9 Reasons Religion is So Powerful

9 Reasons Religion is So Powerful


Why is religion so powerful when it is also so, so wrong? Religion has answers for everything. It doesn’t have the right answers for everything, but it has answers. And for most people that’s more than enough. There’s comfort in having an explanation for why we’re here, and where we’re going, and what are our purposes, even if those questions don’t necessarily have answers. Remember this, “I don’t know; therefore God” is always going to be easier than “I don’t know, so let’s find out”. But we shouldn’t just settle for the easy answers. Personally, I prefer honesty over comfort, and reality over mythology. Giving people easy answers to tough questions is exactly why so many people watch political pundits on television make predictions. Or they watch business analysts tell us all exactly how to get rich. This people are paid to be confident, not right. And there are a few people more confident than a pastor on a Sunday morning. Religion uses guilt to prevent you from leaving. Religion compels you to live up to certain ideals whether or not they make any sense. And disobeying them, or even questioning them, means you’re not really that faithful. “Don’t you feel bad about yourself for disappointing God?” “Don’t you feel bad that you’re letting down your parents?” “Your pastor?” “Don’t you feel bad that someone died for you in a cross and you’re not obeying his wishes?” “Don’t you feel bad because you had premarital sex?” “Or ate meat on a day when you shouldn’t?” “Or you happen to love someone of the same sex?” Religion makes you feel guilty for breaking rules that never made sense in the first place. Religion offers cures for diseases they created. You’re better off assessing those rules yourself and then deciding whether or not they’re worth following. And don’t worry, it’s okay to doubt. It’s okay to break religious rules that never made any sense outside of that context of faith. No one’s looking over your shoulder or watching you from above to make sure you’re staying within the lines that religion created. Religion makes you feel special. Doesn’t everyone want to be one of God’s Chosen People? Don’t you want to believe that God created you personally and watches over you? The whole concept of a Guardian Angel is silly, but it’s the same principle here: “You’re a special little snowflake”. And so are the billions of other people out there just like you. I’ll admit, there’s some value to believe in that when you’re a child. But as you grow up, you have to realize that if all of us are special, none of us are special. Religion capitalizes on division. Religion loves to stoke the “Us vs. Them” mentality. We’re okay; they’re not. We’re going to Heaven; they’re not. God loves us; but not them. It’s human nature to want to be accepted. That we all want to feel like we belong and we’re part of a welcoming group. The problem is: it’s that very mindset that causes so many problems, because so many people believe that everyone who’s not in our group needs to be converted or killed. Religion makes morality really simple. We all want to be good people, but not everyone agrees on what it takes to be good. Religion makes that simple. “Follow our rules, and you’re good!” It’s that easy. It requires no further intellectual thought. But morality isn’t that simple. There are times when lying is good and obeying your parents is bad. Not everything is as black and white as holy books make them out to be. It’s so much easier to not have to think for yourself, isn’t it? If you oppose marriage equality, the easiest moral question of our time, it kind of takes the heat off you to be able to say, “Don’t blame me, don’t get mad at me, it’s in the Bible”. Here’s another example: abortion. You may think abortions are immoral, but there are times when abortions are medically necessary to save the life of a woman. Then what? The point is: these issues are not always as simple as religious books or religious people make them out to be. And in some cases, they’re flat out wrong. Remember, we don’t get our morality from religion. Religion gets its morality from us. And we’re not always right about everything. Religion claims ownership of spiritual bliss. Sure, a lot of things can make you happy now. “But what’s going to happen with your soul?” “Don’t you want to be taken care of in the afterlife?” Let’s get this out of the way. Those are dumb questions to begin with because it presumes the existence of this magical afterlife, which it’s never been proven. But religion, as always, has the answer. “And you can’t just believe in any religion, you have to believe in my religion.” “But if you do, I got you covered.” It’s a pretty sweet deal actually because we all want to be happy. And we’ll do whatever it takes to get there. Religion steps in and says, “We’ll make you happy in the one place you have absolutely zero control over: the afterlife”. It’s hard not to get tempted by that offer. Religion gets us while we’re young. There’s a reason most people don’t switch from one religion to another later on in life. You’re taught to believe this stuff before you’re old enough to question it. Religious leaders know that if they introduced all of these stories to you when you were a teenager, you’d laughed right in their faces. But if they do it when you’re four, you’ll just assume it’s true. Your parents reinforce these beliefs and you’re surrounded by people who believe the same stuff. So you never think it’s weird until maybe you get older and you finally start thinking about it. I live in Chicago and the same principle applies to Cubs’ fans. No one becomes a fan of the Cubs when they’re in their thirties. What argument could anyone possibly make for you to jump on to that bandwagon? No, you’re either a lifelong Cubs’ fan, or you’re not a Cubs’ fan. And that’s why I celebrate atheists who have the courage to shed their faith. It requires a complete restructuring of your old beliefs. You have to rethink everything you ever thought was true. It’s not easy and it’s brave for anyone to even consider changing their minds on such an important issue. Religion makes you think you can control the uncontrollable. Life is unpredictable. Shit happens. But isn’t it nice to know that your prayers might be able to alter the course of things? Look, if you didn’t study for a test, prayer is not going to help you. If a hurricane is coming your way, you’re better off doing this than putting your hands together and hoping the hurricane changes direction. If someone you know is dying, I’m sorry to say that your prayers are not going to change the prognosis. As the saying goes, “Prayer is how to do nothing and still think you’re helping”. Now, prayer might comfort you. And that might change how you react in some of these circumstances. But that’s a completely different story. You have to appreciate the fact that a lot of people believe God has a plan for their lives. And yet they are perfectly fine with praying for God to completely alter that plan to suit whatever it is that they need. Don’t think about that one too hard. Money. Churches convince you to give them 10% of your income. And they don’t have to pay taxes on them because they’re considered non-profits. At many mega churches, they don’t even release to their own congregation how much money their senior pastor even makes. Sometimes that money is spent on genuinely good things, like medical equipment in places that actually need it. But even then a lot of times it comes with strings attached. Because you can’t buy medical equipment unless you also buy the Bible. Because people have to, you know, spread the gospel while they’re doing these mission trips. At times, it’s really awful. Some pastors would convince poor people to give the church whatever little money they have left with the promise that God will reward them many times over. There’s no insurance for stuff like that. If we took all the money people spent perpetuating religious lies and put them almost anywhere else, I’m convinced we would get pretty far in solving some of the world’s biggest problems. In fact, it’d be way more effective than all the prayers of all the congregations combined. My name is Hemant Mehta and I write at FriendlyAtheist.com What do you want to see a video about? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to check it out. And don’t forget to subscribe.

100 thoughts on “9 Reasons Religion is So Powerful”

  1. Thank you for sharing.. the money part is so true.. my family is poor yet my dad accumulates money & give it to church just because of prosperity gospel nonsense that my church preaches.. These preachers are so fucking shameless for taking advantage of vulnerable people.

  2. I think that abortions should only be performed when the woman's life is in danger, if it's not, then she should give birth and if she really doesn't want the baby she should put him/her up for adoption.

  3. This guy is anything BUT friendly. He's sarcastic, arrogant and condescending. He's friendly to atheists I'm sure. I have talked to friendly atheists that are mature, nice, not arrogant or sarcastic or condescending and we had a decent, friendly, interesting conversation about things. I guarantee you I would not be able to have that with this fellow.

  4. I believe in Islam and I want to know how Islam contradicts science because it's known to be a scientific religion where there's no bar in learning logical explanations(in fact its encouraged)

  5. A single hand reaching into a pocket to put a few coins in a charity Box,Does more for Humanity than 1million hands clasped in prayer

  6. Christians are the biggest hypocrites, non believers are nicer, they actually care unlike Christians that will judge you and kick you while your down.

  7. If you want reality then it is found in the LORD GOD OF ISRAEL through CHRIST we will never know death. Because of GODS love he sent his only begotten to die for our sins as well as yours turn to GOD and find the truth

  8. Have to add this morality comes from us is the most idiotic statement morality comes from GOD do you have the bravery to pray and ask GOD to send you the true prophet he is here if you pray you will find out

  9. i am atheist but i have noticed everything works on irony. religious folks do charity but i have not. basically religions have quagmire at the soup kitchen and brian not there at all.

  10. Eveeywhere I look on ur channel I agree with you. Please run for president and I will fly to America and gain citizenship and vote for you and put leaflets in the mosque and church

  11. Jesus never preached religion nor did he ask his disciples to teach Christianity he asked them to preach the kingdom of heaven(another country/world with its own laws and beliefs)no one's forced to be apart of

  12. everyone knows about islamic terrorists today isis in the middle ages christians killed more than islamic terrorists isis.

  13. I want to hear about how religion, Christianity in particular, negatively affects political decisions. I.E. only god can effect the climate, only god can decide when the world ends, denying evolution in education, etc.

  14. 7:21 you're right there. Prayer doesn't alter the course of things. Prayer isn't supposed to change anything. It's primarily for communication with God.

  15. i was born in an religious country and the religious people around me are getting on my nerves. i'm 15 and tired of religion already. sometimes it dosen't make sense -_-

  16. When you die there's a section for every religion we just get different privileges when we die. Oh yeah and of course some when your alive as well. lol.

  17. That last one was a joke i wrote so in knowing that don't waste your time in calling me stupid just laugh. awesome job on the video

  18. In a way, I am thankful for being bullied when I was a young kid in church. I was so busy watching my back that I simply couldnt pay attention to what the Sunday School teacher (who turned a blind eye to the bullying) was saying.

  19. The thing about religion is there's a difference between God's wishes and an established religion. An established religion's structure is made of humans, so there's going to be prejudice, bias, corruption, etc. God's wishes are to live an ethical and moral life, but humans decided to add a little more spice to it.

  20. If I asked you to live like Jesus, a good person at the least, God at the highest, (what you believe) I'm pretty sure you wouldn't say no. The established religion of Jesus Christ was still made by humans and people built it's structure. I think at some things, God is probably disappointed about his religion.

  21. Something horible hapened in my country:a girl was caught in a car accident.He losed blood and gone inconstient ,the doctors asked the parents about a blood transfer and the father said:"The bible says that you may not want other`s blood, god will save her" and after some days the girl died.(sory for my english)

  22. I saw this video of these asshole preachers yelling at a 2 people holding hands because they werent "married yet" isnt religion sick?

  23. As a Christian slowly turning to an athiest, I hate that argument my dad makes when he says "The Devil wants you to do this or that and if you don't do what God wants you to and do the Devil wants you to do, he'll laugh at you." It is not only making me feel guilty or making feel dumber (though I do need to research more before making an argument, but this is just about my personal experience), but it is also makes his arguments less believable as that's not a good way to argue against a person expecially athiests. It is like saying a Dragon would laugh at you for making dumb choices that lands you on the street.

  24. 1. But "I don't know, so let's find out" is SO much more interesting. Come on, people; evolution has blessed us with cognition, so let's use our gifts, shall we?
    2. The whole guilt-tripping thing is exactly why I found (and slightly invented) a new faith. Original sin is BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT, BULLSHIT. Any questions?
    3. If you're talking about the Abrahamic God, I'd rather be damned to Hell than be "His" chosen one, thanks. Genocidal, egomaniacal, sexist, racist, homophobic and proud of all of it…no, I do not worship that God and have no desire to be "His" chosen.
    4. Division is also bullshit, given that we are all of the same source, which is the Big Bang and the stardust of which we are made. I think I've read somewhere that no one is less than 22nd cousins with anyone else, so hello to all my lovely cousins out there! We are all connected; everything is connected.
    5. Religion also makes morality arbitrary. Is a thing wrong because it is OBJECTIVELY wrong, or is it wrong because the Abrahamic God says so? If the former, there's no need for God. If the latter, morality is entirely arbitrary because God can (and has) changed "His" mind about what is right and wrong on a whim.
    6. Depends on what you call the "spirit", which I personally believe is a combination of our individualized morality and cognition. That's not a religious thing, it's an evolutionary and societal thing. Ever heard of Emile Durkheim, Hemant? If not, go look him up, because his theory that religion is an entirely anthropological phenomenon is very interesting.
    7. Tell me about it. I remember reading the Catechism in elementary school (Catholic school, ew), and learning all the prayers and about how much God loves all the "little bitty babies in His hands", but we were never taught about the real world in religion class. I had to wait till university for that, and trust me, that's a long wait. At least by that point I was smart enough to have already shed my belief in original sin, thank God, but still, I had had a LONG way to go yet.
    8. I think prayer works for the sake of comfort, and I'm not in any position to tell a person they are wrong for seeking ANY kind of comfort when they're in a tough position, or their loved one is in a tough position. I personally don't believe in prayer insofar as it has an ability to sway God's opinion and change what happens, of course not, but I DO believe that it gives comfort, even when things don't work out as you had hoped. Again, I'm not in any position to strip people of that. That's Richard Dawkins' job and though I'm not a monotheist, I am NOT falling into his role because he is an emotional f*ck-wit. Sorry, he might be smart and all, but it's true.
    9. Is the whole 10% thing true of all religions? Because I don't know whether we ever did that. sure, we'd contribute to the offering at church back when we still went, but I'm not sure if that came out of our taxes or whatever. I kind of don't HATE that idea, though, as long as it's going to serve the wider community and not just the church itself. I like Islam for that, because they do spread the Zakat around to different people and institutions that need the cash, rather than hoarding it for the mosques. But if I'm going to give charity, which I do, I'm going to give it directly to the organizations rather than having my donations filtered through the church. Cut out the middle man.

  25. PS: About the cash, too, at least in Catholicism, the priests have to take a vow of poverty, so we know it's not going to them, personally. It might be going to fix up the church building itself, which I approve of if it's in need of it. Example: my former church REALLY needed a heating system because it was FREEZING in there in the winter, and they got one. Yay. But how much did they spend on that as opposed to helping the community? No idea. That's the main point, I suppose.

  26. Okay, let's say we go to heaven. It's a wonderful time there and everyone is happy, but that happiness wouldn't last because we as humans would eventually grow tired of the same thing. And since we would stay there FOREVER we would eventually grow suicidal tendencies or just straight up go crazy

  27. There is a Rainbow and there is the defense against the likes of 9/11. The world is often a scary place.

  28. u know what, its really hard here in our counrty, which is the philippines To teach your child not to believe in god because, some of private schools here are catholic school, even public schools Pray , and teaches about God, im afraid my kid will be very confused about it.. but im really trying for him understand what God really is what religion really is.. everywhere you go, there's always a chapel or church, in every vehicle here there is always a god or a rosary in inside the vehicle, which is tricycle, Van, bus, taxi,Jeepney, Car. so my son is starting to ask me questions about the imaginary guy. And the worst part is, You cannot enroll kinder garten, or day care without Baptismal bcoz it's one of the requirements.. it really sucks.

  29. 1. You can't disprove it.
    2. Full of scare tactics
    3. Religious people and cold-readers are master manipulators
    4. BS testimonies of thousands of people that claimed to have seen heaven and hell
    5. Take advantage of people's guilt.

    This is why religion is a fucking disease. People don't understand that just because you can't prove something DOESN'T EXIST, doesn't mean it Exists! It's easier for something not to exist than to exist. I don't know what exists no one does, and I really don't give a shit. I'm enjoying my life and thats it. Not basing my life around the afterlife..common sense

  30. I have thought for a while as to why religion was created in the first place, and I came up with the idea that it is a tool created by people thousands of years ago to help them make answers to questions they could not find the true answer to, because of their lack of understanding of the universe, and how it works.

  31. For #7, it gets you while you're young, Christopher Hitchens once said:

    "If people couldn't be taught religion until the age of reason, we'd be living
    in a very different society."

  32. "जिसका कोई नहीं होता, उसका भागवान होता है" very popular saying. thumbs up please.

  33. When you said #7 I felt so happy that my family wasn’t all that much christian and I wasn’t in Sunday school, so when we moved to US I was 10 by then and already questioned religion.

  34. I'm a trans guy. My girlfriend and I are both atheists and she would follow me to the ends of the Earth. Well, you could call me a God.

    HAahah

  35. I was a religeous person. All that stuff about "we're gonna go to heaven and you gonns go to hell" is bullshit. Every true christian realizes that just a minority will go to heaven and most will end up in hell. I was sure that I'll go to hell because I masturbated a lot. I was thinking I'm a reeealy bad person

  36. I want freedom and religion is in my way that's why iam a atheist. I just want free time a life of happiness just a bit more happy time

  37. I hate republicans for abortion, it's there choice. Free will, don't tell them what to do Christians.( about abortion)

  38. I hear a lot of people say things like it’s really hard to shed your religion but I just don’t see it when i was growing up i was a Christian yeah i guess since I didn’t go to church that could be a reason why it was easy for me but i mean I would still pray and I thought i got special signs from god and I thought i was some special chosen person but all it took for me was to see the point of view from an atheist and it made sense so I thought it over for like a week and dropped it easy and I will say as soon as I dropped it it felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders it felt great

  39. hinduism isnt a religion, so it was SUPER easy to become an atheist! If you want to be atheist, become hindu and its super easy to stop believing what they tell you cause only a tad bit is unbelievable. Hinduism is mostly about spiritual benefits and health benefits. Hindus are scientists, my mom uses Hinduism to heal her health problems, it works. I don't mean praying, I mean looking at the Hindu medicine and doing that. Much better. Im atheist/Hindu cause I dont believe in god, but I believe in the beliefs and such of Hinduism

  40. So true religion only works on children. I live in a country w/c is predominantly Catholic, raised by super religious Catholic family and even sent to school in a Catholic academy. I even wanted to become a priest at one point. And so I read the bible and went to church on sundays even took the religion subject seriously. Then I grew up and found all of was just bullshit! Now I found reason and sanity. Now I am an atheist and glad I got out from all the bullshit religion has taught me.

  41. You "look over your own shoulders" with your actions via subconscious. 😂 your cool, my name is Jacob D. Bailey. I respect you as you write books and whether you try to or not your helping others. I am also an atheist, I am not agnostic or any of that stuff I just believe there is no god in general. I love facts and psychology. Thank you for your service to people like me. You help me understand so much. By the way, my quotation marks are my words not yours, just wanted you to know I wasn't quoting you.

  42. Hello Hermant,
    You should run for president the united states. But wait i have a question, can somebody become president if they don't believe in god?

  43. hemant mehta , you can decide that u dont believe in god , but u cant be sure he dont exist. its the same for believers. u cant be sure it does exist. i am against those extremist who are so against god or so much for him… i dont agree with many things hemant say. he is too much on the no side. when he say god loves us , but not them. thats not true! god is supposed to love everyone and he forgives people for their mistakes. this guy hemant know more about christian that i do and he complains about christian lol thats so funny ! im christian and i dont believe most of what he say. but i also dont deny everything like he does. nothing is so black or white. im more a reasonable person and middle thinkiing about god and religion. i think he is an extermist on the no side like some are so crazy about their religion. when hemant say prayers is useless , again he is being an extremist against religions. he has the right to not believe but not to make fun of everyone else like he does. BTW he keeps say to leave a comment and they will check it out.. i never seen an answer from him.

  44. you should do a video about isn't there a better way to send a religion if god wanted to? you know like if he wanted all of us to be with him shouldn't he send the message right? also i think that would be great to make a video about reasons god loves atheists,
    Good luck

  45. It didn't take much for me to give up on religion. I was 13 years old when I realized that I was different than the other boys. They liked girls, I was attracted to the other boys. After figuring this out I went to my room and I prayed and prayed to God to not let me be gay. Then I prayed and prayed some more. I learned 2 things.
    1st I'm gay
    And 2nd there is no god!
    So at 13 years old god wanted me to hate myself for who I was. I couldn't accept that. I am GAY and nothing written in a book of fiction was going to change that.

  46. So many Evangelicals claim to be prolife. These are often the same people who say that Jesus guides their lives and watches over them, protects them and everything that happens to them is the will of Jesus. Yet, most of these same evangelicals have guns! I have asked, "Why do you need a gun if everything is the will of Jesus"?  Don’t say “Hunting”, Just explain why your
    faith in Jesus does not include the gun issue.

  47. Well religion is based on literature. Man made books. Scollls. Witten on walls like egypt. Imagine. How can one book. Have so many people divided. Its just one book. Its a manual. To control. People massive amounts of people 😘💖💕👭👬👪👫

  48. dear religion. who created God?
    why u created Lucifer even if u know he rebellion against u?
    why u created a vast universe but one planet is habitable?
    why God created Adolf Hitler even
    if he know he will kill Jew's?
    problem for Noah"s ark
    poop from animal
    food
    cold
    water

  49. There is a possibility. That GOD. IS AN ALIEN. HE IS NOT FROM THIS WORLD. PFOOF OF UFOS. IN. U TUBE. TV. PICTURES VIDEOS. ITS A POSSIBILITY 👭👬👪👫😘💖💕👍

  50. What religion or reason can make you foresake ur family. Man made religion. FAMILY MATTERS. 👭👬👪👫😘💖💕🌹

  51. Religion has the perfect business model; sell an invisible product ,nobody can come back for a refund and it`s all tax free !

  52. That is very false Christianity doesn't know everything, if it did there would be no need for science.
    I am worshipping Jesus and meaning of life is to love God with all of your heart and soul and to love people as same as you love yourself.

  53. Also, the fact that most new Christians are from the Third World and mix in atavistic animist religious beliefs with Christianity, with predictably brutish results.

  54. It took me 30 years to finally wake up. But only a few hours to think something is really wrong. Either every scientist since the scientific revolution began or religion is full of shit. I side on the latter being the BS story.

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