Rebirth of Reason


Religious Faith Fails Its Followers
by Roger Smith

[Roger Smith generously granted me permission to post this article he circulated via e-mail under the pen name "Aggadhamma" to various atheists in his contacts list.  While I disagree with his praise for Buddhism as a "true religion," his valid points far outweigh his questionable ones.  Please take some time to review and comment for his benefit and yours.  --Luke Setzer]
Each of the three Abrahamic God-based religious faiths -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- at the most basic level acts as a rallying point, a power grouping. Historically, it was all about rallying tribes and whole regions of the Middle East around a book and having them declare faith in the teachings found therein; strength from unity. A whole population being all of one mind, united, results in a powerful force -- and those who direct and control this power benefit by becoming powerful, too.

Why these three religions first formed and how they evolved as a result of the needs of the time would be an interesting story.

What we do know is that a unified, rationalized Christianity was used to unify and strengthen the power of the Roman Empire after 325 CE. The order was given for all the army to convert; they could all fight as Christians under the Chi-Rho sign and the battle-cry was "Deus Summus Salvator!" -- God, the Highest Savior! -- as they battled with less united pagans.

The next few centuries saw the remaining pagans in the Roman Empire converted under duress. Most converted but many were killed, as of course, the book gives the instruction to kill: "Believe and Baptize or be Damned!" was the demonic cry. Temples were destroyed and inoffensive pagan priests and supporters were killed in the thousands all round the Mediterranean Sea.

Arab pagans, living outside the borders of the Empire, were vulnerable to slave-capturing raids and heretic hunts. They needed a similar religion to unite all Arabs in self defense. After about 300 years, by the time the Empire had been fully converted to Christianity -- and its power was being projected into the neighboring countries, Mohammed had all his visions, sighting, miracles and voices from God and Abraham all explaining what was needed.

People, as Muslims, could then rally around a central figure, take directions and fight for their own interests. They saw the success of the Empire where power and its fruits had come from unity. The new religion was formed.

This new religion was so successful that, as the Empire weakened and fell, they were able to conquer the whole of North Africa and eventually, even drive up into the heart of France in the west and march into the East of Slovakia and Hungary in the east and take possession until finally being driven out years later but keeping Turkey and Greece -- the old Ottoman Empire.  Their fighting fanaticism was even greater than the Christians until Christianity was challenged right in its heartlands! That was the Muslim response to the provocations of the Bible!

The three religions and their unity -- their fascism -- should be studied carefully to get an understanding of their real nature and how they operate at the level of the individual setting the confines of his environment.

These religions are about conformity -- conforming to the set of rules as given in the book on pain of punishment for default. The book is the word of God.  It states the will of God. To transgress these rules is a sin against God and invites his wrath. This comes in the form of your fellow countrymen led by priests.

Punishment of others, sinners, is central to the conformity and control. It is all about imposing control over people -- conform to the Book or be punished for being a sinner, one who is wicked and so someone to be attacked. Under Christianity and its colonial period these ideas and their associated moralities have been accepted or rather imposed, around the world and right up to this present day.  Some of it can be questioned as quite harmful, such as:
  • being bonded for life to one's spouse in a marriage blessed and sanctified by God is to defy human nature and has been a recipe for great misery for many; this matrimonial ceremony is performed just to conform.  Some do prosper, but hundreds of millions of Europeans have lived life while suffering immensely in this bond.
  • milking mothers cause stress in their sucklings by covering up; unnaturally it seems. Dress correctness and prudery rules but there is a price to pay in the child's self confidence and long term psychological make-up -- insecurity.
  • Colonial Christians passed laws and built jails where none had ever existed before. Christians administered the laws and the indigenes, being non-Christian, filled the jails! (ref. Sri Lanka)  Ha! Ha! What a joke!  Modern governments make laws: as time goes on, more laws are passed and jails become full to overflowing.
Buddhism, an old pagan religion, a true religion, teaches a good philosophy: observe the consequences of your own thoughts, words and actions; learn to control them. Everyone is exhorted to find success in overcoming his own defilements -- climb the Noble Path! Everyone is a traveler. The result is, not by coincidence, a maximizing of happiness in Buddhist countries, or rather a minimizing of unhappiness -- a goal worth striving for. Buddhist countries are noted for smiles -- the natural human condition.

So, really the big religions are useless for making this world a better place -- just good for coercing you to conform or for punishing you!

A Book-Driven Madness
These religions are like mental viruses too, infecting people and driving them mad!
  • the German thirty-years war (18M dead)
  • the slave trade (37M dead)
  • the Huguenots (5M dead)
  • Indians in North and South America (60M dead)
  • the fascist dictators in the Second World War (51M dead), a horrendous litany of wars and death, first in Europe, and then around the world!
There are plenty of examples now, today, of joint insanity and power in the world news!

It is the thought patterns, behavior, traditions as laid down by their religious culture and its way of thinking that is at fault.

"Religion, the Greatest Curse on Humanity"

Aggadhamma, September 2006
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