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Religion is the greatest scam

Religion is the world’s oldest, richest, most elaborate and, by far, the most successful scam ever perpetrated.

It is the work of very wealthy organizations dedicated to continuing their acquisition of tax-free assets, to support millions of dependent employees, and to maintain a show of impeccable respectability. For these purposes, theologians are forever trying to fine-tune their basically ridiculous doctrines to force them to seemingly make some kind of sense.

Just one example: The words “above” and “below” used to be the normal synonyms for heaven and hell. Everybody knew automatically that heaven was located in the sky, and hell was underground. But in modern times we now know the limits of the Earth’s atmosphere, and that there is nothing beyond it but empty space; we also know what lies below the Earth’s crust. So the theologians can no longer speak of a god or angels or deceased loved ones “looking down,” and they can’t picture bad people writhing around in molten lava. So they are taking pains to deny and redefine these physical locations — and finding it difficult to do so.

Although no one can say anymore exactly where the ghosts go, religious shills still try to maintain the basic concept, to perpetuate the scam.

They know that this scam is best instilled in its victims from their early childhood, to present them with a make-believe parental authority figure that will override and outlive real parents. They seek to impose a system of daily and seasonal reminders and habitual connections to every important occasion in life: birth, maturity, marriage, death. They know that when such habits are fully instilled, the victims are hesitant to criticize them and will go to great lengths to continue believing that, after death, they will be able to see without eyes, hear without ears, feel without nerves, think without a brain — and that if they behave they will be able to subject this ongoing consciousness to a transcendent happiness.

The flip side, however, is the most sadistic threat ever conceived: eternal torture that can somehow be felt by those nonexistent nerves — a threat so severe as to terrify the gullible into compliance with all the money-making demands imposed on them. They are targets of the world’s most successful scam, which charges high prices for its promised nonproduct that never has to be delivered because it consists of nothing but hot air.

Making promises that you never have to fulfill, brainwashing the marks so they never rebel, earning huge sums on false pretenses that you never have to justify, and keeping this scam operational for many centuries in many nations: How could it be any more successful?

We are still being exposed to religion as part of our daily language and seasonal calendar. It is a shamelessly overt kind of scam that those of us who can perceive its falseness are still expected to tolerate. So we are being taught mythology in the guise of history, avarice masquerading as benevolence, and lies masquerading as truth.

The downside, of course, is that over the centuries religion has developed truly evil and destructive ways of maintaining itself against rivals, unbelievers or scientific facts. It has instituted wars, inquisitions, holocausts and hideous oppressions. It has denied observable truths and set itself against scientific knowledge of our world. Its only answer to the doubters is still “you must have faith” because it is evil to ask questions. The real evil is that questions that can’t be reasonably answered must never be spoken or heard.

Secular leaders and politicians have always gone along, either because they are suitably brainwashed themselves, or because they dare not oppose that much money and influence. Historically, under the rule long laid down in Europe by the Roman Catholic organization, every Church member was supposed to contribute a mandatory 10 percent of personal earnings to the Church. Today, whatever U.S. Catholics decide to donate to the Church, it never needs to pay any taxes to support the government-funded infrastructure on which it freely feeds.

Perhaps we can hope that in a more scientifically enlightened future the world will fully turn against this scam and give humanity a more rational and peaceful world without any threatening All-Father to terrify people or any absurdly questionable hopes to close their minds. But that is still far off. Let us do what we can in our own lifetimes to bring it a little bit closer.


FFRF Life Member Barbara G. Walker is a researcher, lecturer and author of 24 books on comparative religion, history, mythology, symbolism, mineral lore, knitwear design, the tarot, the I Ching, a collection of original Feminist Fairy Tales, an autobiography, a novel, and two essay collections: [b]Man Made God[/b] and [b]Belief and Unbelief[/b]. Her [b]Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets[/b] has been in print since 1983 and was named Book of the Year by the London Times.
zonavar68 · 51-55, M
Religion is a concept created by humans so it is naturally 'monetised' as a commercial business.

God is a concept created by humans to embody everything humans do not understand (yet) through scientific study and advancement.

Bible is a concept created by humans to collate a collection of fantasies that are put forward as 'proof' of the existence of God and validation of the concept of so-called Christian religion.
NativePortlander · 51-55
@zonavar68 Regardless of whether religion is a manmade construct or not, there are leaders, and there are followers, which are considered disciples. Just because you believe that way doesn't make it truth.
zonavar68 · 51-55, M
@NativePortlander And facts don't care if you don't like them - facts stand alone and do not require 'faith' to make them valid.
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I do believe that most religions are a form of scam and most are cults, however those two ideas are grossly oversimplified.

Walker's article is under-researched and her ideas badly analysed. She makes some good points about the financial interests of religions, but undermines herself with the use of misinformation, lack of linguistic analysis of metaphor and meaning, flaws in logic, and parochialism.
Her article is written through the lens of a Westerner in a predominantly Christian country where up to 20% of the population may be fundamentalists and where the donations and income of any religion is tax-deductible, ie, America.
As far as I know, America is the only country where religious income is tax deductible.
Walker appears to have no knowledge of ecumenical theology or comparative religions, and no historical or cultural overview.
America may be big enough to seem like the whole world when you live in it, but planet Earth is a bigger and far more varied place.

Dear BlueSkyKing,
I'd love to know whether you've studied the differences between the sects of Christianity.
Only the Creationist sects (which are recent phenomena of the last 50 years) believe in literal Heaven and Hell. They have never believed that these were physical places; the abodes of "spirits" have no need to be material entities in physical time and space.

I'd love to know whether you've studied Hinduism, Vedanta, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Pantheism, Wiccan, Sufism and at least one indigenous belief system.
Each has significantly different features. Some features overlap; others don't.
Some have no material wealth.
Some have the classic features of a cult while others do not.
Some involve require commitment to examining exactly what reality is,
and commitment to learning from direct experience.
Some involve not much more than a system of social ethics.
Some have no hierarchy.

I'd like to suggest a book by the historian and polemic thinker, Noah Yuval Harare, [i]Sapiens: A brief history of mankind[/i].
He takes a new look at social evolution and shows the roles religions have played in the development of societies and cultures. He shows the role religions played in making possible the development of law, trade and many other aspects of human cultures.
It becomes clear that even science would not have evolved if religion hadn't played a profound role in social evolution. This, of course, doesn't mean that religion will always be around.
It could become obsolete and be replaced by science, ethics, government and other glues.
But such evolution is always slow. It takes a long time for relatively new ideas to develop near universal acceptance and even longer for older ideas to die out. We cannot tell what changes will become the future within the spans of only a hundred or so years. It takes many millennia to see the whole picture.

eMortal · M
Your issue is with organized Religion.
When it comes to personal beliefs, a more positive perspective emphasizes the beneficial aspects of religion, including moral guidance, community support, personal comfort, cultural enrichment, and social services. It acknowledges that while there have been negative aspects associated with religious institutions and practices, for many people around the world, religion remains a deeply meaningful and positive force in their lives.

It’s crucial to recognize that religion, like any human institution, has a complex and multifaceted impact on society and individuals. Opinions about it can vary widely based on personal experiences, cultural background, and individual interpretation of religious teachings.
RedBaron · M
@eMortal Most importantly, we are free to choose not to participate.
Ynotisay · M
[i]Secular leaders and politicians have always gone along, either because they are suitably brainwashed themselves, or because they dare not oppose that much money and influence. [/i]

As far as I know there's only ONE open, non-believer in Congress right now. A Humanist. And yet polls show roughly 30 percent of Americans are non-believers.

That's nonsensical to me and speaks to how even atheists have been 'beaten down' to not make waves. We/They are expected to just roll with it. I'd like to see that change. Particularly with issues like abortion and gay/trans rights being driven by the fearful, hateful religious elements of our country.
I agree with this considered opinion

but now..
brace yourself for a hate storm
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pdxlinux · 36-40, M
bookmarked! excellent! i have an essay that i'd like to send to you to read in private. if interested let me know
Anton · 56-60, M
Religion, in general, could be. But the Gospel of Salvation as proclaimed in the Bible (KJV) isn't
RedBaron · M
@Anton In your opinion.
kodiac · 22-25, M
RedBaron · M
Nice copy-paste job.

Ever post anything original?
RedBaron · M
@BlueSkyKing Nice copy-paste job.
zonavar68 · 51-55, M
@RedBaron We need freedom from religion not freedom of religion.
RedBaron · M
@zonavar68 We are free to not participate in any religion.

What else do you want? Religious denominations aren’t going to disappear.

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