Organized Religion is perhaps the longest surviving institution in human history. But in its entirety, it is just that – very very old. It so old and out of touch with modern day human society that there is a definite case to end it completely. People, perhaps, do not need religion. They have never lived without one before and hence, do not know how beautiful and fulfilling a religuless life could be.
But if religion has survived so long, there must have been something really great about it.
So why no to a religion?
The premise of a religion
The fallacy of religion starts with its premise. The primary purpose for religion to come into existence, may be, was to lead a person to the path of salvation. Some thousands of years ago bunch of our ancestors were fishing on the river bank when one of them came up with very intriguing questions like who are we, where do we come from, where do we go from here? Well, this set the crystal ball rolling and religion came into existence exactly to answer the questions about meaning and purpose of life. Now some of you heretics might ask what was the need to speculate over such worthless stuffed questions when you are indulged in something as relaxing as fishing, but at that time they thought it’s just not enough to know that everybody comes out of you-know-from-where, it is equally important to know how do you get in there in first place.
I don’t have so much of a problem with asking such questions. But the method religion used to answer these questions was highly questionable. Religion did exactly what religious and spiritual thugs are good at. Since religion did not know the answers, religion made the stuff up. So folks, this is how the religion began – as a giant lie that many people decided to believe in. Ever since, religion is running its con shop for thousands of years now. The premise of religion is a giant lie and religion has prospered so far fooling people with false promises and forcing its version of morality on masses, choking the voice of reason and doubt.
Hence, the first question we need to ask ourselves is, should we continue to let superstition and ignorance called religion inhabit the world at such a large scale just because many people believe it to be true? or should we work towards dispelling the myths and lead the humanity towards more rational and truthful society? Are we going to let the world believe earth is flat because it offends them if you say it isn’t?
The dogmatic foundation of every religion, in itself, is reason enough to say NO to religion.
The promise of a religion
Nothing impedes growth as much as living in the state of denial. Here I guess I should concede that perhaps religion, by way of its false promise of better afterlife and special personal attention of god, relieves people of their pain and suffering. But wait a minute, really?
Imagine a man who is sick of his painful life, tiresome daily travel to work, nagging family, annoying neighbors, hard struggle for mere existence. When he feels stifled, in search of some breathing space he turns to the temple. In his service to the god, he starts getting personal satisfaction. With the constant love-bombing of fellow temple goers, he feels like coming to life again. His religion makes him happy, no? So what’s going on here? This is typically how a painkiller medicine works on our body. Denial of pain is not eradicating pain, relief is very effective but very temporary. A person will be much better of living in reality and fighting his way out of it, than accepting his defeat and turning to god in state of denial. At least his continuous struggle to break free will lead him in the quest of better life helping his individual growth and collective growth of the entire society. Instead of turning to temple, if he gathers bit of a courage to listen to what his heart really wants, to discover new hobbies, to make new friends, to learn to enjoy the small things in life, he will live more fulfilled life. Struggle for existence can be painful, but results last forever. Denial relieves you of pain immediately, but only temporarily.
When people don’t turn to god to forget about their pain, they do it for unjustified material desires. It comes from the belief that god answers the prayers, which is other way of saying that god is partial and you get even the things that you do no deserve only if you pray. You don’t have to stand in the queue like other ordinary people, your application will be fast-tracked for your special association with god.
Religion, by way of its false promises, either makes people lazy or makes them lame.
The place of a religion in modern society
Many of us wouldn’t care a least bit about a religion, if it wasn’t for this reason. A religion is increasingly becoming the source of hatred and violence and taxing society at every nook and corner. In modern society, where people of different religions live together in the community, a cut-throat (literally) competition develops between their religious beliefs to overpower each other. Increasingly religion has become the source of social tension. Any religion, by way of its preachings, breeds a society which considers itself far superior to the other religions. Religion inculcates the notion that killing is okay when it is done to establish the rule of a particular religion or its culture. In past, various religions have incited rampant human rights violations and moreover, the criminal does not even feel guilty of his actions. Religion not only makes people do wrong things, it also makes them feel proud about it.
As American physicist Steven Weinberg said,
“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
I think it is time for us humans to be Homo Sapiens again. It’s been a while now we have been calling ourselves by various identities like Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, American, British, Indian, Asian, Euporean, African and what not.
So sayeth the Humanist …