I have been told, “Religion helps some people” and, “Maybe some people need the rules and structure of religion.” My response: Abuse helps some people. Some people who are beaten daily by their husbands obtain financial provision and housing from this arrangement. It may be better to be abused than to starve. But is the abusive relationship really helping these people? Should we be willing to overlook abuse because a genuine need is being met? No way–this is the hallmark of exploitation, when an abusive person or ideology (religion) justifies its abusive practice by providing a genuine service and attempting to argue that the ends justify the means. This is the kind of behavior religion condemns as satanic, mixing good and evil and calling it all good. Yet religion loves to practice the satanism it claims to condemn, praising itself to be moral and using its semblance of morality to justify all kinds of inhumanity. At the heart of the Western religions lies judgment, fear, control, dishonesty and denial about reality. The idea that we should be made to live in fear of a judge who patrols our thinking, or that our survival depends upon accepting what we’re told; that’s spiritual oppression. It’s inherently abusive and destructive. No human being can fully shine within a religious system. Religion does provide many good services. I am glad that people find community or food from religion, and it’s not a bad idea to take advantage of religious charity. But, all the charity in the world will never justify the oppression of even a single soul. Telling people they must do or die (religious morality) might create good slaves, but it does not create good people. Slaves rebel when they realize they are human, and to be human means to risk being free in the face of those who threaten our lives or our souls with destruction, as religion does. Goodness and morality don’t come from threatening with the fires of hell. Morality comes from encouraging people to heal and try out being themselves for a change. Exploitation is using someone’s needs to meet your abusive ends. That’s how religion “helps” people.