The Four Types of Religious Beliefs and Behavior

One common thing seen in critiques of religion is the claim that it is somehow wrong to criticize religion, which is heard not just from religious people but also from secular people who seem to have an idea that there is something inherently bad about criticizing religion.

Although it’s easy to point out the logical fallacies of such claims, but doesn’t see to sink in with such critics, who basically put religion as “off limits” for criticism.  I think no idea should ever be off limits from criticism and think that the type of idea that runs counter to modern secular values.

So I will attempt to re-frame the criticism of religion in a simple, straight-forward way so that it can easier to understand why it is important to be critical of religion.  To illustrate, I will divide religious beliefs and behavior into 4 different types.

TYPE I Religious Beliefs & Behavior
Type I religious beliefs and behavior refers to an inward focus of a religious individual.  So it is someone applying religious beliefs and practice to themselves and no one else.  Such religious beliefs can either be helpful or harmful to a person, depending on the circumstances, but the fact that they do not try to impose their religious beliefs on others makes this the best type.  And a lot of religions, particularly Eastern religions, full under this type.  If all religions were “TYPE I” then aside from doctrine claims, I would not complain about the religious behavior of people.

TYPE II Religious Beliefs & Behavior
Type II are religious beliefs in which the followers apply or condones applying their religious views and practice to themselves as well as other people who also follow the same religion, but that’s all. This is in-group focused religion and, as long as it is not being oppressive of other followers, I generally ignore such behavior.

TYPE III Religious Beliefs & Behavior
when any followers of a religion apply or condones applying obedience to the religion’s doctrines to self and to everyone else, even people who are not followers of the religion. This is done non-violently but will use the legal system to make religious rules into laws for everyone in a society.

TYPE IV Religious Beliefs & Behavior
Type IV is similar to Type III on when any followers of a religion apply or condones applying obedience to the religion’s doctrines to everyone else, even people who are not followers of the religion, but use violence and physical abuse to do so. This is the worst behavior by religious people in the world and is something I oppose in any form.

So to summarize the 4 types of religious belief and behavior:
Type I is inwardly focused
Type II is in-group focused
Type III is non-violently outwardly focused
Type IV is violently outwardly focused

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