I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex an area as glutted with churches as it is with endless shopping malls.
I’m generally of the opinion that we have about 50% too many of both and would be far better off with more public schools and parks, even green fields with cattle, sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas grazing would be better.
I have to confess. I don’t get religion.
The same way I don’t get crystal/aroma therapy along with a bunch of New Age quackery.
Religion has always struck me as sort of like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny for adults. Not just the three big time desert religions but Buddhism and all the rest.
Salvation and or eternal punishment have always seemed to be akin to parental threats of punishment when daddy gets home.
Who do you fucking think you are kidding with that one?
I think therefore I do not blindly believe, especially when believing requires me to deny physical evidence to the contrary.
I was told I needed to read the Bible as it was the word of God ™. I read it and it seemed a mishmash of ancient mythology. Gods, demons, floods and a creation myth clearly at odds with the scientific one. Science had evidence. The desert religion had a myth no more believable than the ones of the ancient Greeks or for that matter Shinto.
One does not need a Ph.D. in Marxist analysis of the class structure to note that one of the main purposes of religion is to keep the masses subservient and submissive to those in power.
Nor does one have to be a radical feminist to notice how all religions seem to have as part of their core ideology the inferiority of women, how they all seem to be geared to support male supremacy.
By the time I was fourteen I had some pretty serious doubts about the whole God™ and the church/religion thing.
I saw it as something unreal, like how ghost stories are used to scare kids who are too dumb and too naive to know any better.
Then I discovered to my amazement how many adult people actually believed all sorts of bizarre stuff.
Like vaccines causing autism. Or Feng Shui. Crystal Therapy, aroma therapy, hugging gurus touting mysteries of the east.
Television preachers pushing heavy metal imagery straight out of Dante or the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch.
Fantastic tales filled with apocalyptic visions of dystopian futures that would occur because of some magic invisible guy in the sky. Some magic invisible guy who was all powerful yet permitted Hitler. A cosmic joker like the Norse god Loki who tricked people with talking serpents, fruit from the tree of knowledge and burning bushes.
The more I heard the more absurd it all sounded and eventually I came to believe that only ignorant people could really believe this crap.
I also came to believe those who peddled this crap were cynical manipulators who were using religion as both a con game and a power trip.
Lately I have come to view religion as a source of hatred of women and LGBT people. I see gay friendly churches as being con artists milking LGBT people the same way the Rick Warrens of the world milk the homophobic bigots.
In high school, many years ago Upton Sinclair’s book The Jungle used to be on recommended reading lists, but other books by him, including Profits of Religion were never mentioned much less given a place on lists of books we should read.
To make a long story short I stopped believing in God™ when I was fifteen or sixteen.
Being skeptical kept me out of the clutches of a lot of mind fuckers over the years including gurus, Scientology, EST, the Wicca and others too numerous to mention.
Fifty years later I am still amazed at how many people fall for the cons put forth in the name of some magic invisible guy in the sky.
More and more I see the truly evil side of religion. The woman hating, the hatred of people who are born different be they gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans*.
I see religion used to stir hatred and the apologists making excuses for terrorism committed in the name of God™. Of course no “real_____” would ever engage in genocide. (Hitler and the European genocide of Native Peoples in the Americas come to mind) Islam is the “religion of peace” except when suicide bombers commit terrorist acts of murder in the name of Allah. Buddhism is the religion of peace too except when they clash with Muslims.
Perhaps the world would be better off without all this God™ crap and more stress on ethical behavior rooted in secular humanism.
Science offers more in the way of verifiable theories regarding the evolution of humanity and our place in the universe than all the religions put together do.
Through out our history ethical advances towards a more human society have been the product of men and women who have put forth ideas aimed at ending injustice and promoting humanist values.