POV

Religion has Become a Sickness that Needs to be Cured

The main problem is that religions have set up a system where you’re not allowed to question religion.

Story by Thor Benson - thorbenson@gmail.com Photos by Muge Karamanci
Photo © Muge Karamanci

Photo © Muge Karamanci

As a relatively liberal man, I am often in the place of defending things I think should be left alone because of the fact they relate to someone’s beliefs or traditions. I used to drag out the emaciated horse that pulls the tattered banner that reads: “Religion isn’t always bad, but some religious people do bad things.” This is true, and certainly atheists do terrible things too. Religious people who are not involved in scandals or extremism shouldn’t be punished for the acts of others, but their religion should be put in a petri dish and examined like the sickness it has become. Not all mentally disturbed people hurt others, but we help them get treated anyway. No one is innocent. Your god can go fuck himself.

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Since the shooting at the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, many Muslim leaders have come forward and asked that their religion not be blamed for this. However, it is their religion’s fault at a basic level. If their religion hadn’t made it possible for a culture to arise where people believed it was worth killing someone over a drawing of their prophet, then it wouldn’t have happened. This is not to say most Muslims are evil or that most Muslims would commit an atrocity like this, but it is to say that if this kind of extremism exists in your belief system, it the responsibility of religious leaders to expel it. You must judge your society by its worst members, and allowing people like these shooters to simply be considered an unrelated offshoot of your society is irresponsible. I don’t ask that every Muslim quit their job and fight extremists, but every one of their leaders should condemn the actions and figure out where such actions come from, and every Muslim should consider if religion in general really makes any sense in the first place.

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Let’s not pretend other religions are any better. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who until recently held one of the highest positions in the Catholic Church, recently said priests molested boys because some men have become too “feminized.” Many within the Catholic Church don’t care for Burke, and yet he was able to maintain a high rank for some time. Pope Francis has demoted Burke and some other members who share his mentality, which is a good start, but he should probably get rid of them altogether. The fact is: statements like Burke’s are not unusual within the Catholic Church, as people try to come up with reasons why “those guys” are doing such things, but they’re not “those guys,” they’re “your guys.” The church needs to take responsibility and stop acting like this is some kind of anomaly that isn’t a related to the rules and beliefs they have instilled into people. When you tell a full grown man to be celebrate, some of them will be perverse enough to try to find ways around the language. Let’s not even get into the Westboro Baptist Church, the Crusades and all the other Christian atrocities.

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Photo © Muge Karamanci

I once called myself a Buddhist. I now simply say that I follow certain Buddhist philosophies. I have stripped myself of most mystical ideas and simply use the teachings of Buddha as a framework for how I live my life, because there are some good lessons there. A lot of religions have good lessons, but some people use them incorrectly, and they must be expelled from that religion or retaught.

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Photo © Muge Karamanci

While Buddhism is generally seen as a peaceful religion, and it generally is, it also has its bad seeds. Buddhist Rakhinese and Rohingya Muslims have been killing each other for decades, often burning enemies alive in their homes. Buddhists aren’t supposed to kill, yet somehow certain sects have found ways to ignore that aspect of the religion. These people should also be held accountable by those in power in the Buddhist community.

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Photo © Muge Karamanci

The main problem is that religions have set up a system where you’re not allowed to question religion. God forbid, heh, that I ask why certain aspects of your culture are the way they are. “It is what it is! Stop discriminating!” I am not against philosophy, and I don’t care much about whatever fun imaginary friends you’ve concocted, but I am against members of your club killing and abusing without being held accountable. It’s not considered a taboo to say most politicians are corrupt, and it shouldn’t be taboo to say pretty much every religion is seriously flawed. Everyone who is part of a religion may not be responsible for the crazies, but they should probably look at those lunatics and wonder if something about religion makes the mind ill.

2 Responses to “Religion has Become a Sickness that Needs to be Cured”

  1. L. Elizabeth says:

    Your view on religious people is interesting to me. As a christian, the type of religion I believe in doesn’t put everyone into a simple box, as you have done so well. In my religion everyone is responsible for their own actions and they only have to answer to one “person”; God. So if someone in my “religion” were to do something I disagree with, like picket at a war heroes funeral, I would be appalled; but i would pray for them and let it go because, they do not need to answer to me.
    It’s also interesting that you say we should kick them “out” or retach them, some people are Very Confused about their religion and beliefs and with something like the bible, how can you not be a little confused? It’s been translated a zillion times not to mention the Catholic church could have done who knows what to it, and I’m sure certain books that used to be included no longer exist.
    Here is the base of my religion; and it’s simple, To live the fullest life; To love God and to Love Everyone else as God would, flaws and all and lastly, bring as many people to know and love Jesus as possible.
    The bible is just a reference in a time of need. The religion is simple it’s “details” are up for interpretation and that’s one of the beautiful things about it, you Don’t have to fit into a Box! Honestly knowing God the Way I do is such a beautiful thing. Only others who know him could possibly understand, something so indescribable.
    So If I’m sick, I don’t want to be cured.

    • Thor Benson says:

      L. Elizabeth –
      I am glad you, as a religious person, were able to reply to this in a rational manner. Many people get upset and go into a rage when religion is put in question.
      I understand that you answer only to the god you believe in, but I believe members of religions should not ignore the actions of their fellow believers. Let’s bring the scale down and imagine we’re talking about a club, since religion is such a massive topic. Would you be okay with being part of a club where one of the members was a known serial killer or rapist? I don’t think you would be. I am happy that you are happy, and you seem like a pleasant person, but I wonder if you could be happy and pleasant without your religion. Alternatively, perhaps you could believe in god without considering yourself part of a religion known for doing unethical things. Finally, you should do as you please, but I hope I inspired you to question your held beliefs, as we all should.

      Ciao,
      Thor Benson