It is highly probable that you have the same religion as your parents. Parents have
a great deal of influence over their children’s education. Choose your parents carefully!
About three quarters of people stay in the religion they were raised in, although
it depends when you were born. The ‘baby boomer’ generation was more rebellious -
two thirds of them left their parents’ faith but some have returned to it since.
FROM YOUR COUNTRY?
Someone I know says he didn’t know he was a Muslim until he saw it written in his
first passport! Some societies, in the grip of a religion, tolerate no dissent. Babies
are inducted into the state religion shortly after birth. Boys, not girls, are sent
to school where they get taught the faith and no other subjects! There are severe
punishments, often including death, for the religious ‘crimes’ of blasphemy (being
rude to god), heresy (disagreeing with priests’ doctrine) and apostasy (leaving the
You can see by the map that it’s very important to choose where you are born! Do
you notice that religions reflect the history of colonisation? Whoever made that
map assumed there are no atheists. Whilst that might once have been true, in the
last fifty years atheism has been growing in the tolerant Western secular democracies
where a liberal education is universally available.
FROM YOUR SCHOOL?
Even in a secular country you can be sent to a faith school where you will be subjected
to daily rituals designed to inculcate in you the idea that you belong to the only
correct religion and all other religions are wrong. Consolidating differences in
this way only serves to divide societies into factions which have animosity towards
each other. This has given rise to many instances of sectarian violence and war.
It can be between religions, as is the case in Nigeria, or between sects belonging
to the same religion! Northern Ireland has been divided into warring Catholic and
Protestant communities since the 1500s.
Zoom to see key
Religions Promote Differences
All religions require different styles of worship and buildings to worship in, some
faiths expect you to wear different clothes, eat different food and have different
haircuts! See page 9
Considering that there is no evidence for the existence of any god, these are all
unnecessary differences. Mankind has enough real differences to provide a rich worldly
experience. There is nothing wrong with individual differences, but when large numbers
conform into tribal groups the outcome is, inevitably, conflict.
Religious people may go on pilgrimages - they travel great distances to plight their
troth to a supposed holy site and hope to receive healing.