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. nancyallen Jedi Master

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    Nov 19, 2007
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    Are you going to discuss how religion is continually demonized?
  2. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    No, because that isn't the topic of this thread.
  3. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Please retract 'theophobia' or show me some evidence. Introducing smear words isn't really helping your argument, if there even is one that actually relates to the topic. It's not allowed on here to attack theists so please retract that as well. It is allowed to criticize atheism, so while you're at it - retract that, too. You're left with:

  4. LostOnHoth Chosen One

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    Feb 15, 2000
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    We should just follow standard NancyProtocol 1 Alpha: disengage, disengage, disengage.
  5. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Lord knows we all tried that, but that's only going to work if there's a stickie on the main page for newbies who will always see a challenge in engaging her.
  6. nancyallen Jedi Master

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    Nov 19, 2007
    star 4
    I'm just sorry you can't have a civil discussion.
  7. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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    Trying to.
    You retracting those statements?
  8. LemmingLord Jedi Master

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    Apr 28, 2005
    star 4
    I love what you said here and I agree.

    Something that I thought I would bring up. While closed-minded beliefs can be problematic, they are also very useful to society, forging determination and commitment that goes beyond a more realistic (realistic from a post modern perspective) ambiguity.

    A society with an army that believes it is invincible and in the right and will go to heaven, especially if fed and supplied by more realistic number crunchers, will have military superiority, all other things being equal.

    I say religion plays a great part in continuuing society, but only because it is just a part.. A society where everyone already believes they know the answer will be quickly crushed by reality. A society where no one has a belief in a higher power (or other comforting high concepts) is a society without commitment and without a future.
  9. Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2003
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    Not necessarily. One could be an atheist and still believe that you should fight to the death to defend ideals like freedom and democracy. A more realistic understanding of what the human body can and can't do would also help you defeat an army which thinks it's invincible. Someone who understand their physical fragility will use tactics and try to avoid gunfire. An army which thinks they're invincible wouldn't bother.
  10. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Note 1: Please keep personal comments out of this. Criticise a person's argument to your heart's content, but keep the comments about the person themself out of this.
    Note 2: As NancyAllen said, this should be kept to the topic. That topic is "Is religion beneficial or harmful to society?" and as such, a focus on "Is atheism beneficial or harmful to society?" is off-topic, and further attempts to MAKE that the topic will be considered trolling.
    Note 3: In the interest of balance, if anyone wishes, a similar topic with the focus of atheism being beneficial or harmful to society will be accepted (either for the atheism thread or a seperate thread, PM me about it with the post in mind) with the following restriction, it will REQUIRE a study that has evaluated the benefits/harm of atheism specifically and MUST be published in a journal that subjects all papers to peer review. This topic will ONLY be considered with a comperable study in the fashion of this thread being based on a study that focused on religion.
  11. Espaldapalabras Force Ghost

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    Aug 25, 2005
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    Someone who understand their physical fragility will use tactics and try to avoid gunfire. An army which thinks they're invincible wouldn't bother.

    Is there some religion I haven't heard of that teaches you are physically invincible? It seems like you guys mistook crazy for religious. A religion would tell you your cause is just and that you are destined for greatness, but an increase in confidence normally doesn't cause you to lose all rational thought. And if there was such a religion, I would think that belief in invincibility was really just a byproduct of having too many teenagers around.

    Almost any ideology can be turned into something that develops "close minded" beliefs. But close mindedness could be a benefit for some groups. If you live in a dangerous world where your tribe or people are faced with threats from other groups, then the ones that are open minded about accepting others might get crushed. If you are "close minded" and don't let anyone from outside your group enter, you might protect yourself against disease and encroachment.

    Of course in today's modern society we need cooperation as free travel of goods, people, and ideas help us all so close minded groups who cut themself off from the global society limit their advancement.
  12. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    I'd say close-minded doesn't mean that you accept anything else wihtout question, just that you go through a valid process of consideration. I think you can be very confident in your beliefs, while still, and possibly because of, your consideration of other views, if you then find your beliefs to be the better view in the end.
  13. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

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    Mar 26, 2001
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    Come on, whether you're religious or not, you've got to admit that sometimes, in some places, the line can get pretty blurred.

    I think we agree on this point, both that this is a plausible explanation for the evolutionary origins of closed-mindedness and groupthink, and that it is no longer a beneficial practice in the modern world.

    Did you mean open-minded?
  14. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    star 6
    Yes, yes I did.
  15. VadersLaMent Chosen One

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    [image=http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii214/KnifeToTheSoul/anti-christianBigotry.gif]
  16. Nrf-Hrdr Jedi Master

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    Aug 3, 2000
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    Hmm, I'm not so sure it's quite that simple. Given that most modern societies were predominently religious in the past, it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to suggest that the transition to a predominently atheistic or non-religious society and the associated lack of doctrines etc could have some wider effect on that society, whether that effect can be considered beneficial or harmful. But ultimately it's basically just two halves of the same question.
  17. LemmingLord Jedi Master

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    Apr 28, 2005
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    Perhaps you are right. The important thing for this discussion is this: religion benefits society in that it is one very powerful method to inspire the hope and faith of its members, which in turn allows its military to be committed to victory and have a reserve of strength to give them the courage necessary to make advantageous advances in war.

    While there maybe atheistic methods that inspire hope and faith in the same way, but that is neither here nor there with regards to the basic question of "is religion beneficial or harmful to society." It IS beneficial in the way I've described.
  18. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Jun 28, 2006
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    LemmingLord, I'd absolutely agree in that even if there are other ways to gain the same benefit, there are definitely benefits from religion.

    Another example is that there are a portion of religious people (though I'd like to think its a small portion of them) that really see no reason to be good if there isn't a god judging you, and I think that it is a plus then that religion keeps those people in line.
  19. nancyallen Jedi Master

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    Nov 19, 2007
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    It's more a case of atheists acting worse than the fundamentalist dogmatic theologians they criticize and condemn. Dawkins for example is just the KKK's Grand Wizard with The God Delusion rather than the Bible. You can't have one rule for your beliefs and another for everyone else's, much as you might demand that to be the case.
  20. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

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    Jun 28, 2006
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    Nancyallen, this is a final warning for this thread. Your post does not, in any way, shape, or form, adress the question of if religion is beneficial or harmful to society.
  21. nancyallen Jedi Master

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  22. Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus

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    Nope, but it was in response to LemmingLord's post which included that premise.

    Yep. I would guess that's why traits which lead to close-minded thinking have survived over the generations. They're useful in very desperate situations.



    Oh, I agree on that. Religion can be incredibly beneficial. It can lead people who normally wouldn't to do great things like donate time, goods, or money to the poor, feel compassion for their neighbors, etc. I tend to think that religion itself is more good than ill and that the problem stems from people who distort it to justify evil acts.
  23. LemmingLord Jedi Master

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    Apr 28, 2005
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    I definitely could have elaborated a little bit and been clearer. What I mean by invincible would not be physically invulnerability for an individual per se, but rather, that "through god, all things are possible, and god is behind my country so we cannot fail as long as we continue to endure and have faith."

    Oh, I agree on that. Religion can be incredibly beneficial. It can lead people who normally wouldn't to do great things like donate time, goods, or money to the poor, feel compassion for their neighbors, etc. I tend to think that religion itself is more good than ill and that the problem stems from people who distort it to justify evil acts.[/quote]

    Yes indeed. I'm not sure it is quite as beneficial in this day and age though in that the harm one fanatic can do has become world shaking. One fanatic monotheist martyr with a briefcase nuke may well destroy an entire city within the next century.
  24. Master_Starwalker Manager Emeritus

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    Sep 20, 2003
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    Ah, that would definitely help in a military struggle.

    I think it's still overall beneficial, but it's definitely a harder call than it was in the past. What the current level of weaponry and fantacism really requires of the religious, imo, is a willingness to work with atheists and other religious people who are committed to the goal of tolerance and civility as well as a willingness to look within their own faith and either try to help fanatics see it from a more inclusive perspective or excommunicate them.
  25. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
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