Do you agree that religion is a tool that gives power to certain individuals?

Expert Answers
readerofbooks eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In some ways all religions do give power to certain individuals. Let me give a few examples. 

Within Catholicism, the clergy has great power. If we look at the hierarchy of the church, the clergy on top, the Pope, has enormous power. He recently visited America, and he addressed the senate, the United Nations, and many other people. There are very few people who could garner that much attention. 

If we look at Protestants, we see the same phenomenon, even if it is less pronounced. Pastors do have power. They baptize infants, officiate weddings, conduct funeral, and do everything in between. From this perspective, the life cycle is covered. This alone gives power to Protestant clergy. 

What is true of Christianity is also true of Islam and Judaism. 

If we look at things from a historical point of view, we see the same thing. Let me give you a quote from Martin Luther, the great German reformer, about the wealth of the pope.

"Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of St. Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?"

Now let me tweak this line of thinking. I do not believe that all people use religion as a tool. In other words, there will always be people who use religion for selfish ambition, but not all people are like this. There are many notable people who are sincere, and they sacrificially give and serve. One only needs to think of Mother Theresa. 

In conclusion, some use religion as a tool for power; many others do not.