For we live by faith, not by sight
Religion has been a part of humanity since the first astronomers peered into the sky and created elaborate stories to define the movements of our universe. It made its way into our minds as we fearfully created devils and demons to explain the danger lurking in the darkness of night. It has both enchanted and burdened us as we attempt to define our world with the information available to us as we work our way through history.
However, things are quickly changing. For a growing number of us worldwide, what was once indescribable is now easily explained by the vast data we have gathered as we work towards refining our understanding. We are becoming painfully aware that, although our religions gave us a starting place for thinking about how our world functions, they no longer serve us in that process; and in fact, have left a trail of destruction in their historic path.
Here are 11 ways religion is destroying humanity:
1.) The assumption of truth.
Most of our world’s major religions each assume that it is their faith alone that is the “absolute truth” and refuse to concede that those traditions may be mistaken. Instead, they discover ways to force conflicting information to adapt to their own doctrine; no matter how effective the evidence is at actually disproving the rationality of that particular religion.
Many religious adherents have no problem understanding the irrationality of others beliefs, but are unable to apply the same logic when observing their own doctrine. Instead, every effort is made to justify why it is their – and only their – religion that is void of any fault. If they were to observe their own faith with the same set of scrutinizing eyes that they see through when evaluating other’s faiths, they would understand what many of us have already concluded – all of our religious texts were written by people, not gods. They are the stories and traditions that we created in order to explain our world in the past.
For instance, the majority of Christians would agree that the idea of Mohammad riding a flying horse into the heavens is an impossible fairy-tale; while simultaneously, they are unable to see how their own story of a talking snake or a man living inside a fish for three days is also impossible. We know that horses can’t fly. They are not airborne animals, they are land animals. We know that snakes can’t speak – they lack the vocal cords to produce the sounds necessary for speech. We also know that the digestive mechanisms of the fish would make it impossible for a man to actually live (let alone breathe) inside of a fish for three days. These stories, some of them with deep and purposeful meanings, cannot be understood, let alone correctly interpreted for beneficial use, when they are assumed to be truth, rather than for the allegories that they are.
The problem with this is that by insisting that (an obviously fabricated story) is absolute truth, the opportunity of arriving at the actual truth is greatly diminished. It creates a world where stories are placed above reality and reality is never within reach. It creates a mental mindset in people that is driven by misinformation and then passed on to future generations where misguided concepts are perpetuated.
2.) The promise of reward.
The faith of many followers hinges on the idea that there is some reward for devotion to their deity. For the Islamic gentleman, it is a promise of virgins after death. For the Christian, it is a perfect place of infinite peace and comfort. For Hindus, it is escaping the grueling task of reincarnation; and for the Buddhist it is reaching Nirvana.
How many of these same enthusiasts would subscribe to their religion if there were not a reward for their commitment? Without a reward, the faith does not carry the same power to control its congregate. There must be a conclusion to every religious story – a reason for carrying the belief to its completion.
It’s not difficult to understand why this is necessary for the ongoing functioning of a religion. Human beings are rarely motivated to commit to anything without a reward for their commitment. We work diligently through school for the reward of a career and money. We work hard in our relationships for the reward of satisfying unity with other human beings. We work attentively on our goals for the gratification of living a purposeful, meaningful and accomplished life. We take time daily to exercise and eat healthy to maintain a fit and healthful body. We humans do everything to reap the rewards of doing that thing.