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Organized Religion: Here’s a Glimpse of the World Without It

stewart-religionRecently, conservative convicted criminal Dinesh D’Souza came out with a movie titled America: Imagine the World Without Her (which has an amazing 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes).  It’s basically nothing more than some outrageous right-wing film that rewrites history, while trying to ridiculously build a world where the United States did not exist.  Eventually it just spirals into nothing more than an anti-Obama and anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda film.

But I thought I’d play off that title a bit and try to create what our world might be like without organized religion.

Though let me be clear, I see faith and religion as two different things.  I see faith as a set of beliefs someone personally carries with them without trying to force others to comply to what they believe.  Religion I see as a human-made concoction meant to manipulate and control people by forcing whatever views are ordained by that religion.

How many wars have been fought based on religion?  Think about the Crusades.  They lasted around two centuries, claiming anywhere from 1 million to 3 million lives.  All in the name of religion.

Just look at Islamic terrorism.  It’s almost entirely based on religion.

So by just getting rid of organized religion, the amount of wars and terrorism we’ve had throughout human history would drastically be reduced.

Look at how often religion has been used to justify horrific acts.  Adolf Hitler used religion to justify his genocide of the Jewish people.  Slave owners used religion to justify their ownership of other human beings.  Anti-desegregation advocates used religion to justify the separation of the races.

Just think about how much prejudice and ignorance has been levied against various groups of people throughout human history all “justified” by organized religion.

Religion has been used to justify horrific acts against women.  Hell, it’s 2014, and in many countries religion is still used to deny women their basic human rights.  Not just deny them those rights, but to often treat them like possessions rather than actual human beings.

All over the world organized religion is used to condemn and vilify homosexuals.  In some countries it’s illegal to be a homosexual, with death being an acceptable punishment for the “crime” of being gay.  But it’s all okay, because religion says that it is.

Hell, religion has even been used to deny a need to address climate change.  You know, because God controls the weather – not us measly humans.

Look at hate in general.  Racism, bigotry, intolerance, judgement, prejudice… it’s all been justified by organized religion over and over again throughout history.

I’m sure many of you have heard about the Salem witch trials.  Human beings were slaughtered all in the name of religion.  These acts weren’t rational.  They were driven by fear, paranoia and ignorance all fueled, and justified, by religious beliefs.

Native Americans were treated like some kind of subhuman savages because they weren’t “good Christians.”   So, what’s the best way religion told us to deal with non-Christian “savages”?  Try to convert some, slaughter most of the rest, all while stealing their land.

Amen! 

Granted, eliminating organized religion from all human history wouldn’t have prevented every horrific act from happening.  But it’s much more difficult to try to justify some of the horrors that have been committed (and continue to be committed) without religion.

For instance, how would one justify a stance against homosexuality without using religion?

Not only that, but the lack of religion would unite people.  Because what religion has ultimately done throughout human history is divide them.  It’s one group of human beings telling another group of human beings that the god they can’t prove exists is more real than the god the other group of people can’t prove exists is.

And if you think about it, what does religion ultimately boil down to?  What happens to us after we die.

That’s it.  

Why do people care so much about this?  Why do people care what happens to strangers once they die?  Something clearly happens… but none of us know for absolute certain.  The only thing any of us know without a doubt is, we die.

Every. Single. One of us.

Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist… we’re all eventually going to die.  And all religion ultimately comes down to is what happens to us afterwards.

It’s just silly, isn’t it?

Let’s slaughter thousands because they don’t believe in the same afterlife that we do!  That’ll prove how holy we are! 

It’s like an unfunny Monty Python sketch.

It’s not as if an individuals path to whatever afterlife in which they believe is contingent on how many people they recruit.  It makes absolutely no sense to care about any of this.

Yet despite the ridiculousness of it all, organized religion remains the most widely used tool to justify human beings treating other human beings in horrific, inhumane ways.

Just imagine the world without organized religion:

  • We wouldn’t have countries where millions of human beings are controlled, with basic human rights stripped away, by brutal theocracies.
  • A world where terrorists no longer had their primary tool they’ve used to wage horrific acts of terror against innocent people.
  • Where human beings weren’t judged on rules written in a book, based on an entity that nobody can prove exists.
  • A world where war was never waged simply because one group of people labeled themselves a different religion than another.
  • Where people had to think for themselves as opposed to simply being told what to believe by somebody else.
  • Denying anyone their equal rights could only be justified by pure hate and intolerance, which are much harder foundations on which to build an argument against giving someone their rights.
  • Women wouldn’t continue to be having to overcome draconian societal laws and rules that religion has dictated about their role in society for centuries.
  • People wouldn’t be divided simply based on a label.
  • All the horrors that have been (and continue to be) justified in the name of religion – would have never existed.

Organized religion, just imagine the world without it.


About Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column. He is also the founder of the Right Off A Cliff facebook page, on which he routinely voices his opinions and stirs the pot for the Progressive movement. Follow Allen on Twitter as well, @Allen_Clifton.

  • Scott Cornett

    “Imagine” – John Lennon

    Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living for today…

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace…

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world…

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope someday you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one

  • jim

    “All the horrors that have been (and continue to be) justified in the name of religion – would have never existed” talk about assuming facts not in evidence. Stalin did not do his mass murders in the name of religion & neither did the communist chinese. People have been killing each other for a lot of different reasons/excuses since the beginning of time. Sometimes they use religion as their reason/excuse – sometimes they use tribalism. Lots of times it’s been over politics, real estate, racism & a lot of the time it’s just for the hell of it because human beings can be really mean bastards.
    Quit trying to find things to blame and just put the blame where it belongs – individuals take actions – horrible results ensue.

  • Doonerbandit

    I’d love to see a follow up article to this titled imagine the world without extreme political ideologies. Imagine that no world wars no Spanish civil war no Korean war or Vietnam war. Imagine a congress getting shit done.

  • Frederick Jaxheimer

    Okay, I’m am imagining the World without it. Yes, no Lutheran World Relief, which reached out to help 7,759,262 people in 35 countries last year alone. No Diakon Social Services ( programs annually serve between 50,000 and 60,000 people in Pennsylvania & MD), No Catholic Charities , no Salvation Army, no YMCA, & no Christian Appalachian Project, all were launched and have been sustained by the organized Church. No pastors or priests on staff to comfort those that mourn or are hospitalized. – yes there are people that want the government to be the provider for everyone’s every need, but how is that working for them? The Church can see a need and take action .. – say give a man a coat… the government first must check and see if the man was already given a coat before, and is there another person in his town that needs one more based on some law or program policy. Does this man meet ALL the requirements for that entitlement? The poor guy might live in the wrong County or State to get his entitlement from this particular distribution center – we have regulations you know. (I have witnessed this happen in Kentucky with respect to Gov assisted or sponsored Food pantries). Before the poor man freezes to death waiting, let the Church (the organized faithful) just give the man a coat !! .. no one needs to ask if he sold his previous coat, was careless and lost his coat or if he moved up here from Florida. There does not have to be a search for another person in greater need…for the Church is a ministry and does true charity. In disaster response, it is the Church that gets to the scene and does ministry and provides care long before private industry or government agencies get there. Why? Because the Church is a movement and it is staged everywhere and only its detractors claim it is bad to be organized or have elements of an institution. I think that “Organized” corporations must be bad, and “Organized government” is also bad.. it must be based on the logic that organized religion is bad. It is not a pretty sight, this glimpse of a world without the organized Church. There would be no Food Pantry in my neighborhood because it is established and maintained by the volunteers and donations of the local 10 Christian Congregations. I’m seeing a country and a world where we must rely on private sector corporations, civic clubs and/or the Government to be the provider, protector and minister to every need. Imagining that is a horrid nightmare. .

  • Erin Anderson

    We didn’t invade Iraq because of Religion, we did it to protect the Petro-dollar and to take control of the Iraqi oil fields.