Religion answered the questions that confused ancient people, but it has also been the leading cause of death in human history; let’s explore the good and bad things religion has done for us. Of course I am using a generalized view of all religions in human history, but all religions are very similar. Most of them have one or more deities; they have holy books, rules, regulations and answers. But unfortunately they often don’t spread peace and understanding – the main religions worshiped today tell you to kill and discriminate against those who disagree with you.
In history religions were quite useful to everybody, they answered many major questions, (although somewhat inaccurately) told people how to live and work, and they provided a nice and easy way for leaders to control their God-fearing population. Religion was considered true by the public and useful by the rulers. But religion has been the leading cause of war and death throughout human history. I think the main reason for this is because many holy books, for example the Bible, claim that they are right and everyone else is wrong. And when people disagree you have to either convert or kill them. This aggressive approach is what led to their wars. Very few religions say: “you can believe what you want, but I think this is true”. No, they say: “believe what I do or burn for eternity.” This approach allowed rulers to keep control over their population, using the fear of punishment and the assertion that they are right and no-one else is.
Religion might not be all-bad, it provided us with interesting stories, mythology and artwork, it might have even inspired Science. The search for knowledge led the Scientists to different conclusions however. But a lot of the good things religion does today (like charity events) can be done without religion. But a lot of the good (or at least ‘not evil’) things religion has done is completely hidden and destroyed when compared to the evils it has caused. Christianity alone has been the cause of several wars, from the Holy wars to the Spanish Inquisition. Many native tribes have been destroyed by the missionaries going in and messing things up. Because the Bible said to kill witches that was at least one of the major contributing factors to the witch hunts, and Hitler believed that he was doing the work of a divine creator.
Let’s not forget all of the major terrorist groups and attacks from other religions as well. We don’t even have to focus on the major things, but the smaller ones that happen every day. The times when people are shunned from families and relationships for having different beliefs. Overall some of the bad things religion in general has given us: delusion, oppression, false hope, ignorance and terrorism just to name a few.
Religion itself is bad, the very way the holy books were written caused atrocities, and these holy books have not been changed.The exact same things and orders are contained within their pages. But hopefully people have – or will – grow out of childish creation stories and orders to discriminate against those who are different. We can only hope.