Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
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13-02-2014, 12:27 PM (This post was last modified: 13-02-2014 12:42 PM by Freethought.)
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 09:52 AM)alpha male Wrote:  @OP: Atheists typically pride themselves on requiring evidence to believe something. Yet, they accept that religion is a net evil and science is a net good without evidence. No one has quantified that religious wars have killed more people than religious charity has saved. No one has quantified that technology has saved more people than it has killed. (A war, religious or otherwise, waged with fists doesn't do that much damage.) There's no way to accurately quantify these things across history and cultures.

The honest answer to the question "Would we be better off without religion (or science for that matter)" is, "I don't know."

I appreciate your honest answer in that you do not know. However, I do not agree with how there is no evidence to say that religion is a net evil. If you look at religious extremism, aside from the politics, the main motivation for their actions is their religion which is unfortunate. When you are deluded to think you will go to heaven for killing people, heck that's a driving force.

As for ''religious charities'', if some human beings are so immoral that the only reason to donate to charity is because of their religion, then I dream of a society where everyone can donate to help one another, as religion is not a requirement to help people. It's sad if it is, but I think we have to learn beyond needing religion to help people for the sake of god, but to help people for the sake of good! Charities do not have the right to be entitled to be the cause of religion, and even if it did then it wouldn't negate or justify all of the millions of lives that have been lost because of religious wars.

Thanks to everyone for your responses so far, it's great to see everyone's opinions especially when everyone thinks outside the box. Looking back at the comments so far, I see that it is far more of a complex decision than I had originally thought. Seeing everybody's opinion has gotten me to think more about this decision if it hypothetically were available than just impulsively slamming it. The button may very well be a fantasy of mine. As that as science eventually improves, maybe within the next few centuries or the next millennium, the button will have been pressed in that way. Would that necessarily be a good thing? I know most people who have left religion on these forums have achieved a new happiness that religion could never give. I also feel that whatever good people claim religion has done, that the good is not because of religion. What good can religion do that we cannot? Nothing, I feel.

Everyday is judgement day. Use your judgement, use reason.
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13-02-2014, 01:25 PM
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 12:27 PM)Freethought Wrote:  I appreciate your honest answer in that you do not know. However, I do not agree with how there is no evidence to say that religion is a net evil. If you look at religious extremism, aside from the politics, the main motivation for their actions is their religion which is unfortunate. When you are deluded to think you will go to heaven for killing people, heck that's a driving force.
Likewise, if you think you'll go to heaven for helping people, that's a driving force. You can't know how much help has been motivated by religion v. how much hurt, so you can't know that religion is a net good or net evil.
Quote:As for ''religious charities'', if some human beings are so immoral that the only reason to donate to charity is because of their religion, then I dream of a society where everyone can donate to help one another, as religion is not a requirement to help people. It's sad if it is, but I think we have to learn beyond needing religion to help people for the sake of god, but to help people for the sake of good! Charities do not have the right to be entitled to be the cause of religion, and even if it did then it wouldn't negate or justify all of the millions of lives that have been lost because of religious wars.
First, you mean as a result of religious wars and science and technology. Again, you can't kill that many without the weapons produced by science and technology.

Second, you neglected an option for your utopia - that of a single religion.

Quote:I also feel that whatever good people claim religion has done, that the good is not because of religion. What good can religion do that we cannot? Nothing, I feel.
What evil can religion do that we cannot? None. Nationalism, tribalism and other isms can and do kill people.
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13-02-2014, 02:10 PM
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 12:09 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(13-02-2014 10:30 AM)toadaly Wrote:  Since 'good' and 'evil' are subjective terms, no evidence is required to declare something good or evil.
Yes, so I followed up with an objective example - lives saved v. lives destroyed.

You first assert that atheists claim religion is a net evil. Certainly many do, but that's a gross over generalization.

You also assert that atheists pride themselves on requiring evidence to believe something. ....another gross generalization.

...and then you proceed to define the basis of good and evil as lives saved, vs. lives destroyed, which I seriously doubt is even the basis of your own perspective on good and evil.

Other than mindlessly bashing atheists, do you have any other rants, strawmen, and propaganda you'd like to share?

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
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13-02-2014, 02:37 PM
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 02:10 PM)toadaly Wrote:  You first assert that atheists claim religion is a net evil. Certainly many do, but that's a gross over generalization.

You also assert that atheists pride themselves on requiring evidence to believe something. ....another gross generalization.

...and then you proceed to define the basis of good and evil as lives saved, vs. lives destroyed, which I seriously doubt is even the basis of your own perspective on good and evil.
OK, I'll refine it to "Atheists who pride themselves on requiring evidence to believe something shouldn't believe that religion is a net detriment to human welfare because they can't possibly assemble the evidence necessary to support that belief."

Happy now? Tongue
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13-02-2014, 02:57 PM
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 02:37 PM)alpha male Wrote:  OK, I'll refine it to "Atheists who pride themselves on requiring evidence to believe something shouldn't believe that religion is a net detriment to human welfare because they can't possibly assemble the evidence necessary to support that belief."

Happy now? Tongue

Definitely an improvement, although I'm not sure why it applies only to atheists. All who pride themselves on rationality, as a good number of theists do as well, must use reason and evidence to decide if religion is good, evil, or essentially neutral, if they wish to actually be rational. Part of that process is going to be defining what they mean by 'good' or 'evil' in this context.

So I'll bite on that. I regard it as generally evil to promote irrational beliefs - this is my opinion and it isn't based on anything objective. Faith is irrational by definition. So any institution that promotes faith, is evil from that perspective. Christianity and Islam both promote faith, so they are evil in this context. I don't know enough about other religions to make a determination as to whether they are evil in this context or not. From this, I am justified to make statements such as "religion is evil", as long as when questioned, I explain the details. It's kind of not my fault if someone else hears that, and runs off half cocked with a bunch of assumptions never asking me what I mean.

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
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13-02-2014, 03:11 PM
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 02:57 PM)toadaly Wrote:  So I'll bite on that. I regard it as generally evil to promote irrational beliefs - this is my opinion and it isn't based on anything objective.
So you believe something without evidence, and aren't in the group under consideration (those who require evidence in order to believe).
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13-02-2014, 03:14 PM
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 01:25 PM)alpha male Wrote:  Likewise, if you think you'll go to heaven for helping people, that's a driving force. You can't know how much help has been motivated by religion v. how much hurt, so you can't know that religion is a net good or net evil.


That's the problem with society. Humans should not be so immoral that they need eternal reciprocation in order to help one another, that would simply be absurdly pathetic. The true act of kindness is one not conditional. An act of kindness where you know that sometimes you will not get anything out of it, except the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone. Those who need religion as a driving force to do good obviously are not moral enough to help without being given something in return.

How can I not know if religion is a net of good or evil? When I see unnecessary barbarian acts in the name of religion, such as a terrorist who claims god told him to blow himself up and he does just that, is that not evidence that religion not only can be but is used for evil? When I know there are Doctors out there cutting skin from a newborns penis unnecessarily because of religion, how can you say not only do not know but cannot know that it is used for evil?



Quote:First, you mean as a result of religious wars and science and technology. Again, you can't kill that many without the weapons produced by science and technology.

Are you honestly comparing Science and Technology to Religion? Anything can be used for evil and I agree with you on that note, although the difference between science & technology vs religion is that science and technology is a necessity to strive toward an equilibrium for our species. To make life easier and to make society productive. Religion however, is not. If you knew about how clear minded a person can be when they throw out all the superstition and delusion they are told about, you'd know exactly how much better off we'd be without having to make ourselves blind mice looking for a way to fulfill ourselves.

Quote:Second, you neglected an option for your utopia - that of a single religion.

Oh great, you mean like a theocracy? And what religion would that be exactly? So much for a utopia. Next thing you know, members of that utopia will be able to justify their actions because the sky creature told them to do it, and nobody will able to disprove the authenticity of that claim, because they are all so deluded.

By the way, atheism is not a religion, it is the exact opposite of one. Calling atheism a religion is like calling abstinence is a sex position, or bald a hair colour.

A good question against me would be how would the society be a utopia if religion wasn't free? So that question is one I still have to think about.

Quote:What evil can religion do that we cannot? None. Nationalism, tribalism and other isms can and do kill people.

I'll tell you what evil religion can do that we cannot. Religion can make you have a dream of a god telling you to kill your son, and then you act upon it thinking it's real. Religion can make someone who believes in it see something which conforms to their faith that doesn't even exist, or have delusions of grandeur and blow up a building thinking they are going to go to heaven.

Nationalism, tribalism, communism etc I agree that evil is without religion, so thank you for making me think about this. Remember though, we are talking about making society progress 1 step towards a utopia, and without religion would this be the right step? I strongly suggest so, and I can say more for sure because I've given you facts of what religion can compel even the seemingly normal person to do that they wouldn't have otherwise done without it.

I'd just like to end off with apologizing if I came off as offensive. I'm finding this conversation with you very productive because there are some arguments that you've offered which are good for me to think about. So thank you for that. Glad we can hear each others side in a civilized manner.

Everyday is judgement day. Use your judgement, use reason.
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13-02-2014, 03:38 PM
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 03:14 PM)Freethought Wrote:  That's the problem with society. Humans should not be so immoral that they need eternal reciprocation in order to help one another, that would simply be absurdly pathetic. The true act of kindness is one not conditional. An act of kindness where you know that sometimes you will not get anything out of it, except the satisfaction of knowing you helped someone. Those who need religion as a driving force to do good obviously are not moral enough to help without being given something in return.
So religion takes people who are immoral and pathetic and inspires them to help other people. This is an obvious benefit to human welfare.
Quote:How can I not know if religion is a net of good or evil? When I see unnecessary barbarian acts in the name of religion, such as a terrorist who claims god told him to blow himself up and he does just that, is that not evidence that religion not only can be but is used for evil?
Sure is. However, you can’t determine the net effect by noting that there are some negatives. To determine the net effect, you need to be able to quantify both the positives and negatives.

Quote: Are you honestly comparing Science and Technology to Religion? Anything can be used for evil and I agree with you on that note, although the difference between science & technology vs religion is that science and technology is a necessity to strive toward an equilibrium for our species.
Can you define equilibrium as you’re using it here and support that technology is necessary for equilibrium?
Quote:To make life easier and to make society productive. Religion however, is not. If you knew about how clear minded a person can be when they throw out all the superstition and delusion they are told about, you'd know exactly how much better off we'd be without having to make ourselves blind mice looking for a way to fulfill ourselves.
Sorry, but a person who doesn’t understand how to calculate a net effect doesn’t seem particularly clear minded. And you sound just like some religious people who talk about their personal religious experiences.
Quote:I'll tell you what evil religion can do that we cannot. Religion can make you have a dream of a god telling you to kill your son, and then you act upon it thinking it's real. Religion can make someone who believes in it see something which conforms to their faith that doesn't even exist, or have delusions of grandeur and blow up a building thinking they are going to go to heaven.
No, people can kill, have delusions, and blow up buildings without religion.
Quote:Nationalism, tribalism, communism etc I agree that evil is without religion, so thank you for making me think about this. Remember though, we are talking about making society progress 1 step towards a utopia, and without religion would this be the right step? I strongly suggest so, and I can say more for sure because I've given you facts of what religion can compel even the seemingly normal person to do that they wouldn't have otherwise done without it.
First, as noted, you don’t know if religion is a net good or net evil, so your strong suggestion is simply opinion or bias.

Second, what if you get rid of religion and nationalism etc. pick up the bad from religion, but not the good? Now you’re worse off.
Quote:I'd just like to end off with apologizing if I came off as offensive. I'm finding this conversation with you very productive because there are some arguments that you've offered which are good for me to think about. So thank you for that. Glad we can hear each others side in a civilized manner.
Likewise, you and monster riffs are refreshing and give me a small amount of hope for this forum.
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13-02-2014, 03:39 PM
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 03:11 PM)alpha male Wrote:  So you believe something without evidence, and aren't in the group under consideration (those who require evidence in order to believe).

It's not a belief, it's a value. Do you understand the difference?

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
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13-02-2014, 03:51 PM
RE: Can Religion co-exist with the ideal utopian society?
(13-02-2014 03:39 PM)toadaly Wrote:  It's not a belief, it's a value. Do you understand the difference?
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/value?s=t

The definition which fits the context is:

5. the moral principles and beliefs or accepted standards of a person or social group:

So, no, I don't understand the difference and think that a value entails a belief.
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