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Religion, reality, belief

By Ian Nance - posted Thursday, 13 March 2014

“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

These memorable words fromInvictus, Latin for “unconquered”, by English poet William Henley, highlight man’s need to accept responsibility for his own fate.

From the times when humans developed reason and thought, there has always been the tendency to attribute occurrences to the work of some supernatural being, and to ignore the fact that everything which happens does so as a result of a specific cause which produces its resultant effect; every thing is inter-dependent


Whether it took the form of worshipping idols, sun or stars, animals, landforms, or various divine ‘beings’, people always believed that control of their destiny was in the hands of something or someone outside themselves.

What adherents of many religions fail to appreciate is that any cause knowingly generated by man results in a man-made outcome.

Results are not because of successful prayer to some mythical presence for something desired by the beseechers, but this willingness to do so has resulted in religion’s gaining immense control, especially when favourable effects eventuate.

I am not singling out any particular religion, I condemn all of them. My mantra is freedom from religion, not freedom of religion.

Karl Marx held that: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people".

Religion devolves from an ethical moral base, but ethics and morality certainly are not dependent upon religion for their adoption. Religion’s exclusive claim on these qualities is diminished by the groupthink which goes with it; a sort of mass delusion (no pun). It has resulted in immensely powerful cliques in the form of churches, generally constructed with overpowering dogma, hierarchies, and influence, thus the ability to manipulate public attitude.


I do not suggest that there is anything abnormal about the existence or structure of social bonding, since man is a gregarious animal who disdains isolation. One has only to participate in assemblage activities such as ballet, sport, stage performances, or choral singing to appreciate the feeling of well-being which comes from taking part in collective participation; endorphins at play.   

The basis of most religions is the desire to achieve good outcomes in life, but not only is the definition of “good’ a little nebulous, but also its methods of achievement. Much religious indoctrination involves mind control with followers forced to accept fatuous hypotheses as unquestioned facts. Faith is substituted for logic and reason.    

I have one close friend who chose to enter the priesthood as a result of his admiration for the positive virtues espoused by his family’s religion and his own upbringing. After some time at his seminary, he became disillusioned, not only with the dogmatic mindlessness and incorrectness of what he was being taught, but also with his religion. He walked right away from it.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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