Why Religion is no longer suitable for today’s world – an extremely short insight:
Now more than ever, religion is being heavily scrutinised worldwide as a force that causes more bad then good. From the Crusades to the Roman Catholic and Protestant sectarianism in Northern Ireland – religion is guilty of stimulating mass violence and death since its conception. With the recent rise of the Islamic State and spreading of fear across the world – this article questions why such primeval religions are still so significant today.
Sociologist Phil Zuckerman is the first of a handful of experts who will being shared within this article. His research strongly supports evidence that “not a single advanced democracy that enjoys benign, progressive socio-economic conditions retains a high level of popular religiosity”. His research further suggests that the least religious nations in the world tend to be the most peaceful and prosperous. In particular, New Zealand is a prime example of a country free of strict religion yet with flourishing public policies. And its evidence conducted by Professor Michael Huemer, Proffesor at the University of Colorado that couples well with Zuckerman in extending the argument further. Huemer lays out compelling arguments which his research suggests the following relationship: the greater the prosperity and feeling of security of the individual, the less they feel the need to be attached or even associated with following a religion. Thus, an overwhelming array of evidence documents religion as: slowing intellectual progress, promoting the acceptance of the implausible and creating false general conceptions about reality – all of which are harmful to progression in society.
Religion as we know it today is born from our development as human beings throughout history. We had very little understanding of the way our world works if we go back two-thousand years and even a significantly smaller catchment of knowledge within our parent’s generation. Periods in history, such as the Iron Age, were deeply religious times whereby: rampant superstition, ignorance, inequality, racism, misogyny and violence were heavily encouraged by competing religions and conflicts over exact ideological interpretations.
Slavery had God’s sanction, women and children were literally possessions of men and warlords practised cruel warfare – in the name of Gods. We can examine snippets of pagan myth which were applied to Christian gospels just in the same way Roman and Greek mythologies share various analogues – such as the Gods Zeus and Jupiter. Religion was not simply born from myth but instead myth acted as the best way of explaining the functioning of nature.
But is religion still necessary? In order to question religion’s exhausted existence today we must look beyond how it was conceived. This is where Science comes into play – it has proven many answers to questions wrong that were previously un-answerable. We no longer need parables and metaphors that helped guide us in our early development. They have outlived their usefulness to us as (reasonably) enlightened, thinking beings that we are today.
The works of the late Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins draw attention to how we no longer need to be associated to a deity or some religious authority to agree on the basic core values of which we have a responsibility to uphold. Simple teachings of respect, love for others and learning right from wrong do not require one to follow the aforementioned stories found in the Bible or Qur’an. Dawkins and Hitchens are renowned for defending this point well against critics. We do not necessitate the existence of a Creator who enforces these values upon us; nor does the atheist assertion of a lack of a “creator” imply that we do not have a duty to lead moral lives. Dawkins goes on in depth in his book “The God Delusion” to write: “Faith can be very very dangerous, and deliberately to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong”. Or as Albert Einstein wrote: “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”. And more people are sharing similar views leading to an increase in atheism globally.
It’s suggested by Nigel Barber that the world could be majority atheist by 2041 – his thesis cites that as a nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) increases, its citizens feel less need for the kind of emotional security offered by religion. It is clear that Atheists not only have trouble reconciling the Word of God in all its widely varying interpretations but also struggle in accepting Biblical passages that have no bearing on any modern system of beliefs and morals. To many followers of religion it is not about development but adhering to a set of ridged beliefs and following the rules laid down by religious authorities. It’s founded on defending your own belief against anyone who questions you and asserting your truth other people’s. The result over history is clear – would there have ever been violence in an atheist/ agonistic Northern Ireland? Would there be settlements in Muslim areas of Palestine if the ultra-Orthodox Jews did not believe that the land was given to them 3 millennia ago by Jahveh? Would the Palestinian Muslims be so volatile about the “tomb of Ibrahim” if he were a Jewish ancestor and not a Muslim prophet like the Qur’an insists?
It’s at this point that we realise religion is a force for control and ironically insists that we promote dogma. However, we must appreciate that it’s natural for us humans to want to understand life’s questions. And at the dawn of time in our existence in this world it’s of no surprise that “Gods” as we know today were created to answer our feelings of fear, hatred, love and to provide reason behind remarkable natural events such as thunderstorms, tsunamis and even concepts such as darkness.
The fear of the unknown is the reason religion began and grew to what it has become today. However, let’s take a step forward and accept that Science is beginning to unravel many of our world’s mysteries that once caused religion to flourish as previously mentioned. We must come together in light of factual, scientific evidence and a growing, modern, diverse and open world that is inappropriate to host religions designed so prematurely.
Taking the above into account – I must note that the article has been strictly written and created by myself, my own views and those mentioned above who have influenced me. I do not aim to discolour religion or even deter people away from it, but merely provide an insight into a growing global view that deserves discussion.
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