Religion is quite possibly one of the single most influential concepts in our history as human beings. Every country and culture has a religion in one from or the other, be it a highly structured, large scale organizations like Catholicism, or a small gathering of less than one hundred devotees to some unfamiliar deity. These belief systems have the ability to affect our lives a great deal and in fact, it is quite likely that you have been already been affected today.
Humans are considered to be pack animals by science, we tend to group together to achieve a common goal. In this way, religion is no different, it is simply a group of individuals who share the same belief, gathering together to express those beliefs and derive any benefits to be had from such beliefs. As a result of this, it is usually quite easy for the spiritual leader to convince or even manipulate the following.
Politicians depend highly on the populace for the support necessary to put or keep them in office. This puts religion in a very advantageous position since many populations tend to be of one belief system or another. A politician simply has to gain the favor of the spiritual collective and this can secure their place in office, the collective in turn, can make demands and have them fulfilled when these politicians gain power. This gives spiritual groups the ability to greatly shape our society in any way they may desire.
In many countries, spiritual teachings are the dominating powers, with politics and government following where the teachings lead. This can be good and bad. It can be good if the fate is peaceful and teaches about harmony and betterment of human standards of living through fellowship and charity. It can be bad when the teachings state that the world should be eradicated of all people not of its spiritual affiliation and this has been the case many times in history.
This I consider the most dangerous and powerful aspect of religion. It is powerful because a belief is a hard thing to get rid of, dangerous because some beliefs are just plain wrong and because they were never founded in logic, impossible to argue against.
Religion as a single force has many far reaching influences in our world today and quite possibly, its control on society should be checked.
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