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?

Patrick H
Gormley


A label is man-made and don't let anybody force it on you unless it truly describes you. It is degrading what they are doing to you. 

Religious labellers, in and out of the religion, are trying to box in and define others which is a form of oppression and control. The end result is that the label ends up so nebulous that it is good for nothing. To call somebody as bad as the Devil or Herod a Christian or child of God is too expansive so that the term loses all religious and social importance and becomes a mere word.  Yet a mere word can be destructive and an idol.

You need to see the evil done by others in your species as a sign of what evil is possible for the human species of which you are a part. You need to see the evil done by others in your group as a sign of what evil is possible for the human species when it organises into a group like the one of which you are a part. So the evil of others is in some way your problem and at the very least you must take action against that evil. Refusing to take any responsibility or accept that you are in some way linked to the evil and it to you is a denial of what you are. It is paradoxically a form of objectifying. You deny what you are in order to glorify a group or religion or whatever. Religion seeks glory more than anything else does so it is the worst offender especially as it worries more about labelling than anything else. Without sticking nominal labels on people as much as it can, religion would only be the fifth of the size it is.  The religion by getting you to become an object in that way is not respecting you and at least you know why religions tend to persecute their own as much as outsiders. Objectification is a form of violence and gives more power to violence.

Religious identity down to labelling

We as a matter of principle and because of our intuition we cannot bear being criticised when we are challenged or despised or condemned for something we cannot change about ourselves such as our eye colour. Religion likes to portray members as permanent members as a control tactic. The reward for the religion is when the member cannot tolerate any criticism of the religion. That is what the religion is trying to achieve by infecting the whole culture.  The more addicts to the label the more power for the religion.

The dark side of defining

Each person defines herself or himself. Too many let others define them but that means nothing for you know you best.  An imposed definition is not a definition.  Nobody can define you.  You cannot define custard as tea - so an imposed definition is worthless and if it matches the right definition that is not because of any merit in imposing definitions but down to luck.  Imposing definitions is inherently disrespectful.

How does one define oneself in the world?

First is it in terms of what you think/believe or like?

Second or in terms of what you do not think/believe or like?

In fact you will try to make it the first but you are wrong. To accept anything is to reject everything that is contrary to it. And there is only one possibility accepted out of many perhaps countless ones. So you are more defined by what you reject (or ignore or consider unimportant which are rejection in a sense) than by what you accept.

Don't confuse dehumanising with objectifying

Dehumanising does not necessarily entail seeing other people as objects.  A husband who cheats on his wife is treating her as unimportant but if she finds out he will feel terrible.  It is a person he has hurt.  Dehumanising can mean treating a person as an object not seeing them as one.

Can you really hate a dinner or a dog or a concept the way you hate human beings? No. In fact you just dislike those things intensely but your feelings towards people who see as a threat to you are more than just that. Proper hate only happens between human beings. Thus dehumanising does not mean you really see the other people as objects but that you make yourself think of them as objects meaning you know deep down they are not. It is because part of you knows they are human that you can hate them. To treat them as objects and get into the habit of looking at them as if they are you need to label them. Bad is a label. Toxic is a label. Satanic is a label. And there are religious labels. A label is fine if it is true and not based on stereotyping. It is stereotyping to call everybody put through the Catholic system and still in it a Catholic. Whether they are really Catholic any more you need to see inside them.  Their faith is their core so if it is not Catholic then they are not essentially Catholic.

To objectify a person is a summary of many objectifications. It means you are turning their happiness into a stone cold thing, and their sadness, and their sense of identity, and their abilities and qualities and finally their value is turned into nothing. The value may be turned into a word so that you say all the right things. You are never more objectified than when people donít value you but talk as if they do.

Sacraments of initiation

 

Catholicism puts a label on the children it baptises.  They are called Catholics and treated as Catholics from that time on.  The rite supposedly removes the tendency to sin and forgives original sin.  A rite that gives membership and no detectable changes to the person or their soul is just an excuse for sticking a label on. Catholicism is sectarian because it labels and that label has had terrible consequences for vulnerable Catholics and people who were not baptised as Catholics.

A label for the sake of a label is a bad thing. A label that is applied for reasons nobody can test is the worst of these. What if a new political entity comes along and says that some God initiated all who ate turkey last Christmas into his family and Church even though they donít know it? It is obvious that they are trying to make those people labeled and thus somehow less than human. Religious labellers like to say their labels make you more human but that accuses those without the label of being less than human. And they would say they make you more human anyway.

Abandon the religious label to gain real respect
 
A religion's faith determines how it sees and values you. So if a religion is wrong it is valuing its idea of you and not you. Consider Roman Catholicism. This religion does not treat you and approach you as a person but as a child of a God who exercises his authority in and through the Catholic Church, his only true and authorised religion. The atheist treats you as you without such accoutrements and without the filter of religious doctrine. So if you know the Catholic Church or any religion is false then get out of it. The God believer treats you as something to be used in the service of God. They might deny that they believe in exploiting people. But in the light of the fact that God supposedly is forced to tolerate evil for a greater good, what if using somebody for God was the lesser evil? If God comes first then you have to be open to using even if you will never have to use. The more errors a religion makes about your role in the world, the less it is valuing you for you. It is valuing you as a religionist or "spiritual person" not as a person. Even if the religion disapproves of hurting others, it is helping that hurt to take place and its being unable to see it makes the problem worse not better. If the religion is unlikely to be the true religion then leave it.

It is dehumanising to even label truths religiously!!

Roman Catholicism seeks you to label truths as Catholic.  That is an abuse of truth and those who need the truth.  It is not a Catholic truth that torturing a baby is wrong.  It is just a truth.  Don't steal truth for the Church.  What next?  The Big Bang being a Catholic truth not a scientific one?  To label truths is just a way of reinforcing your own religious identity and your label.  Only the Church benefits not you. Truths affect you and labelling them is just a way of manipulating and unduly influencing you.

Protecting bad religion by making out criticism is racism

Those who call Jews or Muslims or whatever a culture or ethnicity or nationality are ignoring the members of those faiths who have no ties to those things.  They want to get critics of those who carry the name of being Jewish or Muslim labelled racist.  This is about politically correct ideology and not the truth.  Labels smooth the way for manipulators.

Finally

A religious label is intcresting for it cannot be the only religious label you have. The Catholic label does not mean you deserve only that label. Your label could be Protestant in some matters or heretic.  What if you are 70% pseudo-Catholic?  Heretic is the label you should prefer to Catholic if  you are cherry-picking the Catholic religion.

A religion that has a low number of truly dedicated believers is a religion that is really about labels and a social structure involving Church leaders than about religion as such. If religion causes trouble and hate and violence even without trying to then fake religion will be an expert at that.

The religious label certainly helps religion do harm. The label is better at harming than religion itself. The religion will use labelling in order to do harm.  With racism people of colour are picked on but religion is about creating us and them labels which inevitably lead to discrimination and something akin to racism.

The religious label is popular for bad reasons.

It helps a person who feels discriminated against blame the discriminator Ė "he is against me because of my religion" Ė instead of themselves.

It helps a person get the benefits of the religion even without committing to it sincerely. For example, Catholics who never darken a Church door turn out their children for showy and opulent first communions. 

It supports the tyranny of cultural religion for few in a religion really match up to the standards.  For example, an active homosexual in a relationship cannot have full membership in the Catholic Church - for example, he cannot become a priest.

Some religion is so thin and its members so shallow that it is little more than an excuse for an "us not them" ambience.

People become Protestant who never formally resign from the Catholic Church.  People become Catholic or Protestant who never formally resign from the Mormon Church.   When a Church makes up its numbers it ignores things like that.  Labelling becomes a tool with which to exaggerate numbers and believers and this gives the religion power and a louder voice in society than it is entitled to.

The doctrine of the soul is an excuse for making religion you.  The soul is supposedly the real you and it is protected from sin and evil by prayer and grace and God's truth.  This means that the soul needs Catholic sacraments and Catholic doctrine if Catholicism is the one way set up by God to get you to Heaven.  So the soul if not Catholic needs to be and should be and is made to be.  Such ideas make the member of a religion identify with the religion.  The religion loves this for the person will claim to be personally attacked or offended if anything critical is said.  This is useful for empowering religion by making critics silent.  It gets you to think that to insult your religion or to question it is to personally attack you.

 Labels dehumanise. That is what they want to do and that is what would happen anyway as a result of them. They cut both ways.