This is a guest post by Shanna Babilonia and it first appeared on myiobi.com.
Nearly every individual on earth is familiar with some form of religion. Whether we are raised in a religious household, or not, we have all experienced the influence of religion’s tightly-held grasp over the minds and activities of humanity. But, what happens when that impact becomes so deeply embedded that it no longer serves as an individual inspiration for positive personal motivation and becomes a mental impairment that infringes upon an individual’s ability to connect with external realities? What are the global consequences when the thoughts of religious devotees distort their ability to function ethically in a culturally diverse and evolving world? This is a question that we are all becoming increasingly able to answer; as the nightmarish reality of religious psychosis has forced humanity to begin awakening to the ruthless and horrific undertakings of religious extremism.
We are shifting as we are collectively realizing that the costs of our religious mental inventions are, increasingly, too high a price for humanity to pay. Although this shift is arguably, a positive effect of a very dangerous situation; it is not without its cautions – we are all at risk. Even as people begin to rise against the atrocities committed in the name of “god” and abandon archaic ideas, those who cling to religious tales often place themselves in jeopardy of becoming deeply entrenched in those traditions, even as it serves to impair their own ability to interact ethically towards their fellow human beings.
Are we living in a global nightmare promulgated by religious psychosis?
Modern Ignorance – The Choice and the Law
The foundational deficiency in the religious psychosis that plagues our modern world is the real and unfortunate problem of ignorance. We are living in a time where information [in free societies] is readily available; yet, many religious followers choose to remain ignorant by relying on religious leaders, religious politicians, dishonest news outlets [and clergy propagandists] to disseminate information, rather than engaging in their own due diligence. Simply put – modern ignorance (in free societies) is a direct result of intellectual indolence.
Many religious cohorts are ill-informed of the origins and historical activities of their religious organization. Instead of exerting the effort to learn how the ancient world functioned during the time their religion was contrived and the commonly held concepts and human mental capacity of the time, many devotees gain their understanding of their religion’s roots from those who have little interest in historical accuracy, but in transmitting an altered version of events that only serves the continuance of their religious ideology.
Unfortunately, for a great portion of humanity, ignorance is forced and comprehensive study of the ancient archetypes of religion is a legal impossibility. There are a multitude of governments who have restricted their own people from accessing online (and offline) content that would serve to further their mental comprehension of our world’s religions; and other information that would serve to dismantle the collective ignorance of a society. For these unfortunate human beings, knowledge is a distant commodity, which they are not free to pursue.
It is the duty of those who are free to discover the origins and historical consequences of what they believe and to be candid with themselves about the positive and negative significance of those beliefs. Regrettably, instead of accepting the reality of those consequences and working to implement positive changes to produce an alternate outcome for future generations of believers; many followers opt for complete denial from that responsibility by mentally distancing themselves from the religion, while concurrently remaining part of that religion. This is especially true in Christian congregations where ministers and other clergy have successfully convinced many of their congregate that they don’t belong to a “religion”, but to a relationship. This dismissal of involvement only serves to remove the responsibility of human beings from association with organizations that have caused great suffering worldwide, for thousands of years.
Furthermore, religions often displace responsibility for the historical and modern negative consequences of their ideology by casting blame upon other individuals, groups or concepts, rather than accepting accountability for the negative impact of their actions. This, most recently, can be observed by events, such as the recent Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado; which was immediately met with conservative Christian attempts to cast responsibility onto other groups (including transgendered and democrats) rather than accepting responsibility for the unstable environment religiously-instigated rhetoric has caused regarding Planned Parenthood and its activities.
It would be a greater lesson for religions and their followers to accept responsibility for their actions and work collectively to create a more harmonious religious environment for the future. But, this is not what happens. As with most neurosis, the impaired mind cannot admit wrongdoing. It is often incapable of admitting wrong; even when that admission would improve its own credibility and enhance global stability.
Prior to 9-11, many of us were generally unaware of the negative religious undertakings occurring throughout the globe. Since that time, perhaps the most intrusive and horrific part of our global nightmare is the religious terrorism that has, increasingly, placed us all at risk. On a nearly daily basis, we are inundated with traumatic reports of hyper-religious sociopaths committing horrendous acts and engaging in barbaric endeavors in order to force their religious dogma on entire populations. For those who have researched historical religious events, this problematic situation is a disturbing reminder of the carnages humanity has suffered in the midst of religious psychosis. For those less-informed citizens, it can be either an opportunity to discover the realities of the negative consequence of religious fanaticism; or, a disastrous historical moment for casting blame, instigating local terrorism and reacting in equally irrational religious fervor.
Not only do global citizens have the concern of cultural and individual disruptions and displacement instigated by religious bombings, slaughters and threats of war; but, religious terrorism has found its way into the legal processes of countries like America, where our own leaders and their followers seek to terrorize our nation by attempting to implement theocratic rule onto a free society – a choice that will inevitably lead to America suffering the same ill-effects of a theocratically-governed population, should they succeed.
The Subjugation of Women
Our most intrusive religions have consistently concerned themselves with the subjugation of women and their activities; even implementing laws and imposing imprisonment and death as punishment for their unwillingness to be oppressed. The religiously compromised mind believes itself to be superior to their counterparts based solely upon the teachings found in their religious texts; especially in relation to non-believers and women.
Many religious teachings ascribe superiority to men and enslavement to women. For example, the Christian Bible is full of examples of instructions on the treatment [oppression] of women. In the below verses found in the Old Testament of the Bible, a woman is expected to marry her rapist (after her father receives payment for the perpetrator raping her), is forced to marry and have intercourse with the man who just murdered her family, and be sold (by her own father) as a slave and then marry and have intercourse with her male master.
“If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.” (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT)
“When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive’s garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife. However, if later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; but you shall not sell her or enslave her, since she was married to you under compulsion.” (Deuteronomy 21:10-14 NAB)
“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment.” (Exodus 21:7-11 NLT)
Those Christian followers with a conscious and some comprehension of how appalling instructions like these are, often try to escape the responsibility of supporting a religion whose holy book would even suggest such barbaric arrangements by insisting that it is “the old testament” or the “old law”; and then continue by citing the reformed wording of the new testament. However, these mental gymnastics do not dismiss the fact that they are, in fact, supporting it in some form by their continued participation in the religion. Nor does it dismiss the fact that their “god” is not so moral when those types of instructions are the basis for that deities’ “moral” code; when in fact, there is nothing moral about it.
What’s more worrisome are those who don’t attempt to mentally maneuver out of the atrocious instructions of a “holy” book and actually openly support the psychotic instructions found in those texts. Unfortunately, for women who have suffered as a direct result of religious psychosis (such as the Yazidi women sold into slavery by ISIS), religious psychosis is a reality that has tremendous consequence – especially for the victims.
For some women immediate danger is an incomprehensible reality; for others (such as American women) it is a constant legal battle where (while they now enjoy many of the same freedoms as their male counterparts), there exist a persistent struggle to prevent religious extremism from encumbering on female rights and treatment.
Invasion of Morality
One of the enigmas of religion is the assertion of some supporters that we, as a species, draw our moral code from the words written in our holy texts. The quandary with this is that upon deep inspection of those words, we find that the morality suggested by our religious texts, often has no real basis in morality at all, but rather in a human-manufactured invention of control and justification for horrendous acts of violence, bigotry, enslavement, cultural hatred, genocide and nearly every other unimaginable exploit.
The religiously unstable mind is incapable of comprehending the irrationality of giving a label of “good” to a text wrought with blood. Instead, those atrocities are dismissed and vindicated by the follower asserting that the deity is justified in his instructions and actions – while simultaneously conceding that the same actions, if committed by human beings – are in fact – deplorable and psychotic.
When a religious follower falls prey to the religious pomposity spread by those suffering from religious psychosis, that psychosis proliferates in the minds of innumerable followers, leading humanity into a dark and dismal place where morality is nothing more than the baseless slaughter of our own ethics and compassion for one another. We can never be moral by the words written in our holy text alone, for within the confines of those pages exist some of the most horrific and ruthless acts humankind has ever imagined – and we immortalize those holy nightmares when we insist that our human principles must remain rooted in those verses.
Much of humanity is asleep, living a self-inflicted nightmare that we are all forced to suffer. Will we ever awaken? Is there hope that humanity will one day arrive at a rational, compassionate and peaceful solution? Stay tuned for part two of this article, where will discuss the lessons we are learning while we slumber…
Reading with Little Bit: A Critical Look at The Chronicles of Narnia, Part Three
Reading with Little Bit: A Critical Look at The Chronicles of Narnia, Part 2
Women Beyond Belief Podcast Coming Soon!
Journey of an Ex-Muslim atheist from Bangladesh to the USA
Journey of a Bangladeshi Woman from Islam to Atheism