Is Religion for the Weak and is it a Catalyst for War

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This is a great example of a trap question. I’m not complaining about it, as I often do with the way Helium questions are worded. I’m merely stating upfront that the question is posed in such a way as to set a trap for the person giving the answer. If the answerer states that religion is for the weak, he is, in effect, calling the religious weak. The response to that would be, if they are so weak, why do the religious outnumber the atheists? If you say that those who follow a religion are not weak, you are, in effect, condoning religion and the many natural consequences of religion – not the least of which is, in fact, war.

Religion is the opiate of the masses

Though not a fan of the man, I have to credit Joseph Stalin with a keen observation: “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” What religion does is, it gives oversimplified answers to rather complex questions. The more familiar one is with science or, for that matter, the more educated one becomes, the less likely that one is to become, or continue to be, religious. So, does that mean that religion is for the weak? Or, is a religion for the uneducated or the lazy? I would answer that it’s actually all three.

Those who are poor; those who are uneducated; those who are disenfranchised need religion in order to cope. Without the thought that someday (after death?) things are going to get better, many who are religious could not carry on. And, this leads to how national and religious leaders get the masses to do the fighting for them – and the answer to the second part of the question.

I would submit that, as a general rule, leaders of nations (and of religions as well) do not let religion dictate how they live their private lives. But, publicly, leaders portray themselves to the citizenry as being religious (in some form or another). This allows them to rally the people around some cause, should war become “necessary.” It is my firm belief that all war, at the deepest level, is caused by greed-for money, power, etc. But, how does the king (or president or prime minister) get his subjects to do his bidding? During the dark ages, in feudal times, how did national leaders get the ordinary people to fight for them? How do you convince a poor farmer that; while I have nine million ducats, but the king of France has 10 million and this is extremely unfair; he needs to do your fighting when he barely has two pennies to rub together? Well, you bring religion into the picture, of course. The other guy mocks our God-or some such drivel-will get the masses all roiled up and ready to kill. That’s how religion is used (misused) to get the weak to fight.

Is religion for the weak and is it a catalyst for war?

I would suggest that religion is for those who don’t have the time or resources to get better informed about the nature of the universe. Does this make them weak? Perhaps. Or, perhaps they have no other answers and religion is just convenient. The more unforgivable sin, to my mind, is on religious and national leaders, who use religion to hypnotize the less educated into the killing, maiming and waging war for their own selfish gain. It’s the religious leaders who have turned me off of religion.

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