What’s a good religion?

The Regal sun bird is one of several bird species in Rwanda. Courtesy.

If you really think about it, your god is yours alone. Or to put is more simply, everyone appeases their god only to the extent that is personally convenient for them.

Because no matter the religion, the rules are always open to (mis)interpretation and everyone, by virtue of their humanity, is bound to falter.


There are several religious sects around the world, and almost every sect is convinced that the rest are wrong. To the extent that some force their beliefs down other people’s throats through forceful indoctrination (especially of children) and violence.


I don’t know enough to know the right religion or if religion is right in the first place. But I do know that there are good and bad religions. And in my opinion, a good religion is this:


It’s one that does not infringe on human, social, and other rights. It does not advocate for harassing, torturing, killing, discriminating against, or even simply mocking anyone who disagrees with or disobeys its doctrine.

It encourages tolerance and respect for other people’s opinions and beliefs. It advocates for fair and equal treatment of everyone rather than ‘naturally’ deeming one gender god and master of the other, free to administer reward and punishment as it sees fit.

A good religion encourages intellectualism, free thinking and flexibility in this changing world. It encourages questioning and understanding rather than asking people to follow blindly “because our religious book says so.”

Most religious books, which are ancient I might add, were written in the context of the society in which the authors lived. So people should be encouraged to think for themselves, to listen to their conscience and to apply context in their decision-making processes, rather than being dogmatic.

A good religion encourages building and maintaining good relations with others. It does not tell you to ignore what your wife or boss thinks because you’re only accountable to a higher power.

It does not follow practices that will result in poor parenting. It does not condone starving children, eating the first born, being absent, denying children access to certain medical procedures, or putting permanent marks on their bodies sometimes damaging them permanently in the process, all to appease an invisible being.

It’s weird that I have to say this but a good religion does not take advantage of the ignorant and/or poor. It’s not a profit-making machine bullying and coercing people to give more than they can afford.

Finally, an important attribute of a good religion, in my opinion, is one that encourages realism. It does not sell the lie that that a person’s financial growth is tied to the amount of money that they put in the collection bag at each gathering.

And the afterlife and paradise all sound great but a good religion does not encourage people to treat the present as temporary and inconsequential because this life actually matters. Our choices in this life do not only affect us; they affect everyone around us and future generations.


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