A friend of mine is from Indonesia but resides here in the States. He lives in mortal fear that his brothers will kill him. Because their religion teaches them to. More about that in a moment…
In this series of posts, I’m making the case why I believe organized religion is harmful, and the most powerful anti-prosperity force on earth. I’d like to restate once again, my motivation for writing these is not because I’m a militant atheist on a mission to convert people to atheism. Far from it. I have many friends of faith and hope that it brings them peace and comfort in this difficult journey we call life on earth. And since we’re now in Yom Kippur, allow me to wish my many Jewish friends a blessed and meaningful one. The sole objective of these posts is to cause you to question if the religious beliefs and programming you have adopted are serving you, or keeping you from a greater prosperity.
In part one, we looked at how organized religion requires you to believe in irrational superstitions, forsake your critical thinking abilities, and abandon your self-determination. Now let’s explore the second reason…
Organized religion fosters fear, judgement, hate, and intolerance.
There are not many behaviors more anti-prosperity than fear, judgement, hate, and intolerance. But these seem to be basic tenets of an alarming number of religions today.
Let’s start with fear, and so many people’s pride in announcing they are a “God-fearing” man or woman. What kind of god would actually want you to fear it? Does that really seem prosperous and spiritual to you? Which takes me back to my friend...
We were eating lunch when he told me the story of why he emigrated here. He’s gay, and told me that if his family discovers this, his brothers or his father will murder him. Of course I was aware of the Muslim prejudice and persecution of non-heterosexuals, but to hear that his own family would kill him shocked me to my core.
“Don’t they love you?” I wanted to know.
“Of course they do,” he replied, “And I love them. But the religious law is strict. They would be required to kill me to protect the reputation and safety of the rest of the family.”
Think about the magnitude of that. People will kill someone they love, because of the religious programming they’ve received, and believe they are doing god’s work. This is unfathomable evil.
Of course Islam is not alone in their judgement and persecution of non-heterosexuals. Christianity creates a lot of fear, hate, judgment, and intolerance as well. Two of the most influential Christian leaders in America for decades were Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. In 1998 Robertson suggested god might decide to send hurricanes and a hellfire of lightning bolts to destroy Walt Disney World for allowing a “Gay Days” celebration to happen at their theme park. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, both Robertson and Falwell suggested that the attacks were the wrath of god against "pagans, abortionists, gays, lesbians, [and] the American Civil Liberties Union." Imagine suggesting such a thing and having people consider you a holy person.
Millions of people followed these men, believing that hate and intolerance are spiritual values. Another case in point is Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States. He’s long been outspoken against homosexuality and even promoted conversion therapy. And he’s a hero of the evangelicals for it.
Here’s something that might shock you. I don’t think Robertson, Pence or the late Falwell were evil men. Similar to what I wrote in this post about the beloved Pope, John Paul II. By all accounts, he was a well-meaning and deeply committed man. Like the Pope, I believe Robertson, Pence and Falwell actually believe what they did or are doing is god’s work and helping the greater good.
But their beliefs and actions are profoundly evil. And because of them, people are being discriminated against, persecuted, and even being murdered.
Like the Muslim leaders, these paragons of Christianity are scientifically illiterate about gender and sexuality. All the hate, judgment and discrimination they directed against non-heterosexuals is actually based on a completely and totally erroneous understanding of the subject. (If you’re interested in the actual, you know, science, of gender and sexuality, read this post.)
Their ignorance is innocent, but the fear, judgement, hate and intolerance they promote is guilty of crimes against humanity. LGBTQ kids are committing suicide, and getting bullied, attacked, and killed. Homosexuals are losing their jobs, imprisoned, or being thrown off rooftops – because religious believers are brainwashed with bad science. The fact that scientifically illiterate people like Mike Pence could hold such positions of power speaks to my point in yesterday’s post, how religion brainwashes people into behaving in irrational, illogical or insane ways. Even intelligent, educated people become irrational and ignorant, because they lose their capacity for independent, critical thinking.
Believers aren't just persecuting, denying rights and killing non-believers. They also feel mandated by god to go after those who have different dogma than they do…
Sunnis and Shiites differ on who should have succeeded Muhammad after his death and they’re slaughtering each other over it. ISIS keeps it simpler, wanting to form a caliphate and kill everyone else. I fear the Kurds in Syria are facing genocide as you are reading this now. Evangelical christians bomb medical offices where doctors perform abortions because they believe Jesus wants them to. Missouri Governor Lilburn William Boggs, a good god-fearing Christian if ever there was one, signed an executive order in 1838 declaring that Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State.
Followers of organized religion practice this hate, live in this fear of others, fester intolerance, and commit all these atrocities in the name of god. They believe this is good and spiritual, and likely to earn them favor in the afterlife.
How can anyone think this is transcendent, godly, or prosperous?
In most cases it's because of the religious beliefs they were indoctrinated with during their childhood. Or after being radicalized by people who were indoctrinated with these beliefs during their own childhood.
We need a cure for religion.
In the next post, we’ll explore another of the harmful results of organized religion: the low self-esteem and worthiness issues it fosters. Before then, I would love to see your thoughts below.