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The Abuse of Religion


“Religion is the staple of the gullible as like superstition, common sense is  its greatest enemy.”

Xenocrates

You ever wonder why you go to church and see so many unattractive, single people? Have you ever wondered where all the hot womem / men are? Better yet, why is it that so many churches are populated by mostly women? Where are the rest of the men? Do you ever wonder why some of the most ignorant or superstitious people are also found in religious circles? Why are religious people (irrespective of their religion of choice) so inclined to extremist behaviour? Are you one of those people that these questions have occurred to but you’ve conveniently ignored? There’s a very good reason for all of this, and it takes it’s root from a fundamental ‘flaw’ in human nature:

People are intrinsically selfish

Everything you do is driven by your innate selfish propensities. That’s why the Christian faith teaches that your greatest enemy is not the devil, it’s YOU. The Devil can’t make you do what you don’t already want to do (provided that you even believe that the devil exists). In fact the Devil doesn’t make anyone do anything. He only provides you with a motivational nudge in the right direction. If you don’t believe in a Devil, then the problem becomes exponentially simpler:

The concept of a Devil was created as a hypothetical scapegoat for people to pass off blame for their own selfish motivations, in a desperate attempt to absolve themselves of any responsibility for their own actions.

All those people, should read James 1:14 – “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

So you see, there really is no need to believe in a Devil in this context. The Bible corroborates that fact quite explicitly.

With that said, we’ve solved half the riddle. Some time ago, I evaluated the motivations of the “holier-than-thous“. Today I’ll evaluate the motivations of everyone else. Most of the people who subscribe to any religious philosophy fall into one of two categories:

  1. They are gullible and lack the will to think for themselves.
  2. They are lazy and lack the will to figure out life’s mysteries for themselves.

The Good, Gumptious and the Gullible

The former are more commonplace than the latter. In fact, in any given religious group, you’ll find that a large majority of the population also have superstitious beliefs which often times contradict their very own religious subscription. Gullible people are the ones that become religious fanaticists, zealots and holier-than-thous. They tend to be mostly right-brained people who have no cognitive skill to speak of. They’re the ones that will strap bombs to themselves, or at the very least, employ the use of legalistic tendencies (such as saying that women can’t wear pants to church and similar sorts of nonsense) to defend their own fallactic systems of belief.

When all else fails, they resort to emotional diabolism. These people are highly emotional individuals – which should be expected. You can’t be a very unemotional person and subscribe to religion. This is due to another very fundamental flaw in human nature:

Emotional propensity is inversely proportional to cognitive capacity.

Translation: If you’re a very emotional person, chances are you’re less inclined to think logically (i.e. having a left brain inclination) and more inclined to think irrationally via your emotions (i.e. because you have a right brain inclination). You can’t be particularly religious if you’re left brained and you can’t be particularly objective about religion (or anything else) of you’re particularly right brained. Left brain people tend to think things through more thoroughly than their right brain counterparts. But to be completely fair, they also tend to have the emotional range of a rock. Right brain people on the other hand tend to accept most of what they believe without thinking it through – largely because it “feels” right, irrespective of whether or not it makes sense.

As a result, much of what we know as Christianity today is false doctrine (I’ll deal with this in a later post). It is so far from the truth that I fear that at this stage, much of it is irrecoverable. Those who create and maintain the mythology for religion are a little bit smarter. They know that if they tie their invented doctrines close enough to the original writ, most of the people in the congregation will just say “Amen“, nod their heads and never check what is actually being said. They know their gullible congregation will accept most of what is taught without question, because from the outset, they’re made to understand that it requires “faith” to accept.

The Not-so-smart lot

The second set of people subscribe to a system of faith largely because of social engineering. Basically they were raised into the faith, and so their subscription is based on sentimental value, being brainwashed as children. They tend to grow into adults who use religion for all the same reasons that someone would say, use a bank account. It is just another mundane part of their lives that they basically grew up knowing. As they get older, they’ll continue to subscribe to that system of belief provided that there’s enough motivation to do so. This is where it gets interesting. 

This motivation usually comes in the form of belonging to a social circle of choice which best suits their personalities. However, when grilled about the logic of their belief system, these people will be able to defend it up to a point, after which they realise they’ve never really thought about what they believe. Most of them will fall back on the “I have faith and that’s good enough for me” argument, which is neither here nor there since it doesn’t prove anything – aside from their gullibility. It’s just a convenient way for them to quickly end the conversation, since the questions make them feel uncomfortable.

There is a small fraction of this lot however who will walk away with the really hard questions unanswered and seek to get answers for them. These are one half of the people who try to seek deeper answers for these tough questions. If their answers aren’t resolved soon enough, they tend to rebel against the whole belief system once they approach adulthood and sometimes become atheists.

And the point of all this is…

Both sets of people are gullible – but for different reasons. One because they were raised that way, and the other because of their emotional affinity. This brings us right back to the questions that started this post:

Q: Why are religious movements mostly populated by mostly single unattractive women?

For all the reasons we’ve discussed above:

  1. Women are more emotionally succeptible than men
  2. As such, women are more likely to be gullible than men
  3. Unattractive women (like most unattractive people) need some kind of distraction from the fact that they’re single and unattractive. Religion is one of the most effective ways to accomplish that. It fulfills an emotional gap which would otherwise had been filled by some significant other.
  4. Even if they are attractive, they’re only attending church to find a like minded husband.

Q: What about all those other pretty people? Why are they rarely in church?

  1. Pretty people tend to get all of their social and emotional needs fulfilled by virtue of the fact that they’re pretty. That’s one very good reason why they won’t feel the need to be particularly religious in most cases.
  2. The pretty people who do go to church are those who have been raised to believe what they believe, and have yet to be challenged about it.

At the end of the day, pretty people are still gullible. They either think that all the attention they receive is because of their sparkling personalities or don’t care that it’s because they’re good looking. They won’t feel the need to be religious unless all that (and then some) was taken away from them. In fact, they are not likely to have thought about being religious unless their mortality was challenged.

Q: Are you saying that people who go to church primarily do that for social and not religious reasons?

Do you actually believe that people enjoy going to a place where they dress up and sing happy songs, get grilled about how naughty they’ve been and get conned into tossing money at the speaker? Those who go to church for reasons not limited to social benefits are extremely rare. Ofcourse, don’t expect them to tell you the truth. Nobody wants such a substantial part of their existence reduced to something so mundane.

Q: Is it bad that people subscribe to any religion at all?

Hardly. It is bad however when people try to use religion to replace common sense. Religion has its place – but religion is not propagated by common sense. It’s propagated by emotional propensities. Technically, religion is a psychological trick that allows humans to aspire unto better things. Technically you don’t need religion to do that – but it is more effective because most people are emotionally inclined.

The gullible will tell you that you need religion to explain the vagaries of life. The truth is that no religion can do that. Religion is a man made concept that we use to rationalise our own inescapable mortality. Religious philosophy is based on accepting an idea on good faith – not proof. This is why religion while a good thing, is easily simultaneously a bad thing, because it doesn’t appeal to our propensity for common sense.

Q: Is that why some Christians still subscribe to superstitious beliefs?

Yes! Fascinating isn’t it? One would think that if you’re a Christian, you’d be less likely to believe old wives’ tales and other such rubbish. Quite the opposite! The mere fact that you’re religious speaks to your open mindedness to tales that have no proof. This includes everything from religion to urban legends. The same psychological mechanism that causes people to believe in religion is the same mechanism that causes them to subscribe to superstition. Technically, the only difference between religion and superstition is that one is more well organised and more logically structured (what an irony!).

However, just because you believe in something supernatural, it doesn’t automatically mean that you should likewise subscribe to all tales of supernatural phenomena. Christians especially should be ashamed of themselves, often times forwarding these stupid e-mails to each other. The Bible teaches that one should prove all things (1 Thessolonians 5:21) and hold on only to those things which are good. I’m sure that there is an equivalent passage of scripture in the Qur’an. Yet, we find that religious people are most easily given to wanton and indiscriminate displays of stupidity; everything from the wild obnoxious behaviours in charismatic churches in Christendom to suicide bombings conducted by Muslim extremist. Religion will always attract fools like flies to bullshit, because it is not based on a system of proof.

Use The Force, Luke

Don’t get me wrong: Faith does work wonders. Faith can effect medical marvels. We can use faith to become better people. There’s no denying the power of prayer. However, faith without works is dead (James 2:20) and once we start using faith to do anything that it wasn’t intended for, it automatically constitutes an abuse of religion. Faith only acts as a motivator. Motivation is not the same as action or common sense. Even though one is driven to subscribe to their beliefs because of how they feel and not because it makes sense, it doesn’t excuse their preventing it from becoming the end purpose of their actions instead of the facilitator for greater things. 

Everybody (including atheists) needs faith. Atheists can’t categorically prove what they believe to be true. They’re only making a highly educated guess. Their contention is basically that theists are making a less educated guess – which is why all such contentions amount to nothing more than a debate about semantics. However, it’s still a guess and both parties still require faith to assume what they believe to be true. However, if one is a theist, there is a more powerful urge to turn that faith into the final cause for their life. This is how religion becomes more convoluted with man made institutions, rituals and practices instead of the teachings that it was meant to impart. If you are religious, faith is not the final cause of your current existence. It is the functional cause of the next.

Irrespective of what you choose to believe, your religion of choice is meant to impart a way of life for sustainable well being. Whether your end goal is 72 virgins or eternal life, it doesn’t mean that your religion should become an emotional lean post, a means of oppression, a cause for laziness or a weapon of mass distraction. If your faith has become any of these things (or worse), then it has lost its usefulness both to you and your fellow man and you would be far better off without it. Being religious doesn’t mean that you no longer need common sense. Even though Luke Skywalker used the force, if he wasn’t pointing in the general direction of that hole in the Death Star, he’d still have missed. Think about that.

Can I get an amen?

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