Many see religion as I once did, as a pathway to spiritual harmony and enlightenment. And to be fair, millions of people are attempting to navigate this path with varying degrees of success. Individuals like the Dali Lama, Jack Kornfield, Marianne Williamson, and the late Robert Schuller and Mother Teresa all impress me as spiritual beings working for the greater good. (Some of the most grievous and despicable injustices in history were committed by Catholic Popes. But I would count the current occupant of the Vatican one of the good people pursuing spiritual enlightenment.) We mustn’t discount the social welfare programs, relief efforts after natural disasters, and other charitable work that is constantly being done by followers of organized religion. I have no desire to minimize this work, and hope we celebrate it.
I just believe the hate, fear, discrimination, intolerance, murders, atrocities, and wars generated by – and let's be honest here, required by – organized religion, negates the good and takes us into the loss column. Most religions promote themselves as peaceful movements, with objectives and identity that appears noble and beneficial, but actually deliver results which are evil and harmful.
By the way, I am not going to revisit the Crusades, Inquisition, the sectarian violence in the Middle East, and other atrocities committed by religion that were responsible for the deaths of literally millions of people. Admittedly, it seems ludicrous to not go into these episodes when discussing the evils of religion. It seems akin to saying, “Other than that Mrs. Kennedy, what did you think of the parade?” But I feel that discussion is counterproductive and takes the focus off of the ongoing harm religion is doing in the world today. It’s also been my experience that most believers today suffer from the same level of thinking as those at the time these were committed. They shrug those atrocities off as past mistakes that wouldn’t be repeated, or actually believe they were justified, because the victims were non-believers, or believers in a different god than theirs.
And to be fair, millions of people are murdered because of their religion. The Nazi holocaust against the Jews, and what China is doing to the Muslim Uyghurs as you read this, show that humans are capable of unspeakable evil, even when they are not under the influence of a manipulative religion or cult.
So for those reasons, we won’t look further at the holy wars and other mass murderous behavior of organized religion, simply look at how evil and harmful they are in your everyday life.
Why is organized religion anti-prosperity? Let us count the ways. We’ll explore number one in this post, and the rest in the follow up ones.
Organized religion requires you to believe in irrational superstitions, forsake your critical thinking abilities, and abandon your self-determination.
Essentially most religions today operate as mind control cults, ministering to their armies of eager volunteers. These believers choose to forgo rationality and logic to believe in superstition, in the hopes of a heavenly reward. The Greeks thought Artemis was the virgin goddess of the hunt, although she later was promoted to the moon goddess. The Romans had a counterpart in Diana. The Greeks believed Poseidon was god of the seas, while the Romans worshiped Neptune for all things saltwater. When it comes to the head-honcho deities, the Greeks went with Zeus, while the Romans genuflected to his counterpart Jupiter.
Over the centuries, as people became wiser and science helped unfold some of the mysteries of the universe, these beliefs faded away, becoming the grist of folklore, superstition, and fodder for superhero movie scripts.
For most (but not all) people today, we look back on these myths, thinking they are quaint, and wondering how people could hold such illogical, irrational, and outlandish beliefs. Yet at least four or five billion people alive today have adopted newer versions of illogical, irrational, and outlandish beliefs. These replacement beliefs are just as bizarre and no less implausible. Yet these people are convinced that their own beliefs are historical facts, and everyone else’s beliefs are crazy delusions.
So we have Mormons who think their magic underwear protects them from evil, Christians certain that Noah brought dinosaurs on the ark, Hindus who believe Indra was born fully grown from his mother’s side, Scientologists who imagine they are extraterrestrials from a previous lifetime, and Jewish Rabbis who fly on airplanes sealed in a hefty bag because the flight path goes over a cemetery.
Certainly no rational person would grow up and believe such outlandish things on their own. It can only happen if they are brainwashed with mind viruses. And the particular mind viruses they are exposed and fall prey to depends almost entirely on the location of the hospital they were born in.
Most of these beliefs are quaint superstitions like the Stone Age ones. You may think that these are just harmless personal beliefs, and if they console people and help them process traumatic events like the death of a loved one, or a bad medical diagnosis, they serve a beneficial purpose to society. But now we have to seriously question that assumption. Organized religion has inadvertently led people away from the critical thinking necessary to create meaningful lives.
And the ripple effects of outsourcing your critical thinking to a cult has drastic and far-reaching consequences…
Organized religion suggests that there are simple easy “truths,” and they program those truths into children at an early age. (An example would be the stories in Christianity around Jesus and the manger, the three wise men, etc.) Then there are the unknown, mysterious things that cannot be explained, because only god knows. (Why a quarter of a million people die in a tsunami, why kids get cancer, why the prayers of the Minnesota Twins fans to beat the Yankees weren’t answered, etc.) So we have the easy truths and the unknowable ones. Then things fall off a cliff.
Because what’s left is the doctrines and dogma, which must never be questioned if you’re a good Christian, Muslim, Jew, etc. This is the basis of all cult control. Most of these doctrines and dogma are sky god superstitions, requiring the person believing them to disengage their curiosity, critical thinking and rationality. Hardly a good formula to discover meaning and live a prosperous life.
People today are losing their ability to think and replacing it with processing what others tell them to think. The result of this affects every major decision you make in life.
Who you marry, if you marry, whether you get divorced, what college you go to or don’t, what jobs you take or don’t, whether you save, plan for retirement, and whether you go into debt and what for.
As I said in a previous post, to believe the outlandish stories most of these religions propagate requires you be somewhere on the scale between irrational and psychologically disordered. And the decisions above are not ones that should be made by people in such a state.
People in these states are malleable puppets, easily and frequently manipulated into doing things against their self-interest. They eat a diet of manufactured substances, lacking in nutrients instead of real food, drink six or eight poisonous diet sodas a day, trade in a car they are upside down on, buy new furniture with no payments until 2022, desperately seek status with phony posts on Instagram, and attempt to signal wealth they don’t have with a home they can’t afford.
They deny their sexuality or repress their natural sexual appetite. They vote for evil people who steal their liberty, prosperity, and self-respect. They stay in jobs they hate and work with people they despise. They have empty, meaningless relationships because they’re afraid to speak or hear truth, dealing only with things people want to hear.
They do all of these things in a desperate attempt to appear normal and fit in with the herd. Even worse, they do all of this subconsciously or unconsciously, because they’ve been programmed by mind viruses and other limiting beliefs, and given away their ability to think for themselves. And most insidiously, they are easily manipulated to harm or even kill others, all in the name of god. Which leads us to second way religion is anti-prosperity:
Organized religion fosters judgement, hate, and intolerance.
And that’s where we’ll pick up the discussion on the next post. Until then, please share your thoughts below.