swallow all the stupid drivel that the priests tell you at mass, or you can tell yourself that it is all wrong, but still choose to follow it.

Either way, you have no way to get out of this with your dignity intact.

You don’t need religion to have morals. If you can’t determine right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion.

Notable replies

  1. Avatar for ACD ACD says:

    This is a truly juvenile treatise on religion which, I suspect, is something of which the author has no direct experience. Having said that, the subject matter itself is well worth discussing. I look forward to that here and elsewhere on this platform.

    Apologetics is another word for argument for the defence. I regard myself as a religious apologist but am only familiar with Christian apologetics. My opinion is that the particular also applies to the universal in the apologetics of religion. My apology for Christianity is my apology for all religion.

    Christian apologetics has an august heritage which includes Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, and CS Lewis to name three more well known examples spanning 700 years. Aquinas’ Summa Theologica is a masterpiece of logic and reasoning, including its five well known arguments for the existence of God. Pascal was a rigorous mathematician and scientist and the author of Pensées, an apology for Christianity and one of the finest examples of French prose in which he demonstrates a mastery of logic, running circles around Montaigne, the more-or-less contemporary age-of-reason sceptic, and Epictetus, the classical Greek stoic. Tolkein’s close friend, Lewis, describes his conversion to Christianity, due in part to his friend’s influence, in Surprised by Joy, and refers to stabs of joy which led him like signposts throughout his life from atheism to Christianity in his early thirties. The heritage of Christianity and all religions is marked by the contributions of humanity’s very best educated.

    It is a great mistake to characterize religion as a bastion of humanity’s sinfulness even though much sin has been perpetrated in the name of religion and in the context of religious institutions, sinfulness which only argues in favor of the central tenet of all religions: humanity’s erstwhile humble relationship to the eternal.

  2. I really appreciate that you provide an environment to discuss these things. I like the article very much.
    I think Jordan Peterson has a great point in that “religious is what you actually act out in life and not what you purport to believe”
    What you truly believe can be measured by an analysis of your actions and not merely what you purport to believe. Religion is a foundational part of our axioms over human history and is casually dismissed at our peril.
    When you interact with your religious practice, you are trying to sort something out, it’s so important that a person can separate from utility to a higher aim.

    We are alive, we have an archetypal field that we use all day every day. That means the archetypal field is alive.
    We have the archetype of the great father and we can deny at the conscious level it’s effect on our behavior but it’s hubristic at best.

  3. religion?

    Yes, I know the word. I see in the original article that many different attributes are associated with the word. However, those are attributes that have been applied by people. And as a lot of people are quite mad in a sot of unhinged way, I can see how other people might take issue or agree with the article.

    So, here is the problem. Some groups of people do believe in an all-powerful God, and others do not. It is also agreed that after you die, neither will be disappointed.

    So, if an all-powerful God does not exist then the universe has no purpose, and we all should go mad.

    If an all-powerful God does exist then not to worry, no matter what you believe here on this dirtball, the real dead set is you do not know. Do not worry, if there were a manual it would not be religion, more like a camera.

    One of the exciting things in life is to watch, listen to, read things from a person that has the different feelings you do about religion. You probably think them quite mad, and you would be correct.

  4. Mistaken identity…I noticed the last name, took the leap and made the assumption it was you. My apologies in that regard. As to your offer, it would be somewhat difficult for me to take much of a defensive posture seeing that I too believe organized religion has become an abomination and deserves very little defending. However, to take the absurd stance that religion is for idiots, perverts, and buffoons deserves no defense, even in the name of free discourse and discussion.

  5. Belief in God is a terrible thing. It has caused great pain and sufferings down through the ages.
    This past easter I led a meditation retreat, and was pondering, religion and spirituality.

    Religion & Spirituality are 2 entirely different experiences. One is based on ‘believing’ the other is based upon ‘knowing’.

    Religion played an important part of my life as a child and teenager. I was influenced mainly through fear… the thought of hell and damnation… being a rotting corpse at the end of the world… kept me in check and craving safety.
    I was an insecure child and held fast to the hope that somehow I could navigate this world of fear, if I had ‘God’s’ help… By the time I was 14 I began to really question the whole thing… I had experienced so many religions, studied the bible, been terrified witless by the images of an eternity in burning flames. I finally had enough of the fear.
    By the time I was 18 I had discovered meditation, and a direct experience of inner peace, and a new way of seeing life started to bloom. I began to rely upon my own inner experience. I went down many a new age rabbit hole… and now arrive in my 60’s with a growing understanding of both the pitfalls and beauty of religion.
    My current understanding is this: it is not the ‘religion’ it is the level of inner understanding. I have met many beautiful, balanced, compassionate and genuine religious people. I have also been witness to the atrocities wrought upon humanity in the name of today’s religious terrorists.
    When one remains at the level of belief, one stays in the realm of the mind. There are subtler forms of intelligence, that western education is disconnected from, ‘believing’ the mental, empirical world to be the all consuming ‘New God’.

    To my mind, it is not the religion, but the inability to deal with our baser human impulses of fear, self destruction, all based upon belief. Leading to a global epidemic: lack of empathy.

    In his final interview with the BBC in the early 60’s C.G. Jung, grandfather of modern psychology, was asked, “Do you believe God exists?” There was a long pause, and with a twinkle in his eye, he responded, “No, I do not believe God exists,” a further long pause before continuing, “I know God exists”.
    I know what he means.

  6. All I know is that whoever, whatever designed this universe based it on a set of principles that were allowed to evolve over time so that they are barely recognizable now. All of earth’s species & plants has a psychological insecurity which allows us to “eat” each other literally or figuratively. We humans call it competition for which we use money as an indicator of status or success. If you look at Mother Nature you will see that the inanimate objects (planets, asteroids, galaxies) fight for dominance & generally bash each other when given the chance. Religions, business, governments & personal relationships have all borrowed history, adopted approaches, etc. that strengthen physical & psychological control over others. The Christian Religion says we’re made in the image of God & considering the mayhem in the universe I’ll let the reader (if any) spell it out.

  7. I suspect that it’s not as simple as belief in God or disbelief. Jordan Peterson suggested that purported belief or disbelief is merely "surface noise " , and that "who are you to say what you believe? I mean people are the most complex things we know. " Our true fundamental axioms become evident by an analysis of our actions. It’s that simple.

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Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

Jordan Peterson says don’t try to be happy: “We are here to suffer, so learn to suffer like a man”

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