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

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 God’s 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, “Far better is it for an army to be too savage, too cruel, too barbarous, then to possess too much sentimentality and human reasonableless.”  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.

Religion is intrinsically fanatical at least in principle.

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 don’t 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 don’t 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 patient’s 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.

Faith in the supernatural is the reason religion does harm. Such faith is bad in itself and risky and religion nurtures and reinforces it. There is plenty of evidence of people with shallow religious faith putting themselves and their children at risk. They do it for supernatural faith. The antics at some Catholic pilgrimage sites is a good example. The observation that not all religious people are violent means nothing when their faith is the problem. It is luck you can thank that their faith has not ruined them. It is not their faith or their religion you can thank.


It is man's word you take for granted when you embrace a religion. 


If you are going to believe men that they speak for God then why not just believe just because they say it regardless of whether God has really spoken or not? That is what you are doing anyway!


God is of extreme importance in himself, he would be if he is the creator and origin of all good and deserves all the credit for the good we do, therefore there will never be enough evidence that any man is speaking for him. Claiming to reveal God's word is idolatrous and risks more idolatry.


Once you deny that God has spoken to man, once you say that all prophets may have been passing off their own ideas as God's, you repudiate the religionists who claim authority over you. They do not like that one bit! Nobody knows if God benefits from Christianity but its leaders certainly do!
We like a view of good that suits ourselves even if it is not truly good.


Man is not intrinsically good and has a nasty side that is intrinsic though it differs from person to person. A man-made religion then has an intrinsic violent streak. Religion claims to be divine not human so that it may cover it up and blind people to it.


Nature abhors a vacuum. So does the malevolent and conniving side of human nature. The dark side of human nature will always find an outlet and it is there no matter how good the person acts. Human nature does not like goodness very much. It prefers goodness as it wants to understand it. Humanity wants a distortion of goodness, an impure goodness, and prefers it to goodness as it really is. It wants to decide what is good even if it is not really good but it must however look reasonably good. The person needs to be seen as good and to fit in his or her community. If a person seems very good you can be sure they have some outlet for their evil side. Sometimes very good people are in evil religions because they want the religion to mislead and hurt people for them and do the dirty work for them. They may not command the evil directly but they feel they share in it from a distance and that is enough. So their halos are not as shiny as first appears. The argument that some extremely good people exist in a religion is worthless unless the religion has nothing immoral or crazy in its teaching.


Religious people certainly act as if they believe that they have the God-given right to endorse evil for the sake of good. Consider how they are happier to see a person condone or enable evil than do evil in a more obvious way. Also, even if you seem harmless, the reason could be that you are happy that you are praising your God who allows terrible evils to happen because he does that. Condoning the mercilessness of God could be your way of unleashing your dark side. Even if you say you can think of reasons why God allows little babies to suffer terribly without any divine aid coming to them, it does not follow that you are necessarily against the worship of a God who callously lets evil happen and who does not care enough if at all. You could be hoping that none of the reasons are true and that God really is hurting others callously or maliciously. You could have the reasons but not care about them. It is human nature to prefer bad things to happen to strangers but not to you or your loved ones. You are under grave suspicion of secretly being happy that others are suffering.


Teachings about God say more about the people that deliver them and who invent ideas about God than God - even if there is a God. If God is the ultimate abuser they are not any better.


Not all religion believes in God. But belief in God makes religion worse!


Religion teaches that God knows better than us so we should obey him no matter what he asks and it teaches that God has to use evil for the sake of a greater good. Any religion of peace that teaches such a doctrine is as much to blame as a religion of war that teaches it. Both teach a bad principle and it is only by luck that one of them doesn't do harm with it. But it does indirect harm by teaching it.


Religion says God permits evil. But it does not admit that faith in God permits it too. This puts a terrible responsibility on the believer to be sure she is right before she watches a baby die in a fire screaming and says that God was right to let this happen. Faith in God certainly permits evil. It makes no sense to say that a believer should passively approve of disasters such as war and earthquakes being allowed to happen by God but to say that the believer cannot ever have the right to actively do evil and it is wrong in principle. What if God authorises you to do the evil on the basis that in the scheme if things it is for the best and he knows best? If God can do evil for the sake of good then why can't he let you do it? If you believe God uses evil then what is stopping you from doing evil? You cannot say it is wrong in principle. You might say circumstances will never call for it but that is saying that if they did it would be right.


We are talking about the principle. Bad things start with bad principles. Bad principles are too often unchallenged and when disaster happens it is too late.
Religion uses vicious circles based on magic to entrap people


The main power that religion uses to entrap people and manipulate them is by providing them with magical doctrines and making them think they have magical experiences.


Christianity teaches that God intervenes to help you believe in what he has testified to and to do what he asks even if it seems to be a mystery why he asks the things he does or seems absurd. This is grace - a supernatural help and support and revelation from God.


Grace is a miracle strength that comes from God that helps bad people change quickly though usually it takes time. When it does take time - it takes too much of it!


Believers blame the bad people for not accepting the grace correctly or promptly. Grace is seen a gift of God that one must actually want. The Bible says that when people sin a lot God's grace is at work all the more. See Romans 5:20. This is really just keeping people thriving on false hope. By waiting for grace to act, it removes the responsibility for man to heal himself and heal sinners. If nobody seems to be improving people think it does not matter for grace will help. Because grace works in a hidden way, nobody needs to worry about the evidence that somebody is recovering from devotion to sin. People need to believe the unexpected and the wonderful can happen. That is what drives them to accept the notion of grace.


A religion that is not improving people when it is using only human methods cannot use the we are not all bad excuse. Why? Because its methods and claims are testable. If you should be in a religion then be in one like that!


On the other hand, a religion that talks about grace and that makes it untestable. Catholics for example are big into saying that terrible sinners may be on the verge of turning to God or that God is working on them in hidden ways. Nobody can test another person to see if what is helping them really is grace.


Given how all religions like the we are not all bad excuse, it stands to reason that some religions will bring in grace to try and block people from seeing that grace is a smokescreen. They are trying to make "not all bad" sound logical when it is merely an excuse.


Instead of saying that it is some members who act in the name of a religion who are bad, we should admit that religious faith does make some people bad. If such faith is human it is not intrinsically good and so violence in the name of religion becomes possible. If such faith is seen as some higher power putting it in you by grace and telepathatically or supernaturally or magically the problem then is if human faith is being mistaken for being caused supernaturally. But the problem with the supernatural is that you can imagine that your own ideas are God's. You have no way of being sure that they are really from him. Millions of people have felt inspired by a higher power and been proven wrong. Each religion to be fair admits this. There are people who claim that God inspired them to have an abortion.
The Catholic who teaches that God uses evil and lets people commit immense atrocities for it is his wise plan and the Muslim who thinks it is God's will to blow yourself up to take innocent people to death have the exact same kind of faith. They just act it out differently. Both say yes to suffering for they want to please God or want to feel they please God. Not all members are violent but the membership that lives within the law is making the violence possible and must take some responsibility. Without Catholicism for example, there cannot be Catholic motivated violence.
When you believe in a God who uses evil to do good or if you think that evil is necessary for real good to take place then you are saying it is reasonable to believe that God can command you to go to war for him. Even if you are not violent, you are still to blame for the believers that are for you and they both cut the key to open the door of violence. If there is a God it is reasonable that you may have to do harm for him but you will deny the harm is really evil in the scheme of things. If there is no God and you believe in him, you are making it reasonable for you to believe you may have to harm for him. Do not enable damaging beliefs and behaviour - you could promote healthy beliefs and behaviours instead.
We should not condone and enable religion's evil by excusing it by saying, "That is just a few apples. It is a peaceful and good religion." Faith is not worth the risk. It is superficial to point to the believers being mostly good as evidence that the religion is good. It is insulting to tell them that their goodness doesn't flow from them naturally and that they need religion to unstop it and let it out or even to magic it into them. In fact, if people are that problematic then surely their religions will be problematic too? Bad people like to pretend they have been cured and to lull people into false security. To tell people that their goodness is God's work not theirs is demeaning them and paves the way for an anger and arrogance that can turn violent.



Evil founders of a religion usually decree that it must do good works. This is usually so that the founders feel better about their fraud. It encourages them and makes their lying easier. They need to teach enough good to attract followers and win their loyalty even they don't deserve it. No lie can succeed unless the person telling it fakes sincerity. It makes the lying less stressful and come more naturally.


Defenders of religion point to how incredibly noble deeds can be done in its name. They will also say that religion can generate mind-boggling savagery. But do religious people who do great good really always do it in the name of their religion? Certainly not! And those that do may be telling a white lie. They may feel that the adulation may change them so they attribute the goodness to their religion's influence in order to try and stay humble. Or they may be trying to use fake humility to impress others even more. It is an insult and evil to say that person x is doing good because she is a Catholic. Say she is doing good because it is her. It is different if she says she is doing things in the name of the religion. But you cannot just assume she is unless she tells you.


The deeds done in a religion's name are few and far between. Just because a Catholic missionary works for the Church it does not mean she only helps people for the sake of God or the Church.


Good is like a default. Everybody is good most of the time. Thus religion cannot be praised as a religion for doing good. The bad is what speaks not the good.

The bad is more reflective of a religion than the good for the good happens more often by default anyway. It is a default doing the good not the religion.




If a religion does not cause wars, it can still be dangerous in how it treats murder in war-time as if it were as pardonable as robbing orchards.


It is believed that many of those who say they order genocide or honour killings in the name of God or faith in an alleged revelation of God and who say they really believe they do right are telling the truth. They show no signs of a troubled conscience before, during or after the terrible deed.

This raises some questions.

How do you know that you believe stealing is wrong that you believe it because it is true? You cannot know that.  What proves that you do not know when people believe in terrible morals with the same or more conviction than you!


How can it be right to encourage religion which leads to different moral rules when on the human level there is so much trouble getting people to accept moral truth and believe the right morals? Religion risks muddying which is in itself terrible and bad. There is enough to cause discord over morals without religion getting involved. Religion is inherently risky and that is pro-violence in a sense itself.

If you can sincerely and strongly believe God wants you to have young girls who “disgrace” their families to be brutally murdered, then it is possible to swear that something is moral and be convinced and still be wrong.   How do you explain somebody of faith really believing that it is right say to murder those girls? The only answer is that they think the evil is needed by God not because he wants it but because it is essential for some worthwhile purpose. Actions speak louder. The person shows what he believes about God and evil by his actions. The doctrine that God uses evil to do good with it is responsible.  That many who believe he does do not kill is no argument against its being responsible. A doctrine that God is intolerant of suffering and death and evil is not possible for the fact is that these things happen when he has the power to stop them.  Such a doctrine would be a delusion even in the eyes of believers.  And delusions that are inflicted on yourself like that can lead to further delusions even violent ones.


Religion doing bad or having done bad is proving that it definitely could be bad or suspicious. It could be inherently suspect. Indeed you have to assume at the very least that it is inherently suspect.  Do not assume it is a good thing having gone wrong.  It is the fruits you have to go by.  Leave a religion that wages violence.