“Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

I sometimes try to think about what our lives would be like if we had no religion. Would chaos and anarchy rule supreme without some spiritual moral compass to guide us? Would we as a civilization just instinctively know how to treat our fellow man, or do we require a “reward” in exchange for our good behavior. This is a hard question to answer since the concept of religion is engrained in every man, woman, and child in existence. This will continue to be the case till end times, so we are for better or worse stuck with religion.

I often times write and speculate as to why religion was created in the first place. I have two theories which I feel answer this age old question. The first being the fear of the unknown and unexplainable and the second being social control. I personally think religion was first created to subdue early mans fears, but then when the slightly more intelligent man realized how much influence it had on the masses he transformed it into a form of social control. Since this discovery; generations of generations of people have fallen victim to the soothing swan song of religion.

I have always wanted to write several books on the topic of religion, and one such idea is building a religious timeline; starting from the very first religion all the way up to where we are today. I would track the origins and expansion of said religions. I figured I wouldn’t get too detailed I would just provide the basics of each religion. One detail I would touch on is the impact the featured religion had on the civilization. There were about eight other things I would cover, but are not pertinent to this post. I started this project last year, but when I was faced with the grand scope of the project I decided to shelve it until/if my “Dylan Thomas” books took off.

I really cannot think of one thing other than religion which has had a bigger impact on human existence. Religion although sold as a ticket to salvation and as a guide on how to properly treat your fellow man, it has also been a tool to control the masses. The rulers of old used religion as a tool to give the masses some spiritual guidelines. These guidelines were necessary to keep order, and the people who were being ruled feared for their life hereafter, so they fell in line with their spiritual leaders. We can look out in the world today and still see religion being used by political leaders.

In reference to this specific quote I think we need to look at civilizations through history. I wrote about such a time period a year ago when I touched on the alliance between Rome and the Catholic Church. This was a time when there were two classes the rich and the poor. The rich Romans during this time had the power and influence of the Catholic Church on their side. They parlayed this influence to socially control the people. They fed the fear of hell into each and every one of them, so the thought of standing up against their repressors equaled eternal suicide into a lake of fire. I am not too familiar with Napoleon time period but I would be willing to bet it resembled the time period I wrote about. I think I may just have to read up on this a bit.

The poor will only stand so long being the class which is shit on for so long before the people realize they out number the rich and decide to take over. Religion is the perfect tool to keep social order amidst such repression. I think this point is illustrated even in today by studying some of the countries in the Middle East. In America religion is still a dominate force, but I do not know the extent of social control it has today. I suppose it keeps the religious nuts focused on salvation instead of murdering and having sex with small little woodland creatures. I suppose in this case religion is doing something worthwhile.

  1. wen says:

    nice post–i for one do not like religion–my faith is very important to me, hence my blogging, but religion–been hurt by religion-the legalism within it–to me it is about a relationship with the Lord, not religion–thanks for sharing

    • I agree. Religion was made by people, which is why it gets screwed up. People are always looking for ways to have power and control over each other, and sooner or later someone will subvert even the most well-intentioned organized religion for their own purposes.
      To me all that proves is that people are naturally prone to be corrupt. It tells us a lot about human beings and nothing about God. I believe in God but religion is just people trying to put God in a box small enough for them to control. Jodi

  2. DP says:

    wen, what you speak of is religion. kthx

  3. DP says:

    Tim, on another note, nice to see you back… I thought we lost you for a second 🙂

  4. renxkyoko says:

    My feelings towards religion seesaw up and down. But there’s one thing I’m sure of….. I hate it when it tries to control every aspect of our lives…and all; our thoughts, words and deeds.

    Anyway, I’m glad to have you back here again.

  5. hames1977 says:

    it is not about religion, it is about seeing God’s force within our hearts…

  6. Sky says:

    You made some good points in this short article. With additional research you could build an informative and interesting writing piece.

    You mentioned going back to the beginning to see how it all started with regards to religion. Well your in luck, someone did just that about a 100 years ago and wrote a book that is a classic now.

    I think it is not so well known by students even though it is a classic because, first, it is a serious commitment of someone’s time to read it as it is about 700-800 pages long; second, the book was very controversial, understandably, when it was first released and is still considered so today by many people.

    The book is called: The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion: A New Abridgement from the Second and Third Editions (Oxford World’s Classics). I have a paperback copy of the abridged edition and that is the one that is about 800 pages, so imagine the length of the unabridged edition.

    I have been meaning to read this book for years but have been intimidated by its size even though I read regularly. It really funny that I’m recommending this book because I just ordered a hard covered version from Amazon two days ago. I have been meaning to do this for some time but the hard cover book was $40 and I’m on a tight budget. I am hoping the hardcover will make it much easier to read.

    I suggest u go to Amazon and look up the book for a description of it by the publisher and more important, I think, read the customer reviews. BTW, I think the paperback edition is about $10, so it’s really cheap.

    One quote I know that fits the bill regarding religion is this, “Religion is considered by the people as true; by the wise as false; and by the rulers as useful. -William Gibbons

    If u have any questions, please feel free to email me. Make sure to check out The Golden Bough on Amazon. I think it might be exactly what u r looking for regarding the history of superstitions/religion. Take care.

  7. Andy says:

    religion is false, you live once , do what you can to live your life at its fullest, when your dying be content with the life youve led not a life that was forced apon you

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