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Worst Religion in the World 2013

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

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.


  1. As a devout Muslim I'm going to actually side with your article from 2012 regarding Islam. This is because the article isn't calling the TEACHING's of Islam wrong. The article is referring to how people who practice this religion let fanaticism get to a point where they are actually going against the teachings of Islam. Islam, if practiced correctly would actually improve most people lives and help them live in peace.

    NOWHERE in the Koran does it say that its okay to physically hurt or murder people because they mock Islam. Nowhere does it say that suicide bombing is allowed. But like many religions have does so in the past; a few fanatic leaders twist and lie to the uneducated masses to carry out their goals of terror and war. All religions have had incidents of this in the past. For example, Christianity did this with the Crusades. Unfortunately in the present Islam is the main religion being twisted.

    However, I urge all of you that aren't Muslim to not judge the religion or most Muslims by the conduct of a few. At most only 10% of Muslims are truly fanatic. And 90% of those 10% are the uneducated poor being manipulated. The rest of us Muslims want what most people want. We want to live in peace, live a happy life and raise a family.

    • Hi, Noel. Thanks for your comment. It's well-written and very encouraging. Keep saying this to other Muslims.

      Just to be clear, I do think the teachings of Islam are terrible, just not uniquely terrible. I think all religions teach terrible things, including the idea of an afterlife, eternal punishment of non-believers, and the need to worship an imaginary supernatural being.

      I do agree that the fanatics are a small minority. I think most Muslims are like most Christians: normal, middle-of-the-road folks who identify with the religion in social or cultural ways, even if they're not into it all the time. Remember, though, that even if the fanatics are 1% of the total, 1% of a billion is still a million. That's a lot of fanatics walking around. We've seen what 19 guys can do.

      Anyway, it's a pleasure to hear from you.

  2. Hey Daniel Whatever you say is what you say not the whole humanity. And what you say has no guarantee to be 100% right. You are a human as I am. I don't know what religion you belong to but I do know that you belong to the same pace of humanity to which I belong. I am not going to quarell with you for your post because I can't do so am I am restricted by my religion. My religion orders me to respect people like you and I do so. You may have read about the Prophet how nicely he treated other people and I like to adapt that way. As far as, Goodness or Badness of a religion is concerned. You can not define that. You are a human with just a single normal mind. There are people in millions who are following Islam and many of them have a super mind. As far as the social behaviour of Islam is concerned, it is the best I think. We respect females. Our females are free to get education. Have you ever seen yourself a Muslim who doesn't provide education to his daughters? Or you are following what people say. You think you know much but I think you know just a little. A little knowledge is dangerous thing.

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