The Religious Delusion
There are a few points that I would like to summarize in relation to my objection to religion. These are becoming highlighted as I read through numerous books, such as God Without Religion, What’s So Great About Christianity, and The Diamond in your Pocket.
Religion is delusional as it supposes to name the unnameable and objectify the subjective
Whatever can be said of that which is beyond our perception and beyond our understanding will always fall short. Language can only deal with what is; supposed supernatural events can only be explained in natural terms. All of religion is explained through the mediation of particular individuals, often regarded as prophets or sages, who have been said to have received a unique revelation. The substance of this message is then adhered to by followers, who find ways to verify the message through their own subjective experience. In the subjective, there is no right or wrong, there is only experience, which is quantified to be truth. This experience is then identified to be something that can be explained, bringing it into the realm of language. From this religion is created. In religion, truth is mediated from outer, rather than inner sources. This is delusion.
Religion is delusional as it creates unnecessary boundaries
Our world is suffering due to the delusional thinking of religious followers, who insist that their higher truth demands respect. These deluded people are willing to kill and be killed for the sake of beliefs that have no basis of reality. Granted, such instances might constitute a minority within religious circles, nonetheless the larger problem is one of boundary – namely that one group claims to have final revelation. These peoples have identified with mental positions based upon their respective religious texts. What is the point of such boundaries, when all they do is inflict harm and disharmony? From the Christian perspective, not only is there one major boundary, but also many internal boundaries, known as denominations. Of course, this also occurs in every other religion.
Religion is delusional as it prevents people from thinking for themselves
It is my firm belief that the majority of religious texts were not written to create followers, or religious movements. Rather, they were created out of the unique experience of individuals and groups as sources of inspiration. It is delusional to rely on any source as final and authoritative. Our task is to go beyond these sources, not for the sake of creating something better, but to get to the essence of that which inspired the creation of the sources. Monotheism called this God, but this is an anthropomorphized concept, or in other words clothing the unnameable in human form. The problem of taking these mental concepts and prescribing them to groups only prevents people from arriving to that which is beyond all thought.
Ultimately, you must search yourself and find that which is true. Some may find themselves in this place through religious devotion, but I see religion as more of a stumbling block, for it is more likely to cloud the way. Using the words of one who inspired a religion, but who it has been said was not a Buddhist, the Buddha used the metaphor of clouds as an apt way of describing how delusion mars the way to truth, love, peace, and happiness.