Religion does no good to society


Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich

Napoleon Bonaparte

Hold on to your horses before you attack me. I know you are likely to charge me with sweeping with a large brush and ask maybe that I retract or use a smaller brush or maybe change the undertones in the pigment to somewhat light grey, but I will not.

Religion, as I understand it, is the belief in the supernatural. Before we continue, I contend that Buddhism stripped of its supernatural associations is not a religion in the real sense of the word. Many people use religion to mean many things. Some have gone so far to say doing good is their religion. I will only say in passing that has nothing to do with religion per se.

You may ask me now what about missionary schools, hospitals and charities run by the religious and I will tell you they have nothing to do with religion. On the other hand, for religion to continue to hold its sway among people, it had to, over time, associate itself with those things that we value and are important to us.

It is for the above reason that religion associated itself with morality. Our ancestors having created gods have them issue forth moral edicts in the hope they would be obeyed if they came from a god. It is no wonder, while reading the Hebrew fairy tale, anyone who goes a-killing has support of god.

Next, it may be argued that religious people have been at the forefront in the struggle for reformation and justice. And I will say yes but further add that Calvin was tolerant as long as you agreed with him. Servetus who didn’t agree with him ended up at the stake. The same is to be said of Martin Luther and so many other of the reformation leaders. As men they were intolerant of dissent and as religious people, they had support of their gods to treat others with disdain and even burn them.

This is my sketch, Christopher Hitchens wrote a whole book I think on the same. I haven’t read his book. Maybe I should go off and read it now.

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful.

Lucius Seneca

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

47 thoughts on “Religion does no good to society

  1. themodernidiot says:

    Applause, applause. Great quote finds. Stealing one!

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  2. This is very profound. Do you think your line of reasoning might separate the responsibility of religion for the bad things that have been attributed to it? By bad things, I’m referring to ideas like divine punishment, performing exorcisms, and mass religious killings.

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    • makagutu says:

      In a way but religion is the cloak that makes it possible. Without religion, no state would support the burnings at the stake for a long period of time.
      Without the aid of religion, the Nazis wouldn’t have killed so many Jews. So the belief in the supernatural makes it possible to commit these atrocities

      Liked by 1 person

  3. john zande says:

    It is a distraction for the masses, and those masses generally aren’t very thoughtful. I admit to wondering if our species (today) has the capacity to find calm in and by its own motives.

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  4. shelldigger says:

    I think you need a bigger brush.

    Good post.

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  5. A Guy Without Boxers says:

    I promise not to attack you my Nairobi brother! Instead, I’ll bow down and kiss your numerous pontifical rings! Much love and many naked hugs! 🙂

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  6. I would say, religion does more harm than good. Increasingly so.

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  7. mclasper says:

    Buddhism is generally classed as a philosophy, not a religion. Mainly because of the distinct lack of deities. But at least Buddhism and Spirituality haven’t caused all of these holy wars, creation myths and other nonsense you get from religions like Christianity.

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    • makagutu says:

      We agree, though there have been isolated incidents in Burma or Taiwan I think where Buddhists have been behaving badly towards their Muslim neighbours

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  8. Amazing quote by Napoleon.

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  9. Veracious Poet says:

    Why do you constantly attack religion? yet fail to show that atheism can make the world a better place. I am not religious but I am for religion/spirituality because, like I said earlier, it promotes humanism. All religions preach charity. I once adopted the position you are now but realised that as along as we aim at making the world a better place, we will need religion. Yes! religion may not present the whole “truth” but happiness is the ultimate. I, for instance, cannot live my life based on the output of other people’s thinking. Atheistic writers such as Darwin, Freud, Dawkins etc, and Nietzsche in particular whose writings (though brilliant) provided the basis for the church of satanism cannot influence people like me in any way. The atheists argue that atheism is natural and reasonable and theists also argue that theism is natural and reasonable, but I think humanism is the most natural and most reasonable.

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    • makagutu says:

      I am certain your comprehension of English is above average. You could do yourself a favour by pointing to me where on this blog I indicate that I intend to write what you like.
      Either you didn’t read this post or you don’t know what humanism is.
      And at no point have I stopped you from pursuing your own goals. So let’s do each other a favour when I still have some little respect for you and stop lecturing me on what to write or how to write it.

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  10. Veracious Poet says:

    Pal, I am aware I can never lecture nor convince you on anything. What we are doing here is exchange of ideas. Whatever statement I make (without reference) is of course my opinion. If there is something I cannot understand about your arguments, I am at liberty to seek further clarification. Unless you are not interested in answering me.

    You say “religion does no good to society.” I ask: what alternatives are you offering apart from non-belief. I also say that the authorities quoted are not infallible. Is this offensive? I am not bothered at all about little or no respect. I am here to seek knowledge. Unless we cannot have honest dialogue, then of course we may do eachother a favour by saving our time.

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    • makagutu says:

      Honest dialogue? Is that what you want really?Where have I been dishonest?

      You ask what do I put up in place of religion? By destroying a delusion, you create room for truth to prosper and that is enough. Your question is akin to asking a doctor what will you put in place of this cancer once you remove it.
      At what point in the post did I say the authorities are infallible? I only quote them because they say what I want to say.

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  11. there is nothing attributable to religion that cannot be found somewhere else without the hate and ignorance that religion always brings. And I do mean always.

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  12. Arkenaten says:

    Smile … your ”mate”, Veracious Poet is one disingenuous sob.
    Why do such folk always believe that one must replace religion with something else?
    No one asked me what drug I would now be using instead of cigarettes. How absurd.

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    • makagutu says:

      I have no answer to that question.
      What I don’t understand about him is his insistence on humanism and claims that we need religion

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      • “Once one uses a good enema to flush the colon of the vile pestilence that is religion, why repack it with another brand of shit? Just be glad the bloated, constipated pain is no more.” Albert Einstein, circa 1942

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        • makagutu says:

          You don’t understand. Most mortals need something to lean on and if religion works for them, don’t say it is false. Do you want a dying grandmother to know she has believed in a lie all her life?

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          • I lean on enemas when my bowels are compacted with shit. That doesn’t mean I want to stick one up my a-hole regularly. Religion’s purpose died eons ago. But, if grandma likes sticking tubes up her rectum cause she enjoys the feeling, guess I won’t stop her, but I’ll call it what it is: a needless tube stuck up the anus of an old woman who doesn’t know any better.

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          • makagutu says:

            That too is my position. Not leaning on enemas, no, the grandmother with tubes

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          • “A grandmother with tubes.” Just thought about how awful that image is. Yuck. “Grandma! take those damn tubes outta yer ass, woman! Ya don’t need em and they make ya look ridiculous!”

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          • makagutu says:

            Hahaha. Dey make de grandy look funny.

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    • Veracious Poet says:

      Pals, those analogies are not even slightly related to the subject matter at stake. Ridding oneself of cancer or cigarette smoke is nothing like ridding oneself of creed. Creeds are things that people have been born into and lived by for ages. It is pure psychology and psychology teaches us that the human mind cannot just be emptied of ideas – leaving a vacuum. The mind works like a suction tube.

      If it is true that the religious masses are all fools and you individuals are lucky to be wise, whereas once you were also like them, then, don’t you think that the purpose of life is to impart your wisdom unto them without affecting their happiness, to serve humanity so to speak, instead of constantly criticizing them? How does that better society?

      If you argue that there are no gods, no purpose for life, no afterlife, no morality, even reality is debatable, then you are implicitly erasing all the reasons why one must want to live. That is very depressing. Hedonism is but a shallow and a short-lived purpose.

      At an individual level, one can decide to believe nothing, worship nothing and even go on all four – like an animal. I have nothing against that. But as soon as you speak of the good of society, that is where I’m also at a loss as to what godlessness has done.

      Makagatu, I believe Humanism, fundamentally, underpins all religions, that is why I often link it with religion (at a personal level). There is no true isolation in the universe. Everything is interconnected. But of course that’s not obvious to everyone.

      Arkenaten, It is not true that I’m disingenuous. As far as I can remember, I have always been plain and honest and I try to be as practical as possible with my submissions. I hope I have cleared some doubts.

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      • Arkenaten says:

        I am not religious but I am for religion/spirituality because, like I said earlier, it promotes humanism.

        No, perhaps you are not disingenuous after all. Fr now I will retract that accusation.
        A statement like the one quoted would suggest you are simply thick as two short planks.

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      • makagutu says:

        So, if I may, when you were rid of theism, what did you fill it with? If nothing, why would others need props?

        You can do that part, of treating religion with kid gloves. It will make you a good atheist and a humanist.

        If you argue that there are no gods, no purpose for life, no afterlife, no morality, even reality is debatable, then you are implicitly erasing all the reasons why one must want to live.

        Such statements make me doubt whether you read this blog.
        On meaning I have said there isn’t a cosmic meaning to life. If you are looking for meaning to be alive, you are better of dead for life is. It covers all the things that you do and each of them in their own way make up what you call meaning.
        Purpose would mean there is a designer with some end in purpose. I have no clue as to what this purpose is. I don’t stop anyone from looking.
        Morality refers to rules that we have developed over time to stop me from running you over the street.
        Yes, reality is debatable in a philosophy class but when I run you over, you will be dead, you will not be debating about it.

        And when you write something like

        At an individual level, one can decide to believe nothing, worship nothing and even go on all four – like an animal.

        I begin to ask if your head left you. Only a theist would write such an asinine statement.

        Then you believe wrongly. Humanism strictly speaking is recognition that only through human effort and reason can we solve humanity’s problems. If you read this post, you would have read that religion correctly understood deals only with the supernatural.

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        • Veracious Poet says:

          I was only rid of organised religion, never of theism. So yes, I am a theist. If someone misrepresents a creator, it doesn’t mean I should deny the existence of that creator. I believe there is a higher force (not necessarily Judeo-Christian god) who instituted not only life but also death.

          If someone asks: what is the colour of the dog? The rationalists/atheists will say: Bring the dog and let’s count all the individual furs and note their particular shade of color before we can conclude. That’s ludicrous. Just tell us “the colour of the dog.”

          O yes, I think there is a cosmic purpose for life and that is simply…continuity of life. We all crave food and sex and these lead to the preservation of our species.

          My Kenyan brother, you defined secular humanism not cooperative humanism. Feel free to read my brief post about cooperative humanism on my blog.

          If you’d excuse me, my girlfriend and I are enjoying each other’s company and I don’t want to believe she exists merely by accident. I think she is there to make me happy and in return I also make her happy. And where there is love, there is life.

          If I was intelligent, very intelligent, or super intelligent, the first thing I will try to do is to find a way to immortalize myself. But that is beyond my limit so I concede. I’m only averagely intelligent.

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          • makagutu says:

            I have no ambition to immortalize myself, but maybe if I write a book and am lucky or if I can do something greater than I, I could be remembered for 2K years, like Solon, Lycurgus, Cicero, Xerxes and so on. I wouldn’t want longer than that.

            Enjoy each other’s company. Your belief or wishes don’t make reality. On rainy days I believe I can grow taller by standing in the rain. I never get any taller, but at least no one sees my tears at those times.

            I will find time to read your post. Well, it hasn’t been lost on you that am a secular humanist I hope? I wouldn’t define any other.

            Not just our species. All life depends on food and some way of reproduction to continue to exist.

            No, you represent atheists/ rationalists. If you ask me the colour of the dog, I will give a direct answer unless the person you are asking is colour blind then you may have an interesting discussion.

            And this is where we differ. You are a theist. I am an igtheist. We can’t meet on religion but I am sure we can have a good discussion on something else.

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