3) Religion

How can we define a religion?


A religion is a code of conduct specific to a group. Erich Fromm in his book ” To Have or to be” says that codes of conduct can exist completely out of a divine context. This was the case in the communist countries.

According to Maimonides in the “guide for the lost”, religion has a goal. The main goal of religion is to keep peace in a society.

Religious codes of conduct are acquired in the family and at school. Even lay people present conduct and convictions acquired during their education. It’s only when lay people are confronted with different cultures that passively instilled conduct and convictions related to a religion become apparent because different from other cultures.

An example is nudity. Although communist regimes where atheist and nudity was only explicitly prohibited by the bible, nudity was not permitted in communist regimes. Although this regime was atheist, this regime was not able to change religious institutions from the bible like marriage, Sunday, etc…


Opposed to the idealist proposing a code of conduct keeping peace in a society, people blinded by their own passions will use those idealised codes to make war. And what is worse than a war driven by religious passion? The singer Moby gave a nice explanation for religious zealous behaviour. He said that religious fanatics are so fanatic because in the deepest of their mind they are afraid to be wrong….

A religion is good as long as its code of conduct is acceptable to everybody and does not oppress anybody. But once religion is misused to serve power (politic or sexual) it becomes dangerous. It is enough to look at all the massacres perpetuated in the name of god: …Gott mit uns…. The sword of Christ….Allah hou akbar…..

In our modern societies ruled by civil laws, the notion of good and evil follows the evolution of technology and the evolution of cultures present in a population. For this reason the separation of state and church was one of the greatest achievements in the evolution of mankind.

In certain countries separation of church and state still didn’t take place because religion is used by those states to oppress populations. This was also the case in Europe before the French revolution. Nowadays conflicts between church and state or between mosque and state are fundamental to understand the evolution of our society and nowadays politics.

A very interesting conflict to follow actually is the one between Sunna Islam and Chia Islam. This conflict is the consequence of the worshipping of a man in Islam. When you analyse the Muslim credo: “Allahou akbar, la allah illalah, Mohamed razoul Allah” which means: “Allah is the greatest, there is no other allah (god) than Allah and Mohamed is his prophet” the germ has been sown for a perpetual conflict. The reason for this conflict is the presence in the Muslim credo of a man and his worshipping: Mohammed. Just like Christians worshipping the man Jesus.


In the original biblical credo there is nothing else but “what always existed and always will exist” is one. No men are allowed in what belongs to the divine. All the conflicts in contemporary Islam are the result of a war of investiture between the heirs of Mohammed. Mohammed had only daughters. Chia Islam follows the heirs of the stepson and cousin of Mohammed, Ali, who was killed at the battle of Kerbala. The Sunna Muslims follow the heirs of the stepfathers of Mohammed, Abu Bakr and Omar, and his other stepsons Othman and Ali.

At the beginning Islam tried to stop idolatry of the tribes of the Arabic peninsula. The 360 gods of the Kaaba in Mecca where destroyed. But the place of idolatry remained untouched. Instead of the idols, the black stone of the Kaaba was worshipped. The Hebrew bible was adapted to those tribes in the Koran. But by reducing the biblical message of liberation to blind submission (Islam means submission) to the caliphs, heirs of Mohammed, a long history of wars between small and big tyrants started.

Thanks to the religious zealous behaviour of Muslims, it was enough that a tyrant could prove that he was a legitimate heir of Mohammed to deserve absolute immunity. Because blasphemy or injury of the prophet is punished by dead – worse by perpetual damnation – nobody can or dares criticise a descendent of the prophet.

And in the absence of physical descent it was the possession of attributes of the prophet giving power: the hair and hand of the prophet in the Topkapi palace in Istanbul or the coat of the prophet claimed by the Taliban in Afghanistan…


Jews have their own codes of conduct. These are very specific to the Jewish people and try to help Jewish people to live the best life possible, as long it does not harm others. To resume Jewish religion according to Hillel: “Don’t do to others what you don’t want others do to you”



Published in: on 24/10/2006 at 09:41  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello

    This is one of the best sites I have ever found. Thanks!!! Very nice and informal. I enjoy being here.


  2. hmmmm…very interesting!
    Thanks google

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