Religion, What's the point?

Over the years many things have caused harm to mankind. Natural disasters such as war, famine and plague have caused suffering to untold thousands of people. But in my view the one thing that has caused the most harm is the one thing that is supposed to help the world. I am referring to organised religion, one of the most controlling and divisive philosophies in history.

First of all, I wish to stress that I don't believe there is a god. I also do not believe most the bible. My view is that most bible stories are based on fact, but have been altered over time to include God and Jesus. I choose not to believe in God because there is no proof of his existence. There is clearly nothing to show that he's there:

"If there is a God he is clearly non-interventionist. If he is non- interventionist, he neither deserves, merits or demands worship." 'Muriel Grey speaking to Graeme Smith in The Herald'

This sums up my view exactly; God does nothing for me so I do nothing for him. Furthermore, if there is a god, why should he care whether we worship him or not? If he were all-powerful, why would he care if I took some time to raise my voice in prayer? For one with so much power, he seems very insecure.

Now to my next point: religion is used to control people. The Ten Commandments seem to be one of the earliest forms of religious control. I have heard people say that without the commandments, society would crumble and descend into chaos. But common sense says people know not to kill, steal or cheat on their partners. There is no need for religion to lay down these rules, except to use them to control people. Ordering things in the name of god was something priests did (and may still do). By using gods name, they invoked a fear of 'holy judgement' and this made the people do whatever was asked. This power was easily and often abused. Religious leaders used their position to demand money among other things. The Catholic Church once demanded a tithe from its people. Many of these people could hardly afford to eat, yet the Church demanded one tenth of their yearly earnings. This reveals that the Church did not care about its people. Karl Marx's famous statement further confirms my point of religious control, saying of religion:

"It is the opium of the people"

The meaning of this is religion is used like a drug to dull people's minds and make them less aware of the world around them. Priests use religion to take peoples minds off their problems by telling them that, although conditions may be bad now, a better life awaits them in Heaven. Of course while their minds are distracted by promises of a better afterlife they are easier to control. This statement also shows that religion is used to cover up people's problems, but does not actually solve them. This proves just how pointless religion is. Like an opiate drug, religion can be addictive and can lead to death.

Religion can often lead to harm, whether by human sacrifice in early religions or through religious war. There are many examples of conflict being fuelled by religion. An early example is King Richard's Crusades. The Christians were trying to drive the Muslims out of the Holy Land. This war resulted in many deaths and was caused by religious difference and absolutely nothing else. A more recent example is the troubles in Northern Ireland. This conflict is between Catholics and Protestants. Difference in religion started this war, although I feel religion is now only the excuse. Many people have died 'protecting the faith' even though they are obviously not acting in a Christian way. One Christian rule says: "Love thy neighbour". Thy neighbour does not refer to any particular type of person, it means everyone. By saying they fight others to defend their own faith, they are breaking this rule and not acting as Christians. One of the more extreme examples of religious harm concerns the events of September the eleventh. Bin Laden claimed the attacks on America were "the will of Allah". These few words should be enough to make anyone realise how destructive religion can be. If religion can be used as a reason to murder thousands of people, then it is something we can surly do without. The attacks on America also prove that God does not help, and therefore should not be worshipped.

Many people will say money is the root of all evil, I firmly believe this is not true. Religion tells us what is good and what is bad. In doing this it creates the evil and so is the root of all evil. Many completely harmless actions are said to be sinful in religious texts. Without religion breathing down our necks the world be a happier place, as people would not feel guilt for a simple thing like working on a Sunday.

In Conclusion, all I have to say is we could live perfectly happy lives without religion. We do not need God to tell us not to kill; we know that's wrong. We do not need another excuse made available for people wanting to fight. Most of all, we do not need fanatics murdering thousands of people because of their religion.