You Need To Consider The Possibility Your Religion Is Mythology

This post by Travis Haan originally appeared at The Wise Sloth.

There are at least 4,200 religions in the world today, and countless more have been lost to history. It’s obvious there’s a 0% chance all of them are the true word of God. Some thinkers have speculated that each religion is at least a little divinely inspired and holds a piece of the puzzle left to us by God to put together. But the only way to come to that conclusion is to ignore huge tracts of doctrine in each religion. Ultimately, none of them are compatible. If any religion is true, there’s only one.

This means at least over 6 billion people alive today believe in a religion that was written 100% by human beings and 0% dictated by the creator of the universe. A belief system written by human beings that has no bearing on the factual nature of reality is mythology. The cold, hard truth of reality is that the vast majority of the people alive today believe in mythology and dogmatically refuse to even consider the possibility that’s true. So if you believe in religion, there’s automatically a 99% chance you believe in mythology. If you refuse to question your beliefs, there’s no way for you to know if they’re true, which increases the chance that you believe in mythology to 99.9%. This number is increased to 99.99% if your religion contains any of the following:

1: Human sacrifices

2: Moral values that reflect the needs and wants of a specific primitive culture

3: Instructions to hurt, kill or look down on other people

4: Reasons to look down on yourself

5: A pyramid-shaped authority structure

6: Scientifically inaccurate statements

7: Magical beings, powers or events that no longer exist

Some people have speculated that it doesn’t matter what religion you believe in as long as you believe in something that gives you meaning, instructions and peace. But believing in something that isn’t real is the definition of insanity. It’s not okay to be insane just because you like it because it holds you and society back.

Believing in mythology is counterproductive if for no other reason than it’s a waste of time. It keeps you busy going through meaningless motions while ignoring real world issues that have real consequences to you and the rest of mankind. Your life and everyone else’s would be improved by you focusing on real problems.

To this, you might reply, “But how can we know how to live without religion?” Remember that most of the world doesn’t believe in religion; they believe in mythology. So the real question is, “How can we know how to live without mythology?” If mythology is just a belief system made up by humans, and you’ve spent your whole life living according to those rules, you already know the answer. We can make up our own ethics, and in fact, that’s what we’ve been doing all along. We just haven’t been honest with ourselves about it. If taking personal responsibility for your own ethics sounds scary or haphazard, consider that mythologies can contain horrible rules that can lead you to hurt yourself or others, which makes it all the more imperative you question your beliefs.

This is especially true if you absolutely insist on believing one of our religions is the divine truth. Everyone wants to believe that their religion is the right one, but at least 6 billion people are dead wrong in their faith. Statistically, you’re probably one of them. The only way you or anyone else can find the right religion is to scrutinize yours objectively. This may sound like heresy, but it’s probably not a coincidence that you were created with the capacity for reason, skepticism, doubt, and logic. For the billions of people who believe in mythology, it’s a necessity. If your religion can stand the test of truth, there’s no danger in putting yours to it. If your religion can’t stand the test of truth, objectivity is the only way you’ll ever free yourself.

Your quest for truth isn’t just about you. Most religions encourage you to convert nonbelievers, and even without actively proselytizing on the street corner, you passively send out the message that people should join your faith just by living according to it. If you believe in one of the religions that are mythology, you’re leading unwitting victims into a trap. If enough people in one area buy into mythology, one way or another, their beliefs are going to determine social norms and even laws. This has a harsh real-world impact on people who don’t believe in that particular brand of mythology. Another danger of spreading mythology is that some people will inevitably latch onto the most violent, oppressive, absurd rules within that belief system and use them to justifying hurting other people. So before you go spreading the good word, it’s imperative that you make sure it passes the most rigorous test of truth, not just for your sake but for all of ours.

Reprinted with permission from the author.

Travis Haan is the editor of The Wise Sloth blog. The Wise Sloth contains editorial, philosophical, instructional, inspirational and satirical posts in the form of essays, lists, comics, and fiction, which tend to be irreverent, humorous and controversial.

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21 COMMENTS

  1. Wrong presumption!

    We need to force them into the courts to prove their claims of gods or the default is that their beliefs are LIES!!

  2. In the middle video, the dark haired guy next to the dark haired woman talking about morality (the one just before NgT)…can someone point me to the original video and tell me who that is? TIA.

  3. YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE THREE VIEDOS ABOVE SIMOLTANEOUSLY (at the same time) FOR A CLEAR UNDERSTAND OF WHAT RELIGION IS ALL ABOUT!

  4. Actually, that would be so WRONG. Fist of all, Religion is fabricated according to an agenda. Ancient myths were merely representations of things that ARE (and I'm not talking about the romantique versions we know! For exemple, latter Greek mythology shows a pantheon with vertical hierarchy. That alone shows it has been tampered with, for no "god" is permanent, in early Indo-European myths, or above another). Giving religion the same status than Myths would make it charming or harmless, but it is not! Ancient myths served 3 purpose: 1. explaining by means of oral traditions (mnemonic epic poems) the cycles and forces of nature kinda like an intuitive science – 2. Helping mankind to live WITH nature, to include their activities WITHIN the natural cycles – 3. To let people seek their own identity from INSIDE themselves and WITHIN nature, as to live in harmony (understanding that harmony, in nature, implies acts what we'd perceive today as violence). Monotheist religions were constructed upon appropriations and alterations of those ancient myths as to allow a centralization of the power. It came with excessive sédentarisation and colonisation, and with money (putting a monetary value on life, and mass slavery + economy OVER life), allowing the exploitation of life. They put mankind ABOVE and OUTSIDE nature but UNDER God (vertical hierarchy instead of cycles). In order to do so, they had to subjugate the intuitive thought and replace it by a cerebral thought (which is easier to manipulate), thus the necessity to subdue or pervert the feminine and the childlike. Furthermore, they perverted every mean of self-knowledge, discovery of a sense of purpose and autonomy with the notion of sin and worthiness, by the need for a savior, replacing awareness or intuition by an outside conditional source (such as the holy spirit) and conscience by a moral. Treating religion as mythology is insulting and offensive for the wisdom contained in ancient myths, and clearly displays insensitivity and ignorance. It would give religions another go at discrediting ancient wisdom. Pathetic, really… Sad to forget how wise we were yet humble, before our perceptions and thoughts were reduced to our brain functions as our debility swell to the size of our inflated ego. Hence the blind, deaf and mindless sheep that see ancient knowledge as tales for children or primitive caveman fancies while relying on moral principles, technology and declining neurons to keep destroying every single specks of Life on the planet! Religion is the opposite of consciousness. Don't call it a Myth !

  5. The primary way belief systems survive is to scare the crap out of children! Prior to approx age 8 ,if one implants the mythology of choice ,along with fear and hate of the other,those concepts will survive for the rest of their lives!! All religions are the product of intelligent men who want to control the lives of others( he who others survives best) ,and not have work for a living!

  6. There is always a grain of truth in mythology. Recently skeletons of a race of giants was found.the Nephilim. They were thought to be just a story,a myth. Mormons base their religion on golden tablets that were never found.I love science.so I like to have facts. The ark of the covenant was found.so was noahs.ark. But I still believe the bible was written by men.who translated what Jesus told them. To control others mainly women.??

    • Ummm… neither ark has ever been found in any scientifically verifiable sense, and the bones of the “Nephilim” were from dinosaurs, not large humanoids.

    • Nephilim – not found – no evidence exists
      Ark of the Covenant – not found – no evidence exists
      Noah’s Ark – not found – not possible that the flood story was true, so no ark ever existed

      You need to do a more thorough vetting of your information sources.

  7. If Christianity is a myth it is a very good myth because it preaches love peace forgiveness and purity! Now if anyone is againest such a myth for any reason that person is an agent destruction!

    • rubbish. I suggest you start reading your bible. Maybe your pastor doesn't want you to read it alone lest you discover verses that he/she doesn't preach in church. If you read the bible you will see that it's a morally bankrupt book.

    • Yeah, but thousands, if not millions, were killed in the name of Christianity due to the Crusades and Inquisition. And don’t forget all the Native Americans who were enslaved and killed/died building the Spanish missions in the 1500s & 1600s. It doesn’t sound like a peaceful and loving religion to me!!

  8. “probably not a coincidence that you were created with the capacity for reason, skepticism, doubt, and logic.” created you say? What myth is that?

  9. It is so comforting to put my faith in the scrutiny of science. I bet everything science considers true today will be true in 500 years just like everything from the renaissance has stood the test of time. Arrogance is certainly not limited to religion.

  10. Mankind has a yearning for answers, to understand what is, what was and what will be. Religion provides answers for the unanswerable, sort of the ultimate cosmic trump card. It is based on faith, with faith being belief without evidence. Hence it has the same logic and basis as mythology, one ounce of history and 100 pounds of nothing

  11. Guess what…all religions are mythology. Period. Not a single religion is based on anything else. So, for those of you just finding this out, welcome to the party.

  12. A nod to Jake above from an atheist, here. Science has become it's own religion. Accidentally, I think. I don't think the principles of science are wrong in the least, I just see a lot of people waving torches shouting, "SCIENCE!" while forgetting that half of what science knows now will be wrong in ten years. The first principle of science is that our knowledge is forever incomplete.
    Did the main religions became religions accidentally? Who knows for the ancient ones? The modern ones, it's almost certainly deliberate. I'm thinking of Scientology, Mormonism..
    I think that our modern take on religion is very different than the ancient take. I think it was a lot more voluntary and a lot less demanding, and that it might have served humanity better in this way. As a cultural, tribal function. A matter of identity rather than a framework for reality.
    Certainly you could be a believer and devout in the ancient world, but in a pantheon there's plenty of room for other takes as well, b/c a devout follower of Hermes would identify with your distaste for Zeus and vice versa.. And there's lots of room in a pantheon to appreciate the stories without the burden of believing that they are actually real, or to discount it all together.
    I think monotheism has reduced us to thinking of the world in binary terms: is, or is not. And, I don't think that serves us well in this world of might be, or should be, or could be.
    In any case, I'm raising my child with the attitude that I truly believe many of our progenitors carried: the Gods are like Santa Clause.. cultural stories that help us connect with each other. But, don't wait for Santa Clause to act on your behalf. It's a fun story, and you're going to get a present from "Santa Clause", but really that's me.
    So far, she's shaping up to be a very insightful person.

  13. That may be what it teaches but in reality most christians act with violence, contempt, insensitivity, brutality and worse. Many use the myths to support their use of power. In order for humanity to progress to its next stage of development these myths must be discarded.

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