The titular question showed up from an anonymous source in my private blog, shortly after I wrote a very in offensive post about how religion perforated our language; and I’ll preface this all by saying, wow, this is the broadest of questions to me, and since I hardly knew where to start, and wound up rambling for a considerable time, I’ll simple copy and paste the passage that follows that I wrote on a blog which I use with far less consideration to proper, structured writing. Apologies in advance.
“I suppose my main problem with religion is a simple one. It enforces a code upon society in which people are unable to be seen as equal. You can be the most tolerant of Christians and have no problem associating with non-heterosexuals, independent females, ethnic minorities, or people of a different religion to yours, but you’re still forced by the things you have been taught to believe to view them as fundamentally different or, if you’re honest, inferior. Religion is a barrier that humans have created that separates one person from another. We have enough of those, and we don’t need more.
Another very large problem I have with religion is the way it takes the magic away from creation. Saying that an everlasting celestial being just magicked everything into existence in less than a week is like pouring black tar over the Mona Lisa. The creation of our current universe, with its unending, chaotic process of elimination, and the almost incomprehensibly improbable, and yet somehow successful, process of biological evolution, is, in my view, the most incredible thing that we as a species have the wonderful gift of being able to perceive. To try and sweep that under the rug of ‘god did it’ just absolutely depresses me to my core.
Then again, this is mostly me talking about fundamentalist Christianity, and you’ve asked about religion in general. So here you go. My ‘beef’ with religion is that it doesn’t need to exist. We don’t need it. It does far, far, far, exponentially far more harm than good in our lives. It hides away from scientific progress, retreating further and further into the darkness of ignorance, whilst trying to stay relevant in an age of intelligence and inspired thought. It propagates hatred, whilst claiming a monopoly on morality, and it does so whilst continuing to govern our lives and our thoughts based on allegories that were half thought out to just about suffice in a far more intellectually primitive age than our own.
Heaven is depicted in clouds because we thought it was in the sky. Hell is referred to as ‘below us’ because we thought it was underground. The world was thought to lie flat on the back of a giant turtle, or held up by Atlas, or hanging from the branch of a gigantic tree. The sun and the moon were enemies that battled for control of the sky, day after day. Man was created out of some dirt in Eden. These are all things that were once believed because we didn’t have the intelligence or the resources to know that the sky has no great floating kingdom; the centre of our planet is rock and magma; the Earth spins around a star on the outer arm of an incredible galaxy; man evolved over an unfathomable amount of time, reaching its current form two hundred thousand years ago, and creating culture fifty thousand years ago. When the argument against what religious texts tell us gets too strong, they backtrack like cowards and say ‘Okay, so *maybe* we evolved, but only because god made evolution happen.’
Religions simply combine a slew of primitive guesses, and despite our ability to now so thoroughly disprove so many of them, it lingers on, seemingly just to tediously argue against the beautiful scientific discoveries that we bring to the world each and every day, like a naughty child at the back of the class room, screaming and throwing things around whilst a teacher tries to impart profound wisdom upon eager young minds.
Having said all of that: I have no problem with religious people, if you’re as respectful about my beliefs as I will be about yours. I would never insult or ‘correct’ anyone based on what I feel to be true. That isn’t my place. If you want to share thoughts on respective beliefs, I’d love to. If you want to tell me that I’m wrong, and that my life must be meaningless, and that I’m denying the ‘truth’ that I must know deep down, then I’ll politely tell you that I don’t want to continue our conversation. In all honesty, I’ve never spoken to a religious person about religion, and found them to be as respectful to my beliefs as I am to theirs.
But again, if you’re decent about it, like everyone should be about everything, then I have no problem with any person who prescribes to any religion. Religion itself, however, is a single entity, and as a single entity, I am entitled to hate it, which I do. I hate it.”
So there you go. That was my ‘beef’ with religion. I’m sure I could have written it all better, but the question came through late at night, and I hadn’t planned to ramble on for quite so long. I hope nothing was written in a way that offended anyone, but feel free to leave a comment if there’s anything in particular that you agree or disagree with. I’ll always be polite about your beliefs, and I hope you will too.