Are Religions threatening our very existence?

I penned a post in October 2015, “Is Religion the Greatest Threat to World Peace?” it is now almost 3 years on… do I still feel the same way?

Is Religion the greatest threat to world peace

As I read the newspapers and peruse the headlines, I see that the situation re my perspective of 2015 is no better, in fact it is (in my opinion) far worse. I write this not from an atheist, agnostic or even a religious perspective, but rather from a catholic humanistic stand point (I am using the term catholic here in its purest sense – meaning universal, the whole). There are far to many political, religious and social organizations driving agendas which are contrary to tolerance, critical thinking and reasoning. We are been won over by dogma, superstition and an understanding of the world not based on logic, science, evidence and rational empiricism.


Politics has become meshed with religion, were we can no longer tell the difference; the separation of church and state is (almost) no more … this division of religious and political power, is intended to prevent the abuses of power from both sides and the subjugation of justice.  This is not particular to any one religion or country, but just part of a wider picture that see happening across our planet.

So take a read of the article I penned in 2015 … and share your thoughts … I will close with the quote, which I used to open that article…

With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil;

but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.

Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg


In Whose Name?

the evil that men do

in the name of a god

is not in god’s name

but rather

evil enacted

in their name

hypocrisy prevails

in whose name?

some faceless god?


just greed

and the face on the lucre

the victorious

the arrogant

the ungodly

there is no god of the righteous

only the greedy

might is not always right

but greed trumps

"in god's name"

is now a lament of regret

what have we become

© 2017 michael d emmerich


#micropoetry No. 5

Continuing the challenge to keep writing poems of 144 characters or less. Here are two more #micropoems. Poetry for twitter 🙂



a sense of expectation

it's never to dark

always a new beginning

cycle of life keeps moving

light dark light dark .. light



let’s have the adhan chanted

in the same tower that tolls the bell

instead sounds ring out

reaffirming our separation


© 2016 Michael D Emmerich

the Zen of not F#%king Up

Being reading “War” by Sebastian Junger, and he writes about “the Zen of not fucking up” and the consequences thereof. On an aside, it’s an excellent read of modern day warfare. Highly recommended. That comment got me thinking, reading, writing and then thinking some more.  This poem grew out of Zen, War, Dylan and Junger! If you have an aversion to swearing please don’t read this 🙂

down in the valley

going to the mountaintop

find your Zen in the valley

take it with you on your way on high

no Zen up there my brother

its all down here below

deal with the concrete, the grit

take wisdom from the now

not invisible stuff from ancient books

shame on your greed, your wicked schemes

modern times thunders in the alley

causing a ruckus in the valley

everything has potential consequences

push for the high mindfulness

of not fucking up

don’t worry about being worried

care about what you care about

don’t give a fuck about the rest

learn how not to worry about being worried

be more joyful, kinder to others

plant and see what the earth brings forth

follow the zen art

of not fucking up

enlighten up

don’t take yourself to seriously

you don't need any guide

you already know the way

if things don’t work for you

then just say, fuck it!

© 2016 Michael D Emmerich

Is Religion the Greatest Threat to World Peace?

With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil;

but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.

Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg

The day we as a global nation choose to live for causes and not support ones that are worth dying for; will truly be a great day. Sadly it is a long way off. It will take tolerance and peace having to become more sacred than dogma and blind unquestioning arrogance for that to occur. When questions can be asked without having to fear for ones life, or risk being shouted down in the name of some religion…as they fear the questions (or maybe it is the answers the fear), that will be a day to treasure.

The religions that dominate our world today are made up of fossilized dogmas, that have been excavated from the mud of our past. They hale from a by-gone era when man created religion in an attempt to better understand his world. We now have science, evidence based research and rational questioning minds, which is the antithesis of many religions. This bygone dogma was forged in a world and culture so foreign to the one we live in today, but yet those beliefs are still held as sacrosanct and untouchable. As a result of this outdated dogma, evil deeds are allowed to breed, not by distorting or changing the teachings of scripture, but by obeying them. There is much material in every religious tradition that teaches violence, intolerance and hatred.

When a person believes, truly believes, that they know God’s will, they become almost impossible to reason with. Scientific research and evidence is thrown out along with rational thinking and the bath water. This is because most religions teach that faith – belief not supported by evidence – is not just acceptable but commendable, and is the sign of a virtuous person. Reasoning with a person in the light of the above becomes nigh impossible, as religious morality is not grounded in humans needs and desires, but in the will of god. Beliefs that weren’t based on evidence to begin with usually can’t be changed by evidence. Hence religious faith becomes very dangerous; when a religious believer chooses a course of action that’s evil or harmful, efforts to persuade them to stop will be futile. After all, if God has told them to follow a certain path, any opinion to the contrary is the devils work, and must be resisted, forcefully if needs be.

Religious leaders (and many of their followers), from all religions; oppose abortion, birth control, gay adoption, same-sex marriage, woman’s rights, euthanasia, to mention but a few — they want to control how people are born, marry, raise families, how they die, who they vote for, what to eat/not eat and which wars to fight. They want to barge into ones life during our most private moments and impose neigh, force and demand an adherence to their rigid, paternalistic creed. They know best how life should be lived, they have no qualms in seeking to intrude upon the lives of others at the most important and personal of moments.

Differentiating the evil that religion can perpetuate and the goodness in some people who practice religion seems fair up to a point, but how can one, for example, be both Catholic and good given the Vatican’s hundreds of years of torturing and murder, and currently, its favoring image over children? It is akin to being a good Nazi, which is exactly what its pope believes himself to be. When you base your “faith” in books that brim with divine violence, like the Old Testament, doesn’t that lead to more violence, at least in the defense of your “faith”

Sadly religion is never about what humans really need, but about what “god” supposedly needs humans to believe and do. The fact that religion is not about human needs is exactly what makes religion so pernicious. In other words, no matter what you believe, you do not have the right to hurt or curtail the rights of others, or to disproportionately benefit yourself at the expense of others.

It’s a far nobler a pursuit to wrestle with questions of ethics than to evade our responsibility and just parrot edicts that were written down thousands of years ago. It’s too easy to not have to really think about the consequences of our actions when we can just point to a book and say “but God said so.” We don’t understand maths because we take it on faith, in all other realms of our universe, we do not use faith as means of understanding its inner workings. Leaving it to faith is coping out, and it is the same as throwing up our hands and saying I don’t need to know, and deciding that some higher power will reveal all to us in good time. In my opinion, that stance does not get us any further as a species. It only leaves us standing still; unable to progress and make life better for everyone.

In closing let me end with a philosophical statement… which turned into a religious statement … and then totally ignored by religions…

‘Do unto others what you want done unto you.’


557 BC, From the Analects 15:23

“One should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated.”

3200 BC, From the Hitopadesa