Women are often thought of as second-class citizens. Too many men think it is appropriate and justified to physically abuse their wives or girlfriends. This mentality toward women as being inferior has its roots in religion. Almost all religions, and certainly the larger ones, such as Christianity and Islam, teach the inferiority of women. The teachings from their holy books are replete with the sanctioned abuses of women. In many religions, women cannot participate equally with men.
The Bible is full of statements that condone the subjugation of women. In that book women are subjected to beatings, rape and murder. Why any woman would want to be a part of such an oppressive cult is beyond my comprehension. I can no more understand that than I can, for example, a black person wanting to join the Ku Klux Klan.
Catholic bishops want to tell women how they can treat their bodies. The Catholic Church preaches that it is a sin to use contraception. All of the so-called Christian churches, especially those of the fundamentalist variety, want to impose their religious beliefs on women with regard to abortion. So even if a woman is raped, these loving religions would force that woman to give birth. It is hard to imagine that a religious group would have that much hatred and insensitivity toward a rape victim.
Unfortunately, religions seem to thrive on the hatred of those that do not live up to their standards. Homosexuals, atheists and people of other faiths routinely face the wrath of religious bigotry. Oh, you do not believe in what I believe? Then you are a sinner and will burn for eternity in hell.
Certainly there are individuals who are actually kind and loving who belong to these various religious institutions, but they did not get their kind and loving ways from those religions. While religious groups like to claim credit for morality, it actually comes from a simple evolutionary process. There are many scientific articles and books on the subject which clearly show morality without religion. We would be moral animals even if religion had not arisen.
A few particularly good books on the subject are: Marc Hauser, “Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong”; Matt Ridley, “The Origins of Virtue”; Robert Buckman, “Can We Be Good Without God?” Michael Shermer, “The Science of Good and Evil”; Robert Hinde, “Why Good is Good.” They are all very enlightening books.
I will end this letter by saying that people have the right to believe in what they want, but I object when religions want to impose their beliefs on others who do not believe as they do.
Michael Polito, Ph.D.