What is the net effect of religion?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Dinosaur, Oct 20, 2015.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,606
    I Posted here rather than in a religious forum because I consider this issue to be more related to psychology, sociology, & politics than religion.

    I think the net effect is bad. Historically, it has surely caused a lot of horrors. Examples.

    Spanish & other inquisitions.
    Salem witch trials.
    Wars motivated by religious differences.
    The crusades.

    Even in modern times, there are wars & prejudices motivated by religion.

    The society of Friends (Quakers) is likely to be the only religion driven by behavior rather than by dogma & which seems to have never caused war, dissensions, prejudice, & other bad ethics/actions. I suppose I should include some Hindu & oriental religions as benign.

    While I am an atheist goy, I have a lot of respect for the lowest rank of religious leaders: Ministers, priests, rabbis, et cetera. I consider almost all of those one level up in religious hierarchies to be motivated by love of power, prestige, & other perks of their institutions.

    BTW: I started to become an atheist when about 8 years old, due to the story of Abraham & Isaac. I was strongly bonded with my father & considered the request to kill a son to be demonic. The more my Sunday school teacher argued with me on the issue, the more suspect I became about religion.

    I called myself an agnostic until I was circa 13. The following quip in the Readers Digest made me realize I was an atheist.
    An agnostic is a cowardly atheist.

    From Fran Sinatra lyrics:
    In the community in which I was raised, admitting to being an atheist resulted in adverse effects: Mostly verbal; Sometimes physical.
     
    danshawen likes this.
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. timojin Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,195
    You have to be careful in using the word religion and religious organisation . Religion teaches the human to treat The Creator and with respect and treat the fellow man is such a way as you want to be treated. Religion formed in an organization , many time becomes an evil institution to impose the will of "The organisation "upon others . And so that is the answer to your second paragraph .
    An organization it supposed do good to a larger masses of needy people. But our problem is our EGO, and the ego expresses itself when we are in higher ranking position . And so in the end what is expressed not religion but the ego of the hierarchy.
    An agnostic it supposedly searching for wisdom . An atheist is the individual that found the wisdom and knows all the fact.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    No. An atheist is a person who finds no evidence to support the preposterous claims of the religionists. The Rule of Laplace (more commonly known in the USA as "Sagan's Law" due to Carl Sagan's long-running show on public TV) is one of the cornerstones of science: "Extraordinary assertions must be supported by extraordinary evidence, before anyone is obliged to treat them with respect." There aren't very many assertions more extraordinary than those of the religionists, which are, basically, fairy tales left over from the Bronze Age, and there is not a single shred of evidence to support them.

    The closest anyone has ever come is to show us a tortilla (one out of hundreds of millions fried every year) with a scorch mark that is claimed to be a likeness of a person mentioned in the Bible, of whom no portraits are available against which to compare it!

    Thus we are all free--in fact obliged--to treat religion with the disrespect that it deserves.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
    danshawen likes this.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. timojin Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,195
    From what you are saying, you are part of a group that treats religious people with disrespect . And so Religious people will treat your group with disrespect . Therefore don't complain about human behavior because your are part of our human problem.
    Keep in mind not all scientists are atheists , and there are many scientists who are religious.
    By the way without looking into were " The rule of Laplace " is stated . I wonder if you know the meaning of it.
     
  8. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    51,799
    He didn't say religious people, he said religion.
     
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Here in the USA, we usually quote Carl Sagan: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

    If I meet you in the office this morning and you tell me that you found a mouse in the closet, and you have consistently been honest in your assertions, I'll take your word for it. Mice are common in urban and suburban locations, so it's not extraordinary to find one in a building.

    If I meet the fellow we all call Crazy George and he tells me that he found a raccoon in the closet, I'll be a little more skeptical. Raccoons, to be sure, are strong and clever, yet our building has no open windows and the doors are all monitored by closed-circuit TV. At the least, I would ask him where the raccoon is now, since if he was able to enter and exit the building without being spotted, that would mean that our cameras need to be adjusted. But if my friend Suzy walks by and says, "Did you guys see the raccoon this morning too?" I'd be more likely to believe them.

    But then next week John the Liar (who earned that nickname and will probably be fired before long) says that he saw a polar bear in the bathroom. I wonder how such a large animal got into the building without being noticed, and then I'd wonder why the employees are still inside the building since polar bears are large, strong and aggressive, and no one would want to be near one without a large rifle for self-defense. Moreover, there are no polar bears within a thousand miles of Baltimore, except for the ones in the zoo, and if one had escaped it would have been reported on every radio and TV station, with warnings for everyone to lock their doors and windows.

    John's claim is extraordinary and if he expects us to believe it, he has to produce extraordinary evidence. A photograph he took of the bear would qualify, although John would probably not be alive to show it to us.

    George's claim is unusual, but not exactly extraordinary. If one other person corroborates his claim, then I'll believe him,

    Your claim about the mouse is not even unusual. There are mice in every place where humans are found. If you say you saw one, I'll just yawn and say, "I hope it didn't bite you.
     
    sideshowbob likes this.
  10. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,293
    Religion isn't evil in its own anymore than government is. If religion is "it" and that allows us to be imperfect then humans are bad or evil and that kind of "religious behavior" is certainly understandable to a compassionate devil but still untempted.
     
    danshawen likes this.
  11. timojin Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,195

    Religion to have meaning , it must be part of human behavior
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    The evangelical Abrahamic religions (Christianity and Islam, which together include almost half of the human population) include an imperative to "save" non-members from "hell" by inducting them into the "faith." There have been times when this evangelism was performed more-or-less peacefully (if nonetheless obnoxiously), but there have also been many times when religious leaders exhorted their members to do whatever it might take to "convert" non-believers into the "true faith." The Muslims in the Middle East killed a lot of people (and today they're doing it all over again), and the Christians in Europe and (especially) in the New World killed millions.

    I challenge your premise that "religion isn't evil on its own anymore." Even if it is "only" as evil as government, that's hardly a ringing endorsement.

    Particularly when religion and government become aligned, violence explodes.

    When we recognize communism as an offshoot of Christianity, the death toll can be increased by many millions.
    • Marx's slogan "to each according to his needs, from each according to his ability" is a reworking of his favorite line in the Book of Acts. Only a believer in fairytales could insist that a civilization can survive if what a man takes from it need not correlate with what he gives back. And indeed the entire Soviet Bloc collapsed because the workers all figured that they could drink coffee and vodka while somebody else did all the work. The communist countries survived for a while by simply spending the surplus left over from the previous government, then by annexing their neighbors and spending THEIR surplus. When there was no more surplus to pillage, the entire system imploded.
     
  13. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    51,799
    Yes, but its proper to consider religious people as sincere, only deluded by harmful ideology. They didn't invent the evil thing, so I don't hold them personally responsible. They can be saved from the notion that they need saving.
     
  14. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,967
    Everybody is part of the problem. Religion doesn't make you immune from causing problems, nor is it the only source of problems.
     
  15. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,973
    What is the net effect of religion? "
    you know what; for me, this topic opening is intriguing for me.
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Religious people have already accepted the premise that something can be true beyond a reasonable doubt even if there isn't one shred of evidence to support it. It's not going to be easy to "save them" from any of their notions.
     
  17. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    51,799
    But they say there is evidence, it's just not reliable. They can be persuaded to accept some rational standards of evidence. Sometimes.
     
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,659
    How do you demonstrate a causal relationship between 'religion' and your 'horrors'? It looks like a simple assertion of atheist faith to me. (Religion is evil, so...)

    What about atheist inquisitions? The 20th century provides many examples of those: Stalin's show trials, labor camps, gulags, the Chinese cultural revolution, the destruction of Buddhism in Tibet and Mongolia, thousands of monks in mass graves, after being shot in the head...

    It seems to me that governments and government leaders have been a more proximate cause of wars than religion has. So shouldn't this be a libertarian thread?

    Agnosticism is probably the most intellectually justifiable position to take regarding transcendental matters. Whether or not militant atheists approve of agnosticism is of little concern to me.
     
  19. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,967
    Everybody is agnostic. Some people just don't know they are.
     
  20. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,623
    No.
     
  21. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,967
    You are one of those who doesn't know. You might think you know but you don't.
     
  22. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,659
    Doesn't the idea that the claims of the "religionists" (a peculiarly atheist term) are "preposterous" suggest possession of more knowledge than the common atheist position that 'atheism isn't belief, it's lack of belief' will support? Beliefs about the nature of the evidence are obviously implicit here.

    Since when are Laplace and Carl Sagan in any position to announce rules and laws that science is somehow bound to honor? What, apart from their being articles of atheist faith, justifies them?

    Sure, if you start from the point of view of metaphysical naturalism, but if you do that, then you are arguing in a circle.

    You seem to be agreeing with Timojin's characterization of atheists. For guys who claim to not be defending any beliefs (and hence to have no burden of proof) atheists sure make a lot of assertions.

    That's just a caricature Fraggle and if you are half as well educated as you claim to be, you should know it.

    There is natural theology and all of the so-called 'theistic proofs' (they aren't apodeictic proofs but they are certainly arguments). The latest of these are the cosmological 'fine-tuning' arguments that seem to have arisen in the UK in the 1980's. Some very prominent physicists take them seriously.

    There's a vast body of anecdotal evidence of miracles (none of it totally convincing, but much of it more convincing than your idiot tortillas, which seem to be expressions of Latin American popular religiosity).

    And there's what I consider the best species of evidence, namely religious experience. I have considerable respect for the experience of Buddhist meditators and am inclined to consider it empirical evidence that supports less metaphysically speculative and more psychologistic sorts of Buddhist doctrine. (Even if it doesn't, it's still fascinating.) More broadly, I'm quite interested in the experiences of religious contemplatives of all traditions.

    If you want my respect, you will need to earn it by doing more than ranting.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
  23. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,659
    I'm inclined to agree.
     

Share This Page