The Insanity of Religion, and How Organized Religion Depends on Your IgnoranceYou've Been Lied To By Jake Atkisson
Preface-I don't have any profound stories of miracles to share with you. Indeed, this writing is not thus written with the intention of converting you to or away from any faith, though if you are a person of firmly-convicted beliefs, you will find those beliefs challenged in that faith's basis here, and unapologetically so.What I intend with this article is to present challenge and clarification to the lies surrounding the methods and underlying intentions of monotheistic religions. I will not resort to high-minded verbosity or excessive scientific phrasings in this rendering, as it is also my intention that it be readable by those who have not purchased a quarter-million dollar vocabulary or fluency in latin, greek, hebrew or anything at all beyond a simple, pedestrian fluency in english. Indeed, and throughout the entirety as must be clarified, I intend to make you think, good reader. Lastly stated though it is, it is first and foremost amongst my intentions; I intend to make you think, and to provide to you incontrovertible reasons to do so. Whether you find yourself agreeing with my primary assertion, being the title of this article, or not is entirely for you to determine, and to determine this for yourself, you must think. What I do not intend with this article is to replace one battery of lies with another, to replace one faulty way of thinking with another or to trick you into agreeing with me. Trickery is the tool of con-men, the faulty, the defective and the erroneous, and it has neither welcome nor utilization here. **************************************************************************************************************1.
1. They lie to you; Why
There is a fairly decent chance that you aren't a stupid or foolish person. Monotheistic orthodoxy assumes not only that you are, but in so treating you, strives to convince you that you are precisely that; stupid and foolish. It is assumed by all monotheisms that you are imperfect before them, and only through them can you pursue betterment.
It accomplishes this by numerous methods, nearly all of which are extremely predatory in nature. Please note, dear reader, that 'predatory' does not necessarily mean 'violent', though neither does it exclude it; rather, predatory means that it seeks to exploit weaknesses, to create weaknesses to exploit, to attack, to assault, to stifle or, in the broadest sense, to antagonistically seek to force change upon you.
Why do they do this? Monotheisms are, by their manner of organization and assimilation into cultures and societies, rather newer than polytheisms. They rose to power by merit of force-of-arm, force of repetition and manifest willingness combined with ability to crush the opposition in a fashion that built their own foundation. I assert that there is not a monotheism practiced in any wide-spread manner that is not, in some directly discernible fashion, built on the ashes of any number of religions that came before it.
Why do they lie to you? They lie to you because that is the basis of their structuring; to sell to you the lies as truth and convince you to look upon all other information beyond their own as lies, irrespective of whether it be factually true or not. I will provide to you here a definition of the word 'Cult', and attempt thereafter to explain why I define the Big Three monotheisms of our modern world as nothing more than hugely damaging cults that have, for centuries, been tremendously out-of-hand.
Characteristics of a Cult- As assembled by Janja Lalich, Ph.D. & Michael D. Langone, Ph.D
1. The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.
2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished. 3. Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).
4. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, members must get permission to date, change jobs, marry"or leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).
5. The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar"or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
6. The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
7. The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).
8. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members' participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, or collecting money for bogus charities).
9. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.
10. Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
11. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
12. The group is preoccupied with making money.
13. Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
14. Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
15. The most loyal members (the "true believers) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
These are the assembled and briefly defined characteristics of a cult. Now, it must be said that the characteristics of a cult, as defined by my fellows in science above, are objectively listed; they do not indicate whether these things are beneficial or harmful. I assert that they are almost always ultimately harmful.
I assert this because any one of those points, in practice, empowers only a select few (the leaders, the heads, the cause; be it a person or an idea, or both, or elsewise- whatever fills that top-of-the-ladder position; the God-figure, if you prefer) at the distinct expense and detriment of the individual. But how do they do these things? How have so many people been lied to?The methods, as well as my observed understandings regarding motive and underlying purpose, I shall provide for you here-on.
2. Belittlement of your capacity to function without them.
Presenting irrational 'facts' to you in justification of this claim often follow various methods of belittling, invalidating and discrediting everything you've ever perceived, thought or felt that wasn't in agreement with the monotheistic doctrine . Example: The Christian bible is possessed of a number of stories in which it is portrayed that the person who thought for himself was wrong and stupid, whereas if he did what god commanded (no matter what he thought or personally wanted), he was exalted. Moreover, these stories and obvious parables are thrust forth by many as 'fact', thus attempting to prove their validity when they say that you too shall be wrong and stupid if you don't do what god wants you to do. Can a book render itself correct by having "This is true" written in it, as the Bible, the Qur'an and the Torah do?
Will hobbits appear in the world if you write "This book is true" inside the cover of a copy of 'The Hobbit'?
Sadly, outside of a religious context, this same manner of tactic is used by advertisers to make you feel as if you'll be less, sub-standard or stupid if you don't make the 'Obviously Correct' decision (with advertisers, it's to buy their products; with religions, it's to do what their orthodoxy demands).
3. Denigration of your self-worth.
In order to condition you into the system, predatory religions (just like predatory cults do) must first take your proverbial knees out from under you. What use would a religion be to you if you were a self-confident, emotionally stable person? What answers could it provide to you that you would feel a 'need' for? None, and thus the foremost enemy of religion is anything that promotes your self-worth, self respect and emotional stability outside the strict rules of it's orthodoxy.
Such things as education, self-motivated introspection, critical thinking and personal experience are all potentially the very pathways to self-worth, and so it is along these channels that any religion will literally assault you, and they will do so mercilessly by attacking you under the guise of friendship.
The God-based religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) can identify to you, dear reader, exactly how they do this; all three of those religions assert that you were born evil because the original man and woman disobeyed god. They will assert that you were born evil and wrong; you had no chance to begin with. It was over before it began. If you're like most people, you grew up hearing this from virtually everyone who, like you, grew up hearing it. You are being lied to, but the religions themselves demand that you be stripped down before you can be built back up, or as they are often so fond of putting it, "Reborn".
Clearly, they can't mean this literally, and they don't; they mean psychologically and emotionally, and all under the pretense that it's for your own good. That you have to for god to love you.
Love comes with strings attached?
4. The Bait-and-Switch
Con-artists trying to sell you the Golden Gate Bridge will expect that you will be skeptical, and they will use various tactics to try to compel you to buy what they're selling with this expectation in mind. Similarly, religious doctrine expects you to be skeptical, and it is presented with those same elements in mind.
Let us contrast the methods of a con-man against those of Christian orthodoxy.The Con-man will put to you a hard-sell; unbelievable low price, typically with a very short timeframe in which to decide (or to make an informed decision) and lots of emphasis on how many others would be willing to pay twice that much, along with references to how much of a favor he's doing you in offering it to you and how you'll be the talk of the town if you act fast.
Christian orthodoxy will put you to a similarly hard-sell, once they've made you doubt your self-worth sufficiently (or found you in a state in which you were doubting your own self-worth anyway); an unbelievable saving-grace clause ("You were born evil and worthless, but 'lo, we have the cure!"), typically with a weighty reminder that you'd better decide before you die or it's eternity in a lake of fire for you, usually with lots of emphasis on how unreal it is that you could even think about turning down what Jesus 'did for you', along with references of how many people 'just like you' are wildly happy and successful after 'finding Jesus'.
I rest my case on this one.
5. Pavlov's Dog Was Fed A Better Class of Crap
Maybe some of you are familiar with the study Ivan Pavlov did some decades back, in which he trained his dog to salivate whenever it heard a bell ring. Automatic response conditioning is what it is, and once religious orthodoxy has got it's hooks into you, it will suck you in even further by providing you with "All the answers you could ever need" in the form of the bible, which they will continuously urge you to study, memorize, pour over, meditate on and wrap your entire life around as swiftly and completely as possible.
There are a lot of psychological factors involved in this. Honestly, the psychological research that could be conducted on the process of religiosity would likely fill at least as many volumes and decades as does the massive battery of research done on addiction. Fortunately, most of the studies done on addiction find eerie applicability in religiosity as well; don't take my word for it, look into the matter yourself. There are literally thousands of credible universities, libraries and research centers that will, if you ask nicely, most likely help you find information on both.
Once they've got you, they will isolate you and condition you even further, encouraging you to essentially reject anything except what you are given by them(this is really where point 1 comes into play) and to outright deny anything that contradicts your 'new, real' truth, irrespective of any evidence or facts that may exist. They will do this by appealing to your emotions (which they've tampered with and are still tampering with, by the by), asking you to 'Pray for guidance' when faced by that which makes you doubt your new 'truth', to seek the counsel of all your new "brethren in faith" and to consider it a sin if you fail; a failing that makes you a criminal against existence itself.
This is reinforced by conditioning and outright, if sublime, coercion; all that bible study they're urging you, all that attending of church, all the encouragement to practically abandon all former aspects of your life in favor of church activities, assemblies and functions? It is a process of conditioning, and there is perhaps no greater insult to your individuality than this.
Whatever it takes to keep you 'in', the orthodoxy will do, though most of the pre-fabricated barriers are scare tactics. All of the holy texts of the worlds "Big Three" monotheisms are chock-full of stories about what happened to fictitious people that turned away; they -usually- let you fill in the blanks about what'll happen to you if you do.
This is not, however, their primary focus; scaring you into obedience used to work back in older times, but it's been too often proven that modern society is, in general, too educated, connected and aware to be frightened into obedience so overtly as once was typical.
So, anymore, rather than risk scaring you away, they've changed emphasis; endearing you to the cause, encouraging you to seek education at -Their- schools, urging you to preach to others and 'spread the word' yourself, and to see everything through the romantically rosy-hued lenses of "Everything is a miracle".
Well sure, that's a feel-good thing to say, but can we ignore the fact that "miracles" of virtually every sort that can be studied have been explained? The only vastness of quantity anyone can point at in the number of miracles that occur are of a nature that precludes themselves from any manner of empirical study, specifically those that are claimed by individuals and are entirely based on their subjective opinion. Example: "I saw an angel when I was on my death bed and it told me it wasn't my time yet! That's why I'm alive today!"
Clearly, that can't be argued with any more than if they claimed to have seen space aliens or Elvis in such a context, and that is precisely why so many stories of such 'miracles' pervade; they're the only sort of 'miracles' that can withstand inspection, notably because they cannot be inspected at all.
Convenient, isn't it? One may also find remarkable how, "in the distant past", the world was apparently full of all kinds of miracles. Just full of godly evidence, if you believe what various holy texts will claim.
Where have they gone? Most religious sorts will do anything to avoid having to say "I don't know", and will rarely consider that, perhaps, the people of ages past didn't know what was going on when they saw something and surely couldn't have mis-interpreted it. Rather, they'll wander from "God is sleeping" claims to "God is testing us" assertions.
They won't lend much thought or consideration to that the rise of man's ability to inspect and analyze has proven many things that people of ages past would've called miracles to be (sometimes rather peculiar) phenomena of weather, geology or plain ol' thermal dynamics.
Example? The tsunami that flattened a large chunk of Indian coastline would likely have been deemed a 'miracle' by people in ancient societies; people who would have had no means by which to know that an earthquake had occurred out in the ocean, or how to track that earthquake's causation to the natural grinding about of tectonic plates. They didn't even know tectonic plates existed, or that they floated around on the semi-liquid mantle beneath earth's surface. They didn't -know better-; of course they thought these things were cause by something vast, enormous and inexplicable.
Naturally, they either invented explanations (myths, anyone?) or accredited such things to whatever god-figure(s) they revered. Maybe the earth-worshipers are more correct than anyone else in the faith business, hmm? At least they're attributing things to the documented, locatable and actual source, even if their how-and-why explanations might get quite over-poetic and fact-lean.
6. Blame the Devil
If you believe what the Big Three monotheisms will tell you, it's all the devil's fault. All the evil in the world is the responsibility of the devil. Even if you ask such questions as "Didn't God create the Devil?", they will find some irrational answer by which to invalidate the point you're indicating, but more on that later.
Who's the devil, anyway? They will all, in various fashions, claim that the devil was the first being to give god the finger; if you give god the finger, you're in with the devil (Handy creation of an "If you're not with us, you're against us" context and justification no?).
The devil, as an icon, is as necessary in the functioning of these religions as their god-figure. Why? The devil is the knife they'll frighten you into obedience with, the symbol that they'll translate to you as the source of all that which they deem to be evil, but since they created the symbol, they also created the very definition of evil, which is awfully damn convenient if you ask me (Had to come from somewhere, right? Couldn't have been god's fault, right? That would mean there's evil in God...and that would destroy the entire premise of their religion via invalidation of their claims of god's omnipotence and perfect love).
Mostly, however, the devil has existed in the history of these religions as a means of destroying and discrediting the god-figures of other religions that stood in contrast. It was common practice (and remains common practice, if you care to enlighten yourself of the tactics missionaries to such places as Africa and Brazil use and practice in pandering their faith) for preachers to preach to people of other faiths, using their god(s) as the antagonists, with the preacher's god as the hero-figure.
Stories were how people kept most of their history, even with the advent of writing, in many places and for a lot of centuries, and it must be understood that, as a result, people were sometimes very GOOD story-tellers. Naturally, a lot of the stories stuck around, got retold, re-retold and eventually became some trickled-down part of the culture in which they'd been introduced (just like all such things did and still do; cultural diffusion, anyone?). In essence, monotheisms survived for two reasons attendant to this; the promotion of zealous obedience in the faithful these manner of stories encouraged and repetition of the same 'invalidate the other/validate ourselves' tales by merit of organizing them and their dispensation. They pursue aggressive advertising campaigns today, and clearly, they've always done so.
This is a strictly social phenomena that occurred for strictly normal-to-social-evolution reasons. That it is accredited by such religions to the "preservation of the church and faith by God" is just a convenient explanation that specifically does -not- reference facts as a means of making you look at it in the way they wish you to. It is also an answer that, for those who are only vaguely curious and looking for anything 'official' to fill the blanks with, might be sufficient without anyone even asking for explanation; people can be very lazy like that. Further still is that such an answer just plain sounds good. It's so full of pomp and authority, as if God himself told you this over coffee ("Oh, but god said so in the Bible!"). Isn't fantasy fun?
The idea of archetypal evil is something that monotheisms need in order to even begin making a remotely believable idea of archetypal good; that duality is necessary because it's obvious that bad things happen in the world, and they can't blame it on their God-figure, can they? Not when they've claimed their God-figure as the source of all truth, light and the only salvation for everyone, everywhere. What would such a god save you from, itself? No, of course not; every hero in a story needs a villain to save the victim from. The devil answers monotheism's every need in terms of what and who to blame badness on, and provides a handy tool for deflecting criticism, avoiding responsibility ("The devil made me do it", "The Devil sent demons to possess me- I wasn't responsible!") and not having to figure out how to explain why their God of All Goodness, All The Time has been letting people torture, kill, maim, rape and terrorize each other since the dawn of recorded history. After all, it wasn't God, right? It was the devil!
This is patently irresponsible on the parts of those who are audacious enough to claim themselves humanitarians that are out to help the world, as I'll observe all representatives of these three mega-cults are swift to claim. They're not out to help the world unless helping the world incidentally helps them propagate their own faith, way of believing, way of seeing and justification in feeling correct; the cases of individuals may and certainly will sometimes vary, but the core of the belief structures themselves do not.
As such, monotheism's strict need to identify, personify and alienate the 'icon of evil' also winds up removing the burden of self-responsibility, which they clearly want removed from the individual and juxtaposed onto the God-figure. Christian doctrine states that we are all born into sin and would be damned eternally if not for Jesus, as an example; that we are utterly incapable of being responsible for our fate is what that implies. The icon of evil helps create a context in which we are all born on one side, and only across the bridge that they conveniently provide can we get to the other; the good; side. And we can only cross that bridge if we follow their instruction, do as we're told and not ask too many questions along the way.
As an aside, you can often discern the nature and intent of a thing by looking at the effects of it's actions, as well as the methods employed in arriving at those effects. To wit, it is just as good to say that you can tell a lot about a man by how he treats his dog, his wife, his kids, etcetera.
Monotheistic orthodoxy treats it's dogs as stupid, insufficient fools who exist only as a resource to support church authority and to do as the religious leaders tell them. Yes, it will do whatever is required to keep up appearances of beneficence and good-will-for-all (how else could they keep the converts and cash rolling in?), but it's really no different than a pleasant-seeming man who treats his neighbors well, but in the privacy of his home engages himself in beating his wife, neglecting his dog and exploiting his children as a source of free labor.
Ironically, that very sort of man is perhaps the most common sort of man to have been found in monotheistic service throughout the majority of history, but please, don't take my word for it; seek to educate yourselves on the subjects of the treatment of women in monotheistic cultures, the relationships between fathers and children throughout history in cultures underwritten by monotheism and the societal states of all such cultures themselves.
This is what I observe the effects and methods of monotheistic religions to be and define them as; typified by the man illustrated in the above example. I disregard that which representatives of these religions say in answer as I would the excuses of the man out of the above example; they, as with such a man, will say anything that is convenient to excuse their behavior. There is no excuse, however, for such behavior; the only correct answer this correction of the behavior itself. Words are insufficient.
That, they will not do, as they're too afraid that they'll wind up in a hilariously contrived lake of fire forever and ever if they were to admit such intrinsic failures of their belief system and act towards correcting them.
Silly, but more-so than silly, it is sad.
7. Exclusivity and Irrationality
Monotheistic orthodoxy, contrived as it is and refined as it's been to function as a system of social order, cultural mitigation and population control, must allow for as little dissent against it's authority as it can get away with. As with the loyalists of any totalitarian government, monotheistic faithful have proven (and are still proving to this very day) the lengths and extents they will go to in order to preserve their faith's exclusive claim to truth, correctness and validity. This is an all-important means of survival in such aggressively predatory faiths; to have so strongly established and embraced the "If you're not with us, you're against us" philosophy while failing thereafter to continue acting in this "God-demanded manner", they would swiftly disinherit themselves from their own histories and all claims of their own validity would swiftly erode.
In a nutshell, what that means is that they long ago set themselves rolling down a hill, and if they stopped now, they'd be essentially admitting that they've been wrong the whole time; not something they're ever going to do. Because of this, we have Christian radicals that are willing to tie homosexuals to the backs of trucks and drag them down dirt roads (This is loving your neighbor?), entire militant sects of Islamic jihadists that will strap bombs to themselves and take a flying leap into everything from schools (This is practicing love and peace through wisdom and honor?) to temples and Judaic extremists who do...exactly the same sorts of absolutely irrational rubbish for reasons that've become increasingly ridiculous in, predictably, the same manners and fashions. Could this possibly be a failing of -all- monotheisms of their shared natures? They don't seem to think so, but then, they also think there's a man who lives in the sky that hates us if we eat meat on the wrong days of the week.
They have, by this, forced themselves into becoming the most irrational, verifiably insane people on the face of the planet, and the truly sad part is that they cannot even allow themselves to see it for what it is, lest they admit that it's all been wrong, right from the start, to have culminated in this. Because they have so convinced themselves that God is infallible, that they are infallible in God's work and that their interpretation (however they feel about it, essentially) is as God feels about it, they are not merely irrational anymore, but insane.
Documentably, certifiably insane.
Instead, they will go to any lengths, spinning even more out of control and sanity to explain how websites such as "God Hates Fags" are testaments of God's love, how sending children strapped with bombs into schools are justified by God's divine will and how pursuing ever-increasingly radical restrictions of social freedoms in every government they can address are not merely good ideas, but demanded by their God Almighty.
If you take methamphetamines, you will experience a high unlike anything you'll probably experience without them. People take them because they like that idea initially, and because they don't know how to stop thereafter, as it's terribly addictive. Ever seen a meth addict in the acute stages? Look up pictures.
If you take LSD, you will hallucinate, most likely quite powerfully. People take LSD because they like the idea initially, and typically continue to like the idea long, long after they've wound up talking to fenceposts and becoming so psychologically damaged that they must be classified as Invalid, institutionalized and kept away from sharp objects, stairs or things that're moving too fast in their field of vision for the rest of their lives.
If you take monotheistic religion, you will...?
Think about it. But don't take my word for it. Research. Question. Dig.
And THEN think about it again.