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The Problem With Religious Morality

Sophie has analyzed and debated with various religious people over 5 years, she has always been interested in the moral of religion.

Why do extreme religious beliefs harm people?

The problem lies mainly in using one's own religious beliefs or even sacred writings (such as the Bible or the Koran) in order to justify all kinds of discriminatory and disrespectful actions towards certain groups of people (say, people who are part of the LGBT+ community, women who decide to lead a life outside of the role of conventional wife, among others) Most religious people I have come across throughout my life have not expressed any type of hate speech and I would like to think that they are only a minimum, however, this minimum is the one that makes the most noise, and the religious people have something in common, those dyes of disapproval born by their beliefs.

Is religion based on love?

Religion starts from the premise of being a place of love, acceptance and forgiveness (at least most of them) but, if this is so, then why do we find that the majority of intolerant people are religious?

Religion may be based on eternal forgiveness and the quest to be the best version of oneself, but there are two sides to every story. Religion throughout history has been used to manipulate people at the convenience of a certain privileged group (for obvious reasons, this stopped being done a long time ago as far as we know, however, some of the things that were added for the purpose of move masses, are still present in most cultures that arise as a product of religion).

IMPORTANT: The goal of this section is not to discredit people who believe in religion and put them as selfish or evil people, on the contrary, I personally think it is admirable that these people are willing to try to be what they consider to be good, however there is an undeniable problem when they try to impose their beliefs on other people or start attacking people who do not meet their standards (for example all the harassment that women who decide to abort receive from extremist Christians). And it's okay if you believe what you want to believe, as long as it doesn't justify trying to get everyone else to think like you.

About history:

It is important to question why you believe what you believe and what has happened over time, since those who do not know their history are condemned to repeat it; Therefore, before we start talking about the damage that religion has caused and why its morality falters in some aspects, we are going to do a little review of history with this questionnaire focused on points where religion has not had a correct attitude or from its foundations it shows signs of intolerance and hatred.

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. How many people did God kill (explicitly) in the Bible?
    • 10
    • 1.2k
    • 2.8 million
    • 5.4 million
  2. Christianity and the extreme right are responsible for...
    • Most violent hate crimes in the United States
    • Close to 50% of suicides committed by people from the LGBT+ community
    • Both
    • None
  3. Which of the following phrases appears in the Bible?
    • You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
    • Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but must show.
    • I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man, she must be quiet.
    • Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.
    • All of the phrases
    • None of the phrases
  4. Which of the following statements is part of the history of the Muslim religion?
    • Muhammad himself walked to a holy mountain where he heard God who told him to write the Koran and gave him instructions.
    • A half-elephant, half-giraffe being appeared to Mohammed and presented himself as an angel.
    • God appeared to Muhammad and spoke to him through a woodpecker.
    • Some being with the head of a woman, the body of a horse and a peacock's tail carried Muhammad through the Seven Heavens
  5. What religion condemns women for dressing inappropriately? (incite men)
    • Christiansm
    • Muslimism
    • Buddhism
    • All of the options
  6. Which of these things did the Catholic Church do?
    • Accept the fact of having done media manipulation
    • Concordat with the Third Reich for anti-Semitic purposes (the pope openly declared himself anti-Semitic)

Answer Key

  1. 2.8 million
  2. Most violent hate crimes in the United States
  3. All of the phrases
  4. Some being with the head of a woman, the body of a horse and a peacock's tail carried Muhammad through the Seven Heavens
  5. All of the options
  6. Concordat with the Third Reich for anti-Semitic purposes (the pope openly declared himself anti-Semitic)

Interpreting Your Score

If you got between 0 and 1 correct answer: It seems that you don't know much about religion and facts related to it, but that's ok, I invite you to start searching a little more, you can start with the links that I used as a source for this article. Remember, knowledge is power!

If you got between 2 and 3 correct answers: You know quite a bit about religion and facts related to it, it's a start! You can continue informing yourself using the links that I put as a reference for this article if you like. I wish you luck!

If you got 4 correct answers: You have a good amount of knowledge about religion and facts related to it, keep it up! If you are interested in learning more about the subject, you can consult the links that I put as sources for this article. You are good at this!

If you got 5 correct answers: You know a lot about religion and facts related to it, you are amazing! Keep learning, never stop your enthusiasm, the world needs more people like you

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If you got 6 correct answers: Are you a god? You have a lot of knowledge of religion and facts about it, you should teach me, I love your enthusiasm and your ability to accumulate knowledge. You're great!

Now that we've gone over a few points, I'm sure a lot of people are going to want to discuss discriminatory parts of sacred texts, which brings me to my next point.

Religion is a human thing

Regardless of what religion you believe (or not) we can say that they were all written and professed by human beings like you and me, God did not come down to write any of the sacred books, they were people, and this makes taking advantage of this has been quite simple; many of the things that we can see in religious stories is that they support thoughts that were normal at the time but today are not well seen at all, and everything is fine, you can choose to follow the religious principles that best suit your personal morality, however, there are a lot of people who try to follow these words (written by humans) to the letter, and this leads to some actions that harm other human beings.

“The God excuse, the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument.”

— George Carlin

Real Life Examples of Religion-Inspired Hate

CLARIFICATION: Instead of putting a specific case in this section, I am going to put situations of daily life that are lived day by day in today's society, situations that you have probably heard about or have witnessed first hand.

1. Person rejected by his family for having a sexual orientation other than heterosexual.
2. Woman booed and rejected for deciding to have an abortion (this from the point of view of religion, whether abortion is right or wrong is a separate issue)
3. Person forced to repress their "lustful" desires (such as self-pleasure) for religious reasons.
4. Forcing children to believe in the same as their parents or guardians (an extreme case of this occurs in Islam, where especially women are repressed a lot, if you want to believe in it, there is no problem, the problem lies in imposing it on a being who is just a little girl)

The problem of eternal forgiveness

To conclude, I would like to mention the problem of eternal forgiveness, a concept that is found in a large number of religions and that may sound good at first, but that serves as an excuse for those who lead a life of being bad people and think that they can repent at the last second because it doesn't matter.

"Jesus died for sinners, not for perfect people" I have heard many say and stay calm, repeating the same violent and destructive actions as before, religion can only work based on fear, and that is the reason why all religions have their own version of eternal punishment for leading a life of sin, it sounds cruel but it's necessary, people don't move out of good will or love, people move out of fear.

Justifying your bad behavior with religion is immature, take responsibility for your actions

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Sources:

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Sofía Arismendi Mirque

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