So where do I start?? Religion is such a big subject it is difficult to work out the best place.
Religion once served a purpose.
In a time when there was no police force and no sensible way to maintain law and order, religion served a purpose – God is watching you.
In a time when our understanding of the natural environment was incredibly limited, religion served a purpose – God did it, because you were either good or bad – take your pick.
In a time when our understanding of the sciences was incredibly limited, Religion served a purpose – God.
Although many would say our understanding in the above areas is still very limited (and that would be a fair point) our understanding has certainly improved greatly.
There have been around 4000 known religions over the years. The most successful have been the ones that have tortured, enslaved, murdered, terrorised and indoctrinated the most efficiently.
The very best information we have at the moment – the very best, says that these Religious texts were simply made up by different blokes around the world at different times several thousand years ago.
Take Christianity as an example for a second, many Religious people will say “prove it didn’t happen!” or “because Bethlehem was an actual place and because it’s mentioned in the bible that is proof that the events in the bible actually happened”.
Well this is a nonsensical set of arguments.
Take a fictional book set in the present day where a group of aliens actually carried out the twin towers attacks. The book will mention the twin towers, a tragic event which actually happened, and there will be mention of New York and many other cities which actually exist today.
Fast forward two thousand years into the future. A group has pronounced that they believe this fictional book is real and they are teaching it to their children as actual fact. You cannot stop them unless YOU prove that two thousand years ago it wasn’t aliens that actually blew those buildings up.
No, the burden of proof rests on the person making the claim. Religious institutions have to prove that their religious texts are factual – the difficulty, of course, is that they are not – they are just made up documents from thousands of years ago.
Yet even today in order to appease and win the vote of the religious in our society we still have state sanctioned indoctrination into religion in public and private schools. Fiction taught as fact to appease a deluded percentage of the population. In a few hundred years this age will be taught by historians as a semi-joke. The “semi” being that there isn’t very much funny about it.
No, it’s time a we call Religion as it is, an ancient prescription for controlling populations and using as a precursor to invasion where the belief system is at odds to the one you are currently using.
But……do I think all wars and fighting would end if we managed to remove Religion from Schools and Politics? Of course I don’t.
All wars genuinely are caused by men and women who like power and want more. Religion just happens to be an incredibly useful tool. A tried, tested, developed and improved tool. But given that they are all, in fact, utter fiction – shouldn’t we just stop this nonsense and stop treating them as anything other than what they are?
Now, would I advocate getting rid of them entirely? No, that’s up to the combined population, and I wouldn’t want to get rid of any idea I didn’t like just because I didn’t like it. Everyone should be allowed to have their ideas, why not a space cloud man thing? Or a Flying Spaghetti Monster? – I like to believe that Star Wars actually happened – IT DID. And I teach my kids that Star Wars is actual fact but I also, begrudgingly, listen to warped individuals who say it didn’t actually happen.
To that end I wouldn’t suggest using tax payers money to teach every child in the world at school that Star Wars actually happened even if our entire population BELIEVED it actually did. I also wouldn’t advocate having individuals who were well versed in the Laws of Star Wars sitting in our House of Lords using that knowledge to sway how we live.
To sum up, for me Religion is……well, a very well developed monster tale that we really should grow out of.