Why Religion and Morality are Opposites

Allan Milne Lees
8 min readDec 9, 2019

Religionists get it the wrong way around

The morality of religion

Before the period commonly referred to as The Enlightenment, we human beings knew almost nothing about reality. We lived in a fog of confusion and relied on myths to give structure to our lives. It’s only in the last few hundred years that thanks to scientific empiricism we’ve begun to discover how extraordinary the universe really is. Our knowledge has provided us with the everyday miracles of technology we casually take for granted but which would have seemed to people only two centuries ago to be beyond belief.

Before modern times, science and mysticism were inextricably linked. Chemistry grew out of alchemy: the vain quest to transmute base metals into gold. Newton, perhaps the first truly great physicist, pursued all manner of investigations into what today we know to be superstitious nonsense. The quest for real-world understanding has not been easy, and for most of our history as a species we’ve been stunningly ignorant.

Under such conditions it’s hardly surprising that people would believe in gods and goblins, ghouls and ghosts, witches and sorcery.

Today, however, the situation is profoundly different. Nevertheless, around the globe most people are still trapped in primitive superstitions and beliefs. Probably ninety per cent of our species continues to believe in fantasy, myth, and impossible nonsense despite the fact real-world information is now available at our fingertips.

Like many educated Europeans, I find religionism to be an unfortunate condition both for the sufferer and for those upon whom the religious invariably impose great harm. While religionism was understandable even as recently as two hundred years ago, it is now simply the consequence of abject ignorance and a generalized failure of intellect.

When real-world facts (proven many times, irrefutably) are available, what does it say about us as a species that we continue to cling preferentially to simple-minded nonsense?

Religionists make multiple intellectual errors, most of which we’ll ignore here for the sake of brevity. Perhaps the most common is the naïve assertion that because one cannot definitively prove the god or goblin in question doesn’t exist, therefore it must exist. It is…

Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.