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For many people, Christianity and other religion bring unhappiness, guilt is one example since many religions preach exacting moral standards that nobody can reach. Liberal Christianity is more accepting and the main harm Liberal Christianity causes is that it can occasionally lead to more harmful fundamentalism.
In many forms of religion, people are told that having sexual thoughts is a sin and for younger people with average sex drives avoiding sexual thoughts is likely to be difficult or impossible. A wide range of sexual actions, even feelings outside marriage are considered sinful. Even within marriage God or Jesus is in your bedroom watching what you do with your wife/husband and some things Jesus doesn't like whether you're married or not. Further homosexuals are told that they are vile and wicked. Some denominations preach that all humans, no matter how much good they do, are miserable sinners who deserve to be tortured for all eternity.
The hope that such religions provide is not the uplifting hope of improving one's future, but rather the hope of evading just punishment.
Fear of afterlife
Many forms of Christianity teach that the majority of mankind will go to Hell. The fear of this may cause great distress. If you are at death's door and were raised to believe that you may be going to Hell, it can create great stress. It can also use up energy that could have been spent better possibly saying goodbye to loved ones or even fighting whatever life-threatening condition is affecting you.
It causes friends and relatives stress to think that perhaps a loved one that died could be in Hell. It is difficult to estimate how much stress and unhappiness is caused by the fear of Hell and the suffering that one is supposed to endure while in Hell. Many people may be reluctant to admit how much they fear that they are sinners and could be destined to go to Hell. Many people may also be reluctant to admit the fear they hold that loved ones were sinners and are in Hell. The fact that Hell is forever, it’s hard to even imagine. Many may be uncomfortable outside on a hot day or sitting in a boring meeting, yet Hell is portrayed far, far worse than these daily annoyances that many may try to avoid.
Bad superstition in this life
Religion also causes fear of supernatural horrors in this life, many people believe that witches, demons, or evil spirits are sabotaging their efforts or plotting to attack them. Normally, one would try to get a person to disbelieve in, or at least forget about, these sorts of paranoid delusions. Despite this if people are a member of a religion that accepts or even encourages these sorts of beliefs, it may be very difficult to convince someone to let go of them.
Prejudice against outsiders
Religion can also cause fear of non-believers or believers in different religions, because religion demands loyalty to a particular ideology. Often believers feel that their ideology must be defended against all conceivable threats. This fear leads to needless prejudice and sometimes even violence. Even "moderate" religious believers are often afraid of the decline of their own faith, although they can't relate this decline to any definite tangible harm to themselves or others.
- How can you tell the difference between Christianity and an abusive husband or boyfriend?
- How can you tell the difference between Christianity and a scam?
Adapted from Iron Chariots where I wrote a large part but not all