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

What of the Christian doctrine that religious freedom is the most basic and important one and without it there is no such thing as real rights?

What does that mean?

The first thought is that in practice Christianity does not worry about religious freedom for children are forced to the baptism font and dragged to confirmation and communion and ordered on pain of damnation to pay money to the Church.

Second it assumes that religion alone really matters. As long as you have religion, hospitals, health, governments have to go if something has to go. Religious freedom rights mask a willingness for religion to force itself on others and on the law.

Three religion does not admit that true religious freedom means a person can transition without social disapproval or worse from one faith other. Religion should tell people to leave it if their research shows that it is man-made or false. An honest religion helps people to leave.

Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights: Freedom of thought, conscience and religion


1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.


2. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Ronald Dworkin stated that there is no such thing as a right to religious freedom. What should happen is that religion should be included among other ethical entities and outlooks. He said there is a “general right to ethical independence”. He justified the existence of arguments and bodies that have differing ethical views.
The problem with his view is that lots of religions look for freedom despite being opponents of "public order, health or morals". A religion for example that bases its faith on deliberate lies can hardly deserve the same right to freedom as a religion that cares about truth. It is an opponent of public morals.
Dworkin denies that religion demands belief in God. He thinks that religion is only faith that your existence is important in itself no matter what you think or what others think. Its objectively valuable. Another ingredient of real religion is that you must look at the universe with awe and wonder.
He reasons that both the believers in God and many atheists agree with this so belief in God is only a minor difference between them. This shows a total misunderstanding of what God means. God means the living being who is infinite goodness who alone is to be valued. Hardly a minor thing and Christians believe that God alone is to be loved with all our heart.
Dworkin wanted to dilute the meaning of the word religion because he saw that countries were using a more specific definition and awarding special rights and privileges to entities that fitted the definition. It became a rationale or excuse for giving religious people more rights than the non-religious. By diluting the meaning, he hoped that equality would be achieved to a greater degree.
People should be allowed to believe whatever they think is true because forcing them serves no purpose. It is doing a disservice to truth in the name of truth!
As people often err, we have to allow freedom of thought. Truth is ruined and faith in it is destroyed if freedom of thought is limited or taken away. It is better to risk error than to risk suppressing truth. Unfettered debate is the only way to get the best chance at finding the truth. Sometimes what sounds crazy is in fact true. Sometimes error contains a little or a lot of truth. Whoever opposes freedom of speech in fact is a defender of ignorance and an enabler of liars and bigots.
Benjamin Franklin observed that truth supports itself and does not need anybody to enforce it. "When a religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil powers, its a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one". Religion uses laws and influences the state to hinder freedom of speech. This is about power. It does not have much faith in truth or God when it feels the need to manipulate.
What if kings and politicians believe religious nonsense and feel that they have the right to believe that they know best and should force their religion or religious views on the people as they have to force something on them anyway? The Church says that if you won't be subject to her you will be subject to something else so you might as well be subject to her. And besides if she has the truth as she claims, you should be subject to her only. The notion that God puts leaders in a position of authority even if they are not that godly implies that we please him by obeying them and letting them impose their values on us.
The atheist does not reason that way. If atheism is correct then it would follow that if we have the right of freedom of thought and freedom of speech, that if either ours or theirs has to be sacrificed then it should be theirs.
If you really believe that God alone matters for he is all-good and the source of all good, then it makes no sense to set up a system of law for ignoring him. Belief in God then is intrinsically anti-secular. It makes you wonder about how deep the secularism is in a person who claims to believe in God and who goes to Sunday worship. The secular state has to remove all traces of the God doctrine and refuse to encourage it in any way. Do not forget too that secularism is a basic human right. Do not forget that anything that takes away the right of people to make their own minds up be it God or religion or the state, produces war. The only thing you need to do to bring about a war is to severely damage people's democratic rights.
As policing what others think is impossible, religion has invented an all-knowing God who forbids freedom of thought. We read in the Bible that God considered Abraham justified or righteous simply for believing in what God said. Both Catholics and Protestants believe in justification by faith. This means that if you don't believe what God says you are sinful. It is a sin not to believe. But it is a virtue to believe. The act of believing is a righteous act. Protestants go as far as to say that justification is by faith alone. For Catholics justification by faith is the start but you need justification by good works too. But nevertheless justification by faith is the foundation and the most important thing. Justification by works is impossible without it. Using God to threaten people who think for themselves outside permitted boundaries is the lowest trick of the low. Freedom of thought includes the promotion of self-fulfilment and personal autonomy. Restrictions on what we must think and the warning that we are immoral or sinful and deserving of punishment for not believing something is a violation of a fundamental human right and the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It opposes our growth. It indicates fear of the truth. No true friend wants to stop you thinking for yourself - the person that does that suspects that what he wants you to believe is rubbish and doesn't care. It makes us think and live under a threat. It can only make us willing to bully people who have a faith that differs from ours or who leave our faith.
The doctrines that doubting God is a sin and that faith justifies are not merely harmful in their consequences but ALSO IN THEIR CONTENT! They are insulting and dehumanising doctrines in themselves even apart from any damage that they may result in. They want to hurt the person who is considered to be offending against or undermining or challenging a religious idea. But an idea has no rights. Only people can have rights.
Without freedom of thought, truth itself ceases to be perceived as truth. It becomes dogma. People will not understand it anymore. If you believe 1 and 1 are 2 because somebody says so that is dogma. If you believe it because you have considered it and understood it as best you can, it is truth.
Without freedom of thought and freedom of speech other rights would soon vanish. If your religion murders and you are not allowed to think it is doing wrong, then you have turned your back on the right to life. Religious dogmatism is an implied insult to all human rights. The hypothetical says as much about the kind of person you are inside just as much as anything else does.
The real Christian who believes the Bible simply has to try and stop anybody challenging the tenets of his faith. Period. Many Christians don't realise this and what happens when they do? History shows that the blood flows.
Believers in God who see the harm in religion, atheists and agnostics need to start doing something about the regrettable and dangerous influence of religion on our society and our politics. It is simply unfair that something so twisted should have so much clout.
Religion is just a con and its members are being exploited. Their right to the truth is undermined by religion which seeks to control their morals and their thinking and grab their money while inducing a need for religion that arises from something as bad as a drug addiction. This outrage has to be halted and information is the solution. Religion is intolerant towards real human rights for it takes away the right to truth. The rights it supports lose their credibility because of that. Would you believe a Nazi who cleaned a septic wound you had in a concentration camp really supported your rights if you were a Jew?
Religion is deception.
Want proof? Here it is.
The Catholic Church in A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Question 177, reveals that it is your typical religion when it says, “The sins against Faith are all false religions, wilful doubt, disbelief, or denial of any article of Faith, and also culpable ignorance of any of the doctrines of the Church”.
Jesus condemned doubt as a sin or act of intentional malignance – so you deserve to be punished for it. He said that God will only do you the favour of answering prayer if your faith is unwavering - if you have no doubt.
Cardinal John Henry Newman (1801-1890) spoke for the Church when he wrote, "The Church does not allow her children to entertain any doubt of her teaching; and that, first of all, simply for this reason, because they are Catholics only while they have faith, and faith is incompatible with doubt. No one can be a Catholic without a simple faith, that what the Church declares in God's name is God's word, and therefore true. A man must simply believe that the Church is the oracle of God ... A person who says, "I believe just at this moment; but perhaps I am excited without knowing it, and I cannot answer for myself that I shall believe to-morrow", does not believe. A man who says, "I believe as far as I can tell, but there may be arguments in the background which will change my view", such a man has not faith at all. When the Protestants quarrel with us for saying that those who join us must give up all ideas of ever doubting the Church in time to come, they do nothing else but quarrel with us for insisting on the necessity of faith in her. Let them speak plainly: our offence is that of demanding faith in the Holy Catholic Church; it is nothing else. I must insist upon this: faith implies a confidence in a man's mind, that the thing believed is really true; but if it is once true, it can never be false."
If you are allowed to doubt and question and have faith only when it suits you there would be no need for Churches and Bibles - indeed it would be wrong to support them for they cause hurt and division - eg Roman Catholicism not allowing Protestants to receive communion. It would be possible to be a Catholic while denying that the Eucharist is really the body and blood of Christ and asserting that it should be abolished for it is boring rubbish. It would mean a Hindu should be called a Catholic if that is what he wants to be called though he accepts no part of the Catholic faith and has no interest in obeying the Church. It is obvious that a religion must set limits on what you are to believe. A person who thinks John the Baptist is the saviour and Messiah and not Jesus can't be called a Christian!
The Church and the Bible claim that the person who doubts or picks and chooses what he or she likes out of them and discards the rest is sinning and is calling God a liar. The fact that the person might not be doing that but merely thinking that the teachings the Church and the Bible says are God's might not be God's at all is dishonestly ignored. The person who faced with the prospect of doubting God's revelations and calling God a liar could simply change the reason for doubting. He could doubt that the messages are really God's. Then he has a free rein to doubt! Hinduism and Buddhism have no problem with doubt. It is only bigoted arrogant faiths such as Christianity and Islam and Judaism and Mormonism that do.
The Church teaches that faith in God requires that you accept that the Church has been appointed to speak for God so what it says is correct. It is the word of God. God gives supernatural light to your mind to help you to believe so the Church describes faith as a gift from God. It says only supernatural faith is pleasing to God. So if you doubt then you are indeed calling God a liar. True faith then is believing without doubting. It is firm.
If faith is a gift then sensing it is a gift is more important than its content. There is no point in having the truth if it did not come to you from God if faiths job is to forge a love relationship between yourself and God. The trouble with sensing that your faith is a gift means the way is opened for you to imagine that any religious nonsense comes from God. It is hardly a recipe for religious unity. If religion wants unity, it has to manipulate your imagination and make you think that its deliberations are God's.
This idea of faith being a revelation to you that God's revelation in the Church or Bible is true implies that you must know if God is giving you light or not. Otherwise the whole exercise is useless. Suppose Catholicism is the one true faith. If you are in a Protestant Church, you may have the gift of faith but it will tell you only that the Protestant doctrines that match the Catholic Church's are true. Thus it is your own fault if you adhere to the Protestant doctrines that contradict the Catholic Church. So you must be damned to Hell.
The Church and its Jesus are being bigoted and sectarian because they ask people who have different religious beliefs from them to doubt even if their version of religion commands that they must not doubt on pain of sin. So what they really think is that everybody should doubt their religion unless it is the Catholic Church or the revealed religion from Jesus. Their faith is based on a lack of concern for others and truth disguised as love. If God does miracles to defend such a faith then God loves control and power more than people. Such religion can hardly object if somebody becomes a worse bigot.
If you contradict something God supposedly revealed it might be that you don't doubt him but doubt that the revelation really came from him. The Church says that we are obligated and expected to believe whatever God has revealed because God knows the truth and knows things we don't and he would not deceive us. This idea accuses us of calling God a liar if we start to disbelieve in the teaching we believed was his teaching or if we started to doubt that God really said such things. The latter is certainly not calling God a liar but wondering if what you have been told really came from him. But the Church hates that point being brought up and ignores it. It slanders doubters.
If you sincerely think God is a liar then you are not sinning by doubting. You are just making a mistake. If you call God a liar you are not necessarily doubting him but you could be blaspheming him. This would not be the sin of doubt but of mere blasphemy. Thus the ban on questioning if something really is from God is about control and you are being exploited.
No matter what way you look at it, doubt cannot be a sin. The Church has to slander doubters to justify its power and its alleged right to tell people what they must believe. The whole faith is built on a vicious and cruel and cynical lie.
Doubt may do harm like when you doubt your friend who says that there is a bomb in the building and get blown up but it is never wilfully harmful. Doubt is sincerely questioning the truth of what you are told for insincere doubt is not doubt. To condemn doubt as sinful is to condemn honest thinking, integrity and sincerity and to incite slander and hatred against anybody that does doubt. To condemn doubt is to encourage arrogance, it is wanting people to regard their faith as truth itself and refuse to change their minds for they know it all.
The evidence that God has spoken is the miracles he reportedly does to verify that it is he who has spoken. For example, he supposedly raised Jesus from the dead to vindicate Jesus as his infallible prophet and Son. Suppose miracles are signs. Miracles then imply that doubting your faith is a sin. How? Because if miracles are evidence, then you are indeed calling God a liar if you ignore what they seem to imply. The Church says that the simplest soul can sin through doubting the teaching God has entrusted to the Church which implies that the faith is so obviously true and the miracles so marvellous that nobody has any excuse for not believing firmly in it not even the uneducated and naive person.
The doctrine that God guides people to the truth he has revealed logically implies that if you find your faith is weakening then you are calling God a liar so doubting even a bit is a grave sin. Mormons and Catholics have two incompatible faiths and both insist strongly that their faith has been revealed to them personally by God which shows that the doctrine is a deliberate lie. You would be need to be as smart and virtuous as God to know if a communication you thought was divine inspiration really was that so the arrogance and false humility of religion is undeniable.
When religion tells you that it has the word of God it is telling you that it is your duty to listen to this word and you are calling God a liar if you ignore it or disbelieve it. It can’t be a duty if you are entitled to doubt it as you see fit and should be free to! Face it, if religion were not after power it would focus on what people needed and what was right for them rather than on dogmas and saviours and things like the existence of God. Who cares what kind of God you believe in, be it a force like psychic power, a weak old man in the clouds or that God is just a metaphor for an ideal of goodness, as long as goodness is engendered and encouraged?
Even if faith is good religious faith is not good.
Faith can be open to new evidence.
Religious faith because it claims to be given to you by God cannot be for it asks that you take his word for it that what he communicates is true. That involves ignoring evidence against your belief.
The goodness of religious faith is the basic doctrine of each religion but faith is not good for it detests the doubting of the creed that it expresses itself in and when the foundation is bad so is the structure built on it. If God does miracles to guide you to a faith he is doing you no favours nor is he being honest! Miracles are blasphemy and religion cannot exist without hypocrisy so it is evil and to blame for all the wickedness worked in its name for if it didn’t exist the wickedness might not have happened.  The only faith that is good is faith in yourself for if you believe you can succeed and be happy your life will be less stressful and you will find that you improve in every way. Faith in God is no substitute for this. God can inflict depression on you and take away what he gave you to test you. It is a sin to believe that God will build up your self-esteem for it mightn’t be his will. And those who like God the best are guilty of that sin. They are the proof that they don’t need God and are foisting an unnecessary belief on the world and asking for it to be taken seriously. What is unnecessary should not be taken seriously. Look at the deaths and suicides and people crippled with guilt over the god belief.
Christians follow Jesus who said that the most important commandment is that the Lord your God is one and you must love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind (Mark 12:29-34). For Jews and Muslims this commandment is binding as well as it originated with the prophet Moses who got it from God. This commandment has a hidden teaching. Part of it declares that there is only one God. So believing in God is far more important than loving him because you can’t love him that much unless you believe in him first. To love God with all your heart means you must also believe in him with all your heart. You cannot love him fully if there is part of you having doubts that he exists.
Jesus then sanctioned the evil of dogmatism and narrowmindedness – that is why Catholics are expelled from the Church for saying Mary wasn’t sinless all her days and if they advocate and believe in murdering they will not be expelled. Dogmatism is refusing to look honestly at anything that contradicts your opinion. It is making a god of your opinion. It is glorifying the evil of bias. How much better it is to unpeel your eyes and go where the truth and facts lead you!
Let people guide you but you remember you don’t have to agree with anybody, pope or prophet or Jesus, for all alleged revelations from God are just human opinion and thinking and there is nothing intrinsically sacred about them!
Living without God is the key to self-esteem for the only reason a person does anything is for some kind of gratification for herself or himself meaning you are your own God and that you love yourself alone and this self-love benefits those you meet and makes you a worthwhile person. When you say you love others you simply mean that you cherish the happiness they bring you. It is that simple. The God belief or religion then are unnecessary for you can satisfy yourself if you know how and what is unnecessary is to blame for any evil that follows it and it gives people an extra excuse for causing trouble. Accordingly we have the right to condemn it and deny that any good it does justifies its existence. We must hate the dogmas but not the people that hold them. We want to help them.
Archbishop Lefebvre and the Declaration on Religious Liberty. This page argues that Vatican II never changed the position of the Church on religious liberty though the Archbishop said it did and contradicted tradition and eventually made his Society of St Pius X break with Rome. The tradition of the Church which is infallible for it has always being taught says that the true Church should be professed by each country. Each country should have the Catholic Church as the state religion.

The Church says the state needs God and must worship God as a state. The Church still rejects the doctrine that every person has the right to believe in whatever religion his reason tells him is true for nobody has the right to be wrong. True nobody has the right to be wrong but nothing can be done about this for everybody has the right to follow reason as they see it as long as they are doing their best. The doctrine of the Church is that error should be suppressed for the common good of the people. For example, if censoring Protestantism would lead to civil war you have to tolerate their error. If Protestants are taking members from the state Church and can be peaceably stopped it is a different story. The Catholic doctrine of religious liberty is that nobody can be forced to believe – that is all.
Doctrinal Summary by Br Thomas Mary MICM. This page informs us that Catholic teaching is that if you hear of the Catholic Church and don’t join it or study it your damnation is guaranteed. It affirms that babies that die without baptism will be banned from Heaven forever.
Can Non-Catholics be Saved?