Religion does: More Harm or More Good?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by aaqucnaona, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Oh, you couldn't be bothered with all 13 minutes? Why am I not surprised?

    Nobody's talking about religion for political gain. The assertion was that God-fearing people make bad places better than they otherwise would be. I'm simply correcting that assertion.

    No, what the speaker is referring to is how religion can be used to convince people to behave poorly, in these particular examples violently. It speaks directly to your point, and contradicts it. Gee, no wonder you're so dismissive of it!
     
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  3. arauca Banned Banned

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    I just finished the whole 13 minutes , Pope pius x11 was used by the fascist, so the communists used Stalin to suppress orthodox and other , I can tell you about Rumania , Albania and so on, Religion is like a gun , a gun does not kill but the user is the one that kills so it is in the political drama.
     
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  5. Balerion Banned Banned

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    Funny, you just said earlier that it saves lives. Now you're saying it doesn't do the killing.
     
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  7. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    No it isn't. It's perhaps the most important point in the thread.

    If anyone hopes to answer the subject-line question about whether "religion" does more harm than good, then they (and their readers) will need to have a reasonably effective way to distinguish between religion and not-religion. That distinction is going to be even more relevant to the second (and rather different) question contained in the original post, about whether "religion" still retains any function in this day and age, or whether it has become redundant. The idea of redundancy suggests that traditional religious functions have been taken over and replaced by non-religious concepts and practices, and that once again presupposes that we can clearly distinguish what is and isn't religious.

    If I did, I wouldn't have raised the question. I don't know, and what's more, I don't think that either you or he does either.

    Many atheists often seem to believe that there's a clear and distinct boundary between what's religious and what's non-religious. (Religion is identified with the Christianity of their youth that they've rejected.) My own view is that the religion/non-religion distinction is so vague as to nearly useless.

    The distinction may seem to fairly obvious when the atheists' target is Christianity and Christian churches, as it so often is. It's fairly easy to extend that to include Judaism and Islam. But what about Confucianism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism or Shinto? If we imagine that religion is defined by belief in 'God', then what are we to make of polytheistic or non-theistic religions? If religion is defined by explicit theological doctrines and by scriptures, and by explicitly religious buildings and organizations, what are we to make of all the many 'indigenous' 'tribal' religions around the world where religious practice isn't really distinguished from secular life at all? Where does ancient 'paganism' fit into all this? What about things like Hermeticism and the Western Occult Tradition? Is Alchemy religious? What about 19'th century Spiritualism with its seances hoping to contact the dead?

    But that's the point -- what definition of 'religion' are we supposed to be using? (And why should everyone else use that particular definition?)

    My assertion is that the meaning of the word 'religion' is like the meaning of many ordinary language words like 'good' or 'beauty'. It's a fuzzy and ill-defined concept, particularly at the edges, when we aren't just talking about paradigm cases. These kind of things are more a matter of family-resemblance than they are a matter of precise technical definition. Different instances of 'religion' will resemble other instances in some ways, but not in every way. All that's required for the same word to be applied in more than one instance is that the various instances share enough characteristics in common that they sufficiently resemble each other. (How much resemblance satisfies 'sufficient' is once again ill-defined and something of a matter of taste.) But the thing is, it's possible that there may not be any single definitive characteristic that all instances of 'religion' share in common.

    Freudianism certainly seems to be a theory of mental suffering that prescribes a practice that supposedly alleviates that suffering and promises peace. That's basically what Buddhism does. The Christian ideas of sin and salvation aren't unrelated.

    Philosophical idealism would seem to be supernaturalistic by its very nature, since it attempts to reduce the universe of physical existence to ideas and perceptions existing in what must be disembodied and transcendental minds. That's basically the same line that Hindu Vedanta takes. Absolute idealism goes on to assume that all of our individual viewpoints are ultimately gathered together into a single unconditioned viewpoint very much like (and in some cases perhaps modeled from) Christianity's monotheistic God. That's the approach that Shankara's Advaita Vedanta takes, and the religious goal in that species of Hinduism is to ultimately merge one's illusory individual self back into the monistic Godhead. The Neoplatonists of late antiquity similarly sought union with the One from which they believed our world of multiplicity and dualistic distinctions originally emanated..

    Call it whatever you like, but I think that considering these kind of issues (they are familiar ones in the philosophy of religion and religious-studies) might just help some of our atheists raise their rhetoric to new levels of sophistication.
     
  8. arauca Banned Banned

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    I don't understan what kind of person you are you just take think out of content and twisted them up, you are a real mixup. good buy.
     
  9. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Study: Religion used to rationalize criminal behavior

    The new study was published this month in the journal Theoretical Criminology, in an article titled “With God on My Side: The Paradoxical Relationship Between Religious Belief and Criminality Among Hardcore Street Offenders.”

    The study consists of interviews with individuals actively involved in serious and violent street-level crimes, including drug dealing, robbery, carjacking and burglary. Almost all of the criminals interviewed professed a belief in God and identified with the Christian faith.

    Study researchers conclude that criminals will often employ “elaborate and creative rationalizations” to reconcile their belief in God and their criminal behavior...


    ...One 33-year-old criminal, identified in the study by the nickname “Triggerman,” refused to accept the suggestion that a consequence of murder was eternal damnation.

    “No, no, no, I don’t think that is right,” he told the researchers. “Anything can be forgiven...



    ...A 25-year-old criminal nicknamed “Cool” said he always does a “quick little prayer” before committing a crime in order to “stay cool with Jesus."...
     
  10. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    So criminals have a tendency not to envisage themselves as "bad guys".

    What else is new ...
     
  11. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    So... wasn't religion supposed to have some mitigating effect on criminality? I think that's what arauca was implying.
     
  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    not sure how you would use the article you referenced to suggest that somehow it doesn't.

    First paragraph from the article you gave:

    A new study suggests religious belief is used to rationalize criminal behavior. The study suggests criminals manipulate religious messages to support their behavior through "purposeful distortion or genuine ignorance.

    If an example of inappropriate use of an object/precept was sufficient to deem it as useless I think we would be hard pressed to find anything that isn't in that category
    :shrug:
     
  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    This article was worded with tact, but I think it's the Bible itself that is the source of much of this confusion. There is no standard or correct interpretation of it.
     
  14. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    If there wasn't a standard, its hard to imagine why the article used the word "manipulate".
     
  15. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Isn't that what all Christians do? I mean, at one point they supported slavery and genocide of natives with the same book.
     
  16. kwhilborn Banned Banned

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    I will argue that some Religions harm to solidify the existence of the religion. I have come to believe in god and started as an atheist, so I view my form of religion harmless. I think Hindu and Buddhism are close to accurate, but hate the Catholic religion.

    I think that god is a part of all matter, and not so much as an old guy with a beard.
     
  17. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    Not just what christians do with christianity, but also what scientists do with science or atheists do with atheism for that matter.

    IOW the moment you have a precept that bleeds over into ideology is the moment you have dialogue about what is the "proper standard" (and subsequent cases of "manipulation")
     
  18. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    First of all, science says that time flows to the future and does not jump around randomly allowing one to transpose past and present. This irrational sequence of time is not based on science but is a religion. You are making the people of today responsible for the crimes of yesterday.

    Religion does do harm to left brain religions who are unconscious of the right brain and therefore will create holistic generalizations, in time, that defy the laws of science.
     
  19. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Nope, LG, never happened with atheism or science.
     
  20. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not assigning any particular blame for those past crimes to present citizens, I'm just trying to make the point that religion (Christianity) doesn't make people act good. Because it's not a good book.

    Oh, and by the way, quantum mechanics does allow effects to precede causes.
     
  21. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    they have never been "manipulated"?

    Surely you must be joking ....
     
  22. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    At least atheism isn't an ideology, and science is a process of discovery, it doesn't dictate what people do with that knowledge.
     
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed.

    Just go to any etablishment that is by some considered "religious" - and they'll probably discuss and debate what constitutes "religiousness" and "irreligiousness."


    Given the fights between Catholics and Protestants, for example, the issue of what counts for "religious" isn't settled, not even within Christianity.


    And Jewish and Islamic schools have their own fights within their traditions on this same issue.


    Exactly. For example, a Muslim may consider it "religious" to kill an animal by cutting its throat and slowly letting it bleed to death. A Hindu may call such an act "irreligious."
     

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