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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176 COMMENTS

  1. Regardless of where you stand on the religion issue, this writer’s article is nothing but opinion, grounded in his own personal disdain for theocracy. Nowhere does he cite any backing for his claims. He contradicts himself in acknowledging we are “created” beings with the ability to think and reason. We create our own ethics? Good luck. Bless this guy.

    • 99% people believing into mythology is a fact not an option, when he says we are created he is trying to appeal on belief from believers standpoint (even if we are created, why would you give a being ability to reason, is his point). If only one religion is true, therefore 99% of the people in other religions are therefore believers in mythology, very simple logic. His question is how do you know that yours is correct one, everyone else has exactly the sense of certainty about their religion as you have, it makes more sense to put it to the test and if you prove it to be wrong it will only set you free from life in deception. Love the article btw. Huge thumbs up.

      • 99% really time to check world population and what they believe a simple google will show you this article is based on opinions and no facts

    • “Created” is just another example of how religion has flavoured our language and culture. He can’t really say that we are born with the ability to reason and use logic. These things need to be taught like other skills. But we are born with the future capacity to use reason and logic.
      It is true that geography plays a good part of what religion you follow. So any religion that says theirs is the only and correct one has to be validated with proof. And we’ve not seen that yet. (Please don’t use the bible to prove god. that’s so obviously absurd.)

    • @Alex Elkin

      Isn’t it ironic that you said that he does not cite anything to back his claim or stance and yet no religious scripture cites anything to back their claims and people still accept it on no more than blind faith?

  2. 99% people believing into mythology is a fact not an option, when he says we are created he is trying to appeal on belief from believers standpoint (even if we are created, why would you give a being ability to reason, is his point). If only one religion is true, therefore 99% of the people in other religions are therefore believers in mythology, very simple logic. His question is how do you know that yours is correct one, everyone else has exactly the sense of certainty about their religion as you have, it makes more sense to put it to the test and if you prove it to be wrong it will only set you free from life in deception. Love the article btw. Huge thumbs up.

  3. Despite what anyone says we must ALWAYS REMEMBER that “religion” was CREATED BY MAN….Spirituality applies to ANYONE who has an intuition and is born knowing, naturally, the difference between right and wrong or good and bad.

    • No one is born with innate sense of knowing. Belief yes, but not knowing. We know through trial and error. Only then do we know for certain. We “know” that we must breathe but what we don’t know what exactly we should breathe. The same thing can be said for drinking and eating. But is that really knowing or more of an involuntary response while we seek out resources?

      Good, bad, right, wrong, are all subjective based on societal constructs or norms that can change at a moments notice.

  4. God created us but he did not abandon us. He gave us free moral choice and brain power to learn create and discover Gods handwork. He gave us general rules then left it up to us to make our way. Closest word-picture that goes part way to describe is the loving parent image that stands back as children leave home, and have children of their own. There are limits to parental intervention but love is always there. It’s up to us to stay in relationship with a loving God. Forgiveness has already been given if we ask for it, then actively repent, then choose to live within the boundaries of the love of the Holy Spirit. Gods love for us should inspire faith in our heart, which the is the energy and wisdom to engage a wicked world.

  5. A loving god would never put a tree with forbidden fruit in the middle of the garden and tell them not to eat it AND allow someone who would convince them otherwise to enter or talk to them. A loving parent wouldn’t let millions of his children suffer in death and disease. (And it’s sheer arrogance if you believes a god answers your prayers and ignore the urgency of theirs) A loving father wouldn’t commit genocide by drowning the world. Belief and faith are poor excuses for bad behaviour in any religion.

  6. It's okay too take this point of view, but that doesn't make it true, though "rational." The theory that evil spirits we're emitted by yawns and sneezes is certainly not the whole factual reality but is also not strictly "false." With mythology , the stories are narratives to illustrates metaphorical truth. As many theologians have said for centuries, if not millennia, literalism is not what what real religion is about. More problematically, taking the view that rationalism is somehow truer than narrative mythology can produce a culture devoid of morality that accepts inhumane attitudes and values as rationally justified in a sociopathic mindset.

    Of course we need reason, but there is no absolute foundation to show what "truth" is without emotion and experience. Facilely argued logic is no more true than skillfully narrated myth. In fact, myth serves important psychosocial and cultural functions which science and reason do not and cannot. Religion principally serves the purpose of binding together communities with common values and practices. Deciding that's wrong simply because it may be based on faith is actually itself irrational and unjustified. On an empirical basis, one needs to compare actual alternative strategies, not theoretical ones.

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