Last September, I wrote a ranty blog piece in which I named Islam the worst religion of 2012. It’s still one of my most viewed posts a year later, and it’s attracted a steady stream of comments from Muslims since then. Some are predictably angry, but some are shocked — shocked! — that I would say such things about their wonderful “religion of peace“. No actual death threats though, which I suppose is encouraging.
As the comments have racked up, I’ve been wanting to do an update on the Worst Religion for 2013 so that I could name some other religion, and then someone else could get angry at me and invite me to read their holy book. But the fact is that I haven’t found a worse religion than Islam. It’s not that Muslims have done anything globally terrible this year, for which I’m grateful. And Christianity is still awful — there are forms of Christianity in Africa that make Wahhabism look like an Anglican Sunday School — but there hasn’t been a decisive event that’s put Christianity over the line. No, this year has been typified by the slow, steady drip drip drip of harm done by religious extremists. If you want a catalogue of the major sins, check out the catalogue assembled by religionhurtshumanity.com
But of course this won’t cover the billions of acts of shame, guilt, fear of hell, mind control, magical thinking, manipulation, ostracism, parochialism, ignorance, and wasted time that religion is responsible for. Gay kids rejected by their families. Young people and even spouses who realise they don’t believe, but who get bullied back into the faith under pain of losing their families.
So I can’t pick a winner this year. They’re all terrible. I’ll just say that the worst religion is yours, if you have one. Your religion sucks. If it’s fundamentalist, literalist, overly demanding or totalising, then it sucks even harder. Don’t tell me to read your stupid scriptures, and don’t leave comments telling me that your religion is actually wonderful. If you want to do something, then work at making your religion less terrible. Yes, I know many of you are moderates. Thank you. Do more.