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?



Avoid artificial social constructs.  They are there for something.  They have consequences.  Control consequences so keep out of such constructs.  Religion is a major artificial social construct.  This is on the human level.  Assuming religion is not really revealed by God but concocted by man/woman it is also a spiritual artificial social construct.  Unlike other social constructs it is doubly one.  Another interesting thought is that if some intelligence is behind religion such as a mischievous or stupid spirit it has a third way of being an artificial construct.

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.

Explain to your family and friends that religion is a system and if the system is wrong or evil then you have to go.

Do not see religion as part of you to the degree that your religious label is you. That is a very one-dimensional interpretation and insulting. Would you like to be defined by your hair colour or your hometown? Or worse, do you want to be reduced to that label? You will be in strongly religious communities? Then why be defined by your religion and why define others by theirs? It is wrong to say religion is people. It is not. People are people.

If you stay in a religion that you know is probably or actually man-made though it claims to be invested with divine authority, you are enabling the problems that occur when religion is treated not as a religion but as a label. It doesn't matter if the problem is a big one or a tiny one. You are enabling and that is that. To enable a religion that tells grave lies and does grave damage is to be a very bad person.

Consider how in Ireland people who believe nothing Catholicism teaches can claim to be Catholic and consider how this claim is accepted by their families and friends and communities. Consider how people are accepted as Catholics despite the fact that Protestants believe more of what Catholics believe than them. What about the Catholic cherry-pickers who claim the pope as their spiritual leader and then reject his teaching when it does not suit them? In many countries, there are vastly more people who are labelled Catholics than people who are really believing Catholics. Labels when used by people who do not care much about your faith development or beliefs or spiritual growth are about furthering division and a sense of division. The troubles caused by an us versus them mentality start off with a sense that my community comes first and they are outside of it. It can grow into violent sectarianism or a passive acceptance or support of violent sectarianism. It labels dishonest people who claim to be Catholic believers and who cherry-pick as Catholics thus enabling their dishonesty. Dishonesty has a huge role to play in fomenting sectarianism too.

Labelling is essential in politics. It seeks to think of or treat a person with a label differently from one with another label. Politics can easily become the root of all evil. Religion and politics share many features. Labelling is always political and irresponsible in places with a sectarian problem. Even when a country enjoys peace, labelling opens the door to the risk of label-based division and strife.

To stay in a religion unless leaving will be a worse evil and bad example than staying (eg if you will suffer an honour killing for leaving or if you have to leave your children with the religion at the risk of them being sexually abused), is saying you are okay with the errors and prejudices of the religion. If a religion is racist, your membership says you are okay with racism.  If you actively support the religion's racism, the reason you feel you can do it is because the other members who passively support it are saying they are okay with it by their passive support. That feeling is the main thing you need to become an activist in favour of your religion's evil. They are still as much to blame as you if not more. If any member objects to your activism, you will see her or him as an intellectually dishonest hypocrite or as somebody who is ignorant of his or her religion. You don't want to be even partly okay with racism so passive support is out! You may deny giving your support but people will see you as engaging in double speak and will read your approval for racism between the lines. The truth of what you think is told between the lines. Let us take another look at the concept of passive support. Passive support from others would refer to when your evil is not challenged by others. Their silence shows a willingness for the evil to be done. If those others are members and let themselves be listed and regarded as members then that is more than passive support. It is active support.

A ridiculous religion or an evil one, should not become a religious superpower. Yet some religions have achieved this. Christianity and Islam being the worst of the bunch. Usually the religion gets its power through political forces who have a need to popularise it. Religion does the bullying needed to keep society in a bit of order so it saves the state spending loads on increasing the police force. The bigger the number of those who are taken to be religious adherents - in most cases they are not real adherents but heretics who are going with the flow - the more respectable and sensible joining the religion and staying in it is thought to be. And outsiders of the faith seem to accept the religion's presence in society which enables the power of the faith. It is essentially enabling that keeps the religion in existence and keeps it powerful and influential. That is why cutting ties is so important if you find out that God's religion is really just a man-made set-up or if the religion can do grave harm.

If Christians or Muslims maim and terrorise, people will say they follow a perverted form of Christianity or Islam. At least they admit that they are still Christian or Muslim. Islamic State even if it is not proper Islam is still a religion.

Religion uses the sweet hypocrisy of, "We love sinners and hate the sins they do" because a more confrontational approach drives people away. Though we know that if you really hate sins you must hate the sinner because the sin is simply an indication of the evil that the person has become, we are softened up to religion. To be in a religion you consider wrong and dangerous is bad for it can wear you down and pollute you. That you want to stay shows that you are being breastfed by its conniving charm.

The worse the religion is, the hastier your retreat must be. Do not collude with a religion whose standard doctrines are wrong or harmful by staying in it. By your silence and by letting your name stay on its books you are colluding with it by refusing to exercise your right of free speech and freedom of religion and talk and walk.

Being a passive member is still being a member. It is still support. There is such a thing as passive support. By being a member you are supporting the religion far better than you would be by being an outsider and yet promoting it in missionary work.

Being passive in a religion you can't believe in or that you know is false instead of asserting the rights of truth and your rights is protective behaviour. If there is no confrontation there is no pain for you. You refuse to take responsibility for healing your own fears and vulnerabilities. But if you avoid the pain of confrontation you will meet the pain of feeling you cannot be yourself and you feel that the society around you or your religion is a threat and a bully. And if you don't take responsibility for doing something about your fears then you are holding on to them and risking making them worse. You are being deliberately bad to yourself and by implication others when you refuse to make a stand for the truth or what you believe to be the truth. You are being bad to yourself and by implication others - what damage you do your inner self at least indirectly impacts on others eventually - if you refuse to take responsibility.

If my religious group claims to be sure that its doctrines are all objectively true, then what if yours disagrees? Clearly religion has to undermine tolerance. If it acts tolerant it is being hypocritical. It may act tolerant but that does not change the fact that it is in essence intolerant. A dog that is trained to sing like a bird is still essentially a barker even if he never barks. It is his nature. Anything that can be done without such as religion that embodies intrinsic intolerance is bad no matter how inconsistent it is with its intolerant nature.  Even if a religion is not bad but just something extra for people to abuse and fight about it is better gotten rid of.

One thing is for sure, when an organisation or religion is based on hypocrisy such as loving sinners and hating sins there should be no need for that religion. There is no need for religion if its members are no better or worse than atheists. Anything that has no right to exist has no right to be the cause of fighting and bigotry even if it says it forbids those things. Anything there is no need for should disband if people fight and hate over it. Systems of bad example are to blame for all the evil their members do over them.

With matters such as these, you don't wait until harm is done before you take action. Bad principles corrupt people and when action is taken it may be too late to stop the rot. If an irrational belief leads you to murder, the belief in itself is still no better or worse than a belief that the gnome in the garden is an incarnation of God. The consequences of a belief have nothing to do with the degree of rationality or irrationality. The bad results take place because the belief is irrational - how irrational it is or not has nothing to do with it. Believing that 2+2=3 is just as irrational whether you kill over it or whether you keep your belief to yourself.

There are those who say, "religion is good." In other words, those in religion who behave badly are not acting as part of the religion. That accuses those who say there is such a thing as bad religion of being bigots. And those who are not religious are accused of being potentially dangerous if not actually bad.

If there are good people in the Church, they will be still good people if the Church collapses. If they cease to be good without the Church then they were not really good in the first place. The effect of attacks on the correctness of Catholic belief and the collapse of the Church should not affect the goodness of the members.

We are repulsed by the kindly old man who turns out to be a child molester precisely because he is so nice. Evil done by a "good" person is worse and more repulsive than evil done by somebody that has never done a good thing in their life. So we should not stay in a religion just because we like some of the members.

"But my religion was bad but it is getting better so I should stay"

Religious people and their sympathisers have a habit of saying that when a religion is bad or dangerous the problem is not the religion but people using it for evil purposes. They might blame politics or something else. They choose to ignore solo religious terrorists who say they act for God but who are clearly not using God to promote their cause for they want to go their own way. They are not trying to make others justify them. They really are acting for God. Their argument that there is no bad religion means that anything that is bad is not religion. But that makes no sense. It is not equally good for a religion to say there is no God and another to say there is. One of them has to be wrong and wrong is bad. Also, if there is no bad religion then you cannot say, "Okay I have nothing against Catholics, I am just against the Catholic system." The argument that there is no bad religion simply refuses to admit the role some religion plays in violence and it defends religious systems at the expense of those who challenge and fear them.

You shouldn't say you should stay in your religion despite its previous wickedness because it is improving now and becoming good. Why are you not in a religion that has done less harm?

The previous badness proves that the religious system is not intrinsically inoculated against becoming evil and officially evil. It is the system that is the problem. If you are serious about being good, you will find a religion that might have reasonable immunity against evil granted by a God or something.

Staying in a supposedly evolving religion doesn't fit the sensible advice that instead of trying to change others we must start with ourselves. This means coming out of religion if its dodgy. There is no justification for being in a religion if you are better than that religion. If you are that great then why do you need to be in the religion? It will be a hindrance. You don't want to be good in spite of your religion but because of it.

There is nothing praiseworthy about a person who stays in a religion with a terrible history when there are religions out there that have a reasonably harmless history. For example, why be a Catholic and not a Quaker?

The first identifies with one of the most bigoted faiths of all time and the other identifies with one of peace.

While many believe that a religion is not to blame if its members have faults, this can be an excuse for encouraging a bad religion. There is something wrong if they have too many faults and have no more holiness than people in general do.

Another problem is that being in a religion makes things more difficult for secularism. Secularism means that the state is to be neutral in religious matters - this principally means that it does not take orders from religious leaders. The layperson gives those leaders money to spread their power and influence. Even in a secular state, they still aim for a say in what the state does and are happy to meddle. A religion has a better way of communicating than anything else does. In Catholic Ireland, the government feared the Church for most people went to Mass which meant the clergy could tell them what government policies they must oppose as incompatible with the faith. In this way, votes were really priest votes.

Religion likes to pose as a hospital for sinners in order to get people to remain loyal to it despite the evil it has done or still does. This is used as an excuse for ignoring the terrible things people in the religion may do and for staying in a religion despite its corruption and lies. It is an excuse for a true hospital cures people. A hospital made up of doctors who tell lies and are corrupt is not a hospital but a circus. Also, if it churns out bishops who cover up for paedophile priests and other monsters it is not a real hospital for sinners. The religion with the least bad people should then be considered as a possible hospital for sinners. The hospital for sinners argument has only got some force if it tells you to find the best religion. And Catholicism does not want you to search but to join it and stay in it. The hospital for sinners argument is disingenuous and is another way of using "We are not all bad" to lure people in.

If somebody is looking for a religion and finds one that has scriptures that encourage violence and evil in the name of God, that person if decent will be put off. Nobody who knows the Bible and its violence should be in a Christian Church. If you are good, you have to be better than your religion by default if it has scriptures like that.

What about those influenced to join the religion or whose service to the religion is reinforced because of your example? You don't want to influence them that way. It is not fair. And influence is unavoidable.

Know why you are into religion

It is vital that you know why you accept religion. You need to do that before you can make a mature and firm decision to leave it.

Religious faith starts with the need to think that there is some power better and stronger than cruel and callous nature - that is the supernatural or the paranormal. That may or may not be expressed as belief in God. Some want to believe in supernatural power in the hope that it will help good to prevail ultimately over evil. Others want to believe in that power for less noble reasons. They hope for wealth and power and the eradication of their enemies.

Both camps want to believe that there is a power greater than nature that can deal with the cruelty of nature. Some want this power to benefit some people. Some want this power to benefit themselves and to hell with everybody else. The desire for power is behind it. They think a supernatural being will endow supernatural power on them. Those that think it will not do that, decide that the next best thing is to just accept what that being will do. That is also a way of empowering yourself.

The atheist accepts whatever comes. The believer in God does that too.

But there is a difference.

The atheist knows that accepting what cannot be changed by her means that the worst could happen.

The believer thinks that accepting what cannot be changed by him means that the worst never really happens for God is with us all the time helping good to triumph over evil.

More Reasons

If you have at least one serious disagreement with the teaching of your Church, do the honest thing and leave it.

If you don't, you cannot distinguish between yourself and a hypocrite.

A hypocrite pays homage to values he does not live by. The hypocrite indirectly supports the teaching of his Church.

A religion exists to teach what it says is the truth. The hypocrite does not have real respect for the religion but latches on to it to use it.

Having your name on the membership list is the minimal support you are giving.

You are promoting a structure and information channel that advocates something you consider seriously wrong.

Every religion has essential teachings otherwise it is not a religion. A religion cannot be unity and keep up a community if it lets people think what they want. A religion is a faith more than a community. You can't have a golf club if the members believe that golf must be abolished. As a member, you are morally obliged to believe in the required teachings of the Church. You demean yourself unless you get rid of the obligation by leaving.

You can't complain if somebody starts up a dangerous religion when you support one with dangerous doctrine.

Most religious people ignore their leaders and gods when the leaders and gods advocate something evil. For example, how many Catholics do you know would ask a pharmacist to stop stocking condoms? How many Christians are willing to?

People disobeying their religion in the name of progress is not a sign of that religion making progress. Its a sign that they should form their own faith that accepts them. The disobedience is unnecessary.

If you suspect that a religion is right to teach dangerous doctrine then to undermine it you have to leave it!

You are part of the problem until you leave. Your example of staying is bad for others. It encourages division and disagreement and a religion cannot exist if it allows people to think what they want. Standards are needed for any organisation.

True tolerance and freedom require that people treat their faith as a private belief and keep it out of the public arena and their civic and state duties. For example, if the oath of the President requires them to call on God for help that discriminates against those who may believe in God but who do not wish to promote the belief as they do not see enough benefit in it. It discriminates against atheists. The lazy humanitarian who believes in God can become president while the self-sacrificing atheist humanitarian cannot. Quit a religion that hates and opposes secularism on the spot - (Catholicism admits that it hates the sin of secularism). Secularists can and do abuse politics but at least their guiding principle is right. To let the separation between religion and state be undermined is an abuse in itself and can only lead to abuse that is as bad if not worse. At least the secularist has no excuse.

All that we have read shows how discouraging much religion is. Come out of it. It needs to die.

It is only a human system. Let it die.