Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Great Religious Recession

Every great civilization that the world has seen has had a main religion of some kind or another. Zeus and his wife Hera ruled Mt. Olympus along with their fellow gods according to the Greeks and Romans. The Egyptians had Anubis, Isis and many more choices to worship while the head of the Babylonian gods was Marduk. Arabic and Ottoman empires had Allah and Muhammad while the Chinese' main religions taught moderation and balance in life with Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.  Polytheism continued in India with Hinduism, one of the world's oldest religions, while the rise of the Western nations brought with it the rise of both Protestantism and Catholicism, the two main sects of Christianity.

Often one's belief system is usually a product of the location and country of their birth, the parental belief, and communal traditions. Belief in something that can't be seen or necessarily communicated with is a powerful tool for the elite of society. For example, the Greek priests would use complex machinery including early versions of hydraulics and magnetism to ensure the people would constantly be amazed at the so called god's power and continue to give offerings. The Catholic church funded their extravagant church building through the selling of indulgences, which basically were certificates that would lessen your time in purgatory.

Pretty much buying your way into heaven.

Yes, a god that doesn't reveal himself to anyone except those who need either financial assistance or organizing a war such as the Crusades, George Bush Jr telling the world Iraq was part of the axis of evil, and the different Islamic terrorist groups, is quite useful. ISIS, Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and the various other Jihadist groups all use religion for their own gain.
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However, for the first time in history the grip on humanity that religion has had since the dawn of civilization is receding. Just over 50 percent of the world associates themselves with Christianity or Islam, while 13% of the world declares themselves godless. More interesting is the rapid rise of disassociation, or not having any affiliation to any religion. In 2012 it was reported that 20% of Americans do not have any religious affiliation, rising from 15% in 2007. Growth of the non religious is spearheaded by the millennials, who are abandoning the religious beliefs their parents have taught them.

This has huge implications for society in terms of policy, politics, and economics. However, the larger question is more complicated. Why is this happening?

Education is the largest driver. With the rise of the internet and technology, information has never been easier to access. In addition to this, more people than ever are attending post secondary institutions. This is a serious problem for the current religious institutions, which have abandoned education, learning, science, history, technology, in favor of emotionalism, experience, charisma, and irrationality. The mathematical advancements of Islam such as the discovery of calculus or the discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton who was a fervent Christian are long forgotten.

Evidence behind the lack of education and logic among the religious is everywhere. Pakistan has disowned their first Nobel Prize Laureate Abdus Salam because of his work on the Higgs-Boson, because it was nicknamed the God Particle. Saudi Arabia believes women are so lost without a male that women literally cannot go anywhere without them. The ridiculousness does not end in the Islamic world, but continues with Christianity. Mark Driscoll, founder of a megachurch that has branched out across five states, has stated women are not more than "penis homes" for men.  One women from the US retreated from Christian inspired misogyny to a women's abuse shelter.  And of course, there are the well documented horrors of religion such as the current Islamic State organizing rape and murder in the name of Allah, while countless Catholic priests have been charged with pedophilia.
Pastor Joel Osteen is seen April 14, 2013, during a visit to Faith Church's Sunset Hills campus dedication service in this public photo shared on Facebook.
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With more information available than ever before, more and more people are realizing the ridiculousness of religion. One radical Muslim found a website highlighting the contradictions in the Quran and renounced the religion working for the CIA to fight Islamic inspired terror. Sometimes, religious leaders are so uneducated that they don't even know their own curriculum. Joel Osteen, a multimillionaire pastor who has a net worth of over $56 million and lives in a $10 million mansion,  released a Facebook post that showed little knowledge of the Bible, stating Moses was alive during different events in the Bible when he clearly was not. Joel Osteen does not have a degree and has never studied at a secular University. He attended  but never finished Oral Roberts University, an institution created by another millionaire fraudulent pastor who even told his followers that God would end his life should he not raise $8 million.

An education is not needed to realized that everything from blowing yourself up in the name of a god to going to a mega church and giving money to a man is not reasonable. It's actually quite insane. However, that is okay for these religious leaders. They do not want educated people in their organization, quite the opposite. One study shows that the poorer you are, the more attracted to religion you are, while 63 studies show that the more religious you are chances are the less intelligent you are.  According to Jordan Silberman, a graduate student of neuroeconomics, "Intelligence may also lead to greater self-control ability, self-esteem, perceived control over life events, and supportive relationships, obviating some of the benefits that religion sometimes provides," 
Seems the Prosperity gospel isn't working that well. 

James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, stated the "purpose of  separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries" while Napoleon was quoted that religion was very useful for the control of the masses. There is much truth from this. Religion today does not enrich it extorts, does not provide happiness, but despair that one can never be classified as a good person. Religion divides as much as it conquers over beliefs that are antiquated as they are inconsistent. 

Religion is declining drastically, and has entered recession. As shown by the Netherlands, it is possible that anyone religious to become a minority by 2038.  For religion to make a comeback, they need to find leaders who are educated and contribute to society once again as they have in the past. Two Muslim women created the world's first University, and now according to some streams of Islam women are not even worthy of education. Christianity created the world's leading Universities of Oxford, Harvard, and Yale, and now creates organizations such as Liberty University that bans dancing and restricts opposite sex fraternization without being chaperoned

If religious institutions are to leave the recession that has led to Atheism becoming so popular, they must completely change their nonsensical, laughable leadership with people who are knowledgeable as religious leaders once were. 

Failing to do so would simply prove religion to fit within the description of Edgar Allan Poe, "evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry". 


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