Is Religion The Grand Conspiracy?

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I would like to preface this post by saying that I do not hold a particular or specific belief in God, the Devil, the bible, religion, or any other cult following. I’m here on planet Earth to live my life until my last breath. I hold my own opinions in regards to religion, God, and so forth. I do not ask you to accept my opinions because I know they are mine. I do not write the following post to be inflammatory to others, I write it to illustrate the answer to the question I was asked via an e-mail. This is not justification for my beliefs nor is it defamation of your beliefs.

Recently I received an e-mail which asked me why I think religion (in general) is a hoax or the biggest conspiracy known to mankind. I don’t ever recall saying it either way, but lets not let that stop me from exploring these claims a little further. Lets remember that I was raised Catholic. Lets remember that I wanted to be a Catholic priest. Lets remember my faith in God and religion was lost long ago because in my opinion God tried to kill me and it was man who structured my recovery. Lets remember that these facts in my life serve neither as evidence or truths in religion or Christianity. They are, however, the launching platform for which all of my questions arise. True, I do disagree with organized religion which leads it’s sheeple masses into believing fairytales and trying to establish this as historical fact. True, I do think that religion uses fear and promises to promote itself thru the guises of simple men. True, I think religion preys on the weak-minded by trying to replace common sense with folklore and apocalypticism. However, this isn’t the end, people who put their faith in someone mystical who is overly glorified is strangely bizarre to me since an idol is an idol whether flesh or gold. Conspiracy theories are the nature of the beast, they are human nature, they are what makes us humans strive forth on a quest to find out answers to all the questions we dream up. However, a conspiracy theory has come almost exclusively to refer to any fringe theory which explains a historical or current event as the result of a secret  plot by conspirators of almost superhuman power and cunning. I’m not saying religion is just a fringe theory, but I’m not saying that it is accurate either. Since when do we, as humans, need to be led, need to follow, or believe in something just to get us thru another day? Well, since the beginning of time. Some follow, some lead, and some question. Which one are you.

Not all people in this world are honest, hard-working, and forthcoming about their intentions. Certainly we can all agree on this fact as a starting point, right? Now, before we get to deep here, before you start gritting your teeth, just remember I’m only expressing my personal opinion. If it is similar to your personal opinion that is fine. If it isn’t similar to your personal opinion that is also fine. I don’t ride the fence with my opinions. I most certainly do not sugar coat my beliefs either. Religion spends more time condemning mankind for its words and actions when it should be embracing mankind because mankind had been the curator of it’s very survival. I won’t tell you how to believe and in return you don’t get to tell me how to believe. Deal? Very well then, now we can get down to the brass tacks of why we are even here today, to why we are even having a discussion about religion, and search for the answers to questions that not only I can have about religion. Fair enough? I’m not bashing religion. I am exploring why religion is not the answer for me. Skeptics such as myself are important in achieving an objective view of reality, however, my skepticism is not to be confused with reinforcing the official biblical storyline.

I consider intelligent cynicism certainly to be a healthy way of thinking. Just remember that some of  the greatest discoveries of all time were initially received as blasphemous conspiracy theories. The top two I think about are of the revelation that the earth was not the center of the universe nor the world flat but actually round. Hard pills for most scholars to swallow because the information went against the grain of everything they had ever been led to believe, it went against everything they were ever taught, and it made them wrong. But ignorance is bliss, right? What is it about conspiracy theories as casual as  apocalypticism that makes them function as magnetic cores of desire?  Religious conspiracy theory functions as a way of jacking up the tension of the world, of sharpening contrasts until they become a simplex chiaroscuro of black and white, good and evil, but never resolve anything, never answer questions, and always leaving its sheeple lost in darkness needing to be herded into a flock.  The communal march of the sheeple against an enemy generates a warm, unfamiliar bond with their neighbors, their community, their nation, their religion, while wiping out unsettling undercurrents of alienation and dislocation towards religion. All of the disparate centers of religious power in the world coalesce into a heavy brick, a wall of sinister purpose, something that you can sink your teeth into, throw your weight against, something that justifies an uncompromising fixation and the abandonment of distractions and reservations. People are drawn to this power, people want this power, and this power is always held at bay for the common masses. Why? It instills a sense of dignity and nobility in the fight against a ruthless, expansive evil.

Religion isn’t predicated on the belief that everything must have a reason, quite the opposite, religion needs there to be people seeking answers. Religion sees the world in epic terms, foreclosing the possibility that people might act on much more modest scales of self-indulgence, consolation, or foolishness if there is fear of damnation and apocalypticism. The religious culture has not ever veered away from these ends, it has become primarily a mechanism for the distribution of affects, an apocalyptic fantasy, a self-indulgent addiction, often with a sword in its hand for enforcement. So, why do people believe in God, religion, ghosts, goblins, spirits, the afterlife, or even sasquatch? Two common threads running through these belief systems are called patternicity and agenticity. As the names indicate, patternicity refers to seeing meaningful patterns in meaningless noise. Agenticity refers to seeing mysterious but palpable puppet masters who pull the strings and bring about unexplained phenomena. God is the perfect example of an puppet master. Religion will point out that God is the answer, God is the end all be all, and the word of God will never be questioned without punishment. Again, I can ask why? The ugly side of human nature, as much as we think we have evolved is that patternicity and agenticity are continuously revealed in people’s belief that there is something waiting for us when we die and even a promise of forgiveness for all of our sins. To me the observation of human brains as well as individual are testament to the enormous power and elegance of evolution in molding humans across an incredible hierarchy of individuals and societies through common desire to find answers.

I think in the end religion has historically been used as a mass mind-control to brainwash people and using it as an influencing tool over normal human behavior. Now a days it’s easy to disregard the influence religion has because of the use of mass-media, television, internet, radio, and the written word of papers and magazines. However, verbal communication is still the main tool of control and propaganda put forth by religion worldwide. Religion can’t even have a single collective definition of God. The term ‘God’ can mean anything from the traditional Christian judgemental creationist God all the way to something a lot more abstract like a higher consciousness or a Oneness. Is religion designed to confuse? Is religion meant to weed out the people who might question the existence of God? Is religion a tool of God or a tool of man? Why must religion be used as a tool of social conditioning and mass-population control, using fear of God as the motivation? The masses are taught to believe in the religious text as the absolute truth, with a basis in very simple moral rules, that are clearly quite much more difficult to uphold in practice fully, largely due to much fear-induced control models  in terms of twisting real events in order to fit a mythology, designed to be used to control a large number of people by influencing their self-worth and their view of the world through religious propaganda.

Religions keeps their believers in a mind-set that is usually doomed for self-destruction, lowering expectations, fear in the unknown, and a unquestioning, subconscious belief that to seek answers and to question authority is morally wrong, and punishable. All the while dangling a never attainable, at least in this life, and completely as of yet un-proven, paradise afterlife fantasy, where their obedience and constant self-criticism will be rewarded with eternal bliss. Religion will always keeping the followers spiritual beliefs in a static state of infantile unobtainability, thus retarding any spiritual knowledge development. Religion seems to be and often is the only source of information, so what said is believed as they are the ones closest to God. God and religion, in my opinion, cannot be proven without any reasonable doubt and therefore is mankind’s biggest conspiracy theory. Religion is based on having faith in fiction while using the fear of God to control the sheeple. Unfortunately for mankind the answers are not simple, the truth is clouded, and we will always have questions. Its okay to question what we do not understand, its okay to seek different paths for answers, and its okay to stand out from the masses while you are doing all of this.

I cannot give credit to the pictures used in this post. The pictures in this post were found using Google image search.

Need some definitions?

  • Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.
  • Apocalypticism is the religious belief that there will be an apocalypse, a term which originally referred to a revelation of God’s will, but now usually refers to belief that the world will come to an end time very soon, even within one’s own lifetime. This belief is usually accompanied by the idea that civilization will soon come to a tumultuous end due to some sort of catastrophic global event.
  • Sheeple is a term that highlights the herd behavior of people by likening them to sheep, a herd animal. The term is used to describe those who voluntarily acquiesce to a suggestion without critical analysis or research.
  • Patternicity is the human tendency to seek patterns in random information.
  • Agenticity is the capacity of an agent (a person or other entity, human or any living being in general, or soul-consciousness in religion) to act in a world.
  • Judgemental is having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.

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12 responses to “Is Religion The Grand Conspiracy?

    • Organized religion is an interesting enigma. It promises hope using despair as the message. It promises greatness if you survive the punishments, and so forth. I chose to dismiss religion from my life, a purge of sorts so things in our world could become clearer. I hold no grudges towards religion or the religious and I hope people reading this post and others I have written see that I am not bashing anything at all, religion just has no part in my life.

      Thanks for being the first to comment. I was a bit worried that people would be afraid to comment and leave their opinions, I hope I am wrong.

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  1. Love your blog buddy. Must say I agree with a lot you say here. Here in Scotland I was Catholic till I “realized religion” Religion is a major issue in our World. But it is not the religion, it is the people in the religion casting stones at each other. This happens worse in the Middle East and North Africa. Tribal/Religious wars are the order of the day. The argument is 93% of the globe (6.3 Billion people) follow some religion and there are a thousand religions. So it is flawed but it’s man made so it is flawed lol. I only believe in my own personal God, I serve no church or religion. It’s bullshit. When we die and say we do go to Heaven, does God ask “From what religion do you come?” I don’t think so….So a personal relationship with God is ok for me. Religion is a concept I see as a big issue that caused many bad things on the planet. One God/One Religion…How hard can it be.. Check this: Lad is from Scotland also.. He gets it SPOT ON for me.. 😀

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    • Determining whether there is a “heaven” or “hell” will always be the great challenge to the human race. In my opinion, people fear these places because their origins and destinations will continue to be unknown. Fear of the unknown causes fear of what we do know, setting us on the quest for answers which will last us until our death. Whats wrong with just living our life without the fear of dying and the afterlife.

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  2. SS I’m not sure where to go with this….I believe in a God as in there’s something out there with a higher power but I don’t believe in religion. I feel religion wants to trap people instead of guide them. God gave us free will to do whatever we want but if we make the wrong choices, we know what happens….but that’s to black and white in a contradicting way…I think we will do bad things with the intent of good in our heart. I’ve had sex out of wed lock becausenAllison and I were in love and had serious plans on getting married….even before each other, we both had sex with other people….my point: It’s kind of like God set mankind up for failure. Why would you program me, to do something that brings joy but say it’s evil if I do it outside of marriage? I think God knows we make mistakes….I think there’s a special place for rapist but for us normal folks having fun, this is enjoying life. God wants us to enjoy life…idk…I have more to say but this response is already getting long. Lol

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  3. Some people need to believe in something greater that’s external to themselves, and I think that’s where religion comes from. I don’t see that as being harmful. Where any ideology becomes harmful is when people try to impose those views upon others.

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  4. Sting, if I can call you that, I hope it is ok with you, I want to tell you a little bit about my journey with religion. I am a 62 year old guy who grew up Catholic. I went to four years of Parochial school which left me with no great attraction for the Catholic institution, believe me.

    But from an early age, I guess I was just a bit of a rebel in that I questioned most of the basic tenets of the faith. I wondered why you had to go to confession to tell you sins to another man when God, the all knowing already knew my sins. I did not believe that it was necessary for a baby to be baptized so that in case of death it’s sins would be forgiven because it had yet to commit any and would have no cause to be denied entry to heaven. It was innocent. I did not believe in the transformation of the communion host and wine into the literal body and blood of Christ. And I did not really experience God love from his supposed servants in the church. I did not see the Pope as Gods’ disciple on earth.

    Much as you related in your sharing about your niece’s recital at her church, most of what I remember is a bunch of rules, fear and judgement. Like you I grew up an Army brat. I even became an Alter Boy in Germany of all places but most of my service was on the military base chapel. Fast forward to age thirty and I had attended Catholic services on and off mostly trying to find some peace and solace in a place of worship. But I found myself tired and fed up with the repeated Gospel preaching of the priests with no real value-added and actually a lot of current day news crap added that made me feel worse than when I went in.

    It was at that age when I met someone who introduced me to a non-denominational Christian church and I figured I didn’t have anything to lose so I decided to try it. Wow! What a breath of fresh air! It was an average size church by most standards, around 300-400 attendees. This is average as shown by stats determined by a guy in that business named Barna. So it wasn’t one of the mega churches that get all the press today.

    An aside about the debates I would have with my Mom because she disowned me when I left “The True Church” to become a protestant. I told her that The Catholic Church was just a big business. And when I left I told her the main reason was that it was the first time I ever read the Bible (NIV) and had a Pastor tell the congregation not to believe what he said, but to read the Word for themselves and study and determine the meaning and application for their own lives. When she told me the Catholic Church was adding Bible Studies, I told her it was marketing and that the Church was losing members. They did focus groups and found that people wanted to learn more and have more small group experiences, so that is what they, the Church, decided to give their members … but the Catholic version. That is a key issue for me … being told what to think, what to do, what to believe.

    In my new church, there was a concept of the Bible being the Word of God and it was Complex. As a beginner, there was beginning learning as a baby would be given baby food, and then as one became stronger in their understanding and faith, then more solid food could be given, learned so to speak. Delving into context of historical times, language and translation of historical texts from the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, all added to the nuances of meaning. The Old Testament vs. the New Testament and how the sixty six books of the Bible fit together requires some understanding so that it does not just seem like a bunch of stories and myths that some old guys wrote hundreds of years after the fact. Learning about the historical proofs for the scripture and the actual life of Christ and the people and times related in the Bible is major historical and archaeological work that is still on-going. The fact that while some things have yet to be proven, there is nothing that has been disproved by historical discovery.

    But I digress because the place I find myself in currently is that I do not participate in organized religion. I have found I do not like it. I have been very disappointed with it and even while I have done my best to serve and make monetary contributions, I always find myself abused, let down and saddened. Why? Because the church is made up of people with their own motives.

    However, this does not affect my view of my relationship with God or the Bible. I am currently working this out as I find myself very much a misanthrope and dissatisfied with mankind. When I grew up, there was a place for civility, respect, honor, truth. Today, it seems that being uncivil is the norm, lying, cheating, stealing, denigrating everything about faith and the Ten Commandments is fair game.

    When things like the Ten Commandments are attacked, I see it as a symptom not of “religion” being scorned but of man’s desire to act in a wanton manner and not be judged for it. Take a look at the Ten Commandments and I see a list of things that is a pretty good guidepost for leading a healthy and sane lifestyle. Deviate from it, as Proverbs says, and you walk a path to destruction. This isn’t about anyone trying to control anyone. It is about how to live life and how to please God.

    In all your writing, you have not mentioned the fight between Good and Evil. It exists and appears in many forms and seems to be on the rise today. One of the things that Christians face is criticism because they are warriors against evil and the evil turns the tables on them and uses their own failings to discredit them. Whether it is the Priests in the Catholic Church who are guilty of pedophia and it’s cover up, or televangelists who are simply in it for the bucks, the few stain the rest even though they may have the best of intentions. It is difficult to get the message/warnings across in a culture that is hostile to “religious” types even though they might be the ones who are more sensitive to such things. That is why the left works so hard to shut down churches, freedom of religious expression, etc. They do not want anyone calling them on their plans and actions.

    My own biggest issue today is with mediocrity. Used to be that people wanted to be better, do better, create, excel, produce. Today, people don’t even try to educate themselves even when they have basically free educations available to them. Where my home town is, many of the attendees of the City Colleges are Asians, Indians, even though there is a larger share of Hispanics in the neighborhood. These people make use of these services. Even on the front of customer service, doing quality work, caring about customers, it seems that no one gives a shit any more. There is no more tipping as service charges are automatic.

    But I will give you the biggest religion of all. The Almighty Buck! People seem to be willing to do anything for a buck. With the advent of the Bubble in Financial markets, the entire financial system has become the new Golden Calf with everyone bowing to the markets as if there is any semblance of truth in what people are told. Talk about people be led by the nose!

    So, Sting, seems to me you have a lot of soul searching you are dealing with regarding the issue of “faith.” I won’t call it religion because you seem to be a bit “all over the place” on your faith. I encourage you to keep on searching. My Pastor used the “expository” style of teaching and it was a wonderful way that I really appreciated. But mostly, I appreciated him because he was a teacher and not “Christ on Earth” who should be bowed down to. He taught me to understand the Bible and how to study it for myself.

    A bit long winded I know, but maybe something there to chew on. Hope you find it interesting. Carry on man!

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