Again – it is not about individual spirituality that is the problem: it is its dogmatization, called ‘religion’. It is a problem because it uses -maliciously or not – the blackmail of ‘eternal damnation’ to manipulate its believers into doing things they would not otherwise do.
Like, say, take out loans to give money to the church.
Or, blow themselves up in a crowded marketplace.
I had a Pentacostal preacher for a neighbour for a while. It was quite an eye-opener. For example, he and his wife did not use a car-seat for their infant, because that was ‘interfering with God’s will’. Apparently, God was sufficient protection from a car accident. Oh, the list goes on…
The church where he preached also encouraged people to donate their money – all their money – to the church. They had testimonials of parishoners who said that when they donated their last dollar to the church, even their grocery money, at the last moment they would get a ‘windfall’ and ‘God looked after them’!
That these kinds of organizations pray upon the credulous is shameful.
That they are given tax-free status is outrageous.
That they demand respect is intolerable!