January 19, 2022
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Special Corner - Ken Mills Reason September 14, 2010


Without assuming there is an actual 'true' religion, it's safe to argue that all false religions will exhibit one or more of these five manifestations:

1. The requirement to proselytise
Any God who is too powerless to reach his or her creation directly must not be a true God worthy of being followed. Humans are the worst vehicles for broadcasting knowledge when you consider two people who see the same exact event will tell two different stories about it, not to mention when they're asked to tell second and third-hand stories told them by others. False religions are easily exposed when they send out their members to make more followers for their impotent deity.

2. The requirement to pay a tithe
Any God who cannot afford to support his or her believers in their chosen doctrines must not be a true God worthy of being followed. If God created everything, then God certainly doesn't need his followers to pay his way. Why would God ask us on a date and then make us pick up the tab? False religions can be deftly divined when they start asking you for money.

3. Being founded by a human prophet
Any God who relies on fallible human beings to speak on his or her behalf is not worthy of being followed. Using a human only leads to different interpretations and understandings, which is why there are no major religions that have not splintered into contradicting congregations. False religions can be quickly culled from the pack when you find out they were created by a human prophet.

4. Fear-based decisions
Any God who uses the threat of violence against humans if they don't follow his or her word is not worthy of being followed. The threat of violence removes free choice and creates an inability to know if a follower really loves the God or merely feigns love out of fear of the afterlife. False religions can be immediately identified when they threaten you with eternal torture for ignoring their message.

5. Reward-based incentives
Any God who must bribe people to follow him or her is not worthy of being followed. What kind of God needs to rely on the selfish motivations of humans to get them as his or her followers? What kind of God needs to use payoffs to get people to show their adoration? False religions can be overtly ousted when they try to entice you to follow their beliefs with promises of rewards and prizes.

In summary, if your religion or faith-based system of beliefs exhibits one or more of these characteristics, you can be sure it is man-made dogma and most certainly is a false religion.

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