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?


When the worship of God is just selfish

"If people can have their needs met without religion, they often will." James Lindsay.

When your God is your creation, you are adoring what you want him to be not what he is. You are preferring your desires to the real God if he exists. In truth, you are worshipping yourself and indirectly worshipping the Devil who likes or who you think likes this. When you believe in God without evidence you are worshipping what you have imagined - a mental idol. It is something that works on some psychosocial level.  It is a mental construction - a notion.  Maybe you call it something that you need to help make sense of your life and existence.  But that making sense is not possible no matter how much you tell yourself different.  Using something that should not make sense of it for life should make its own sense to you is self-abuse.  When you are in love with someone you don’t know, you are in love with what you imagine that person to be and not the person in reality. It is the same with God.  It is a waste of love.  Loving a crutch to fit your social and emotional and whatever needs is inherently demeaning and inflicts things such as confirmation bias and optimism bias on yourself.  Optimism bias in religion often takes the cruel form of, "I will always have faith".  Tell that to yourself if you end up with depression.

During the coronavirus crisis of 2020, the media uncovered a lot of instances where Christians defied social distancing rules and went to Church and spread the virus. How somebody could want to worship so much even if it kills themselves and others is a mystery.  It is totally contradictory to going to serve a being who represents sacrifice and love.  Answers are that they secretly adore an idol in their heads in the place of God that suits themselves or they think they are miraculously protected.  Or maybe its just a symptom of God worship.  Maybe like the coronavirus, it is bad to have it even if it does no harm for the simple reason that it will harm and kill some people.  Maybe God belief is a coronavirus!

It is easier for people to throw their idols out on to the dump than it is to drive out the idols in their heads and imagination.
Religious people often believe and/or act as if good is a person and that person is God. They inconsistently treat God as goodness one minute and as a person the next. It is like they call rules good and worship the rules in the form of God. We can engage in reification. Reification would be when you think that something that is merely an idea is a real thing. For example, take justice. It is not a thing. We always have to try and stop ourselves from thinking it is! The risk of reification is very great for our minds do not really like thinking in abstract terms and it leaves us emotionally cold. You would need to be extremely devoted to God and able to provide incredible evidence for his existence to avoid suspicion of reification. In fact a believer should be assumed to be engaged in reification until proven otherwise. An excellent example of something akin to reification takes place when Catholics pretend that a wafer is Jesus Christ. To say something becomes Jesus without changing is pretending.
Though a morality based on rules is callous when there is no attention paid to the individual case, the morality is STILL callous if it does. Why? Because the motivation is to fulfil a rule and not a person even if the person benefits. To worship good as God is to worship evil and that worship manifests and thrives on our selfishness.
We conclude that the person who worships God, worships himself or herself by proxy.
If a man invents a God or a version of God, and a religion worships and preaches this God even centuries later in one sense it worships the man’s creation. It treats the man's doctrines about God as God. It worships an idol made from doctrine. It adores not God but how God is seen. Whether there is a real God or not that is what is happening. That is one sense. In another sense it worships it own creation for it participates in and enables his inventing and his invention. It invents again what was invented before. It renews his invention and makes it its own. Man does not invent God and get others to worship. He gets others to invent with him.
People want to believe in something that can make life okay or bearable in times of trouble. That’s what’s attractive about believing in God.
And how does faith in God make life bearable? Because no matter what happens we tell ourselves God has a plan and we have an extremely important and indispensible role to play in that plan. We use God to delude ourselves about our absolute importance.
It is delusional because it contradicts the notion that if God is perfect and free he was under no obligation to make us or make our lives the way they are. It is irrational. So believers have to adore something that cannot really be called a God in order to feel okay about living.
If you think God is merely something we worship to hide the fact that we worship ourselves then why God? Why does it take that shape?
C S Lewis said that if God is wish-fulfilment then the fact that this wish fulfilment is so common indicates that there probably is a God. He denies that wanting something to be true makes it true. But he denies that argument works in the case of God. He thinks God makes us need him to exist. But a God of wish-fulfilment is not a God. Plus most people in the world have other ways of dealing with their wishes. They may be content believing that the idol around the corner is their god. Most people are engaging in wish-fulfilment but the style of the wish-fulfilment differs from person to person. God is only one style. The need for wish-fulfilment then has nothing to do with God. It could be God or anything at all.
It is argued by some that even if God is a psychological projection, he can still be real. The two are not mutually exclusive. It is thought that God can use a projection to make himself known and create a relationship with the person. For example, you can want to believe in maths and want maths to be true. Thus it is a projection. But its being a projection does not make it untrue. We want maths to be true for we see we need it and cannot reason without it. The same cannot be said for God.
Freud believed faith in God was not just a projection of the desires and needs a person has, but also there was a reverse projection in the form of believers feeling they had turned their present bad situation on its head by turning to God.
Fromm argued that psychological projection was caused by a need to fit in with authority. It is about fear of the authority. Fromm saw projection not as paranoia but as masochism. God is authority. If Fromm is right, then because God is the ultimate and supreme authority, psychologically projecting a God must be maximal masochism.
Feuerbach argued that many have a psychological need for belief in God and the afterlife and because of this dependency they accept belief in these things and in religion to deal with it. He believed that belief in God is a psychological projection, in other words, you need a friend and you make up one to fulfil this need. Hans Kung agrees with this (page 50, Eternal Life?). He says that if this is behind belief in God, it does not mean there is no God. True. But it means we worship an idol not the real God if there is one. Feuerbach's argument has been used by anti-religionists to demonstrate that religious faith is a neurosis or a delusion and dangerous.
Hans Kung said that atheism can be a psychological projection too. That is only true of people who for some reason don't want God to exist, perhaps they see God as a father-figure and they hated their own fathers. I would say he is right. But surely belief in God being a projection is more likely than acceptance of atheism?
Feuerbach said we worship God, who does not exist, because we want to express our dependence and helplessness. Against that Christians say, it could be insisted that unbelief in God could arise from our wish to be independent of God. Unbelief could be wish fulfilment too. True. But if unbelief is making a huge effort to be right then it is not wish-fulfilment. Believers assume God exists on paltry evidence or just because their parents told them he exists. That is wish-fulfilment.
What helps those who need comfort and a sense of meaning in life is belief. Belief is your creation, your self-empowerment. So its not God that helps but belief in God. But why does the belief need to be in God? Why not believe in your power to find strength within, a strength that is all your own? That would be better and more effective.
Feuerbach held there was no God for God is just a psychological projection we use to get certain psychological benefits. He said this because he noticed that there are emotional reasons for believing in God. Against this it is said that if we are to be sceptical about anything people believe just because part of them believes it because they want to then we will believe nothing people say. But this is a misunderstanding. Feuerbach was not saying God is just a psychological projection because people want to believe. If they let themselves be guided by the evidence then he is not. He was saying that if the reasons for worshipping God are too emotional then God is a psychological projection. It is possible to have evidence for God and still worship him not because he exists but because you please yourself in doing so.
Suppose there is no evidence for psychological projection or against it. People have to tell us if they follow God for their feelings for because they have evidence of a relationship with him. But they are not going to admit it if it is psychological projection. Psychological projection would mean their worship of God is self-deception. The only sure way would be to observe how they claim to love and worship God and how they behave in a way that is inconsistent with that love. Most believers make little effort to promote God. They do not put him first. They may believe in fatalism and still act as if their fate is in their hands not God's.
Why is it that religions with the most charm and charisma and dynamism get the converts? The answer is that it is not so much the message that gets the converts as those who sell it. Enthusiasm is contagious. If religion were really about God, people wouldn’t be so easily swayed by what others say and feel in making up their minds. It is about fitting in with the neighbours or the family or becoming part of an exciting plan. The religious person, though claiming that God comes first, in fact puts God in a niche so it is themselves they are really out to satisfy. They are not interested in God except as a fantasy tool to please themselves with.
Good gives us pleasure. That is why it attracts us. When we do good, we do it not because it is good or because God wants us to but because we want to. Therefore we are our own God. We are lying if we pretend to oppose erotica on television or abortion or injustice for the love of God.
The Mormons worship a God the Father who is little more than a resurrected man with magical powers. The Catholics worship a God the Father who is completely different: he is spirit and totally unlike man. Put a Catholic theologian and a Mormon theologian in a room and each one will be convinced his God is real and that the others is false. But one of them is wrong despite what he thinks and feels and no matter how many good works he says his view of God inspires him to undertake. One of them is creating his God. One of them is serving himself by serving his own creation. That is what many people would think. I would go a step further. Since psychologically they feel the same and their faith works the same way, BOTH of them are creating their Gods. Both of them are idolaters. Atheists are idolaters too but at least we are honest about it. We admit that we prefer this world and ordinary life to any God. When the believer is outraged at blasphemy against his God, it is outrage against his own creation and therefore himself that he is worried about.

No religion can rely on miracles or reason to justify belief in its view of divinity. When anyone starts to believe in God they are just inventing a God for themselves plus a creed for themselves that happens to be similar to that of the other members.  If they were in another religion they would invent another kind of god.

What about people who believe in a bad God? It seems at first that if God were just a mental idol nobody would want to have an evil one. Some people like fear and are addicted to creating their own problems. They are masochists and/or sadists who would like to have a bad God to worship.

If there is a God and Jesus Christ, then they cannot be worshipped for there is no evidence that we should worship. No matter how much closely imagined versions of them resemble them they are not intended to be them. The Church denies the Father and the Son in a subtle way thus it is drunk with what it calls the spirit of antichrist (1 John 2:22,23; 4:2,3).

Religion is not devotion to God if God is good for it resides on blind faith which is dangerous and bad. It is obvious that it is malign to blindly believe whatever you want. Religion is base self-gratification therefore the adoration of God is insincere and is really done out of selfishness. It is self-worship and it is criminal for the religious rules that go with it are a great source of misery.
Now books like The Case for Faith * have hypocrites like Peter Kreeft who said of Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, that Kushner’s God who doesn’t have the power to eradicate all suffering but is doing his best is not worth believing in (page 52, The Case for Faith). Kreeft means he doesn’t want to believe in this God. This is a terrible insult to a God who might be trying his best. Surely a God who suffers for us to try and help us is better than Kreeft’s God who is perfectly happy in Heaven and who doesn’t need to struggle? Which God is the best role model?
It is interesting that Kreeft is admitting that he will not believe in a God unless God is worth believing in. He only believes for himself and not God at all. He is declaring what he thinks worth believing is more important than God.
On page 63, Kreeft says that because we wrecked the world with our sin, God has the right to just forsake us and leave us in the mess. It was our choice and so he couldn’t be accused of being unfair. But then Kreeft says that he doesn’t see how we could love God if he did that so God became man in Jesus Christ to sort it all out and bring us to repentance. God helped because God is loving. So if God didn't help he would be degrading himself by being hard and unloving. So it follows then that Kreeft is wrong to say God had the right to forsake us!
Kreeft on page 74 quotes the Protestant theologian John Stott, as saying that he wouldn’t be able to believe in God if God hadn’t participated in human suffering and done something about it by becoming man to die a horrendous death on the cross. Again we see the theme, “I don’t care what God is. I will believe what I want about God. It’s me, me, me. Even if I suffer for this God, I am suffering for my pride and its not really God I am suffering for.” Since unfair suffering is the big objection to belief in God, it follows then that faith should start with the cross not with reasoning that there is a God and then deciding he died on the cross. Also it wouldn’t be very human to believe in God without being horrified about human suffering and wondering what God did about it. If God is about love then we have to start with the cross and reason from that point that there is a God. The apostle Paul said he knew nothing but the cross of Christ and focused on nothing else. The bottom line is that we end up worrying more about suffering, ourselves, than God. Again this is all about pleasing yourself and not really about God.
Not surprisingly Kreeft says that nobody is really morally good and quotes Isaiah from the Bible to argue that all our good works are filthy rags before God because they are stained with self-interest (page 61). So Kreeft then should admit that his beliefs in God are more to do with self-interest than concern for truth or even God! Kreeft is Peter Kreeft’s real God and God is his smokescreen.
Loving the sinner and hating the sin is impossible. Can you trust the sinner and not the sin? Can you punish the sin and not the sinner? Can you curse the sin and not the sinner? Can you ostracise the sin and not the sinner? Christians are fully aware of the hypocrisy - they don't believe anybody who tells them they hate their Christianity but love them. Christians call to hate. They demand that you hate and then do the additional evil of lying about it that it is really love you do. People would have little time for God if they didn't think he loved them despite their sins and those of their loved ones. They want a crutch and a God who orders others to love them despite their sins. They invent a God who can do this impossibility to console themselves. Because he is based on self-deceit, they are prone to hate anybody who sees through their lies.
God religion is commanded to hate sin. You would also be bound to hate evil acts that are not sinful. For example, a person who mistakenly believes that babies are demons and goes and murders them is not sinning but doing a good work in his heart. The results however are evil. The Catholic would have to hate the Protestant worship of God for he would see it as erroneous for the Protestant is outside the one true faith, the one true system of worship that God has set up. Nobody hates sin and misplaced good very much and as long as that is the case they can be held to be adoring an idol that may look like the real God if he exists but which actually is not. In so far as you do not hate what God hates, you do not love God but a caricature of him. To love God is to hate what he says is evil.
To ask one to hate sin is to ask one to hate sinners. To also ask one to love sinners is asking one to pretend to love. The Church boasts that it can love the sinner and hate the sin. Its a lying boast and the Church even goes as far as to say that it is an extreme sin to doubt that loving sinners and hating sin is possible. There is no point in believing in God or wanting God if loving the sinner and hating the sin are contradictory. The Church's worship of God is based on self-righteous pride. The Church hates and maligns those who see the deceit of loving sinners and hating sin.
To say that John does bad, whether he is deliberately bad or not, is to say that if bad is hateful then John is hateful. If bad is not hateful then why counsel to hate sin? It is never sin we hate but what sin says about the person. Sin indicates that the person is hateful assuming sin is to be hated. To hate the sin and to love the sinner makes out that there is a distinction without a difference. It is like saying, "I hate your Christianity but admire your religious notions." "I oppose everything about you and everything that you do but I don't oppose you." "I am glad you are alive but I am opposed to the fact that you are breathing."
It is bad enough for an unbeliever in God to say, "Love the evil person but hate and detest the evil they do." But it is worse for a God believer to say that for they believe that evil is not just hurting a person but insulting God so evil is worse if there is a God. God deepens hypocrisy and the deceit and darkness of the human heart. Its black evil appears as an angel of light. Imagine how bad it gets if the belief in God and the adoration of him is just hypocrisy!
The believers tend towards hypocrisy. This itself does not prove the doctrine of God to be a blight. But it shows he will not really have men as custodians of his revelation. Following Messiahs and Popes and Prophets is just asking for trouble. It’s really idolatry.
The God of the Church then is an expression of hypocrisy. The Christians treat their ethical opinions as if they were God's will and an expression of what God is like. This is idolatry and self-serving.
If God exists and supports say the Roman Catholic Church as the only true Church he can look after it. If the Church is mocked and if somebody denies a treasured doctrine such as that Mary was sinless the Catholics get bigoted and insecure. They will want to retaliate and often will retaliate. This is a sure sign that they sense their faith is not of divine origin. Why else would they act in a way so inconsistent with the doctrine of God?
Most people do not have the knowledge and intelligence to know what they are talking about when they talk about God and their true religion. The more stupid I am in relation to my friend, the more it is the image I have of that person that I have the relationship with and not the person.
The Christians invent a God of lies - he is their special idol. They make him not out of wood and metal but out of the desires and fears they have. To worship your own invention is to worship yourself. Stephen the first Christian martyr reminded the Jews how they believed in the right God who lived in the Temple. Yet he attacked their view as idolatry on the basis that there is nothing special about the Temple for God dwells everywhere. The Temple is just as sacred as anywhere else. He illustrates how shockingly easy it is to be idolatrous and not know it. You can worship the real God in idolatrous fashion without it being noticeable.