The Problem With Religion

Around the middle of December, Danica wrote a post on her blog, Love Over Religion, that she entitled,”Wager” (she doesn’t waste words on any of her post titles 🙂 ). While the post itself was quite good, it was a comment she made in response to one of her visitors that really impressed me. With her permission, I’ve included it here. See if her thoughts don’t resonate with you as well.

The problem with religion is that it allows groups of people to justify cruelty towards others. At their core, each religion harbors discrimination against those who are not part of it. Unless you are an incredibly open Christian, you can probably test this by asking yourself if God is going to permit Muslims, Hindus, atheists, homosexuals, Jews into heaven. If your answer is no to any of these, you can clearly see that your version of God discriminates against that group of people. And if he does, why shouldn’t you? If your answer was yes, they will all be in heaven, then I congratulate you for being a wonderful human being, but regret to inform you that you don’t believe the Bible. I don’t believe it, which is why I left religion. It didn’t make sense to me to be in a club that I didn’t fundamentally agree with.

Religion, Christianity specifically, has been used to justify slavery and genocide in the past, as you mentioned. I think it’s safe to say that most Christians would not be okay with slavery or genocide. But in subtle ways, religion continues to “justify” cruelty. Ask any gay couple that have cried themselves to sleep because the religious right is fighting so hard to keep them from having access to dignity and respect. Ask the teenager who has received beatings and emotional abuse because her parents won’t accept her nonbelief. Ask the Muslim that has been spit on, or the child at school that has been ridiculed for being part of the only non-Christian family in a small town. I know someone in her 90’s who had to live her entire life in secret, apart from her family and those who claimed to love her, because her Christian family wouldn’t accept the truth of who she was. While over in the Middle East, people are dying daily, mothers, children, young fathers, over this thing called “religion.” I believe that until we can free ourselves from this ancient system of beliefs in gods and myths, a system that wreaks havoc on our natural inclination towards love and acceptance for one another, this misery and tragedy will continue. That doesn’t mean necessarily that belief in science promotes goodwill. However, there is no underlying clause in science or reason that divides us into groups. There is no suggestion in science that a supernatural entity will give this group everlasting life, and throw all the rest into the fire.

Repost: “Season’s Greetings”

I originally wrote this post in 2011 (back when I had no more than one or two visitors 🙂 ). Since I feel the message is just as true today as it was six years ago, I decided to repost it … with a few minor additions/alterations.


After spending over 15 years within the confining walls of Christianity, one day I ventured outside … and found the weather delightful. Unfortunately, certain individuals (well-meaning as they may be) are trying to drag me back inside — especially during this yuletide season.

To Christians, the last month of the year signifies only one thing: the birth of Christ. Facts be told, the date of Jesus’ birth is unknown. Scholars who have studied Jewish history believe it was more likely in the springtime, but this matters little to the faithful. For them, it’s not about facts or history. It’s about tradition. And it’s often about ostracizing those who refuse to go along with tradition, including using a holiday greeting other than “Merry Christmas.”

Insert: A rather interesting take on the Merry Christmas greeting can be found here. While I definitely don’t agree with everything that’s written, the writer does offer some food for thought.

There is no disputing that Christianity is the dominant religion in the U.S. However, to use this majority position to try and force others to conform to Christian practices is simply wrong. Included in the makeup of this country are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, not to mention smaller religions such as Ba’hai, Deism, Jainism, and others. There are also a growing number of atheists.

Many of these non-Christians, including myself, prefer to use the term “Happy Holidays” because it is more religiously neutral. Moreover, since this time of the year includes another holiday (New Year’s Day), the greeting becomes more inclusive.

Insert: On many occasions, I just say “Have a nice holiday.”

Not too long back, I came across a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1865) entitled, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Eve.” I was particularly drawn to the third stanza:

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Yes, sometimes “the hate is strong” — and hardly a testimony to the significance of this time of year among those who believe. To allow hatred or enmity to take the place of good will to men during this (or any other) time of the year is, well, not very Christian-like.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all my readers and followers!