What is the net effect of religion?

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

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I made no claim about the majority of people. I simply pointed out two levels of morality: doing good because you are rewarded for it, and doing good because you really care. Religion panders to the former. It is all about getting essentially selfish and childish people to be good. And in the pursuit of that, it offers the carrot of heaven as well as the stick of hellfire. Atheism panders to no such ulterior motives. It assumes people are mature enough to be good because it is rational and of value in itself. Do the right thing because it matters to you, not because you think you will get a reward for it. Do good even if you will cease to exist in death. Many religious people seem incapable of that.

    Avoiding hell by not killing your friend is no more nobly ethical than avoiding death by killing your friend. In both cases you are only concerned with avoiding an unpleasant outcome for yourself. There is no real moral conviction operating here at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
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  3. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Some of the worst most hypocritical obnoxious intolerant people in the world are God fearing Christians/Muslims/Buddhists etc etc etc: Some of best most honest, generous, caring, tolerant people in the world are also Christians/Muslims/Buddhists etc etc etc.
    Some of the worst most hypocritical, obnoxious, intolerant people in the world are atheists.
    Some of the best most honest generous, caring, tolerant people in the world are also atheists.
    Net effect of religion? It works for some and gives them comfort. :shrug:
    My only concern today with religious people, are with the nutty variety that kill in the name of their God, or those fools and charlatans that frequent science forums for the sole purpose of deriding science and its effects of pushing back the need for any deity into oblivion and explaining the Universe/nature/spacetime based on the scientific method and observational evidence.
     
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  5. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I think the effect of religion is many-fold: on the one hand to give excuse to those that want to control power, territory, learning etc, giving rise to excusable fanaticism. On another it has helped shape societies and given people a common goal that might not otherwise have been there.
    It may have sped up some aspects of human development, and hindered other aspects.

    Net effect: not possible to say, for reasons previously given.
     
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  7. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

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    The confusion of your mind is evident. Both good and bad have objective and diametrically opposed effects on reality. Therefore they are real. One must fight for what is right as it is their universal moral obligation. As time moves forward we must move forward with it, or we suffer the consequences of being reduced to a piece of subhuman slime, and we doom ourselves to feel that way for all eternity.
     
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I partially agree with you. I think that it's better to incorporate ethical principles in one's psychology as one's own virtues than to behave ethically because of external threats and coercion.

    But how do people know what is and isn't the "right thing"? There is tremendous variation between cultures on the details of that. (Compare relatively enlightened Portland Oregon with ISIS' interpretation of Islamic law in Raqqah Syria.) Figuring out the nature and the sources of ethical knowledge (assuming that ethics really is a matter of knowledge, which is an open question) is one of the fundamental questions of ethics.

    In real life, people seem to typically go with their own personal intuitions, which are heavily influenced by social consensus.

    I'm not convinced that intuition shaped by social pressures from one's culture is a better source of ethical knowledge than religious belief. (ln fact, my agnostic/atheist line of thinking lead me to treat both of these as essentially the same thing.)
     
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    But believing you will get 72 virgins in the afterlife for gunning down western heretics doesn't seem connected to any time-proven and evolved cultural morality. It is the ethic of a religious fanatical cause driven by hedonistic pleasure and hatred of humanity. I trust the evolved sense of right and
    wrong that is internalized in most of us from our own cultures. Cultures are like longterm proving grounds for ethical principles. The ones with good principles tend to survive and prosper, and the ones with crappy ones bite the dust. I think relying on the altruistic imperative of living in harmony with our fellowman is a good rough heuristic in guiding us towards knowing what is the right thing. Religion tends to cut people off from that natural intuitive connection to their own culture. It provides a surrogate ethic of grandiose self-indulgence and misanthropic spite that appeals to only the most primitive emotions of our species: fear of death, fear of the unknown, and fear of the outsider.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
    Quantum Quack likes this.
  10. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    If the worlds population was fully educated, all with high levels of reasoning capacity then I would agree with your sentiment. However the bulk of the worlds population has been and still is to a great extent uneducated with only the basics necessary for societal functioning.
    Religion provides as previously mentioned a double edged sword.
    On one hand it can suppress/oppress the collective desire for education ( as seen in some Middle Eastern and Eastern Cultures) and provides an external set of rules and regulation ( power to the preacher - so to speak) where the general population who have not got the emotional maturity to maintain an adequate internal set of rules. Thus providing societal function by external regulation. ( military rule, extreme regulation, religion etc)

    On the other hand organized religion provides a way for those that lack the emotional and intellectual maturity to manage that basic fear: fear of the unknown ( death, strangers etc). Thus allowing those persons to sleep at night.
    So therefore, IMO, religion played and is still playing a crucial role in stabilizing the collective and individual imaginations of the people.

    Science it self could be suggested as being a more sophisticated way for people to deal and manage their primary fear of the unknown. Constantly seeking to empower ourselves in the face of our most debilitating fear ( fear of the unknown)
    Fear of the unknown is also essential for humans to endure, as it fuels the sense of adventure, the thrill of discovery and the anticipation of a "new day" or the next moment in time. It is what fuels excitement and joy and provides a tremendous amount of pleasure but it also can be devastatingly debilitating when self restraint is overwhelmed. ( aka Paranoid Schizophrenia and other less diagnose-able states like Daesh in the Middle East)
     
  11. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

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    It is pretty obvious when you first read the OP that the question asked is not possible to answer if one wishes to apply literal interpretations to the semantics. How ever if one takes into account the intent and purpose of the author and drops the emphasis on the word "net" then a discussion is possible.
    The author presupposes no doubt as an understandably sad reaction to world events that the cumulative effect of religion is to the negative. Using the same line of reasoning in a depressed state one could say the same for science, after all it was science that provided humanity with the tools to destroy itself, re: Ozone depletion, global warming, climate change, ak47s, s300 SAMs, nuclear weapons and commercial jets that can be hijacked or blown out of the sky.

    Controversially one could ask: What is the "net" effect of science and arrive at a similar dismal answer.
    It would be very easy to blame science for the worlds predicament. However both religion and science are a part of what being a human is, the cross we collectively must carry. So blaming "human nature" would be better if one wishes to blame anything.

    We can not escape from our collective and individual human natures, all we can do is hope to evolve it to a point of sustainability.
     
  12. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Oh you mean like the Muslims definition of true "believers" and every other religion not being true believers? So many other religions have deities that are , to them, the only way to believe and if you aren't with them they think you must be against them today. So today we have wars that are brought on by religions just as has been going on since religions began.
     
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Actually, the original religions (those of which we have written records anyway, a technology that was invented early in the Bronze Age) nearly all had the same set of deities. Jung explains this by saying that the same set of 21 archetypes (or perhaps we could call them "engines") exist within all of our brains; and the difference is simply that one is stronger in one person and in another a different one rules. The Egyptian, Greek and Roman pantheons, for example, have very nearly identical members. In primitive people, this would have been a strong attraction rather than a cause of enmity.

    It's only since Abraham cursed this poor planet with his one-god model, which compresses the rich 21-dimensional model of human behavior into a pathetic one-dimensional model in which everything falls on a scale from "good" to "evil," that people have been fighting over religion.

    If you want Peace on Earth, throw out the stupid monotheistic model and bring back the gods of our ancestors. Sure, perhaps there will always be wars, but they don't have to be quite so constant and quite so violent.
     
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  14. river Valued Senior Member

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    To add; the net effect of religion is psychological; in the big picture of this planet; we as Humans do not think, of ourselves as a being worth anything.

    This to me is not Natural at all period.

    As Babylon 5 series did; was to KICK OUT BOTH RELIGIONS SO TO SPEAK ; OUT OF OUR LIVES ; both being ; the vorlons and the shadows.

    Where Humanities Future or Destiny was based on our actions; our choices ; not manipulated and guided by older beings.

    The net effect of religion is that Humanity has become .....alone within itself. Do you know what I mean?
     
  15. river Valued Senior Member

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    Humanity needs to grow ; have a sense of its own worth; to be strong both mentally and physically; in and of its self; or we will die out.

    We are caught inbetween this battle of god and evil. And both use Humanity as pawns in their battle. We must rise up and refuse to be part of this battle.

    Humanity must relise its worth to its self; or we will be doomed to be slave warriors to one side or the other.

    We must be warriors to our self preservation.
     
  16. timojin Valued Senior Member

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    Yes we should be human , that have been said many time before by different religions
    Religion is the bill board . Is the human ( religious, secular or atheist ) that have to act, on the don"t

    We must not kill
    We must not steel
    We must not covet our neighbor's wife
    We must respect the elders
    We must not speak the truth
    We must not give false testimony
    We must not have slaves
    We must help the needy
    We must not cheat
    We must not blame others for our wrong doing
    We must not humiliate others
    We must not prejudge others

    Now think of how many times I am guilty, and why I keep repeating the WE MUST NOT. and I keep doing them
     
  17. river Valued Senior Member

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    We must NOT speak the truth?
     
  18. timojin Valued Senior Member

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    It is nice you read it.
     
  19. river Valued Senior Member

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    Wis-dom
     
  20. river Valued Senior Member

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    Reiterate

    Humanity needs to grow ; have a sense of its own worth; to be strong both mentally and physically; in and of its self; or we will die out.

    We are caught inbetween this battle of god and evil. And both use Humanity as pawns in their battle. We must rise up and refuse to be part of this battle.

    Humanity must relise its worth to its self; or we will be doomed to be slave warriors to one side or the other.

    We must be warriors to our self preservation.
     

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