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?

 


STRUCTURAL RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE, Religions that boast they love peace are usually violent in their hearts

It is said that wars exist in the absence of religion and happened before religion ever came along. It is said by some that it does not matter if religion causes war or not, what matters is that it can be used to justify war and often it does say it can justify it. It is pointed out that other things such as patriotism can just be as bad. Nationalists may start a war nobody in the nation wants just in the name of nationhood.  It is not true that patriotism and nationalism are on the same level as religion for leading to war. You have to have countries so patriotism and nationalism will appear as sure as night goes with day. Religion cannot be as inevitable. No specific religion can be as huge of a necessity.  War is such a vile evil that even one religion waging war is enough to warrant saying religion should not exist full stop.

It is a mistake to limit the meaning of violence to acts of physical violence.  There is verbal violence and sexual violence and so on.  Religion has always taken advantage of the notion many have that the only violence is physical and that way it could do untold harm.  Religion can boast that it does not do physical violence as if that were all that mattered!!

Structural violence is the worst problem in the world.  It is more powerful than obvious direct violence. It is indirect violence and its game is to protect and nurture social inequities to cause deep and lasting and often fatal harm to the people and communities who are in the firing line.  There is no need for it to send people out to kill.  The victims will be killed in a less obvious way or driven to destroy themselves.  An example is how a Catholic community may send "illegitimate" children to an institution where it is hoped they will contract some illness and be out of the way.

Every religion which is telling, has scriptures that bless or command violence as sacred.  The Bible God commanded Abraham to murder Isaac as a sacrifice and promised to bless him for obeying.  That is one of out billions of examples.  Such a teaching even if not acted on makes a religion inherently bad for it means that if it condemns violence or taking life its ban only amounts to policy. Policy is no way to condemn things that need to be condemned outright.  To say its policy that a baby must not be hurt implies in some way objectifying that baby and refusing to admit that any scripture that allows hurting belongs on the pyre not a pulpit.

Incredibly even though the scriptures they are obligated to believe in as infallible guides to doctrine and morals may teach that the religion has been and can be violent and please God who needs the violent acts religion will portray itself as the victim of those in its ranks who do harmful things in its name.  Religion avoids taking the blame for causing violence and denies it is intrinsically violent or inevitably causes some to be violent.  Saying that a person is taking Godís gift of the true religion and distorting it or defying it or abusing it is itself religious violence.  Why?  Because the underlying assumption is that that the person has attacked and exploited God not man.  But if the religion is manmade there is no real such thing as abusing it for if it falsely thinks the word of man is the word of God it is an abuse though it may not know it.  To accuse somebody of abusing the things of God that are really the things of man is an abuse.  The accusation is fundamental to every religion - it is the only excuse it can manage if its people do bad in the name of religion.

The fact that people with harmful doctrines (such as the Bible doctrine that God as master of life has the right to order us to kill)  may never put them into practice only means they never had to.  It is not grounds for praise.  Religion readily says that itself about philosophies such as atheism or utilitarianism and it is right that bad teachings not being acted on does not mean they should be tolerated.  But that means we can say the same thing about it - it teaches doctrines that would harm and which are to be abhorred even if they never get into a position where they do a lot of damage.  You are not a good person but a hypocrite if you will not condemn something bad and wait until it does harm.

An army needs God fanatics to fight for they are the most ruthless and determined soldiers.  William James wrote, ďFar better is it for an army to be too savage, too cruel, too barbarous, then to possess too much sentimentality and human reasonableless.Ē  Reading between the lines, that was not based on observation so much as how the logic that goes with religion causes such viciousness.

When not all members of a religion that praises violence are violent openly -

Perhaps the members do not have enough faith to be violent.

Perhaps their religion feeds their passive aggression enough so that they don't feel the need (they are violent on the inside not the outside)

Perhaps they fear the consequences of being bad more than they feel inclined to obey the evil dictates of their religion.

Believers do tend to water down faith in order to form a community and be part of a community.

Maybe they are happy to let the violent members do their dirty work and secretly are glad they are there.

No religion can expect complete obedience so the religion as in system can be bad but look good because many members will not obey. Every religion says its members are sinners.

Evil people are sometimes content to play good while deliberately creating and endorsing a system that allows violent members to thrive and take action.
If a few members do grave harm in the name of the religion, the good the other members do may be nothing in comparison to the harm. Is the life of one gay man stoned to death because of Jesus' support of Judaism really worth any alleged good done by Jesus?

The good done by a person in a religion is done for complicated reasons few of which may be religious.

We conclude that seemingly good people in a religion that has violent scriptures and nasty doctrines do nothing in order to justify atheists and outsiders respecting the religion or helping it thrive. What they should do is challenge it and use the law when necessary to deal with it.


WHY RELIGION MAKES PEOPLE VIOLENT NEED NOT BE OBVIOUS

Often when something is half-bad or bad, it is not obvious that it is a cause of evil until the consequences become apparent.
 
If religion gives answers to moral questions and to the meaning of life that are untrue or half-truths it is to blame for any bad consequences. If a person cannot deal with their temptation to wage a religious war the founders and leaders and teachers of the religion must take the blame.
 
If human nature is not wholly good and tends to do and enable evil then this dark side will out in one way or another. If it will out then religion does no good. Yet religion claims to be a hospital for bad people. If it treats what cannot be treated then it intrinsically evil.
 
People donít like being moralised at. It makes them wish they could commit the immoral deed. It encourages them. If a religion is hypocritical it can drive people to great evil and violence simply by preaching at them about how wrong it is.
 
Claiming to be a hospital for bad people means the religion itself is denying it is intrinsically good. Yet it will put on the goodness and light mask regardless.
 
To say that whoever does bad in the name of say the Catholic faith is not a Catholic at all is also intending to make an excuse for the religion and to silence anybody who suggests that this form of religious faith may be failing to protect people from bad inclinations or from inspiring them perhaps in a non-obvious way. It also makes an excuse for the bad person for it suggests that the person is being human not Catholic! Making excuses for Catholic violence proves that you fail to abhor the violence. The bigger the violence and the more violent Catholics there are the more disgusting your excuse is.
 
Making the excuse and religion encouraging the excuse is actually enough to explain why some members do evil in its name. No matter how much good it does, making the excuse is not justifiable.
 
People should not say that it is not religion that is bad but some of the people in it. That is a contradiction for you can't say religion is good and then say that some people in it are bad which makes it partly bad. To say that it is good is to say that it is okay to say that if all the people in it are bad it is still a good religion! That is really about excusing the religion and failing to care what harm it does. It demonises anybody who is not in the religion. Those who wage war in the name of faith will feel supported by you and see you as insincere in your condemnations. The worse they are the worse you are for excusing religion.
 
Suppose a religion in principle should lead to terrible warfare but does not.

Being in the religion is enabling any warfare that may happen.
 
Being in the religion is serving and promoting the bad principle.
 
It is risking warfare happening.
 
This risk is unnecessary for there are better things than that religion. It is better for people to disband a religion than for one person to die over the religion.
 
Sometimes you donít know why a religion leads to violence and it seems to be something nobody agrees on, understands or can put their finger on.
 
Often the problem is that the religion is too hypocritical and too fond of cherry-picking truth and its own doctrine to be able to influence violent members enough to drop the violence. Nobody is influenced by hypocrites. If they listen, it is not because the hypocrites said it but their own idea.
 
Cherry-picking an authority that commands good and evil is not taking evil seriously. Taking evil seriously means you stop believing that the authority knows what it is doing.
 
Often a religion of peace that is open to engaging with politics and the state is still trouble. It can facilitate a bloodthirsty patriotism.
 
A religion that promises you progress in how you relate to others and does not deliver is to blame for any violence that you do in its name because it is a quack religion. It is to blame in the same way a lovely quack doctor is to blame for ruining her patientís health.
 
Remember that to have people loving a God and dying for him if that God does not exist is extremist in itself. Religion can be peaceful in what it does and in how it acts but it is not intrinsically peaceful if it does that to people. Trouble is being incubated.
 
A religion that accuses man of all the suffering in the universe in order that it can exonerate God is blackening man for the sake of faith in the supernatural.
 
A religion that rejects innocent until proven guilty to accuse you of deserving everlasting damnation if you obey its dictates is an enemy of justice even if it always takes the side of the poor against political oppression. It is hardly good if it helps the poor to save its conscience. That is using them.
 
Faith can be extreme - but all faith is extreme in the sense that it will not recognise anything as showing that it is wrong or probably wrong. Once you start opposing truth like that you show you do not care much about what harm it does when too many people start doing the same thing. The extremism is made more ingrained by arguing that faith is put in you by God and that God inspires you to believe. If it is God inspiring you or your imagination you will never know!
 
The defenders of religion's innocence ignore the question, "If your religion can be used as an excuse for violence is that because there is something in it that encourages people to use it that way?" However, they do not ignore the question if it is about somebody else's religion. Those who talk about how good religion is usually mean their own. If they add other religions in, it is because they are quite similar to their own religion.
 
If a religion that seems non-violent is used as an excuse for violence, is it because the religion actually gives an excuse perhaps in some subtle way? Only a religion that preaches peace and does not condone divine evil and pretend it is good is almost beyond the reach of that question. However, no matter how good a religion is on the surface and in its doctrine, if too many committed members are violent or deceitful then there is something amiss in the religion's DNA (metaphorically speaking). And if remarkably few are evil it does not matter if the evil is disproportionately big? A religion of good people is not really good if it inspires one person to build a nuclear bomb to blow up a city. The religion is an insult to those people.
 
A religion that makes very serious claims in the name of an infallible God, a God who knows better than we do, such as saying that capital punishment is not wrong in itself (that is Catholic doctrine and Catholic doctrine is not negotiable) or that violent commands in the Bible were given by God and provides insufficient evidence that it is indeed the true religion is really just man pretending to have the voice of God. It is fanatical in principle even if it behaves itself in the public eye. The bigger the claims, the more important the claims, then you should refuse membership to anybody who has not done the research to justify believing in them. If you want power then claim to speak for God. The more people take you seriously when they care little for evidence and when you don't care much either the more disgusting you are and the more you are offending God if there is a real God. And even if people do take care with evidence and with making sure the beliefs are defensible and therefore good in the way that truth is good, the fact remains people prefer good as they would like it to be to good as it really is. They could still be into religion only for the doctrines about God which is a way of bending the knee to those who represent and teach those doctrines. Listening to a report about what God has said is not the same as listening to God. Doing that is wrong inherently and in principle.

Believers will not show their true colours until they get power. Give them political status and power. They will start cherry-picking their religion or enforcing their bigotry on others. Both the religious and political categories oppress people and belittle and demonise those who contradict them.

Religion is intrinsically fanatical at least in principle.