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. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Who is condemning theists? We're talking about beliefs, not people.

    There is no such thing as "atheist teachings."

    No.
  2. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I think you're using a fundamentally flawed view of teachings. When someone talks about, say, Catholic teachings, they would be talking about what the Catholic Church says, and what the Bible says. When someone talks about Islamic teachings, its what messages are being pushed in mosques, and what is in the Quran.

    There simply ISN'T an analogous situation for 'atheism', and given that you say 'atheist teachings' that implies you're trying to say that its a monolithic group or organization.


    To the general question:
    I'd say any situation that leads to an ideology that is close-minded is very problematic, and that goes beyond the problems found from fundamental interpretations to any fundamentalist views. I think religion is most likely to create complete impasses, but that's prrimarily because of the larger scale of religion's claims. Issues involving ideologies like political party (Republican, Democrat, etc), and views on government or economy (fascism, communism, etc) have the same potential, but I think its easier to overcome because people aren't as entrenched as if they feel their eternity rests on an outcome. Although I don't mean most likely to mean highly likely.

    My general view is somewhat summed up by this:
  3. nancyallen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 4
    That's pretty much a cop out to excuse the way atheists act by claiming atheism isn't to blame. If not all theists are evil and dangerous then don't act as if they are.
  4. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I'm going to point out that I've never felt that you should be responsible for 9/11, nor have I claimed that Hindus should be judged for the bombing of abortion clinics in the U.S. Nor are Jews guilty for the Crusades. Or that Sihks should be judged based on the Inquisition.

    Similarly, I don't think that Hitler killed people because he was a vegetarian. I don't think Stalin's push against abstract art is why he killed millions. I don't think John Wayne Gacy was a serial killer because he had a clown costume. I don't think Dylan Klebold's involvement in Columbine is because he went to a Lutheran church.


    There's no cop out when the connection you attempt to draw isn't valid, or doesn't contain causation. My issues with religion begin when beliefs that stem from religious doctrine are forced upon others. Be it abortion, alcohol consumption, gay marriage, creationism, use of terrorism, etc. The other case is when the religious heirarchy is commiting something offensive, like the Catholic Church covering up the child abuse cases. If neither of those is the case, then I have zero problem with religion, because then one's personal religious views are soley their matter.

    Atheism is simply not believing in a theistic view of the universe. There are no beliefs attached to that to force upon others, and there is no hierarchy to commit or allow wrongdoing. So the analogy you're pushing for fundamentally fails.

    If you have a problem with Hitler's persecution of some religions, blame Nazism. If you've an issue with Stalin's actions, blame Stalinism. Blame the ideology that tells them to do what you feel they are doing wrong, but atheism, by its VERY nature makes no such claims. That doesn't mean that an atheist can't do bad things, but that an atheist that commits atrocities because of his ideology is doing that because of an ideology that is not based upon 'tenets' or 'teachings' of atheism. Its based on something additional as there are NO claims of atheism to base an ideology around. It has to involve other values.


    While I think its absolutely a falacy to say all theists are evil and dangerous, I think its not only a greater falacy to try to group atheists in some fashion, its outright ignorant of what the word means.

    And this also further highlights why I think its extremely futile to use broad terms in relation to if religion is beneficial to or harmful to society. Its not religion that is a net good or net bad, its what that particular religion tells people to do. Not what people that happen to be of that religion tell people to do, but what that religion tells people to do, via doctrine or via the institutionalised religion itself.
  5. nancyallen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 4
    If that's the case why is religion continually blamed for all the world's woes?
  6. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
  7. nancyallen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 4
    Don't expect me to feel bad about defending religion, because the simple fact is I don't.
  8. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    What is your problem? Why do you keep defending yourself against imaginary accusations?

    I would like it if you felt a little bad about not paying any attention to the conversations you insist on disrupting with your practiced phrases. Try to comprehend what is being said instead of coming out guns blazing about arguments that other people have made elsewhere at other times. I would like it if you felt bad about failing to comprehend or outright ignoring what other people are saying to you. But I don't expect you to feel bad about defending religion, no.

    Also, incidentally, I don't believe I've ever seen you actually "defending" religion, just going "Nuh uh!" and "Atheism too so there!" and "You're mean! I'm telling!" Despite what you've been told, not everything you need to know can be learned in kindergarten, at least not if you intend to engage in halfway intelligent discussions. Defending religion would imply that you have something to say in its defense, not just in offense against anything else you can imagine.
  9. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    I may be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure DorkmanScott's point was that after I wrote about how I only feel religion should be responsible for what religions tell their followers to do via hierarchy or doctrine, or what the hierarchy of a religion does itself and not just a casual correlation, you then proceeded to say "If that's the case why is religion continually blamed for all the world's woes?" which is entirely contrary to the ENTIRE post I just wrote, and the part that DorkmanScott quoted is me saying specifically what religion should be held accountable for and a list of issues where religious views on them are pushed on those that are not religious, and that its not simply 'all bad things'. (If I've misstated your intent, DorkmanScott, my apologies.)

    I would, however, like to see you find anywhere in the post you responded to where I said that religion was responsible for all the world's woes, or where I think that religion SHOULD be held responsible for all the world's woes. Heck, it doesn't have to be that post, please bring up ANY post I have EVER made on this forum where I have endorsed, supported, or otherwise argued for the view that all the world's woes, or even most of them, are the sole fault of religion.
  10. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I see that Nancy has transformed yet another topic into a 'defend bad atheists if you dare' thread.
    I thought that this thread was about religion?

    Man, sometimes I am truly amazed by the diligence of people like Lowie and Scott; how they can put up with explaining the same old, fairly simple stuff to her again and again is truly beyond me. Maybe that's what made them mod material. Anyway, let it be said that I think Nancy's interjections rarely make for good discussion, and more often than not halt progressive discussion.

    Is religion beneficial or harmful to society?

    For me, it's like this: in man's current stage of development, he's superstitious. That's just how it is. Man has lotteries, man has astrology, man wonders about the year 2012 and man has a choice of religions. He's no monkey anymore, so he won't be excreting in public anymore, but he's no half-god (yet) either. In a way, animism hasn't truly left us yet.

    So society cannot be imagined without religion. It's part and parcel of who we are. Even in the most oppressive atheist regimes, religion has survived. The question is therefore void. It's only useful to start asking this question when we reach a new level of evolution.
  11. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    That's pretty much it exactly. The question isn't whether religion is beneficial or harmful, but whether it is distinguishable from society at all. Even in the most secular of European societies, religion is still heavily integrated into many if not most of the cherished traditions. In many parts of the world where belief in God is dying off because of higher education and prosperity, new waves of religious immigrants are moving in to re-energize religious practice.
  12. nancyallen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 4
    Well I find the theophobia branded about here boring, and the simple fact that religion and theists seem to be allowed to be criticized and attack and atheism and atheists are not to be intensely unfair, so that makes us even.
  13. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    You keep saying that, yet when have you "not been allowed" to shoot your mouth off about the same topics over and over, even when they were totally inappropriate for the subject under discussion?

    That fact that you are allowed to post those statements instantly renders them lies.
  14. king_alvarez Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 31, 2007
    star 3
    This is the only thing I'm going to say to you on this, the very fact that you have made the statement above shows that you are either blatantly ignoring people's responses to your questions, or you are incapable of comprehending their answers. So there is absolutely no incentive to continue discussing these topics with you until you can demonstrate an ability to engage in an actual discussion.
  15. nancyallen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 4
    Is religion beneficial or harmful to society? Well I would ask is atheism beneficial or harmful to society?
  16. Quixotic-Sith Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2001
    star 6
    It's not that simple, nancy. Look at the original post - it's a peer-reviewed article followed by clarification and analysis, i.e., an argument. You can't simply ask the opposite question and think it's an argument.
  17. nancyallen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 4
    In other words you're copping out because it questions atheism.
  18. LostOnHoth Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2000
    star 5
    Absolutely. It has been suggested by Dawkins and others that the United States is a perfect example of a secular country which has experienced a re-energized religiosity caused by the influx of immigrants. Religious immigrants tend to deal with their new environment by seeking out others of the same faith resulting generally in a strenghtening of religious faith and practices within the immigrant community. From this has sprung the industry of organised religion which feeds from this religious base. Religion is now big business in America. Religion is now more than ever entrenched in nearly every sphere of social life, the family, the institutions of education, community and education and commerce.
  19. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    No, he's simply choosing not to waste time and mental resources on an intelligent argument with you since you seem either incapable or unwilling to offer one yourself.
  20. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Atheism is neither inherently beneficial or harmful, since unlike religion, it offers no dictates or edicts.
  21. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    DorkmanScott, meet nancyallen. It won't matter how many times and different ways you try to explain it to her, she will never admit that atheism is inherently non-dogmatic.
  22. nancyallen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 4
    You want an intelligent argument, then stop trying to demonize religion.
  23. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Oh, don't worry. I know the steps to this dance. I'm still not entirely convinced she isn't a bot like SmarterChild.

    Though admittedly slightly less sophisticated -- SmarterChild at least acknowledges the things I say, even if it doesn't know how to respond to them.
  24. nancyallen Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 4
    Drop the personal comments please and concentrate on the topic.
  25. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Ah, who could forget that old favorite.

    We should put together nancyallen bingo boards.
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