Historical records of criticism of religion goes back to at least 5th century BCE, in ancient Greece, with Diagoras "the Atheist" of Melos. In ancient Rome, an early known example is Lucretius' De Rerum Natura from the 1st century BCE.
Criticism of religion is complicated by the fact that there exist multiple definitions and concepts of religion in different cultures and languages within the diverse categories of religions such as monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, nontheism and diverse specific religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and many others.
It is not always clear, to whom the criticisms are aimed at, or to what extent they are applicable to other religions. Every exclusive religion on earth that promotes exclusive truth, claims necessarily denigrates the truth-claims of other religions.
Critics of religion in general often regard religion as outdated, harmful to the individual, harmful to society, an impediment to the progress of science, a source of immoral acts or customs, and a political tool for social control.
== Religious movements ==
In the last century, new Christian movements arose and parallel several indian religious movements with millions of people.
The christian movements are mostly meetings of people, who flee into religion as a safe place in a too modern and intolerant world. Partially, they are only a moral sedative for the uneducated classes and for retired pensioners, who escape to a mighty god as a psychic shield behind religious groupings.
The personal emphasis of an external specific religion has the temporary advantage of creating or restoring an apparent cultural identity, but at the same time the disadvantage of strengthening separatism and obscuring the view of the essentials behind all religions, which is mostly denied there.
Real religions would lead people to the spiritual path, so that they become a "spinner of the wheel", but the majority of human souls is sunk in their bodies and does therefore not want a spiritual developement, not to mention their cultural sight of spirituality.
In such mass movements spirituality does not have any nutritional base, since the basic maturity is not present, and therefore there is no desire for an ascension.
Therefore these movements consist mostly of simple people who do not really change the spiritual climate of our planet and dont develop their souls.
A further disadvantage of these christian movements is the modern interpretation of the scriptures of their founders. Many movements have their basis in the interpretations of the successors of the founder. Therefore give these religions a separatistic feeling of the rebirth of the specific religion, which is catastrophical for the global understanding of religion, and which indirectly directs global life into an atheistic direction because the contents are very infra-rational. A modern religion must wisely integrate the scientific progress but not admix that with a psychology of religion.
On the other hand all this is only a theoretical lost chance for spirituality because the masses are not enough developed for a spiritual religion, and the step would be too big for the majority of mankind despite that their development is not intended in the divine world plan.
== Weblinks ==