Young Writers Society

Home » Forums » Community » Serious Discussion and Debate

Religion causes more problems than it solves

Post a reply
User avatar
869 Reviews


Gender: Female
Points: 23825
Reviews: 869
Tue Feb 01, 2011 5:45 pm
View Likes
Skins says...



Okay. Religion.

I know this is a touchy subject, but can I please ask you guys not to get too argumentative about it. Also, if you can, try to avoid being biased. I know that's hard for some of you to be unbiased, but at least try to think of it logically.

The question is simple: Do you think religion causes more problems than it solves?

I'll give an equal amount of positives and negatives to start you guys off.

Positives about religion:
- Gives people hope
- Brings communities together
- Gives people rules to follow

Negatives about religion:
- Can cause problems like wars
- Some fundamentalists can take it too far
- Can generally cause arguments about various things - f.e. homosexuality, the way some people chose to live, the creation of mankind.

This is a very open question, so there's a lot of ways you could answer/react to it. I'm just curious. I've noticed religion popping up a lot lately, both on YWS and in my everyday life. Personally, I'm an atheist, but I'd like to see other people's point of views on this.
Cat.




User avatar


Gender: Female
Points: 1677
Reviews: 3
Tue Feb 01, 2011 7:43 pm
View Likes
AuroraOrodel says...



Religion, as in the beliefs about the world, practices, and codes of behavior for X group of people, cannot in and of itself cause problems. It is possible for two groups with radically different religious views to coexist peacefully. Problems of the nature listed that can arise, not that must arise, stem from absolutism. When one group of people comes to another group of people and tells them "You must change everything about the way you've lived for generations because our beliefs say you are wrong. If you don't, we'll kill you" for whatever reason, THAT is where the conflict is born. People make the conflict, not the religion. Even if the people are acting on religious precepts, it is still those people choosing to do so.

Personally, I don't like the idea of "religion". I prefer "worldview", because really if you're 'religious', those beliefs should be an integral part of how you order the universe in your mind and how you choose to live your life. That being said, I dislike absolutist worldviews that insist on a Finite and Absolute One Truth for all of homo sapiens, and that their one little cultural group just happens to be Super Special enough to know it. I am one lowly human being. I use less than half of my brain capacity. Everyone who came before me was one lowly human being who used less than half of their brain capacity. Who am I or who is anyone else to say what the Absolute Truth of the Universe is? All we can say for sure is "This is what I think it is". A person who considers themselves to be of great faith and conviction can say "This is what I know to be true", but that 'know' is interchangeable with 'believe'. A few years back, I was engaged in debating the validity of a particular absolutist worldview where a popular phrase from those who supported it was "Just because you believe it doesn't make it true"; however, they failed to recognize that this statement just as easily applied to them. Everything humanity thinks it knows, even through scientific means, can change drastically, so what's the purpose of absolutist worldviews?

Of course, as someone who does not ascribe to an absolutist worldview, this is all based on the way in which I order the universe. :wink:
"You cannot pronounce as knowledge anything you cannot demonstrate."
~Margaret Atwood

"The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies."
~Fahrenheit 451




User avatar
554 Reviews


Gender: Female
Points: 1245
Reviews: 554
Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:09 pm
View Likes
Persy says...



Personally, I think that religion has to offer a great deal more than people give it credit for. I'm Agnostic myself, but most of us here probably live in Christian societies. Most of the morals and laws that we live under were created under the imposition of religion, and are more ethically driven then societally. For example: The Ten Commandments. These were a basic law laid out that still provides the foundation for a great deal of law.
Religion is also something that defines human worth. If you look at Naturalist worldviews (atheism/materialism), there really is no reason that humans are worth anything, why we shouldn't be killing each other, abusing each other... harming others or ourselves. In order to keep a consistent worldview, there needs to be religion of some sort. Religion allows humanity a worth that atheism doesn't. A nihilistic perspective actually supports mauling down others in order to succeed-- Nietzsche, whose writings really influenced it, described it as will-to-power. Here's a quick definition: "The will to power describes what Nietzsche believed to be the main driving force in man; achievement, ambition, the striving to reach the highest possible position in life; these are all manifestations of the will to power." (Wikipedia... yes, I know) Practicing will-to-power would be behaving in the way that a great deal of corporations do: exploiting people for profit and personal gain.

Religion, while creating many problems of its own, obviously, has also developed society as a whole and instilled different core values and ethical codes in society today. It's the abuse of religion and its immediate influence over people that's really the problem. Religion holds now issue in itself. But, rather the abuse of religion than of humanity itself. Religion holds at bay a lot of other problems. So, I say it's a good thing. While I may not take part in it... Go religion! ;)

(By the way, when I say "religion", I usually mean a theistic worldview, rather than organized churches or simple spirituality.)




User avatar
106 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 3023
Reviews: 106
Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:29 pm
View Likes
Nightshade says...



This whole debate is a very murky thing to delve into. Problems are almost entirely based on perspective, so the meaning of the question isn't the same from person to person. Even if I were to use my own definition of "problems" I still would have a terrible time discerning any sort of trend. I consider violence a major problem, and there are plenty of examples of religious violence ranging from the inquisition to Aztec ritual sacrifice. But if I consider those I also have to consider positive examples like Ghandi and Mother Teresa and the woman down the streets whose faith in god gets her through the day. I can find death tolls from religious violence in the Middle East, but statistics on the number of people given hope by their religion are much harder to find. Not only is the absence of any sort of comprehensive information regarding the effects of religion an issue, there's also no good way of weighing the positives against the negatives.
How many Ghandis equals one crusade?
How many religious charities does it take to counteract a religious killing?
The answers to those questions would have to be so subjective that they'd be entirely meaningless.

If we look at the "religion" part of the question, the lack of defined meaning gets even more out of hand. If I point to the Crusades as an example of religion causing problems, I'm not actually pointing to religion causing problems; I'm pointing to one group of followers of one religion causing problems. It's a mistake to generalize a part into a whole. The actions of fundamentalist Muslims shouldn't be used to judge Scientologists, and the actions of Scientologists shouldn't be used to judge ancient Greeks. By trying to figure out whether religion causes more problems than it solves, we're trying to slap a generalization on a massive number of hugely different things. No accurate answer can come out of it.

So in response to the question, I wouldn't say that religion causes more problems than it solves, or that religions solves more problems than it causes. Religion just is. Once we've accepted that, we can start looking at the effects of individual aspects of individual religions, which is much more fruitful.




User avatar
433 Reviews


Gender: None specified
Points: 2264
Reviews: 433
Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:02 pm
View Likes
Tenyo says...



I think religion does more good than bad. There are environments like war zones and unstable or poor countries that most people won't dare to enter. I've seen many religions go head first into these areas following principles of love and charity, and make a lot of improvement.

At the same time, I've seen people go head first into a battlefield - but with the exception of the radical religions (who all seem to follow a pattern of being denomintation-type things who believe in the superiority of their religion) - I find few religions that don't promote love and peace.

It makes me think that the problem is not religion, but man. If we had no religion then we would find another reason to fight. Every religion has its condemning verses that when blown out of proportion can cause huge negetive effects (like the stoning of lazy sons and the slaughter of infidels) - and there are people who take these verses, ignore the rest, and blow everything out of proportion. I bet that if those people didn't have religion they would find something else to destroy, some other cause to excuse them, and some other way to justify it.

If you take away religion we would still fight, some wars would cease and others would arise. Some quarelling would stop and some would start. The only difference would be that there would end up a whole lot less people living for love, peace and charity.
We were born to be amazing.




User avatar
133 Reviews


Gender: Female
Points: 4770
Reviews: 133
Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:25 pm
View Likes
writerwithacause says...



I think it pretty much depends on which religion are we talking about. Somebody once said on a website, that if we all were buddhists, there wouldn't be any wars. Now, this is a little exaggerated, but somehow true. There are certain religions that do not allow other religions to exist and say that there is only one god. And some are pacifists and believe in more gods, so their people do not become so radical and strict when it comes to being open to others that believe in other gods. It depends on what moral values are promoted by any religion, and how people interpret their religion.

Though, I came to the conclusion that religion does all in all more good than bad. The standards of our society and morals in general are imposed by religion. And this can be a good thing.

Maybe if we did not have religion before law was invented, there would not be any distinction between a man that has killed people and one that has never stolen anything or killed anybody. I think that, hundreds and hundreds of years ago, religion had an important impact on how people saw world, and this impact can be seen today also, and influences our thoughts, our view, and what we see as "sin".

Plus, some people need a motivation and find it in their religion. If there were no religion, I believe our world would be chaotic, with many people not knowing what to believe in. Of course there are many things that religion hides, and it might not be the truth we learn about by reading the religious textbooks, but the importance does not lie in the truth and accuracy of the texts, but in its spiritual value.
Julie, a sucker for romance, historical fashion, medieval fairs and blues music. Add photography and you already know me 50%. The rest of me you'll discover through my writings and my photos.

my fictionpress
my greatest project, a history-inspired romance




User avatar
3670 Reviews


Gender: Female
Points: 2141
Reviews: 3670
Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:37 pm
View Likes
Snoink says...



Personally, I think ideas in general are dangerous and thus bad. Especially the biggest ones, as is the case for religion, but also the case for the patriotism, politics, conspiracy theories, etc. Any idea that has a following of people is pretty much a virus of the mind of sorts. As such, I think ideas, in general, should be banned entirely. This way, we will not be subjected to the horrors of disagreements and different beliefs because there will be no disagreements because there will be no beliefs.

Also, in a similar frame, the concept of identity should be banned because that gives way to people belonging to each other instead of existing as an entirely independent being. People should not be dependent on each other because that gives way to ideas, and that should not happen. They should be completely and utterly alone with absolutely no interaction with the world. They should exist, not live.
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach

Moth and Myth <- My comic! :D




User avatar
243 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 13479
Reviews: 243
Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:26 pm
View Likes
Blink says...



But if I consider those I also have to consider positive examples like Ghandi and Mother Teresa

Yeah, that woman's not a great example.


Self-identity is great. Having intrinsic, spiritual codes relative to the solipsist is an equally wonderful trait.

However, the principle of religion does not appeal to me. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the term "unity", as though it were the answer to all of life's problems. But I don't buy it. Some are unifiers; I'm a divider. It's incredibly essential for the development and progressiveness of human civilization that views can be born, and can compete, without dogmatic interference. Politics is by definition division; democracy does its best to transform power according to the wishes of the people. Religion refuses this. It brings generations together and imposes upon their very integrity.

As I began by saying, this would be all be sweet and dandy if it were relative. But it doesn't profess to be. Religion's cultural; it's selfish. It is passed on (usually) at the vulnerability of infancy. This provides the most powerful form of resisting liberalism - it forces upon its believers fundamentalism, fear of change. Only with secularism is this cycle broken, as churches split, choosing their own paths to stick with society. Hence, for the instance, the deep division over female emancipation present in the broad range Christian churches (something which some years ago would have been unopposed in its instruction). This is an example of the importance of division.

Personal identity and decision; freedom of thought, reason; freedom from intentional indoctrination. These are all very valuable. Feel free to disagree.
"A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction." ~ Oscar Wilde




User avatar
840 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 1426
Reviews: 840
Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:33 am
View Likes
Griffinkeeper says...



As I began by saying, this would be all be sweet and dandy if it were relative. But it doesn't profess to be. Religion's cultural; it's selfish. It is passed on (usually) at the vulnerability of infancy. This provides the most powerful form of resisting liberalism - it forces upon its believers fundamentalism, fear of change.


Your first point, that religion would be better if it were relative, is incorrect. My proof is by contradiction. If a religion is relative, then it's philosophies are dictated only by what is occurring around it. This implies that its beliefs are dictated by what is popular among people. We now arrive at a contradiction: because religions are not based on what philosophy is popular. They are, by definition based on:

Dictionary.com wrote:a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.


Because the views of the religion are based only on what humans believe is popular, the religion has switched from worshiping a higher power to self-worship. It thus ceases to have any value; because anyone can worship themselves. Therefore, relativism and religion can not co-exist. QED.

Your second point is that religion is cultural, selfish, and is imposed upon children while they are "vulnerable."

My argument is as follows. If religion is bad because it isn't relativistic, then relativism must be a good thing. If relativism is a good thing, then that the actions of others must be tolerated, because what is right/wrong for me isn't necessarily right/wrong for others. Therefore, any viewpoint that others have on religion must be respected, no matter how strange it may appear to me. Therefore, any opinions I have on a religion as (e.g. that it is cultural, selfish, or that is imposed on children while they are vulnerable) is irrelevant; because there is no such thing as an absolute right or wrong. Therefore, it doesn't matter if a church is selfish or selfless, it doesn't matter if they indoctrinate children or adults, it doesn't matter that they have a different culture. They are simply different, so I will be indifferent. Any objection to what others are doing would mean that they are violating an absolute truth, which would be a contradiction, which would in turn imply that relativism is bad.

Suppose now that we assume an absolute truth; and address the claims as addressed. First, that religions are selfish. A point of contradiction would be all the charity work that is done by religion worldwide. Since the charity work is non-profit by definition, this would imply that financial self interest is not part of the equation, that they are indeed selfless.

Second, that religions are cultural. So what? All societies are cultural as well. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a culture.

Third, that religions are imposed upon children while they are vulnerable. Recall that we are operating under the assumption that there is an absolute truth. Then it is necessary that children should be instructed in that absolute truth, so that they may know right from wrong, indeed, it is essential. Otherwise, how will they determine if the information they are learning is right or wrong? Failing to educate them in this would leave them vulnerable to those that would use them to do what is wrong.

Therefore, your point is nullified, since it is false under both assumptions. QED.

Your third point, that religion forces its followers to believe in fundamentalism and to fear change, is the last point I'll address for the evening.

My proof is by counter-example. The Roman Catholic Church does not employ torture or otherwise force people into joining their faith, much less follow it. Furthermore, the Church doesn't teach the faithful to fear change; but to embrace it. Change in this case, means to change your sinful ways, accept Jesus, and live according to the Christian faith, as laid out in the Bible. If people are taught to fear anything, they are taught to fear the wrath of God, not change.

Therefore, not all religions force their followers to believe in fundamentalism and to fear change. QED.
<YWS><R1><Founders>




User avatar
25 Reviews


Gender: None specified
Points: 2737
Reviews: 25
Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:03 am
View Likes
cannoncomplex says...



Okay, the question is interesting and i will do my best to argue that religion does not cause problems. I will focus on christianity since that's a global religion and most persecuted in recent polls.

Seriously, firstly, that notion of religion causes problem is a usually secular argument against religion often put forward by atheists. The argument for religion causing problems are often linked to religion as a cause of war; the limited freedom of people and the old, "religion is contradictory to science".

I will respond to two of the ideas :

1) religion as the cause of war

The best example are the crusades and the terrorist attacks by islam extremist. There are arguments for these such as invading a country for the glory of God, evangelical war between religions but i respond that the main reason for these wars are often hijacking of religion where a person uses religion for their own sake. A second reason was the lack of interdialogue between religions which creates a limited understanding of other religions which was why during the medieval century, the christians called islam, "pagan" because they had limited understanding and dialogue with the latter. The third reason is fundamentalism where it divides people as them and us. This is contrary to the essence of religion which is peace not only within the religion but outside it as well. Another response is that statement misleads people. Sure religion had caused wars but overall, very little wars were actually created from religion. On a table listing the major wars in history, only three were actually, at its heart, religious starting from the first battle of meggido in 1469 BC to present: The crusades, Arab conquests and the reformation wars

There is also the notion of Gods in each religion. Is the God of Islam similar to Christianity? How about the multitudes of gods in Hinduism, Wicca and Druidism. That is a common notion to indicate that religion is a problem because it divides people. To respond thisreligious relativism, i will put the notion of the Nominal Real. This Nominal Real is very complicated (I studied it at Uni) but i will try to explain it:

Okay, have a group of people look into a wall and imagine its color. A person says blue green, the next says blue while the other says it has yellow and purple. Each of these three then argues that they are right. This is like the the tension between religions but there was something missing in the example: the real color of the wall. So at its simplest notion, the argument of the Nominal Real indicates that most religions concept on God is but an angle or a different shading to the other. In other words, it is different to say what is God than what God is.


2)
This second argument is stemmed from secularism vs. religion. Secularist demand that each person has the right to commit person while religion especifically Christinaity is against it because it denies a person to achieve a purpose. Abortion and Euthanisai are hot topics because it is a battle of morals between the moral of the relativist vs the moral of the absolutist.

Society X has a law denotes the right of the individual which includes abortion, euthanasia, etc and these acts are moral to the individual. religion Y challenges society X by indicating that such actions are immoral because it denies a person to live and treats them as objects. Society X counter attacks by attacking religion Y, and religion Y sticks to its rules, and counter society X as well.


That is the most simple as I can get. i study religion, so i get these question sometimes in my head but personally this whole religion causes more problem is very misleading, and is an attack from secularists who argue that religion is bad. This is also due to the 'dumbing down of religious knowledge' were people do not have enough information on the structure of the religion itself and get its sources often from the media which are sometimes misleading.
I do not believe that religion caused problems (most of them) because it core root is peacemaking. the problems it causes are often due to extremists who taints religion, a backlash between the two morals (relativism and absolutist), and some limited dialogue among faiths.
Personal identity and decision; freedom of thought, reason and intentional indoctrination. These are all so very valuable to me


I agree with you, Blink, but what I am concern is where these things are headed and its purpose that i find questioning or how all these thoughts can come together. A society like that is good but without a firm structure, where is the order?
Lain Iwakura: If you're not remembered, then you never existed.




User avatar
243 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 13479
Reviews: 243
Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:07 pm
View Likes
Blink says...



Griff,

Your first point, that religion would be better if it were relative, is incorrect. My proof is by contradiction. If a religion is relative, then it's philosophies are dictated only by what is occurring around it. This implies that its beliefs are dictated by what is popular among people. We now arrive at a contradiction: because religions are not based on what philosophy is popular. They are, by definition based on:
Dictionary.com wrote:
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Because the views of the religion are based only on what humans believe is popular, the religion has switched from worshiping a higher power to self-worship. It thus ceases to have any value; because anyone can worship themselves. Therefore, relativism and religion can not co-exist. QED.

That was my point. Thank you. I was saying individual relativism is superior to mass religion; the latter becomes fundamentalist and objective without the cause of democratic populism that only the first can hope to achieve. Relativism provides the benefit of rational identity without central, dictatorial and authoritarian power.

Your second point revolves around the fact that without fundamentalist authority, there can be no absolute right or wrong, and thus my opinions are entirely pointless because they use vocabulary (selfish, bad, etc) that can only be subjective to me. Hence, objectivity is ironically superior to relativism because my beliefs would mean nothing with it.

Only in a state of nihilist anarchy is that correct. I value the power of secular law. I rely on what is accepted and understood by the conventions of that law to determine widely understood right and wrong. If that law changes, it is because the will of the majority (in a democracy) wishes the change. So I am left relative (generally speaking) to the conventions of secular authority; if a disagreement occurs, it is because my understanding of selfishness, for instance, contradicts someone else's. Hence the disagreement here.

In other words, I justify my beliefs on the assumption that our understandings of selfishness and good and bad are similar; not on specific points, but on what they broadly mean. Yes, it's vague. But that's how society operates.

So stop playing semantics. It's not clever, it's not philosophical. It's just annoying.

Now to deal with your individual points.

A point of contradiction would be all the charity work that is done by religion worldwide. Since the charity work is non-profit by definition, this would imply that financial self interest is not part of the equation, that they are indeed selfless.

You misunderstood what I meant about "selfishness". I meant it in the context of religious solipsism and arrogance - that a certain set of absolute beliefs are superior to all others, and that one authority mutes understanding of free-thinkers.

While we're on the subject, though - if we're going to reduce religion to charity work then perhaps we should look at secular organisations which do the task far more effectively (the DEC, UNICEF, individual governments of the UN etc). Compare those to, for instance, the Catholic Church, a "charity" that has in the past (and present) refused to give out money that could be used for the purposes of buying condoms. The Pope on a "state" visit to Cameroon in 2009 spread the abject lie that condoms cause HIV. And then there's Mother Theresa, who used all her power and influence on world leaders to campaign against female emancipation. She's often heralded as one of the greatest upholders of the Catholic doctrine. Those are what, two examples?

By the way, look around the Vatican, in all its golden wonder. Tell me it has its financial priorities sorted out.

Second, that religions are cultural. So what? All societies are cultural as well. Otherwise, there wouldn't be a culture.

Again, you've misunderstood what I meant. I was using that as a descriptive word to point the idea that religions force certain values onto cultures, heeding liberalism and progressiveness. Societal unity and international division based on irrational dogma is never a good thing. It only succeeds in upholding selfish nationalism.

Third, that religions are imposed upon children while they are vulnerable. Recall that we are operating under the assumption that there is an absolute truth. Then it is necessary that children should be instructed in that absolute truth, so that they may know right from wrong, indeed, it is essential. Otherwise, how will they determine if the information they are learning is right or wrong? Failing to educate them in this would leave them vulnerable to those that would use them to do what is wrong.

Yay, more semantics.

If there's no right and wrong, then telling children what is right and wrong would be to tell them a lie. Especially when in every religion there exists a different opinion on what is right and wrong. Like I said, I'd rather children be instructed in secular law so that their views might be given opportunity to change, and remain integrated in the various opinions within a society.

The Roman Catholic Church does not employ torture or otherwise force people into joining their faith, much less follow it.

It used to. For more than a thousand years. But then people were like, what are you doing, you nutters. It had no choice but to give way to secularism and populism (eg, anti-Semitism was an official Church policy until the 1960s). Nonetheless, the Church does what it can to uphold objective values. Besides, you can't tell me that religious families take their children to church at a young age for any other reason than their belief that their religion is entirely right, and the child must know it. Or else.

Furthermore, the Church doesn't teach the faithful to fear change; but to embrace it. Change in this case, means to change your sinful ways, accept Jesus, and live according to the Christian faith, as laid out in the Bible. If people are taught to fear anything, they are taught to fear the wrath of God, not change.

Yes, and what is sinful is laid out very nicely in various religious texts. Hence fundamentalism, and a fear for change (if God's wrath opposes the change, then you must too, eg the present debate over homosexuality and all of that).

All this talk about objectivity and subjectivity is evidently laughable; you've just demonstrated that you're a member of the latter by defending your own personal view of Catholicism. A few hundred years ago, you would have been forced to agree with the Vatican on everything - even on the level of buying a place in heaven. You're only objective to your own religious following, not to other parts of Catholicism which probably disagree with you on quite a lot.
"A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction." ~ Oscar Wilde




User avatar


Gender: Female
Points: 1677
Reviews: 3
Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:17 pm
View Likes
AuroraOrodel says...



Blink wrote:It used to. For more than a thousand years. But then people were like, what are you doing, you nutters. It had no choice but to give way to secularism and populism (eg, anti-Semitism was an official Church policy until the 1960s). Nonetheless, the Church does what it can to uphold objective values. Besides, you can't tell me that religious families take their children to church at a young age for any other reason than their belief that their religion is entirely right, and the child must know it. Or else.


Actually, most religious families probably take their children to church because that is the way things are done in their family. It's a communal experience of socialization and learning,and it provides an atmosphere for children to interact in that those parents are comfortable with. It's completely possible to indoctrinate a child with religious beliefs without the institution of a church. What makes church important is it's social aspect. (This is based on my mother's Bible study class discussion.)

This brings up an interesting point to me. Religion contains cultural values and codes of personal behavior that have been the backbone of X culture or group for centuries. Even speaking in an exclusively Christian context this is the case. Religion is a form of cultural learning, but it is not the only form present. School is also a form of cultural learning, and it also contains codes of personal behavior (ie: the importance of sharing, respect for your elders, cooperation etc. which while considered secular are present in many, many religions.) Since both institutions are indoctrinating "vulnerable" children with cultural values and behavior codes, what makes the vehicle of religion such a problem?

Yes, and what is sinful is laid out very nicely in various religious texts. Hence fundamentalism, and a fear for change (if God's wrath opposes the change, then you must too, eg the present debate over homosexuality and all of that).


Every time a religious debate comes up, no one actually debates religion. They debate the different interpretations of the Christian worldview vs. a Western secular view. This makes sense, as the Christian worldview permeates every aspect of Western society, but if we are to make a true discussion of religion as a whole, aspects of a few religions cannot be stated as true for all religions. Example:

Blink wrote:Again, you've misunderstood what I meant. I was using that as a descriptive word to point the idea that religions force certain values onto cultures, heeding liberalism and progressiveness. Societal unity and international division based on irrational dogma is never a good thing. It only succeeds in upholding selfish nationalism.


This is not a phenomenon singular to religions. A religion cannot force values onto the culture that created it. The two compliment each other. Change can occur from within, and as you pointed out, schism is natural. However, values are only forced onto a group by a religion external to their own if those values are in contrast. "Heeding liberalism and progressiveness" is not the inevitable outcome. It's only a potential and temporary outcome. If the impetus for change is great enough or enough of a threat to the society, the society will adapt or perish.

The assertion about international division based on dogma applies to very few belief systems, as most are not absolutist. Granted, those few systems are very large and noisy, but that does not make them the standard by which all other systems are to be evaluated. There is also much historical precedent for international cooperation in spite of absolutist systems when both parties prosper from the interaction. When the economics go south, so do international religious relations.

Furthermore, we tend to think of religion as something solid, but religions and their beliefs are incredibly fluid. Just a cursory glance at the history of Christianity will tell you this. Everyone's favorite example to counteract this is, of course, the Catholic church, but while it may be slower in its fluidity than others, it is still fluid. The Catholicism of today is not identical to the Catholicism of the Middle Ages or of the 1950s. Change in religious belief happens, sometimes very slowly, but it does happen, often at the influence of forces outside of religion such as scientific discovery or global crisis.
"You cannot pronounce as knowledge anything you cannot demonstrate."
~Margaret Atwood

"The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies."
~Fahrenheit 451




User avatar
401 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 19650
Reviews: 401
Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:07 pm
View Likes
Nate says...



This article seems pretty apt for this thread:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kabir-hel ... 99325.html

Key quote for this thread:
Take religion completely out of the picture and set about reforming the world, and, so far, what we have seen is Stalin or Mao. Modern secular ideological movements are actually responsible for much greater and more indiscriminate violence than any religion ever has been. Maybe that's because they mobilized greater powers than religion was able to do in the modern age. The case still stands.

Some will say, "But _________ism is just another form of religion." No it's not. It's an ideology, an "ism." It may even be a distinct reaction against religion. The essence of religion opens us to something beyond immediate appearances, beyond mere things. Religion (and, of course, spirituality) opens us to realms of value beyond both the senses and the intellect. There is something within us that connects, that can relate, that can sense value, and, ultimately, that opens us to our innate capacity to love purely.


Does religion cause war? Sometimes. The European religious wars of the 17th and 18th centuries is part of what motivated the founders of the United States to insist on the freedom of religion even though many of the 13 colonies at the time did not believe in that philosophy as of yet. One could also argue that the current rise of radical Islam is itself an ongoing religious war.

But most wars are not caused by religion. Usually they're caused by competition for land, or by the desire for one nation to ensure that its borders are secure. Even the so-called "Holy Crusades" were not really religious wars. They were fought at a time where the empires of the Arab world were once again re-asserting themselves and invading areas in the Mediterranean world (at that time, considered part of Europe).

Now do some fundamentalists take religion too far? Duh. Fundamentalists tend to take any ideology too far. Can religion cause arguments? Duh. Anything causes arguments. Just go through the debate forum and see all the stupid little stuff that causes arguments. Indeed, there are some people who get really incensed when you tell them that Pluto is not a planet.


Blink ->> Why the extreme intolerance?

Blink wrote:Personal identity and decision; freedom of thought, reason; freedom from intentional indoctrination.


Tell me, do you think this of me? Do you not think I believe in freedom of thought or reason?

Every post in this thread avoids hate-mongering except for yours. I know that's not who you really are, but please take the time to consider how you are coming across.
Owner, Founder, Site Administrator

YWS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/youngwriterssociety
Twitter: https://twitter.com/yws_gazette
Tumblr: http://ywsgazette.tumblr.com/

Got YWS?




User avatar
840 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 1426
Reviews: 840
Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:08 am
View Likes
Griffinkeeper says...



The Roman Catholic Church does not employ torture or otherwise force people into joining their faith, much less follow it.


It used to. For more than a thousand years. But then people were like, what are you doing, you nutters. It had no choice but to give way to secularism and populism (eg, anti-Semitism was an official Church policy until the 1960s). Nonetheless, the Church does what it can to uphold objective values. Besides, you can't tell me that religious families take their children to church at a young age for any other reason than their belief that their religion is entirely right, and the child must know it. Or else.


The fact is that the Church isn't perfect and that atrocities have been committed in the name of God. Pope John Paul the Second was very aware of this fact, and issued many apologies for it. If you wish to judge my religion, I respectfully ask that you judge us by our current actions; not by what we used to do.

Your statement about religious families, (e.g. my family) is very prejudiced against people of faith. While there are people that wave bibles around like shotguns, they constitute the extremes of faith and are frowned upon by those from within the faith. People bring their children to church for a variety of reasons; Aurora outlined some, there may be others she missed. I can tell you from experience that my folks took me to Church so that I could learn the teachings of the Church. Whether or not I followed them was my choice to make. In the Roman Catholic Church there is something called the Sacrament of Confirmation. Because many children are baptized to the faith as babies, they were not able to choose to become Catholics. The Sacrament of Confirmation is when the children decide to follow God on their own initiative, not because their parents told them to, but because they believe. Following Confirmation, the children are considered to be adults in faith. I haven't received this sacrament, because I was not yet able to follow God without reservation; there were still doubts in my mind.

All this talk about objectivity and subjectivity is evidently laughable; you've just demonstrated that you're a member of the latter by defending your own personal view of Catholicism. A few hundred years ago, you would have been forced to agree with the Vatican on everything - even on the level of buying a place in heaven. You're only objective to your own religious following, not to other parts of Catholicism which probably disagree with you on quite a lot.


I think you are making large presumptions about my character and my personal faith, of which you know absolutely nothing. I feel this constitutes a personal attack and I want you to apologize.

Third, that religions are imposed upon children while they are vulnerable. Recall that we are operating under the assumption that there is an absolute truth. Then it is necessary that children should be instructed in that absolute truth, so that they may know right from wrong, indeed, it is essential. Otherwise, how will they determine if the information they are learning is right or wrong? Failing to educate them in this would leave them vulnerable to those that would use them to do what is wrong.


Yay, more semantics.

If there's no right and wrong, then telling children what is right and wrong would be to tell them a lie. Especially when in every religion there exists a different opinion on what is right and wrong. Like I said, I'd rather children be instructed in secular law so that their views might be given opportunity to change, and remain integrated in the various opinions within a society.


If there is no right or wrong, then the only power of secular law is the authority of the enforcers. They can not point to a moral reason for people to follow the law (e.g. "stealing is bad.") Instead, the secularist government must rely exclusively on the threat of violence.

The reason the Civil Rights movement was successful was because it persuaded people that segregation was immoral; because it treated human beings as sub-human. If all that mattered was the letter of the law, then it would have failed. The presence of a moral right and wrong allowed them to stand up and say that the law was wrong! It is no coincidence that many of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement were also religious; such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
<YWS><R1><Founders>




User avatar
159 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 7146
Reviews: 159
Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:54 pm
View Likes
MeanMrMustard says...



Take religion completely out of the picture and set about reforming the world, and, so far, what we have seen is Stalin or Mao. Modern secular ideological movements are actually responsible for much greater and more indiscriminate violence than any religion ever has been. Maybe that's because they mobilized greater powers than religion was able to do in the modern age. The case still stands.


Just a nit-pick, but this always bother me. Stalin and Mao to secular societies and Atheism are akin to marginalizing all Christians to Hitler, Richard the Great or any atrocity accredited to a Christian ruler....or all Japanese to Imperial Japan (it's practically impossible to separate Japanese from Shinto and Buddhism) manipulating Buddhist and Shinto beliefs to mirror the empires found in Europe.

My point is, Classical Communism is not at all what Mao and Stalin championed. Their ideologies are simply put, Maoist Communism and Stalinist Communism. Shortly before the second world war the feasibility of Classical Communism was challenged in Europe in a series of meetings and altercations between the old communists and the new ones; it became apparent to them that old manner of dismantling a country's old traditions and having no government structure whatsoever not only weakened a country but left it with no means to defend itself (from Capitalism no less). Nonetheless, the focus of classical communism was this, as it aspired to return to real anarchy, which is no rule by government and to completely shatter the power relation in a classless society.

But it didn't work right in the manner it made life even harder; there were shortages of food, no way to quickly repair broken or destroyed infrastructure, effectively they had gone back to the days of tribes (granted, there were some councils/parliaments for communication, but it depended on country, etc). At the same time humans were greedy, humans wanted power, humans had conflict. Communists realized that if they were to keep their societies around, they had to "rally the people" in a society where the government which supposedly was embodied by the people, was completely devoted to equality and the prosperity of the working class; of course that's a sweet, sweet lie. In this respect, this is where many people have not been correctly informed about communism and its growth and eventual perversion by a handful of ambitious narcissistic warlords.

I would argue that Mao and Stalin are not accurate measures of secular societies, as they are the radical fundamentalists to what has been cited in this thread to religious fundamentalists.

The reason the Civil Rights movement was successful was because it persuaded people that segregation was immoral; because it treated human beings as sub-human. If all that mattered was the letter of the law, then it would have failed. The presence of a moral right and wrong allowed them to stand up and say that the law was wrong! It is no coincidence that many of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement were also religious; such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


I've agreed with most of what you've said in this thread, but this is a generalization. Morality was also used for a very, very long time to reason why segregation was right. It was accepted as immoral, in other words wrong by both morality and law, to put an inferior being into a position that was not their place. The Civil Rights movement was a combination of many things, both a changed and slowly growing view of morality as well as reasoning and debate that a human being cannot be valued as less than another simply because terrible scientific study has shown them to be different...when in actuality they belong to the same species and whose bodies work the same way as any other humans. It is no coincidence the most well known leaders were religious; what non-Christian, non-WASP, non-died in the wool American would have been accepted by the public then? The Red Scare had just happened by the way, and by consequence, many of the Civil Rights members were called communists, marxists devils, evil...etc. That's a poor argument Griff.

Also, you need to stop equating that morality BELONGS to religion (that's what your position looks like anyway), and is not an inherent human quality. Secularism can have morality, it is not from religion that this quality of humanity has risen. Nor is it a coincidence that religious people are in societies that are secular which cite morality in decisions; philosophy is more than capable of providing it, hence secular humanism. While your reasoning has been ok, you make too many black and white generalizations. Should religion suddenly up and disappear, morality will not vanish in a frenzy of chaos. Only if we allow people like the dictators of the 20th century to have power again, will we see morality be replaced with a highly corrupt, and considered infallible, version.