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.