This occurred to me when I was posting in another topic. I'm referring to the five Laws of Human Stupidity:
- Always and inevitably each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
- The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person.
- A person is stupid if they cause damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process.
- Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people; they constantly forget that at any time anywhere, and in any circumstance, dealing with or associating themselves with stupid individuals invariably constitutes a costly error.
- A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person there is.
First off, religion has its own (high) proportion of stupid people (R1), and the likelihood of a given religious person being stupid is independent of their other characteristics (R2). But other people in that religion, who are not necessarily stupid, make the bad assumption that stupid people who believe in their religion aren't really all that stupid (R4). These stupid religious people always and inevitably cause damage to other people (whether it's people in their own organization, or in other organizations) without gaining anything meaningful in return (R3). And they are extremely dangerous because they believe their god is backing them up (R5).
I'm sure there's more to this than that. For example, religion tends to encourage stupidity in people, even people who are not necessarily stupid. For example, passing laws based on religious beliefs or practices (anti-abortion, for example), thus enforcing those religious laws on people who do not support them and who are often strongly opposed to them, harming those people while not giving the religious group any real benefit (seeing as nobody forces them to have abortions, in this example).