When I say “Dogmatic Religion is inherently unhealthy”, what do I mean?
(Dedicated to my roommate Derek, who challenges me to write down what I say)
You know they got me TRAPPED
in this prison of seclusion
Happiness, a loving god, afterlife, is a delusion
Shot up or shot down with tha bullet of dogma that they preached…
Cause they never talk peace in tha community
All we know is violence, do tha job in silence
Walk tha city streets like a rat pack of tyrants
Too many brothers and sisters daily heading for tha church
Brothers and Sisters commin' out worse off than when they went in
Over tha years I done a lot of growin' up
Getten drunk on religion thrown' up
Mentally Fucked up
Then I said I had enough
There must be another route, way out
To money and fame, I changed my religion and my name
And played a different game
Tired of being trapped in this vicious cycle
If one more religious leader harasses me I just might go psycho
And when I get tem
I'll hit tem with tha reality rush
Only a religious sycophant would like to see his brain turned to mush
Yo, if you’re smart you'll really let religiosity go 'G'
Cause it’ll keep ya cooped up in church and you’ll catch tha bible
They got you TRAPPED....
The Main Culprits: Christianity, Islam, and early Judaism
Degrees of Religiosity:
Obviously there are varying degrees of dogmatic religiosity in adults that I must address. Let’s first examine the less active religious people. For those of you who simply, go to church/synagogue/mosque on prayer days and pay no attention to their holy books or religion leaders, then you’re really not caught up in religiosity. On the other hand you’re really not informed and thus you belong to a group that you don’t know enough about, and if you did, you might think twice. As they say “ignorance is bliss”. Next we have the people that grew up with a religion but stopped going to church/synagogue/mosque all together and merely hold onto beliefs of a god or an afterlife because they fear death. These people really don’t know much about what’s going on in the church/synagogue/mosque nor do they care to, so basically they are the religious outsiders. Anything outside of the religious outsider group and we’d be referring to spiritualists, secularists, humanists, and non-believers.
The Average church/synagogue/mosque-goers remain somewhere in the grey area between less active religious people and sycophantic fundamentalists. For the average church/synagogue/mosque-goers there is no doubt as to why they go to church/synagogue/mosque every prayer day and they stay well informed enough about church/synagogue/mosque activities and theology and philosophy of the church/synagogue/mosque they belong to. The range of activism for this grey area religious people spans from being excited just to be at church/synagogue/mosque and studying their holy books, to going to every event at their church/synagogue/mosque and vigorously studying their holy books. Of course the later of that range is known as the sycophantic religious fundamentalist or SRF for short. The SRF is the foundation of the church/synagogue/mosque and they make sure that the rest of the followers stay interested in what’s going on, furthermore making an effort to reach out to the less active religious people and the religious outsiders.
We’ll get more into SRF’s later on, but first we must examine how adults achieve their individual degrees of religiosity. Some people are lucky enough not to be brought up in a household that carries any degree of religiosity of any kind. Unfortunately, many of us are brought up in a religious household of varying degrees of dogmatic religiosity. When we’re growing up from child to teenager we often subscribe to whatever degree of religiosity our caregivers subscribe to. It isn’t until teenage-hood that many of us start to question authority, rebel, or in some cases keep trying to please our caregivers. In the later case where there is little to no rebellion or questioning of authority than religiosity basically remains the same throughout teenage-hood into adulthood. For that majority of us who rebel, then either you drop religiosity all together, or you drop a certain amount of it from your mental construct, and carry that amount on to adulthood. Regardless of what above categories you have fit into we all carry the baggage
I’ve found that through recent studies and surveys done by research groups, such as PEW, that many of us after graduating high school (if that were the case), and then while in college, trade school, or young professionalism have a tendency to keep whatever degree of religion carried from our teenage-hood for a number of years because we’re too busy with school, friends, social acceptance, and work. So after those early years fly by, you’re eventually faced with confronting yourself and trying to deal with emptiness, curiosity, and self awareness. This usually comes as a direct result of having more time to yourselves. Once this happens a reexamination of the past occurs and this is when one begins to looks at the reasoning behind their current religiosity. At this point a conscientious choice is made to either continue on with the current degree of religiosity into their later adult life, or to change. It is usually at this time that people seek advice from their peers, and oftentimes that involves religious leaders. No matter what kind of religious leader you go to for advice, their bottom line is to keep you in the church. If you’re fortunate enough to be surrounded by free thinkers and non-believers you’ll get a broader range of advice. On the other hand, if you are surrounded by peers who are all religious than the chances of you not only staying in the church go up, but also becoming more deeply involved.
Sycophantic Religious Fundamentalists (SRF’s):
The desire of religious leaders throughout the world is to increase the number of people they can rely upon to carry out their message, no matter what! Chances are that if you’ve been surrounded by religious people all your life, and you ask their advice, you’ll end up like them when you get to be an adult. This is the most self destructive, isolationists, unhealthy path you can take in your life, and the further you get yourself into it, the harder it is for the outside world to reach you, and make you aware of how rigid your thinking has become.
The best examples of SRF
organizations I can think of are the Evangelical Christian Movement in the
1. Evangelical Christian Movement (Leader: Rick Scarbourough)
Islamic Movement (Leader: Any Imam in the
For those of us who have witnessed the power of these religious organizations, you can attest to the fact that it’s a slippery slope and once you get in to the trap, you stay there until you allow it to consume you totally, like a fly stuck on a spider web. God is selfish. The church/synagogue/mosque that has you in their possession will say anything and do anything to keep their most valuable players inside their organization, so they build up a wall of lies, deceit, and deception to insulate you from the outside world. When you suffer because of the choice you’ve made to practice a SRF way of life, your peers in the church/synagogue/mosque tell you that it’s God’s way of teaching you to sacrifice love, and become persecuted because of God’s love for you.
Oh it’s true. Take certain basic fundamental teachings that every church/synagogue/mosque teaches you and you’ll find that you are sharing in the same plight that everyone else has succumbed to. Let’s look at this methodology of systematic psychological oppression from a psychological perspective:
Unhealthy Religious Guilt, Shame, and Regret
of sacred text
are a literal, accurate translation or indisputably accurate copy of the original
To be a fundamentalist you must reject reason and believe these sacred texts are written and copied by men who will not change the facts, the nuance or the reality as presented by the original author.
In other words you must deny corruption.
Dogmatic Religion is the key to controlling people thru deceit, deception, and fear. Every Dogmatic Religion is based upon a holy book. The bible, the Koran, or the TANAKH, which is a Hebrew acronym for the three sections it contains: Torah (the Pentateuch or first five books of the Old Testament), Nevi'im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). The Tanakh contains the 39 books found in the Christian Bible and called the "Old Testament."
Let’s look at Stacks to un-stack the pyramid of dogmatic religion:
We can use the last six
years inside the
As the following books have now adequately noted:
American Theocracy by Kevin Philips
End of Faith by Sam Harris
Breaking the Spell by Daniel C. Dennett
This country is mired in
an immoral war in
Truly this is a corrupt
misuse of “religious moral authority” in the name of fighting terrorism. Bush believes he has been anointed by god to
fight against the powers of evil, thus making the
Historical Worldly examples of unhealthy SRF influence:
Bottom Line, these religious leaders have historically oppressed millions in the name of moral authority given from their god, and will continue to do so until humanity progresses past this extremely unhealthy viewpoint.
The grey area of religion; specifically the moderate, liberal religiosity
I have already stated my position of the current situation of this group of religious people:
They are weak, marginalized, and do not have a very well organized message at this point in history, and they continue to be overshadowed by the SRF movement. On the other hand, they continue to do important work throughout the world. Most of these moderate, liberal religious people have either gotten there b/c they kept that point of view from their teenage-hood into their adult hood, or somehow progressed there through a series of dramatic breakthroughs that they’ve had along the way from their SRF religiosity. The later type of people are rare cases to begin with because its so, so, so difficult to escape from that spider web, and even more so these days with all these SRF organizations running around freely in the world. The most common form of break through is inviting someone you feel is an SRF into your home whom you greatly admire for their work, and then find out the person is really a liberal, moderate religious person who tells you how rigid your thinking is. That statement makes you very angry and confused at first, because you’ve been told so often by your peers how wonderful you are, and what a holy, righteous, and reverend person you are. After the conflict, you become aware, and the ignorance of your position begins to peel away layer by layer the more you find out more about the moderate, liberal religious person.
By the way, if you’re wondering if it’s possible for a non-believer to go into a liberal, moderate religious position in life…not really. The reason is because you’re position is already the result of some choice you or your caregivers made when you were growing up. Sadly, the typical case is a moderate, liberal religious person, or non-believer going straight into a position of SRF because of something tragic happening in their lives, like murder or systematic criminal activity, sex addictions, or years of drug and alcohol abuse. These types of SRF conversions are really, really unhealthy, because it replaces one unhealthy addiction with another more seductive and perilous one. When you hear of “born again Christians” or “saved” that’s actually referring to the way in which they were introduced into the SRF way of life.
Anyway enough about SRF, that’s one dead equine, literally. The moderate, liberal religious organization offers a more gentle, sensitive, and outgoing type of religiosity. Oftentimes these organizations are big into Human Rights and AIDS work. For example, Maryknoll, a classic missionary organization that is very liberal and progressive in their theology and world philosophy:
Like I said before these people care a lot about outreach, and are a lot more accepting of people in the world who are different then they are namely homosexuals and non-believers. With that said, they are still part of an organization that harbors SRF’s throughout the world, and they themselves become the unwilling participant when these SRF leaders issue proclamations on morality in the name of their church/synagogue/mosque. Of course on the issue of morality the moderate, liberal religious person still believes, like the SRF, that their god holds the monopoly when it comes to “morality” and “moral authority”. They claim that without god, there could be no morality. This is adequately disputed by Sam Harris as a myth:
Furthermore, the liberal, moderate religious people still believe that they need to prescribe to the unhealthy historical traditions that the SRF leaders uphold, even though there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Moreover, they still protect the very institutional dogmatic practices that keep SRF leaders in power, such as; Jesus was god and man; Mohammad went to heaven; god inspired their holy books. That pretty much justifies everything in the mindset or mental construct of a fledgling SRF. So please, do not continue to say that you are really against the SRF’s in the world, when you protect the very dogmatic foundational practice that allows them to be in existence. Accept the fact that you’ve chosen to continue the deceptions, trickery, and magic act in order to give you a false sense of meaningful relationship between you and your god. To the moderate, liberal religious person, you still lack transparency, and that will always get you into trouble in the end.
Bottom line, the moderate, liberal religious person does a lot of positive action throughout the world in their perspective communities, but overall they do more harm to themselves and others then the positive actions. They still attach or hold on to something that is unhealthy, even if it’s a tiny fiber of string holding them to the spider web, it still holds them down from questioning authority, and looking beyond the false happiness of god’s graces, and the façade of the safety net of an afterlife. For more on this we look into a gentle psychological and philosophical perspective discussing evidence of the unhealthy effects of moderate, liberal religiosity as well as the SRF:
Of course to be fair, I’ll let you look at their counter evidence to the unhealthiness of religion using psychologists sympathetic to religion:
What am I trying to accomplish thru my analysis of unhealthy religiosity?
Simply: Bring awareness to those who are trapped in the web of lies, thus combating their ignorance. Bring light to the fact that there is a way out of unhealthy religiosity and it’s their choice to keep themselves tangles in the spider web. If they still choose to stay in their webs, than at least they are aware that others view it as unhealthy, and that there is evidence to support that claim.
I do not view this claim as ridiculous or extreme. Whether or not you really care about religiosity or not, it has a profound effect on all of us, and you should be aware of how deep the well goes. Perhaps with enough scientific research, one day there will be enough support to conclude that dogmatic religiosity of any kind is inherently unhealthy, much like the proof that the scientific community has done on smoking…where there is a conscientious effort to make sure the public knows that if they choose to smoke, no that they continue to do so at their own risk.
Finally, I DO NOT consider myself to be a bigot or a discriminator against people who subscribe to religiosity BUT I will point out to your face, what I and many other researchers think about the unhealthy effects of dogmatic religion.
For further reading please look at the following sources: