Which religions do you dislike more: the ones that proselytize
or the ones that create closed societies where lack of knowledge of and how to
live in the outside world , excommunication of tradition breakers, etc., chain
people down from childhood?
Gods...what a tough question...they are both equally bad. I would have to say
the first one. Because even if the latter is godawful, at least they wouldn't try
to impose their ways on others, whereas the first one would not hesitate to do so.
Both royally suck. However, the one that affects me personally-moronic
proselytizers-I dislike most. On a side note, proselytizing religions also
generate the problems the question indicates only belong in 'closed societies.'
I'd have to say the second group - the have completely lost touch with reality
and are the ones to fear - the others while annoying does at least keep an option
of communication with the outer world, but for both it can be said that only a fool
doesn't fear the fanatics... (Nikitta #1759)
I try not to think in terms like this. I prefer to think that all religions
are harmful to humans simply because they discourage inquiry and self-reliance.
The various things they do to actively harm people, like those mentioned in the
question, are side-effects of their natures. (Nemo #1331)
Actually, I rather enjoy the ones who try to mission out on the street. I
even like the ones who come to my door, sometimes I chat with them about religion
and whatnot, and they often react in the funniest ways. Hey, at least they're
honest about their religion.
The seclusive cults tend to be far, far, far more dangerous. (Rune Borsjo #1295)
The closed ones, at least you can try to put some reason in a person who
interacts with the rest of society. It's something like a conservative Spanish
general said once: "I'd rather had a left-wing extremist than a right-wing one.
Reds read, you always have the hope that reading opens their minds".
And there's the part of how damaging it can be for the members of those cults,
always living in fear of a strange and aggressive world outside their
claustrophobic one. (Angel Arnal #1443)
Proselytizing religions are capable of spreading harm, and being
confrontational. The Old Order Amish, a cl;osed group, don't yammer on about
the USA being a Christian nation and pump resources into getting particular
political candidates elected or certain laws passed. They also don't have that
'end of the world' mind-set that leads to mass suicide. When a previously
proselytizing group decides to withdraw, though, it's time to worry. Jim Jones
started out as a proselytizer, *then* hauled everyone off to isolation in Guyana.
(Pat Kiewicz #1154)
Well, as annoying as the proselytizers are, at least you can hit the mental
mute button on them. The closed-society ones, on the other hand, make it nearly
impossible for anyone born in them to even get information about other viewpoints,
let alone leave if they decide they don't want to follow that faith anymore.
All religions need to proselytize to some extent. What also distinguishes
the closed religions is what happens after the new members are "initiated".
In most mainstream religions, the members live in the community at large, work,
go to school, and socialize freely, not always with members of their own sect.
The closed religions usually exert tight control over their flock by secreting
them in some secluded community, e. g. Jonestown, or Koresh's complex, where
they maintain control over all aspects of their lives. That way they can more
easily be brainwashed into preparing for Armageddon, and the big Kool-Aid party.
If a mainstream minister, rabbi, or priest tried the same with his parishoners,
he would be arrested and probably placed in a lunatic asylum (I hope.) (John
The latter ... hothouse environments are suitable for plants, not humans.
Many religionists assert the "god-given" right to keep their children as ignorant
as themselves. The notion of children as "property" belonging to their parents
still lingers in many cultures around the world.
Personally, I've always preferred the line from Gibran that goes "Your children
are not your children, they are the sons and daughters of life's longing for
itself." (I hope I'm quoting it correctly ... don't have the book handy right now.)
That's a sentiment I tried to keep foremost in my mind when raising (or, more
properly, helping to raise) my children. They've turned out pretty well. (George