I have become convinced that nothing has harmed humanity more than religion.
This is unrelated to whether you believe in a god.
This is all about the organizations and individuals taking advantage of you if you do.
This is particularly evident in the United States right now. Religious extremism is running rampant, threatening our government and way of life, hurting people right and left, all in the name of a god.
Basic human rights and dignity are being denied because of the actions and beliefs of a few zealots who have wrangled some kind of control.
The hypocrisy is so strong.
They cherry-pick what’s written in their sacred books to make declarations of what’s right or wrong, what’s allowed or not, all while ignoring other passages in those same books because those would affect them personally or be otherwise inconvenient. (Not to mention those religious leaders themselves blatantly caught violating their own rules.)
Honestly, though, it’s nothing new. I just thought we were past it.
My sense is that religion causes and has caused obscene amounts of death and suffering by its attempt to impose moral order using coercion, force, law, or whatever other tactics are available. It started with shamans casting out the “different” from ancient tribes to the pulpit pillorying of those who dare to be “different” today.
Religious crusades and jihads have been frequent and devastating throughout history. But politicians have been more than ready — eager, even — to hop on the bandwagon and leverage the passion behind religious organizations to further their own, typically non-religious, aims. The result? Dictatorships. War. Holocausts.
It happens at the individual level as well.
If someone can further their own goals by aligning with and pandering to a group of people that feel under-served, then suddenly they become one of them. They present issues in a religious context, religious leaders fall in line, and the cycle begins. A religious minority gains control and begins enforcing their beliefs on others, often at significant cost, including, but certainly not limited to, the lives of those “others”.
If your religion allows for, and even encourages, the killing of others for any reason (like, say, non-believers or rule-breakers), you need a better religion.
The god you believe in would abhor those actions.
For God’s sake, be better.