I’ve concluded that at least 90 percent of the world’s conflicts are directly or indirectly related to a single establishment: Organized religion.

Thus, my recommendation to the human race is: Abolish all religious institutions.

Some will say that’s idiotic. Implausible, perhaps, but not idiotic. Without organized religions, people could still adhere to divine beliefs of their choice and worship to their hearts content. But the concept of “organized” religions, which are essentially sub-governments consisting of rules designed to regulate behavior, would be rendered obsolete. Therefore, without a pope, or a high rabbi, or an ayatollah, we wouldn’t have to worry about conflict, war, death and destruction. Maybe…just maybe, people would start getting along.

For all the good we like to think religion has brought the human race over the centuries, it has probably served to thin the world’s population more than old age and more than epidemic disease, thanks to wars and killing.

I wonder how many Jews there would be today, if there hadn’t been a holocaust or an Inquisition, when they were forced by the millions to convert to Christianity or face death. I wonder how many more Christians there would be if rival faiths hadn’t slaughtered them by the millions, starting with early Rome, until now with radical Islamics.

What I see, is three thousand years of people fighting over whose God is the right God. What I see is a vast history of church leadership who have not been so much bathed in the love of God, but intoxicated with power and an obsession to control the masses. The edicts have often been clear: Believe as we believe, or you’re dead. No wonder there were so many converts.

And just when we thought the world had modernized with the threat of Nazism crushed, and a United Nations that had convened to keep peace on earth, along comes a sect of power mongers within radical Islam telling us their God is best, and if we don’t conform to their beliefs, we are all going to die. And…they mean it.

The world has 1.3 billion Muslims and two billion Christians, plus hundreds of million Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, Jew, and whatever. Many think that the adherents to religion is a matter of choice. Except in rare cases, that’s simply not true. The overwhelming majority of Muslims and Christians, Jews and Hindu are born and brainwashed from birth by family and culture as to what they must believe and how they must worship. Kids born into religious families do not have an option. By the time they reach adulthood, they’re loaded up with divine convictions and all the guilt associated with conformity and non-conformity.

I am among the rare lucky ones. Born of a non-sectarian Norwegian mom and a Jewish father I never knew, I was raised with no specific religious affiliation, no church or synagogue, and no indoctrination. I didn’t miss a thing, other than the Sunday picnics.

At age ten, I asked my widowed mother what religion we were. “There are many religions,” she answered. “Learn them all. Then choose.”

I later realized the profound nature of her words, for she had endeavored to educate her son with a broad understanding of faith, rather than brainwashing me with her own dogma.

She bestowed confidence that I would have the initiative to learn and make an intelligent choice. She truly loved me.

In my growing up, there was no right God or wrong God. No denunciations. No prejudice. I never felt a pang of guilt for failing to pray, failing to attend church, or failing to light candles on a Friday night, or to acknowledge what others acknowledged — just to belong. My mother had set me spiritually free, but not free of spirit.

I do feel a cultural tie to Judaism, not only because it was my father’s faith, but it is a religion that does not evangelize nor demand others to convert. But after years of learning what was offered in the vast world of religious domination, and all it’s hypocrisy, I made a decision. No organized religion. Not for me.

Today, my beliefs pertaining to the divine are a private matter. I don’t need to pray among masses. I don’t need a church to sing along, to be a good person. Thanks to a loving and able parent, I am as moral as any average Christian or Jew, yet filled with my share of imperfections. I taught my kids moral values and to be thoughtful of others. I truly love my fellow humans. Though I do not read ancient edicts or listen to sermons, I have no compulsion to covet, steal, malign or kill anyone. Neither do I insist that others to believe as I do. I am completely at peace with my convictions. I deeply respect the religion of all my fellow human beings, so long as they promote peace and harmony. I expect the same in return.

I am aware that these thoughts will not be welcomed by all and the tongue-in-cheek concept of abolishing organized religion is completely unrealistic. But if the world did adopt such an idea, wars would become obsolete and we would get overpopulated pretty quick.

Something to think about.