Is Religion a Mass Delusion?

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Religion. It causes passion, enthusiasm and fanaticism. We’re all exposed to it; some of us are immersed in it. But does it really have a place in the modern world? Does it really have any relevance or is it just a mass delusion? As I have gotten older I have asked this question many times. I don’t have an answer; I only have my perspective and belief. In my opinion religion should have no place in the modern world. Humanity has come to a point in its evolution and development were religion should be irrelevant and consigned to the waste bin of medieval beliefs. Science and technology can explain the world and universe around us – we don’t need to look to an omni-potent being for our answers. Just because science can’t explain something doesn’t mean it’s an “act of god” or “divine intervention”. It just means we don’t understand yet, we still have much to learn. Yet religion prevails and this perturbs me, especially when I see what is done in the name of religion. Many evil and heinous crimes have been done in the name of religion and religion, to this day, serves as a means to control and constrain the general populace.

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So why is religion so prevalent? Why does it still have a stranglehold on humanity? From my perspective the answer is simple – faith. People need to have faith in something to continue the struggle of life when it gets tough. Faith is what makes religion so powerful and persistent. Turning to a deity for help is so much easier than having to face the hard cold reality that we’re all alone and that we have no choice than to face the struggle single handed. Faith can empower us to do almost superhuman things, yet that faith is misplaced. It shouldn’t be placed in a deity who doesn’t exist; it should be placed in us, in humanity.

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The human race has been in existence for approximately 200,000 years and has thrived. Currently Hinduism is considered to be the oldest religion, having come into existence approximately 5000 years ago. So in that 195,000 year gap didn’t any of our gods get angry at our lack of reverence? Why didn’t they make themselves known to us? I do not believe for one instant that humanity was handpicked by a deity to evolve and prosper on this little fleck of dust we live on.  We are the benefactors of evolution and have become successful through our own blood, sweat and tears. We are humanity and should be proud of what we have achieved. We should have faith in our ability to prosper and strive forward. We should have have faith in ourselves.

I understand that in that past there was a need for religion to instill ethics, morality and to explain the unexplainable to the populace but that time has passed. I understand that we are still weak and when it gets tough we turn to religion for answers. The thing is, it doesn’t have any answers, only innuendos and parables to try and convince us it’ll be all OK. We are alone, but we are strong and we will thrive. Religions will doubtless still be here in another 5000 years, but how many of those practiced today will still exist? Who knows?! Personally, my faith is placed in what we as a species are capable of and can achieve.

“Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!

But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money!”
― George Carlin

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