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Thread: Is religion more helpful or more harmful?

  1. #1
    Registered User iamnobody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    a galaxy far, far away

    Is religion more helpful or more harmful?

    I don't mean any one religion in particular, I mean "religion" overall. Do you believe it has been, overall, more helpful to humanity or more harmful? Personally I believe the harm greatly outweighs the good, but I am trying to understand how people see the same world I see and still think religion is good. I'm not trying to pick a fight, I just don't understand it.
    I like poetry,long walks on the beach and poking dead things with a stick.

  2. #2
    Orwellian The Atheist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    The George Orwell sub-forum
    I can understand it, but only because I know people are capable of selective vision.

    Historically, you are correct - the atrocities over millennia directly attributable to religion far outweigh any positive influence it has had. In fact, I have to try very hard to think of any positives of religion in times gone by. From consulting bull's entrails in ancient Egypt to Galileo being forced to denounce his work, there is very little in the way of positives for humankind that religion can claim.

    I can cope with the idea that religion was the driving force behind social cohesion, creating stronger societies and advancing humankind, but I'm not convinced that was a smart move, and it may well have happened anyway. No matter, some theists will come and say what they believe it's done in the way of good.

    The Crusades and Inquisition would not have occurred without religion, however.

    The balance has changed, and nowadays, it's a closer call.

    The good done by charities attributable to churches is immense, but how do you value that against the nutters of ISIS and Young Earth Creationists? In ISIS/Al Qaeda/etc the religion has been perverted, but it still religion. Would the fights be going on without religion? Quite possibly. Would we have YECs without a 4000 year old book they eat, sleep and breathe? No.

    Still, I can only shudder at what state the world's most-needy people might be in if it weren't for massive numbers of religious organisations chipping in, so in the 21st century, I think that the good work they do just exceeds the bad. Also, the bad is being mostly done by small sects.

    If we can now get old Father Jorge (Pope Frank) to back up his conciliatory words to gays and women with some actual deeds, we'll be even better off.

    Don't hold your breath waiting, though.

    For every step forward, religion tends to try to take a couple back. A good example is the Anglican Synod of NZ developing a marriage ceremony for same-sex couples. This has caused entire congregations to turn their backs on the church.
    Go to work, get married, have some kids, pay your taxes, pay your bills, watch your tv, follow fashion, act normal, obey the law and repeat after me: "I am free."


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