Karl Marx once described religion as opium for the masses and one is left to wonder if he was right especially given that, in the contemporary world, those who seem to have the most wealth (power & influence) are religious leaders. Ironically, among their following, we also have the world’s poorest contributing to their wealth; in terms of ‘offertory’ and other donations.
Also, the above question stems from the fact that the same world, marred with so much injustice and ‘evil’, has the same multitude as part of their religious fraternity. In fact, for me personally, some of the most devious and conniving people I have met yet (& who have done me ill) happen to be part of mainstream religious movements. I don’t recall ever being lied to, insulted, attacked, conned or swindled by an atheist or non-religious person. Anyway, this is a by the way and nothing to think about too seriously, but do think deeply of what I say from here.
Is not to believe in religion atheism? I don’t think so. Atheism in my view is a complete disregard of the/a higher power – not believing in religion is quite different. Religion is man-made.
One can argue that religion is man’s way of explaining what he doesn’t know (& subsequently using this faux knowledge to control others) … in the process, he creates a following (religious faithful) based on this creation (religion). How different is this from the Easter Bunny or Santa Clause? Both are creations of man as well, no? Also, if we can claim that religion is a historical fact (N.B.: I deliberately use ‘religion’ to lump all known religions as opposed to singling out one or the other) then there are proven inconsistencies here as well.
No offense to anyone, but right now one of my short fantasy stories, in centuries to come, could be considered ‘fact’ and hence religion … Think about it. How much of what we claim to know is true and does fellow man have the right to suppose he/she knows more than us because he/she brands himself/herself as a religious leader? Shouldn’t such a metaphysical inquiry & introspection be left to the individual to discover for themselves? Is religion then just another way of soothing our own conscience by telling ourselves we are ‘good people’ and better than others doing things we consider worse? Is altruism as we know it today just an extreme form of narcissistic self-righteousness?
So, is religion just another power play used by human beings as a way of cloaking ignorance and self-righteousness as knowledge and righteousness?
Let me know your thoughts