Without religion there would be nothing holding people back from crime, murder, rape etc,. There needs to be a form of morality in the world whether you believe in a higher power or not something needs to affect the general population decision making process.
Really, so we have ramped groups of atheists running around committing murders and rapes? I don't see it, I do see groups of "religious" people killing 10s of thousands in the name of god. I see rapes, murders, theft committed in the name of god.
You don't need a higher power to agree that killing someone is bad, or taking what belongs to someone else is wrong, or forcing someone to have sex is wrong. We, as a people, can sit down and agree what the rules are, god or no god. In fact once you take god out of the question, you are left with the truth. They want power over you, over your life, over your property, religion has nothing to do with it. People use religion as an excuse for bad behavior, by saying because my book says this I can take what's yours because you don't believe in the same book as I do. The would wold be a much better place without religion as we would be left with the truth, and the truth is some people want power over you and religion is a great way to exercise that power.
The killers of which you speak do exactly as you say: they use religion as an excuse. Sans religion, they would find a different excuse.
In making your statement, you look at religion only as a method of control. Originally, that is what most religion was. Now? Not so much.
People are religious because being religious helps them. It gives them hope, community, structure in their lives, and helps to eliminate their fear of death. Most importantly, it motivates people to do good in the world that they would never otherwise do.
You can look at the harms all you want. But no matter how you look at it, the harms created by religion cannot possibly outweigh the immeasurable value that religion provides to billions of people on the planet.
Sorry it took so long to reply, I've been busy.
All religions are about control, nothing more nothing less. Religion dictate who you can and can't have sex with, who you can and can't marry, how women and children are treated, even in the bible a women who is not a virgin on her wedding day is to be put to death (Deuteronomy 22:20-21), a child who hit their father or mother is to be put to death (Exodus 21:15) honor killings (Leviticus 21:9 ) those of no (2 Chronicles 15:12-13) or another religion (Exodus 22:19).
In 13 countries I as an atheist face death by LAW, even in most democratic governments discriminate against citizens who have no belief in a god and at worst can jail them for offences dubbed blasphemy. In the Americas, 11 out of 35 countries (31%) had blasphemy laws. In the Bahamas, where the publication or sale of blasphemous material can be punished with up to two years imprisonment. In Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Malta and Poland where blasphemy laws allow for jail sentences up to three years on charges of offending a religion or believers. Even in the US as of 2012 at least two states still had anti-blasphemy laws on the books.
All in the name of religion.
You state that religion provides immeasurable value to billions, but even today we see religion used to oppress billions of people, used to kill hundreds of thousands. In many places if you happen to belong to the wrong religion and are murdered by someone of the correct faith, the police won't even bother to find the person or arrested them.
Most people who do good don't need religion to motivate them, and if they do need religion to make them do good, then it proves that religion is about control. If they wouldn't do something for the good of the world, but their religion forces them to do so isn't that, in fact, control?
Personally I have found that most religious people are hypocrites, picking parts of their religion they like ignoring what they don't, use religion when it suits them or help them get ahead in the world.
(Don't worry about the time it takes to reply, I thank you for taking the time to reply at all!)
Indeed, most religious people are hypocrites, taking the parts they want and ignoring the parts they don't want.
Take me, for example. I'm Jewish. I choose to go to synagogue. I choose not to keep kosher. I choose to fast on Yom Kippur. I choose not to let a book dictate whom I can and cannot marry.
In free countries, such as the United States, religion is a choice. Yet the vast majority of Americans are religious. That alone should indicate the value of religion. (Yes, you cite two laws regarding anti-blasphemy laws in the US, but I doubt they're ever enforced, and even if they were, anyone asked to abide by them could easily appeal and win).
But then that calls into question, what about the other things you mentioned?
First, you talk about how atheism is often punishable by fines, jail time, and even death. This, objectively, sucks. For an American who has grown up in a society of vastly diverse faiths and cultures, and where diversity is essentially protected by law.
Just kidding. Yes, this is bad. Yes, this is religion as control.
Then you talk about people killing others in the name of religion.
Ok, I think I already addressed this. It's not necessarily in the name of religion. It's a your-tribe-vs.-my-tribe mentality. I read an interesting paper recently that argued that human cultures have behaviorally evolved towards conflict and war. The aggressive cultures are the surviving cultures. In every walk of humanity there is always an us-vs-them. It's why, to a white person whose grown up only around other white people, people of other races all seem to look the same, and vice-a-versa.
Racism is a perfect example. Racism does not require religion. Racism would occur with or without religion.
The people of my tribe will try to kill the people of your tribe. That is a fact of humanity, separation of the other and dehumanizing of the other.
So where does religion come in? Religion is how people designate their tribe. If religion didn't exist, they would designate some other way. Appearance, language, non-religious culture. Oppression and killing are not caused by religion. Religion is used to facilitate oppressive, deadly, and discriminatory cultures, but it is not the root cause. If religion was taken out of the picture, this would still go on.
If someone is not going to do good, is too lazy or is just a bad person, no book will make them. You're right, most people who do good don't need religion to motivate them. But religion sure helps. Religion provides constant (often weekly) reminders to do good to those around you, and provides a moral guideline on how and why to do so. Religion organizes good into a cohesive force, and if you talk to anyone doing good in the name of their religion, I hardly think that they will feel "forced" or "controlled."
So what are we left with? What, exactly, is the damage that religion has uniquely (and that's a key word here) done? Well, those laws you mentioned, those sure suck. I would argue that if religion didn't exist, they would find some other method of control, but you're right, here it is genuinely a form of control.
Do oppressive laws outweigh the universal benefits towards billions (most of the human race, in fact) that I cited before? The structure it provides in their lives, the sense of belonging, connectivity and community it gives them, the hope, the ability to deal with death, etc.? I think you would be hard pressed to say yes.
".. damage that religion has uniquely (and that's a key word here) done.."
Religion CONDONES and ENCOURAGES violence against others. it's not just your tribe vs my tribe, it my GOD saying I can oppress you and be a good person and in fact I'm a good person because I oppress you. Pick just about any religious book and you can see it. Kill, enslave those people who don't believe as you do.
"Religion organizes good into a cohesive force, and if you talk to anyone doing good in the name of their religion, I hardly think that they will feel "forced" or "controlled.""
It doesn't matter if they FEEL forced or controlled, the fact they doing it because of their religion is control and force. Look at any group dynamic and you'll see force and control, and it really doesn't matter if you feel forced or that the group was controlling you. Look at a pretty benign group say the girl scouts, do they feel forced or controlled when they sell cookies, probably not, but the group dynamic is such that they may be look down on if they don't. But if you were to ask the girls, odds are they would say they weren't force to sell cookies. But the group dynamics would tell you that if they didn't odds are the other members of the group would look down on them or even shun them if they don't.
"Do oppressive laws outweigh the universal benefits towards billions.."
Yes, there are about 7 billion people in the world the largest religion has about 2.2 billion followers (it's not Islam BTW) says to kill non-believers that is by their book they should kill 4.8 billion people. The second largest religion has about 1.7 billion their book say the same thing. Think about that the "good" books of the two largest religions tell their followers to kill people.
Now if a person picks and choose what part of their religion they follow are they truly part of that religion? Or are they just a group of people who get together to support each other, and if that the case why do they need religion at all?
Just so you know I generally follow my answers and enjoy debating with other people.
I believe that this is a very strong statement, and that it could be greatly refined. That said, I appreciate the idea behind it. I agree to a limited extent that yes, religion acts as a morality check for people. I would like to add to that by saying that religion also acts as a comfort and form of escape for people, and for people I know, the comfort that there is a God or Gods above watching over them gives them both a sense of drive and righteousness. To not have religion may not cause genocides, as many genocides are caused by religious wars. Instead, I believe that not having religion may cause a more tense society, which, although may be less religiously conflicted, may also be more scientifically conflicted. Therefore, I believe that, although religion may be the cause of some conflict, the amount of comfort and drive it provides people would be much more valuable, and that a world without religion would be a worse place.
It is true that religion helps people from, for example, turning to crime by forcing them to consider the 'wrath' of an almighty entity and the repercussions that that would bring about.
At the same time it is true that people will use the excuse of religion to commit acts of violence, among other things, to further their cause and provide some amount of 'mental reasoning' for their actions, either because they actually believe in the religion or to seem 'better' in the eyes of others.
Either way, if religion didn't exist nowadays the roles would either reverse or everything would remain the same.I choose to believe that people are good or bad based on either their own unique personality or from their childhood learning which can play a fundamental rule in our process of growing up, especially ideals picked up from parents and teachers (Social Learning Theory), instead of it being the cause of some religion.
I am gonna add a note here and say that religion has and is being used for therapeutic reasons as well nowadays, such as in trying to bring about the good in people and make them forget a past thing they may have done and aspire for greatness through pure-of-heart means (fairytale style)
Nevertheless, I am not against religion, as I am a follower of a religion myself, but neither do I completely adhere by it. In the end not much would change.Good people would be good,bad people would be bad.
People.People never change.
The question presents a false dilemma. Religion arose in early humans and primitive societies as an expression of the need to make sense of the world, explain the unexplainable, provide assurance about the future, and to provide a common basis for cooperation to make life better. Religion is a part of both human and societal evolution. The process of natural selection does not reward what is good or bad, but what works.
Thankfully, human evolution includes the capability of reciprocity, empathy, and altruism to balance self-interest, anger, and vengeance. Early in human history it was found that when people restrained their violent and selfish interests so others would not retaliate they could cooperate to make societies that were safer and made life easier for all involved. The better the cooperation, the more that could be accomplished. These principles were expressed in theistic religions, non-theistic religions, philosophies, and governments. In many societies, religion and government were indistinguishable from one another.
So the question really is, “Can humans create a better world without a basis for cooperation?" No.
Does it matter what that basis is? Only insofar as the vast majority being willing to accept it.
Is religion the best basis for cooperation? Well, that is the crux of the matter.
Given the many varying religions, theistic and non-theistic, and the growing number of people who have no religion and who lack any belief in God or the supernatural, I would say the best basis for cooperation is human values upon which everyone can agree. Archeology and history both indicate that the common ethical elements of all religions and governments are reciprocity (treating others as you would be treated), empathy, and altruism. Reciprocity motivates people to treat others decently, and governments make laws to prevent its citizens from being harmed by those who violate that principle. Reciprocity also promotes cooperation: if we all agree to drive on the right side of the road it helps everyone travel more efficiently and safely. Empathy involves understanding the situation and needs of others. Altruism motivates people to help those in need and to help improve living conditions within a society.
So, I would say that the best basis of cooperation on which the world can become a better place would be founded upon reciprocity, empathy, and altruism, regardless of anyone's religious beliefs or lack thereof.
I partly agree with you, but I don't think this is a false dilemma, nor do I think the real question is what you said it is.
The problem isn't religion, its conflicting religions. Since the beginning of recorded time, people have been persecuted for their beliefs, especially religious ones. Without religion, we'd have one less thing to argue over. Sure, there will still be conflicts over land, resources, and a plethora of more, but it'd be one less problem. One less is still better than what we have now.
I said "It would be the same" not because I actually believe that but because I think that, on balance, religion's influence is exaggerated and where religion has effects they tend to be a pretty even mix of positive and negative.
It's very easy to look at the people yelling homophobic ideas, misogynistic beliefs, out-dated and closed-minded concepts, ignorance, and bigotry as a result of religion. But there are millions of practitioners who quietly work. There are thousands of services churches provide. Just today, I was reading about how religion helps women cope with intimate partner violence. The Catholic Church is a vital source of assistance for these women. Moreover, many of the most impressive social movements have had a strong religious membership, from the civil rights movement in America to the solidarity movements that helped carve out a little safety from dictators and death squads in Latin America in the 1980s.
Religion's causes of negative behavior are overwhelmingly through the institutions and biases we already have. I think that people are homophobic because of culture and they sublimate the idea through religion. From the Crusades to today, what has looked like clashes between religions or civilizations has almost always been straight power politics in disguise. The Crusades did far more damage to the Byzantines than they did to the Muslims. And as much as Samuel Huntington might protest otherwise, America has often opposed Christian governments and peoples while backing Muslims.
I don't too quickly want to dismiss the idea that religion can itself be an institution that contributes to harm. These factors are cyclical: Homophobia may not have had the pedigree it did if religion didn't sublimate it and protect it. But I truly believe that, if we dealt with our moral paucity and our unjust institutions as a species, religion would be benign.
All religions are man made control systems. Sad to say even the so called Christians make up their own rules and regulations and require their followers to obey these manmade doctrines. I personally love the God of Jacob. And I believe James 1:27. It says that 'pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. The first part of that definition is fairly easy to do...but that second part (boy o' boy)...that one will sure keep us minding our own business and tending our own affairs.
Personaly, I'm Asatruar, the religion of elders nords gods (Ases), but I don't take it serious, I see this more like a game and a way of life than a really serious thing. I do some rituals and festivities, but always for fun, it's never a constraint. So I think religion is a good thing when it's just an occasionnal hobby, it can be a work, but like a games seller : you do it because you like it, and you don't dedicate your ENTIRE LIFE for it. I also think that religion must be forbidden before a certain age, peoples must choose their own faith.
It would be the same, religion is just a banner, peoples who believe in it stay the same.
I think the same thing, people will believe in a other thing if there is no religion...
There is a slight but important differentiation to consider with this question. If the question is, "would the world be better if religion had never existed," then I think the answer would be unequivocally yes. A lot less people would have died, and humanity as a whole would probably be quite a few centuries ahead in terms of progress.
But if the question is along the lines of "would the world be better if religion just suddenly and spontaneously disappeared" then the answer would be no.
In the past, religion has done more harm than good. In the present, it does far more good than harm.
Yes, you could point to Muslim extremism, but we all know the (valid) argument: Muslim extremism isn't motivated by Islam (anyone whose read the Quran knows that). It's motivated by other factors: lack of opportunity, desperation, want to fight for a cause, etc. Those factors would exist with or without religion, so sans religion in today's world, there would still be terrorism.
Yes, you could also point to a sort of Christian extremism here in the states, a set of Bible-motivated views that puts the US far behind other developed nations in terms of social progressiveness. Remember, we have Kim Davis.
But consider that the vast majority of people on the globe are religious. What does it bring them? It brings them hope. It brings them a sense of cause and self worth. It gives them structure and community, and motivates them to do good in the world and have empathy for others. For the average global person, religion is a valuable part of life.
These are things that obviously cannot be quantified, but by any measure far outweigh the harms when you consider the billions that it helps.
In my opinion - religion is for those with weak minds. I'm not trying to imply that these people are inferior or superior - but religions haven't done anything else other than causing the wars & segregations/splitting of our communities, and humans.
Religions can go from "this is not allowed" to "this must be eliminated/terminated". Religions infact do hold people back from commiting crimes and from doing bad deeds; as they believe they will go to heaven and that if they behave good they'll live prosperously in heaven. But it can also drive people into some of the most horrible things; inducing racist/sexist/criminal-like behaviours or else you'll burn in hell. Dying in war could mean going to heaven for some religions; being homosexual could mean death and a straight path to hell for others.
In my opinion, people should be taught that everything should be neutral or good - no religion. Everyone should be equal and respectful to one another. With care and appreciation, trust and coexistance; we'll have a better world. People shouldn't be judged, exiled; or executed for being different, having different beliefs or acting in certain ways. Every person should be allowed to do as they please - but have in mind the saying that I've always kept with myself; "Everyone should be allowed to do as they please, as long as they do not hurt themselves or anyone else in any way".
Religions make people behave good in the name of god, just as it makes people kill in the name of god. Believe it or not, I am almost guaranteed that ever since religion existed, everyone's been a fool in the name of their god - whether it was a prophet, or someone who claimed having been "sent by god", god himself; or what we read in ancient texts. If we advanced, why don't we move on from this ignorant way of thinking that after many many years, it hasn't advanced or evolved.
We can all agree with ourselves to settle down and think of our rules so it's better and fair for everyone - why believe in god when you can believe in yourself, yourselves, or ourselves?
There's only one truth, and that truth can be only be found inside of ourselves. We would make it a better place.
Religion makes people happy. It makes people feel not as afraid of dying. Even though I don't believe in any gods, it makes other people feel like there is always hope. Without hope... There is no people to even HAVE a religion to begin with.
Lemme tell ya something, it should be removed at all costs.
I did my research as a good boy :3 and i found this.
The Syrian war is caused by religion, why? Here's the answer.
Saudi arabia are the Sunis, and Iraq Iran and Syria are the Shitas. The sunis always wanted the control of all arabia but that would be going through eliminating the Shitas. But they possed resistance against them.
Saudi arabia is supporting ISIS because they know that if they take out Syria, they would have advantage over Iraq and Iran. Now, that plan was pooped up. Because the Russians know that if they have the ISIS dominating Syria, they have Chechenya, Georgia and the other countries down below in danger of a Islamic revolution. Since there's a hate amongst the muslims against Russia, because Russia was supposed to be a Islamic country, but the funny thing that they knew about the rule of islam against alchohol, so they throwed islamism and they added the Orthodox church.
Now. What's the reason of the war. Sunis and Shitas are 2 divisions of the Islam=Religious war.
you can die and go to hell - that's the world without faith and religion...
Yes, because the one god that created hell is the only real one, unlike the 2000 gods humans created before that one...