The World’s Oldest…
If prostitution is truly the world’s oldest profession then I would say religion is the world’s oldest “racket.” Let me digress just a moment on that word. Random House says:
Racket: 1) A loud noise or clamor, especially of a disturbing or confusing kind
2) Social excitement or dissipation
3) An organized illegal activity
4 ) A dishonest scheme, business, activity etc.
5) (Slang) a) an occupation or livelihood, b) an easy or profitable source of
When we think of the crime or practice of “racketeering” several of these definitions fall into that image. So, when I place organized religion in the realm of racketeering, I especially see numbers 3, 4 and 5b as applicable!
Once some tribal shaman or ‘witch doctor’ found out s/he could exert the power to tell someone, “Go kill Flintstone; he is a bad guy possessed by evil spirits,” we’ve been on a endless downward spiral. More atrocities have been committed in the name of religion than any other cause I can find.
Do not misunderstand; I truly believe and fully accept that every person needs to have some spiritual aspect in their lives and that we are all able to and should worship whatever we call the Divine in our own way with total sincerity and faith. It’s just when this gets institutionalized and organized that everything goes to Hades.
Let’s look at history since I tend to be an historian of antiquarian matters, perhaps a sociological historian if there is such a thing. Religion is such a divisive and dangerous concept. How many pitiful people have been stoned for some so-called “sin”? Burned or tortured for “witchcraft”? Enslaved and abused to serve those who claimed to be spreading the true gospel and bringing our “Little Brown Brothers” into the fold of one or another branch of Christianity? You can look at the Jewish faith, the Islamic or Muslim faith, even Hinduism and belief systems as diverse as Voodoo and Mithraism. Perhaps various Pagan cults did practice human sacrifice as the Romans alleged. I cannot prove or disprove that. But always violence and atrocities!!
The whole course of history is bloodied and littered with the shattered bodies and lives of those who have been persecuted because of their beliefs. Oh, they all probably expected to go straight to some wonderful
Paradise for their
martyrdom. I have not been there yet to see if they are there and are happy or not
but I have grave doubts—pun intended.
Even in my early teens, I had started to learn about different denominations and found the falsity of my earlier idea that all Christian sects were basically the same. Each one claimed to believe in God and follow Jesus but how to do this varied widely. And all of them said in so many words, “If you do not believe and behave exactly as we tell you, and of course tithe rigorously, you are going to hell!!”
"Whoa," said I, naïve and unlearned as I then was, “How can they all be right?” And it hit me soon that if they were not all right then most or all of them must be wrong! That was when I made a strong shift away from all organized religion and began to build my own belief system and follow it quietly and independently. I’m still there. I set foot in churches—or synagogues, temples, mosques etc, under protest and only when a funeral demands that I show respect.
I do not care if you are Jim Jones, Miscavage, the Pope or the leader of any other sect, denomination or cult, you are a racketeer. You are using a position of power and influence to drive people to do your bidding, whether or not you claim to be speaking for “God” or “Allah” or whomever. You are extorting money out of your followers in a fraudulent way, claiming this is necessary to do the Deity’s work and for them to show good faith, although in most cases it is going to your personal lifestyle or at best to a bloated and overblown structure of edifices, edicts, and empire.
The Mob, the Syndicate, the Cartel and all the other organized and feared collectives of criminal activity are mere pikers when you stand them up beside organized religion! I would humbly suggest that all proclaimed religious leaders in the world be rounded up and incarcerated for the rest of their life spans and any new ones who spring up be arrested immediately and made to join them. In time this plague on humanity may fade away and we can all march to our own spiritual drummer and apply our energies and resources to the cause of real humanity and charity to one another.
Admittedly there will still be some diversity but there will also be far fewer reasons for anyone to hate another soul because they do not believe as you do, as some Racketeering “Boss” says is right! Yes, think about it: isn’t religion the world’s oldest racket? Isn’t it time we outgrew this flawed and basically wicked delusion and rose above its constraints?