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)
In no particular order:
1) Religion was clearly invented to keep certain people down while others prosper.
2) Religion divides people and causes war.
3) Religion fosters hate, bigotry, misogyny, and all kinds of other things that end in 'y'.
4) Religion obstructs progress in scientific advancement and prevents people from seeking out real facts/truths
5) Religion is a tool to justify all manner of heinous and unjust crime against humanity.
6) Religion causes people to waste their entire life studying and trying to live by utter bullshit and to try and push it off on everyone else they come into contact with.
7) Religion causes self-righteous behavior.
8) Religion is 'black and white' in a world of 'grey area'
9) Religion deludes people into false hope of an afterlife so that they devote their entire lives to what may happen after they die.
10) Religion promotes misunderstanding of the real world.
Well said, Amy L!
Politics is and or can be the same monster:
Take THAT, Religious Right!
I believe they just took a right cross.
Hey Barry - that's a really interesting point. I'm struck by the huge gap, for example, between what Prof Robert says on TA about Roman Catholic theology, and the actual reality on the ground for everyday Christians. He maintains that there's no coercion involved for people to be "good" - and yet many people report being plagued with terrifying nightmares of hell.
Maybe that is the case for Roman Catholicism, but in general there is very little gap between clergy in the protestant sects and the actual reality on the ground for "everyday Christians." I should know, I served in both fashions in the protestant lines of faith - first as a congregant (multiple denominations) and then as a pastor (exclusively Baptist). However, this is because most of the protestant faith place more authority in the members of the local church then they do the central governing body of the larger institution. There maybe a hierarchy, but the decentralized form of power makes the clergy more dependent of the political will of the congregation, and even then that political will is shaped more by the power garnered and manipulated by a few influential people (most of that influence garnered by money and/or deception).
I have heard of and known pastors who change their doctrinal views from seminary and from church to church quite often to fit the desires of the congregants in order to get the job - and not just because their doctrinal beliefs "evolve overtime". And, if they stand up for anything that goes against the will or damages the image of a few powerful oligarchs in the church (such was my case), their career is pretty much history in that particular church or denomination. The fact is that the majority of Christians in America are protestant, and their religious views are extremely tangled into their political views - whether on the left or right of the political spectrum.
Why else do the Republican'ts (no that is not a typo) and Democraps (still not a typo) cater to religious believers? Because the religious are a political force - promoting their religious beliefs into the political system, and spreading the propaganda and revisionist history that the US is a Christian nation, which it is not since the first amendment propagates that it is a nation of religious freedom - which includes freedom from it.
But I digress. The point is that in the protestant sects there is always, and has always been a coercion involved for people to be good. After all, look at the religious history of the US starting with the puritans, and then on further where "spiritual revivals" were nothing more than fire and brimstone services of "get saved or burn forever." Then, in modern terms, there are figures like Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell, and even the beloved Billy Graham, and the most recent phenomena of churches putting on "Hell Houses" during Halloween. Even look at documentaries like Jesus Camp, and you see coercion all over the place.
Simply put, there is hardly any gentle nudging or encouragement to simply "be good for goodness sake" to quote a recent atheist ad campaign in the Washington DC area over Christmas time. Jesus is a good example of being good - at least a number of his teachings, but that is not the emphasis. The emphasis is "you better behave and do as you're told or God is going to scorch you like an ant!"
@Barry - thanks for that explanation. I like Prof Robert, but I thought he was being a bit disingenuous when he said people don't worry about going to hell. It's very interesting about the politics - where do we even start about that. People are able to twist religion to mean whatever they want it to mean. This isn't to say by any means that all religious people do this - I know they don't, and many are very humble and sincere. But since the scope for it is there, people do it. The reason the scope is there is that it's so damned complicated and sprawling and confusing. If it was simple and to the point, there wouldn't be so much room for using it to back up pre-existing beliefs. It's also distressing that too often, religion as it's practiced prevents people from being happy. This is not how things should be.
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.