The Negative Effect of Religion on Society

The Negative Effect of Religion on Society

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    The Negative Effect of Religion on Society

    Around 84% of the world’s population is affiliated with one of the five largest religions, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or forms of folk religion. This means that 84% of the world’s population lifestyle and moral beliefs are highly influenced by one of said religions. Whether the impact on these people’s life is morally “beneficial” or not, depends greatly on how exactingly they follow the “laws” of their religions.

    Religious conviction has always been a part of society, and the impact among individuals has varied. There are an uncertain numbers of religion across the world, and every one of them claim to be worshipping the “true” god, which leads to great tension between religions. In order to analyze and therefore successfully criticize the thought of following a religious belief, I will focus on the most popular religion worldwide, Christianity

              The Christian religion was born in Palestine, a small stretch of land on the eastern Mediterranean Sea. “The Jews considered Palestine their Promised Land, but because of its desirable location it had been ruled by a succession of foreign powers for most of its history”. Christianity begins with Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew who was born in a small corner of the Roman Empire. Barely is known of his early life, but around the age of 30, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and had a vision in which he received the “blessing” of god. After Jesus’s crucifixion, his followers were known as Christians. Later on  Paul, one of Jesus’s apostle, made three long missionary journeys throughout the Roman Empire, planting churches, preaching the gospel, and giving strength and encouragement to early Christians.

    Social complications in Christianity began with the introduction of the Catholic Church. Church leaders such as bishops and archbishops sat on the king’s council and played leading roles in government. These leaders would base their political decisions by following the “word of the lord.” (The Bible). The problem with this was that the bible is, but a fiction book where the main character (god) reigns upon genocide, bigotry, and sexism, in order to have power over every individual he had created. Politics has always been influenced critically by religion, from the Catholic Church’s viral role in Rome, to Protestants here in the US. We can easily see how “important” it is nowadays for a politician to have a religious affiliation, since the majority of voters have religious link, therefore being a Christian politician may produce more votes.

    People frequently associate faith with morality, and altruism, however studies show that people with religious attachments tend to be more judgmental, and more selfish. The thought that a higher being technically controls every aspect of a person’s life, takes away the credit and therefore the satisfaction when said person archives something. It is no secret that a correlation between education and religion subsists among society. Individuals with lower education tend to be affiliated with a religious group, and Christians specifically incline to have a general rejection towards science, precisely subjects that can put doubt on the existence of a higher being. As a result of this, science was nearly shut down in the Middle Ages, which caused a huge scientific delay. Scientists such as Galileo Galilei, suffered from the inauspicious treatment enforced by the Catholic Church.

     Christianity is responsible for millions of death around the world, and the violence reflect in the sacred scripts are responsible for this fact; The Bible exhorts its followers to act viciously against the infidels, and their followers, assuming they are “devoted” Christians, must act according to god’s word.

    “If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)

              The Crusades are a great example of how much damage religion can do to the world. It was Christians’ willingness to suffer horrible violence in the name of their God that inspired so many to convert to Christianity. Once Christianity became the state religion of Rome, it adapted to allow for the violence necessary to build and maintain an empire. “A crusader received certain privileges from the Church, specifically, the protection of family and property” (Weidenkopf). Though Church fathers, like St. Augustine, had laid groundwork justifying violence in the name of faith, their attitudes towards violence seem more like an apology for a necessary sin, rather than an endorsement of holy warfare. This concept of violence at best, a necessary evil, seems to have been the attitude of medieval Christians before the Crusades. Indeed, Pope Urban II may well have called the First Crusade in an attempt to reduce violence among Christians, by redirecting that violence toward Muslims. Unfortunately for the Pope, his plan backfired. Whatever his intentions, Urban had not only justified violence, he’d commanded it. Christianity opposed to any kind of progress, in fact it paused and tried to eliminate every scientific advancement, as well as any social revolution.

    Women were condemned (still are) not only by society, but by scripts written in the Holy Bible by repeatedly referring to men as superior. The fact that according to Genesis, god “created” Eva from Adam’s rib, indicates how from the beginning women were seen (at the eyes of Christianity) as a piece of the man’s body, a dependent organism, incapable of surviving by themselves. The symbolism indicates women’s inferiority compared to men.

    “So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:22)

              

    Women are still victims of fanatics with righteous beliefs. They are often judge, because of the decisions they make. Sometimes they are even physically attacked by these “God’s soldiers,” only because their decisions are not “morally right.” An example of this is the view on abortion that most people in the south of the United States have. Right wing extremists have been fighting abortion from a long time, their conservative ideas, influenced by the scripts of the Holy Bible, have caused women to be more limited to health care. “The church has mainly confined its opposition to the use of embryonic stem cells because of the Catholic view that life begins at conception.” (Lewis)

                A philosophy with such a dangerous and non-progressive beliefs, should not have any placed in a civilized society. The ideology followed by Christians is violent, and discriminatory towards women and homosexuals. Therefore such a beliefs should not only be corrected, but completely eradicated, since its effects is mostly negative, and its consequences can be chaotic, given the fact that it creates division between people, and exhorts to violence methods when an individual does not follow their dogmas as they want to.

                

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