Withdraw from the opiate of the masses

Patrick Gamble

The other day, I was asked what I think about God.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this question; in my younger days, I enjoyed the controversy that criticism of religion provided on a achingly boring, monotonous junior high school afternoon.

While I have many issues with religion, specifically Christianity, my main problem with it is the conception of hell and the repression that comes along with it. Hell has always been a scare tactic to keep people conforming to a certain lifestyle. However, denying oneself’s basic carnal appetites is extremely unhealthy and can bring about extreme psychological side effects.

Throughout history, hellfire and brimstone sermons have been used to motivate conformity. From the burning of witches in medieval Europe to the attacks of 9/11, religious intolerance based upon the fear of damnation has bred violence in our world.

Do you think the massive, world-wide, decades-long epidemic of pedophilia within the Catholic church has anything to do with Catholic priests commitment to a vow of celibacy — their fear of eternal damnation in the red-hot clutches of the archfiend, Satan, and his limitless army of unspeakable demon warriors armed to the teeth with weapons built from the bones of murderers and rapists?

Sex is natural. All humans desire sexual activity and it should not be demonized.

While we cannot psychoanalytically excuse the actions of these evil men who make their livings as servants of the Catholic God, it is important to recognize that if they were not forced to repress their natural sexuality, perhaps they would not have tarnished the international image of an entire religion to which millions of actual moral people subscribe.

While there are good things done in the name of religion, it is hard to argue that the side effects of faith are all positive — we live in a world ravaged by war in the shadow of religion.

Islamic extremism motivates carnage every day. Money-hungry televangelists preach intolerance as some of their two-faced Republican counterparts indulge in homosexual behavior, all the while denying the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community the right to marry.

Many people will refuse to accept this dichotomy. Most people will not allow themselves to recognize the fact every religion worships the same idea of god, despite superficial differences in the dogma.

I do not believe personal spirituality is wrong. Much can be gained on a personal level from the study of all religions; mainly, the ultimate goal of religion is to instill morality within the culture.

It is an unfortunate truth that religion has already irreparably tarnished humanity and will continue to do so. When people believe something so vehemently they are willing to kill and die for an idea that can never be physically proven, problems arise.

Karl Marx said “religion is the opiate of the masses” and I have always agreed with that. Frankly, I think much of this country could benefit from some time spent in rehab.