I have basically come to the conclusion that a world free of religion might be a far batter place. When looks at many of the horrors taking place in the world today, many - especially in the Middle East - track directly to religion. And even when they don't directly stem from religion, cynical politicians and dictators - think Vladamir Putin, any number of African leaders, some in Southeast Asia, and of course America's GOP - use religion to inflame bigotry and to encourage discrimination and sometimes even violence. Religion is a key component in making individuals and races "other" and, therefore, subhuman and the enemy. Religion is also a key element in pushing for the embrace of ignorance. Thankfully, in America and much of Europe the younger generations are simply walking away form religion. Hopefully, the trend will accelerate in the USA. A piece in Huffington Post looks at how the "godly Christians" are killing Christianity in this country and elsewhere. Here are excerpts:
I've written about how millennials are leaving organized religion and its associated anti-LGBT animus in droves. As a result, the only religions holding on to membership (barely) are ones with super-high birth rates and very conservative views. In the process, conservative faiths are becoming increasingly insular and preaching to an echo chamber. This is creating a downward spiral of church membership overall as less and less millennials want to be a part of a brand that is increasingly unpalatable. And make no mistake, it is millennials who are leaving conservative denominations the fastest.
[T]his seems like a good thing. The faster conservative religion is overwhelmingly seen as mean, crazy, violent, hateful, misogynistic and anti-science, the faster we as a society can move on. I'd rather America looked more like somewhere people want to live, than someplace that generates political and religious refugees.
[H]ere are the things . . . hastening conservative Christianity's descent into nearly complete cultural irrelevance.
1. Fighting battles you've already lost. Marriage equality is basically over, and most Americans have moved on, aside from the Kim Davis' circus. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and the debate around it are as dead as the dodo too, but America's most powerful anti-LGBT group is still railing against lesbian and gay troops. Even the Cato institute and Heritage Foundation have moved on.
2. Deciding who's Christian based on how much they hate gays. Here's the problem: Most Americans aren't this exclusionary, but the people with the biggest podium for their beliefs are the ones who do feel this way. If rejecting LGBT people socially, religiously and legally is your litmus test for who gets into heaven, most Americans will be glad they're not spending eternity with you, either.
3. Treating women like cattle. Scott Walker answered a question about abortion in the first Presidential debate of 2015 by confirming his belief that women should not have access to an abortion, even if continuing the pregnancy will kill them. Beyond that, we have we have pregnancies due to rape are "a gift from God", "legitimate rape," announcing that rape can't happen inside of (heterosexual) marriage.
4. Rejecting science. . . . It doesn't matter if it is climate change, evolution, the big bang, reparative therapy on LGBT people, sexual orientation, gender identity or reproductive health ("Women's bodies have a way of shutting these things down,") these folks reject the overwhelming consensus of the entire scientific community. They're cool with treating bronze-age anecdotes as immutable laws of science though.
5. Condemning everyone else's sex lives but their own. The religious right takes controlling the sex lives of others to ridiculous extremes. Whether it is advocating we outlaw homosexuality again, keeping oral sex illegal, abstinence only sex education, making it easier to buy a gun than a dildo in Texas, trying to enforce unconstitutional laws on sodomy, slut shaming or banning birth control, they're all for making sure that the only sex other people have is married, heterosexual, with the express intent of procreation. . . . .The problem is, they suck at following their own rules. . . .
No wonder millennials aren't taking any of this seriously.
6. Telling people freedom of religion is only for Christians. Many conservative leaders have also pushed the narrative that freedom of religion only applies to Christian denominations, and definitely doesn't apply to atheists or Muslims. So, while making the argument that religious freedom is the ultimate right we enjoy as Americans, it's only for the right sort of Americans. Which are those who believe exactly the same way they do about gays, women, Muslims, atheists, immigrants, etc...
7. Telling us all the awful things they'd do if they didn't believe in God. For some reason, every time a conservative Christian like Phil Robertson or Mike Huckabee imagines what it would be like if they were LGBT or an atheist, what comes out sounds like a PCP induced crime spree. Voyeurism, rape, bestiality, murder and any other atrocity can imagine.
8. Taking out their phobias on children. Nothing says more about a persons' character than how they would treat innocent children. So when refuse to treat children with lesbian parents, it sort of shows your true colors. When adults are showing up to stage hate-fueled rallies and screaming at transgender children trying to go to school, there's pretty much no way to make your actions look warm and fuzzy.
9. Equating religious freedom with a special right to discriminate. Christian conservatives are working hard to create the narrative that most important religious freedom they possess is the right to discriminate against LGBT people. . . . Anti-LGBT religious conservatives, who are predominately based in the deep-south, keep worrying they'll be viewed in the future the same way racist people are today. Well duh. What do you expect to happen? It's the same people doing the same things they did 60 years ago expecting a different result.
10. Showing how much you love people by harassing them. The idea of "witnessing" to LGBT people and their allies is basically a form of pestering LGBT people about how much they are going to hell if they don't stop being gay. . . . Evangelicals and even Mormons have complained that they're not allowed to do this sort of thing at work, to co-workers, employees and kids at school. When they are prevented from doing this, it rapidly devolves into a Monty Python sketch about being repressed. . . . This is clearly horrendous behavior, but when they sprinkle some religious pixie dust on it, we are suddenly expected to see it as a noble expression of First Amendment rights.
I'm not buying it, and neither are millennials.