HOME   People do good because they are human, not because they are religious! 

Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!

 

LIKE FOLLOWER LIKE FOUNDER

Founder, leaders and sheep are all equally to blame if a religion is man-made or dangerous

Here is a popular citation from David Hume's An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding:  "A religionist may be an enthusiast, and imagine he sees what has no reality: he may know his narrative to be false, and yet persevere in it, with the best intentions in the world, for the sake of promoting so holy a cause: or even where this delusion has not place, vanity, excited by so strong a temptation, operates on him more powerfully than on the rest of mankind in any other circumstances; and self-interest with equal force. His auditors may not have, and commonly have not, sufficient judgement to canvass his evidence: what judgement they have, they renounce by principle, in these sublime and mysterious subjects: or if they were ever so willing to employ it, passion and a heated imagination disturb the regularity of its operations. Their credulity increases his impudence: and his impudence overpowers their credulity."

Here is a popular citation from Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death: "People use their leaders almost as an excuse. When they give in to the leader's commands they can always reserve the feeling that these commands are are alien to them, that they are the leader's responsibility, that the terrible acts they are committing are in his name and not theirs. This, then, is another thing that makes people feel so guiltless, as Canetti points out: they can imagine themselves as temporary victims of the leader. The more they give in to his spell, and the more terrible the crimes they commit, the more they can feel that the wrongs are not natural to them. It is all so neat, this usage of the leader; it reminds us of James Franzer's discovery that in the remote past tribes often used their kings as scapegoats who, when they no longer served the people's needs, were put to death. These are the many ways in which men can play the hero, all the while that they are avoiding responsibility for their own acts in a cowardly way." 

And, "The leader is as much a creature of the group as they of him and that he loses his “individual distinctiveness” by being a leader, as they do by being followers. He has no more freedom to be himself than any other member of the group, precisely because he has to be a reflex of their assumptions in order to qualify for leadership in the first place."

And: "Leaders need followers as much as they are needed by them: the leader projects onto his followers his own inability to stand alone, his own fear of isolation."

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Nobody is just a member of a religion. They are co-creators with the founder of the religion.  Strictly speaking there is no founder.

If the leader of a religion is deluded and a fraud or evil then he is to blame for the bad results direct and indirect. By their fruits you will know them. Jesus said you know false prophets by how they cannot get any remarkable good results. He speaks of the image of getting grapes from figs. When Jesus said that he would have meant himself too. If the fruits are nothing special or even bad then Jesus was not what he said he was – he is the root for a bad plant. By invoking the fruits argument Jesus was saying, “Judge me.”

As we have learned from the quotations making God leader and king is an attempt by man to get his word taken for the word of God.  Even if man has the word of God, we cannot be sure enough. So even if he is for real he may as well not be.  Man still gets the real glory and is worshipped by proxy.  The villainous person who makes up the word of God is another issue.  If God is a bad belief or an okay one but with too much room for danger then the believers are doing harm or opening the door to harm.  The person who unwittingly does harm needs correction far more than one who knows what they are doing.  And it needs to be established that they are as unwitting as they appear. 

The followers of a deluded or manipulative leader even if not directly doing evil are to blame for they follow him and keep following and reinforce their faith and that of others and even evangelise in some way. They give the religion money or carry their babies to the baptismal font. What the individual follower is directly doing is upholding a bad or disturbed man and is indirectly to blame for the violence carried out by other followers on religious grounds. They are however directly to blame for creating the sea for the violent fish to swim in.

To worship Jesus is to worship a man responsible for grave evil and persecution – I’m referring to the genocide and murders by stoning that God commanded in the Bible. He took responsibility if the Bible is to be believed for he said he was there and was behind Moses all along. He said his God was the God of Moses.  When he quoted the Bible he said he was quoting God.

The New Testament says Jesus is with the Church more than he ever was when he was a man. So he is responsible if it is a deluded vicious dud. People say that things like priests battering children in boarding schools is individuals not the Church or Jesus. But the reality is that if Jesus is not the perfect man he could have been one of those individuals too. Blaming individuals while refusing to admit that the founder could have been to blame is just loaded and unsympathetic and disgusting. And what is a religion made up of? Individuals.

If a religion advocated evil and worshipped evil but its members for some reason were doing as much good as anybody else that would not make it a good religion. It makes it worse.  It means it is well aware of what good is and keeps it before its eyes but refuses to be good.  It must think the best evil is that which can corrupt the good.  In that scheme, loads of good for a time is fine as long as it leads to moral collapse.

Those who never admit a faith or religion is bad and blame individuals are making “religion is good” unfalsifiable.  They are dangerous hypocrites - they are trying to stop you making a diagnosis that needs to be made.  Indeed how can you sincerely praise the good when you can't see the bad or admit it?  Praise is thin if you have no moral standards. We have to accept that the behaviour of the people does indicate if the religion is good or bad or how good or how bad.  If religion needs you to pick on its individuals then that is proof that it is inherently bad and manipulative. The Bible says pagan religions were bad for they worshipped the wrong gods and sacrificed children and did fortune-telling.  It does not say, "It is individuals not the religion."

A religion can be passively responsible for evil – even evil that it bans. A religion is to blame for evil when it gives useless help to sinners. Such a religion is worse than one that is actively responsible for evil. Indeed it needs to be open to evil before it can start commanding evil. Yet passive religion likes to provoke hate against religion that is actively violent. It's condemnation of such religion only means it is as bad and just a dose of sectarian hypocrisy.

The claim that religion is an excuse for violence is total rubbish for violent people don't need religion as an excuse.  And an excuse is about getting others to let you do harm and it is not about you.  If people really could not think religion is a force for evil and makes evil right then there would be nobody making excuses.  A man who hits his wife will sooner try to blame her than say he felt his religion called him to do it.

Some religions are more harmful than others.  You get Muslim believers committing suicide bombings not Mormons.  Why are the Mormons not using an excuse to wage war and hate and violence?

If God and faith are related to psychological projection it is inevitable that worship and devotion will be directed to a mental idol - a God to fit your own tastes.  A God can be a challenge and still be about your own tastes for faith cannot attract you if it is insipid.

Projection of yourself unto God so that God significantly becomes a mirror of you rules out anybody saying, “Violent believers in God are using God as an excuse for the terrible things they do.”  You do not go to the effort of creating this idol which takes time and effort and sacrifice

  

Given that we all know and believe that human nature has a bad side and a side that wants to thrive at the expense of another in at least one or two ways s

 

Saying religion is an excuse for violence is unacceptable.  Why are we not saying that the need for food or water or freedom is an excuse?  Nobody wants an excuse for violence.  Nobody wants violence.

Why is religion never an excuse for doing good?  If it is an excuse for being bad then say it is also an excuse for being good.


It cannot be proven for you cannot see if the person is really using it as an excuse.


People do not always interpret their religion as they should and that is a fact of human nature. That is why a religion must admit some responsibility for how people interpret it a different way from what they would expect for what else can they expect?

 

A religion commanding evil is bad but what counts is its spiritual power to avert evil. It commands bad for it has no supernatural power to avoid evil. Evil works like a wolf that attacks you when you have no armour.

Those who say that are stupid. They do not say that a doctor uses medicine as an excuse for being careless or hurting a patient. They are biased liars.


Many religious people think that religion that is merely cultural is bad.  Is this kind of “religion” the bad kind? Or is it bad and religion bad? Is the evil of cultural religion worse than the evil of religion?  Is religion culture pretending to be religion?  Religion has to absorb culture so the distinction between religion and cultural religion is so blurry that it is meaningless.


Max Weber in Essay: Politics as a vocation wrote: "The problem — the experience of the irrationality of the world — has been the driving force of all religious evolution. The Indian doctrine of karma, Persian dualism, the doctrine of original sin, predestination and the deus absconditus, all these have grown out of this experience. Also the early Christians knew full well the world is governed by demons and that he who lets himself in for politics, that is, for power and force as means, contracts with diabolical powers and for his action it is not true that good can follow only from good and evil only from evil, but that often the opposite is true. Anyone who fails to see this is, indeed, a political infant."

Religion thrives and battles against people and communities and stirs up hate by using the myth that good leads to good and evil from evil.

Morality like maths may be useful but that does not mean it is on your side.  It does not care.  The doctrine of a loving moral God is just a plot to deny that truth.  It cannot be anything else no matter how nice the terms it is coached in.