To oppress and control large numbers of people, organised religion is essential. Without it, people believe what they want to and the whole system collapses. Individuals, instead of making their own decisions, are compelled to believe fictitious stories from hundreds or thousands of years ago.

The more vulnerable a person is, the better the chances of capturing them inside the web, where many make a career of perpetuating propaganda and fantasy. Vulnerability and a lack of critical thinking skills reduce resistance.

Therefore, when pastors… get involved in politics, one can imagine how dangerous and malevolent they can become. Instead of representing their ‘God’ they become a poodle for those who are too often inspired by the attainment of power and driven by ego and nihilism. The ‘God’ bit merely becomes a tool in the armour of oppression and too often conflict and discord result.

Pastor Mark is one such example.

Let’s dig deeper into how organised religion universally denies people their individuality and corrupts their imagination.

The Oppression of Religion: A Critical Examination

Religion, throughout human history, has played a profound role in shaping societies, providing solace, and guiding moral values. However, it is essential to recognise that religion, like any other institution, can be a source of oppression.

  1. Dogma and Suppression of Free Thought

One of the primary ways religion oppresses people is through the imposition of dogma and the suppression of free thought. Many religious traditions have strict doctrines and beliefs that are considered unquestionable. Individuals who dare to question or deviate from these established beliefs often face censure, ostracism, or even violence. This suppression of free thought limits personal growth and intellectual exploration, ultimately impeding the individual’s ability to make informed choices about their beliefs and values.

  1. Gender Oppression

Religion has frequently been used to justify and perpetuate gender oppression. Many religious texts contain teachings that uphold traditional gender roles and hierarchies. Women, in particular, have historically been relegated to subordinate positions within religious institutions, and their rights and opportunities have been curtailed. Practices such as female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and honour killings continue to be justified on religious grounds in some societies, perpetuating gender-based oppression.

  1. LGBTQ+ Discrimination

Religion has often been a source of discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals. Many religious institutions teach that homosexuality is a sin or immoral, leading to discrimination, exclusion, and sometimes even violence against LGBTQ+ individuals. Such attitudes contribute to social stigmatisation and can lead to mental health issues and increased rates of suicide among LGBTQ+ individuals.

  1. Persecution of Religious Minorities

Religious oppression is not limited to non-believers; it also affects religious minorities within a particular faith. History is replete with examples of religious majorities oppressing and persecuting religious minorities. Whether it’s the historic persecution of Jews in Europe or the ongoing violence against religious minorities in countries like Pakistan and Myanmar, religion has often been a tool used to justify discrimination and violence against those who hold different beliefs.

  1. Control over Personal Choices

Religion can also oppress individuals by exerting control over their personal choices. This control can manifest in various ways, from dictating what one can wear, eat, or marry to imposing strict rules on reproductive rights. These restrictions limit individual autonomy and can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, or fear among adherents who deviate from these prescribed norms.

  1. Economic Exploitation

Religious institutions often accumulate significant wealth and resources. In some cases, they exploit their followers financially, pressuring them to donate money or assets under the guise of religious duty or salvation. This economic exploitation can lead to financial hardship for individuals and communities, while religious leaders enjoy extravagant lifestyles.

Religion, despite its potential for positive impact, has been and continues to be a source of oppression for many individuals and groups. From the suppression of free thought to gender discrimination, LGBTQ+ discrimination, persecution of religious minorities, control over personal choices, and economic exploitation, religion has been used to justify and perpetuate various forms of oppression. It is crucial to recognize these issues and engage in open, respectful dialogue to promote tolerance, equality, and freedom for all, regardless of their religious beliefs or lack thereof.

No one says that being spiritual is wrong, but joining together to become organised bigots in conflict with other organised bigots is about control and distraction, from which ultimately nothing good will be derived.

Jason Cridland

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