Faith can be faith in your bank account.  It can be faith in your family.  It can be faith in God.  It can be faith in a version of God as given to you by your religion.  Whatever you have faith in it does not follow that having faith in x is as good as having faith in y.

If faith is bad or a necessary evil, then it follows that the bigger the leap it is the worse it is. Faith would only be half-acceptable if it sought to do no harm and to benefit and if it takes care not to violate reason and truth and the evidence. The more it does this the less bad it is.
Religion is fond of faith - of the blind variety. Blind faith does not use or does not care about evidence.
Religion may offer faith that is contradicted by the facts and by logic and evidence.
Religion may offer faith that has no evidence or logic in its favour.
Religion may offer faith that has INSUFFICIENT evidence or logic in its favour. It may make huge claims and offer weak evidence for them.
Religion may offer evidence but ignore the evidence against. In this case, it is encouraging confirmation bias. This is a human trait where we only pay attention to evidence when it points to what we want to believe or think. But its being a human trait means we must do it less not more. We need to be made aware of it and its dangers.
Religion may offer good evidence for its beliefs but it may believe not because of the evidence but because it wants to. Thus they only use evidence in an attempt to look sensible but their motivation is anti-truth. They use evidence to create a deceptive appearance of honesty and love for truth.
None of these forms of faith are good. You will get in trouble if you don't try to keep grounded in reality and start to prefer faith to reality. And you prove you don't give a damn about truth.
There is no need for religion or religious faith.
We would need religious faith if there were a true religion because we need to be right but there is no evidence for any religion being correct and god-made and the evidence says the only God I need is myself. If I love myself properly, I will improve myself.  Others will improve themselves because they find me inspiring. Self-love in the right way is the only way to help yourself and others.
We might need belief in a higher power and need belief in right and wrong but that is not the same as needing religion. We can have a vague and consoling belief in some kind of deity and can work out what is right and wrong ourselves. We do not need baptisms and people who claim to turn bread and wine into God. We do not need popes and saviours. Teachings that are not needed cause trouble for millions even if it is just parents resenting their children for being sceptical of papal authority or whatever. It is something extra to fight over.

Religion says we have a bias towards sin and it goes and devises spiritual quackery and superstitions that will bring this out in us. We have enough to bring it out and make us angry and make us fight.  We don't need anything else.
People need to do right because it is right and for no other reason at all. To do it solely or mainly for another reason is not right and is really bad. To have another reason means that up to a point you are not doing it because it is right. It is possible to do something mainly because it is right and partly because you don't care if it is right or not. We can have pure and impure motives at the same time.
So we must do right because it is right. It follows that people don’t need higher powers or God or religion or morality.
Religion is an accessory for people to fight over and that is an appalling thing. Priests and clergy and all who have taught religion are responsible for every drop of blood that is spilled in Northern Ireland. Take the IRA. They would not have been killing, maiming and torturing if they were not raised in the Catholic Church. They may pull the triggers but the people who motivated them to kill are worse.  And there are those who do not directly motivate but make the breeding ground. They have given them a device, in the form of religion, for the IRA to make a pathetic excuse for killing. It does not matter that the clergy oppose the killings for they are helping to cause them. Religion was always in the business of condemning war but in such a way that its ban would not be taken seriously. It is a tactic to look good while boosting evil. Good works are not really good when they are deployed to attract you to an evil cause. And the Church does good as a bait.
Anyone who wants you to help others not merely because it is right but because God demands it or requests it, is sowing at least a little disregard for right. They sow the poisonous seed that slowly grows to become a great tree that pollutes everything. The clergy cannot plead innocence when their flock starts to make bombs. They helped make it what it is.
If you protect evil people and open the door for them, you are worse than they are. A man who doesn't know what an evil monster will do and who does nothing to dissuade him is saying, "Do what you want no matter how bad it is. I set you free to do whatever it is you will do though I don't know what you will do." The man who sends him out to do evil is putting a threshold on that evil that must not be crossed.
Religion is a threat. In essence, what causes trouble or gives an excuse for trouble should be forsaken if it is not needed. To go inside a Church door to give the Church money and to eat its communion and to worship its God is to support the evil of religion. If nobody went to churches we would be rid of them.

Tribalism - the loyalty that comes from being in a tribe or simply born into it or labelled with it is what is causing all the division and hate. It is the chief problem. If religion did not exist tribalism would still be a problem. However at least it would have a chance at not being any worse. Religion breastfeeds tribal feelings by trying to become God's tribe and saying God has blessed and even set up the tribe.  The less there is holding the tribe together - it will be a label at the bare minimum - the more insecure and therefore vicious and potentially dangerous the tribe will be.
Religion is dishonest tribalism or sectarianism. It tends to be obsessed with denouncing sex, tends to feign humility while living in mansions, tends to look for capital while nations starve, tends to meddle in the running of the state, causes lots of trouble over unnecessary rules and dogmas, tends to censure rebellion and independent thought, tends to promote and practice artificial goodness (remember, with bad attitudes at the back of your mind your good works are just over-selfishly doing good when it suits you – the “good” actually feeds the badness and the vices), tends to cover up for child-abusing clerics and I could go on and on until my list is ten times as long as the Litany of the Saints.

Conscience can be mistaken for faith.  If anything should be faith perhaps it should.  Faith in right and wrong for atheists and faith in a moral God for believers should be an expression of conscience.  Those who make faith to be a mere placebo or fantasy are advocating a form of faith that refuses to teach conscience and be based on it.  Conscientious faith cares about being right and the truth for without the truth a conscience cannot teach you anything.  We hear politicians worry a lot about protecting religious faith but it is telling that they never worry about the religious conscience.  A faith that breaks the link with conscience is simply evil.  It is evil in itself and other evils such as fanaticism or religious careerism will soon follow.

Please read, Why I Became an Atheist, John Loftus, Prometheus Books, New York, 2008


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