One hundred and four years ago a devout Quaker name Joseph Rowntree drew up a list of scourges on humanity. These scourges included poverty, war, slavery, intemperance, the opium trade, impurity and gambling. Because of his faith, Rowntree set up a foundation for the sole purpose of fighting these scourges on humanity. His religious belief prompted him to dedicate his life and his money to helping others.

Today, the very foundation that Rowntree set up a century ago to fight these scourges conducted a poll to discover what the scourges currently plague the human soul. Guess what came out on top. Religion.

Not just the extremest kinds of religion, no organized religion in general.

[UK Times]A CHARITY set up by an ardent Christian to fight slavery and the opium trade has identified a new social evil of the 21st century – religion.

A poll by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation uncovered a widespread belief that faith – not just in its extreme form – was intolerant, irrational and used to justify persecution…

Many participants said religion divided society, fuelled intolerance and spawned “irrational” educational and other policies.

One said: “Faith in supernatural phenomena inspires hatred and prejudice throughout the world, and is commonly used as justification for persecution of women, gays and people who do not have faith.”

Many respondents called for state funding of church schools to be ended.

The findings contrast with Rowntree’s “scourges of humanity”, which included poverty, war, slavery, intemperance, the opium trade, impurity and gambling.

Poverty and drugs remain, but are joined by issues such as family breakdown, young people’s behaviour and fears over immigration.

It seems that one of the greatest blights on humanity today is secularism. It clearly makes you stupid. The Catholic Church, i.e. organized religion, is the largest charitable institution on the planet.

The Church runs more hospitals, more schools, takes care of more AIDS patients, runs the world’s largest relief agency taking care of more people in poverty than any other institution by far. If you throw all the other Christian charities in there, organized Christianity dwarfs all other charitable institutions by a mile.

It is a shame however that the Church has not done more to eradicate mindless ignorance in the UK.