“ . . . In all parts of our globe, fanatics have cut each other's throats, publicly burnt each other, committed without a scruple and even as a duty, the greatest crimes, and shed torrents of blood . . .
Savage and furious nations, perpetually at war, adore, under divers names, some God, conformable to their ideas, that is to say, cruel, carnivorous, selfish, blood-thirsty. We find, in all the religions, 'a God of armies,' a 'jealous God,' an 'avenging God,' a 'destroying God,' a 'God,' who is pleased with carnage, and whom his worshippers consider it a duty to serve. Lambs, bulls, children, men, and women, are sacrificed to him. Zealous servants of this barbarous God think themselves obliged even to offer up themselves as a sacrifice to him. Madmen may everywhere be seen, who, after meditating upon their terrible God, imagine that to please him they must inflict on themselves, the most exquisite torments. The gloomy ideas formed of the deity, far from consoling them, have every where disquieted their minds, and prejudiced follies destructive to happiness.
How could the human mind progress, while tormented with frightful phantoms, and guided by men, interested in perpetuating its ignorance and fears? Man has been forced to vegetate in his primitive stupidity: he has been taught stories about invisible powers upon whom his happiness was supposed to depend. Occupied solely by his fears, and by unintelligible reveries, he has always been at the mercy of priests, who have reserved to themselves the right of thinking for him, and of directing his actions.”
— Baron d'Holbach, Common Sense, 1772
Religion persists because of the fear it instills in people through its bullying.
There is good reason to be fearful, but that fear is also one of the many reasons that religion should be opposed. It is an insane form of totalitarianism. It intends to force all of us to not only do what it wants but even to think what it wants--even if what it wants you to think is insane. It intends to do this based purely on the force of threats and whatever other use of force is necessary--based on its past performance in Western countries and current performance in certain other countries. Of course, the religious are dangerous to those who oppose them, but opposing them is a moral duty to anyone who supports reason, decency, and the future of the human race.