Why an interest in religion? Indeed, why must we have religion at all?
Religion is interesting because historically, it has been either the cause of or an excuse for most of the war, genocide, suffering, torture, repression of women, and other various evils humans inflict on other humans (and animals!), but it seems to be something than 85% - 90% of all humans cannot live without.
So my question is, how can a force that is so socially destructive be so personally necessary?
This question is especially true for monotheistic, revealed religions – those that postulate that there is one god and his (it always is “his”, never “hers”) word has been revealed to the prophet/savior/priest, etc.. While social destruction is certainly not limited to monotheistic revealed religions, they seem to have a particular hatred of females, often cloaked in an exaggerated veneration of the female as mother/wife (but never leader or even just person) and use this to warp societies so that women’s talents and energies are repressed or punished. An examination of their history, dogma, and practices, say to me that religion, or at lest monotheistic religions, have nothing to with god and everything to do with the leadership/hierarchy/clergy access to wealth, power and sex (especially, it appears, for Catholic priests).
I realize that at the neighborhood level, many people find church “fellowship” to be valuable and comforting, and that many churches (as opposed to religions) do wonderful things, and that churches and religions pass on values -- some of which help societies sustain themselves, but many of which are socially and personally destructive – but I can’t help but ask John Lennon’s question , what if there was no religion?