You Need To Consider The Possibility Your Religion Is Mythology

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

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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.

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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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207 COMMENTS

  1. Attacking the author does not invalidate the article.

    Any human being who has reached adulthood under ordinary circumstances has experienced religion. One does not need to immerse oneself in water to understand that it is wet.

    No one is arguing that a story that teaches a lesson is bad. As children learn the basics from adults. Later we learn from our peers. To truly understand things, we must discern what is hyperbole, exaggeration, sarcasm, and opinion. If we don’t do this, we cannot continue to learn as adults. We fall back on what we believe. We surround ourselves with people who believe as we do. We want people to believe as we do. We don’t question ourselves. We believe that everyone who is different is wrong.

    There are many things that we believe as children and take at face value that we question and laugh at as adults. Other than the basic behaviors and ethics common to ALL religions, philosophies, and moral codes upon which we all agree, why should we accept religion at face value without question?

  2. So basically, you wrote all that (with a “Dr” in your on screen name to give it a pretense of authority) only to say you believe in the god myth.

  3. Here in the United States of America, a lot of people consider themselves to be, or to worship as Christians. That's how I was raised at least. Within that category, most if not all religions are based on man-made premises, thoughts, and ideas. And, most if not all are very poorly designed. They don't understand scripture, and so they just make stuff up based on how much sleep they lost at night staying up trying to come up with something believable, and that can control the most people possible, preferably with large bank accounts, or even just willing to give their last penny and starve to death or tithe 10 percent, and try to get by without that 10 percent they need each and every month without having to beg for food, live on the streets, or in a car, or go on welfare.

  4. So that one moment painted an image so strongly that you accepted its wisdom and refuse to deny that your imagination had anything g to do with the experience and we all carry on. No one here has offered a real value of religion to humans and it is not the here after. It is the social order that is generated between people of common ideology. Whatever the calling humans require a team approach to lifes challenges. Without morals without community without common goals we would likely all end up like lemmings and throw ourselves off of cliffs.

  5. The problem with your reasoning is that you rely on the same untestable unproven claims that religion falls back on.

    Your argument basically boils down to “the only way you can know is through personal revelation, and until someone has had that revalation they cant know the truth”. There are multiple issues with this argument. Firstly you are unable to evidence it in anyway, but expect people to just accept it as fact. However you would not do the same in return. Most athiests have a religious upbringing, methodist in my case, 6 days a week in the school chapel, sunday school then church on a sunday. What is it but a personal revelation when you realise the reason none of the teachings make sense is because the whole religion is nonsense? Why is your unprovable revelation anymore valid than mine?

    Secondly as you have no way of proving you’ve had revelation how do we know you have? No offence but murders often claim god told them to do it, so even if you think you had a revelation you are unable to prove whether it was a visitation or somekind of psychotic breakdown.

    Finally, as an outsider looking in, someone who has dedicated as much of their life as you have to studying faith is unlikely to be unbias in what they hope to discover. Its a well known human trait that the longer someone believes in something and the more time they spend on it the less able they are to acknowledge the likelyhood of being incorrect, as that would mean facing uo to all the time wasted.

    I would suggest to have put the time into religion you have you must have felt there was something missing in your life that you hoped to be able to fill through faith? And im happy for you if it has. However whilst that may work for you on a personal level, it doesnt further the wider debate at all as it provides no factual information.

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