The Divisive Nature Of Religion – The “Us and Them” Mentality

Jul 10, 2011 Comments Off by

Human beings possess the remarkably ability to always divide into two groups, or indeed, merge into two groups. Take rivalries between groups of people based on location for example. If there’s competition between two villages, they won’t get on. But as soon as you introduce a second pair of villages in competition with the first pair, the first pair get on tremendously well. But let’s say that the region that these four villages is in competes with the neighbouring region. And these two regions absolutely hate each other, until they have to unite under one nation in competition with another nation, when suddenly everyone gets along. Human beings are competitive in nature.

Human beings also like to identify with a certain group of people. For example, many people in the modern world identify with their football club. Identifying with a religion is just an older way of doing this.

These two components of human psychology come together to form the “us and them” mentality. People identify with one group, and then get competitive with other groups and end up hating them.

This is where atheism has one key advantage over religion. Atheism is not institutionalised. Nobody can identify with atheism as a group of people, because atheists are a proudly disorganised rabble. Hence atheism subdues the “us and them” mentality.


About the author

I am the founder of Atheism Network.
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