By context I mean there are far more views on the planet than your own and there is far more going on in a religious situation than what you perceive.
Many opinions, but only one reality to test the truth validity of those opinions upon. And the reality of religion is causes a great deal of harm, an amount of harm that vastly outweighs whatever good you can say it does. And when you consider the alternative which does at least the same amount of good without harm which is secularism, then it becomes obvious to choose the latter.
Your example of a woman growing up in a religious household and being told she must wear a certain item of clothing, etc, well if she chooses to do with this later in life, either follow it if she has the choice or follow parts of it if she has the choice or not follow it at all if she has the choice. Her having that choice depends on her culture and location and what happens when she makes that choice depends on her culture and her location. That is context and there are several. There is not only one situation that occurs when one rejects their faith, it depends on where they are.
At no stage is that woman given the concious decision of what faith she is however. A baby has no concious choice at it’s baptism what faith it wants to follow. The vast amount of people believe the religion of their geography, with very few people converting from one faith to another. That is the true context, in which the vast majority of people make no conscious decision about what religion they want to follow, instead being coerced implicitly or explicitly to follow the religion they are brought up to believe in.
To impose the idea that all religion must be rejected based on the cases only where it has done wrong is faulty logic and pretty single minded as you are not considering the cultural implications that come along with religion. Culture is attached and sometimes made because of faith and while culture could exist without faith, it still comes from somewhere.
A secular culture is in the majority of cases superior to a religious culture. Countries with the highest rates of irreligion correlate with countries where the length and quality of life is rated highest. The most religious countries by contrast have the lowest length and quality of life - E.g. the regions of Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South America and Southern Asia. This is not just cherry picking certain cases, this is evidence that religion results in a lower length and quality of life, which is the most important reason one could have for abandoning religion.
What you aren’t considering is that fact that due to many different points of view and due to many cultures and different situations there has to be a grey area. Reason doesn’t always bring comfort, neither does truth. Some people simply prefer to believe there’s an afterlife versus rotting in the ground for several years. I’m not entirely sure why hoping for more while doing your best in this world is a particularly bad thing to you. Spiritually has been shown to improve health, meditation, prayer, etc, sections of the brain actually light up, pleasure centers. Does finding out you just rot in the ground give you pleasure? Probably not. For some people the idea of death is frightening because it means that’s it, it’s over, but for hopes of something more, maybe it doesn’t frighten them so much anymore. That’s just one example though. I never actually said reality was subjective, btw, so I’m really not sure where you got that from in the first place.
You appear to be the making the case for a subjective reality since you are saying that people have different opinions which are equally valid. In an objective reality, not all opinions have equal validity. Whether religion brings comfort or not is irrelevant to the truth of it. Religion is not true, and to make believing in falsehood a virtue is to make truth a vice. I am concerned with knowing what it is true, because truth makes an opinion valid. A religious person however can hold something to be true when it is not, and then acts upon that, only to find that they are mistaken about reality. This mistake is reflected in the consequences of their actions. If they pray instead of recieving medical treatment, they are more likely to suffer and die. If they have faith in authority figures, they are more likely to be taken advantage of and be harmed or used to harm others.
You say that spirituality improves prayer. The Templeton study found that prayer has no advantage over not praying, and in fact prayer made things worse because the patients they were praying for suffered from performance anxiety and experienced a higher rate of complications. Meditation has some benefits, but believing in Samsara does not. These practices can be secular and you will still gain the same amount of pleasure, perhaps moreso. Because as Richard Dawkins made the example of, during a funeral it’s not the religious mumbo jumbo that the priest says that moves people, it’s the part where memories of the deceased person are shared by family and friends in speeches that are most pertinent to the listeners.
If one truly believes in the afterlife encountered in the most popular religions, then it means that you must view this life a something to be got over. Whatever you imagine the afterlife to be, you imagine it must be better than this one, and so inevitably you’ll live this life not as though it is the only chance you’ll get, but only a passing period where you are going onto greater things. Even if you don’t follow a mainstream religion and have a vague concept of the afterlife of your own, it permits you to live this life as though it won’t be your last.
”There’s also a real problem about anything that’s eternal. I should put it closer to this: It will happen to all of us that at some point you’ll get tapped on the shoulder and told, not just that the party is over, but slightly worse, the party is going on but you have to leave, and it’s going on without you.. That’s the reflection I think that most upsets people about their demise. Alright then, because it might make us feel better, let’s pretend the opposite, instead you’ll get tapped on the shoulder and told ‘Great News!’, ‘This party is going on forever, and you can’t leave. You’ve got to stay! The boss says so, and he also insists that you have a good time’.” - Christopher Hitchens
But evn if you remain adamant about valuing what is comforting over what is true, then what about drugs. Because you could be high on morphine, or even safely high on marijuana, and that would be equally if not more comforting. The reason why it is better to moderate drug use or not use drugs at all is because drugs remove us from reality and content us with pleasure, just as religion does. The religious person even usually develops a dependance upon their religion akin to a drug user to their drug. In fact, they’ve actually tested the hypothesis that religious minds change neurologically in this way - the religious mind operates differently to that of an irreligious person.
I am not implying they are weaker. I actually think it’s the other way around. For anyone to have faith strong enough to believe in something they cannot prove, they must be strong in some way or another. Atheists are strong too. Everyone can live without religion, everyone can live with religion.
If everyone can live without religion, then let’s get rid of religion, giving the great amount of harm religion causes. I cannot live with religion, so you are wrong in saying that everyone can live with religion. My intellectual faculties would not permit it unless for some reason I lost them, such as being tortured as the Catholic church did to unbelievers to convert them during the Inquisition.
I think god in the context of the bible was the explanation for natural and scientific occurrences that could not be explained…If people made religion more personal and less mainstream, things might be better.
It would be better if there was no more religion at all. As science explains the mysteries of existence, religion becomes increasingly unnecessary. Should there be something that science can never reveal then it is to be left as a mystery to strive to solve, not to posit a more complex unexplainable explanation for it that stunts any further inquiry. Religion stunts human progress.
That said, perhaps the largest downfall of human progress is actually due to certain European conquests of “new worlds”. These conquests were said to be religiously fueled, BUT in the end it was really all about resources. So again, those are a few situations where religion is being used improperly.
Religion is the exploitation of human resources
Many people may not even believe there is literally a big bearded dude in the sky listening to their prayers but they pray anyway, to whatever their internalized concept of god is because it comforts them, and again, that’s not weakness.
Such beliefs distract us from addressing our problems on a purely rational basis. For instance I could pray to do well in my semester exam, but it would have been better if I had spent that time studying instead of praying. And having seen this kind of thing first hand, these people often blame and punish themselves for their failure afterwards. They rationalize that it wasn’t the prayer that didn’t work, it was their lack of faith or their own inferiority that kept them from doing well. This manifests itself in a variety of psychological problems. For instance priests who practice sexual abstinance from an early age release their repressed desires upon children because they are their sexual peers, having never had sexual experience before. Hence you get the Catholic church child sex abuse scandal. But it’s not just the institutions, the religious individuals experience the same problems and suffering.
I think it’s rather restricted and, honestly unrealistic, because as much as you might want religions to be wiped off the face of the earth, the fact of the matter is, they exist and they likely will continue to even as more and more people become less and less religious.
You contradict yourself. Without religious adherents, there remains no religion. Once we solve the mysteries on which religion itself predicates, there will no longer be a need for religion at all.
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