It Should be Okay to Criticize Religion
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Based on the title of the article, I can already anticipate reactions ranging from those are their beliefs to those atrocities happened in the past. I am not here to say that you should never believe in or participate in organized religion. If you gain fulfillment from participating in a particular faith, go ahead and join. My issue is when people choose to ignore the blatant atrocities a specific faith has committed and ignore the effects organized religion can have on those who are not part of the religion. I am tired of religious participants diminishing the impact of faith-based violence out of ignorance or when it occurred. I loathe when religious participants claim that their ideologies are a private matter and do not affect others.

To start with my first issue, which is the shirking of religious violence, nearly every religion especially Christianity and Islam have carried out violence against non-believers. Crimes such as the Crusades, the Inquisitions in Spain, the 9/11 Bombings, the slaughter of LGBTQ individuals in Chechnya, and enslaving unmarried mothers in Ireland the faith often downplays as “in the past,” or its leaders remain silent. The religion does this to keep members and to maintain the illusion of a charitable institution. However, we should not listen to the establishment of religion when it ignores past and current actions. Although some these events took place hundreds of years ago, they nevertheless reveal how the religion feels about those who disagree with them. These efforts also reveal how the faith feels about people who are not heterosexual men. Violence is part of the history of many religions, and unless we acknowledge violence in the name of faith, people will still view such violence as reasonable and for the good of the faith.

My second issue with organized religion is when believers claim that their beliefs affect no one but themselves. Not only is this argument historically disproved, but it is also discredited in modern American society. Abortion and same-sex marriage have been contentious issues for the religious right in the United States, and Republicans have attempted to push agenda aligned with religious ideologies. Arguing that your faith does not affect anyone else does not explain why laws that kept abortion and same-sex illegal for decades in the name of God and morality. It becomes my business to criticize your religion when it can potentially affect my sexual self-determination and the right of others to marry the one they love. When your religion can aid in cutting off access to birth control and proper sexual education, I will step in criticize. You can argue all you want that you have your beliefs, but when your beliefs are negatively impacting others, it is time to reconsider.

I cannot in good conscience support a system that devalues discussion on outdated and bigoted ideas. I will not support an institution that views my body as inherently sinful and as a mere means to create life, and that would gladly ostracize me for deviating from a preconceived ideal. I detest the hypocrisy of religious teachings about loving everyone but denying the humanity of women, LGBTQ individuals, and people of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. People may be offended by my choice to no longer embrace organized religion, but I believe that we should be more open about criticizing religion because we should learn that some beliefs are harmful.

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