Religion claims to provide moral and ethical enlightenment as opposed to the pagan anarchy that it views as the only alternative.
But this enlightenment is inclusionary to the specific belief system producing a contradiction to a unified approach to the nature of understanding existence. Despite the denial of adherents that their religion is for everyone it is explicitly for those who believe in it.
Atheism is criticized as nihilistic or amoral since the mindset of theists are programmed to believe that without divine authority there can be no other guidance that provides moral or ethical framework. This worldview discounts the natural ability of the human mind to produce equitable behavior based on reason and logic as sources of moral guidance.
In essence it can be stated that there are two major themes that are addressed in religion – reciprocity and authority, one is meant to appeal to reason and the other to bind obedience.
Do not murder, steal, or lie – These social issues of reciprocity have been addressed in much older laws such as the code of Hammurabi. It can be argued then that these concepts are not derived from divine guidance but instead from evolutional survival traits. Humanity realized long ago that certain behavioral limits must be in place to provide cultural continuity.
No other gods before me, no graven image, etc – These rules instill unquestioning authority in charismatic fashion to the belief system.
The problem with charisma is initially it seems so revolutionary until it becomes institutionalized then it reverts to unquestioning domination. Any non-secular form of government suffers this no matter how benign.
Time and again the moral adherents follow dogma and superstition in order to be accepted into a social group or protected from persecution. They become victims of their own philosophical trap of fear based judgement because eternal damnation is very real to them.
This belief system based on ancient custom becomes an attractive and easy alternative to independent thinking. But as history has shown time and again it also provides validation for the persecution of others who disagree or challenge the authority.
However, it has been demonstrated that when religious adherents are confronted with their own violations of these moral precepts in front of peers they will deny the transgression just as often as non-adherents. They will lie to appear faithful thus reinforcing both their concept of original sin in which they can be forgiven and validation of the need for their religion.
This denial exemplifies the fundamental flaw of charismatic moral systems to provide the actual guidance and moral fortitude needed to maintain cultural and societal coherence. Exactly the problem that religion claims to solve.
CHARISMA IS THE CULPRIT
This modified form of hero worship abdicates personal independent growth in emulation of an idealized archetype that bears no relation to shared reality. We can look at the current culture of modern day celebrity as a symptom of this delusional preoccupation with personality.
Without such coherence, the continuity of society is subjected to a cycle of conservative and liberal extremes that only keep existing power structures in place. However currently these existing power structures are still based on feudal caste systems that prevent true social mobility by solidifying population control into the hands of the few powerful elite.
So if we are seeking true enlightenment using religion then we are going backwards by definition as it is sometimes translates from latin as lego “read”, i.e. re (again) + lego in the sense of “choose”, “go over again” or “consider carefully”.
Consider carefully then just where you place your faith.