Human beings, by their nature, are extreme. Religion merely redirects this extremeness into the form of worship. Some people, for example, will follow their religion to the dot – they have a literal interpretation and if someone tells them anything otherwise, they will reject it. Those who are extreme in their religious practises, would arguably be extreme in other ways if they weren’t controlled by their religion. Instead of doing a lot of worship, they would perhaps feel a greater inclination to do that which is bad: maybe become druggies, drunkards, incessant fornicators or whatever. Religion therefore acts as a mechanism to keep a human being under control.
The atheist, on the other hand, will often exert them extremeness by ridiculing those who believe in a Divine entity or a follow religion. The atheist only has their own moral compass to judge right from wrong – but often, they will do good. Many atheists are more ethical than the religious, they are also sometimes more “spiritual” than the religious, but at the very tip of their consciousness, they haven’t realised that they are indeed believers in the ultimate Reality, too – presuming that there is one.
An atheist just said to me: “[Religion] are like bad low-budget movies that demand criticism and ridicule regardless if people get offended.” This is extremism.
What many of us fail to do in our age is delve deep into the intellectual and esoteric meanings of religion. We treat science and philosophy as pursuits of rigorous study, but religion as something simple for simple people. We shouldn’t deny something’s veracity simply because, on the surface, it may appear simple or “ridiculous”.
Religion is therefore a mechanism to rewire one’s personality from one which is purely instinctual, animalistic and profane, into one where we act from our innermost being which is pure and transcendent. Religion forces us to act out certain rituals, and be kind to one another – and threatens us with punishment if we don’t – so that it becomes normal to us. We, eventually, no longer have to be told to do something, it emanates from within us naturally.