Is religion beneficial or harmful to society?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Obi-Wan McCartney, Dec 1, 2008.

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  1. Jediflyer Force Ghost

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    China.

  2. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Leave my dishes out of this.
  3. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    I'm not sure what you mean here? Maintained, yes, post revolution, but as far as created, well, the Chinese Emperors ruled by Mandate of Heaven.
  4. Jediflyer Force Ghost

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    What institutionalized religion did the emperors use?

  5. LostOnHoth Chosen One

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    What about Stalin? Lenin?
  6. goraq Jedi Youngling

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    They ruled a population already ,,chained,, by the tsars.
  7. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    The near universal devotion to Taoism (Chinese Folk Religion) within the Han?
  8. Jediflyer Force Ghost

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    But from my understanding, there is no uniform belief structure, no priests, and no hierarchy associated with that, and while the emperor may claim some sort of divine right/mandate of heaven, there is no reason to belief he was actually seen that way.

  9. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    The Emperors rule would (and did) fall apart when omens or bad fortunes of the country showed that they had lost the Mandate of Heaven. Said religious omens, as interpreted by Taoist monks, were also a source of much of an Emperor's policies.

    Though the Chinese folk religion is variable throughout the Han and surrounding regions, and despite having little set hierarchical structure, the Son of Heaven aka Emperor was in many ways a religious leader.

    Heck, the very origins of the institution and form of Chinese government itself is mythologized. The first emperor was supposedly a big half-snake guy with the powers of a diety. :p
  10. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    To clarify this, I'm discovering that Baha'i Scripture is geared not so much towards what to do, it's more oriented towards how to be. Heck, one of the biggest no-no's that I've discovered in the Faith is to allow adherence to religious dictates become a cause of contention & strife, especially within the family. For example: next month marks the beginning of an annual 19 day long fast between dawn & dusk. However, I have family that is not very amenable towards the Baha'i Faith. Given a choice between observing the fast and causing family problems, and eating along with family in the interest of harmony, then we're supposed to eat up!
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Outstanding: how to be vs. what to do. I think that's a brilliant distinction. Faith is about changing the individual and from the inside out, not the outside in. At least, in my opinion, this is the case.

    I'm all for a certain amount of ritual and the sense of connection that brings, but for me, my faith is about the personal work. "Work out," my Scriptures tell me, "your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you."

    My faith is, first and foremost, about bringing my life into harmony with God; and often, when I talk about things I need to do differently, those things (we Christians call them 'sins') are really only the symptoms of something far more important: the way I think. Harmony has to be internalized before you can ever have it outwardly. One could argue, and I in fact would, that you can work on your actions all day, but until you change your thinking, it's not going to do any good. You can't, in other words, do anything about what you do, until you change how you are. Brilliant; I wholeheartedly agree with that particular principle of your faith, Merk.

    Religion focused primarily on the idea of action above all is the kind that often does bring some harm to society; religion founded on the idea that it is each individual's responsiblity to be the best as an individual, well, those are often, ironically, the ones that bring great good to society. Some religions focus on both, but as the focus swings, you can see the reflection in the impact on society.

    Fast example: conversion as an interior experience or an exterior one? If you believe conversion happens within, then you can't do anything about the conversion of another person. If, on the other hand, you believe that all you have to do to get someone to renounce their false beliefs is to make them say they renounce those beliefs, then why not simply torture them until they do so? Thus . . . well, you know thus. Lots of horrible things done in the name of forcing the exterior act when the exterior act, in my opinion, is nothing without the interior conviction.
  12. WormieSaber Force Ghost

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    Going back to the question of this thread, I think it depends on what people are going to do with religion. If you want it to control you then it will be harmful, but if you want it to better yourself, then it will probably be beneficial. You can either use religion as a weapon or as a stepping stool.
  13. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    Like practically everything else, you can look at religion and see both the best and the worst of mankind.
  14. vaders_cape Jedi Knight

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    Like all things (hu)man-made or utilised by mankind, it's how it's used which determines how harmful it is to society or whether it proves to be a boon.

    Whether a religion, an organised expression of a set of beliefs, is harmful to society very much depends on a) the beliefs in that religion, and b) the people who worship or adhere to that religion - and whether they choose to distort it.

    Having said that, historically women fare better in secular socities rather than in religious ones.
  15. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

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    I'd just add another statement; it also matters whether the religion simply operates within society or has a controlling element of society on its side. Ie. when we talk about a religious society, it matters whether we're talking about a society with religion in it or a society dictated mainly by religion. Just by virtue of the dynamics of power, this makes a difference on whether or not a religion can hurt (or help) the society it is a part of.
  16. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

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    (bolded for emphasis)

    This is crucial. It's my opinion that we humans can be pretty ingenious when it comes to hijacking ideology -be it religion, cultural identity, nationalism, whatever- for personal and/or factional gain.
  17. vaders_cape Jedi Knight

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    I agree with the previous two posts - as we have seen certainly with Christianity, any behaviour can be "justified" within the dogma of their religion, even when you can't actually find the bit in scripture that says it's okay to murder medical professionals if they do something you disagree with.

    Apparently Muslim fundamentalists in Indonesia have been slashing car tyres because they believe there are spirits in the air which are then trapped inside an inflated tyre, and to do this to these spirits is anti-God, therefore tyres are a form of blasphemy. I'm no expert on the Koran but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find that one in there....

    Power and control are the main motivators in human behaviour, not sex, and religion is an excellent way of exerting control over human behaviour on a large scale. That's not to say that secular societies don't attempt control over the masses either.

  18. goraq Jedi Youngling

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    ,,That's not to say that secular societies don't attempt control over the masses either."

    Secular elites is more accurate i think.
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