Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Religion is the Problem, Not Just Rogue Pastors

Sent to The Star, Johannesburg, Tue 10/11/2015 08:22.  Published Wed 11/11/2015, as “Religion must obey same rules as rest of society”.

I refer to The Star leader page’s Little Spot today, Tuesday November 10, “Religion needs regulation”, by Thabile Mange, Comment by preacher Ray McCauley “Causing consternation”, and the front-page article “Pray for rain, public urged” by reporter N Nkosi.

Religion gets far too easy a ride, and privileges it does not deserve.

In the process, superstition is encouraged, and progress is held back.

Prayer is ineffective at best, if not actually counter-productive.

For perhaps 10,000 years, the human race has conducted the experiment of praying to different gods.  If any gods answered prayer, it would be obvious by now in the sustained success of the followers of those particular gods.  It would be obvious which gods are real.

Instead, we have a proliferation of dozens of religions, with several, if not thousands, of sects, each claiming to represent the only true god.

Common sense should show that religion is one big confidence trick.  It persists because parents indoctrinate their children while they are too young to think for themselves.

Yet, regulating religion would interfere with people’s freedom of speech, conscience, and association.

The answer is to subject religion to the same rules as all other aspects of society.

There should be no rates- or tax exemptions for religion and its practitioners.  Preachers claiming “miracles” should have to prove them, or face fraud charges.

Religion Makes Fools of Believers

Sent to The Times, Johannesburg, Tue 10/11/2015 07:46.  Published Wed 11 November 2015, minus the parts in blue, as “Scourge of the Believers”.

In The Times Letters, Monday November 9, “Rogue pastors must be brought to heel”, Thabile Mange says that rogue pastors are making fools out of believers.

While the commission is investigating, will they also investigate widely-practiced ritual cannibalism?  I refer of course to churches that pretend to eat the body and drink the blood of Christ, in the form of the Eucharist.  We all know that it’s just wafers and wine –does this not make fools of believers?

How about a book that claims that the universe is less than 10,000 years old, and that life on earth arose in six days, contradicting every shred of evidence –does this not make fools of believers?

Then there are the exhortations to pray to gods for which no proof exists –does this not make fools of believers?

Mr Mange, the problem lies much deeper than a few rogue pastors.  It is religion as a whole that makes fools of believers.