Having recently spent quite a bit of time looking closely at the doctrines of a wide range of religions, I have come to the conclusion that most follow the same pattern:

1. An authority figure makes a claim that the individual is in some way flawed or dependent on a supernatural entity;
2. The authority figure make the claim that only they have special access to that supernatural entity;
3. The individual is thus convinced they are incomplete without the authority figure;
4. This keeps the individual dependent on the authority figure; and
5. The authority figure gets control over the individual and their adoration.

It is a scam of course. Religion convinces you have a fake disease and sells you a fake cure.

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Comment by Joan Denoo on September 20, 2013 at 11:57am

Or like driving down a rugged canyon road with a rushing river on one side and steep cliffs on the other, and trying to steer by looking out the rear view mirror at some goat herders from two to four thousand years ago, with writings that emerged from fear and superstition and written, re-written and reformulated according to changes in politics and economics. The goal is power and control with the intent of pulling resources out of people who work into the treasury of people who like to drink out of gold chalices and use the blade to gain dominance. 

Comment by Scott Long on September 20, 2013 at 10:27am
For sure: I think there could be a wrong outward case made against the psychological damage wrought by the fear religion places onto children from an authoritarian father figure from fantasy land. I've heard psychologists talk about spiritual damage. I sincerely think growing up with those theological beliefs forced on a child, will effect his/her self esteem, social abilities with those who are different, and ultimately: his/her credulity and cognitive function.
Comment by Loren Miller on September 20, 2013 at 8:17am

Christopher Hitchens spoke to this theme frequently, that of being born sick, then commanded to be well.  Shameless scam, anyone?

Comment by Michael Penn on September 20, 2013 at 6:16am

It's a scam that also holds true as you have written it for cult members as well as the normally accepted religious doctrines worldwide. What most of these people forget is that their "holy book" is flawed and we have proven that. If the message is all full of holes how can you trust the message to reveal the messenger for you? It simply cannot be done, but the gullible persists in their idiotic beliefs anyway.

It's sort of like driving your car around without any tires.

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