Religion: a taboo topic of conversation in most social settings just like politics and sex. I write this not to offend anyone but to share some things I’ve noticed while traveling.
In Cusco, Peru, there are some churches where the original foundations of the buildings are Incan. The Spaniard religious missionaries had destroyed Incan temples and built Roman Catholic churches on top of them to spread Christianity. Similarly, the Muslim missionaries destroyed temples in Cordoba, Spain and in Iran. Both religions have killed non-believers and in some instances massacred whole populations to spread their beliefs.
Seeing this makes it very difficult for me to believe in a single religion since the “Truth” has been shared by power seeking men. That of the powerful and war winning groups were able to write history and spread their beliefs.
This continues to be the case in Iran. Religion is forced in a country of 70 million people. Most disobedient individuals [women that don’t wear the proper hijab, unmarried individuals having intercourse, adults committing adultery] are criminals and some might face death for these sins. I recently heard about a case where the woman cheated on her husband and her sentence is to be stoned to death. It seems that Iran is living the equivalent of the middle ages in the Western world.
Another interesting observation is that globally, religion is based on socio-economic status. Istanbul is an easy city to spot this phenomenon. It is not required for women in Istanbul to wear a hijab. In the old historic center and low socio-economic neighborhoods, almost 60% of the women wear a hijab. In the high socio-economic neighborhoods, only 5% of women wear them. I will have to take a look at academic papers to see why this might be the case.