According to PEW research, since 2007 the percentage of people who do not affiliate themselves with any religion has increased from 16.1 percent to 22.8 percent. Some would argue that just because Americans are less affiliated to an organized church does not mean that they are becoming less religious. According to Joshunda Sanders, a writer with statesmen.com, people are becoming more spiritual and not more religious. It is becoming more of a personal thing versus the organized corporation that has been church for hundreds of years. This is true but PEW research also shows that the percentage of U.S adults who believe in god has dropped from 92 percent to 89 percent over the same time period. Sure, some Americans may be becoming more “spiritual instead of religious” but at the same time more and more Americans are starting to not believe in god.
Contrary what many believe, this may be the best thing to happen in America since its formation. Religion has had its reign for literally thousands of years. The world is evolving and people are allowed to explore different beliefs and ideas and are not threatened with harm by religious organizations. Science has answered many of the questions that previously religion could only guess at. We are starting to discover that maybe religion has been oppressing us since the beginning, or maybe the only reason religion is a thing is because people are scared of death. Minds are being opened and science is opening the universe to us. I do not believe that religion will be able to keep up. It becomes less and less useful in explaining the world around us. The purpose of this paper is to get people started on the path of questioning everything with a scientific mind and skeptical attitude.
People don’t just wake up and decide that they are going to be atheist. This is something that happens over a period. Atheism is a choice and not forced upon someone like most religions are. Sure different religions preach freedom of choice but my question to them is why then do they baptize someone into their religion at a very young age? Kids can hardly add 2+2 at this age so how are they supposed to make a decision like that at a young age? They are not and all religious leaders know this. At this age kids do what their parents tell them to do no matter what because that is all they know. This is why it takes years for someone to usually become an atheist. These people are literally changing how they live their lives from day to day. Luckily religion is making it easier and easier for people to make this choice. They are no longer able to control the media like they use to and people are starting to hear about all the terrible things in the world and all the terrible things that their religion does. Let’s look at a few examples of some of the things religion does around the world today.
Let’s start close to home, well at least my home. I have grown up in the very religious state of Utah. For those of you who do not know, the main religion of Utah is Mormonism or “The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints”. The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints have set a new policy regarding the children of gay couples. In response to the government making it legal for people to marry the same sex. This policy states that children of gay couples and the children of parents who have had any sort of gay relationship in their lifetime are not allowed to join their church until they turn 18 and virtually disown their family. I know a lot of members who are very angry with this new policy. So angry in fact that a many of them are leaving the church. For those who have left because of it I applaud you. I can hardly believe that there aren’t more who are completely outraged by this policy. For those of you Mormons still holding on strong to your faith in this church, have you heard that there have been 32 suicides as a result of this new policy? That 32 lives have ended because they felt betrayed and unloved by a corporation (Yes, I say corporation because that is exactly what religion is) that preaches love and acceptance. The blood is on their hands.
Almost every major religion discriminates against women and claims them to be less than equal to men. This is potentially one of the biggest problems religion causes today. Don’t believe me? Well let’s take a look at some of the “teaching” out of religious texts around the world. “The Bible- When a man makes a vow to the LORD or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said. “When a young woman still living in her father’s household makes a vow to the LORD or obligates herself by a pledge and her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her, then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself will stand. But if her father forbids her when he hears about it, none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will stand; the LORD will release her because her father has forbidden her. . . . . A woman’s vow is meaningless unless approved by her husband or father. But if her husband nullifies them when he hears about them, then none of the vows or pledges that came from her lips will stand. Her husband has nullified them, and the LORD will release her. Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself. Numbers 30:1-16” This Basically states that Women are virtual slaves to their husbands and are not allowed to make decisions for themselves.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe,
Who did not make me a Gentile,
Who did not make me a Slave,
Who did not make me a Woman
This is the Morning Prayer for Orthodox Judaism. They are literally thanking “God” For the fact that they are not women. How much more sexist can you get?
If you thought that was bad then the Quran cakes the cake. This is just one of many quotes from the Quran to prove that it is and extremely misogynistic and unfair book. “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great. “Quran 4:34 In Other words Women Property of men and Men are to punish women if they do not obey, and punish them they do. We have all heard of the honor killing in the Middle East. Men of Islam are to punish women of their family for any kind of deviance. The extent of the punishment is left to the hands of the father of the husband. If a young women of the family were to lose their virginity before they are wed to a man in anyway including rape it is a great dishonor to the family and Women are severely punished and sometimes killed because they are no longer clean and are a shame to the family.
If this was enough for people to open their eyes then the world would be atheist already. Unfortunately for many it takes a terrible accident within their family, or someone in their the family who has a terrible terminal disease to shake long held faith.. The loss of someone close or watching someone suffer is awful and for those of you going through situations like this you have nothing but my sympathy. These people tend to ask themselves what kind of god does this kind of thing? Frankly I am just appalled that people don’t ask this just by looking around the world and seeing what is happening. We have children starving to death and getting diseases from dirty drinking water. We have terrorist attacks killing innocent people. And we have horrible diseases that are incurable and kill their host slowly and painfully. The kind of god who watches these things and does nothing is the kind of god I do not want anything to do with.
Another indiscretion that has been going on too long is the influence religion has had on the politics around the world. From the middle ages where religion was the government to today’s politics where religion uses its influence to make laws. For example, recently here in Utah there has been a push to legalize the use of marijuana in medical setting. The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day saints released a statement saying that they are against the use of it and that it should not be allowed. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with people stating their opinion. I am pro- freedom of speech. I do, however draw a line when those particular people do not pay any taxes and try to still use their influence over the government to try to stop potentially lifesaving substances to getting to people who need it.
Another statement they released recently was against an amendment to hate crime laws which would add race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protections under Utah law. However the church had other ideas. They stated that “The Utah Legislature achieved something extraordinary last year in arriving at legislation that protected both religious liberty rights and LGBT rights. Interests from both ends of the political spectrum are attempting to alter that balance. We believe that the careful balance achieved through being fair to all should be maintained.” So in other words they are against protecting people of other religions, gender, race and sexually orientation from hate crimes. I guess you only matter in the eyes of god if you are a White male? Luckily we had a brave enough senator to speak out against what the church said by the name of Senator Steve Urquhart. He came out and criticized the church for what they had said and apologized to all the people this would have affected if their attempt to stop this bill from moving on in legislation had worked. We need more people like Senator Urquhart to speak out against the bigotry and hate that religion spreads.
The number of atheist around the world is growing. I believe that the reason that the number of atheist is growing is because today we have the internet and through the internet we have virtually endless information. Up until recently we have only had the word of what the churches were telling us now we can question other religions and aspects of the world on our own simply by typing a few words into our phones. Today if a parent or pastor says something that the kid is not sure about all the kid has to do is type few words into the internet and do a little research to check the truthfulness of their parent’s statement. This is no different than someone who has left an organized church. They start to research the particular religion they that belong to and come to realize that there are many different ideas and opinions about the world that all claim to be right. People soon realize that not all religions can be right, but they can all be wrong. The idea of God may be a made up entity to satisfy the psychological need to know what comes next. With research I believe that people will either accept that they are not capable of knowing what the entity of “god” is, or they will come to a conclusion that god does not exist. Knowledge is power, that’s why churches try to suppress it.
For those of you who have already started down the path of atheism I applaud you. You are the future of not only our Nation but our entire world. I hope for those of you who have yet to start I hope that I have cracked the door open a little for you. This path has to be chosen by you alone. It doesn’t have to be traveled alone. Join the growing number of the non-religious already on the path. Just remember that the world is beautiful place, even more so when you start to open your eyes and explore.
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