The Four Irreligions

Sat Apr 21, 2018 09:44:25AM

About 20 years ago, I came across a profound article about the Four Irreligions. I wish I could direct you to the original source, but it seems not to be easily found. The four irreligions can be better said as “the state when a religion strays too far away from its original message.” The author surmised that when a religion deviates from its true path, it goes in one of these four directions.


Followers of the irreligion of superiority believe they are holding on to the true faith. They feel that followers of other religions—or even similar sects of the same irreligion—are heathens heading straight for hell because they have not chosen the right path to God.

Followers of the irreligion of superiority are still friendly with other people of other faiths but their contempt still shines through them. Because the followers of the irreligion of superiority are already on the right path, there is no need to move forward in terms of any self-improvement.


Followers of the irreligion of hostility are not so friendly to those of different faithn. This irreligion can somehow justify being contemptuous and unfair of their treatment of different believers. Taken to an extreme, followers of the religion of hostility can wage terrorism, war, and murder of the infidels in the name of their religion.


These followers minimize contact with their outside world as much as possible. They fear the outside has evil influences that can pull them away their safe religion, even to the extent of alienating family members who have made a different religious decision. So it’s best to pull like-minded people together to reinforce each other’s religion as being the right religion.


Followers of the irreligion of competition are constantly looking for new converts. New converts pull resources from other religions or sects to this more competitive religion, strengthening the religion community and making it more attractive to new seekers. The proof of righteousness is the size of the religious community.


Most religious cynics would see most religionists belong to one of more of these four irreligions. There probably is a degree of truth to this position as religionists are not perfect beings and can develop their psyche a little ways along any one of these four irreligions. The "bad" is more visible than the "good".

For example, many religionists prefer to associate with fellow members. We could call this “insular.” But we should also recognize there is a commonality between people of the same faith, which creates this association. This helps build a community and support group, which is a part of being in a positive religion. Cynics would usually overlook the positives aspects of many religions.

And whether we want to admit it or not, all of us belong to a religion or value system of some kind. For example, I spent about eight years of my life with alcohol as my god, buying into traditions of my heritage and the marketing of the alcohol companies. Instead of going to church on Sunday and saying “glory hallelujah”, I was in the pub on Friday and Saturday evenings in the pub saying “Let’s buy another round”—and proudly wearing my hangover the next day as a sense of accomplishment. I had a great contempt for abstainers and a lesser contempt those who could not drink themselves silly on occasion. I did my best to convert others to my religion of that time.


Hopefully this leaves the reader pondering on how to evaluate religion (or value system) so that we can tell the difference between true religions and the irreligions. I will just offer this quote to give readers something to ponder over:

The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and His Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men.

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358 days ago
Replies (0)
Religion has indeed been used to degrade the human condition as well as uplift it. When it is pushed into government, those pushers are missing the point of religion (in my opinion).

My psychological hypothesis is that those people who are too pushy with their own religion are not quite comfortable with the choice they have made. They need to find converts or force their agenda to ease their conscience.
358 days ago
Replies (2)
Lonely Bird
When someone is using religion to better themselves, their families, and their communities, that shows the principles of religion are being employed in the right way. I don't have a problem with such people and their belief system.

When religion is being used to be superior, hostile, insular, or competitive, this religion is not good. I am skeptical of people motivated in this way.
lonely bird"we the people" are stupid.

357 days ago
Replies (1)
I completely understand your position. I am merely trying to get a definition of "the Faith of God and His religion" because imo there is no such thing as his religion. There is man's hardwired attempt to understand the infinite when living in a finite body. Thus religions appear to inevitably become as opposed to his religion, my our our religion which degenerates into the "true faith" nonsense. The golden rule which appears in the Old Testament as well as in other faiths is something that should be a motivator for people. Unfortunately for many it is not or it is limited to their particular tribe, group, religion.
356 days ago
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It is amazing how two people can attend the same religious services with the same religious leader yet come to two different applications of how to apply religion in their lives. And if someone is truly looking for a reason to be superior or insular, they can find a religion to fit that need.

But we should also look at people who have used their religion to overcome hardships or build a better world. Unfortunately these instances do not make the mass media that often.
lonely bird"we the people" are stupid.

360 days ago
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Your final sentence is intriguing. What is God’s religion?
6.3k 29 61 11 4 Colorado Springs, CO

361 days ago
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Religion is also the power that some people use to exert control over other people's lives. Taken on a national scale (e.g. Saudi Arabia) it leads to repression and subjugation, the antithesis of what their religion ostensibly subscribes to as their primary ordained mission.
6.3k 29 61 11 4 Colorado Springs, CO

361 days ago
Replies (1)
As one who has discussed religion with many people worldwide, for the most part I have been amazed at the 100 percent certitude in their convictions. Indoctrination of religious beliefs begins from the day you are born, and the differences in various denominations of Christianity, Islam and others stem from the inconsistencies in the respective scriptures written by different people over hundreds of years. I try not mock or deride another person's beliefs but rather try understand and find common ground.

However, as certain religious folks try to impose their brand of religion on others through governmental policies, then we must push back using many of their tactics. If, for example, they say God created humans in his own image, then are not the LGBTQ community God's creations also? Or did their God deliberately create some humans with the intent that they would be discriminated against? If so, what kind of God is that?
'Religion' seems to be a notion that there is an all-powerful Sixth-Century-BC tyrant out there who has to be constantly appeased. I was brought up a Christian Socialist and am tempted by Buddhism, neither of which seems to me a 'religion'. Power-hungry nutters will inevitably mis-use antiquated doctrines in which people still pretend to believe. That's inevitable.