• This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every persons position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good


  • Total voters
    47

Groucho

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
1,363
Reaction score
933
Location
Pocono Mountains, PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Yeah, but there are some constants. Murder is bad, stealing is bad, ect.
Absolutely, but those are not derived from religion. Every society has rules against those things, and even atheists will agree with that.

I was referring to "morals" that are unique to religion in that they are based solely on religious belief: It's a sin to eat these kinds of foods, it's a sin to not wear your hair in this specific way, it's a sin to have sex before marriage, it's a sin to allow a woman to own property, that sort of thing.
 

Winston Smith

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 24, 2010
Messages
915
Reaction score
204
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Absolutely, but those are not derived from religion. Every society has rules against those things, and even atheists will agree with that.
Usually they are derived from religion, though.
 

DrunkenAsparagus

Devourer of Poor Children
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
4,496
Reaction score
1,878
Location
DC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Absolutely, but those are not derived from religion. Every society has rules against those things, and even atheists will agree with that.

I was referring to "morals" that are unique to religion in that they are based solely on religious belief: It's a sin to eat these kinds of foods, it's a sin to not wear your hair in this specific way, it's a sin to have sex before marriage, it's a sin to allow a woman to own property, that sort of thing.
So the good rules are from society, but the stupid ones are from religion?
 

DrunkenAsparagus

Devourer of Poor Children
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
4,496
Reaction score
1,878
Location
DC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Please, enlighten me on how peoples were helped through "religion."
It gives people hope and a sense of purpose. Religion, has certainly helped me through some rough spots. You can call it lies or a false hope, but God, whether a mirage or not, has helped many people just get through the day.
 

Ikari

Moderator
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
76,902
Reaction score
44,517
Location
Colorado
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
Please, enlighten me on how peoples were helped through "religion."
Religion can be very comforting to an individual and many people can gain various things from it. From a place to worship, to a place to associate with people of like mind, to social outlets. There's nothing inherently wrong with religion. It is neither good nor evil. Good and evil come in with how we, as humans and individuals, use religion in our personal lives. For some it is a very beneficial institution for whatever reason. For others a tool to subjugate and control. This last part is particularly true in theocracies. Theocracies often pervert and distort a religion so the State can accomplish its goals; we've seen this all through out history. But once freed from ties to the government, a religion can grow and foster and provide many benefits to the individuals who form the congregation. We've seen that in our own country.

I don't know if you can say religion has caused more harm or more good; there's not a sufficient metric to measure that by. However, it has caused both and that's not a fault of the religion as much as it is fault of the individuals wielding that religion.
 

tlmorg02

DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
3,347
Reaction score
1,078
Location
Louisville, Ky
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
It gives people hope and a sense of purpose. Religion, has certainly helped me through some rough spots. You can call it lies or a false hope, but God, whether a mirage or not, has helped many people just get through the day.
I would not call it lies or false hope, but I would doubt that what you describe is religion, but more so to faith in God. That I see as certainly a source of goodness.
 

tlmorg02

DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
3,347
Reaction score
1,078
Location
Louisville, Ky
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Slightly Liberal
Religion can be very comforting to an individual and many people can gain various things from it. From a place to worship, to a place to associate with people of like mind, to social outlets. There's nothing inherently wrong with religion. It is neither good nor evil. Good and evil come in with how we, as humans and individuals, use religion in our personal lives. For some it is a very beneficial institution for whatever reason. For others a tool to subjugate and control. This last part is particularly true in theocracies. Theocracies often pervert and distort a religion so the State can accomplish its goals; we've seen this all through out history. But once freed from ties to the government, a religion can grow and foster and provide many benefits to the individuals who form the congregation. We've seen that in our own country.

I don't know if you can say religion has caused more harm or more good; there's not a sufficient metric to measure that by. However, it has caused both and that's not a fault of the religion as much as it is fault of the individuals wielding that religion.
More to the point, and yes it is the individuals that give the whole system a negative canotation. However, I would argue that faith in a creator and philosophy may bring forth much benefit, whereas the dogmatic subscription to the practices and divisions religion itself propogates, at least in my view, pushes those of faith to trangress against their fellow man.
 

Ikari

Moderator
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
76,902
Reaction score
44,517
Location
Colorado
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
More to the point, and yes it is the individuals that give the whole system a negative canotation. However, I would argue that faith in a creator and philosophy may bring forth much benefit, whereas the dogmatic subscription to the practices and divisions religion itself propogates, at least in my view, pushes those of faith to trangress against their fellow man.
Perhaps, but I don't think you can blame religion for that. You have to blame the individuals who have made that choice. Maybe some zealot belief in their religion helps to rationalize their actions, but it's still their actions. There's no gods, so nothing can force a person to behave in one way over another. But if it were not religion, it would be something else. Humans can be very violent and we indulge in that behavior a lot (perhaps well too much). We'll find any reason we can to act out against someone else. If there were no religion, I doubt history would be much different; we'd just have constructed different reasons.
 

DrunkenAsparagus

Devourer of Poor Children
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
4,496
Reaction score
1,878
Location
DC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Yeah, that's exactly what I said. (insert rolling eyes).

Read my comments again and if you have anything constructive to say, I'll be here.
Forgive the hyperbole, but your post took the morals that you like, and gave credit to society. The rules you don't like are automatically religious.

I would not call it lies or false hope, but I would doubt that what you describe is religion, but more so to faith in God. That I see as certainly a source of goodness.
How is it not religion?
 
Joined
Aug 16, 2010
Messages
214
Reaction score
56
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Atheism, the state religion of communism murdered 100,000,000 from 1917 - 1991. Yes, atheism is evil.
 

reefedjib

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
6,762
Reaction score
1,619
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Private
Please, enlighten me on how peoples were helped through "religion."
Billions who were part of societies who identify themselves through the organizing principle of their religion. The precepts of those religions spread the ideas of behaving respectfully toward their fellow man. I am not talking about theocracies, but there is a connection between State and Religion.

Even in this country, the separation of church and state refers to the state being involved in religion (Establishment Clause) not that the religion be involved with the state. As a result, our legal and moral character is shaped by religion.
 

Ikari

Moderator
DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
76,902
Reaction score
44,517
Location
Colorado
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian - Left
Atheism, the state religion of communism murdered 100,000,000 from 1917 - 1991. Yes, atheism is evil.
The State religion of Communism is The State. They enacted anti-theist policies to quell anything which could pose threat to the total power of the State. Atheism had nothing to do with it.
 

Aunt Spiker

Cheese
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2009
Messages
28,431
Reaction score
16,986
Location
Sasnakra
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Moderate
On the note of 'religion is comforting and helps people through the day' . . . maybe, because I never have felt this way, I just can't imagine others feeling this way as well - it's beyond my comprehension. . .I don't get it, so I don't factor it in.

Take my parents for example (my Dad's a minister). They fight, argue and disagree on everything related to religion, politics, where they're going to live and where my Mom will work. Since my Dad's career always decides when, where they'll move - my Mother has no say. She's become quite resentful of the whole thing, really, they even lived separated for years.

Happiness? I see none.
My childhood - was it filled with joy, hope or support? No - we were raised in the Weslyan church and all I remember was being told 'you can't do that, you shouldn't do this' (things like dancing, etc). . .was there a sense of 'community' and so on - no - just people getting together and bickering and fighting with each other and when they did 'get along' it was fake and only on the surface.
Behind the scenes many religions people (that I knew, personally) were just assholes in the pew - racists and everything else. . . what 'good' thing did they get out of it? I have no clue - I didn't see it - but I know that in Arkansas our black Janitor was called a "nigger" quite a few times in the sanctuary.

All my years as a child in the church and I saw quite a few horrid things in the church that shouldn't be *in the church* - and why people would go to church and become involved with crap like that and then claim it's somehow a 'good thing to them' is just beyond me.

So - maybe my view in this thread is because I just don't *get it* and never will. My experiences with religion have all been quite wrong.

And, admittedly, I'm a very pessimistic person.
 

DrunkenAsparagus

Devourer of Poor Children
DP Veteran
Joined
Aug 2, 2009
Messages
4,496
Reaction score
1,878
Location
DC
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
That's a shame, but I can assure that it's helped more with others.
 

Groucho

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
1,363
Reaction score
933
Location
Pocono Mountains, PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Forgive the hyperbole, but your post took the morals that you like, and gave credit to society. The rules you don't like are automatically religious.
No, I tried to think of examples of religious "morals" that don't have any basis in logic or objective morality, but only in religion. There's no moral reason to wear your hair in a certain way, but some religions think that it's immoral not to do so.

Universal morality id nonreligious -- things we ALL agree upon, no matter our religion or lack thereof. It's wrong to steal or murder or rape -- that sort of thing. Most of these are based on the "golden rule" that exists in every society no matter what their religion.
 

reefedjib

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
6,762
Reaction score
1,619
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Private
No, I tried to think of examples of religious "morals" that don't have any basis in logic or objective morality, but only in religion. There's no moral reason to wear your hair in a certain way, but some religions think that it's immoral not to do so.

Universal morality id nonreligious -- things we ALL agree upon, no matter our religion or lack thereof. It's wrong to steal or murder or rape -- that sort of thing. Most of these are based on the "golden rule" that exists in every society no matter what their religion.
But prior to religion, most of those societies did not follow the "golden rule". Religion introduced it.
 

Groucho

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
1,363
Reaction score
933
Location
Pocono Mountains, PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
But prior to religion, most of those societies did not follow the "golden rule". Religion introduced it.
No, I think they both evolved at the same time. People needed rules for a society to work, and god(s) gave them a reason to enforce those rules (as well as a bunch of other rules that didn't have anything to do with morals, such as "obey the leaders and do what the church tells you")

There are societies where the religion is less of a supernatural thing and more of a philosophy of life (such as Buddhism) and they also have these basic moral rules I mentioned.

And there are atheists who follow these rules, too.

The point is that morality doesn't need religion.
 
Joined
Aug 16, 2010
Messages
214
Reaction score
56
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
The State religion of Communism is The State. They enacted anti-theist policies to quell anything which could pose threat to the total power of the State. Atheism had nothing to do with it.

Your incorrect.

"The State" is atheistic, for which "The State" is errected, remains and functions. Communism, Nazism, Fascism are progressive adjectives describing one form of death or another.

Atheism = Communism = The State = Atheism.
Atheism = Nazism = The State = Atheism.
Islam = Islamofascism = The Theocratic State = Islam.

Atheism = the extermination of 100,000,000.
Islam = the extermination of 34,000,000.
.
 
Last edited:

reefedjib

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
6,762
Reaction score
1,619
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Private
No, I think they both evolved at the same time. People needed rules for a society to work, and god(s) gave them a reason to enforce those rules (as well as a bunch of other rules that didn't have anything to do with morals, such as "obey the leaders and do what the church tells you")

There are societies where the religion is less of a supernatural thing and more of a philosophy of life (such as Buddhism) and they also have these basic moral rules I mentioned.

And there are atheists who follow these rules, too.

The point is that morality doesn't need religion.
So your assertion is that morality came simultaneously with religion but was unrelated? :2razz:

Religions such as Buddhism instruct one to behave right to gain enlightenment. No punishment but surely reward. It disseminates morality as well.
 

Groucho

DP Veteran
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
1,363
Reaction score
933
Location
Pocono Mountains, PA
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
So your assertion is that morality came simultaneously with religion but was unrelated? :2razz:

Religions such as Buddhism instruct one to behave right to gain enlightenment. No punishment but surely reward. It disseminates morality as well.
No, my assertion is that EVERYTHING came simultaneous with religion. Religion has been a part of our society ever since cavemen looked up and saw lightning and made up a god to explain it. Science and medicine also came with religion. Everything did, that's the point. You can't separate early society from religion.

However, some things can be separated from religion. Morality may have evolved at the same time as religion, but a lot of morality is completely independent of it. "Do not kill" exists in every society.

If morality is ONLY religion based, then how do you explain atheists with morals? I mean, seriously you cannot argue with a straight face that atheists are all immoral.
 

reefedjib

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Messages
6,762
Reaction score
1,619
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Private
No, my assertion is that EVERYTHING came simultaneous with religion. Religion has been a part of our society ever since cavemen looked up and saw lightning and made up a god to explain it. Science and medicine also came with religion. Everything did, that's the point. You can't separate early society from religion.

However, some things can be separated from religion. Morality may have evolved at the same time as religion, but a lot of morality is completely independent of it. "Do not kill" exists in every society.

If morality is ONLY religion based, then how do you explain atheists with morals? I mean, seriously you cannot argue with a straight face that atheists are all immoral.
I believe morality is subjective. I believe there are moral atheists. I believe in natural rights based on subjective morality. I believe this was spread throughtout the world be religion.

Seems like atheists owe a big debt of graditude to religion for disseminating moraliy and stable society to allow thinkers time to come up with morality independent of religion.
 

Catz Part Deux

Banned
DP Veteran
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
28,721
Reaction score
6,738
Location
Redneck Riviera
Gender
Female
Political Leaning
Moderate
My experiences with religion have all been quite wrong.
My experiences are the same. Religion was the club used to beat me emotionally for most of my life. I have never been happier in my life than when I got out from under the oppressive beliefs I was raised with.
 

Captain America

Jedi Master
Supporting Member
DP Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Messages
22,576
Reaction score
12,831
Location
Wisconsin
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Centrist
If it takes the belief of myth and superstition to keep somebody from killing me, then so be it. Whatever works. I'm cool with it.
 
Top Bottom