Religion Social/Culture

Religion vs Enlightenment

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything… I’ve been kind of busy working on a very absorbing project. But I thought I’d share my response to someone who recently sent me an article about the role of religion in our society. The article points out that religion stands in the way of progress. My friend remarked that he is not religious but has moral codes of his own but wonders if others would degenerate of they didn’t have the imaginary “hell stick” waved over them.

My response as follows…

I think most people have moral codes… Of course religious folks get them from whatever “vending machines” they believe in, which is fine, but if those churches and bibles weren’t there I think most of them would find their moral codes on their own anyway, just like secular people do. I think the people that need the fear of God to keep them in line are the exceptions, which is why I’m grateful for Bible studies in prisons.

I think it’s human nature to want to be good – it’s really a survival instinct. Humans can’t survive outside of their tribes so they need to fit in. I think that’s the basis for moral codes. What’s interesting is the way some religions hijack this human nature by offering proprietary codes and convincing people that without them there would only be sin and darkness. This results in a transfer of natural power from individuals to figures of authority… Perhaps that’s the purpose of religion?

I think this is what the article points out – that religion denies the natural human powers of discovery. The first story in the Bible is about the equation of knowledge to sin and it’s all downhill from there. At every turn, biblical guidelines are channeled through “special figures” and heaved onto the “flock” with a weight that crushes their ability to discover for themselves.

On the opposite end of religious anti-knowledge is enlightenment, as prescribed by Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), which suggests the use of our natural human ability to discover. What’s interesting is the noticeable lack of war and crime among Buddhists. Another reason to doubt that a recession in religion would result in a degradation of humanity.