The end of religion is critical
I’m certainly glad to see conversations on this as that is always my intent. Since it is Wednesday now and I am being more careful, I’ll respond. I’m opposed to racism, misogyny, xenophobia. and bigotry against LGBT etc. I need to use the etc. as the human sexual range is quite wide. I don’t consider being actively against religion as bigotry. Please understand I make a very clear distinction between religion and spiritual life. Religion is a legacy system that originally evolved as spiritual justification for political control in early and classical civilizations. Over the last five hundred years religions, specifically the myth based, sky god religions, had obviously outlived their usefulness. They survived where they continued to be used for justification of political rule or where they could be used to a counter political movement. The later is basically what happened in the 20th century. Over the last two hundred years alternative economic systems developed that we more efficient and not tied to superstition or archaic mythology.
At the same time the continued survival of mytho-religious systems became, in my opinion, increasingly pathological. Because systems of belief, without objective validation systems, are extremely addictive to a percentage of the population. These are also easy ways of exploiting or manipulating people so you can always count on, it appears, about 15–25% of a population that is probably already under the influence or prone to be under the influence of these belief systems. This applies also directly to what we use to call ideological systems. Same thing and the same range of people affected. These things overlap and feed on each other. And it is just as dangerous either way.
Now people who adapted mytho-religious systems to a more open and healthier type of spirituality are very common. I would maintain historically that this represents the majority of “religious” people at any given time. For social and/or political reasons it was easier to go along and there were useful spiritual techniques that could be extracted from the nonsense. (As an aside in western Christian history it has always been a bit of a problem that the early Christian theologians wrote while they were relatively young and then basically all quite at some point. The assumption, sometimes supported by later private writings, was that they realized that it was all, as we would put it, bullshit.)
The point is that now we have new, alternative traditions that have developed over the last fifty years or so that don’t rely on mythic structures and the demand that you must accept the existence of irrational things in order to use the spiritual tools. Many of these link back to pre-classical religions and the traditions of animism or spiritual linkage with our planetary environment. These also include the spiritual element of our scientific knowledge, e.g. we are all stardust. While all religions are fading away rather quickly some have developed secular forms. Buddhism is increasingly popular as it includes full spiritual learning as a core principle although as a religion it usually falls into the same mythological traps and, so, is dying.
There should be no religious tax free status. As I said originally any spiritually based organization with a commitment to public service can qualify as a non-profit. The complete religious exemption in the US is just a place for the exploiters to hide.
So I will not reconsider what I said but it is only part of what I meant. We need to get to a more healthy source of spirituality and everyday we see more reasons to do this. The return of fascism and white supremacy with other demands that racism is, somehow, valid are all entangled in religious traditions whether they are considered valid or not. Luckily we have a generational change that is having little problem with abandoning the old problems. They have enough new problems to deal with.