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Why Religion has Failed Humanity

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

When you look at the news today, there are daily updates about the Israel-Hamas War. If you look at the historical context, you will realize that this conflict has been ongoing for years, and it is based on differing religious beliefs between Jews and Muslims.

Although all world religions preach kindness, and prohibit killing, there have still been many wars faught over religion throughout history. In fact, the only major religion not to have participated in any wars is the Jehovah Witnesses. Even Buddhists, who are traditionally known to be pacifists, have participated in past wars.

My point is this: The problem with religion is that people don't practice their own religions correctly.

People pick and choose which tenets of their religions to follow. They decide on a personal level how to interpret their faith. Different people practice the same religion in different ways.

When it comes to religion today, many of us have lost the point.

The purpose of religion, according to the University of Minnesota,

Religion serves several functions for society. These include (a) giving meaning and purpose to life, (b) reinforcing social unity and stability, (c) serving as an agent of social control of behavior, (d) promoting physical and psychological well-being, and (e) motivating people to work for positive social change.

In other words, Religion is supposed to make us better people.

Unfortunately, in many cases, religion does the exact opposite. People become so concerned about right belief that they lose sight of the importance of right action. The battles between religions come down to fights about whose God is the right God. Instead of commonalities between religions, we focus on the differences. We believe that people who don't believe as we do are condemned by God. So we condemn them as well.

When I left the Southern Baptist Church as a young adult, I told my mother:

How you treat other people is more important than what you believe.

She didn't really like that too much. My mom is still entrenched (as many people are) in the idea that having the right beliefs is important to get you into the afterlife. The thing is, though, why are we valuing the afterlife more than this life?

Isn't it how we treat other people here and now that determines our supposed afterlife? Eastern religions believe in Karma, and that it will determine how you are reborn in the next life.

In the Bible it says that,

Faith without works is dead (James 2:20)

How you treat other people, every day, matters. On a spiritual level. On a personal level. On a world level.

If people would follow their own religions and treat each other with kindness always, the world would be a better place.

Do we need to get rid of religion?

My partner is an agnostic, and he thinks that we need to abolish religion in society in order to be able to have healing, peace and change worldwide. If we stopped going to war because of religion, would we have an end to wars that have plagued humanity for generations?

According to the University of Oregon,

In regards to the claim that religion has been the biggest source of oppression and war in human history, the facts may surprise you. The three volume Encyclopedia of Wars, which records some 1,763 wars that have been waged over the course of human history categorize only 123 as being religious in nature. This is only 6.98% of all wars.

Ultimately, abolishing all religion is not going to make us any more peaceful as a society.

Still, religion hasn't really served its purpose of making us more loving and more kind to each other, either.

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