By February 11, 2015 78 Comments Read More →

12 Worst Ideas Religion Has Unleashed on the World

religious book

Valerie Tarico, AlterNet
Waking Times

Some of humanity’s technological innovations are things we would have been better off without: the medieval rack, the atomic bomb and powdered lead potions come to mind. Religions tend to invent ideas or concepts rather than technologies, but like every other creative human enterprise, they produce some really bad ones along with the good.

I’ve previously highlighted some of humanity’s best moral and spiritual concepts, our shared moral core. Here, by way of contrast, are some of the worst. These twelve dubious concepts promote conflict, cruelty, suffering and death rather than love and peace. To paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, they belong in the dustbin of history just as soon as we can get them there.

1. Chosen People

The term “Chosen People” typically refers to the Hebrew Bible and the ugly idea that God has given certain tribes a Promised Land (even though it is already occupied by other people). But in reality many sects endorse some version of this concept. The New Testament identifies Christians as the chosen ones. Calvinists talk about “God’s elect,” believing that they themselves are the special few who were chosen before the beginning of time. Jehovah’s witnesses believe that 144,000 souls will get a special place in the afterlife. In many cultures certain privileged and powerful bloodlines were thought to be descended directly from gods (in contrast to everyone else).

Religious sects are inherently tribal and divisive because they compete by making mutually exclusive truth claims and by promising blessings or afterlife rewards that no competing sect can offer. “Gang symbols” like special haircuts, attire, hand signals and jargon differentiate insiders from outsiders and subtly (or not so subtly) convey to both that insiders are inherently superior.

2. Heretics

Heretics, kafir, or infidels (to use the medieval Catholic term) are not just outsiders, they are morally suspect and often seen as less than fully human. In the Torah, slaves taken from among outsiders don’t merit the same protections as Hebrew slaves. Those who don’t believe in a god are corrupt, doers of abominable deeds. “There is none [among them] who does good,” says the Psalmist.

Islam teaches the concept of “dhimmitude” and provides special rules for the subjugation of religious minorities, with monotheists getting better treatment than polytheists. Christianity blurs together the concepts of unbeliever and evildoer. Ultimately, heretics are a threat that needs to be neutralized by conversion, conquest, isolation, domination, or—in worst cases—mass murder.

3. Holy War

If war can be holy, anything goes. The medieval Roman Catholic Church conducted a twenty year campaign of extermination against heretical Cathar Christians in the south of France, promising their land and possessions to real Christians who signed on as crusaders. Sunni and Shia Muslims have slaughtered each other for centuries. The Hebrew scriptures recount battle after battle in which their war God, Yahweh, helps them to not only defeat but also exterminate the shepherding cultures that occupy their “Promised Land.” As in later holy wars, like the modern rise of ISIS, divine sanction let them kill the elderly and children, burn orchards, and take virgin females as sexual slaves—all while retaining a sense of moral superiority.

4. Blasphemy

Blasphemy is the notion that some ideas are inviolable, off limits to criticism, satire, debate, or even question. By definition, criticism of these ideas is an outrage, and it is precisely this emotion–outrage–that the crime of blasphemy evokes in believers. The Bible prescribes death for blasphemers; the Quran does not, but death-to-blasphemers became part of Shariah during medieval times.

The idea that blasphemy must be prevented or avenged has caused millions of murders over the centuries and countless other horrors. As I write, blogger Raif Badawi awaits round after round of flogging in Saudi Arabia—1000 lashes in batches of 50—while his wife and children plead from Canada for the international community to do something.

5. Glorified Suffering

Picture secret societies of monks flogging their own backs. The image that comes to mind is probably from Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, but the idea isn’t one he made up. A core premise of Christianity is that righteous torture—if it’s just intense and prolonged enough–can somehow fix the damage done by evil, sinful behavior. Millions of crucifixes litter the world as testaments to this belief. Shia Muslims beat themselves with lashes and chains during Aashura, a form of sanctified suffering called Matam that commemorates the death of the martyr Hussein. Self-denial in the form of asceticism and fasting is a part of both Eastern and Western religions, not only because deprivation induces altered states but also because people believe suffering somehow brings us closer to divinity.

Our ancestors lived in a world in which pain came unbidden, and people had very little power to control it. An aspirin or heating pad would have been a miracle to the writers of the Bible, Quran, or Gita. Faced with uncontrollable suffering, the best advice religion could offer was to lean in or make meaning of it. The problem, of course is that glorifying suffering—turning it into a spiritual good—has made people more willing to inflict it on not only themselves and their enemies but also those who are helpless, including the ill or dying (as in the case of Mother Teresa and the American Bishops) and children (as in the child beating Patriarchy movement).

6. Genital Mutilation

Primitive people have used scarification and other body modifications to define tribal membership for as long as history records. But genital mutilation allowed our ancestors several additional perks—if you want to call them that. Infant circumcision in Judaism serves as a sign of tribal membership, but circumcision also serves to test the commitment of adult converts. In one Bible story, a chieftain agrees to convert and submit his clan to the procedure as a show of commitment to a peace treaty. (While the men lie incapacitated, the whole town is then slain by the Israelites.)

In Islam, painful male circumcision serves as a rite of passage into manhood, initiation into a powerful club. By contrast, in some Muslim cultures cutting away or burning the female clitoris and labia ritually establishes the submission of women by reducing sexual arousal and agency. An estimated 2 million girls annually are subjected to the procedure, with consequences including hemorrhage, infection, painful urination and death.

7. Blood Sacrifice

In the list of religion’s worst ideas, this is the only one that appears to be in its final stages. Only Hindus continue (during the Festival of Gadhimai, goddess of power) and some Muslims (during Eid al Adha, Feast of the Sacrifice) to ritually hack and slaughter sacrificial animals on a mass scale.

When our ancient ancestors slit the throats on humans and animals or cut out their hearts or sent the smoke of sacrifices heavenward, many believed that they were literally feeding supernatural beings. In time, in most religions, the rationale changed—the gods didn’t need feeding so much as they needed signs of devotion and penance. The residual child sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible (yes it is there) typically has this function. Christianity’s persistent focus on blood atonement—the notion of Jesus as the be-all-end-all lamb without blemish, the final “propitiation” for human sin—is hopefully the last iteration of humanity’s long fascination with blood sacrifice.

8. Hell

Whether we are talking about Christianity, Islam or Buddhism, an afterlife filled with demons, monsters, and eternal torture was the worst suffering the Iron Age minds could conceive and medieval minds could elaborate. Invented, perhaps, as a means to satisfy the human desire for justice, the concept of Hell quickly devolved into a tool for coercing behavior and belief.

Most Buddhists see hell as a metaphor, a journey into the evil inside the self, but the descriptions of torturing monsters and levels of hell can be quite explicit. Likewise, many Muslims and Christians hasten to assure that it is a real place, full of fire and the anguish of non-believers. Some Christians have gone so far as to insist that the screams of the damned can be heard from the center of the Earth or that observing their anguish from afar will be one of the pleasures of paradise.

9. Karma

Like hell, the concept of karma offers a selfish incentive for good behavior—it’ll come back at you later—but it has enormous costs. Chief among these is a tremendous weight of cultural passivity in the face of harm and suffering. Secondarily, the idea of karma sanctifies the broad human practice of blaming the victim. If what goes around comes around, then the disabled child or cancer patient or untouchable poor (or the hungry rabbit or mangy dog) must have done something in either this life or a past one to bring their position on themselves.

10. Eternal Life

To our weary and unwashed ancestors, the idea of gem encrusted walls, streets of gold, the fountain of youth, or an eternity of angelic chorus (or sex with virgins) may have seemed like sheer bliss. But it doesn’t take much analysis to realize how quickly eternal paradise would become hellish—an endless repetition of never changing groundhog days (because how could they change if they were perfect).

The real reason that the notion of eternal life is such a bad invention, though, is the degree to which it diminishes and degrades existence on this earthly plane. With eyes lifted heavenward, we can’t see the intricate beauty beneath our feet. Devout believers put their spiritual energy into preparing for a world to come rather than cherishing and stewarding the one wild and precious world we have been given.

11. Male Ownership of Female Fertility

The notion of women as brood mares or children as assets likely didn’t originate with religion, but the idea that women were created for this purpose, that if a woman should die of childbearing “she was made to do it,” most certainly did. Traditional religions variously assert that men have a god-ordained right to give women in marriage, take them in war, exclude them from heaven, and kill them if the origins of their offspring can’t be assured. Hence Catholicism’s maniacal obsession with the virginity of Mary and female martyrs.

As we approach the limits of our planetary life support system and stare dystopia in the face, defining women as breeders and children as assets becomes ever more costly. We now know that resource scarcity is a conflict trigger and that demand for water and arable land is growing even as both resources decline. And yet, a pope who claims to care about the desperate poor lectures them against contraceptionwhile Muslim leaders ban vasectomies in a drive to outbreed their enemies.

12. Bibliolatry (aka Book Worship)

Preliterate people handed down their best guesses about gods and goodness by way of oral tradition, and they made objects of stone and wood, idols, to channel their devotion. Their notions of what was good and what was Real and how to live in moral community with each other were free to evolve as culture and technology changed. But the advent of the written word changed that. As our Iron Age ancestors recorded and compiled their ideas into sacred texts, these texts allowed their understanding of gods and goodness to become static. The sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity and Islam forbid idol worship, but over time the texts themselves became idols, and many modern believers practice—essentially—book worship, also known as bibliolatry.

“Because the faith of Islam is perfect, it does not allow for any innovations to the religion,” says one young Muslim explaining his faith online. His statement betrays a naïve lack of information about the origins of his own dogmas. But more broadly, it sums up the challenge all religions face moving forward. Imagine if a physicist said, “Because our understanding of physics is perfect, it does not allow for any innovations to the field.”

Adherents who think their faith is perfect, are not just naïve or ill informed. They are developmentally arrested, and in the case of the world’s major religions, they are anchored to the Iron Age, a time of violence, slavery, desperation and early death.

Ironically, the mindset that our sacred texts are perfect betrays the very quest that drove our ancestors to write those texts. Each of the men who wrote part of the Bible, Quran, or Gita took his received tradition, revised it, and offered his own best articulation of what is good and real. We can honor the quest of our spiritual ancestors, or we can honor their answers, but we cannot do both.

Religious apologists often try to deny, minimize, or explain away the sins of scripture and the evils of religious history. “It wasn’t really slavery.” “That’s just the Old Testament.” “He didn’t mean it that way.” “You have to understand how bad their enemies were.” “Those people who did harm in the name of God weren’t real [Christians/Jews/Muslims].” Such platitudes may offer comfort, but denying problems doesn’t solve them. Quite the opposite, in fact. Change comes with introspection and insight, a willingness to acknowledge our faults and flaws while still embracing our strengths and potential for growth.

In a world that is teeming with humanity, armed with pipe bombs and machine guns and nuclear weapons and drones, we don’t need defenders of religion’s status quo—we need real reformation, as radical as that of the 16th Century and much, much broader. It is only by acknowledging religion’s worst ideas that we have any hope of embracing the best.

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  • Angie

    Karma is not supposed to be looked at as a punishment-reward system but as a system of balance. Looking at the Bible “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” unfortunately this is often misunderstood by people thinking that they can revenge. What it really means is that what ever you put out there is what you get back. If you don’t belief in religious text study the 7 universal or hermetic law. The law of cause and effect is a universal law. If you kill someone you will have to experience the other side of the situation and be the victim (if not in this life then the next), so you can experience what it feels like to be the victim. What you do onto other you will do onto yourself. We all create our own reality and we have to overcome our own destiny. There is no blaming the victim only an understanding that something needs to change within a person, it’s called evolution.

  • Ian

    Yes all religion was set up, to keep humanity in fear at the same time giving the elite massive power and control, religion has nothing to do with God or the spiritual side of things. Just look at history even today, all religions have a connection to war and murder. Yes there are wonderful people in religions who do great good, it is the system that is wrong, soon all religion will collapse as it must. Everything including us are a part of the Universal creator we call God after all the creator deformed space around itself to bring matter into existence and we are part of it, we have been shut down cut off from our connection, and for thousands of years humanity, has been enslaved in fear. So much we do not know, so much was shut down from humanity, and the more we learn and understand the more we realise we know only a little of the vast amount of truth, that has been taken away from us. How dare they prevent the true knowledge which is a right to all of humanity, we are in a time now where some are waking up, at the same time we see more people acting like drones to the hive mind system. Man know thy self free yourself from this enslavement and then you will get back your true being, where you will have control over matter, your body, there fore able to live and satay young for thousands of years if you wish, death is not a naturel idea of God it was created by a dark force which has been controlling this planet, they shut down the human’s body DNA reducing it from 12 strands to 2 our lives were made short. How can we learn anything in this miserable short life, then what they do is recycle our soles so when our body dies, the knowledge in our souls is erased, and we are recycled back again and again and again, never knowing who we are. We wonder why did not God step in and stop this. God is not what we have been led to believe God is more like a universal Library of knowledge of which we should be connected, but this was shut down. Only when we wake up, will we be able to set ourselves free.

  • Ro Nom

    There is a new danger in the world. The US empire is the state religion of the western world. It has the Six US corporations controlling all the MSM in the western world. European governments can not speak about, discount or discuss any ideas handed down from the Empire in Washington. Secular Scandinavia is head over heels for the US’s Full Spectrum Dominance religion. Swedes see imaginary objects in the waters for the US empire. In the medieval times they would have seen saints in the waters. The US’s Full spectrum dominance religion has destroyed countless countries in the past few decades. The US’s FSD is running out of countries to destroy. It is now going after the last big countries, this could more a danger to the world than all the religions ever invented.

  • You missed the most important one.
    The believe and TRUST in one central all-knowing although unseen authority, who can rule, judge and decide for and over us without accepting any criticism or discussion.
    This role is ever since played out by all self-assigned authorities as representatives of this “absent boss” to impose whatever they wish. This goes for religions (specially monotheism), nations (to die for) and coorporations (specially those on the stock exchange) leading to war and the destructive, globalized overconsumption of modern ‘civilization’.

  • David McElroy

    I agree with Aaron Issler. Yes, there are some really egregious things listed here that have been done “in the name of God”, but the writer goes a long way to repudiate the most basic tenets of faith, particularly Christian faith. Tarico throws the baby out with the dirty bathwater and takes a humanist approach.

  • Aaron Issler

    It has been a while since I have read such garbage! It is however a great representation of atheistic beliefs, those I even once embraced. I am really surprised I made to through all 12 and even highlighted the comment area. The author, and many commenters, want to continue to blame religion for all kinds of woes in society and cultures, and then refuse to look at their own system of belief with the same criticism. Example, abortion; which is driven by the atheist and secular humanist religion, is now responsible for 60+ million now in this country alone. It is man, by choosing to separate himself from God, that results in most of the hideous things mentioned in this article.

  • Bob

    Valerie said “Self-denial in the form of asceticism and fasting is a part of both Eastern and Western religions, not only because deprivation induces altered states but also because people believe suffering somehow brings us closer to divinity”

    Untrue – The early Christian writers tell us that a true fast is denying yourself some food in order that the food you would have eaten or the money you would have spent for the food would be given to someone in need .

  • Athiest philospher, (unquestionable saints) Nietsche – Beyond good and evil = I’m smarter and bigger than you and it is moral for me to push you around however I like, power equals morality, compassion equals weakness or sin. Darwin, Marx, certain races jaws were too big and thier brains were too small to be allowed to evolve, this was all science, evolution, genetics (eugenics) superman (neitshe again) blue eyed blonde haired superman, Hitler’s favorite philosopher. N. also beleived that his elite should be allowed to rape and murder, most of this is even in philosophy for dummies and some older see you think all these bad things were dreamed up by religion, think again if you’re honest. Secular humanist philosophy’s politically corrected saints. Who are these secular saints sanitized for? religious people? Sanitizing these saints according to religious values?

  • Anonymous

    obviously you”ve never had a miracle in answer to prayer to JESUS – my family has an aunt on a kidney machine to all intents dead, but who received a brand new kidney in answer to 3 day fast and prayer by my mother. She went on to outlive the doctor by 30 years. Poor Hitchens is in HELL!Theobnoxious, arrogant piece of shit that he was! Humility was not his strong suit!

  • Koolz

    You are correct Religion is used as tool to brainwash people. People do not know real history and Religion makes them less then they are and less in life.
    The true God is inside all of us and connects us and the universe as something bigger through our minds.
    Enki was before the bible was written and talked of the higher mind, in fact history real history is about a world that was united under the Balance of Opposites and the Divine in the middle(third eye)
    Jesus even talked about the Christ in you.

    • Anonymous

      Right on!

    • Dirck Hagers

      You are speaking real Truth..I studied not just read most Religions books and came to the conclusion it is one big deception and lies in order to mind control.just look at the Christian bible 10 Commandments Thou shalt not kill ..Christians have been killing ever since. There is only One god our God the Prime Creator whose Temple is within each of us! God is Not a Religious God!God may not be found in buildings made of stone!…PERIOD!

  • gintaras

    None of these ideas come even close to the damage being caused by the GMO idea.

  • Flower

    Reminds me of a rejoinder I heard recently:

    I believe in God. I like God. It’s his fan club that I have issues with.

    • IDA

      profound rejoinder..will repost

  • Rabbitnex

    Most of these are correctly called bad ideas which sprang from religion but it is regrettable as is so often the case that the critic was not better informed about the subject, because the biggest problem with religions as such is not usually the religion, but it’s misperception by people, both those who follow it sometimes and most often by those who do not. As someone who obviously hasn’t apparently ever been a Muslim, Christian or even a Jew, the author is seen by those of us who have been or are, as very poorly misinformed about what these religions teach and how the majority of these “Bad ideas” are not of these religions but of those who are apostate within the religion. Thus Wahhabis and ISIS their deformed child are seen as the opposite of true Muslims and instead akin to Satanists by true Muslims. A few of the things criticised are also not in context or at least they are being described as bad only by selectively treating the subject and ignoring the other side to what is an ongoing debate but which has been presented from the point of view of the one side of the debate only. This introduces a bias which does the subject no service at all. For example circumcision is not performed in the deliberately exaggerated way or for reasons of pain, nor does the practice even cause any pain, for newborns less than a vaccination. I know, I have had the fight with doctors and hospitals in Europe and Australia and won not on legal rights grounds, but on obliterating most of the assertions about male circumcision being made by them to defend their choice to oppose us. The medical and hygiene advantages are undeniable, proven historically every time we have major breakdown of societies and wars. The aggressive anti-circumcision extremists resort to relative arguments and “it will never happen” scenarios to try and defeat what are simple and proven advantages. The pressure from this group who seem obsessed with other men’s penises is obsessive and relies as all obsessions do upon exaggeration of its case and misdirection, when facts do not suffice. The assertions of agony and pain for males, ignores the fact if done properly at the right age, there is little or no pain. Equating female circumcision with this practice is such a deliberate misdirection. This has never been a religious requirement anywhere to my knowledge but it is an old African custom which like many traditional customs, such as honour killings in Pakistan become overlaid upon newer religious traditions and not only outsiders, but sometimes the people concerned do manage to equate the two over time. These sort of occurrences are exactly why it is never a good idea for someone who holds an opposing viewpoint to anything, to be the one who is tasked with telling others about the subject at all. Become an expert on religions and then you might have something worthwhile to say. There are such people and what they have to see can be very informative. I bet the author never read any honest accounts of Islam by an objective scholar, nor the same of Christianity and it’s complex and largely hijacked history or of Judaism and it’s own particular nuances. Lacking an understanding of how the Pharisees who were once a despised and loathsome bunch of old perverts and wack jobs, managed to take the lead in the Mosaic law and lead the whole religion into being remade in their greedy and lustful image, one can only project a modern perversion back onto it’s host and into the historical past. This is not Judaism and any criticism of Judaism which ignores the fact 95% of modern Jews are neither genetically Hebrews nor following anything close to the original teachings of Moses suffers from a complete lack of relevancy. To ignore the fact that ONLY the Quran holds authority when you get down to the brass tacks in Islam, and use the most odious of sectarian practices which are the basis of dispute even between the sects, is not helpful and only serves to pander to and feed preconceptions.

    Despite being presented as such, this is not an open minded summary of the worst of religious ideas, it becomes in effect an Atheists interpretation of whatever random bits of information about other belief systems they have gathered. It is just one belief system, challenging another. Nobody I know of would argue most of what you describe are bad ideas. However that includes all the religious people I know above all, because despite the assumptions, these are not generally what is taught at all.

    • zuul

      Wow. An articulate and respectful response by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. You very existence has gladdens my heart. Peace and blessings to you, Rabbitnex!


  • Moses was a mass murderer. That is the story told in the bible.
    Exodus 32:27 details him carrying out the slaughter of his own chosen people. He was a murdering psychopath. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all claim a mass murdering liar as a holy man from god. No wonder the world is ruled by murdering psychopathes.

  • realityguy

    I would add “Blind Faith,” the idea that blind faith is a virtue, that it trumps reason, and that trying to figure things out is bad.

  • Muhammad Ali

    Never thought there are such a wasteful material being published online in this technological advancements. I thought this article would convince me enough to rethink. I am not here to defend any religion but my point is that the things which are highlighted on this page are not further explained to the extent that the reader can decide whether its the worst part. It felt like the author is forcing readers to admit everything written on this page. The writer should have brought up a single topic on any religion may it be the worst or something else, and then give its logical explanations and consequences. Not just by pointing out e.g. that the idea of puncturing some ones vein with sharp object is the worst thing to do, the writer could also explain, is it a needle, what is the purpose of that needle and what is being injected, is it a vaccine or something else, and is that “some one” a patient being treated.

  • Putra M.I.B

    hope you all will understand what the real religion is. I cannot say religion is perfect but at least the truth is always there. The truth of this temporary world, the truth of human as the ruler of this universe, the truth of our origin from Almighty Oneness, the truth of why we are here. It is not uncommon for many religion people dont know about the truth, i understand why and so little people know the truth, but i know one thing about you all, if feel something wrong with this world specially nowadays you will be likely enlightted. i know u will not be conviced by this little persuative wrong grammarticly text, but as u know i am just helping u all from great war that likely to be happen. Two of biggest religion will united to fight a power that corupting this world, a power that make us human fight for our greediness and forgeting our position as peace bringer of this world. after that only the united religion will survived and the world only have one faith and purpose, a world that very peacefully and then …, who knows?

    clue of those united religion is both of them believe of jesus will come to this world to repair those religion to right way and bring the glorious to those side, defeating the corupting one. i think most of u know that.

  • Shradha

    This was a very well written article. I have recently started taking interest in mythology and I have really learnt a lot. Besides great stories of sacrifice and bravery- It has also taught me about this bizarre tendency of people to have absolute thoughts on Religion. Religion like all of our other activities should be subject to constructive critisism and satire.The day I started taking interest in the Gita and particularly the Mahabharata ,the entire story lead me to believe Religion is a lot like history, It is there so we can learn from mistakes. It is there to teach us lessons. It happened or it didn’t is for us to decide. But that is not what matters.The notions of Hell and Heaven have been preached there too, it is for us to think on them,they shouldn’t be taken as absolute truths until an indivisual belives in them,not for the sake of religion but with an open mind. What matters is these are stories meant to prick our conscious.To give us pragmatic lessons in life. They don’t assert a particular truth, we have made it that way. Not everything they did in the name of God that time is appropriate now. Many concepts like Karma were actually meant to be for good but we turn it completely otherwise. It is just that we humans take ourselves too seriously. There is divine in everybody- so everybody should be treated well,Religion is good till it keeps you Happy , keeps you on the right path.

  • Number 9.
    Why is a selfish incentive for good behaviour a bad thing? And how do you get to the conclusion that it breads passivity? If you know that doing good will help you in the future, why would that make you passive?

  • Anonymous

    “By contrast, in some Muslim cultures cutting away or burning the female clitoris and labia ritually establishes the submission of women by reducing sexual arousal and agency. An estimated 2 million girls annually are subjected to the procedure, with consequences including hemorrhage, infection, painful urination and death.”

    Female genital mutilation like clitoral circumsion has never been a part of any Islamic or Muslim culture. It is indigent to Africa and is, in fact, an African rite. Nigeria has one of the highest rates of clitoral mutilation in the world. And as it is a Muslim country, female genital mutilation is linked to Islam and Muslim tradition. It is a common though incorrect concept.

    • Lua

      Perhaps it’s not directly ordered in Quran or Hadith, although both are packed full of mysogynist attitude, but the fact is, it’s currently purpotradet solely and exclusively by muslims, so it’s normal that it’s linked to islam and muslims. It’s the fact that without reformation and willingness to adjust the modern day society, muslim societies are the most retrograde on earth.

    • doobiedo

      In some of the more religio-severe cases of male circumcision, the ritual is for the “rabbi” to suck the blood off of the circumcised penis of the infant while everyone stands around and watches. Now that’s what you might call a cocksucker.

      Religion’s great, ain’t it?

      No one really knows how cutting off girl’s genitals began. There is some evidence that it may have began in ancient Rome, but going out on a limb here, the disgusting practice of full female circumcision may have arose out the psychotic ideas puked from the tales of the european Marquis DeSade where there are references to it in some of his literature and then may have been exported to africa and the middle east, during colonial times where it was most likely eagerly adopted by the extreme religious patriarchy and folded into marital ritual. Religion has never been a woman’s friend or educated advisor, being handed down for the benefit of power crazed old men to brainwash and control all men and subjugate everyone and everything else. It’s called government.

  • yeah….uh

    With these beliefs, you actually sound pretty Christian. If you haven’t read about Jesus, I’ll simply mention that he makes a lot of the same points. I’m assuming that you are atheist though, because of all of the hypocrisy you’ve noticed in the history of the church, to date. I used to be as well, till I had my own experiences. I’ll spare you the details, I know how much you hate being preached at. But I will say this, Life between life regression.

  • jennifer

    Maybe the Vatican should get out of Rome.

  • jennifer

    Yea well, and Italians are not the chosen people of Italy. The land doesn’t belong to Catholics either.

  • It has really only been very recently that I have begun to realise how absurd and pointless this blaming of Religion actually is. I was born an Irish Catholic in Northern Ireland and I lived through the troubles. I am just saying that for context. I went through a period of thinking I was an atheist but in more recent times I have become enlightened to the point that I realise that NO ONE can categorically state that there either is or isn’t a God. I mean people can go around saying what they like but no one really knows do they? We can’t all be right and but we can all be wrong. Human beings act like they know everything but we know a lot less than we claim to know. If we truly knew what was going on I think we would at least be treating one another with a bit more respect.

    Religion was invented by people and it is maintained by people. Laws and rules within Religious institutions are regulated by people, mainly men, and we all know what men like to do don’t we. Men are Warlike, they like confrontation, the same hormone that makes us want to procreate makes us murder, I can’t decide if that’s hilarious or ironic. I am not saying that Women are incapable of heinous acts, of course they are, I am just speaking how I feel and since Men have had the predominance in terms of control their input needs to be looked at.

    Religion is not a person so how can we blame it for anything? Who takes the stand when we put Religion on trail? People made Religion so it is people who are responsible for all that it has done. Blaming something as vague as Religion stops us from getting to real causes of all that is wrong in our world and that is HUMANS. It is Human nature which is causing us to behave the way we do so that is what we need to look at. We always single out certain groups and blame them but ALL PEOPLE are capable of murder and making our fellow Humans suffer. ALL PEOPLE. ALL COLOURS. ALL CREEDS. ALL NATIONALITIES. US. WE. NOT THEM. US. We are one species and there are only one type of people.

    We need to stop finding scapegoats and face the truth. Blaming Religion is beyond stupid. Religion cannot be held responsible, therefore we need to find a way to face the things we fear so much. We need to face ourselves and stop looking for ways to shift the blame around.

  • AntiSatanProScientist

    Fook religion and all it’s bullsheet practices.

    • doobiedo

      Thank you. Religion sucks. And to go one further: Religion is like your genitalia, don’t take it out and show it in public. But pretty hard to do if it’s already been cut off. Oops.
      But really, religious freaks, keep it to yourself.

  • Muliawan

    Bibliolatry? Muslims still preserve the Quran by way of oral tradition since its revelation 14 centuries ago. Some of them learn the whole Quran, which is more than 6000 verses, by heart without looking the text. Written text and oral delivery are complementary.

    • Ross

      Yup. Worship of the Koran is at least as destructive as worship of the Bible to the members of the culture where it’s worshipped.

  • Dee

    Except for #9 “the concept of karma offers a selfish incentive for good behavior.” The writer doesn’t understand karma; intention makes the difference. If you give, expecting good karma in return, intentions are selfish and it won’t work how you expect. Karma isn’t a made up religious notion like the others listed, it’s part of the Law of Attraction; a universal law.

    • Ross

      The problem isn’t whether or not a particular act will result in good karma. The problem is the attribution of bad things happening to someone today to their karma. So this dirt-poor farmer who just lost his child to starvation is to blame for his problems because his karma is bad?

      That’s victim blaming and is why karma is an evil belief system that perpetuates misery and pain. Karma is an embodiment of the fair-world hypothesis, and as such, is an instrument of misery and pain.

      If you currently believe karma to be real, and to possibly be the reason why someone else is unhappy, then you’ve become part of the problem.

  • Areas

    I think this article is fair for all religion it even talked about my religion, and i completely agree with it. I also agree with the author that religion cannot be perfect with the rules set during its time of birth. With the progressing age…..some might need to be altered as we understand the world better. God is not a dictator, he is a loveable, respectable, powerful force that we should understand and making a few changes in some of the more barbaric traditions will make Him pleased, rather than angry.

  • Nikhil

    Most of these things are sole characteristics of Abrahmic religions. Eastern dharmic ones don’t usually feign this kind of superiority. Though some of these things have passed down in Hinduism as well like sacrifice but they are primitive traditions which were carried on from earliest of times. But now they have been replaced mostly except for one or two instances. Symbolic as sacrices like that of a coconut which is considered partially formed life is now done. Also when it comes to Buddhism there is no belief in heaven or hell or concepts like these. It was Mahayana Buddhism which developed these concepts and mostly for the purpose of spreading various messages through stories among common people who were primary believers in these concepts. Also please don’t club Gita with Quran and Bible. It has at no time claimed to be the only truth, in fact it talks of various other facets of life and talks of only karma yoga. Also if you had read Gita you would know that doing karma with no regard for expected fruits is what is propogated by this concept. It doesn’t talk of sitting idle and doing nothing because of your past karma but to always do your duty inspite of it. Interpreting it in this context is seeing it through Christian eyes where this concept of original sin prevails. Also if you want to explore various schools of thought in Hinduism, you will find multiple schools which are easy substitute of Christianity and Islam. This shows that Hinduism allows its followers to live life according to their beliefs, not like western religions who are hellbent on naming every new thought as new religion.

  • Danken

    Why talk about circumcision in Judaism and “painful” circumcision in Islam? Why the nuance here? For the record, there isn’t any glorification of pain in the process. Where do you get your informtion? Most circumcisions are accomplished in hospitals under general anesthesia, like any other surgery. And female mutilation has always been an african custom, and an african problem which has nothing to do with Islam. Islam firmly prohibits such practices along with any kind of mutilation, so stop spreading false propaganda. Get your intel straight, instead of falling down to spreading such pathetic, naive stereotypes.

  • ReallyRoberta

    Great article except for the part about female circumcision. That is an African problem, not Muslim one. Some Christian countries also perform female circumcision as well and it is not an exclusively Islamic problem.
    You are correct in saying it is an awful practice though!

  • liz

    While I agree that many “religions” do a lot of crazy things, I would just like to point out that you are wrong on many things to do with the Bible and christianity. First off the Bible states that the God’s chosen people are of Hebrew. They originally inhabited Israel and were chased of many times, which God allowed but eventually let them get it back and none of the surrounding countries have been able to wipe them off the map like they wish to do, because they are protected. Also the Bible states that in the end times 144,000 Jews will be saved, which means they will recognize Jesus Christ as their savior. Also their is no mention of beating the sin out of yourself or “glorified suffering” to be righteous. God says we are not righteous and cannot earn our way into heaven because of our sin; however this is why Jesus was sent to earth to die as a sacrifice for our sins and by believing in him and realizing we need him we are saved. I didn’t get very far but its like a lot of your information is not accurate.

    • Mars

      This article was about religion, not just Christianity, so it is accurate. You put quotes around “religion” because perhaps you want to come back and say that Christianity is a “relationship”? Are you going to proselytize because the Bible tells you to “make fishers of men”? If your god is real, he can speak for himself.

    • TJT

      Okay so you’re not righteous, and cannot enter Heaven, but if you believe in Jesus everything’s good…hmm…makes sense coming from an all-knowing omnipotent being, who loves you yet says you have to stone a woman for committing adultery, or in a man’s case, kill him.

      And yet the first commandment is “Thou shalt not kill.”???????

  • I would have shared this but for your opening remarks that immediately show your lack of knowledge, no need to read any further. I am disgusted.

  • I take exception to your ignorant and spiteful comments on Israel and its native people, the Israelites. The land of Israel has always been inhabited by the Hebrew people. There is plenty of archaeological evidence for this and ABSOLUTELY NONE for the other. It was from there that they came and to there that we have returned. Please learn some history and know that there are and never was any “Palestinian” people.

    • TJT

      And I’m sure a “Just and Loving God” who created all and loves all, would surely appreciate your lack of empathy and spiteful comment about how “Palestinian” people don’t exist. You foolish fool you.

      • Anonymous

        Right on! 🙂

    • möpmöp
    • The article failed to mention that the ‘jews’ of present day Isreal consider themselves God’s Chosen People, though they are not related at all to the Hebrews of the Old Testament. These ‘fake’ jews today are Ashkenazi…converts to Talmudic (anti Bible) judeism and of eastern European origin.. They have no birthright to the land they forcefully occupy. Real Semites are the Palestinians whose land was taken by force from these fake usurpers. Christians are indeed the Chosen People of God of today..that is, those who have recognized Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The article, in my opinion, is ant-Christian and anti-Catholic, in particular, and I take exception to it.

    • Soco

      Patently absurd self serving myth.

  • Bad-Clown
  • jaydiggity

    That circle with the 8 rays of the sun in the center of the vatican look familiar Christians? It should. It’s a giant Egyptian obelisk PUT THERE by grand pervert CALIGULA, a testimony to the “hidden one” Amun Ra who is praised at the end of every Christian prayer when you say Amen.

    There are over 180 parallels between the story of Jesus and story of Horus. Not one, not two but 180! In this perspective does it make sense why there is an obelisk in the center of the Vatican?

    The Reverend Thomas William “Tom” Harpur was a professor of the New TestAMENt, Canadian author, broadcaster, columnist and theologian. Belongs to the society of biblical literature studied theology at Oxford. An ordained priest, he is a proponent of the Christ myth theory, the idea that Jesus did not exist but is a fictional or mythological figure. He spent his ENTIRE life studying and teaching the bible.

    Both Jesus and Horus have been called the good shepherd, the lamb of God, the bread of life, the son of man, the Word, the fisher, and the winnower. Horus is known as KRST, the anointed one. Jesus was known as the Christ (which means “anointed one”). Horus was sent to Hell and resurrected in 3 days. Jesus was sent to Hell and came back “three days” later. Both were crucified next to two thieves

    The wedding ring, and the ear ring are the from the zionist Saturn cult. Saturn rings get it? Satan whom Saturday is named after. SUN day named after Amun Ra the SUN god.

    Caesarion was declared “the King of Kings” and known as the “Lord of Lords” during the time of his reign, the last pharaonic dynasty to rule Egypt. Son of Julius Ceaser (JC) who was declared God on Earth during his reign. It is also quite significant that “Cleopatra compared her relationship to her son with the Egyptian goddess Isis and her divine child Horus.” They simply stole the story of Horus, word for word, and burned the old libraries and killed the heretics to quiet decent for the new control scheme.

    What is most likely the truth about the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and the Patriarchs of the Old Testament is that they are one and the same. The word “Britain” means “land of the covenant” in hebrew. The word “British” means “man of the covenant” in hebrew. A covenant is a “promise”. It is described in the Bible’s Book of Genesis (Gene of ISIS). It is “God’s” covenant with Abraham (really pharaoh Amenhemet I “meaning AMUN is the head) promising the land of Isis-Ra-El (ISRAEL) to “God’s” chosen race of people – the Hebrews. Notice the stone of scone, the stone of Jacob underneath the English crown chair built on a step pyramid? Union Jack = Union of Jacob.

    Not a shred of archeological evidence exists to show habiru jews lived as slaves in Egypt. Not the slightest proof of the story of the Old Testament, the story of Moses and the Jews, and their exodus from Egypt and their wandering in the wilderness – Zahi Hawas, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). Top Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein has denied the existence of Jewish roots in the city of Jerusalem, contrary to Israel’s claims that have prompted continued Judaization of the city. Finkelstein, a professor at Tel Aviv University, said Jewish archaeologists have failed to unearth historic sites to support some of the stories in the Torah. Among those stories are the Jewish Exodus, the forty-year wandering in the Sinai desert, and Joshua’s victory over the Canaanites. He also said there was no archaeological evidence that concludes that the alleged Temple of Solomon ever existed. For his part, Professor of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University Raphael Greenberg said that the Israelis should have found something after digging for six weeks in the City of David in East Jerusalem’s Silwan district, but have found nothing in two years of continuous excavations. Prof. Yoni Mihrazi, an independent archaeologist who has worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed with Finkelstein’s findings, saying that top settler organization Elad had not stumbled upon even a banner saying “welcome to the city of David”, given that claims were made to have been relying on sacred texts to guide them in their work.

    The tribe of Dan settled Denmark. Literally meaning the mark of Dan. and Swe DEN. and norway. The vikings are the roman numeral 6 Kings. The 6 Kings of Habiru Hyksos. The VIking king canute later became king of England, Norway, Swe DEN and DEN mark. The vikings gods who the days of the week are named after – TIW’s day (teusday), WODEN’s day (wednessday), THORS day (thursday) and FREYJA’s day (friday).. the 13 red and white stripes of the viking flag can be found on the American flag now. America, still and English Crown Colony as per the Paris Peace Treaty of 1783 where pedophile hellfire club satanist Ben Franklin signed away Americas gold silver and copper to King George III labeled as “Prince of the Uniited States” in the very first paragraph. But i digress…

    the greeks got their religion from the egyptians. Herodotus makes it abundantly clear that Zeus is known as Amun among the Egyptians.

    The church didn’t just stamp the pagans out. The pagans who making fun of the church for stealing their religions. The church shut down the school of Plato in Athens and burned the library at Alexandria destroying over 750,000 priceless books. They then burned women at the stake, poured molten lead into childrens faces (baptism by fire) and began the wholesale rape of children with pedophilia. What the church coined as “the ends sanctifying the means.”

    Just as Caligula would’ve liked it. Caligula, known for raping the “sons and daughters” of his own consuls.

    Welcome to knowledge. Useless ceremony and endless repetition be gone.


      You should not confuse them with facts; their indoctrinated understanding of the world cannot cope with the reality, because they have, over time, chosen not too see.

    • Everything you said is truth. But, that does not take away from the fact that given the right invitation God will mot manifest in your life in a manner so specific that His truth will be undeniable.

      Maybe its all one God?
      i dunno. I just know I got everything for proof just short of the burning bush.

    • E. Grogan

      Brilliant list, thank you. I do disagree with one thing, though:
      “Satan whom Saturday is named after.”
      Saturday is named after Saturn, just as the other days of the week are named after various deities. Saturn is not Satan, Saturn is the god of time and limitations. His archetype is that of the good father, one who sets limits for his children so they can develop self-discipline.

    • Bruce Hayden

      An excellent book which covers many of your points is called THE CHRIST CONSPIRACY: The greatest story ever sold, by Acharya S.

  • Brilliantly done.

    Ms. Tarico has presented us with possibly the clearest, most succinct, complete argument for rationality I’ve seen in many a year; it is entirely possible it has never been said quite so elegantly, while still retaining the most valuable of characteristics, brevity. She lays it out, simply and clearly, then, stops.

    Bloody brilliant; I am in awe….

    gigoid, the dubious

    • TJT

      Humanity is apparently TEEMING with pipebombers, nukes, drones, machinegunners; how are we not ALREADY dead?

  • Robert Newton

    An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
    – ‎Mahatma Gandhi

  • Satan McLucifer

    Which of those 12 are not foundational tenets of the occupation gummint of ‘merKKKa ?

  • Comrade Freedom

    I suggest ye inform yourself about the matters ye speak of. Read the Bible first, or DO NOT mention at all things you know nought about. The Promised Land at the time of the hebrews arrival from Egypt was inhabited by various tribes-amalachites, ammonites and so on- whom were the spawn of demons; they practiced child sacrifice, drank blood, ate human flesh…so you either did not care to read it, or someone is actually shedding tears after evil.
    The town and lands set to the torch and sacked-righteously so-belonged to men that slighted, violated and stole the daughter of the hebrew leader; thus, father and sons decided to avenge their beloved daughter/sister. I wonder what would any of you do if someone insulted, raped and made off with yer daughter or sister. Heck, they went even too soft on them, I’d had ’em all gelded not circumcised. It is clear you have not read the Bible, but someone’s personal rendition of it; no don’t even mention catholics or anything like that, for those are tainted.

    • VicMj

      “So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it. And the Lord gave them rest on every side, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers, and no one of all their enemies stood before them; the Lord gave all their enemies into their hand. Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass. ” (Joshua 21:43-45)

    • kononwa

      Yep, you sound just like true believer xtian (ie, a narrow-minded bigot). I do believe this article was written just for you. Enjoy!

      • Comrade Freedom

        Why, God always had Mankind’s best interest at heart. But MAN has proven to be a most unruly and upheavous being. I do not know what believing in God or having Faith means to you, but let me tell you that I answer to no man, nor do I follow anyone pretending something with “religion”-which is quite another thing than Faith. See, its just me and God, and there is nothing to gain for me through belief but the Lord and His Salvation. And even then, I fear not judgement, for I know my actions and take full responsibility for ’em. The Lord is always willing to welcome anybody, but evil. If you are so open minded sir, then take a Bible-KJV or if you can read it, the original text- give it a read and you will be amazed by all the knowledge found within;this of course, if you are not what you accused me of being. Its Christians who always stretch forth an arm as an offer of help and friendship before what needs be done is done. Now atheists and demon worshippers, those are a nightmare. And I’m glad the peasantry can write at least, finally.

        • Di,Cerrillos,NM

          If the Bible is God’s Word, then who did King James who was a sadistic pedophile think he was to change and edit to suit himself?
          The Bible is a compilation of mostly prophets that was directed by Constantine who was emperor of Rome at the time. The first 5 books are the Jewish Torah. How christian is that?
          I figured it out that there is more than one GOD spoken about in the Bible. People, IMHO, who quote the book are the mindslaves created by the Annunaki and not the Hu-mans that were created by the Source of the Universe.

          • Comrade Freedom

            The only slaves are man fallen to arrogance and pride like thee. If I were King James, I would not profit from it in any manner whatsoever nor could anyone, for it is the exact translation of the original text, which is much older than notorious pagan, Heretic, Blasphemer Constantine, as were his ilk all. Of course, for we were-are one, but they despised and did not see Jesus CHRIST for the Son of God, which is the very reason he was put to death to-accusations of blasphemy, null in His case for the Son of God He is.
            Please do not talk about matters to you unkown. Now, must verily I remind you, that as far as literate one may be, peasants belong in the fields, lest they prove a burden to Mankind.
            Go tell your demonic masters their hour draws nigh. And traitors of mankind should tremble as well.

          • E. Grogan

            I don’t know if King James was a pedophile, but I do know that he was at least bisexual, maybe gay. And this is the Bible that so many Christians espouse, especially the Southern Baptists, who are very homophobic. Yes, there is more than one god in the Bible. I agree with you on your comments. You’d probably enjoy the following article, written by my good friend, it’s called “The Other People”. It is a true story.
            I think it’s very funny – enjoy!

        • TJT

          Interesting how you refer to people as “the peasantry” like you’re some rich guy, or you’re better than “the peasants”.

          Since you read the Bible surely you know that you basically have no chance of entering “Heaven” with an attitude like that.

          Also, not to say that there is no knowledge in the Bible, but there’s also a lot of cruel and unjust things written in there as well, so following it, to me, does not seem like the brightest idea.

          Strange how you talk about how the “peasantry” can write at last, “finally”, and yet your writing is filled with errors too.

          Everything you said reveals more about you than you think.

          The lack of empathy for “atheists” is strange to me.

          I allow you to keep thinking that you and God are separate too.

        • Anonymous

          “Its Christians who always stretch forth an arm as an offer of help and friendship before what needs be done is done.”

          Really? I don’t think you’ve been to my town. We retired to a small town in TN (the Bible belt). We’re not Christian but kept our religion to ourselves. Several people found out though and came to burn down our house with us in it. They were Christian as is everyone who lives here. There’s your Christian, being read to help. We’ve been branded devil worshippers and shunned. I couldn’t get a vet up to my house to take care of my beloved horse, who was sick. He died. Yeah, right, real helpful there Christians. Please, get real and take an honest look at your religion; I have no problem with Jesus and I try to live by his dictates – love your neighbor. That’s it, period. I don’t think it’s wrong to be gay but the Christians keep hating on gays and that really turns me off. Hating on others, being judgmental and bigoted, self-righteous, this is what I see most Christians doing today.

  • hp

    “Immorality: the morality of those who are having a better time.”

    (H.L. Mencken)

  • Ezra Pound’s Ghost

    You forgot these: (1) Charity, (2) Universities & Education, (3), Epic Poetry, (4) Gothic Architecture, (5) Rationalist Philosophy, (6) Printing Press, (7) Multiculturalism, (7) Peaceful Arbitration as an alternative to War, (8) Racial Equality, (9) Anti-Usury Laws, (10) Western Civilization.

    • mamba

      He was clear these are the WORST ideas put forth by religion, not the ONLY ideas.

      As someone of faith, you have to accept that like all relgions, yours does a lot of good AND bad, and you have to own both sides.

      does one outweigh the other? That’s for the believer to decide, but you can’t go getting offended when someone points out the dirty laundry that affects EVERYONE ON THE PLANET.

      Or let’s put it another way…if you get to ignore the bad that a religion does, you also have to ignore the bad that any other religion does. Conversely you have to accept that ALL religions have good in them as well, including Islam, Bael, and even Satanism. (Anton’s version for simplicity)

    • Di,Cerrillos,NM

      So many more.

      • mg

        yep..I agree..the main one… I believe that is missing..imo…is WORSHIP…period…worshiping any…being..or ‘entity’..or ‘deity’…sending your ‘power/energy’ to any one makes them more powerful…and not in a good way…imo… that is the main reason these belief sytems from all over this planet were created…the true Creator/Creatrix neither wants or needs our worship/power/energy…of course this is MY opinion… each its own

        • Daniel

          Worship is a part of the cultural experience, and manifests itself everywhere. While we may call things other words other than worship, the ideas are analogously similar. For example, cheering for a team, throwing a birthday party, to value an ideology, etc. By worshiping we experience the feeling the part of something greater, whether it be community,”god,” or something else, to do away with worship, it would be detrimental to all of humanity.

    • Anonymous

      Think you got the wrong end of the stick you moron. It was quite clear… WORST!

      • Lulz at “moron”. Did you forget the coffee this morning? =)

    • CBP

      You clearly do not know history if you think Rationalism, The printing press, multiculturalism, peaceful arbitration, and ESPECIALLY racial equality came from religion
      1.Rationalism – the irony is amazing rationalism which is completely opposed to religion gave birth to it? how in any way does that make sense how did a faith system give raise to the complete opposite system
      2.The Printing pressed was invented by Gutenberg against the catholic church who held a monopoly on knowledge and didnt want to give it up
      3.Multiculturalism – please explain how religion in anyway supports and “created” multiculturalism because multiculturalism in itself is many different religions living together, which would allow people to see other options available to them and question why their religion does/doesn’t do something but another religion does
      7. Peaceful arbitration – religions peaceful please, please explain how the holy crusade was peaceful, or the dark ages which were caused by the catholic church were peaceful or how the current ISIS is such a peaceful group
      8. racial equality – LMFAO oh my god really, you really think religion “created” racial equality, your a joke. Racial inequality was at its highest when religion was most dominate your absurd claim on that is completely baseless.
      9. please explain how religion played a round in creating western civilization, the most secular civilization of human history. for example how the United states was the first secular country in history. ohh yeah religion definitely helped with the removal of themselves

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