I think that religion didn't cause anything good but only start wars, create gilt , hold science back , repressing women's rights, repress sexual subjects , promotes violence racism sectrianism backwardness discrimination ignorance , violates human rights , opression of homosexuals , bigotry , hatred , extremism , terrorism . But sometimes it helps people cope with their problems. I want to hear your opinions and arguments. Plus excuse my English since it's a second language. 

PS : I meant abolish not by forcing but using logic and reason.

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I have my suspicions that religion is the result of something hardwired into the human brain, and therefore the human race will never be rid of it.

Reading the reports on people in Africa today who believe in the power of witch doctors and follow dangerous superstitions about curing AIDS, I used to ridicule such people and think how different things are in countries that are richer and better educated.

I then realised that even in rich well educated countries that are only nominally religious, there is a huge market for astrology, psychic hotlines, homeopathy and other such nonsense; and therefore we also deserve ridicule.

It does suggest a propensity for people to believe things regardless of the facts. I can only hope that this may have somehow contributed to our ability to imagine things, and therefore be creative and inventive.

I don't know, Lucas, there seems to be a very powerful attempt to keep people dependent, i.e.

*you can't make a plan for your life, you have to discover what god's plan for you is;

*you can't solve complex problems, you have to go to god for guidance;

*you must not think for yourself but must obey, you are not up to the task;

*you have to pray and pray and pray and if you do it correctly, god will take care of you;

*it is imperative you yield to a high power, your power isn't good enough;

*you must leave your family and loved ones because they can't give you what god can;

*the only life worth having is the sacrificial life, you can't find anything better for yourself;

*rejoice in your crucifixion, there is no better joy than your crucifixion. 

I agree with you Joan. However, I would guess that religion would still have followers even with no such attempts to keep them dependent.

Such statements (and other practices) certainly do encourage people to join, prevent them from leaving and extract more resources from them while they are there

Joan, your list suggests ways to express the desire of many to remain dependent.

Several years in hardball politics persuaded me of these twin dangers:

1. taking freedom (i.e., responsibility) from people who want it, and
2. giving freedom (i.e., responsibility) to people who don't want it.

I've included a link below to an article supporting the theory that we are predisposed to be religious in some way, but I also know there is a lot of scientific criticism for this idea. Overall I think the scientific community is divided on the subject and just doesn't know. As I stated earlier, I have my suspicions, but I wouldn't argue strongly one way or another.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2010/12/why_are_human_beings_religiou...

Mathew T., can you define for me what you mean by "existential nihilist"?

I have seen The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, Czech Republic where the earliest tombstone dates 1439. Their cemetery includes at least 12 layers of graves, one burial put on top of another due to limited space. There are estimated 12,000 tombstones placed on the top layer, raised by fill dirt from the original ground level tombs and placed on top, leaving a garden of stones. They built up a vertical wall on the street side of the grounds as burials rose higher over centuries.  

This site caused me to reflect on life, the meaning of life, and from where  we come and to where we go.

I have been to other ancient burial grounds in Asia, the Americas, Alaska, and east and west Europe. I came to the conclusion that you articulate, Mathew: 

"life has no inherent value or purpose whatsoever. We live our lives and create our own meaning and destiny."

The implication, at least for me, is that we have the gift of life, we live doing good or ill, we participate with others, doing and thinking according to one's own lights, and when life is finished, the electric energy turns off, the current stops, and bone and tissue return to the stuff of stars. Energy does not go away, it changes form.

Therefore, I am the author of my life and I can make it as healthy or sick as I choose, I live in community with needs that can only be met by cooperation, I have things I do well and ideas that either bring me and others pain or pleasure, and each one has the right and responsibility to define him/her self. 

In my not very humble opinion, if there's a religion gene it's joined to an unhappiness gene.

I wonder if the "religion gene" isn't more of a "belonging gene"? We are social animals, and like bees or geese, lemmings, or prides of lions, or bonobo monkeys, most prefer to be in community. Reptiles have no such compulsion, I don't think. Those who leave their church community and their faith report missing the community, not the dogma, music or projects, they miss the concept of family, of having dinners, or going place together, of sharing their lives with others. 

The good news is, belonging and community exist and flourish in the atheist community. 

Matthew, EXACTLY! I hear it over and over. 
When I left faith in god, and jesus, and the bible, I missed the close friendships and it took me a very short time to build a community of people who like to discuss the kinds of things I like. There were individuals and groups who held different values than I, politically and economically and religiously that gave me exposure to many sides of issues and I wasn't cherry picking, I was picking people and groups where I could speak my disgust and whatever else was ringing my bells. Working through differences and finding people who were willing to ring their bells was just right for me. 
As for close friends, that takes longer, is worth every bit of effort. 

In an ideal world, religion would be abolished. It certainly won't happen in my lifetime, more's the pity.

i guess i would like it abolished and i want everyone to think like me.  not really. it definitly would be a different world without it. when you say abolish what do you have in mind? this sounds like were going to force people to give up religion. it also sounds like some utopian dream. i dont think you can abolish something like that.

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