We don't need religion to know that the world is a better place when we're nice to each other.

I get very angry when I hear the argument that everyone would turn into monsters without the fear of a god. I find this very offensive and quite a pathetic argument.

Let's be realistic - if anyone tells you they really know what happens to us after we die, they're either lying or they're stupid. I'm happy for people to have faith, but that's all it is - we have no evidence. I've heard some unbelievably cruel messages from religious people about the afterlife for non-believers - even said to the relatives of the recently deceased. This alone has proven to me that being a religious person is completely separate from being a nice person.

People should be given the freedom to decide their own beliefs. Give a child a balanced upbringing with a sense for right and wrong, then open their minds to religious theories during mid to late teens, when they're old enough to decide for themselves instead of forcing them to blindly follow their parents.

Giving fixed religious beliefs to a child should be seen as a form of abuse. A child's mind is so easy to convince of anything. To remove free thought and give them false promises is pure evil.

Unfortunately the brainwashing of children will go on for a long time, for one simple reason: an adult mind is so unlikely to accept the ridiculous theories spouted through most religions, the only way to keep numbers growing is to brainwash children before they have chance to develop their own ideas and common sense. A sinister form of Pyramid selling (hence the Catholic objection to contraception - they don't really think it's evil, it's just their way to increase sales).

Religion has existed for a very long time, likewise the need to control and profit from people has too. If you need a workforce to toil their whole lives to keep you well looked after, what else can you offer them?

"work hard in this life and you'll be well rewarded in the next" - do we get a money back guarantee with this?

How do we fall for it? All these promises about the afterlife, eternal happiness and a heaven where you'll get to meet everyone again? I have to admit I love the sound of it, but that doesn't make it true.

Like I said, faith is good. Promising these things to people and guaranteeing it - that's where I have a problem.

Religion Causes War?

I'm sceptical about this. We often hear how more people are killed over religion than anything else, but I think religion is simply the device used by those controlling the people. It's true that people would be far more careful if they didn't know if there was an afterlife, likewise I'm sure there'd be fewer suicide attacks. However look at the UK today. We're invading and fighting people around the world and you couldn't describe these wars as being driven by religion. The people in charge will always want us to go to war, if religion isn't the catalyst they'll find something else - guaranteed. Are the reasons for the deaths of our soldiers today less ridiculous than any religious wars fought in the past?

I'm happy to admit that I have no idea if there's a god or not, either way wouldn't change how I live and treat people. There's plenty of horrible religious and non-religious people, equally there are nice ones on each side.

Religion should be a personal belief. It shouldn't involve anyone around you, cost you money or cause you to fight or fall out. We're all here together and we'll all eventually leave. What we think will happen after this life cannot be certain, let's just do our best to support each other and make the best of the only thing we can be sure of - this world around us today.

"When one person has an imaginary friend it's called crazy, but when several people have the same imaginary friend it's called religion"


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