Actual reason for religion IMO

35 posts / 0 new
Last post
mykcob4's picture
Actual reason for religion IMO

I don't think people that wield power actually believe in a god. I think that in public they make a big show of believing but in reality they don't.
The purpose is to sway the masses. That has always been the purpose. It is an easy way to command obedience, to form political power, and to motivate masses into the action that they want.
For example, I don't think Sen. Ted Cruz really believes in any god. Growing up he was privy to making millions off of superstitious people "in the name of god." Sen. Cruz does exactly the same thing in politics.

Subscription Note: 

Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.

Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.

SecularSonOfABiscuitEater's picture
Agreed. In Religilous by Bill

Agreed. In Religilous by Bill Maher, there's a guy who makes this point. At the freaking Vatican!

chimp3's picture
I hope Cruz believes in god.

I hope Cruz believes in god. I don't want to be associated with him if he is an atheist. Imagine if the argument against atheist morality included con artist evangelists and corrupt politicians along with Stalin and Pol Pot.
I think there is enough fuel for despotism built into religion that someone could be a believer and crave political power also.

Endri Guri's picture
Well, duh. Ever wondered why

Well, duh. Ever wondered why the Pope had so much political control of that time? It's because of God (during the 9th to 16th Century)? No, it's because so many people in Europe believed in God, and more, they believed Pope was his holy messenger. So Rulers had to be careful with their actions so they could avoid displeasing the Pope.

Truett's picture
I guess I'll be the one here

I guess I'll be the one here that disagrees. I am convinced that a great many US politicians actually believe enough of the christian story to be counted as christians. I've worked with politicians and wealthy backers of politicians and have seen them with their children and loved ones. Cynics exist in large numbers as well, so don't think that I am including everyone in my comments. But we are talking about a lot of persons in power that are so deeply convinced that "god is on his throne" and that their childrens' souls depend on a relationship with jesus that they convince their children in sobbing tears that it is true. There are no doubt people so cynical that they'd lie and perform in such a manner and fool me completely, but the willingness to willfully delude one's children for a lifetime would require a level of psychopathy that doesn't fit with all of the other facts.

This issue is a HUGE reason that I consider religion so dangerous in the modern era. I would feel much safer if our government were run by cynical machavellian-minded persons, but I am convinced that a large number of our rulers actually believe there is a god, that jesus is his son, that heaven awaits the faithful, that god has a plan and that prayer works. These aren't people who handle snakes or speak in tongues; they have their own a la carte personal understanding of religion that has kept much of the bible and turned the hardest to digest implausible components into figurative, spiritually symbolic expressions of truth and learning to god's children to know Him better.

Bottom line: These bastards aren't joking. They think that god won't let humanity be destroyed by nuclear holocaust or climate change or asteroid impact because the bible tells us so. Our circumstance would improve in many ways if everyone of them were cynical manipulators; those persons are safer in many respects. But persons who genuinely believe that 'He's got the whole world in His hands' are deeply dangerous in an age where humanity possesses the tools of our own destruction.

Our problem with religion is part charlatan and cynic. But true believers exist and their number is legion. They are my focus and concern.

xenoview's picture
Religion was created by

Religion was created by humans to control humans.

CyberLN's picture
I think religion began as

I think religion began as stories to explain that which was not fully understood (lightening, earthquakes, the sun). That it has subsequently been used as a tool to gain power, status, and wealth is, to me, without question. However, I am far from convinced that the majority of adherents consciously embrace it for those reasons.

Edited to add: I also think there are adherents of religion who still use it to gain explanations for the unknown.

Thinker's picture
My thoughts exactly. It has

My thoughts exactly. It has always been used to sway political votes. We wont live long enough to see someone with our views be elected into office of any sort.

charvakheresy's picture
Recently My Fiance's distant

Recently My Fiance's distant Family member passed away. The last rites were to be performed. As was the custom, The son of the Deceased along with his Uncle went to perform the Last rites at the Crematorium while the rest of the family stayed gathered at the House.
Whilst the Family was holding a prayer meeting at home three of the family member got pocket dialled by The son of the Deceased (by mistake of course). They were all so moved, They believed it was the spirit of the Deceased trying hard to communicate through.

This family gets guidance from a maharaj (Wise man, astrologer, Guru) who read the stars and confirmed what they believed. Everyone awestruck begins to pray again and happily pays the Great Sage for his confirmation.

In my opinion, our desire to believe is so deeply enshrined that it is almost innate for us to associate the mundane with divine intervention or supernatural at the very least so much so that coincidence becomes superstition.

Then along comes a so called Guru, wiseman, Baba, Preacher, Mata; whose life was wasted in the pursuit of deciphering a text written long long ago in a time of rampant ignorance without any academic discipline. This Hero of Sorts claims to have the answer to our questions and instinctively tells us what we want to hear. He/She believes as well but that does not stop them from deceiving and stealing. In fact they justify their claim with scripture and if found lacking invent their own words just to satisfy their conscience. They believe and still deceive.

The Religious Heads of Every Organisation truly believe in their respective scripture. Still they will deceive and try to dominate, cheat and they will do it all the while justifying it with scripture.

The Pope lives in opulence even though Jesus warned against the Rich getting into Heaven.
The Imams and Mullahs Order a strict Dress code for the muslims specially women even though the quran does not request it. etc....

It makes them rich and makes them feel powerful, and they justify it with their scripture.

Truett's picture
"They believe and still

"They believe and still deceive." Well said, Charvak. As with many things, it's often not one or the other. It's a bit of both.

algebe's picture
I met very few sincerely

I met very few sincerely religious people in Japan, but religion is big business. The main religions, Shinto and Buddhism, have adapted by focusing on ritual, which most Japanese love. The Japanese are also very concerned about status and doing the right thing in the eyes of the community. The religions cash in on that big time. They're also deeply linked into politics. That's clear from the fact that the Prime Minister and cabinet regularly visit the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, where the remains of numerous war criminals are kept, thereby pissing off China and the two Koreas.

Shinto shrines mainly provide rituals to do with children, weddings, and ground-breaking ceremonies for new buildings. (Big companies pay huge fees to have the sites for new skyscrapers blessed.) They'll also sell you lucky charms to avoid car accidents, pass exams, get pregnant...

Buddhism specializes in death and the afterlife. Christian churches are amateurs at this. One death, one funeral, one payment. With Buddhism, in addition to the funeral, you also have to have special remembrance services at key anniversaries of the death. Each one brings in another fee. I've been to a few of these. There's supposed to be lots of chanting and drumming, but the lazy bastards now use recordings and electric drumming machines. And every dead person has to have a new name for the afterlife, which only Buddhist priests can make up. The more you pay for your dead relative's name, the higher up they can go in heaven.

Truett's picture
Wow, Algebe. I'm fascinated

Wow, Algebe. I'm fascinated by how an otherwise atheistic country can none the less be so superstitious. It's interesting to hear from someone with first hand knowledge.

CyberLN's picture
My husband is Japanese. He

My husband is Japanese. He is atheist. He majored in math, physics, computer science, and engineering in college (haha, don't even ask!). Yet he believes luck exists and thinks there are likely ghosts.

algebe's picture
@CyberLN: "My husband is

@CyberLN: "My husband is Japanese."

My wife's Japanese and atheist. She also believes in luck, but like me, she thinks luck is linked to work. The harder and smarter you work, the more luck you get!

I love Japanese ghosts. They're distinguished by having no feet. I've seen entire TV shows dedicated to analyses of group photos in which the number of heads doesn't match the number of feet. My Japanese friends regard ghost stories as a kind of low-tech air conditioning because of their chilling effect.

Anonymous's picture
I am going to disagree. While

I am going to disagree. While I do think it could be possible that politicians have faked being religious to sway the masses to elect them into office, I strongly, strongly disagree that all of them are like that. To also say that Cruz does not believe in god is similar to me when Christians say that atheists actually do believe in a god, but refuse to accept it so they can keep on sinning. We can't get into his mind and we should not pretend like we can. I don't, however, think it is too far fetched to say that religion as a whole was created to keep people in order. If people believe in a higher power, then they better damn well do their best to please him or suffer the eternal consequences.

Pitar's picture
Religion has yet to convey a

Religion has yet to convey a message of simple honesty, in all of its forms, towards the benefit of all humanity that doesn't simultaneously leave it bereft of unity. But, there isn't a single culture that isn't ethnocentric. They will support the divisiveness as a near-religion unto itself and seek its protection and shelter history has shown us the cost of.

That's the 20/20 hindsight any simpleton can clearly see if he/she wants to admit the truth to themselves rather that shun it for their (decidedly) selfish personal or community agendas.

What is not evident is the global call to unity. Religions clearly repulse it for the sake of mere survival. As long as there's religious loyalists marching militantly to their own doctrinal ascriptions unity will remain a silly notion, no differently than the more transparent political boasting of similar secular claims, cloaked in fake righteousness and divine calling. I think the latter deception has always been the work of those who usurp the peaceful gullibility of mankind and call it to arms for evil (secular) deeds.

Religion is a marketing tool.

mbrownec's picture
From my perspective, religion

From my perspective, religion is a member of the Big 3 (the pulpit, the classroom and the media) to keep the "commoners" fearful, subjected and controlled so they will "know their place" in society and not become a serious threat against the power, authority and wealth of the ruling class.

chimp3's picture
@mbrownec: Religion keeps the

@mbrownec: Religion keeps the poor from killing the rich?

mykcob4's picture
Yes, chimp3 that is exactly

Yes, chimp3 that is exactly one of the purposes of religion. Obedience of the masses. Also, police protect the assets of the rich. If the rich didn't feel threatened by the poor or the general public, it is doubtful that there would even be law enforcement and would religion would not be so dominant in society.
Karl Marx called it the "opium of the people".
This is in reference to the ruling class using it as a controlling drug.

CyberLN's picture
At the risk of being accused

At the risk of being accused of vendetta against you, I feel compelled to comment.

You said, " Also, police protect the assets of the rich. If the rich didn't feel threatened by the poor or the general public, it is doubtful that there would even be law enforcement..."

I think that, not only is that completely erroneous, as a former LE officer, it angers me.

mykcob4's picture
You shouldn't be angry. It

You shouldn't be angry. It was a comment about how law enforcement came to be. Law enforcement is institutionalized to protect the assets of the rich.
This is not a comment about the common law enforcement individual. It is a comment about society in general.
It HAS grown and now encompasses protection of all individuals but there is a residual element that is only interested in protecting the assets of the rich.
It isn't erroneous at all.

algebe's picture
@mykcob4: "Law enforcement is

@mykcob4: "Law enforcement is institutionalized to protect the assets of the rich."

I don't know much about the situation in the US, but in the places I've lived most victims of crime are working people of modest means. Burglars, for example, target suburban homes while people are out working. The impact can be devastating, both financially and emotionally. The police are there to serve and protect everyone, and they do that, often at the risk of their own lives.

The rich are usually capable of protecting themselves with sophisticated alarm systems, watchdogs and security guards. Corporate crime is a complex issue that requires specialized prosecution. If white collar crims are ripping people off with impunity where you live, maybe you need to look at the people who write the laws rather than the people who enforce it.

GarfeildRepublican's picture
True- but I don't have any

True- but I don't have any contempt for people being rich.

SBMontero's picture
That is something purely

That is something purely American. A politician in Europe doesn't even think to say to the four winds "I'm religious", would sound even strange. Sometimes there's a journalist who asks, but it isn't normal, and, to the Europeans, that someone is, or not religious brings us loose.
I don't doubt that, with the weight of religion in US, politicians are more lavish in that type of expression, but if someone votes a politician because he is, or not religious, well, he deserves what falls in luck. Now the religious far right supports the current US president, and if anyone thinks that's a good thing, maybe they should go live in Iran, Saudi Arabia, or with the Taliban in the mountains of Afghanistan.
I agree that the religion backed by the state exists to subjugate the citizens, there's nothing more than to take a history book and read about the creator of the Catholic religion, Constantine I, and Nicaea, the subjugation of the citizen by imposition of tyranny by religious imposition... and a millennium and a half of ignorance, illiteracy, people burned in autos of faith, women drowned and tortured by witchcraft, book fires and citizens who worked for food.
In my view the issue isn't that Cruz is religious, the question is why that's important to the citizen who votes in the US. That's the big question for me as atheist.


Attach Image/Video?: 

mbrownec's picture
I think that, not only is

I think that, not only is that completely erroneous, as a former LE officer, it angers me.

Law enforcement is simply the enforcement arm of the elite ruling class. I understand that you would be angered that you were just a pawn. The vast majority of laws, over a very broad spectrum, ultimately protect the lives, private property and the wealth of the elite ruling class from the commoners.

As just one example: The overwhelming majority of large corporations in the U.S. now require arbitration as the consumer's sole option for being cheated or harmed by a product or service provided by the company. Who holds seats on these arbitration panels? As it turn out, business representatives are the sole arbitrators -- with NO consumer group representatives. The arbitration process is designed to protect the corporations ... not the consumer. Additionally, this ass-backwards process has been blessed and sanctioned by Congress. Corporations have all the power ... not the commoners.

By and large, the large corporations are owned by and run by (via the Board of Directors and senior management) the capitalist elite ruling class ... not the "commoners" who represent that vast majority of the products or services consumed.

This is just one example among thousands that fully illuminates who and what most laws are ultimately legislated to protect ... the lives, private property and wealth of the elites.

Truett's picture
"...You were just a pawn." I

"...You were just a pawn." I've been intrigued by this discussion, but since it's about to turn into a shooting war I think I'll keep my head down and just peak over the parapet wall to continue watching...

CyberLN's picture
It sounds like you are not

It sounds like you are not differentiating between criminal and civil actions. A suit brought against a corporation for harm is typically a tort...a civil action in the courts, not a criminal case. Law enforcement officers are charged with protecting the citizenry from criminal actions...burglary, robbery, murder, assault, traffic violations, etc.

I actually have levied a couple of torts. One was settled in arbitration. The arbitrator was a disinterested party not in the employ of the organization I was suing. Are you suggesting that all arbitrators are on the take, so to speak?

You also paint a rather broad stroke by indicting all people sitting on boards of directors in a seemingly negative light. Are you suggesting that everyone sitting on a board, all corporations, and everyone of wealth is corrupt?

Are you also suggesting that your "commoners" are better suited to run corporations based on their membership in that classification?

Please do not read into these questions I've posed that I hold any particular opinion because of them. You've made some statements about which I am curious and request additional information.

Nyarlathotep's picture
I can't imagine that people

I can't imagine that people join law enforcement to protect the assets of the rich; but institutionally law enforcement plays an import role as a cog in the machinery to "protect the minority of the opulent against the majority" (Madison).

For a recent example:

CyberLN - A suit brought against a corporation for harm is typically a tort...a civil action in the courts, not a criminal case.

Right: rob a bank and the police will haul you away, a bank robs you and it gives out bonuses. How many executives at AIG were arrested for selling $30 billion dollars worth of insurance they had no intention of ever honoring? Zero. Some might complain that it isn't law enforcement's job to police these institutions, to which I would agree; but I think that is exactly the point mykcob4, mbrownec, and myself are trying to make: as an institution, law enforcement does not exist to protect the powerless from the powerful, the institution serves the opposite role.

And I tried to be clear I'm speaking about the institutions, not the individuals.

CyberLN's picture
I absolutely agree that what

I absolutely agree that what AIG did is unconscionable. I also think punishment and restitution should have been ordered.

My beef is with the notion, or intimation that law enforcement (made up of law enforcement officers) is focused only on the wealthy. That's just not true. It wasn't true for me, it wasn't true for my former co-workers. I went into law enforcement precisely to protect the innocent, as have so many others.

mykcob4's picture
You have assumed that this is

You have assumed that this is a personal attack. The fact is that historically law enforcement has been a tool of the ruling class to "police" the masses.

CyberLN's picture
No, I have not assumed it was

No, I have not assumed it was personal. I doubt you know I worked in LE. I disagree with what you have said and take exception to it.


Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.