Examining and analyzing opposing viewpoints is the only way to grow intellectually and spiritually. So, does religion promote or oppose your growth? What are the pros and cons of religion? What is the danger of make-believe in god?
Almost one-half of the world’s population are members of the Abrahamic tree, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. (1) They have a membership of about 4 billion and have been around for hundreds of years. Hinduism is much older and has another 1 billion. And, with so many followers, they must be doing some good. We want to discuss the underlying question by looking at the assertions of organized religion versus what actually happens.
The Dangers of Organized Religion
Every coin has two sides. Social institutions can have both positive and negative effects. Sometimes the negative consequences are unintentional, but sometimes they are not; they are covered up with misdirection. One way to unravel the good and the bad is to look at the pros and cons, what they claim and what truly happens. (2)
Religion is a system of artificial boundaries that perpetuate mythology and superstition. The three most popular religions are the rebranding of fables known as “The Ancient Mystery Religions.” They are the mythologies from the Mediterranean region and contain dogma from Persia, Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, and Greece.
These systems are built on the same foundation depending upon faith and belief in “divine agency” for their authority. Superstition gives weight to their cultural programming. So releasing yourself from these burdens frees your mind.
These mystery religions have been rebranded into the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. They also adopted some powerful social programming techniques, along with ancient folklore. Self-hypnosis and group hypnosis are age-old propaganda tactics. The ancient mystery religions protected their effectiveness and are just as effective today.
Abrahamic religious beliefs oppose your growth by creating boundaries designed to make and keep you a customer while protecting the cash-flow system. It elicits adverse emotional reactions to any threat. Any opposing viewpoints are a threat. So, they teach people to reject them without consideration. That’s how they keep you a customer. And the programming of these systems can harm you and everyone in your circle of influence.
The Semitic traditions contain a variety of negative social biases and prejudice. They provide believers justification to hate. Anyone or anything that doesn’t support their skewed worldview is an enemy.
The superstitions and prejudices of these systems result in harmful social outcomes. It is responsible for everything from genocide, and public torture, to genital mutilation. It’s a history they would like people to overlook, but they rely on it to maintain their prejudice.
The Danger of Make-Believe in God
“Religious people claim that it’s just the fundamentalists of each religion that cause problems. But there’s got to be something wrong with the religion itself if those who strictly adhere to its most fundamental principles are violent bigots and sexists.” — David G. McAfee
Extremist religious beliefs oppose your growth and the growth of humanity by denying science. Abrahamic religious beliefs undermine your spiritual growth by discouraging the exploration of other paths and, at the same time, demonizing those they plagiarize shamelessly.
Since its inception, Western theology has morphed into more than 5,000 mutually exclusive hierarchies. Each denomination cherry-picks doctrines to create a unique interpretation of superstition. The programming centers on creation myths, eschatology, and prophecy. All of this works because it uses group hypnosis or groupthink manipulation tactics. They oppose any tools that could provide personal development or spiritual growth.
The goal of superstition is to control thought, values, and behavior. This tactic isn’t new. It’s the creation of Hammurabi, (3) the sixth King of the First Babylonian Dynasty circa 1790 BCE. Western religion indoctrinates the most vulnerable in the culture. It begins with children but has tendrils to adopt anyone in an emotional or financial crisis.
The belief in imaginary friends or enemies will hinder your spiritual journey. Religious beliefs oppose all other approaches to spirituality. Western organized religion uses this programming to make and keep you a customer. Today, many people understand that these mythologies are spiritual junk food with no substance. However, there is a much better way.
Studies by the Multi-Disciplinary Research Institute conclude that the stronger a person’s belief in an imaginary friend, the more likely they are to suffer from psychological issues. (4) This distress, known as cognitive dissonance, makes one more susceptible to groupthink manipulation tactics; this is the danger of make-believe and pretending.
The Pros and Cons of Religion
1) Religions Provide Community Belonging
The major religions tell us belonging to them to provide a sense of belonging and meaning. It gives people a purpose, but at what cost? Religious suicide bombers have a sense of belonging to a cause and are willing to die and kill others for it. Mega-church pastors live in massive mansions and deny using their sanctuaries for sheltering people during hurricanes or the pandemic. How do these actions provide a sense of belonging?
2) Provides False Hope
People say their religious beliefs give them a sense of hope. But is hope in the existence of an imaginary friend not just delusions and a way of ignoring problems? Many philosophers, critical thinkers, and clinicians see religion as a mental illness. It is used as a social programming tool to control people’s thoughts.
All Religions are artificial rather than divinely inspired because there is no valid proof of god’s existence. The first step in brainwashing is accepting the illusion of god. It is not just escapism but a dangerous slippery slope that can lead to more unhealthy thinking.
3) Provide Tangible Contributions to the Community
People say religious charities help those overlooked by the government and society because they sponsor orphanages, schools, and hospitals. And in this sense, they are a positive influence. However, they use these outlets to leverage their hold on the culture. Religions take in far more than they provide services to the Community.
Here is where the pros and cons of religion show they can do the right thing but only do it to the extent it provides an excuse for their larger abuses. It’s a bate-and-switch tactic. For example, the Catholic Church says, look at all the good we do. All while they are accumulating more wealth than most nations. They could end world hunger instead of hoarding most of the world’s precious metals and art.
4) The Catalyst for Social Stability
Religions can be the basis of social coherence and stability. However, if this stability results in violence, the coherence is cancerous. Groupthink manipulation tactics are a slippery slope to extreme ideologies. They program people with sectarian moral views and values containing harmful bias and prejudice.
Take any society dominated by religion, and you’ll see that you must adhere to the dictates of the religion or suffer consequences up to and including public torture and death. Islamic cultures run by the Taliban harshly punish anyone who opposes their Draconian practices. The same for other Arabic governments like Saudi Arabia.
So social coherence is extortion. The cost is the loss of freethinking. It often also comes with a caste system that provides preferential treatment to the male gender.
5) The Storehouse of Wisdom
The divinely inspired texts like the Bible, Koran, and Vedas contain great wisdom. The wisdom in these texts is a collection of works from cultures that the religions conquered and absorbed. Virtually everything in their holy texts is a copy of wisdom from another culture. Their doctrines are plagiarism sold under the banner of their new religion.
Here, the pros and cons of religion show how they have attempted to cover up the plagiarism of other authors by destroying the original works. We know it was all plagiarized now that we can read the Cuneiform language developed by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia at least 3200 BCE. Here we find exact passages of Hammurabi’s laws that found their way, word for word, into books of the Old Testament, including Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and then repeated in Deuteronomy. But this is only one example. There are hundreds of others.
6) Builders of Beautiful Architecture
The proponents of religious tradition say they bring value to society and point to the remarkable architecture, subculture, and art they created. However, these are monuments to the abuse of religion; the sacrifices and resources wasted on these projects could have been used in many socially responsible ways to provide food, clothing, medical care, and shelter. It shows the dangers of organized religion as they attempt to white-wash the misused of resources to justify their existence.
7) Fosters Love and Suppresses Hate
Some people say that religion suppresses the harmful excesses of human nature. But is this assertion supported by the evidence? History and recent scientific studies (5) show that religious beliefs are harmful. They provide excuses for the atrocities that include wars and genocide. Rather than suppress the negative, they increase it.
Yes, but religious leaders tell us that beautiful temples, churches, ashrams, and synagogues provide a much-needed place for the Community to come together in peace. Instead, they provide the opportunity for religious institutions to brainwash and make lifelong paying customers.
In reality, religions are the source of war, the conflict between people. It continues to this day on every continent. Everyone believes their religion is correct, and everyone else is wrong. Some claim their imaginary friend gives them the authority to protect and kill anyone who threatens or even offends their divinity. And this demonstrates the danger of make-believe in god.
Religion is based on mythology and superstition. It uses anecdotal stories to substantiate the validity of their beliefs. The big three are proponents of bias, bigotry, and discrimination of many flavors, from religion and race to gender and lifestyle choices.
That religion fosters love and not hate is one of the religion’s most glaring pros and cons. It astonishes me that people cannot see the inconsistencies between what they say and what they incite.
9) Encourage Learning
Rather than encourage learning, organized religions often discourage and ban access to any information that may contradict their ideas. They think it’s okay to buy guns but not to read. They only encourage the reading and memorization of their dogma. The fact is, they don’t just ask; they demand loyalty. And they use violence against anyone who opposes their twisted ideologies. Belief in their imaginary friend absolves them of any crime. In fact, they believe their imaginary friend even rewards those who kill unbelievers and infidels. These beliefs are remnants of the dark ages.
The “dark ages” were a time when the Church was in firm control of society. It burned books, imprisoned, and persecuted anyone who questioned its rules. This kind of medieval culture exists in the extremist elements of the Abrahamic tree. Believers want us to revert to this type of religious rule.
Organized, it’s not above using any threat to keep people in line. What they call salvation is really extortion. When the same entity threatening you with eternal torture also offers you a solution, that is not salvation; it’s extortion.
The afterlife and other methods of “the carrot and stick” keep people in poverty. People sacrifice much to prop up religion, hoping that all their hard-earned cash will secure them a place in Heaven.
10) The Source of Morality
Most of all, the leaders of Western religion point to their high standards of morals while fleecing the flock. Christianity, in particular, has a track record of fallen angels caught red-handed in their scheme of deception. Of all the pros and cons of religion, this is the main argument for establishing laws and regulations based on bias and prejudice.
Learn to Seek Opposing Viewpoints
Creating a path is easier than you think; all you need are the proper tools for exploring consciousness. You won’t find any in the Abrahamic religions. They don’t want you to seek spirituality on your terms and will tell you it’s evil to involve yourself in anything that doesn’t come from them. They demonize everything they can’t sell. It’s a simple but effective tactic. They want to keep you a paying customer; they do everything to oppose your growth.
Part of human nature is our desire to explore. Exploration is all about finding new territory. So, human consciousness is the ultimate territory to explore. Consciousness exploration is something that many ancient civilizations took an interest in pursuing. Indigenous people were the first to develop repeatable ways to alter and change consciousness.
One of the earliest methods is the Shamanic Journey, sold under meditation or creative visualization. It’s just a modern rebranding. They also explored the use of different forms of meditation. Mantras and sutras enabled people to enter higher states of consciousness.
We call these repeatable methods “spiritual technologies.” You can use them to develop and walk your “own path.“ They represent eons of research by cultures around the globe. These tools’ focus is consciousness development, not the belief in mythologies. That’s a huge difference.
It should be evident that Western religion differs from consciousness development tools. It is especially true of the superstitions in the Abrahamic traditions. The question is, will you follow mythology or seek methods to expand your awareness? Do new ideas scare you? It’s a choice between two paths, fact-based exploration or following fiction. You can learn to walk your “own path.” Don’t let religious beliefs oppose your development.
The danger of make-believe in god can be seen in the rise of alt-right or far-right extremism. This kind of thinking highlights the dangers of organized religion.
(1) Abrahamic Religions.
(2) 9 Pros (and 11 Cons) of Religion.
(4) Belief in God and Psychological Distress: Is It the Belief or Certainty of the Belief?
(5) On the Intersection of Science and Religion.