If you fail to comply, you burn in fire for eternity! Sounds reasonable, right? Religion was utilized throughout history as a confidence game. It enables the more intelligent among us to control vast multitudes of people through threat and coercive measures. It effectively operates as a pyramid scheme to shield those in power from scrutiny. The vast majority of its adherents honestly believe that they are serving a power greater than themselves. In effect, they are correct. The power they serve is not some all-powerful force but instead their fellow man. Power structures such as religion and government serve only one God, and that God is power and its retention. It is why we see very few poor people at the top of these power structures. It isn’t because God has seen their humility and grace and bestowed upon them incredible riches; it’s because their minions here on Earth have bought their big con.
Adherents of any control system are often asked and encouraged to spread the propaganda offered by those in advantageous positions. A lie repeated often enough is taken for truth. Prosperity gospel infects modern society. It proposes to make its adherents wealthy if they only donate a significant portion of their wealth to enrich the founders of these fraudulent undertakings. Meanwhile, those genuinely reaping the benefits of this gospel all reside at the top of the pyramid scheme. They often own multiple homes, drive fancy cars, and keep women and men on the side outside of their marriages. They get routinely exposed as the frauds they are, yet people continue to donate to their detriment. Those at the top are not moral or upright human beings and frequently opposite the teachings, they espouse.
Niccolo Machiavelli once said there is nothing more important than appearing to be religious. Machiavelli’s teachings have helped to formulate the world in which we now live. His insight into the nature of man is truly unique and incredibly precise. His intellect born from the renaissance continues to influence modern affairs; all governments and institutions in the western world follow the path he laid out whether they realize it or not. He realized that appearance is everything. If what we see on the surface pleases us, most of us will never look below the façade to uncover the often ugly and uncomplicated truth. “The vulgar crowd always is taken by appearances, and the world consists chiefly of the vulgar.”
― Niccolò Machiavelli
Religion, if it ever was about honoring God and living a moral life, is no longer. It is as much about control now as it was in the time of Machiavelli. Cloaking yourself in righteousness enables one to commit tremendous injustices and enrich oneself at the expense of others. The Catholic church had its own armies and waged wars to fill its coffers with money earned from the blood of the devout. It used people’s beliefs to enrich itself and enslave its followers. People use God as a prop to either deflect blame or commit atrocities. This isn’t just confined to Christianity, as all religions are used to control and write a narrative that enables those in power to retain power. They promise heaven in the afterlife while creating a hell on Earth for the people they use to enrich themselves.
Some might say this viewpoint is a bit jaded. One might wish to read a bit and learn the history of humanity. Men are driven by insecurity, and the only way to guard against the ambitions of others is to put yours first. One can only retain power by seeking more and denying it to others. Religion has always had a vital role in society, helping to maintain a balance between the haves and the have nots. Those without could always look to greener pastures ahead, if not in this life, then the one hereafter. Those in control have their heaven here on Earth and will do anything to keep it. Religion offers a reason for suffering and famine, and countless wars. It says we cannot fathom the will of the divine and thus should not question the way of things. This is where the control aspect comes in; if we can’t question, we can’t learn, and we can’t author a better tomorrow.
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