There are currently about 5 billion religious people around the world. They are adherents of world religions, such as Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism, as well as local religions, such as Rastafari and Neo-Paganism. About 2 billion people decide not to be religious. Until early 2021, this non-religious group experienced the fastest development.
In history, religion was born with two purposes. The first brings man closer to his creator. His names are various, ranging from God, Dewa to Yahweh. It depends on the local culture, where the religion was born. The second is to provide order for human life amid all the uncertainties of life, ranging from disasters to the fear of facing death.
The purpose of religion can be summed up in two words, namely meaning and morals. Meaning is related to the purpose of human existence. Morals are related to guidelines for action so that humans can live together peacefully. The forms of religion also vary, in line with cultural developments in various places. However, the basic essence is similar.
Like everything in human hands, religion began to be corrupted. Political interests use it to gather the masses and seize power. Economic interests use to earn more money from the stupidity of the masses. My country is full of these two experiences.
Religion is used to justify lazy thinking. People also become narrow-minded and intolerant. They become closed to dissent. They become evil and blind to common sense.
In my country, religion is destroyed by formalism. This means that religion is only an outward appearance, starting from how to dress to blind memorization of certain religious teachings. There is no inner change. There is no deep appreciation that brings peace and compassion. Only outward appearance.
Religion is also used for social conformism. To get promoted, people follow a certain religion. To be fluent in politics, people adhere to certain religions. Religion loses its true meaning and morals.
Due to shallow religious formalism, people are no longer able to think independently. His mind is flawed. The logic is tucked behind blind faith. He is not able to make decisions with clear reason and by the circumstances.
The result is religious radicalism. People become evil towards other religions, as well as other interpretations of their religion. One more step, he became a terrorist. He is ready to kill and destroy other people, just because of different religions, or different religious interpretations.
This is where critical reasoning is important. He learned from the criticism of religion made by philosophers and social scientists. The point is simple: everything must be tested with real evidence and common sense before it is believed. This ranges from tradition to widespread general views.
That something is written, is not necessarily true. That something comes from the past, and is written, is not necessarily true. Here is the importance of the ability to interpret critically with data and common sense. This is very important in the context of religious life.
That something was said by an expert, is not necessarily true. That something is said by a respected person in society is not necessarily true. Truth is a matter of concrete evidence and logic. Only by relying on concrete evidence and logic can the true truth come to the fore, and the right decisions can be made.
That something is believed by many people, does not mean it is true. On the contrary, it is very likely to happen. Something that many people believe tends to be wrong. History has proven that.
For thousands of years, humans have believed that the earth is the center of the universe. This view is broken. With various studies and political battles, we have come to the truth, that the earth revolves around the sun. There are other examples with a similar pattern.
Religion can be an imaginary institution. So said Feuerbach, a German thinker. God is often a projection of the human mind. All good things are directed at him.
Finally, humans worship their imagination. He became disabled and weak, because he was busy worshiping, and forgot to develop himself. According to Feuerbach, the science of God is the science of humans. Religion that dwarfs human identity and capabilities is imaginary.
Religion can also make us like children. We always ask for God's invisible help. Finally, we are lazy to try ourselves. We are also lazy to be responsible for our actions because everything is thrown to God.
In this sense, like Freud, the Austrian thinker reminded, religion is a form of mental disorder. People worship the invisible. People beg for the unseen. If not careful, religion can fall into mass hypnosis that fools and impoverishes life.
In times of poverty and injustice, religion can be a comforting temporary opiate. So said Karl Marx, a German thinker. Religion dulls reason and fighting power. People accept oppression, injustice, and poverty without a fight.
In this age of science and technology, religion should have no place. So said Richard Dawkins, an English thinker. Religion is an artifact of the past that causes poverty, ignorance, and war. It does not deserve a living space in the 21st century.
The religious critics above are not entirely wrong. Religion can fall into heresy that justifies injustice. Religion can make people narrow, stupid, and poor. We can learn from all of them while continuing to purify our own religious life.
On the other hand, the government must also be firm against all forms of religious radicalism. Injustice in the name of religion must be fought as quickly and effectively as possible. He should not be allowed to roam and disrupt the order of living together. In this world, it belongs to all creatures, regardless of the species, religion, also for non-religious.
This is the essence of religious critical reasoning. If this is done, then we will experience the purification of religious life. We will remain faithful and religious, at the same time open to differences, able to reason with common sense, be critical and find peace in life. Only in this way, inter-religious peace can truly be realized.
Don't delay anymore.