Now I will give three examples of non-supernatural beliefs that happen to be religions. This may be surprising and funny at the same time.
The first one is enviromentalism. When I say "enviromentalism" I am not referring to an enviromental scientist or a person who wants to find alternate energy. I am talking about the radical enviromentalists who turn it into a religion. The kind of enviromentalist I am talking about is the one who believes we are going to destroy the planet by driving cars. This is an insult of common sense. The planet been in existence for 4.5 billion years since that time it has been bombarded with numerous huge asteroids that would have completely annihilated the human species with a single impact. The planet has survived through all of that for billions of years. It was only 100 years since we had cars, and we think that driving them is going to destroy the planet. How does this make any sense? I see enviromentalism (this radical form as I described it) as an analogue to Christianity. What is the message of Christianity? That once everything was great and perfect, then man comes along, the sinful evil man, he sins with the original sin and that messes up everything. Later God sacrificed himself to himself to forgive men of his sins. The way we gain this gift of salvation is by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus. Enviromentalism is very similar. Enviromentalism says that once everything was great and perfect, everything was nice and green. Then one day man comes along, the sinful horrible creature, with his existence he damages the beautiful excellent planet. Christianity has a message of an acopalypse, so does enviromentalism, we all going to die! The way we redeem ourselves with our terrible lifestyles is by living green. Let us check whether of not enviromentalism satisfies those conditions of being a religion. First, it is a set of beliefs with an end goal, that is to achieve being green and loving to earth. Second, it promotes a lifestyle by creating a list of morals, actions that are green are considered as favorable while actions that are anti-green are considered evil. Third, it has a strong emotional attachment to the followers, enviromentalists who do something anti-green often feel guilty, may get very angry with anyone who is not green, and has a lot of satisfication by living as enviromentalists. Fourth, if any of the enviromentalist beliefs are challenged by Reason or empiricism they would get very angry at you and not change. For example, if someone proposes that maybe we should not too scared about global warming and provides the arguments for it they would not listen, or if someone says that the enviroment is better today than it was in the past because we have cleaned up pollution they would still continue to preach how the enviroment is continuially getting worse and worse. These kinds of enviromentalists do silly things. There are enviromentalists who have lived an entire year without using toilet paper, they were praised by their fellow enviromentalists. Just like religion praises certain crazy lifestyles so do these enviromentalists. There are enviromentalists who have sat in the middle of a forest crying for some dead trees and praying for them (see here)! How is this not a religion? I am certainly open to hear new ideas about enviromental issues but please do not turn it into a religion. Enviromentalism at this level is dangerous, it has hurt the Africans so much, it has hurt these people by preventing them from developing technologies that could have helped them immensely only because these technologies are not green enough.
The second example is extreme vegetarianism. I am not talking about a vegetarian who does not like meat or a vegetarian who does not want to support the meat companies because he find them cruel. I am talking about the hardcore ones, like the ones from PETA. It is a set of beliefs with a final goal, to release all the animals. It promotes a lifestyle to its follower, they start to see live their life in way that follows their vegetarian morality. With their new view of morals they have no problem putting pictures of dead chickens right next to pictures of Jews in the holocaust because for them it is just as morally bad. They have no problem putting pictures of slavery right next to animals in a farm because for them, with their new set of morals, they see the world that way. They have a very emotional attachment to animals and to their beliefs. Finally, their beliefs cannot be contradicted by Reason or empiricism. For example, certain PETA followers say that animals have no business being used in medical research, they deny completely that animals are vital to developing medical research. They refuse to listen to whatever argument an outsider from their beliefs was to tell them. PETA has also participated in terrorist acts. They have blown up research centers that used animals because they objected to the use of using animals. PETA is dangerous.
The final example is feminism. No feminism is not the idea that women should be treated fairly like men, it is a pseudo-scientific belief based on sexism and on the hatred of males. There is a very big difference between women's rights and feminism. The problem is that people confuse the two and think they are synonymous with eachother. I do not want to discuss feminism here because I have had a debate over feminism on another site, if anyone is interested they can read it here. Let us see if feminism is a religion. It is a set of beliefs with a final goal, their final goal is to attain at much as they can for women (in fact, even if it means harming men). It promotes a new lifestyle for feminists with a new morality code. Indeed they start seeing everything in terms of males vs females, anyone who does not agree with them would be called a "sexist", which for them, is the equivalent of "evil". This is why it is not a surprise why a feminist can watch a cartoon like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and write a paper about how sexist the movie is. Because the mind of the feminist has been hijacked and enslaved with their religion, they cannot see things in another other way. Clearly, feminism is a very emotional issue for feminists, they can get angry and sad with anyone who does not agree with them. Feminists do their missionary work by making young girls angry about women issues, that is how they get them converted, they do not reach out to them in the name of Reason, but through primitive feelings and emotions. Lastly, feminists are willing to deny Reason and empiricism whenever their views are contradicted. For example, one tenet of faith in feminism is that the reason why there is a wage gap between men and women is because of discrimination in the workplace. Notice what happened. The took an issue, wage gap, and then they applied their religion to it, and conclude it must be because of discrimation. They did not even attempt to explain or justify their own position. However, there are people that have been able to explain the wage gap in a rational manner, for example Warren Farrell from the CATO Institute has explained the necessary components that create a wage gap. Do the feminists listen to him? No, of course not, because he is being rational and looking at the evidence, they do not care about that, they only care for keeping their religion the way it is. Feminism is dangerous because it wants to enforce its own view of the world onto everyone else through the use of law. Many feminists are part of the anti-porn movement, they actually want to ban porn. This is a dangerous and radical religion.
The problem with religion is not that it is wrong, it is dangerous. People are wrong all the time. I am wrong about many things. But I am willing to change. I have changed. And even people who are not willing to change are not necessarily dangerous. Astrology is wrong, but it is not dangerous. Believing in ESP, ghosts or aliens is wrong but it is not dangerous. These superstitions and silly beliefs are not dangerous because they are not religions, they do not enslave the mind of the believer to change the world. Religion is different. Religion is dangerous because it is willing to go to extreme lengths to change the world into what it thinks the world should be. As Voltaire said, "those who are willing to believe absurdies are likely to commit atrocities". Many of us see that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have an evil dark side to them as religions, but much fewer of us can see the dark evil side behind (radical) enviromentalism, (PETA-like) vegetarianism, and feminism. These three religions are dangerous they have damanged the world and are prepared to damage the world for their own sake.