Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


FAITH/RELIGION AS CRUTCH - WARNING

THE BAD CRUTCH AND THE EVEN WORSE CRUTCH
 
Religion can be a crutch. Some people use it to delude themselves that life will be okay. Others use it to delude themselves that they will be okay despite their sins. Sinners use religion as a crutch in order to do evil and feel little or no guilt and to avoid the fear of being punished for sin.

Some believers don't see religion to them as a crutch but pretend they do to get protections from the patronising people who afford them rights and respect based on their religion being a crutch.
 
Violent people and terrorists create a scary environment for themselves. Yet they seem to think that the evil they create will never destroy them. And even if it does, a paradisiacal afterlife awaits. If you exact violence and facilitate it, you create danger for yourself. Even if they do not explicitly believe in God, they certainly think something supernatural is caring for them. Not all supernatural beliefs need be explicit. If it barks like a dog and walks like a dog then it is a dog.
 
The religious person who feels good from believing nonsense is in a bad though happy place. Using invalid arguments to convince people of the truth of religious doctrine might habituate them to bad reasoning habits in general. It is certainly an attempt to open them up to developing that bad habit. It is a kind of seduction and dishonest and is pure manipulation. It's bad medicine even if it cures something. The cure is a dodgy one and the risk of a the cure ending up as bad as the disease is always there. Here is an example of such a cure. It is people arguing that their children and others need religion to encourage them to be good and to survive life.
 
And it is disturbingly influential.
 
The main argument Catholics and other religionists use to promote their religion is that we need religious faith to deal with the trials of life. That is actually admitting that the atheists are right to see religion as a crutch. And for religion to be a crutch, it must necessarily be based on the manipulation of the vulnerable. Those who find it bewildering that something so superstitious and hypocritical as religion should have such respect in society to the degree that examining religion critically can be frowned upon have a right to be so bewildered. Religion is allowed a degree of duplicity that nothing else is.
 
Some people have a religious or existential angst that they cope with by believing in God and prayer or by following a religion. They think life is no good to them without them. In other words, they think all that matters is them. Getting out there to do good instead of dwelling on the problem is alien to them. They might use crutches and props to cope but the illness and suffering is still there. It is like inflicting a headache on yourself and using aspirin to deal with the symptoms.
 
THE DANGERS OF THE CRUTCH RELIGION
 
*Making a person feel good through errors and lies is actually cruel in itself. Truth is good in principle - it is not its job for it to suit us but us to suit it.

*Encouraging a person to use religion as a crutch is saying that that if they fall prey to some charlatan that is okay and if they give money to religious leaders who are really just taking advantage of them that is okay too. Paul is an example of a person who taught that if you believe in what he says you will get all you want from God. “Be not wise in your own eyes. God shall supply all your need.” Philippians 4:19.
 
*Encouraging people to use religion to lie to themselves and to create a crutch will influence and draw others into the same vicious circle.
 
*It risks making them less likely to labour for change - they can end up settled in their delusions.
 
*Real security comes from facing the truth and accepting it - what if you see through the lies and delusions fed to you in the name of comforting you? Real coping does not involve taking short-cuts but taking the right road relentlessly and starting again on the road should one wander from it.

*You won't throw yourself as forcefully into doing good if faith tells you that error is good when it comforts or if God lets people suffer terrible diseases for a good reason.
 
*Pain and suffering warn us that something is wrong and needs fixing. Using excuses to ease them is trying to blind people to what they are saying.
 
*People who encourage you to bury your pain with a crutch may give you short-term comfort but in the long term there will be dangerous and painful symptoms. Traumas buried deep will make themselves known in far-reaching symptoms.
 
*Religious comfort is based on the notion that evils such as suffering and depression are coordinated by God and do not happen at random. Though it is not a realistic thought, we like to imagine that nothing terrible will strike ourselves or our loved ones but that these things will happen to other people. This is blaming the victim. The victim has done something to deserve the evil things or the victim has made choices unwittingly which get in God's way which means God has to make her or him fit his good plan by sending bad things to her or him. The evil and suffering were directly or indirectly caused by something the person did or didn't do. The atheist who realises this has more right to claim to be offended by religion than religion has to claim that the atheist has offended it.

* If religion is a crutch, is it not more accurate to say that it is more complicated than that? There is no single crutch. It is crutches not crutch. The religious person uses several religious crutches. If you see the crutch as an intentional lie, think about how many lies are needed for the crutches! The crutch seekers pave the way for religious charlatans and expose others to the dangers.
 
* Miracles - signs from God - are presented by religion as proof that its unbelievable message is true. As they are signs, they make the message believable or do they? If historians found the miracles of the Bible God convincing - the fact remains that that God sanctioned the death penalty in one of its most barbaric forms against people who committed adultery or homosexuality or who were caught worshipping other gods. Jesus supposedly claimed to be God so he took responsibility for those evils if he did. The miracles are not about making you happy but about getting you to believe in divine evil and condone it and whitewash it. They are needed as a crutch to overcome your natural revulsion. Religion may say that those who say miracles are not believable are making a huge leap of faith to argue that because things normally happen a certain way, they can only happen that way. But surely if the evidence points to the existence of such a vile God we can conclude that the evidence is misleading?

* The notion that all religion is really good so that anything bad is not religion is ridiculous. It makes one religion as good as or as true as another. If a religion is not true, then it is opposed to what people should and need to believe. It is opposed - perhaps unintentionally - to what God wants people to believe. To suggest that all religions are equally good insults the victims of bad religion and enables bad religion to thrive. The notion that we all have our crutches and religion is a crutch enables the problem of religion too. We do not need a religious crutch and that is that - even if we are fond of crutches. If religious faith is a crutch that does not excuse it. The only right reason to belong to a religion is thinking it is true - and religion itself teaches that. The crutch is an abuse of religion.