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.