If religion has caused more death and destruction then anything else in the history of mankind, why do people still practice any form of religion.

Much of what people do is done in the name of God. Irishmen blow each other up in his name. Arabs blow themselves up in his name. Imams and ayatollahs oppress women in his name. Celibate popes and priests mess up people's sex lives, and allow the molestation of young boys in their churches, in his name.The achievements of religion in past history has only been bloody crusades, torturing inquisitions, mass-murdering conquistadors, culture-destroying missionaries, repression of women and homosexuals, and legally enforced resistance to each new piece of scientific truth until the last possible moment.

I only ask that you the reader answer this question to the best of your abilities and that you be honest to yourself and your beliefs.

Thank you.

Views: 392

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on June 5, 2011 at 1:49pm

Because some of us are genetically pre-disposed towards harmful, compulsive behavior. 

It's left-overs from our hunter gatherer time. Basically take a look at any study on the brain of the religious vs. the brain of a substance abuser. 

So we ask the substance abusers why they continue to engage in activities that are negative to them and those they care about. 

...and the answers are pretty much the same. 


Religion is a little bit like being afraid of the dark. 

Most people don't even realize that they are. But put an EKG and a blood pressure cuff on them and cut the lights? Their body responds the same way as fear, even if they are trying to rationalize it. 



You ever wonder why so many substance abusers trade one addiction for another? Because it's not about the substance (though that helps sometimes) It's about the behavior itself. It's about fulfilling the compulsion. 

For some people, crack does the trick. 

For other people it's religion. 

Some are addicted to Alcohol. 

Some are addicted to AA. 


It just depends on the network of feedback that person is under, which is why both drug councilors and cultists tell you to break away from the people you know in any other type of lifestyle. 


I mean, in case you've not noticed, humans are pretty good at being self destructive. 

Maybe it's a self destruct instinct because we have this food and medicine thing figured out for the most part. We need something to keep our population in check. 

Comment by Steve on June 5, 2011 at 2:16pm

Religion has developed many ways to rationalize all that away:

1. There are other causes too (which is true in some cases, especially when religion is mixed with politics)

2. The people who did weren't real [insert religion]

3. That's the past. We are better today

4. Not everyone is evil. It's only a few bad apples

5. But religion has done a lot of good

etc. etc.


Organized religion is basically a mix of coercion and brainwashing. The people in it, don't realize that what they are doing is bad. On the contrary. They see nothing wrong with it.

Comment by Frank on June 5, 2011 at 2:50pm
Why do people smoke? Why do they overeat to point of being obese? Why do they kill other animals just to eat their flesh and body parts? Self-destructive behavior is all around us, not just religion. Religion is about power and control. Women that participate do so in acting out their own internalized oppression. All of the above ties back to brainwashing of children. It is no news that victims of oppression generally repeat the oppressive cycles that they were victim to. It is a big pill to swallow that your entire life has been a lie. Much easier and culturally safer to just go with the flow.
Comment by Boatman on June 5, 2011 at 3:19pm

From my observations;

1) People are afraid of The Great Unknowns (where did we come from, why are we here, what happens next, etc)

2) People will rather come up with an explanation (any explanation) rather than say "I don't know (and what difference does it make, anyways?)"

3) People don't like it when their pet explanation is different than yours, and will go to great lengths to prove their point of view is the right view.


Now, introduce someone who talks a better talk than everyone else, give him a funny hat and don't demand that he actually do anything, and what do you have?  An environment where, as Richard Jeni put it, everyone is arguing over who has the better imaginary friend.

Comment by Jon Bingham on June 5, 2011 at 3:37pm
because you can repent and wash away sins. Religions allow humans to justify anything they need to in the name of the afterlife.
Comment by Sarah on June 6, 2011 at 1:34am
They think their religion is right and all the other religions are harmful, when in fact they all are harmful.
Comment by Great Dane on June 6, 2011 at 5:09am
To me it's quite simple - ignorant religious people don't know history and thus do not learn. Or, they know but don't believe it relates to their religion.
Comment by Doubting Thomas on June 6, 2011 at 8:48am
From what I know the abraham story is quite self explanatory on what people will do to please a God, if the idea of killing a child is somehow acceptable for the pretense god made the kid and christians will do anything to go to heaven (christians are more secure about this) islam is so strict and many see themselves not fit for heaven that killing some infidels as we are called seems like a good idea.
Comment by Jeff Samuelson on June 6, 2011 at 8:58am

It's tribalism, plain & simple. And while religion isn't the only social construct to promote tribalism, it does seem to be one of the more effective promoters of bonds between like-minded people.


Nationalism (or maybe just it's extreme form, jingoism) can accomplish the same thing, but the bonds don't seem to me to be as strong or long-lasting.

Comment by Atheist Exile on June 6, 2011 at 10:21am
I've asserted many times that "The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind."

But has religion really "caused more death and destruction then anything else in the history of mankind"?  I tend to think not.  Instead, I think religion has been used as the excuse for more death and destruction then anything else in the history of mankind.  The true cause is, more often than not, greed combined with power.

caused more death and destruction then anything else in the history of mankind


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