The idea that religion was created by man to enslave a man is not a new one. It has been debated by scholars, philosophers, and theologians for centuries. Some argue that religion is a tool used by those in power to control the masses, while others believe that it serves as a source of comfort and meaning for individuals. As you would expect, there are arguments for and against the idea that religion was created by man to enslave man.
One argument for the idea that religion was created by man to enslave man is the concept of religious indoctrination. From a young age, children are taught the beliefs and practices of their parent's religion.
These beliefs are often presented as absolute truths, with little room for questioning or dissent. This process of indoctrination can be seen as a form of brainwashing, in which individuals are taught to blindly accept the authority of their religious leaders and to follow the rules and rituals of their faith without question.
This idea is supported by the work of French philosopher and writer Jean Meslier, who argued that religion was created by those in power to control the masses. Meslier believed that religion was a tool used by monarchs and other rulers to keep the people in line and that it was used to justify their authority and the unequal distribution of wealth and power in society. He wrote that "the first founders of religions were politicians, who had seen that it was necessary to delude the people in order to govern them."
Another argument for the idea that religion was created by man to enslave man is the concept of religious hierarchy. In many religions, there is a clear hierarchy of power, with religious leaders at the top and laypeople at the bottom. These leaders often have a great deal of control over their followers and more often than not use their position to manipulate and exploit them. This can for example be seen in the Catholic Church, where priests and bishops have been accused of abusing their power and using their authority to cover up sexual abuse scandals. The same can also be said of the orthodox/ultra-orthodox (Haradim) Jewish community.
The idea that religion is a tool for oppression is also supported by the work of German philosopher and economist Karl Marx, a secular Jew. Marx believed that religion was a means of social control, used by the ruling class to maintain their power and privilege. He argued that religion was the "opium of the people," which provided a false sense of comfort and hope to the oppressed while distracting them from the real problems of poverty, inequality, and exploitation.
Despite these arguments, many believe that religion serves a valuable role in society. They argue that religion provides a sense of meaning and purpose to individuals, and helps to foster a sense of community and belonging. Religion can also provide a framework for moral and ethical behavior and can serve as a source of comfort in times of grief and suffering.
A notable defender of religion was the American philosopher and psychologist William James. In his book "The Varieties of Religious Experience," James argues that religion is a natural human impulse and that it provides a sense of connection to something greater than oneself. He writes that "religious experiences are not delusions, but are among the most important facts of human existence."
Another defender of religion was the English writer and philosopher G.K. Chesterton. Chesterton believed that religion was a source of freedom, rather than enslavement. He argued that religion provided a framework for individualism and personal responsibility and that it encouraged individuals to strive for a higher ideal. In his book "Orthodoxy," Chesterton writes that "Christianity is the only frame which has preserved the liberty of the mind."
The idea that religion was created by man to enslave man is a complex and controversial one that has been debated for centuries. While some argue that religion is a tool for social control and oppression, others believe that it serves as a source of meaning and purpose for individuals, and provides a framework for moral and ethical behavior.
Ultimately, the role and impact of religion in society is a complex and multifaceted issue that continues to be explored and debated.
A prime example of an ultra-Orthodox master manipulator, who like a glove fits Karl Marx’s description which I have presented above, has to be the abhorrent Aryeh Deri.
For those who do not follow Israeli politics, Aryeh Deri served as the Minister of the Interior in the Israeli government from 2016 to 2020.
In 1993, Deri was convicted of accepting bribes and fraud during his time as the Minister of the Interior in the 1980s. He was sentenced to three years in prison and barred from holding public office for ten years. The conviction was a major scandal in Israel, as Deri was a prominent member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, which had a significant following in Israel's religious Sephardic/Mizrahi community.
After serving his sentence, Deri returned to politics and was eventually elected leader of the Shas party in 2013. In 2015, he was elected to the Knesset, Israel's parliament, and was appointed as Minister of the Interior once again, the following year.
In early 2022 Deri admitted to an array of tax offenses — his second criminal conviction — and resigned from the Knesset as part of a plea deal, as well as paying a laughable fine.
Deri's past convictions have been a source of controversy and criticism throughout his political career. Some argue that he should not have been allowed to return to public office after being convicted of corruption and bribery a second time, while others believe that he has paid his debt to society and should be allowed to resume his political career.
Despite the controversy surrounding his past conviction, Deri remains a prominent figure in Israeli politics, and his party continues to hold significant influence in Israel's religious/ ultra-Orthodox community.
Following the last election in November 2022, Deri has continually stated that he represents more than 450,000 Shas constituents who voted for him.
So the question must be asked, do Shas voters not care that this man they so revere is a twice-convicted felon and master manipulator? Presumably, the answer is no.
Or, the more likely scenario is that like lemmings, they follow the directives of their communal rabbis without question. The ‘social control’ that Marx refers to.
Here is another example of blind adherence. The rabbi in question also comes from the Sephardic/Mizrahi community.
Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Amar said that recent earthquakes in Israel are a direct result of the rise in rights and freedoms of the LBGTQ+ community.
Firstly it should be noted the wide support for the rabbi's views from citizens who either can’t or will not think for themselves or are happy to be led by those who they perceive as better their betters.
And the good rabbi is a public servant, his outrageous salary being paid by the tax-paying citizens of Israel.
And yet here we are in a democratic, western, and progressive country, being spiritedly led and controlled by someone with dark medieval views.
Religion is in many instances all-controlling, inhibiting free thought and action.