By Allen Clifton | 10 August 2014
Not too long ago, conservative convicted criminal Dinesh D’Souza came out with a movie titled America: Imagine the World Without Her (which has an amazing 8% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s basically nothing more than some outrageous right-wing film that rewrites history, while trying to ridiculously build a world where the United States did not exist. Eventually it just spirals into nothing more than an anti-Obama and anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda film.
But I thought I’d play off that title a bit and try to create what our world might be like without organized religion.
Though let me be clear, I see faith and religion as two different things. I see faith as a set of beliefs someone personally carries with them without trying to force others to comply to what they believe. Religion I see as a human-made concoction meant to manipulate and control people by forcing whatever views are ordained by that religion.
How many wars have been fought based on religion? Think about the Crusades. They lasted around two centuries, claiming anywhere from 1 million to 3 million lives. All in the name of religion.
Just look at Islamic terrorism. It’s almost entirely based on religion.
So by just getting rid of organized religion, the amount of wars and terrorism we’ve had throughout human history would drastically be reduced.
Look at how often religion has been used to justify horrific acts. Adolf Hitler used religion to justify his genocide of the Jewish people. Slave owners used religion to justify their ownership of other human beings. Anti-desegregation advocates used religion to justify the separation of the races.
Just think about how much prejudice and ignorance has been levied against various groups of people throughout human history all “justified” by organized religion.
Religion has been used to justify horrific acts against women. Hell, in many countries religion is still used to deny women their basic human rights. Not just deny them those rights, but to often treat them like possessions rather than actual human beings.
All over the world organized religion is used to condemn and vilify homosexuals. In some countries it’s illegal to be a homosexual, with death being an acceptable punishment for the “crime” of being gay. But it’s all okay, because religion says that it is.
Hell, religion has even been used to deny a need to address climate change. You know, because God controls the weather – not us measly humans.
Look at hate in general. Racism, bigotry, intolerance, judgement, prejudice… it’s all been justified by organized religion over and over again throughout history.
I’m sure many of you have heard about the Salem witch trials. Human beings were slaughtered all in the name of religion. These acts weren’t rational. They were driven by fear, paranoia and ignorance all fueled, and justified, by religious beliefs.
Native Americans were treated like some kind of subhuman savages because they weren’t “good Christians.” So, what’s the best way religion told us to deal with non-Christian “savages”? Try to convert some, slaughter most of the rest, all while stealing their land.
Granted, eliminating organized religion from all human history wouldn’t have prevented every horrific act from happening. But it’s much more difficult to try to justify some of the horrors that have been committed (and continue to be committed) without religion.
For instance, how would one justify a stance against homosexuality without using religion?
Not only that, but the lack of religion would unite people. Because what religion has ultimately done throughout human history is divide them. It’s one group of human beings telling another group of human beings that the god they can’t prove exists is more real than the god the other group of people can’t prove exists is.
And if you think about it, what does religion ultimately boil down to? What happens to us after we die.
Why do people care so much about this? Why do people care what happens to strangers once they die? Something clearly happens… but none of us know for absolute certain. The only thing any of us know without a doubt is, we die.
Every. Single. One of us.
Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist… we’re all eventually going to die. And all religion ultimately comes down to is what happens to us afterwards.
It’s just silly, isn’t it?
Let’s slaughter thousands because they don’t believe in the same afterlife that we do! That’ll prove how holy we are!
It’s like an unfunny Monty Python sketch.
It’s not as if an individuals path to whatever afterlife in which they believe is contingent on how many people they recruit. It makes absolutely no sense to care about any of this.
Yet despite the ridiculousness of it all, organized religion remains the most widely used tool to justify human beings treating other human beings in horrific, inhumane ways.
Just imagine the world without organized religion:
- We wouldn’t have countries where millions of human beings are controlled, with basic human rights stripped away, by brutal theocracies.
- A world where terrorists no longer had their primary tool they’ve used to wage horrific acts of terror against innocent people.
- Where human beings weren’t judged on rules written in a book, based on an entity that nobody can prove exists.
- A world where war was never waged simply because one group of people labeled themselves a different religion than another.
- Where people had to think for themselves as opposed to simply being told what to believe by somebody else.
- Denying anyone their equal rights could only be justified by pure hate and intolerance, which are much harder foundations on which to build an argument against giving someone their rights.
- Women wouldn’t continue to be having to overcome draconian societal laws and rules that religion has dictated about their role in society for centuries.
- People wouldn’t be divided simply based on a label.
- All the horrors that have been (and continue to be) justified in the name of religion – would have never existed.
Organized religion, just imagine the world without it.
Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column.
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