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Does religion do more harm than good?

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Does religion do more harm or good to society?

Religion harms society
12
18%
Religion is beneficial to society
9
14%
Depends on the particular beliefs of the religion
15
23%
Depends on how extreme a particular person may take the religion
30
45%
 
Total votes : 66


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Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:01 am
Nate says...



Inkwell:

Heh, I would think by now that you would me know me to be a good deal more clever ;)

But, logic good sir, logic.

The problem with saying that the world would be better without group X is that it relies on a kind of logical fallacy called affirming the consequent. That is, because some people use religion for evil purposes, then removing the religion will eradicate the evil. Or, to put another way, if A then B, therefore B.

There are two reasons for why such logic is false. The first is that it treats the premise as a foregone conclusion. That is, it is religion that is responsible alone for some of the greatest tragedies and that simply getting rid of religion would mean that those greatest tragedies would have never happened. But to take that as true, you need to be proving an affirmative with a negative, which is impossible. In reality, we have no idea whether or not those tragedies would have happened, and we also have no idea if other tragedies would have happened instead. All we can do is look at the current state of the world. As many of the greatest mass murderers in the 20th century were atheist (Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Menghistu, Brezhnev, and Kim il Sung, to name several), I think it stands to reason that simply removing religion would not prevent tragedy.

Secondly, the logic is false because even if you assume the premise is true (again, by proving an affirmative with a negative), then you necessarily need to ignore the intermediary step. For example, to go from a world where 90% of society follows some religion to a world where there is no religion would require the absolute control by the state of society. The state would need to interfere with the people's right to freedom of thought and to freedom of speech, and it would need to accomplish great acts of brutality to accomplish its goal.

In fact, that's what happened in the USSR and China with regards to religion. In this thread, a number of people have stated that the world would be better off without religion, which was the same stance held by the two most brutal regimes of the 20th century.

Under the doctrine of socialism, the means of production must be controlled by a centralized state. That requires absolute obedience to the state. To achieve absolute obedience, all other doctrines and ideologies must be removed, which is why nearly every communist regime sought to remove religion. In order to do that, though, you need to kill an awful lot of people. Thus, to go from a world with religion to a world without religion, you need to go through the intermediary step of the greatest genocide that history has ever known. In short, to achieve the supposed ideal of no religion, you necessarily need to engage in a great amount of evil.

Anti-religious bigotry ignores an awful lot. Has religion caused bad things to happen? Of course, but how is that an argument that the world would be better off without religion? Any particular ideology or doctrine, including atheism, can cause bad things to happen.

On balance, I believe that religion has done far more good than harm. As a number of people in this thread have stated (often as arguments against religion), people of the same belief system tend to stick together. From an evolutionary standpoint, that is a very desirable aspect as it catalyzes cooperation. Moreover, the religions that have survived to the modern day tend to teach about the sanctity of the individual, and respect and love toward one another.

But that is really of no consequence. I merely wish that people who have chosen to not follow a faith would respect those who have chosen to follow a faith. And no, arguing that the world would be better off without me or people like me who have chosen to follow a faith is not respect. It is bigotry countenanced in the name of the greater good, and it is no different than when people use religion as a tool of hatred.

As I said before, and I say again: Those who seek to argue that society would be better off without religion are no different than those who argue that society would be better off without X group.
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:36 am
KevinMckie says...



Religion is a part of life. It has it's upsides and downsides.
Remember that religion started with a story, it's the many different ways people react to it that brings either harm or safty. Love and hate, black and white.

Religion is a part of life, always will be. Talking about if it's harmful is a waste of time because it wont change regardless.

I personally think that religion will bring an end to the world, That and whichever asshole invented bombs. A story that became the fuse.




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Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:40 am
Aet Lindling says...



As I said previously, I would not support it if it meant mandates by the government, and this would not even be a possibility as you cannot change someone's mind with a law. However, this would not necessarily be necessary. The percentage of irreligious people is rapidly growing, and is a majority or plurality in the Czech Republic, Japan, Denmark, Norway, possibly the UK depending on conflicting studies, others. [citation]

Religion, at least in every permutation tried so far, has caused unnecessary problems. Prejudice, ignorance, suppression, violence. Atheism would find it impossible to promote any problems, as I'll elaborate further below.

What is wrong with arguing that society would be better off without any 'X' group? There are certainly groups that, if they did not exist, would make society better, and simply because perhaps there are some members of the group that are better than others does not change this fact. I gladly accept being no different than those who argue that society would be better off without certain groups, and in fact I am one of those people.

Nate wrote:Any particular ideology or doctrine, including atheism, can cause bad things to happen.

I'm pretty sure you know what atheism actually is, and it's nothing like what you described. Why are you describing it like this?

I absolutely reject that atheism can cause bad things to happen, as it is not a doctrine, it is simply the lack of a belief in a god. Note the important distinction between this and necessarily believing that there is no god. This atheistic belief is irrelevant to any thought processes, as it is a simple acknowledgement, whether true or not. Atheists are, on a whole, neutral. There is no one similarity between atheists, and no belief you can assign to them. Some are gnostic atheists, some are agnostic atheists, and you would be hard pressed to find two atheists that had identical ideas on subjective topics such as morality, consciousness, and the afterlife. I would say that, on account of it being far easier to find two religious people with identical ideas on such topics, atheists are actually far, far more diverse and healthily unique than the religious.

Religion played a role before, in a more savage world. I have never denied and would certainly proclaim that overall, it has caused more good than harm. However, today it serves no purpose. Support and community? Easily found elsewhere. I could start listing the many ways humans socialize and assist other than church, but I don't think we need to get into that. Morality? It is an insult to every sane individual to say that religion is needed for morality, in this day and age. If you truly need religion to know right from wrong, then you aren't someone I'd want to be near. Humans should have morality in them from an early age no matter their beliefs, people who do not are known as sociopaths, psychopaths, the like.

Nate wrote:Moreover, the religions that have survived to the modern day tend to teach about the sanctity of the individual, and respect and love toward one another.


Yes, tend. As opposed to other groups and social collectives that teach about the sanctity of the individual and respect and love towards one another, which have a much lower incidence of all that other pesky stuff, like hatred and violence.

Nate wrote:Under the doctrine of socialism, the means of production must be controlled by a centralized state. That requires absolute obedience to the state. To achieve absolute obedience, all other doctrines and ideologies must be removed, which is why nearly every communist regime sought to remove religion. In order to do that, though, you need to kill an awful lot of people. Thus, to go from a world with religion to a world without religion, you need to go through the intermediary step of the greatest genocide that history has ever known. In short, to achieve the supposed ideal of no religion, you necessarily need to engage in a great amount of evil.

I don't think I even need to respond to this, quoting it probably proves my point well enough. Snarky, yes, but I don't feel like justifying this with a response.

Nate wrote:I merely wish that people who have chosen to not follow a faith would respect those who have chosen to follow a faith. And no, arguing that the world would be better off without me or people like me who have chosen to follow a faith is not respect. It is bigotry countenanced in the name of the greater good, and it is no different than when people use religion as a tool of hatred.


You are playing the victim, and using big words to disguise a rather weak and disturbing argument. Bigotry is irrational intolerance, and if we are using points with a basis to support arguments that a world without religion would be a better one, especially if we are not advocating some sort of enforcement to cause this, then there is absolutely no bigotry involved. This is why I find your argument weak.

Arguing any thing like this is not respect in itself, as that is not the definition of the word, but thus far it has been respectful, which is more than you have managed to do when you compared simple, respectful argumentation to hatred. This is why I find your argument disturbing.

Not to mention you have cleverly and silently turned this into a loaded topic. Since when was anyone ever arguing that people with religion should simply go away?

Nate wrote:And no, arguing that the world would be better off without me or people like me who have chosen to follow a faith is not respect.

Alright, you brought it up again. I wasn't justifying it with a response before, but now that you're attributing it to someone instead of just typing it out yourself...

I'd like to make it very clear that you came up with this concept. Not anyone else, you. You then strongly suggested that this concept should be attributed to inkwell. In my opinion, it is a ridiculous concept. At least you have not accepted it, but rather rejected it, even if you came up with it in the first place.

You seem to be saying that debating against you is by default hateful, since it implies one does not accept a belief you hold and as such one is being disrespectful of your right to hold those beliefs. This is ridiculous. Would you like to close down the entire Debate board, if every debate is by necessity disrespectful and flaming?

tl;dr: Saying that there are groups in the world that would be better off non-existent does not make one a bigot. There is no justifiable or moral reason to forcibly turn the world into an atheist one, and no one ever said otherwise, this was you putting words in other mouths. Also, you seem to be saying that debating against you is by default hateful. Why?
12-18-12 7:43 PM
AmelieoftheValley: ...Aet and Bog sometimes sound like a comedy duo.
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AmelieoftheValley: Just pointing it out.

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Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:49 am
KevinMckie says...



People are harmful not religion. Religion is just the biggest reason in the world why.




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Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:50 am
KevinMckie says...



Religion is also one of the biggest reasons in the world why people love as well.




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Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:53 am
inkwell says...



A clarification, and THEN some! :)

OK, so your thoughts are more nuanced than they seemed.

First, I think you should disregard the question of how we get rid of or enable religion in society, it distracts (irrelevantly) from the real issue: does it do harm to society?

That is, because some people use religion for evil purposes, then removing the religion will eradicate the evil.


"Religion doesn't kill, people do!" (*draws parallel to gun control debate*)

Well, I think religion motivates people to do atrocious things. And as said before it is 100% unnecessary for our society to be religious.

Here is a practical case:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/ ... 8393.shtml

Leilani Neumann said during videotaped testimony that the family believes the Bible says healing comes from God and that she never expected her daughter to die. The Neumanns said the girl had not been to a doctor since she was 3.

A criminal complaint said Dale Neumann told police he believed God would heal his daughter right up until she stopped breathing. He also "professed to believe God was going to bring Madeline back to life."


This family let their three year old die. Not because they wanted her to die, and decided that God would be the right excuse. No, it was because they believed in the Bible. When you fill someone's head with lies like this, it distorts everything.

This is where I see the flaw in your argument. Religion DOES motivate harm because it is DOGMA. It makes a virtue of faith. If we get rid of dogma, people are left to thinking rationally, to seeing their doctor.

So this is my case: we'd be better off as a species and society without religion.

As far as the rest goes, I do not respect the faithful. Tolerate, yes. Not respect. I will not enable extremism, or fein admiration for ignorance.

Define religion.

When viewed as a specific set of beliefs, there is no such thing as not having religion. Everyone has a set of beliefs, no matter what it is that they believe. If everyone has it, it is neither harmful nor beneficial.


My definition: A set of rules to be followed.


You've just distorted the entire discussion in your favor. Let's use an actual definition:

religion |riˈlijən|
noun
the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods : ideas about the relationship between science and religion.
• details of belief as taught or discussed : when the school first opened they taught only religion, Italian, and mathematics.
• a particular system of faith and worship : the world's great religions.
• a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance : consumerism is the new religion.

I find it very telling when religious people are ashamed of that label.
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:03 am
Nate says...



Aet, here is what you said earlier:

Aet Lindling wrote:I don't think the world would become perfect if there was no religion. But it would be better, I think.


You said that you think that the world would be better without people such as myself that follow a faith. That is why I said:

Nate wrote:And no, arguing that the world would be better off without me or people like me who have chosen to follow a faith is not respect.


On bigotry:

From Wikipedia:
A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.


From Webster's Dictionary:
Bigot (n): a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance


Far from being irrational, bigotry can actually be entirely rational. And that's why so many fall into its trap.

Take for example eugenics. During the latter decades of the 19th century and up until the atrocities of the Nazi regime, eugenics was a very popular field of thought, and it was especially enticing due to its scientific nature. By purposefully selecting certain desirable genes out of the population, we could build a better society.

And indeed, from a scientific viewpoint, eugenics is probably quite valid. The reason it is no longer discussed today is because it has been ethically discredited, although it tragically took the deaths of millions for many to realize the hidden evil behind eugenics.

Eugenics was bigotry at its finest. It was absolutely intolerant of any supposed defects ranging from genetic "abnormalities" such as asthma to one's very cultural identity. It was also, like I said, done all very rationally with numerous scientific papers published at the time supporting the idea of eugenics. To its credit, Scientific American recently republished a 1911 editorial praising eugenics:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... early-days

Aet Lindling wrote:What is wrong with arguing that society would be better off without any 'X' group?


Although you did not give any examples, I assume you've mixed up group and organization as inkwell did.

From a sociological viewpoint, an organization is any type of body where tasks are distributed to people within the organization. It has a clear division of power, and all people within the organization are working toward a common goal. On the other hand, a group is a cultural identity, which can be defined by religion, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, race, etc. A group has no division of power and people often belong to it simply because they were born into it.

So yes, I agree absolutely that there are some organizations the world would be better without. The Communist party of North Korea, Al Qaeda, and Westboro Baptist Church, are all good examples. These are all organizations which have formed in an attempt to explicitly control the actions of others and to condemn those who choose not to conform to those actions.

One may of course say that an organization such as the Catholic Church belongs next to Al Qaeda, as does the American government and the British parliament. However, in doing so, it is important to draw a distinction between the organization and the group. For example, the British parliament is an organization representing the entire group of Brits. So one may wish for the British parliament to collapse, but one would surely not wish the same for the British people.

Make sense? I'm afraid that it's late and my examples are wandering. Nonetheless, I hope it's clear as to why it's wrong to argue that group X should disappear. A group is a cultural identity, and arguing for group X to disappear is genocide. On the other hand, an organization is probably what you had in mind when you took issue with my words.

Aet Lindling wrote:Religion played a role before, in a more savage world. I have never denied and would certainly proclaim that overall, it has caused more good than harm. However, today it serves no purpose.


You said earlier that you think the world would be better off without religion. So this does not seem to match with what you saying.

However, if I understand you correctly, what you are trying to convey is that religion was once necessary. It no longer is necessary, and so all the good that religion once accomplished can now be done through other means without all the pesky bad things about religion. If that's a misrepresentation, please just let me know (you don't need to be snarky).

But here's the problem, and it relates to your entire argument: in order to believe the above, then you necessarily need to believe that religion is no longer necessary for anyone. Thus, you engage in a sweeping generalization without taking into account individual factors. Are you ready to say that religion is no longer necessary for every single one of the nearly 7 billion people alive today?

I have known many people in my life for whom their faith was at times the only thing holding them together. You also do not need to go far to find stories of people who were lifted out of wells of despair through religion.

For you, religion may not be necessary, and I believe that's perfectly fine. I also do not believe that religion is a necessary component of morality. But I also believe that for others, religion may well be a necessary part of their lives, and I think that's to be respected as well.

Aet Lindling wrote:I absolutely reject that atheism can cause bad things to happen, as it is not a doctrine, it is simply the lack of a belief in a god.


A lack of belief in God is a doctrine. A doctrine is simply a particular position, and a position can be defined by a negative just as much as it can be defined by a positive.

But even assuming that atheism is not a doctrine, what you said is still false on its face. One can still seek to force their lack of belief in God upon others. Moreover, while some atheists may indeed be neutral, that would not seem to apply to all atheists. Indeed, outspoken atheism is perhaps the most visible form of atheism today.

But that is all besides the point. My purpose in bringing up atheist mass murderers was not that they killed on behalf of atheism, but that they killed despite a lack of religion. They targeted religious groups, along with many other groups, for political purposes. That is, to accomplish a socialist state whereby the means of production could be centrally controlled.

With or without religion, a lot of harm can still be accomplished as Stalin, Mao, Menghistu, Pol Pot, and Brezhnev so aptly demonstrated. In fact, I rather liked your example of the ground-zero mosque.

In the absence of religion, don't you think groups such as Al-Qaeda would still exist? After all, the reason such groups exist is not because of religion, but rather because of economic and political factors. Al-Qaeda, itself, has its roots in Afghanistan's struggle against the Soviet Union. And I don't think anyone could argue that the Soviet Union sought to invade Afghanistan out of religious hate.

Due to the very chaotic nature of Afghanistan at the time, it was simply a matter of time before a brutal dictator took control. With religion, that dictatorship took on the shape of the Taliban. In the absence of religion, that dictatorship would have probably been much like Pol Pot's Cambodia or Menghistu's Ethiopia.

Going further, terrorist organizations would quite naturally form themselves under such a regime, particularly seeing as how many organizations were extremely well-armed once the Soviets were forced out of Afghanistan. To me, it seems probable that at least one of these organizations would seek to strike back against the west for perceived atrocities accomplished under imperialist rule during the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. These days, the west is most commonly represented by the USA, and so the target of any such organization would still be America.

In such a scenario, the group that attacked the WTC and the Pentagon would instead be framed as a radical anti-imperialist terrorist organization (in fact, this is how Al-Qaeda actually defines itself). Many years later, a peaceful group may well have sought to build an Arab cultural center, and people would again protest.

Bad things happen, and resorting to religion as an explanation is an often unsatisfying exercise as it ignores the tremendous geopolitical factors at play in any scenario.

______________________

As I said, anti-religious bigotry is wrong. Bigotry comes in many forms, but it is easily detectable whenever someone says that they believe the world would be better without group X. Genocide or even the theoretical complete eradication of a culture is never the answer to what ills the world.

To be quite clear, I really could care less if someone is atheist or religious. All I really care is about one's character, and I simply do not have any respect for anyone who believes the world would be better off without Christians, atheists, Muslims, gays, whites, blacks, etc.

If you want to make the world a better place, then treat others with love and compassion.
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:06 am
Nate says...



Inkwell wrote:As far as the rest goes, I do not respect the faithful. Tolerate, yes. Not respect. I will not enable extremism, or fein admiration for ignorance.


At least you're honest.

Further discussion would be fruitless as to you, I am nothing more than an extremist, ignorant idiot.

Edit

Can't help myself.

Inkwell, there is a very obvious flaw to your reasoning, and I'm surprised you didn't spot it yourself:

Inkwell wrote:This is where I see the flaw in your argument. Religion DOES motivate harm because it is DOGMA. It makes a virtue of faith. If we get rid of dogma, people are left to thinking rationally, to seeing their doctor.


Besides the obvious logical flaw of using one very isolated datapoint to make a sweeping generalization of billions of people, I have to ask: do you really believe people would be left to thinking rationally? I mean, really?

Are MMR vaccines dangerous for children? Dr Suzanne Humphries urges parents to get informed

Swine flu myth: The vaccine isn't safe - it has been rushed through tests and the last time there was a swine flu scare the vaccine hurt people. Why take the risk to prevent mild flu?

Irrational fears give nuclear power a bad name, says Oxford scientist

Anti-Radiation Pills Bought as U.S. Fears Rise

I couldn't find a good article, but I am also sure you've heard of the myth that yellow-5 kills sperm.

Now, in none of the above examples did any dogma play any sort of role whatsoever. And almost all of them are in some way quite detrimental to health. Moreover, I could come up with examples all day long of irrationality ranging from the benign fear of flying to the potentially harmful fear of antibiotics.

It is of no consequence what examples you give, or what examples I give. It's ridiculous and absurd, and irrational.

I believe that your lack of respect toward the faithful blinds you. As a result, you took a patently absurd position that people would think rationally in the absence of dogma. No matter what anyone believes about anything, I can't seriously believe that they actually believe people would be rational. We are by our very nature irrational human beings, subject to emotional outbursts and exaggerated fears.
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:40 pm
Snoink says...



No matter what anyone believes about anything, I can't seriously believe that they actually believe people would be rational. We are by our very nature irrational human beings, subject to emotional outbursts and exaggerated fears.


I forget the exact quote or where it's from, but I remember G.K. Chesterton talking about how our irrationality just makes us human. All animals, besides humans, at least follow a logical framework for things on the most part. They eat, they sleep, they mate, they raise their young... it's pretty much the bare essentials to life in order to live. It is a human that, for some odd reason, does not want to just do the bare essentials. I mean, other animals sometimes do more than the bare essentials (for instance, raccoons will steal shiny things, wolves have a social order, etc.) however no one animal is as irrational as we are. We, for some odd reason, have created multiple economic systems in order to survive. We have instated health care for people. We have created languages and written down tales that have been passed along to our generations to the point where we can see what our ancestors have written several thousand years ago. Isn't this kind of... irrational? Life is hard enough to live, and yet we've done all these things that turn our focus from what we really want to do (I need to get money vs. I need to get food AND a mate AND a shelter, etc.) I mean, you can argue that evolution of our cultures have made this a necessity. But, you would be using a word that the animals even have no context of.

Then... and here's the kicker: Even though we are utterly irrational as far as creatures go, we have put together ways to rationally look at the world. In fact, we have rationalized the world so much that our own existence is rationalized... mostly because we judge ourselves differently from other animals. We are the exception, yet we don't even realize this ourselves.

So yeah. We are rational creatures, but our whole humanity is formed in irrationality. XD
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:53 pm
Cole says...



Nate, I absolutely and entirely agree with everything you have said in this discussion. Rock on.
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:13 pm
XxMattxX says...



eh.. This topic?

Spoiler! :
Because of past experiences in this forum concerning religious debates, I'll play it safe and not bother about debating this topic (I'm already decided when it comes to religion), but I feel as though this question is borderline *'blasting'.

When you ask "Does religion do more harm than good?", you must realize that a religion would mean nothing without a set group of believers or followers. And ultimately, the followers are what give the religion a good or bad name. Sure, the idea could still be there, but the mindset and lifestyle won't come into play without willing participants *raises hand*

So without sugar coating anything, this debate pretty much revolves around a more simplified statement...

"Would the world be better off without >insertreligiousgrouphere<?"
or
"Do >insertreligioustitlehere< do more harm than good?"

I'm not against freedom of thought or speech or however you put it, but this topic just make me uncomfortable. This will probably be denied, but I could bet my yellow corvette that if we made a topic concerning atheists and whether the world would be better if we all just believed in the Christian God, there would be a big uproar and attack fest concerning the topic.

It is bigotry countenanced in the name of the greater good, and it is no different than when people use religion as a tool of hatred.

I'm in agreement with Nate concerning one's stance on religion. If you like to know, I voted affirmatively on the fourth option in the poll up there *points*, because it's just purely ignorant to throw out the entire fruit basket for a few bruised peaches. I appreciate the fact that some of you have come to terms with your lack of respect for faith, but don't let it cloud your ability to realize that you are committing the exact same act of bigotry that may have played a part in your disdain for organized belief systems.
I've met quite few atheists in my lifetime. A few pleasant, a few very unpleasant. But I don't think the world would be better off without them. In my opinion, they cause just as much 'harm' as we Christians do because in both groups you have extremists, and you have those who are not so extreme.
But respect my choices, and I'll respect yours.

So I'm just having a hard time considering this as a legit, clean debate topic. It's hard to take seriously, in all honestly. From a religious person's perspective, it seems like an organized way to insult and generalize people of religion, which, the last time I checked, were both fallacies.

So this could be fu-reel, this could be organized hate-speech. But arguing that one group does not contribute to the greater good of society is no different from any other persecution historically committed. And last I checked, we aren't so proud of that.
The same could have been asked of the Jews, gay people, those with AIDs..

"Do Jews cause more harms than good?"
"Do homosexuals cause more harm than good?"

I'm guessing that's my point.


eh. so you've heard my spill on this. It hurts seeing your people bashed all the time, but it's life. Getting up, dusting off, and turning the other check so you can slap me again.




*as in, putting a specific group 'on blast' without directly stating so.



Have fun debating!
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Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:22 am
shiney1 says...



Man, I love you too Jojo.

I have had sort of the same reaction. I hardly post here, but I am ALWAYS reading (like I do with blog entries). I can't really take this debate seriously, to be honest.
Do away with ALL religions? The world would be a better place? Sometimes I find myself shaking my head.

So let's see, no Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jews, Christians, Wiccans, etc. Wow. Now what?
Let's go celebrate Christm--oh wait!
Nah, let's celebrate Thanksg--oh wait!
So, let's eat chocolate Easter Bunni--oh wait!

My dad just died, please let's say a prayer to Bhudd-- wait who?

I hate this life, but at least things will be better afterwards, in Heave-- wait, where? Oh, gosh this is it, I guess...

Let's say a prayer at my mom's funeral... to who, and for what? There is nothing left to pray for. An afterlife, what afterlife?

Let's have a heated debate about relig--oh wait, what? Oh well, let's do politics...again.

That right there is what I think about when this kind of talk comes up. Not what bad will disappear, but what good will. People can be as cynical as they want to be and deny a truth that is so clear it puts freshwater to shame. But that doesn't change the fact that it is true if you open your eyes.

The Puritans came to escape religious persecution. But then, why would they come if there was no religion to be persecute with? Gold and Glory, that's what.
Why make a compact to work for the good of everyone, and the Indians to boot, if there are not consequences of Hell or heaven? Why?

What gave people hope when those around them were just as hopeless? The news of a wonderful afterlife.

What helps the Untouchables keep on living? The hope of reincarnating to move up in the caste system.

What is a trait that the Chinese are famous for? Their little Buddha statues and customs derived from Buddhism.

Who was mentioned and used as a reason to revolt against King George the Third in the Declaration of Independence? The Creator was. God was.

What inspired millions of poets, writers, artists, and musicians? Religion.

What guided many people's choices through life? Religion.

What is so old that it's oldest component's creator, Hinduism, cannot be traced? Religion.

What is woven into society's fabric, so that if you separate the two, they are both just empty shells? Religion.


Yeah, I know you will disagree. But that doesn't really matter. I have asked people who do not believe in any religion this question, and they have all answered a sturdy no.

And some gave reasons to boot. They may not like it, but they don't deny that religion has really impacted society in good ways, not just bad.

So I shake my head at this. All I see are people being a tad too stubborn in their views.

You may now proceed to slash my throat and slap my cheek.
"If you ever have a problem don't say 'Hey God I have a big problem.' Rather 'Hey Problem... I have a big God and it's all going to be okay."

♂ + God = ♥
♀ + God = ♥
♂ + ♀ + God = ♥




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Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:54 am
Cole says...



Shiney, Jojo. You two are awesome.
My heart holds all secrets; my heart tells no lies.

~Hosea 6:3~
ונדעה נרדפה לדעת את יהוה כשחר נכון מצאו ויבוא כגשם לנו כמלקוש יורה ארץ׃




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Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:21 am
inkwell says...



Nate wrote:
Inkwell wrote:As far as the rest goes, I do not respect the faithful. Tolerate, yes. Not respect. I will not enable extremism, or fein admiration for ignorance.


At least you're honest.

Further discussion would be fruitless as to you, I am nothing more than an extremist, ignorant idiot.

Edit

Can't help myself.

Inkwell, there is a very obvious flaw to your reasoning, and I'm surprised you didn't spot it yourself:

Inkwell wrote:This is where I see the flaw in your argument. Religion DOES motivate harm because it is DOGMA. It makes a virtue of faith. If we get rid of dogma, people are left to thinking rationally, to seeing their doctor.


Besides the obvious logical flaw of using one very isolated datapoint to make a sweeping generalization of billions of people, I have to ask: do you really believe people would be left to thinking rationally? I mean, really?

Are MMR vaccines dangerous for children? Dr Suzanne Humphries urges parents to get informed

Swine flu myth: The vaccine isn't safe - it has been rushed through tests and the last time there was a swine flu scare the vaccine hurt people. Why take the risk to prevent mild flu?

Irrational fears give nuclear power a bad name, says Oxford scientist

Anti-Radiation Pills Bought as U.S. Fears Rise

I couldn't find a good article, but I am also sure you've heard of the myth that yellow-5 kills sperm.

Now, in none of the above examples did any dogma play any sort of role whatsoever. And almost all of them are in some way quite detrimental to health. Moreover, I could come up with examples all day long of irrationality ranging from the benign fear of flying to the potentially harmful fear of antibiotics.

It is of no consequence what examples you give, or what examples I give. It's ridiculous and absurd, and irrational.

I believe that your lack of respect toward the faithful blinds you. As a result, you took a patently absurd position that people would think rationally in the absence of dogma. No matter what anyone believes about anything, I can't seriously believe that they actually believe people would be rational. We are by our very nature irrational human beings, subject to emotional outbursts and exaggerated fears.


I do not think you're an extremist, or an idiot. Ignorant, sure.

It seems I can't help myself either.

Besides the obvious logical flaw of using one very isolated datapoint to make a sweeping generalization of billions of people, I have to ask: do you really believe people would be left to thinking rationally?


I actually did know that was the undefended leap in my argument, but I wasn't about to say that! It can be defended though, but my phrasing was worth the attack.

Here's the HUGE difference between those cases of simple stupidity/ignorance, and cases of dogma: the dogma is unquestionable.

Now take the harmful vaccine example, and let's make it hypothetical for our purposes.

Non-dogma: Parent is informed that the vaccine is in fact harmful, and, rationally, decides to not vaccinate her child.

Dogma: Parent is informed that the vaccine is in fact harmful, and, irrationally, she has faith that it is not, because God said so. Thus she vaccinates her child.

My whole point is that irrationality has a shelf life, unless dogma is thrown in. Making faith a virtue is extremely destructive. As much as people hate to accept it, religion, with its dogma, is what leads to jihad.

I believe that your lack of respect toward the faithful blinds you.


What liberal nonsense. I can disrespect rapists, and not be blinded in judging whether rapists do harm in society. Same goes for the faithful.
"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible." — Einstein




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Thu Jan 12, 2012 3:00 am
Cole says...



You're honestly comparing people of faith with rapists? Are you kidding me?

And I could accuse you of being just as ignorant as you call people of faith. Nate is right; it is obvious that your disrespect towards people of faith blinds you.

Religion has caused harm; that cannot be denied. But are you seriously going to ignore the bewildering amount of good it has brought to people? For many religious people, faith is not just a preference, it is an identity. Bigots have, in the past and present, discriminated against who people are--identities people usually fight for. And now you’re going to do the same to people of faith?

I was suicidal when I was thirteen. The reason I am still alive today is because I became a Christian, because I found something worth living for, worth fighting for. And you are going to call that--my saving grace--ignorance? You cannot compel yourself to even respect that?

Many people like you accuse people like me of being closed-minded, ignorant, intolerant, bigoted, and judgmental. You are no different.

I do not care what you have to say to me. I do not want to discuss anything with you any further. People like you are the reason this world is so twisted, so wrong. Whether you're a Christian, atheist, Muslim, Jewish, pagan; prejudice, intolerance, and bigotry is the reason we are having this argument, the reason people are always at war with each other. It has nothing to do with religion or atheism. It has to do with people like you who cannot be convinced to reserve a thread in your heart to respect people.

You have no respect for people of faith, as you have said. I guess men like Jesus Christ, Malcolm X, Mahatma Gandhi, and Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. were just idiots, absolute raging lunatics. They are so ignorant, aren't they? They had no clue what they were talking about.

I am so done with this debate. Good night.
My heart holds all secrets; my heart tells no lies.

~Hosea 6:3~
ונדעה נרדפה לדעת את יהוה כשחר נכון מצאו ויבוא כגשם לנו כמלקוש יורה ארץ׃