Class Warfare Blog

April 25, 2019

The Purpose of Religion

Filed under: Reason,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 1:44 pm
Tags: , ,

I have written before that I think religions have a purpose. However they came into being, if they survived and thrived it is because they controlled the behavior of the masses. Their purpose came to be coercing the labor of the masses so as to serve the interests of the religious and secular elites. Basically these “elites,” whose jobs involve the production of nothing needed to survive (aka art, governance, music, rituals, etc. all of the “benefits” of civilization), needed ordinary people to gather or grow extra food, wool, building materials, etc. to provide for those not doing such work, aka the elites. This evolved into a class system in which the elites created a status system that elevated those who would not lift a finger to do anything manual, even so far as to getting dressed after a night’s sleep.

The religiously duped claimed that their religion has intrinsic purpose or value and ask “what can you secularists offer in its stead?” To which I offer “a life with no delusions” or as this lovely quote provides, a life not coerced by others.

“It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather our concern must be to live while we’re alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.”
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The religious often harp on their opinion of who and what we are and what our purpose may be. If you subscribe to that religion, you are judged by how well you shape your life to their prescription. That they can provide no proof of the benefits claimed should give anyone pause.

I hear many blather on about how their religion provides purpose for their lives. I always ask “What is this purpose?” Most answers seem confused or unclear. I can continue on to ask “When will you know this is true?” because it is only after death that most religions have scheduled their pay off . . . another fact that should give anyone pause.

It is also clear that most of the religious don’t want to talk about this topic. They prefer the vague goodness of their feelings to thoughts that lead to embarrassing conclusions, e.g.

Atheist: So what is this “purpose?”
Theist: To live in the presence of God and worship Him.
Atheist: Ah, so He needs worship?
Theist: Uh . . .

or

Atheist: So what happens to those who do not accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior?
Theist: They are denied living in the presence of God for all eternity.
Atheist: So, all of those scriptures describing the Lake of Fire are mistaken?”
Theist: Uh, I don’t know; I just think that being denied an eternity in God’s presence is our definition of Hell.
Atheist: And what will you being doing for this eternity?
Theist: Uh . . . I have an appointment I am late for.

And so on. The proscription on asking such questions in the various religions seems to serve only the purpose I claim above (the interests of the elites). I would think that the clearer people were on the benefits and trade-offs of a religion, the stronger their commitment would be, but understanding is not the goal, faith—which is subscription to the beliefs claimed by the religion without understanding or questioning—is . . . which should give anyone pause.

13 Comments »

  1. YES!! Exactly why religions are still here, duped under educated people fall for their “rewards” in the “next life” crapola. Live your life now, there ain’t no next life.
    A comment if I may on Ms. Kubler-Ross. My long dead wife (glioblastoma took her January 1999) got me to read the book about death and dying after our only child died after being premature and only surviving for six weeks in infant ICU. Of course after my wife died, I reread that book at least five times after her funeral during the rest of the year.

    Like

    Comment by Walter Kronkat — April 25, 2019 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

    • You have had more than your share of woe. I feel that I have lead a charmed life as everything seems to fall my way (and I am reminded of Jefferson’s comment: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” or some such.

      I read that book a long, long time ago. Since my death is getting closer, I should read it again.

      On Thu, Apr 25, 2019 at 3:21 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 26, 2019 @ 9:14 am | Reply

  2. There is an emotional benefit for the believer, but it’s hard to not think of those who *organise* religion as anything but manipulative, power hungry leeches.

    Like

    Comment by john zande — April 25, 2019 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

    • There are substantial benefits for believers, but the costs haven’t been enumerated well enough to do a cost benefit analysis.

      I just finished reading Daniel Dennett’s “Breaking the Spell” last night and he points out a myriad questions about religion that should be addressed, certainly before we come to any definitive political positions on it. Basically we are operating on a taboo basis with regard to studying religion. And before John has a chance to chime in, I will say that what we are expressing are indeed our opinions, which are based on much the same things as the religious base their opinions upon. We say that we see no evidence for the existence of gods, but have we really looked hard? (I say we have looked but not really hard. I also say this is not a subject for publicly funded scientific research. The burden of proof lies with the claimants.)

      On Thu, Apr 25, 2019 at 3:59 PM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 26, 2019 @ 9:19 am | Reply

  3. He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
    To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

    Atheists prefer the vague goodness of their feelings to thoughts that lead to embarrassing conclusions.

    Like

    Comment by John Branyan — April 25, 2019 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

  4. Jared Diamond wrote a good piece on religion in his book “The World Until Yesterday”, which I summarized and discussed here: https://boldquestions.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/jared-diamond-on-religion/

    He identified a list of seven functions of religion, and looked at which functions still have some utility, and which we really no longer need.

    One. Explanation
    Two. Defusing anxiety
    Three. Providing comfort
    Four. Standardized organization
    Five. Political obedience
    Six. Codes of behavior towards strangers
    Seven. Justifying wars

    His conclusion was that functions 1 and 4-7 were likely to be decreasing as we continue to build a modern secular society, but that functions 2 and 3 would probably continue to persist.

    Like

    Comment by Ubi Dubium — April 26, 2019 @ 9:17 am | Reply

    • I guess I would reword Two. Defusing anxiety and Three. Providing comfort as Two Defusing anxiety through false promises and Three Providing comfort through fantasies.

      That religion serves these purposes doesn’t argue that they serve these purposes best or even better as we are finding out.

      On Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 9:17 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 26, 2019 @ 9:22 am | Reply

      • I don’t think they best serve those purposes either, but they are reasons why people might stick to religion, even in the face of really clear reasons to discard it.

        Like

        Comment by Ubi Dubium — April 26, 2019 @ 9:37 am | Reply

        • Yes, you are right. If there were no benefits, who would bother? My basic position is that as a form of social control that emphasizes obedience to authority, the people who benefit the most are the elites.

          On Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 9:37 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

          >

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — April 26, 2019 @ 9:44 am | Reply

          • The most oppressive groups historically have been governments, not religions. Religion can’t “control the masses” without the muscle government provides.

            Obedience to authority is necessary for civilization. The important question is, who determines “the authority”?

            Like

            Comment by John Branyan — April 26, 2019 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  5. Belief in a world beyond this world is the basis of “religion”. Once convinced that the supernatural exists, anything can be imagined. This age old belief originating from fear of the unknown is still with us and will forever haunt and retard human progress unless it can be dispelled through fact based education. GROG

    Like

    Comment by grogalot — April 26, 2019 @ 11:12 am | Reply

    • Get Rid of God, indeed! I believe in god: god is the most powerful fictional character ever invented by man. And, as George Carlin was fond of say: “god is all-knowing, all-powerful, and always in need of money.”

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 26, 2019 @ 12:08 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: