By Allen Clifton | 8 May 2016
There’s a seemingly endless list of topics that are almost constantly debated upon, not just in the United States, but across the globe. While every country, culture and person is different – we’re also not that dissimilar from one another when it comes to a lot of things.
For instance, the topic of organized religion. Throughout human history, in essentially every culture, there’s been some form of organized religion. And, throughout human history, in essentially every culture, organized religion has often been a source or cause for incredible violence, hostility and ignorance.
In fact, when you get right down to it, the world (and humanity for that matter) would be a whole hell of a lot better off and peaceful without organized religion.
Now, I’m not saying faith can’t be a great thing. But there’s a difference between faith and organized religion. As a Christian, I consider that my faith. However, organized religion is essentially the human way to use a faith to manipulate large groups of people extremely easily. Not only that, by manipulating faith, you can get people to act completely irrationally, often against their own best interests.
Just look at terrorism right now. The driving force (other than poverty which is really where a lot of this is rooted) behind global terrorism is those who’ve taken Islam, twisted it for their own benefits, and turned it into a weapon. Terrorists have created armies of people brutally slaughtering women, children and tens of thousands of innocents in the “name of their religion.” If your God tells you that it’s okay to slaughter children, rape women or behead the innocent – then you really need to find a new God.
But even outside the radical aspects of Islam, the religion has been used to be extremely oppressive – especially toward women and homosexuals.
Though Christianity is far from innocent – especially historically.
In this country alone, we’ve seen religion used as a mechanism to defend slavery, the genocide of Native Americans, segregation, bans on same-sex and interracial marriage and now the blatant discrimination of other human beings simply because of who that person loves. And those are just a few of the “major” issues. Progress in the United States has constantly been held back largely by people who’ve cited religion as one of their driving forces against that progress.
Even if religion isn’t a key cog behind the actual obstruction, we’ve seen people support the entire Republican party’s platform of policies that favor the rich at the expense of everyone else simply because they oppose abortion, gay rights or some other social issue related to their religious beliefs. Not that the GOP is really a “Christian party,” they’ve just been masters at using religion to (as I said earlier) get large groups of people to act irrationally and vote against their own interests.
And because it’s nearly impossible to reason with people who are essentially zealots – facts and reality often don’t matter a great deal. These are the folks in this country living on Social Security and Medicare, educated in the public school system, who say they don’t need help from the government and oppose socialism.
Again, to zealots, facts typically don’t matter.
And while there are many other reasons why ignorance exists in the world, a whole lot of the issues we do face have some sort of ties to organized religion. In turn, this makes organized religion one of the roots of a whole lot of our problems as a species in general. So much progress and advancement is held back because there are those who believe earthquakes and tornadoes are God’s way to “punish” people; climate change cannot possibly be real because God controls the weather; and somehow an “all-loving God” would support people often acting out in horrific or disgusting ways to show “how much they worship” whatever deity they believe in.
As I’ve written before, I often like to imagine a world without organized religion – it seems like it would be a much better place.
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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