The Harms of Religion

THE  HARM  OF  RELIGION (originally submitted by Todd Peissig)


To those who say that religion should not be criticized because it provides peace and comfort to believers and,  after all, religion brings no harm to anyone……….. I say to them…..You couldn’t be more WRONG ! ! !   Religions have brought much harm to millions and millions of people throughout our planet’s history.    Here is a list we have put together. You may disagree with some points and see others as trivial. But, as we come across more examples, we will add them. The fact that a list like this can exist and be attributed to such a “peaceful” and “loving” god should sicken you. Try and make a list like this for atheists… good luck.

GRETA CHRISTINA HAS A GOOD LIST TOO (click here to see it)

–THE TWO BIGGEST: Intercessory prayer fixes things (leads to a lack of personal action) and the belief that god is coming back to end the world (leads to lack of environmental stewardship and caring about world wars… which some believe ushers in the return of god).


–The Crusades

–The Inquisition

–the 9/11 tragedy

–ethnic cleansing

–suppression of women

–suppression of homosexuals


–honor killings

–suicide bombings

–arranged marriages to minors

–human sacrifices

–witch burnings

–systematic sex with children

–prevention of stem cell research

–faith healing

–useless circumcisions

–prevention of minority rights

–promotion of slavery

–the Jim Jones tragedy

–dissolution of family bonds

–genital mutilation

–general misogyny

–religious terrorism

–the Catholic sex scandal cover-ups

–suppression of art and literature

–the Ku Klux Klan

–Islamic gang rapes of woman as punishment

–punishment and suppression of freethinkers

–belief in a better afterlife

–creation of bigotry

–Pope Benedict’s condemnation of condom use for the spread of AIDS in Africa

–missionaries killing heathens

–children dying because their parents prayed to their god instead of getting legitimate medical help


–serial killers who claim to be doing the work of Jesus/God/Satan/Allah

–exorcisms that result in death of the victim

–the David Koresh/Waco Texas tragedy

–the Heaven’s Gate tragedy

–discouragement of critical or rational thought

–the indoctrination of children into a religion without giving them a chance to learn about all other religions

–self-flagellation religious rituals (beating oneself until bloody)

–abuse of power/authority by religious leaders

–cults (even those that stockpile weapons)

–the fact that Hitler confessed in Mein Kampf to be doing the work of God

–the Boxer Rebellion in China

–constant bloodshed in the Middle-East

–constant battles over control of Jerusalem

–bloodshed in Ireland between the Catholics and the Protestants

–Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions for religious reasons and so that can be the cause or their death unnecessarily if they ever medically need one.

–the suppression of the use of Gardasil in young women to prevent cervical cancer

–the Mumbai, India Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in 2008 perpetrated by a Pakistani religious group (Lashkar-e-Taiba) that calls themselves “the Army of God”

–the delay of the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act by right wing groups (especially James Dobson’s group) which finally passed 10 years after his death

–teaching children inaccurate, misleading and outright false concepts in a place called the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

–constant car bombings in downtown Kabul, Iraq (as well as many other cities) by fundamentalist  religious zealots.

–the denial of adoption by loving and qualified parents just because the parents happen to be the same sex ( e.g. Florida’s outright ban on adoption by same sex couples).

–the Thirty Years War between Protestants and Catholics in 1618 that turned central Europe into a wasteland.

–the Aztecs killed 20,000 people annually to appease the gods.

–the Inca’s sacrificed 200 children in a single ceremony.

–in Tibet priests perform ritual killings.

–the Dravidians in India sacrificed a male child to Kali every Friday evening.

–Islamic jihads that have been going on for over 12 centuries have killed millions.

–in the early 1900′s Muslim Turks waged genocide against Christian Armenians and Greeks.

–Muslim countries today still practice barbaric punishments from their holy books such as amputations for thievery and stoning to death  for adultery.

–Muslim and Hindus took an estimated million lives when Indian became independent from Britain in 1947.

–an Islamic radical tried to blow up a Northwest plane on Christmas day on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in 2009.

–the Mountain Meadows Massacre of 1852 by the Mormons.

–the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington D.C. is refusing to continue its’ social services (including feeding the homeless) in protest of the passage of the same-sex marriage bill in the district.

–Pat Robertson said of the January 2010 Haiti earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people, that the people of Haiti deserved what they got because “they had made a pact with the devil.”

–In March of 2010 nine people in Michigan, calling themselves the Christian Militia, arrested for threatening to kill a police officer and bomb his funeral in hopes of killing many more in order to, as they said, battle the anti-christ.

– In July of 2010 the Vatican declared that ordaining a woman as a priest is as grave an offense as pedophilia.  So in essence a man raping a 6 year old little girl is the same as a woman leading a congregation in prayer.

–a preacher in Florida is advocating the burning of the Koran on the anniversary of 09/11 in 2010 and putting many soldiers in Afghanistan in harm’s way since many Afghani Muslims are now taking their hatred of protest out on them, according to the U.S. military leaders.

–a bigoted member of an Arkansas school board suggested on Facebook that it was ok with him that a “faggot” killed himself (referring to Tyler Clementi’s jump off the George Washington bridge) because after all this is not good “Christian” behavior.


Added by readers since original post on 11/29/10

– Cultural genocide of American Indians by Church run boarding schools.

– Manifest destiny take over of North America from American Indians

– Legal hunting of American Indian in California.

– Racial segregation in Australia based on “God given duties”

– Global Warming deniers using the “God will protect us” defense to ignore science and the threat to our planet


  • Wayne Wilson

    "Christianity, with its roots in Judaism, was a major factor in the development of the Western worldview…. A basic Christian belief was that God gave humans dominion over creation, with the freedom to use the environment as they saw fit. Another important Judeo-Christian belief predicted that God would bring a cataclysmic end to the Earth sometime in the future. One interpretation of this belief is that the Earth is only a temporary way station on the soul's journey to the afterlife. Because these beliefs tended to devalue the natural world, they fostered attitudes and behaviors that had a negative effect on the environment." ~Donald G. Kaufman and Cecilia M. Franz, Biosphere 2000: Protecting Our Global Environment, 1996

  • Volizden

    I might have missed it, but how about.

    Cultural genocide of American Indians by Church run boarding schools.

    Manifest destiny take over of North America from American Indians

    Legal hunting of American Indian in California.

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  • hex


    cultural genocide of indigenous people isn't limited to just north america. take a look at the history of the race relations in australia as just another example, not that the white man's burden (which has a strong tie to his "God given duty") stopped there.

  • Volizden


    You are absolutely correct, I tend to mention American Indian more as most readers will tend to be American, and so I present something that has more impact to them. But you are 100% correct it not only American Indians, and Aborigines, but almost every other existing tribal culture today, in South America, India, SE Asia..

    I do thank you though for your input.

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  • Adam

    Finally,a site with all of them !

  • Charone

    The killing and raping of woman with albinism in Africa because of the belief that a person with albinism are magical luck and can protect them from AIDS.

  • SEL

    Is no one going to make mention of those Westboro Baptist Church wackos who keep declaring that 9/11 was divine punishment from God for being "Fag-Lovers", and how often they try to protest at the funerals for soldiers with signs like "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God Hates Fags"?

    • Adam

      We live near the Westboro folks. I will definitely add them to the list. They haven't killed anyone yet… but their hate is definitely harmful.

  • Tom

    You missed two big ones!

    1. Religions (in the form of creationism and Intelligent Design, aka IDiotism) attempt to stop science, our main way of knowing about the world that has been proven time and time again to be effective!

    2. Religions block education! Not only do the IDiots try to change the teaching of solid biology (aka evolutionary theory) but they seclude their children away from actual knowledge.

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  • Mike

    um… two questions (because I'm fascinated with this topic):

    1) Hitler (Mein Kampf "fact" aside), Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, Lenin, "Dear Leader" in DPRK – who was their god (or what was their religion)?

    2) If G(g)od/religion is a fabrication of mankind, and warfare, bigotry, hatred, and environmental destruction are a result of religion, isn't mankind the source of it all? In other words, how does one blame a god that doesn't exist?

    • Luis

      We’re not blaming a god we blame the ridiculous beliefs and the dreadful acts made on its name.

    • Semper_5

      Culture of any kind is an organizing principle no different to religion.

      Blaming God for Man is the religion Du Jour – makes it easier to do nothing about the problem of human behavior and feel self-righteously superior while selling pop-hate books and little Red-A’s to people allegedly above religious grouping, religious doctrine, and it’s petty status indicators. The religion of Anti-Religion: Another high-water mark for humanity.

  • Guest 1

    Nice work, keep it growing.

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  • B. Van

    Did I miss the Westboro Baptist Church protesters? You know, that despicable group of “Christians” who protest soldier’s funerals with signs that read, “God hates fags” and so on.

  • Carl Hagan

    There are many many more cases involving the murder and / or abduction of children, and the murder of adults by the Catholic Church, to say nothing of the brainwashing of billions by religions.

    Genocide of 50,000-100,000 Canadian Native Americans by Church run ‘Residential’ boarding schools: UNREPENTANT documentary from

    Crimen Sollicitationis, Sex Crimes And The Vatican BBC Panorama Series –

    Christopher Hitchens The Intelligence Squared Debate: Is the Catholic church a force for good in the world?

  • Kernedr

    Evil within a person is the cause of these tragedies, not religion. Religion can give us ideas and understanding, but they can’t make us kill. Each person must chosen their destination. 

  • Semper_5

    The 20th century was the most secular yet in history. Lets ignore that and stick to the myths of our ancestors and but a few isolated events from the 20th century and pretend like we’re not as gullible in our own behaviors – gloss over the fruits of the 20th century and it’s secular institutions. God didn’t manufacturer, justify, and deploy the atomic bomb. God didn’t build the gas chambers, or crack the whip building the road of bones. God didn’t pardon “enemy” scientists like Shiro Iishi, who experimented on human beings, in exchange for his viral research data to build better weapons. God didn’t bank with the Nazis throughout World War 2 knowingly contributing to the economy that was rounding up human beings like cattle and killing them. God isn’t behind the decision making process that dumps crude oil into the ocean, chemicals into the sky, or destroys the watertable beneath us with gas seam fracking. God doesn’t order drone attacks. God doesn’t withhold cures for diseases to profit on the treatments.

    But yeah, religion does indeed. Profit does. Science does in the name of profit. Democracy does. Communism does. Human beings do. Human’s who believe in a principle – secular or no – strong enough to do wrong under it’s auspices. Human’s just like us. Religious humans.

    It’s a lovely scapegoat – religion – when it’s only isolated to people who believe in the spiritual – or different to we the unbelievers – but its us. It’s only us. That’s the human race that does those things mentioned above. Whether it’s religiously huddling around a flickering candle, or a cross, or the banner of atheism, or a political party, or the atom. It’s us. That’s it.

    It’s a lovely hubris to be able to categorically detach yourself from the actions of others – but religion is hardwired into our brains. It is the organizing principle behind every group in the world secular or mystic. From bankers to the Juggalos to Surfers to Skeptics to democrats tp Republicans to Torries To Communists To Socialists to Zealots. We act as we are because we are superior. We have the props to prove it. Look upon our works, Ye mighty, and despair. It’s all the exact. Group psychology.

    I find it incredible that the internet has become a den of armchair
    philosophers (justifiably) deriding the beliefs of others while avoiding
    scrutiny of their own (inexcusable). Know how many of my friends are dead ’cause they bought into Jesus or Buddha? Zero. Guess how many are dead because they believed what the media was selling them about a glamorous lifestyle of drug use and rock and roll? Read an article on Nick Cave, Kurt Cobain, Or Jim Morrison. If that isn’t hagiographic veneration and fawning tell me what is.

    If there’s a God then it’s absence is understandable. “Whoops. I created a species of idiots who keep doing the same thing generation after generation and believing they are superior than the last by repeating it’s strategies for achieving group status indicators. Whoopsies.” And /if/ that sky is as empty as is claimed then all human history is a blip of mentally-ill groups, frothed into a fervor by doctrine, repeating the idiocies of the past under a new standard, believing in unverified fantasies to justify our actions in resource accumulation and territorial acquisition, blessed by the assertions of our superiors that we should dehumanize the enemy in order to destroy them to “Mock them. Ridicule them.”, and laughing as we brutalize those that believe differently to us beneath our boots. And then the next generation does the same… and on and on.

    And it’s only. Ever. Us. We the righteous are tomorrow’s religious nuts of the past responsible for all the ills of the coming world because we did – nothing – but add to them. Because we can’t love each other. Can’t go without to feed someone else, or house them, or educate them. Because doing the right thing takes too long and doesn’t get us as much. And if we don’t have more than how else do people know we’re better than them? Oh, Jesus-H-Dawkins it’s Black Friday I need to run out and buy stuff. Amen. ;)

  • Hi

    Dude we are the cause of this….

  • luna

    While I agree that the evils in people cause much of this religion gives them self justification that would not be found otherwise also y’all forgot that teaching children that they are born evil is just demented…