Religion Should Be Eliminated
From Human Society
Since the beginning of recorded history, man has attempted to discover ways in which he could transform his primal instincts into manageable emotions which would benefit his fellow human beings. In most cases, this transformation has been accomplished through various religious systems based on polytheistic and monotheistic beliefs, philosophies and practices. Of all the major religious faiths in the world today, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam appear to have served this transformation the most, despite that fact that millions upon millions of persons have died as the direct result of religious doctrines.
Organized religion and even those that are not considered as such are for the most part based on mythology and superstition which in the beginning were meant to alleviate irrational fears concerning life, death and the hereafter. The philosophies associated with various religious leaders, such as Jesus Christ, Buddha and Mohammed, are not really part of the question as to whether religion should be eliminated from human society, for they do serve a useful purpose, at least philosophically. But in our contemporary world, organized religion is outdated, outmoded and irrelevant, especially when science is brought into the picture. Thus, it is the aim of this paper to extrapolate on several reasons why organized religion should be eliminated from human society in order for mankind to pursue more profitable enterprises.
Before commencing on the reasons why organized religion should be done away with in human society, it seems appropriate to examine some of the major religions in regard to their beliefs and principles. First of all, Christianity, one of the four major religions of the world, is based almost entirely on the philosophical doctrines of Jesus Christ as outlined in the New Testament. In the Book of Mark, Jesus states that a person must "love his neighbor as himself" and then reiterates in the Book of John that a Christian must love others as he/she loves himself. This has much to do with personal worth since according to the Christian view, a person must love or appreciate his/her fellow human beings in order to possess self-worth. Therefore, a person's self-worth and the worth or value of another cannot be maintained without a deep and abiding respect for all human beings regardless of social or cultural practices that may conflict with those of Christianity.
Jesus Christ also offers some excellent philosophical ideals in the New Testament. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus declares, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth;" "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy," and "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." These philosophical tenets deal primarily with the fellowship of man and how people of diverse backgrounds can be brought together in friendship and amity.
According to Jesus, those that are meek or kind-hearted are always willing to be at peace with others; those that are merciful always overlook the shortcomings and differences of others in regard to race or religious beliefs, and the peacemakers always prefer accord over discord and disharmony. Thus, Jesus Christ is saying that these beliefs when put into practice will overcome all differences among people and result in social and cultural togetherness.
Compared to the doctrines of Christianity, Buddhism is concerned with religious ideals that do not focus on a supreme being but instead concentrates on man and his relationship to the cosmos. Its founder, Siddhatta Gotama (Buddha) revealed his teachings as part of the natural law which all persons are subject to in regard to human behavior. With this in mind, it is obvious that Buddhism is more of a philosophical religion than Christianity and places a greater emphasis on man's place in the world and in the universe.
As to self-worth and personal value in the world of the Buddhists, certain rules of conduct known as the Ten Prohibitions determine the worth or value of any Buddhist monk or practitioner. These rules include an avoidance of destroying life (i.e. life in any form or shape), abstention from taking what is not one's own (i.e. physical things as well as mental ideas), abstention from unchastity (i.e. sexual activity), abstention from lying and abstention from taking intoxicating drink. According to Buddha, these rules, if followed to the letter, will create self-worth and value. Compared to Christianity, these rules are more determined by man himself instead of through the teachings of one person, being Jesus Christ.
In regard to human fellowship, this aspect is based on the Buddhist document called the Mettasutta (The Sutta of Loving-Kindness) which dictates that all Buddhists must never harm nor use anyone for their own gain which if practiced will lead to a mind free of hatred and envy. This is very reminiscent of Jesus's teachings that one must "Love his neighbor as himself" and "Love your enemies" despite differences in race, religion or cultural ethics.
Finally, the Buddhist doctrines associated with hope are firmly linked with one's own transcendental state which leads to enlightenment and peace of mind. But suffering does play a major role, for Buddha taught that birth, old age, illness, death, grief, lamentation, pain, affliction and despair are all forms of suffering. Thus, in the eyes of the Buddhist, the world is full of suffering and must be looked upon as a personal reality which allows one to realize that all human suffering lies within man himself. With this, the true Buddhist does not rely on hope but on his/her own transcendental powers to go beyond reality and enter into the world of cosmic consciousness.
In regard to Islam, one must first look at the Koran, a religious text that records the divine message of Allah as it was recited to the prophet Mohammed on various occasions during his missions in Mecca and Medina. In literary form, the Koran is made up of 114 suras or chapters which vary in length from a few to over two hundred ayas or verses. The Koran is a constant presence in the lives of all Muslims, and an important milestone in the life of a Muslim is attained when one can recite the entire Koran from memory.
For Muslims, the Koran is a divine miracle and within the Muslim world view, it is a record of God's communication to humankind. Muslims believe that the Koran was written on a heavenly tablet that was the same source of revelation as that received by the earlier prophets. It was allegedly delivered to Mohammed by God's angel Gabriel, and the divine nature of the Koran is often compared to the divine nature of Christ as conceived by most Christians. Thus, the Koran and not Mohammed, is the word of God.
As a religious practice, Islam consists of Five Pillars, being the Witness, the Prayer, the Alms, the Fasting and the Pilgrimage. The witness or Shahada contains two essential themes where a Muslim declares that there is no God but Allah and witnesses that Mohammed is His Messenger. The other four pillars are known as the "Acts of Worship" and the rules governing these acts have been carefully argued and expounded by two separate Islamic groups, the Sunni and the Shiite with slight variations among them. This is due to the pillars being considered as obligatory for all Muslims whereas other acts of worship are recommendations.
Historically, Islam stands as the last of the three monotheistic religions to arise in the Middle East where the monotheistic tradition developed through the creation of myths, the lives of legendary patriarchs, divine acts of reward and punishment directed to nations and manifestations of God in the scriptures and history. Islamic sacred history thus begins with Allah and the creation of the world and his messengers were sent to various communities by the time of Mohammed.
To a great extent, Islam plays a major role in the everyday lives of those who practice and worship Allah and the prophetic renderings within the Koran and like other traditions, Islam presents a world view that is learned from society and that forms a basis for being in society. Shared beliefs and myths make possible common attitudes towards good and evil, individual and collective goals and other shared concerns. As a major religion, Islam has greatly impacted Western civilization and continues to persist as a global social reality.
As pointed out at the beginning of this paper, there are two main reasons why religion should be eliminated from human society. First, the huge advancements made in the sciences, especially in the areas of astronomy, biology and cosmology, have vastly overshadowed the mythological and unreasonable beliefs linked to organized religion. Although opinions have greatly changed since the times of the Renaissance and the "Age of Reason," science has steadily evolved and to this day continues to seek answers to some very basic questions, such as exactly how life originated on Earth and the direction in which life is heading. The fact that scientists and theologians frequently arrive at very different answers…