After reading the above statement, I would understand any assumption on your part leading you to think I’m either atheist or agnostic. Some may see this statement as irreverent, offensive, blasphemous, and out of line. Nor is it lost on me that some may see me as an ignorant, uninformed individual who is entirely out of touch with God and in need of some level of religious intervention. I’m neither an atheist nor agnostic.  

Atheism denies a supreme being exists, whereas agnosticism is playing it safe by neither denying nor fully acknowledging the existence of God. My opening statement is definitive of my belief in a supreme being. Though I’ve clarified my acknowledgment of God, my declaration of hating religion requires explanation. But first, let me deal with my statement about why I believe in God.

I’ve always believed there was something superior to us that may have had a hand in our development. Calling it, God works for me, and I’m not prone to get into heated discussions about whether God does or doesn’t exist. I am willing to accept on “faith,” there is a supreme entity that had a hand in our creation and development, along with a vital concern it is not at all happy with how we’ve been behaving toward each other. Taking me to my other statement, in which I said that I hate religion. And I will go a step further, and I am not sure there is any realistic redeeming value to religion.

At this point, I guess I’ve touched your loadstone, meaning you’ve decided that I’m a raving heretic and the spawn of Satan, or I’m just some lost soul that could use a bit of religious assistance from a Priest, Reverend, Rabbi, or Iman. Would it surprise you if I said I would welcome hearing what they have to say?

I would love to hear what it is about their religious beliefs that drive the concepts among their followers that their religion is the only true religion that humankind should follow.

I would also want to hear from them about their religious beliefs and how they teach and educate their followers about what causes them to think skin pigmentation correlates with intellectual abilities.

Also, I would want to understand just how their followers have decided they are obliged to convert others to their form of religious constructs through force, enslavement, or outright brutal elimination in the name of God.

But most of all, I would like to hear from them that if I, a Black male, made in the image of God, why it was okay for those who looked like me to be committed to chattel enslavement and deemed to have no recognizable rights that white men had to honor and that white Christian’s are still inclined to deny structural racism existed in this country?

Yes, I would like to hear what all the religions (Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and Islam) would say about what their religion teaches about man created in God’s image, but how their faith found unique ways to skirt that and be okay with the enslavement of non-white people for profit.

One final thing related to religion, in this instance, Christianity as a whole. Many in this country – who call themselves Christian – are advocating for the US to designate itself as a Christian nation, seemingly disregarding diverse religious beliefs in the US, and that our First Amendment of the Constitution forbids it. And yet this has support from numerous religious organizations. What happened to the concept of church neutrality?

As I said, I would be happy to hear what religious leaders have to say. But what can they say when this happens with the blessing of numerous religious leaders?    

Cognito, ergo, sum; I think, therefore I am. Descartes’s words are a contributing factor to my intense dislike of this construct that is called religion.

I recognize the fact many are having difficulty understanding my derision toward religion. I do respect those whose religious beliefs are strong. It’s not my intention to scorn them for what they believe. I understand one’s relationship with religious beliefs and customs they grew up with are important to them and their family. Holding on to the constructs of their religion is often the binding force that keeps one moving forward. I know that is true for my wife with the loss of our son in an auto accident seventeen years ago next month. Her faith tells her she will see him with the coming of Christ, and he performs a mass resurrection so he and others will have the opportunity to accept Jesus. I, too, used to believe in those religious tenants but gave up on them long before his accident. But that is her belief, and I do not question her.

The anthropologist Clifford Geertz defined religion as a

system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic.”

Geertz’s definition cries out for a more straightforward definition. I came up with the following:

Religion is the creation of those with power and wealth who play on the fears of the uneducated and superstitious, causing them to become subservient to them through their fear of suffering everlasting damnation if they fail to do what their rich and powerful overlords tell them to do. – Tim Wilson

Yes, my definition may seem contrarian towards the subject of religion. But less you forget, I said, in the beginning, I hate religion. Also, you must consider my reference to Descartes’s words, “I think therefore I am!” Those who use religion as a form of control do not want people to be independent thinkers.

By now, you understand I have a fundamental problem with religion. I will be a bit more specific, the Abrahamic religions in particular. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Just so you know, I have friends in each of these faiths, and I’ve had discussions with them expressing my thoughts, and for the most part, they don’t disagree. I never attacked them or said that their belief system was wrong because there is every reason that would be out of bounds for me. It is interesting when we discuss religion. It’s from the viewpoint of sharing ideas and the desire to educate each other.

As I write this, I understand people will be angry with me and question how I’ve arrived at some of my conclusions since I’m not a religious scholar. Well, I’m not writing this from a scholarly point of view. It’s more from a personal point of view. Based on the current events in our country and the straightforward yet subtle role religion plays in our democratic process, not from a positive point from my perspective.

Far too much religious skullduggery has occurred in our politics ever since Obama was elected as the first Black President of the United States. It is on a level that should be very concerning to those who desire to see our form of government stay in place. Not to mention the emerging push for and call for reverting to pre-civil rights days. With these pushes to go back have clear religious overtones. The 330 Creative LLC v Evans case should have never seen the light of day. It was a made-up case, and now others will follow that will be just as baseless as 330 Creative was.  

A Republic is you can keep it, was how Franklin responded when asked what form of government we had. What happened with our last election, and what is taking place now toward an upcoming election? We could be on the pathway to losing our democracy, and I contend that religion will be one of the contributing reasons that will bring our Republic down.

I will have more to say about that. In a follow on article, I’m tentatively calling: Fred The Creator of Religion and The Destroyer of Democracy And We Let It Happen.

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Twilson – I understand your feelings, I questioned the existence of God for years and how many play on fears to bring the flock under control. I despised organized religion. Then in 2016, I did something I never thought I would do, I converted from no religion to Catholicism. How is that for a big decision? But the decision was made after talking with a parish priest and the people who taught the conversion classes. The process is not an “alter call” and now you are a paying member of the church, but rather a 10 month course, where they teach you and let you make the final decision. Never once did I feel pressured to convert, just earnest people who do believe in passing on their knowledge. There are denominations out there that I definitely do not believe in and there are others that I think fulfill the promise of a true Christian walk, or at least have members that do the true Christian walk – President Jimmy Carter and Rosalyn come to mind- the walk of kindness and caring for your neighbor, doing good works etc. I do know that attending Mass gives me a feeling of peace and I like being in a Parish where the Priest teaches love and good works in his homilies, not politics. In fact I have been to a few different parishes and have found the same thing. When they end a service with, Peace Be With You, they really mean it. There are some issues that I disagree with in the church, but there is usually things people don’t agree with, we are not robots, after all.


I was raised in the Catholic church, in the 1960s. Catechism class, the whole bit. The advantage back then was they didn’t insist that we believe in the wild stories & miracles word-for-word, but instead to see the wild tales as ‘allegories’ teaching a moral tale. That way our religion didn’t conflict with reality & science & world history. As I got older, I decided I couldn’t participate in a religion i didn’t believe in. Eventually I decided tt the Judeo/Christian/Muslim religions were all false, at least as taken literally. The wild stories were meant to appeal to the ignorant sheepherders of 2,000 year ago. No reason for us to subscribe to them. Only the story of Jesus Christ was worth taking seriously. I came to the conclusion that there is probably a Creator, but he bears no similarity to the anthropomorphic God in Judeo/Christian/Muslim religions, as mankind is incapable of understanding him. I subscribe to the Bubble Universe theory, and God exists outside of our Universe, creating bubble universes at will.
That’s my two cents.
What disturbs me is the notion that, without subscribing to some bizzarre religios dogma, people will simply do each other in. You can see it today. We are today as people were in the Old Testament, worshipping false idols (DJT) and killing and robbing from each other.
This is called being Woke.


TW, I think this is a very bold and thoughtful piece, well done!

What your article brings to my mind is a recognition and respect for what each of us choose to believe about God and religion and an honest conversation about how it is not always easy to understand why someone else believes the way they do.

You lay out many strong arguments against viewing religion in a blanket way as something “always good” (or possibly, often destructive) yet demonstrate through the beliefs you express that you don’t dismiss belief in something greater than us.

A problem that religion has is the same as any situation where human beings organize themselves, there is always the flaw that some human beings want to exploit others to grab power. If you look back historically to the early days of human society, there was not only a great deal of fear and superstition about then-incomprehensible things like the Sun rising and setting and thunderstorms but there was also a constant threat to survival for tribes of people. Whether it was a need to find food and water, shelter, or protect themselves from the elements and disease, tribes of people lived in desperate times. Along with these concerns were the concerns of other tribes attacking them and taking their resources (as well as trying to build a bigger and more dominating tribe) and vice versa, tribes aggressively trying to usurp other tribes for what they had or the threat they represented.

In these early days, whatever superstitious or religious beliefs floated around, tribal leaders understood the importance of having a structure to build greater control and dominance over the existing tribe and “incentives” for others to grow their tribe and power along with disincentives to leave the tribe or refuse to join the tribe.

So while there surely would have been those people who organically developed beliefs about God (or gods), spirituality, and mystical reasons for things they couldn’t otherwise explain, tribes crafted uniform religious beliefs for multiple reasons but among the primary reasons, as a system of control. It was tribe against tribe back then so a tribe that had beliefs that their tribe was the only righteous one under God had the moral authority to destroy or usurp/convert/absorb other tribes. And the confidently-expressed belief that those who did not join their tribe would spend eternity in Hell being tortured in agony was as strong an argument against resisting joining that tribe as could be imagined.

So historians can solidly represent that religion and tribalism were intertwined very early on and that the authoritarian nature of religion had a legitimate purpose back then in pursuing survival and building a flourishing society.

Putting aside everything else about religion and spirituality for the moment, the tribal nature of religion positions it, in general, as a potential threat to equality and freedom. As we’re seeing with the Trump cult, their tribe defines and energizes itself through hatred of all who are not members and believers in their “religion”. Racism, homophobia, misogyny, fascism, and theocracy, are all pillars of their “religion” and their religious mission is to strike down, disempower and dominate all who are not part of their cult.

The history of religion, whether in The Crusades, Nazi Germany, etc. displays that it can be and will be used at some time as a harmful system of control and destruction.

This is absolutely not to say that all those who belong to religions are participating in wanting to control and dominate those who don’t belong to their religion. There are many members of religions who reflect the love, kindness, and spirituality that one might expect from well-intentioned human beings. So they need to be separated from the wrongs that can be and are often woven into religions, especially by leaders who are focused more on power and self-gratification.

So IMO, the issue is not in anyone choosing to follow a religion or hold their own spiritual beliefs, the individual is not in the wrong, it is the organization that, like all organizations, attract and inspire people to grab power and exploit it in the name of that organization, to rally its followers against “enemies” who are “different” to conform, energize and strengthen them as a more uniform tribe…a more useful and powerful “army” that brings greater power and control to the leaders.

So the moral of my story is that religion would be just fine if only there weren’t leaders, if religions were genuinely run to be about believing in something bigger and greater than all of us and that love, respect and peace were the only things that mattered, that power, control and wealth concentrated in the hands of the few who become a religion’s leaders is corrosive to the very soul of that religion, dispensing of the hatred, bigotry, and conflict with the “others” as a system of control, we would have a much better world and few reasons to have reservations about religion as a whole.