I'm talking about all religions and every religion in general. What are your reasons?
Religion and religious persons impose their faith into public policy and politics. Where it clearly doesn't belong.
Religion is still very much mediatory in the schools of nations such as Republic of Ireland, where it has no place. Churches were built for a reason. This makes many members of other faiths and no faiths feel uncomfortable and excluded during a time when young persons find it difficult to fit in as it is. It isn't a matter of talking about religion, but actively telling young persons to practice it mandatory.
Many nations make it difficult for the non-religous to have any sort of successful career in politics (and being honest about their lack of faith at the same time)
Many religious groups impose their views of abortion on others and seek to make abortion illegal. Because of religion in other nations it now is or has been for sometime, outlawed medial practice. Abortion is not murder, murder is the illegal killing of a human being, not a pre-human being.
Religion demonises many educational fields in contrast with its doctrine, such as certain aspects of history and many accepted theories
There have been cases in the United States and some other country where person's have lost their jobs due to lack of faith or alternative faiths and sometimes on the bases of sexual orientation (which is thought to be justified because of certain beliefs)
Religion tries to justify many forms of discrimination including but not limited to, homophobia, sexism, racism and class
Certain nations such as Iran and Uganda take their discrimination justified by religious beliefs a step further by improving atheists and murdering homosexuals
Religion has caused many to rebel against its corruption. While this mostly occurs in changing religions or declaring oneself atheist; that is not always the next direction for some. For some they take that faith and change it for their own purposes, often resulting in more extreme and harmful faith systems mostly regarded as cults. These cults involve all sorts of dangerous acts, such as mass suicide and sometimes violent attacks of non-beleivers of their faith.
Religion has literally caused people to go to war due to the influence of the faith and disagreement with certain policies based on religious beliefs (especially when a doctrine influences such actions)
There are churches which are getting it "right" when approaching topics of faith, but there are a very large number of that throw Hell in your face any chance they get to scare you into belief. The last pastor I worked for was very much a "turn or burn" theist, even though the entire time he was selling me to come work for his church he claimed he was not. I obviously later found out, among other serious moral and character concerns, that he was a very good liar.
I had a conversation with a congregation member who lamented to me that the senior pastor always had to throw Scripture in your face when you were coming to him for counsel on difficult life issues. He also told me that the pastor's only interest in meeting people was to sell them on church, and that if you weren't on board he'd find a way to make you feel guilty by using the "turn or burn" argument. The pastor once told the congregation member's brother who opened up about a troubled relationship with his son - a relationship the brother desperately wanted to heal - that his son was going to hell because the son was not living a "Biblical" life. The pastor then threw the angle in that the only way to prevent that was for them to come to church. I nearly fell out of my chair in disgust over the pastor's behavior.
The only good news is that the brother of the congregation member didn't fall for it.
@Barry - yes, I think intelligence and wisdom are required. Jesus would be ashamed of all the crap that gets said in his name, but he can't/couldn't control what people do now. I do think he slipped up by making his points too cryptic sometimes - expecting people to do a little work in order to understand them, when that's unrealistic. People need the teaching ready-made and spelled out. Making the meaning one remove from the message just means it's removed from common understanding. Making it plain and up-front makes it much more effective. Willful misunderstanding and egotism are always problems which need to be minimised.
Ahh, but therein lies the problem. If the teachings were not cryptic and were instead spelled out in ready-made fashion, people would lose the ability to think and perceive beyond what they are told. In effect, you would just have robots incapable of thinking on their own, and it would only feed into the vicious cycle of what we know religion to already be.
The reason why the Christian religion is exactly what it is today, and what it was long after the death of Jesus (especially when it became state sponsored), is because of the church "spelling it out" for people. In effect, this is nothing more than spoon feeding people what they are to believe and what they are not to believe, and to never question what they are told to believe - and if you did, the penalty would be torture and the threat of Hell fire. This is why religion has such a bad reputation among people like you, and why people like me were seen as threatening to the church. Because we actually require humanity to think, to feel, and to use the brain that they possess as a human being.
Authorities do not want you to think, they want you to be sheep. Jesus did not want this. He wanted you to think, and a number of his teachings - especially the cryptic parables - are designed to do that. This is why he was a dangerous man to the authorities of his day.
After 600 AD, the Church took spoonfeeding to a whole new level:
By 500 CE, the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages. Just one century later, by 600 CE, it has been restricted to only one language: the Latin Vulgate. The only organized and recognized church at that time in history was the Catholic Church of Rome, and they refused to allow the scripture to be available in any language other than Latin. Those in possession of non-Latin scriptures would be executed!
This was because only the priests were educated to understand Latin, which gave the church ultimate power to rule without question, to deceive, and to extort money from the masses. Nobody could question their “Biblical” teachings, because few people of the time could read at all, and still fewer, other than priests, could read Latin. The church capitalized on this forced-ignorance through the 1,000 year period from 400 CE to 1,400 CE known as the Dark Ages, during which time, Europe stagnated.
And yet the church often highlights Jesus' disdain for the religious authorities of his day...I see too many similarities. And for the protestant fundamentalists (at least for a number of them) the only "true" Bible is the King James Bible - one of the worst translations in the entire English language. All others they would rather burn and call people who own other translations heretics.
Actually, if you'll follow the link above, you'll find an interesting history of the Bible, all the way to the KJV and beyond.
@Barry - then the emphasis should be on encouraging people to "think" - whatever that might mean. Buddhists talk about cultivation and "deep concentration", which covers a lot of things. People should be given the proper tools for doing systematic analysis and possible way out of some situation or problem.
Also, sound, clear principles to guide them which can be worked out from scratch in 15 seconds flat.
Exactly, Simon! This was the emphasis I tried to encourage in the church. In my first church I worked as a leader in, they accepted my process. Questioning one's faith is the strongest guide in learning about oneself and how they see their life's "mission" being fulfilled. It also allows, without restriction, the opportunity for one to express his or herself without fear of judgement. What resulted was a community that was more accepting of differences. In the second, such thought and practice was absolutely rejected, and any dissension in thought was immediately and harshly "disciplined."
I am actually in the process of brainstorming exactly what you speak of.
The Buddhists say that cultivation is achieved through self-discipline, deep concentration and intuitive wisdom.
I can think of two kinds of deep concentration: trying to decide what is the right thing to do; and discovering and acknowledging one's deepest feelings about things.
The second one ties in with the ego: one of the jobs of the ego is to allow us to process reality, and one of the goals of wisdom is to be able to see reality clearly and to remove illusion.
And the Prime reason:
Religion is Pure Unadulterated Bull Shit.
This just in: in North Carolina, the bill to establish a "state religion" has been officially killed.