Monday Muse: My Problem with Organized Religion

I explore what religion means and what are the issues that I feel plague the model of Organized Religion.

Touched By His Noodly Appendage

Disclaimer: Before I begin, I should clarify that I am not targeting any specific religion for any specific peculiarity. To elaborate my points, I may pull examples from different religions, but I will try to be fair in the matter. Secondly, the points presented in this post are my own opinion, but are based on ideas I find logical. Hence they have been presented in a statement format, and not in a explorative questioning format. Please keep these in mind as you read ahead.


To provide context to the post, it is imperative that we define religion and organized religion, and differentiate between the two. Since time immemorial, mankind has struggled to answer questions and solve mysteries regarding life, purpose, creation and the universe, among others. The theories that it has produced in this struggle are what form the basis of culture and religion. Religion is nothing but a particular set of beliefs, including beliefs in particular theories about the same mysteries and questions.

Religion

“A religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence.” – from Wikipedia (which is the new-age go-to, like Webster’s dictionary was earlier).

When a person believes in a particular set of theories and draws conclusions from them, s/he will use those principles to differentiate between right and wrong. Based on this bifurcation, s/he may develop a system of morality i.e. a set of principles to live by, and then attempt to live their life within the realm of those principles, but this is not necessary.

A parallel can be drawn between this procedure and any sort of organized planning. While people more often than not do not actively follow a set procedure to make decisions, the logical progression of tasks is accurately followed almost always. This presumption neatly segues into the next step – that of a goal.

Logical planning is object-oriented – stuff is done to accomplish a goal. Companies do whatever they do to grow and gain monetary profits. Social movements have both indistinct goals such as “changing society for the better” and distinct goals such as having a law added or amended in their country (-ies) of operation. If we equate religion to organized planning that is based around creation and purpose, then the goal would be to achieve a sense of accomplishment of purpose in either a subjective or objective context. The concept of God does not need to exist in a religion.

Herein comes my problem with organized religion, whose definition and difference with religion I get into on the next page.