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. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    You know, I think I agree.
  2. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Definitely. Stalin sure didn't need any Bibilical influences to mass-murder millions of his own people in the name of 'progress'.
  3. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Atheism isn't what led Stalin to kill millions of his own citizens. He simply felt that terror and mass purges were an effective instrument for him to retain total control of the state. He wasn't flying any kind of banner of ridding the Soviet Union of theists, per se. He was willing to purge any group that he could categorize.
  4. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

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    Aug 25, 2005
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    That isn't what Boba said though. What he was saying was that he didn't need religion as an excuse to do what he did, not that his lack of a religion promted him.
  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 19, 2000
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    How 'bout we all make a new years' resolution not to mention either Stalin or the Crusades ever on these boards in 2009, when comparing aspects of atheism to aspects of religion?

    It's getting old...

  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

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    The Senate Floor depends heavily on Hitler and Stalin for its very survival.
  7. king_alvarez Jedi Knight

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    May 31, 2007
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    It seems we've had various forms of this discussion quite recently. Basically, spirituality isn't bad, it's the dogmatism (of any type of belief) that is bad, which unfortunately has been encouraged in some of the more prominent religions in times past. I think many times the conflict arises primarily when a system has multiple dogmatic belief structures to choose from. When there is only one belief system for a community, there is a great deal of social pressure exerted on each individual to conform. When there are multiple belief systems, these systems come into direct conflict with one another and often times do not have the appeal to rationality as a means of settling the conflict.
  8. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
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    I would agree with that in general. On a small scale, NJ has a lot of different ethnic/religious groups and seems to get along well with the various conflicts - only because none have a clear majority. Utah, beautiful state that it is, has a clear majority of one religion that overshadows anyone else with a dissenting viewpoint. This is good for that religious group but not so good for others who may not agree with it.

    So a homogenious religious society has both pluses and minuses as does a heterogenious society. It's all a matter of the individual as to which 'good' outweigh which 'bad'.

    The article doesn't have enough information to come to a clear conclusion.
  9. Gonk Jedi Grand Master

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    That isn't what Boba said though. What he was saying was that he didn't need religion as an excuse to do what he did, not that his lack of a religion promted him.

    I don't think any Athiest has ever argued that being an Athiest means you're not liable to become like Stalin. To the degree any one ever has, it's a faulty argument.

    Naturally by the same token, Hitler being raised Catholic never prevented the Holocaust.
  10. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

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    QFT
  11. nancyallen Jedi Master

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    Stalin, and anyone who allows their beliefs to get in the way of their humanity, are predatory animals rather than human beings. Their ideaology makes them empty, absent of human feelings. They are so removed from the common man's outlook as to be an alien, replacing their humanity and emotions with a geometrically precise model of how they think the world should be. Too wedded in their vision they do not see that their plans have failed whenever they have tried, they are perfectly happy to destroy themselves and hurt whoever gets in the way as they do so.
  12. Vader666 Jedi Grand Master

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    Mar 3, 2003
    star 5
    The case of Stalin or communism in general is a simple one. Stalin's regime was totalitarian. Religion, at least in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic perspective, is by definition totalitarian in that it implies a celestial dictator. Any totalitarian regime is evil.
  13. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    That's not what I'm saying at all; I'm saying that he was a brutal monster, and would have been whether he was religious or not.
  14. goraq Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2008
    star 4
    I ask an another question.

    When becomes religion more dangerous?

    In a society wich is more secular and there is a tension between the secularized and the religious parts.


    In in a society wich is religious.
  15. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Unchecked power and a mandate from God usually turn out to not be a very good combination.
  16. darth_gersh Force Ghost

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    Feb 18, 2005
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    Religion has killed more people than it has saved.
  17. GenAntilles Force Ghost

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    Jul 24, 2007
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    I'll agree with you there. The religions of Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Darwinism, and all the others all have a tremendous ammount of blood on there hands.
  18. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 22, 2001
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    Some of these things are not like the others,
    some of these things do not belong...
  19. GenAntilles Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2007
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    I'm not seeing it... Oh wait your talking about Atheism and Darwinism. Well they are religions. Religion, organized or personal is whatever a person believes. If you are the only member of your religion does it make it any less of a religion?

    If you choose to believe in no religion and believe there is no God that is a religion. Or are you trying to agrue that Atheists have never killed anyone and have no blood on their hands?

    If you choose to believe that man must evolve and succeed no matter who you step on that is your religion. I trust you know of the Social Darwinists and the horrible acts people did in its name.

    I find it truly laughable that simply not being an organized religion somehow makes that religion immune from any accusations or responsibility.

    Therefore henceforth I am no longer a part of the organized religion known as Christianity. Instead I am a member of my personal Christianity that is exactly the same as it was before. But know I am completetly immune from and accusations.
  20. Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 20, 2003
    star 6
    I'd say the latter. There can be a check on religious zealots in a secular nation. However, in a religious society, their ignorance and fundamentalism are typically supported by the apparatus of the state(as societies which are highly religious also tend towards theocratic rule.)

    Edit: The latter's homogeneous nature would also tend to make them more fearful of other perspectives than a more cosmopolitan society would be.
  21. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    EDIT: I'm in the wrong thread.
  22. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

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    No, these aren't religions. Atheism has no central dogmas, doctrines, core beliefs, sacred texts, governing philosophies, etc., that are characteristics of religion. The best analogy I have seen phrases it like this: "Not collecting stamps isn't a hobby."

    "Darwinism" is a cutesy catchphrase produced by individuals who denigrate evolution. It isn't a belief or religion any more than quantum mechanics or plate tectonics is a religion. It's a rhetorical stunt, not a legitimate argument, unless you define "religion" so broadly as to make it essentially meaningless. Belief that we're both speaking English doesn't amount to "languagism".

    Whole different issue in that second question. Sure, both atheists and theists have killed people. It does not follow that atheists therefore have killed in the name of "their religion". The historical examples people typically point to in order to justify the "blood on the hands" type comments have been about political power (e.g., Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.), not an "atheistic religious crusade".

    And I trust you realize how you are twisting the idea of "belief" and "religion" with this statement. People are evolving with every generation - that's what happens when you mix gametes. That's why you don't look exactly like your parents. That's why your body morphology differs, etc. These smaller changes add up over time, and with disruptive actions like chromosomal fusion, geographic isolation, and reproductive barriers we get speciation. If this is a "religion" then it is the only religion you can test in a laboratory, and the only "religion" routinely tested in freshman level biology labs. Seriously, this is a *huge* category mistake.

    I have the same attitude towards bad argumentation.
  23. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    For purposes of this thread, I think it is worthwhile to point out that you're entirely misusing what the word religion means. Religion isn't what a person believes, in the general sense. To cite a dictionary definition:
    The term religion is a very specific meaning in that sense. To that extent, neither atheism nor social darwinism fit the bill. The short answer with atheism being its a lack of belief, not a belief in its own right (though further questions with atheism should go to the atheism thread) and social darwinism has no concern for that in the definition, and so its not a religion, its an ideology.
    Note that ideology is just a grouping of views, whereas religion specifically focuses on the origin and purpose of the universe as a function of superhuman entities.
  24. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    Yep. I believe the steakburger from BK is pretty good. Doesn't mean I worship that creepy Burger King dude. :p
  25. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    Shun the non-believer!

    Shuuuuuunnnnnnnnnahhh!


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