To many people in the world, the concept of a religion is a welcome one. Their faith provides them with warmth, hope, and an assured protection that is impossible to get from the cold, cynical reality. Theists swathe themselves in a bubble of mental protection, content in the knowledge that thousands, if not millions, of other people are also doing this. Indeed, the very idea that one could do this and not feel part of something greater is absurd. Truly, the theist believes themselves to be part of a large social group, and sees themselves as accepted. How then, you ask, can this warm, bubbly benefit be of any harm to our society? The answer is shockingly obvious, and deliciously simple.
Religion is a perverse entity, surrounded in half-truths, and violent mystery. It is the greatest, and most obstructive barrier any nation, culture, or ethnicity meets when trying to progress for the better. For religion does no good to mankind, I'm afraid to say. Instead, religion breeds ignorance, and incubates hatred. It constructs walls of division and isolation, and casts large nets waves of suspicion amongst people that were never there before. Religion clouds the judgement of great men and women; religion perverts man into monstrous sociopaths; religion narrows the mind beyond belief. In March 2008, this was emphasises to a startlingly horrific degree. In the United States, Madeline Neumann, an eleven year old girl, suddenly dropped to the floor and began to turn purple. Her parents (thankfully, some might be inclined to say) found her quickly, and would have had time to take her to have her treated. I say 'would' because they didn't. Madeline's parents did not take her to the hospital. Instead, they engaged in an abhorrent display of faith healing around the girl; the parents prayed for healing. While Madeline lay dying, her parents prayed. And they prayed for a long time. Of course, nothing happened. Madeline died. The disgusting part of this depressing story is that she died of diabetes, which could have been dealt with quickly and easily, had she been taken to the hospital. Unfortunately, the cloud that warps the minds of theists sought to make the parents believe that prayers are somehow superior to medical science.
However, perhaps the scariest part here is that the parents were devastated. Indeed, they truly loved Madeline. They watched their child died, and did not know why. They wanted Madeline to get better. The problem here was not, as many theists will have you believe, that the human "condition" is plagued with maliciousness. The problem is that the parents had a bad idea of how the universe worked. And this lack of understanding is how theists further damage the fabric of society further. Indeed, there are movements all across the globe to have creationism taught in schools as a credible scientific theory. Allow me to say now that it isn't. Creationism is about as credible as a teapot being behind the sun. However, theists believe that creationism is entirely legitimate. They believe it is factual, and based upon evidence. The reality is exactly the opposite. Indeed, evolution is deemed by the majority of scientists to be the answer, yet theists dispute this constantly. "Teach the controversy" is used constantly, yet this is another falsification, insidiously implemented to try and distract the rational minded from progress. Regarding evolution, there isn't a spec of controversy in the scientific community, and so it is absurd to believe that we should abandon a model that the majority of scientists adhere to. Indeed, as mentioned earlier, the mountains of evidence for evolution prove time and time again that there is no "intelligent design". The activist movement here is terrifying. It highlights that theists are purposefully making themselves ignorant, and are knowingly blanking themselves from knowledge, all to believe their twisted, corrupt fairy tales.
And what of Stem Cells? These promise to be the most advanced breakthroughs in medical science imaginable, and the theists oppose them ardently. It is well known already that we have developed spray-on-skin, which utilised stem cells to allow burn victims to look normal in two days. Yet the theists and religious institutes demand this amazing development be stopped, as their gods are apparently against the saving of human lives. Perhaps that's why Madeline's parents just prayed.
Of course, as stated, religion also harms the world in a less scientific area too. Xenophobia is one of the pillars that keeps religion afloat. One need only look at Israel to see this. The bitter war between followers of Islam and the Jews still rages on fiercely, with lives being lost every day. Few atheists could imagine a tangible reason for such violence, but the ignorant imbeciles obviously have. Each side fervently believes that their god has given to them Israel as their holy land. Each side battles each other constantly for the right to own the holy land. Of course, neither god has made any revelation as to who actually owns it. Instead, riots, wars, and violence tear this land apart, and one can only wonder how much better it would be without religion spreading its destructive plague.
Even in Western societies, we see perverse hatreds from religious fundamentalists. Christians have long been divided into Catholics and Protestants, and since Martin Luther nailed his 95-Point Theses to the church wall, violence between the two sects has been near constant. Europe especially is subjected still to the spiteful feud of both sects. From the Spanish Armada and the Battle of the Boyne, to the infinitely turbulent Ireland, Protestants and Catholics have clutched and torn at each other throats for hundreds of years. One need only look at the Troubles in Northern Ireland to see how these aggressions are still on going. As Northern Ireland fought for civil rights, Protestants and Catholics used political masquerades to attack each other desperately. The I.R.A, and the U.V.F, both reigned terror the populace of Ireland and Great Britain, even going so far as to kill members of the British Royal Family. One wonders how theists can claim to practise love, and suddenly slaughter thousands the next.
Of course, we all know of the damage done solely by the Catholic Church. While this writer remains sure that Protestants, Muslims, Hindus and Jews are all guilty of the same, we can only say with veracity that the Catholic Church has engaged in revolting iniquities: paedophilia. Indeed, the church that is dedicated to love, respect, kindness and tenacity has damaged children. And the upper echelons of the church knew this too; they even hid the evidence, and moved accused sex offenders to different ministries. Truly, this is highly indicative of what religious institutions really are.
But of course, the theist will be quick to assert that the warm fuzzy feeling of worship can quickly denounce all these evils of truth (but not love). They yell that churches expressly send thousands of pounds or dollars to the needy, and they state that the church helps people find their purpose in lives. Indeed, theists go so far as to blatantly say that there must be some form of god, for without one, life has no purpose. What an absolutely idiotic idea. This may be true for the theist, but we already have scientific evidence saying the exact opposite. If a theist is so weak to believe they need their imaginary friend to give them a purpose, then perhaps they are suited to religion.
However, that still leaves the entire aspect of enlightenment from being in a congregation. This is, perhaps, the only aspect of religion that science concurs with religious dim-wits. It has been noted that being part of something can instil feelings of acceptance and self-worth in a person. Indeed, even worship has been noted to have beneficial attributes, such as comfort, happiness, and even, in certain cases, startling euphoria. However, these are not specific to religion. Not by a long shot. The feeling of acceptance can come from joining a dance class, or a swimming team. Similarly, the calmness and sense of safety comes from meditation, yoga, and even enjoyment. To state that religion is the only case of where these feelings can be drawn up is a fallacious remark, and about as erroneous as saying Jesus was born from a virgin. If I further my own argument on religious states, then we can enter upon the realm of science once more. As has been proven for a long time, a state of religion is able to be implemented on a person. This means that humans can physically create feelings of religious euphoria. To put it simply, when a person tells you grandly and nobly "I can feel my god", you can be confident that they are experiencing an anomaly, one that is easily explained by science, and one that scientists can recreate themselves.
"But what of morality", you might ask. Quite simply, the theist has sought to claim morality as their own. The most obvious, and widely used claim, is that "you cannot have morality without the knowledge an ethereal deity is going to smite you and send you to eternal torment". This is a trite excuse for the supressed sociopathic tendencies brought on by religion. That seems a smidgen far, does it not? I beg to differ. Theists are taught from birth that they are to obey their deity. In Christianity, and in the Jewish faith, we see Abraham. He is commonly claimed to be a pinnacle of godly-goodness. When ordered by God to murder his child, he bloody well went to do it. To a free-thinker, this seems like lunacy; to the theist, this is normality. While the atheist would balk at the idea of murdering a child, the theist remains steadfast that, if their god tells them to murder, they will murder. The date 9/11 comes to mind here. Truly, can this be seen as morality? That everything is fine, as long as well-known murderers tell you to do it? No, it isn't. The non-believer knows that what is right is what benefits his fellow man when thought of with reason, such as taking Madeline Neumann to the hospital; the theist knows that the only thing stopping them from murdering people, is the knowledge they will go to whatever hell has been constructed for them.
Another common argument for morality comes in the form of "our society is based on our religion". Obviously not, I'm afraid. We'll take Christianity here, for a moment, as it is the one most people are comfortable with. Many people declare that our society is based upon the Bible's teachings. Usually, they say we follow the Ten Commandments. The sheer arrogance involved here is astounding. In truth, our society follows three of the Commandments four if we are in court. These are the three referring to killing, stealing, and adultery, while in court we also have bearing false witness. So, we see that we follow three and a half of the Commandments, while six and a half aren't used for our society at all. Going further, what of the other laws in the Bible? When these are brought up, many Christians tell us that society has advanced past the stage where they were needed. What the Christian forgets is these morals were given by God. Why would we need to advance past God-given morals? Quite simply, because the morals taught in the Bible are destructive, hateful, spiteful, and sexist.
My final point rests upon the current goals for equality, which religion is currently squashing. As gay rights activists sweep the world, demanding rightfully that they be given equal rights, the religious institutions stamp them down. I have been lucky enough to be told from a theist that this is because "the gays are trying to destroy the church and steal our rights! They want to rule the world". If this is the theist's idea, then I'm utterly appalled. The homosexual community seeks to become equal, nothing more. Why, in many Western nations, it is illegal to be homosexual. Russia and Ukraine are desperately trying to pass bills to make homosexuality illegal again also, and in the US especially, homosexuals are beaten regularly, all for who they love. Religious institutes are the cause of this unjust hatred.
In conclusion, it is incredibly ponderous to me that anyone can ever claim religion is a benefit to this world. It seems that the majority of social violence, and scientific stifling is caused by theists, who work on behalf of their foul gods. The few benefits that religion can be argued to have can be gotten through less disgusting means, where the mind is not purposefully closed. And while I do not deny a person the right to believe what they wish, I contend that their belief should be kept private, for no one, and I mean no one, should ever have to be forced to listen to any of the disgusting hatred that comes from religion.