This religion thing really holds us back and the older I get the harder it is to see religion as a positive influence in any way. It really is a shame because religion provides people with a sense of community, of greater identity and destiny and can also help prompt people to give to charitable causes and get more involved with their fellow human beings. However religion also tends to hi-jack your identity and establish itself as an indispensable cornerstone not just of your individual life but of human civilization and society as a whole.
Religion takes certain functions that a normal secular community organization might perform. It feeds the hungry, gives money to causes, organizes community wide events, etc etc. So when it is pointed out that the ideas at the heart of religion, the doctrines and claims made about supernatural phenomenon, are actually false or at the very least unfalsifiable, people use the positive functions that religion has adopted as a shield.
And it works both ways. For when churches and sects of Christianity fail to properly execute these borrowed parts of society people will claim that religion isn't really ABOUT ALL THAT and is really about the message of Jesus' love. For example let's say a Mega Church Televangelist asks his congregation for money and uses that money on opulent hotel suites, private jets and high end prostitutes. When the transgressing Televangelist is at last discovered in his sin the excuse is that “not all churches are like that” and that “no true Christian behaves that way. This person is just in it for the money!”
Thus religion can shield itself from any ugly truth by being a chameleon, or more accurately a Chimera. This is why there are so many thousands of differing views, sects and denominations of the Christian faith, because over the years Christianity has developed a flavor for almost anyone. Hell there are even Christian Atheists, a term that seems an oxymoron at first glance.
The Catholic Church is a great example of religion hiding behind just how fiercely it is embedded into society and the collective consciousness.
The Catholic Church was once the authority on what people were allowed to believe. As many nations had officially adopted Catholicism there were times in European history where questioning and speaking against the Orthodoxy of the Church was punishable by death. Galileo, whose famous observations definitively overturned centuries of false geocentric dogma, was a victim of this very tyranny. The Christian faith, as a whole, not just in regards to the Catholics, made it quite clear that the average believer was not allowed to engage in free thinking when it came to their beliefs. While theologians often questioned and decided in committee various points of doctrine questioning whatever they ordained orthodox was not allowed.
Religion established that to question the truths it put forth was taboo, forbidden, and might get you killed or at the very least run out of town and cast out of society. Religion is thus made an intimate part of people's lives and their base of knowledge, so that questioning its truths was seen as more perverse and foolish than even questioning mathematics or logic. Whatever you believe, the truths of religion were above that, they were sacred.
I personally take offense to the idea that any idea can be sacred. In point of fact I hold that the only sacred truth is that no truth is sacred. Sacred here meaning above reproach or above disposal. We should be ready, at all times, to throw out utterly any truth shown to be false and to only adopt new truths tentatively and with an understanding that they might be temporary.
So when people say that we cannot or should not tear down the Catholic Church for their organized and merciless cover-up of institutionalized child molestation I can only assume that they are operating from the point of view that the Catholic Church represents core sacred truths that must be defended. But I find it insulting that those in power at the Vatican hide behind the centuries of mind-control they have instilled in the poor folks of Europe and the Americas to get away with their sinister criminal enterprise.
Make no mistake about it that the Catholic Church is, and always has been, a Criminal Organization designed to procure opulence, wealth, and influence. That last piece may seem like a rather minor one, influence, but it is actually the main currency that the Catholic Church uses to buy its immunity from both public scrutiny and international outrage.
By embedding itself so deeply in people's identities and lives religion assures that although the ideas at its core are untrue and often rotten that it will be defended and believed in for centuries to come. And yes despite moderate announcements to the contrary religious truths are often rotten to the core. If the Bible were not widely believed before being read, that is to say if an ordinary morally decent person were able to mature first and then encounter the Bible and read it, there would be no one on planet Earth defending the Bible as some source of truth, moral or otherwise.
The older I get the more it disgusts me to have to be discussing this stuff in the twenty-first century when our thinking should have gone far beyond the minor desert god El/Yahweh about whom ancient peoples in the Middle East wrote legends and stories. Allegories and fables with lessons and morals long outdated and lacking in use for modern humans as anything other than literary curiosities and mythological vestiges of when people were foolish enough to hold things as sacred or self-evident.
We are better than this as a species and as a culture. We will not move forward until we strip away the respect and protection that has been given to religious ideas under the guise of protecting people's feelings. Hell Churches are often exempt from TAXES! Although it is an uphill battle that will likely see little progress in any of our lifetimes I think it is necessary if the human race is to have any hope of moving on from this planet and making our destiny a positive one. We must emphasize that while it is your right and your “choice” to believe whatever you want that you live in a society of other beings who must interact with you and if your beliefs and superstitions continue to get in the way of normal progress, of scientific inquiry, of education, of social equality like gay marriage and LGBT rights you will not be unopposed.
Far from sacred religious ideas are often the most suspect, most superstitious and most often disproved. Just as the geocentric model was overturned by Galileo. Just as the idea that disease was caused by evil spirits was replaced by Germ Theory. Just as the magical spoken incantation that created life in Genesis has been overturned. We should not defend or leave un-assailed ideas that assert themselves as sacred. All ideas are open to scrutiny, and the fact that religious ideas resist this openness is a telling sign that those that laid the framework of religion and those that maintain that framework, the Apologists, Popes and Preachers, in some way know that it's all bullshit.
We will stop you, one day, from poisoning the minds of generation after generation and helping to squander the hopes of the entire human race. And this goes for all fundamental and supposedly sacred truths of politics as well, for politics is just as damaging and is holding us back just as much as religion is, if not more... but that is a discussion for another time and perhaps a different blog entirely...
Okay so I haven't done a post here in a few years but I plan to start doing them semi-regularly, whenever I have something to say about Christianity or atheism that doesn't really fit for a hub on hubpages. By the way that's where I've been for anyone reading this or discovering this blog today I do most of my writing about atheism/theism on http://titen-sxull.hubpages.com/
Also I didn't draw any fun MS Paint stuff for this one, which used to be my MO on this blog way back in the day. So here's one I did recently for hubpages, just threw it together, it has no correlation to the post above: