Religion has Proven Itself Poisonous and a Danger to Mankind
Everybody knows what religion is before you ask them. But if you ask them what religion is, they will find it very hard to define! By definition we might also say religion is for people who feel that lack a core guidance system and need to have higher rules and guidelines to live their life to the fullest. Appropriately, this is identical to the definition of control. That is because religion is a complex subject and "religion" is only a word. Like all words, it can mean anything we want it to mean, but in a discussion, it is important that we understand how the word is used. I believe it is impossible to give a satisfactory universal definition of religion. Because it crosses so many different boundaries in human experience, religion is notoriously difficult to define partly due to two problems: they are too narrow and omit numerous belief systems which many agree are religious, or they are too broad, suggesting that everything is or can be a religion. Ideologies can exist in the form of religion or secularism. What they have in common are followers who do not question the ideology based on their belief (or fear) that their leader is infallible (whether God or human) and abandon their ability to reason... and therein lies the danger.1 If religion has to do with how we relate to God, then Buddhism, Confucianism is left out because they have little to say about God. We may look at the language below to see the conundrum. Muehlhauser2 noted an ideal type of religion includes: 1. Interaction with the supernatural
2. A diagnosis of something essentially wrong with the human condition, and a prescription for salvation or liberation from it. 3. Regular, repeated behavior (ritual)
4. Community practice
Some forms of Jainism don’t fit with (1), but they fit with all the rest and so they qualify as religion. Some forms of Taoism don’t have any particular rituals, but they do have the other elements, and so they qualify as religion. But religions like Hinduism and Christianity are closer to the ideal type of religion than, for example Theravada Buddhism (which lacks the supernatural) and Scientology (which lacks ritual). Concepts of the "sacred" and "faith" are quite basic to Western religion; they are not so evident in the Orient, so definitions that involve those ideas will not do. (When I speak of ‘faith,’ henceforth, I will be speaking of a faith that has no evidential backing or is in the supernatural.) So can religion be well-defined? Some sociologists prefer to avoid definitions and think of religion in terms of an ideal type. They will say that most religions have most of the characteristics of the ideal type, but they need not have all of them.The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 8 lists traits of religions rather than making a declaration, arguing that the more markers evident in a belief system, the more “religious like” it is: Belief in supernatural beings (gods).
A distinction between sacred and profane objects.
Ritual acts focused on sacred objects.
A moral code believed to be sanctioned by the gods.
I guess that in its broadest sense, the term “religion” means adherence to a set of beliefs or teachings about the deepest and most elusive of life’s mysteries. So, from this point of view, I will leave my paper to research those that have a belief in a ‘theistic god’ rather than the all-inclusive. Deprived of this belief, it's really not a viable theistic religion. George H. Smith in his book, “Atheism: The Case Against God,”1974, commented, “…the belief in god is irrational to the point of absurdity; and that this irrationality, when manifested in specific religions such as Christianity, is extremely harmful…If a person wishes to continue believing in a god, that is his prerogative, but he can no longer excuse his belief in the name of reason and moral necessity.” Bertrand Arthur William Russell...
References: Brahm, Eric. "Religion and Conflict." Beyond Intractability. Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Conflict Information Consortium, University of Colorado, Boulder. Posted: 11-05
Christina, Greta, “The Armor of God, or, The Top One Reason Religion Is Harmful” 11-25-09
Krauss, Lawrence M. “Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous,”7-1-10
Moggach, Douglas, "Bruno Bauer", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2014/entries/bauer.
Paine, Thomas, “The Age of Reason” Published in 1794, 1795, and 1807.
Reiss, Steven, “Who Am I? The 16 Basic Desires that Motivate Our Action and Define Our Personalities” published 2000 (Tarcher Putnam).
Russell, Bertrand “God and Religion” published by Prometheus Books, 1986, 1952, p. 283
Smith J. F. (1887). "Strauss, David Friedrich". In Baynes, T.S.; Smith, W.R. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Leo Strauss
Smith, George, “Atheism: The Case Against God,” published 1974
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