Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
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28-05-2011, 04:54 PM
 
Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
Well Hi everyone, this is my first post. I've been thinking about a few questions and I'll put them up as soon as I find the words to describe them. My family used to go to church in a big way, but I decided that I just didn't believe in God, which really kind if made the church going thing redundant. I would describe myself as a post modernist atheist after coming to terms with the fact that as there is no god.

I've been having a discussion with a few friends who are atheists and Christians and it's left me with a few questions.
What defines the true Christian? I personally find it hilarious when they all start claiming to be the right sort, so I suppose a better question is "Is someone who follows the teachings in the bible to the letter a true Christian? "
Can religion justify itself through the good it's done?
To explain away any "bad" religion has done, does the argument "it was manipulated by "evil" people" hold? Or does any "bad" it's done immediately outweigh any "good" it's done?

I'm sure I had some more somewhere, but I'll find them later. I've put "bad" and "good" and concepts like that in "" because thats a whole different debate to define them and what they really mean. I'm sure you lot will understand what I'm trying to say.

And also, none of that "whatever you find meaning in" sort of thing, because that is bull, you are either right, or wrong, there is no whatever works for you.
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28-05-2011, 05:06 PM
 
RE: Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
Quote:Can religion justify itself through the good it's done?

What good has it done?
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28-05-2011, 05:24 PM
RE: Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
Can it justify itself through the good that is done by religious people?

No! It come down to whether the good outweighs the bad and for me it clearly doesn't. Would you ever say that the Nazi's can justify themselves because, despite the holocaust, they build some decent roads? Of course not, it's the same principle.

Can you explain away the bad by saying that 'bad people manipulate it'?

No! In my experience it's usually the people doing GOOD stuff in the name of religion who are twisting and distorting or even ignoring teachings in a desperate attempt to convince themselves of their scriptures morality. The people who commit atrocities are usually the most devout and are adhering the teachings more closely. The point is ridiculous anyway. Would you say that Nazism is good but Hitler just 'manipulated' it to get his own way and in the process made it appear bad? Of course not, again it's the same principle.

What defines a true Christian?

It is impossible to say. The temptation is to say 'people who adhere to the Bible' but in reality no-one can adhere to the entire Bible as it is too contradictory in too many places. You could have two people who very clearly adhere to different parts of the Bible and have wildly different beliefs.

I hope that helps to answer your questions. Well come to the forum by the way Smile

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
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Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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28-05-2011, 05:32 PM
 
RE: Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
I would argue that religion gives meaning to peoples lives whether they are an unquestioning sheep or someone who constantly questions their faith in order to get a better understanding of themselves. Which is another question, can someone who weighs up the evidence (I can hear you laughing) decide to believe in god? I know your going to say no, but give me some arguments to use.
So would you say someone who interprets the to find the "best" parts isn't a true Christian as they ignore some of the more hateful verses?
Also, what are the most hateful verses in the new testament?

Thanks for the replies chaps!
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28-05-2011, 05:40 PM
RE: Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
(28-05-2011 04:54 PM)TAJD Wrote:  What defines the true Christian? ... Is someone who follows the teachings in the bible to the letter a true Christian?

There is no definition provided for a true christian, aside from possibly the christians that have it all right, which is none of them. They use the term to try and exclude people they disagree with, like other christians, or to ignore people who left their religion (because that would mean you could actually study christianity and come to the conclusion that it wasn't right, and that just won't do!).
This is a fallacy known as "No True Scotsman"

(28-05-2011 04:54 PM)TAJD Wrote:  Can religion justify itself through the good it's done?

It could, if it did more good than evil. Like charity, some religions are good in that they alleviate more suffering than they cause. Jain's and Buddhists would be an example of that, I would think - although I disagree with them and think they're quacks. Christianity is one of the most evil and immoral religions out there, causing more suffering in the last decade than is imaginable, without even delving into its history.

Also, bear in mind that what good a religion does is irrelevant to the truth of its claims, whole or part.

(28-05-2011 04:54 PM)TAJD Wrote:  To explain away any "bad" religion has done, does the argument "it was manipulated by "evil" people" hold? Or does any "bad" it's done immediately outweigh any "good" it's done?

That argument is a total cop out. Evil in the name of religion is done by man, and good in the name of religion was done by god, so lets all praise god and hate ourselves. Dumb. In reality, we have both good and bad acts done by man due to religion (although mostly bad), and no acts that god did, so far as we can tell. Bear in mind that it was religion that inspired those "evil" people to do what they did, and if god actually exists it was according to his will that it happened.

Similar to the last question's answer, religion could cause evil or harm, but overall be good due to other deeds, causing more happiness than suffering.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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28-05-2011, 06:01 PM
RE: Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
(28-05-2011 05:32 PM)TAJD Wrote:  I would argue that religion gives meaning to peoples lives whether they are an unquestioning sheep or someone who constantly questions their faith in order to get a better understanding of themselves. Which is another question, can someone who weighs up the evidence (I can hear you laughing) decide to believe in god? I know your going to say no, but give me some arguments to use.
So would you say someone who interprets the to find the "best" parts isn't a true Christian as they ignore some of the more hateful verses?
Also, what are the most hateful verses in the new testament?

Thanks for the replies chaps!

I would agree that religion gives meaning to the lives of believers but it's false meaning, however strongly they believe it. The Greeks took meaning from their belief in Zeus, however we wouldn't promote a belief in Zeus.

I think someone who weighs up the evidence can conclude God exists (my Dad did) but only if they have a very limited (mis)understanding of the evidence (the sort of 'how can all these things appear by chance' or 'how can nothing explode into the universe' sort of misunderstanding).

I would say that someone who picks and choose what part of the Bible to believe in is betraying their faith. Also, if anyone discounts certain (less savoury) verses while promoting nicer ones to forward the morality of their religion then I think they leave themselves open to the 'what if the nice ones are wrong and the nasty ones are true, then God is fully evil instead of mostly evil' argument.

As for the most hateful verses, I would ask Buddy Christ, or just read his thread 'An atheists critique of the Bible', it's truly fantastic lol

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Best
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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28-05-2011, 06:09 PM
RE: Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
(28-05-2011 05:06 PM)GassyKitten Wrote:  
Quote:Can religion justify itself through the good it's done?

What good has it done?

(28-05-2011 06:01 PM)hughsie Wrote:  
(28-05-2011 05:32 PM)TAJD Wrote:  I would argue that religion gives meaning to peoples lives ...

I would agree that religion gives meaning to the lives of believers but it's false meaning ...

So what good has it done? ... still seems an open question to me.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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28-05-2011, 06:36 PM
RE: Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
From personal experiences, the religious tend to claim that good deeds done by religious people are good deeds done by religion which I think is a massive step. I think that if someone religious does something to raise money for charity, for example, that it is because they are a good person, not because they are religious and to claim that it's the church's or God's good deed just detracts from the person. I also think it's a very irrational thing to think (unless the church is directly involved), I support Stockport County FC (local football/soccer team) but if I gave a load of money to charity no-one would say it was thanks to Stockport County FC, I don't see why its any different with the church.

I cannot think of any good things done by religion off the top of my head but logic dictates that there must be a few things spaced out across history, I think they would be outnumbered about 1000-1 when compared to bad things though, probably more.

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Best
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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29-05-2011, 01:13 AM
 
RE: Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
Yeah, This is all true, but another defense used was "religion is used as a shield by "evil" people to justify the terrible things theyve done.
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29-05-2011, 04:33 AM
RE: Can religion justify itself through the "good" it's done
What about the people who literally believe and are drawn to threaten their children with hell because of religion, to kill themselves in a suicide bombing in the name of religion, and who kill their children because of a belief that the tribulations are nigh?
These people aren't evil, so much as they are devout believers and follow their religion to the logical conclusion, or who are just mentally unstable.

A question is, is religion evil because people can justify evil deeds in its name? I should think so. Many religious doctrines actually say you should do various immoral or evil acts, its not as though these 'evil' people are pulling this out of their asses.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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