Religion is a placebo or more accurately a theatrical placebo.

Placebos cause a good feeling and that releases natural pain-relieving endorphins in the brain. But you do not need a placebo pill for that. A heartwarming film can do it too.

A theatrical placebo works for:

It makes you think some arcane ancient magic is going to work for you. We tend to think magically about old tripe as if magic happened in the past as a normal event and can intrude today in exceptional circumstances if you have the right invocation or formula..

The ritual and the performer will impress you.

You get personal attention and “concern”.

The manner of the therapist and the anecdotes about the effectiveness of their deliberations will increase your feel good expectations and that will make you feel better.

If you knew of people wasting time and money – that they really needed you should be disgusted at the charlatan.

If you knew of people misled by the therapy and who missed out on real treatments it would be a worse story.

If you knew of people actually harmed by the treatment you would want to thump the therapist! You would hopefully do the right thing and debunk the person.

If you knew you were being lied to make you feel better you should feel the placebo reverse and you will feel hurt and demeaned. You would know you have been treated unethically for medical ethics insists that placebos are immoral and unethical for it involves lying to the patient.

If you knew that if the treatment uses magic then sterility of needles or whatever does not matter you would have to see a real doctor.

A placebo is not a cure or meant to be. It should not be sought instead of medical advice. Placebos help you feel better but they are not a cure in any sense. It is dangerous to treat them as if they are. You feel bad when you are sick. You will be unhappy. It is that that a placebo will deal with. It deals with your negative response to being sick. Getting rid of your negative feelings about being sick simply have to make you feel better. Period.

The placebo or if you like the effectiveness of the placebo comes from trust in the person not in the tablet. Using a placebo is unethical and won't work for long anyway. It is an irresponsible quick fix.

Considering how religion is a large-scale theatrical placebo, the poor ethics of the placebo are displayed on a very wide scale.  Plus there is a knock-on effect that makes those who are not in the religion but who have it in their community.  Every placebo lifts the mood of people close to  you and this is no exception.  This empowers the religion in a way that takes away the freedom of critics.  It smears them as negative bullies.

Whatever about a placebo effect, giving sugar pills or supposedly incredibly therapeutic spring water, etc, is one thing.  It does not mean we should be dealing out the effect to groups. Work with the individual for one plan cannot fit all.  And many pretend to feel better if they suffer community pressure.  They don't want to be blamed if the placebo fails or seems to be rather weak.  And it does not mean that we should be using communion wafers, incense, prayers.  If a placebo is unethical there is no excuse for starting to hide the medical flavour.  That is going too far when you already have crossed a line.  And definitely not in a community setting.  Plus all placebo cures implicitly say, "If you try an unapproved cure it will harm you".  For example, the sacraments of Catholicism are a placebo but they ban you from using ouija boards and tarot cards as alternatives or as substitutes.  They are hoping you get a no-cebo, a bad effect if you try them,

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