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by Vincent Miceli

JknVUZyIf one were to ask me what I thought was the solitary greatest threat to mankind, I would tell them to check out this blog: Religious Atrocities (A daily record of the violence and folly directly attributable to religion). Peruse through the stories even briefly, and one bears witness to just how much violence is directly attributable to religion in all its forms. It seems only religion is capable of providing enough daily barbarism to sustain a daily blog. The list of atrocities committed in the name of belief stretches backward through history, a single constant.

And what about today? Do we still give political power to these ancient myths of the past? Do we allow the doomsayers and fortune-tellers to hold sway over how we live, if we have a right to live, and what we choose to speak about? The answer is simple. Just ask a lesbian who wants to marry her partner if she believes that religion furthers the freedoms of mankind.  Ask an atheist if he truly believes he can share his beliefs freely without fearing condemnation. Ask an old man suffering gravely in a hospital bed who lacks the right to end his own suffering, because religious lawmakers deem such a decision as an affront to the will of some god. Though in a far more subtle form than the outright massacres of the past, religion continues to oppress people all over the world. History is an endless list of religion’s crimes against humanity: slavery, murder, genocide, and war are the fruits of faith’s seed. One would think we as a species would learn from our mistakes and put away such fantasies, outgrow them. But while much progress has been made, countless human beings still feel the weight of such ancient beliefs closing in on them, hindering their lives and livelihood.

For humanity to fully embrace harmony with each other, we must first embrace reason. The great religions, like all superstitious beliefs, are relics of the past, formed in a time when humans lacked the means to discover and understand the world around them. Early mythologies would often spring from innocent causes, usually out of a need to explain an occurrence in nature. However, as time went on these beliefs grew into vast monolithic organizations that could no longer be questioned, even as scientific discoveries threatened to reveal their belief systems as out of touch. Religions impede on scientific and cultural advancement, yet we as a people know so much more about each other, the world, and even our origins. The idea of religion as a well of understanding nature has all but evaporated today, leaving only the blood of history on the hands of its followers.

Yet we still give these holdovers from ancient history the power to influence modern society in damaging ways. Human beings die every day as a direct cause of ancient belief systems that are used to incite violence, xenophobia, fanaticism, and narrow-mindedness in their indoctrinated adherents. It makes otherwise reasonable people due unreasonable things. It takes away hope, or worse, gives false hope to its devotees, it blocks medical and scientific advancements, and it gives people the incorrect belief that they have the right to harm others. In order for to truly progress, we must finally strip religion of its power as the single greatest excuse to harm our fellow man, and remove it in all forms from the political and societal equation. We must join as one people standing for reason and understanding, uniformly intolerant of religion’s intolerance, which has caused our world so much misery for thousands of years. If humanity has any chance, we must select our religions for extinction before they cause our own.