Wednesday, 26 June 2013

What is the point of Organised Religion?

It is not so much that I disbelieve in a great creator, in a God, but more a case of what is the point of having organised faiths that worship such a deity? The question we should ask ourselves is not whether God exists but if the belief in the existence of God lends organised faith moral rectitude? In other words has organised faith given shape to human morality or are such ethics a natural human condition? And more importantly, do people of faith need to have their beliefs organised?

I don’t think organised religion has made one jot of difference. In many cases, as we have seen both historically and in recent times, organised religion, when corrupted by men, is a thing that perpetrates great cruelty.

 I think ethics is as much a hominid instinct as is our flight or fight reflexes. Humanities morals are nature given. They may have been nurtured over time but existed before the creation of deities and long before the concept of a single, monotheistic, god. Other pack animals, canines for example exhibit similar basic codes to our own if a little less sophisticated. A dog prefers the feeling of companionship, it favours love over hate. It has a strict hierarchical social structure. It cares for its young. It defends the pack. To suggest that without believing in a god we lose all sense of morality is a supreme arrogance. God maybe an O short of good but being good doesn’t mean you need a god.

If this were not the case then cultures existing outside the western Judaeo/Christian belief system would be amoral. These cultures may be different but they still hold true to the same codes and principles. They share the same morality.

A perfect example of this is what we now call ‘The Golden Rule.’ This edict is often ascribed to Jesus. This is simply not the case. It was written at least 551 years before the birth of the Christian messiah. One of first philosophers to make mention of such a natural law was none other than Confucius. He was not alone. There are many more, and all from different cultures, all of whom wrote of, albeit with slight differences, the same fundamental law.

This ‘rule’ has been adopted by many of today’s religions including the oldest faith in the world, Hinduism but also, and unsurprisingly, Buddhism.
The ‘Golden Rule’ is not a Christian concept. It has nothing to do with Jehovah but has everything to do with being human. That being the case I ask again, what is the point of organised religion?

Humanism is a relatively new idea often associated with Richard Dawkins. This is from their website…
“Trying to live according to the Golden Rule means trying to empathise with other people, including those who may be very different from us. Empathy is at the root of kindness, compassion, understanding and respect – qualities that we all appreciate being shown, whoever we are, whatever we think and wherever we come from. And although it isn’t possible to know what it really feels like to be a different person or live in different circumstances and have different life experiences, it isn’t difficult for most of us to imagine what would cause us suffering and to try to avoid causing suffering to others. For this reason many people find the Golden Rule’s corollary – “do not treat people in a way you would not wish to be treated yourself” – more pragmatic”

Perhaps a little more prosaic but nonetheless funny is Monty Pythons version…
“Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.”

Much of what is now perceived as being godly comes from the Christian church. Of course it wasn’t they that designed a singular god in their own image nor was it the Jews who seem to have been blamed for all the worlds’ ills at one stage or another.
It is widely believed that Zoroaster was the first deity who existed outside of a pantheon. This belief led to the Zoroastrian faith but this fact explains nothing. Still the rogue of organised faith blights civilisation. It has for thousands of years but why?

I suppose the simple, obvious even, answer must be that humans like to gather in groups. But I think there is a darker force at work here. It is one that has been seen during the early days of Christianity when the Roman Catholic Church began to dictate not the laws of God but the rules of man.

In fact it wasn't until Thomas Moore in the mid fifteen hundreds that the Christian Bible was translated from Latin into English. The church didn't want the ordinary man to be able to read the damn thing, they wanted to instruct him, to organise him, to dictate how he should follow their version of God.

Monotheism is a concept shared by many faiths. Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism,  Cao Dai, Bahá’I Faith, Ravidassia, Ekankar, Atenism and Tenrikyo all share similar beliefs.

According to Mother Teresa's philosophy, it is 'the most beautiful gift for a person that he can participate in the sufferings of Christ'.  This, when taken as the unpleasant woman instructed, would have included having maggots tugged from the flesh without the use of painkillers. Nice.
It is the single most stupid thing I think I have heard. As if any sane human would want another to suffer even for the sake of the so called Messiah. This is borderline insanity. Mother Teresa was patently off her rocker.

It is control that governs organised religion. It is not love of fellow men; it is not love of God for God is supposedly powerful enough to be able to spread His own message. It is power, it is influence; it is totally immoral,  pointless and quite frankly unpleasant.

I have to make it plain at this point that I have nothing whatsoever against Jews, Christians or Muslims. My Mother is Christian. Many of my friends are Jews or Muslims. I have no issues with those who practise what they feel benefits them for as far as I am concerned if what you personally believe enables you to lead a good, moral life that doesn't hurt others it really doesn't matter to what or to whom you prey. It is the organisation of individual faith that I mistrust.

If you love God, if you need to speak with Him then go direct. Circumnavigate the popes, clerics, vicars and mullahs, head the churches, temples, synagogues, masjid off at the pass and  talk to The Man not the hand.

all words and art are copyright © of Russell 'C.J' Duffy.To view my books on Amazon/Kindle go here: -- For another side of CJ go here: sOMeThiNg For tHE wEeKeND, SiR?


Lily Strange said...

I had it with organized religion years ago. Even the so called "New Age" types are a bunch of "My way or the highway" naysayers against any free thinking. I actually happen to think there is a higher power (or several) but I don't claim to understand their nature, and I certainly don't trust anyone who says "only this path will lead you to the higher power."
I rather think that a higher power that insisted we worship it is similar to us insisting that bacteria worship us. Anyone who would do that is a megalomaniac. The higher power is far more powerful than we are. It wouldn't give a rip about our worship.

Russell C.J. Duffy said...

I think that old Hindu saying, one I might have bored you with before, has it right..."There are many paths up the mountain all leading to the same summit. Only a fool would say his way was the right way."

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