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!

 

Messing around with the definition of religion to help deny it can be harmful or is harmful
 
Some politically correct irritants, like Pope Francis, define religion as goodness which means that no matter how many lies a religion tells or many bad things it does they say, "It has nothing to do with religion." Even when somebody engages in terrorism in the name of faith and is not interested in money or glory or anything but faith they still say that. Religion has to live in the material world so there is no reason why a battle primarily over say oil can be religious and about protecting and empowering the religion. A religious war does not need to be explicitly over faith.
 
Religion could be defined as submission to the supernatural. That opens the door to the risk of evil. Submission would be a necessary evil. But the problem is you need proof that an evil is necessary and religion denies that it has proof. A necessary evil that is not necessary is an evil and a curse - pure and simple. Religion at best should be a necessary evil. A necessary evil will have to be harmful to some extent.
 
To define religion as goodness is silly for many systems of goodness are not religious and sometimes good people do bad things which makes them worse than bad people. The good person doing evil has thrown away their self-development and should know better. For that reason, a good person stealing 100 pounds is now worse than a person who has stolen all their life and ended up with millions of ill-gotten goods. Surprisingly, religion would accept that the good person is worse.
 
Religion is a behaviour and a response to "God" or something similar. Thus you do not theorise what religion is but observe.
 
It is not up to anything to define religion except the evidence. If members of a religion sometimes do bad things in its name or if some members do that denies you any right to say religion is good or even worse: all-good. A theory that religion is goodness is useless for only evidence can define it that way if it is. You have to decide what is a religion based on how it behaves. Let the evidence define what religion is. It is only the evidence that can define it. A theory is no good. Let evidence then define if religion is good or bad or somewhere between. If you let it do that you will see religion as a force for great evil or not-so-great but still a force for evil.
 
It is odd that some want to exonerate religion from evil. They blame the members not the religion. You would think that if you have to pick blaming the religion or the people then it is kinder to blame the damn religion! That religion inspires such nasty hypocrisy in its defenders says a lot.
 
Some warn that when you discuss the problem of Christian/Muslim violence, you must not conflate Christianity/Islamism the ideology, Christianity/Islam the religion and Christianity/Islam the people who identify as Muslim. To conflate them means that to criticise Islamism is to criticise all Christians/Muslims at least indirectly. What is wrong with that? That many people calling themselves Christian/Muslim oppose the violence. But remember there can be no religion or community without an ideology. The ideology comes first. There is no excuse for good people being in a religion with a bad ideology. The order of importance is: ideology, religion, community. Religious people opposing violence are hypocrites if the ideology is pro-violence.
 
Religion is to blame for the evil done in its name even by rebels even if it is essentially good for in this violent world, we need more than just good. We need what is essentially very good.

Man knows there is a risk taken with religion. It can harm people or put people at risk of being hated and persecuted for their faith. Man does not care for he likes to make out that the setting up of the religion and its teaching is God's responsibility. That is inherently selfish and dangerous in itself.
 
Those who re-define religion in order to protect it from exposure as harmful are worse than the bad people in the religion. The bad will not see themselves as harming their religion's reputation so there is no chance of pointing out that harm by way of a deterrent. You cannot talk to them from their religious perspective if it is irrelevant.

Saying things like, "If you burn heretics at the stake or abuse children in the name of Christ, you are still not Christian even if you protest that you are" is unhelpful. It is an attack on those who see you don't need to be Christian to be good. It is an attack on those who see that it is more important to be good than religious. And if you are Christian do you stop being Christian the moment you kill or abuse in the name of Christ?

Some say we should not speak of Christian terrorists or Islamist terrorists for terrorists are just terrorists! That is nonsense. Terrorists do differ and have different reasons for doing what they do and affiliate to different religions. And why does nobody say we should not speak of IRA terrorists or Nazi terrorists? If religion is people in any sense then surely religion can be terrorist if people can be terrorists?
 
To summarise, if all religious people are hypocrites then religion should be described as a form of hypocrisy. It should be defined as organised hypocrisy. You cannot theorise what religion is for it is about people. So you have to look at them. Theorising without letting the evidence speak is itself a form of bias and bigotry and religion cannot be a good thing if it needs you to act like that.