Religion is always a topic that has fascinated me. This is for a couple of reasons the first being the comical experience described by my mother of being thrown out of catholic school when she was eleven. The second being the fit my gran threw when one of my cousins came home from school one day saying she wanted to go into religious studies. And the third came when I was nine and I learned the reason my grandmother had thrown that fit; my grandfather his mother and his aunt where the only ones from a family of thirty to make it out of Poland alive.
Needless to say, like many children of scientists; I have been raised an atheist from birth. Now please do not take what follows as an attack on religion, it is simply a commentary on what I have seen from my years of peering in through the window.
Now in recent years there has been a movement amoung the feminist community to alter the way aspects of many religions are interpreted. This movement is grounded in the fact that if you can change how religion is interpreted then you can throw off the chains of discrimination associated with whatever religion you happen to be practicing.
This movement to change religion to reduce exploitation based on gender seems ludicrous to me. Not because I think that women should be exploited or discriminated against in religion. But rather because practicing a religion, at least to me, seems to be submitting to exploitation.
This is because when practicing a religion there are rules in place in order to get rewards, normally a great time after you die. Most of these rules are pretty simple to follow by being a good person. Let us take the ten commandments that form the basis of Christianity:
1. I am the Lord thy God, thou shall not have any gods before me.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
5. Honour your father and your mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
10. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house, wife, or property.
Relatively simple yeah? But I mean nobody is perfect so over the course of time you are bound to stub your toe slip up and say “god damnit”. Then guess what you just have to do some little task and then all is forgiven. Generally, this little task is a number of prayers to say, or a tithe to pay, or even community service to perform. No big deal.
But is it really no big deal? I mean your “wrong doing” has just helped spread the religions influence slightly. But if you think about it you are kind of getting a raw deal by participating. You follow rules that any social creatures follow, see revenge killings in chimpanzee communities1, and then you have to follow other rules that only are for serving a higher being that only has the religion as a physical manifestation.
So really after seeing this situation that is caused by religion, not even mentioning the other things religion is culpable for, the question remains in my mind: Why put credence in a system that is only self-serving?
Chimps beat up, murder and then cannibalise their former tyrant https://www.newscientist.com/article/2119677-chimps-beat-up-murder-and-then-cannibalise-their-former-tyrant/ (accessed Mar 6, 2018).