Mormon Fundamentalists tell their followers that if they leave the religion they will never be able to attain the kingdom of God. Of course, Mormons tell their followers a lot of very crazy stuff. If you want to read about some of it, just search for the keyword “Mormon” in this blog.
Christians also condition their members from small childhood on about the concept of “hell” and how terrible it is. No wonder Christians live in fear of hell all their lives. I once had a long conversation with a good friend who was a German Catholic priest. We were young men at the time. He always compared us to Narcissus and Goldmund, the two protagonists of Hermann Hesse’s famous novel. I was Goldmund, the lover of life. He was Narcissus, the erudite cleric. I still remember what he once said when he ran out of arguments for why I should be religious. He said that if he was wrong, after death, he’d never know and nothing would happen. But if I was wrong, I’d have to endure eternity in hell. Did I really want to take that risk?
Apparently, that’s what kept him in his religion. The fear of the consequences of possibly being wrong. 40 years later, he is still a priest.
Muslims tell their followers they’ll be stoned and killed in this world already if they leave the religion. Don’t even ask what their god does to you after you die. Several modern countries have the death penalty for apostasy including: Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Think about it: These countries will kill you if you don’t buy into their religious shit. Some of those countries are our “allies.” Go figure.
Of course, Christians did that too, centuries ago. They just worked it out sooner.
Then there are all those strange religions that make their members proselytize door to door. Those include Jehovah’s Witnesses and, of course, mainstream Mormons. Always on the lookout for more tithes.
And then there are the Jews. They are kind of the opposite. If you can’t prove Jewish roots several generations back, you’re not allowed in. It seems like you can’t really become a Jew. You have to always have been one. They like to keep their religion all to themselves. I actually like that about Judaism. Money, status, focus on education and learning, and tradition, all seem to be basic tenets of Judaism, at least from the uninitiated point of view this atheist.
If I had to pick a religion, I’d be a Jew.