An inconvenient truth: Religion is a form of madness

2014-12-16 16:13

Consider a teenager that literally believes in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. A reasonable parent would be concerned about the child’s mental competency. Consider this thought experiment. Imagine if recent terror events were organized by believers of the Greek god Zeus. Most of us would proclaim this group to be insane.

However, this test of insanity applies to all superstition – Adam Smith’s invisible hand of the free market, the three sheepherder religions, the religion of a million gods, the new age mumbo jumbo that combines pseudo science with past religions – any belief that is not based on logic and evidence.

Religions put forward claims that oppose natural laws and therefore normalises insanity. Physically impossible events such as resurrection, reincarnation, virgin birth, a speaking fire bush, the zoo ark, a giant fish home, monkey warriors and ancestor spirits. An angry god’s obsession with his creation’s petty sexual habits or orientation, the sanction of genocide, the gifts of a chauvinistic god – virgins for martyrdom, a life of eternal servitude. We can do better at crafting a moral code than relying on a fictional god that shows deeper concern about the welfare of cows and sheep than women and children. An open mind will find deeper and less fantastical moral engagement in Marvel comics.

Perhaps, these kinds of primitive beliefs were appropriate as a starting point in the evolution of knowledge. Perhaps thunder, lightning, floods, earthquakes, disease, droughts and human conflict had to be conceived of as events brought about by an invisible agent.

However religion even as psychological comfort in facing the indifference of the universe is acting in “bad faith”. Real psychological comfort is best provided by family and friends.

There is nothing moderate about religion. Religion had outlived its purpose. Religion like racism is a petty way for people to feel a sense of group distinctiveness. And it appears that there is simply no limit to the stupidity of their actions to maintain or elevate this sense of distinctiveness.

Sane people should cooperate to make critical thinking mandatory in our institutions. Instead of teaching people what to think, we should focus more on teaching them how to think.

Recent events suggest that we cannot go on being politically correct about the disease of religion. We need to formalise the way we teach critical thinking. Critical thinking is the only way people can transcend the religious madness locked in their minds.

The United Nations first task is to spread the tools of critical thinking throughout the globe. Reason and logic provides a better chance of peace on this planet than the maddening belief in an invisible agent.

Powerful technology hardware developed by logic and evidence in the hands of people with primitive (religious) software is one of the greatest risks facing society today.

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