Truth Is Universal: Why Religion Should Be Discarded
There is a truism that says truth is universal. I agree with this. Saying “The sky is blue” is a universal truth regardless of where you come from. Being moral and respecting the rights of others as the best way to live is a form of universal truth. Such truths allow society a common frame of reference, civilization the ability to remain cohesive, and humans to live their lives in the pursuit of whatever makes them happy.
We can identify with the truth. We can recognize it when we see it. The truth speaks for itself and its source is irrelevant; the ramifications of that truth are what count. Morality is a form of truth applied in our dealings with others. Many people act as if all truth and morality come from religion. It doesn’t. Instead, religion merely borrows philosophical truth for its own purposes, twisting it to fit within a paradigm of control. The fact that various proverbs and parables are attributed to Jesus Christ – or anyone – doesn’t change the value of the information being imparted. People have forgotten this; they’ve placed the messenger above the message. Pinning truth to any mythological savior, deity or religion is unnecessary. Truth is truth, regardless of who says it.
What I’m saying – and have said repeatedly throughout the years – is that no religion is good. More to the point, no religion is best. I do not support any religion of any sort. In fact, I think religion is detrimental to the development of mankind. It encourages blind faith, discourages skepticism (which is a necessary virtue), and is used widely by those with an agenda as a tool of control. Down through the ages, religion has encouraged racism, bigotry, persecution, slavery, and genocide. In fact, the very concept of religion is absolutely incompatible with liberty and freedom because the rights of the individual are always secondary to the dogma of the clergy and their god(s). For these reasons alone, religion should be left behind.
We humans do not need a busybody warden peering over our shoulder to insure we do good. We do not need religion to tell us not to kill or not to steal. This is all self-evident because to kill and to steal without consequence would tear society apart. Civilization could never develop with every man, woman and child at odds with all others. In such a world, no meaningful cohesiveness of culture or sharing of experience could ever be achieved. We would still be cavemen cowering in caves and forests, afraid of our fellow man as much as the beasts we hunted.
The greatest moral truth: Those virtues which encourage freedom and liberty while upholding the freedom and liberty of others are what hold civilization together and encourage culture to flourish. They are the primacy of man.
Historically, religion has done just the opposite. It has discouraged progress while encouraging blind faith in corrupt religious leaders and tyrannical kings who subscribed to their religion. It has made people blind to the things they could accomplish in this life in favor of fairytale rewards in some afterlife. It has also fostered the sense that all people must share the same opinion (i.e. religion). Those who don’t share that opinion are all too easily marginalized and dehumanized, like Jews during the holocaust or Muslims during the crusades. This is a horror beyond all horrors…but it’s been the direct result of religious fervor for centuries, continuing even today.
I was once told by a religious person that prayer was “sincere and honest pursuit of the truth”. I disagree with his opinion outright. If one were truly pursuing truth, prayer would be but one method of doing so. To say that prayer is sincere and honest – as if there were nothing else that could be done to research the truth – is incredibly disingenuous. It’s the lazy person’s excuse because it’s too easy and the results are whatever you wish them to be. It’s self-delusion, nothing more.
If there is no god(s), as I believe, then the person praying is deluding himself. His own internal logic has taken a back seat to a misguided belief that the source of his decision comes from some divine being and not from anything he’s actively done to help himself. In fact, the very notion of prayer serves only to dehumanize and marginalize the individual further since it ascribes the innate strength and ability of that person to an external source. I find that sad.
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are merely the newest religions on the block. Thousands have already been left in the dust during mankind’s past (thousands of years, thousands of cultures, thousands of gods now believed to have been imaginary). In today’s modern era, people pin their hopes to the newest gods – Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, whatever you want to call the god of monotheism today. It’s the same old song with a slightly different tune. The supposed wants and needs of these divine entities are still placed above those of mankind. The high priests of these beings are still held in almost regal regard, supported on the backs of the masses for performing meaningless acts of ceremony and interpreting truth – something any man can do for himself.
I think it’s clear that humans do not need religion. Truth is universal and has nothing to do with religion, gods, saviors, angels, demons, devils, etc. Nothing at all. These are merely window dressing used to twist the truth into something it’s not. Mankind has the ability to do good selflessly. Doing good because you want to get into Heaven or because you think a divine father figure is watching over your shoulder is a selfish act; it means you are acting solely out of self interest and not simply for the good of the other person.
Finally, altruism for its own sake encourages social bonding, the development of culture, and the benign expansion of humanity. Respect for life and property is the glue that holds civilization together. Liberty becomes the wellspring of community and love the sustenance of family. This is truth. Without it, we might still be cowering in our caves.
But you never know…if religion continues to dominate how we think and act and treat our fellow man, we may still end up back in our caves sometime in the not so distant future.