Is Christianity bad for society?
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07-11-2010, 07:27 AM
 
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
(06-11-2010 10:41 PM)frederick_wittman Wrote:  
(06-11-2010 07:57 PM)No J. Wrote:  Frederick
Have you OBJECTIVELY and THOROUGHLY observed a society without christianity? Have you OBJECTIVELY and THOROUGHLY observed a society without any religion at all? Do you have stacks of VERIFIABLE DATA to back your claims?
BnW has backed up his statements with verifiable historic data. You have stated your opinion. BnW has an arguement that has positive support, you need verifiable data before your claim has any support.

What I maintain is simple: the status quo is superior to a world without religion. The driving forces of man will conceal themselves with whatever they need to: religion has UNFORTUNATELY been used as a scapegoat more often, as it is so widespread. BnW has basically said what I told posters not too: comment on the status quo. We need to examine a world without religion, and compare it to our world now.

Reasons why status quo is better:
-unity
-humanitarian aid
-easy explanation for the masses
-a tenable government
-filling the god whole

Unity? Right now you have a number of religions that divide people into different camps. And if you read into their religions literally (like the terrorists do), then they are supposed to actively kill or convert members of the other club of the imaginary friend. That's some unity you've got there. It is natural for humans to segregate themselves into different subgroups (probably part of that tribal mentality), and even if we remove religion, nationalism will still stand in our way to unity, among other things. But just because curing one virus does not remove disease entirely from the world doesn't mean we shouldn't cure that one virus.

Humanitarian Aid...

What exactly about humanitarian aid requires the sky daddy concept? Why should we help people in despair and need? Because a wrathful god said we must or we will burn in the fires of hell for all eternity, or because we are compassionate human beings who feel it intrinsically moral to help others in need? The World Food Programme is the largest humanitarian organization in the world, and it is purely secular in its motivations.

Easy explanation for the masses...

This is a dangerous concept. You are basically admitting that religion is a lie, but because it is easier to understand (despite innumerable contradictions), we should just feed this lie to the masses to keep them satisfied. I think it should be the active goal of humanity to uplift people and educate them, not just throw them a bone to keep them living in a paltry intellectual existence. Why purposely keep the masses from a proper education?

Furthermore, if we are using religion just as a tool to please the masses, it isn't far to go before religion's authoritarian principles are used as well (Since one must simply point out parts of a book that the masses already have and believe in) to justify a totalitarian government or a theocracy. It has happened too many times in history.

A tenable government....

Are you talking about a theocracy? Yes, let us keep religion because it allows governments like Iran to justify their rule and prevent it from attack while they stone little girls to death because they exposed their shoulders, clearly violating Allah's desires.

A government may only justify itself by the its capacity to do the greatest good for the greatest number (or a similar principle of providing for its citizens or at least protecting them). I think this is a simple battle between divine right and secular government which, since the majority of governments today are secular (and just happen to be the better off nations in the world), has been resolved.

Filling the God hole...

So, we should keep religion because it fills the God hole. That is like saying we shouldn't get rid of donuts because they fill our need for donuts. Religion creates the god hole. Without it, we simply have science and the scientific method, which has proven to be more than sufficient in explaining, quantifying, and unlocking the mysteries of the universe. Obviously there are still things in the universe we do not understand, but that is not to say that we cannot understand them. 500 years ago, the god of the gaps reigned supreme. He was the explanation for nearly everything. Ever since the scientific revolution, the gaps have been getting smaller and smaller every day.

Sure, war and all the other things that Ghost mentioned will still occur without religion. But, as I said earlier, just because curing one virus does not remove disease does not mean we do not cure that one virus. Religion is unique among motivations for all these things because it lies in foundations of pure bullshit. People go to war and will always go to war over tangible things like resources and power. But it is so irrational (not that war in general is not irrational in my view) to go to war over the supposed desires of an invisible fairy man (Woman?) whose existence contradicts everything, and I mean everything we know and understand about the universe and lacks any corroborating evidence.

Sure, Christian humanitarian organizations do a lot of good. But they do good because they are humanitarian organizations, not because they are Christian. I am attacking the idea of religion. The frameworks for humanitarian aid that have been built up around the idea of religion can still be maintained without the central idea.
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07-11-2010, 08:12 AM
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
Ghost

Quote:BnW, don't drag me into your arguments by saying that I'll say something before I've even read it. Speak for yourself.

I was speaking for myself. And, myself recalled that was point you had made previously. Plus, I've come to learn that some of these debates are a lot more fun with you in them. So, every time you get out, we keep pulling you back in.

Quote: Second, of course various Christian organisations have done terrible things. But these same organisations have done incredibly good things. Organisations of pure evil are the stuff of melodrama, not reality. To characterise all of Christianity as evil is melodramatic. To champion erradicating it based on its worst qualities is to throw the baby out with the bath water.

That's not what I did, though. Frederick basically has taken the position that everything bad done by Christianity was just a correlation and not the cause and therefore we should just ignore it and focus on the good things it's done, which of course are 100% causal in his mind. I was pointing out that this position on the negatives was blatantly not true.

Quote:Third, the idea that war, war crimes, genocide, slavery, subjugation, marginalisation, despotism, control and labour exploitation will disappear
without religion is demonstrably laughable.

Agree. I never said that religion was the sole cause of these things. In fact, in some cases religion actually was more a correlating effect than a causing one. The feudal system is a great example of this. Europe was not divided up this way because of religion, but religion was used to grant it legitimacy. The correlating effect does not make religion any less culpable, though. In fact, I think the opposite is true.

Take the Inquisition (or, as you prefer, the various Inquisitions). This was a murderous rampage that went on for about 800 years. Let's say for the sake of argument that the Church wasn't completely motivated by fear of heretics and it was really a power issue. Do you think religion makes it more or less likely that people fanatically follow the Church and regional leaderships to commit the types of atrocities they did?

Take WWII as another example. The Nazis hated Jews, Slaves, gypsies, etc. That basis for a lot of this hatred was religion. Can you name a secularized explanation for Antisemitism or some of the other prejudices the Nazi's had? I think that WWII happens without these things but do you think the Nazis are more or less violent towards innocents and the groups they persecuted without religion?

You can ask these questions about all situation. I think it's fairly well established that humans are tribal and that causes a lot of our frictions. Religion is, to use your favorite word, just one meme that generates tribal distrusts and is often not alone the cause of strife. But, it certainly is a powerful one and a meme that provides for a lot of air cover. Consider:

- is the 1,000 years of violence between sunnis and shias more or less violence without religion?
- are the actions of the Spanish conquistadors more or less violent if they don't believe their actions are blessed by a their Christian God?
- Same question above for 19th century US on its treatment of native Americans?

We can play this game all day and of course we will never fully answer it to either of our satisfaction. However, I think if you look at the objective history of these things you will see a common theme of how religion was used to convince people that these horrible things they did were not really atrocities but God's will. When you believe in internal salvation and doing the work of the being who can grant it, you can convince yourself to do the most horrifying of things.

Oh, final point: yes, religion has been credited with many good things. Now is a good time to get back to the discussion of causation and correlation. Throw out a few of these good deeds and lets discuss them.

Frederick:

Unity? Do you not watch the news or read the papers?

Humanitarian aid? Like telling people in Africa condoms causes AIDS? Is that the kind of aid you're thinking of?

Easy explanation "for the masses"? Condescension much? And, who says people need easy explanation? How is that a good thing? I see it as a form of oppression.

A tenable government? You mean like the Taliban? Or the oppressive Christian monarchies we had in Europe for a thousand years?

Please. The sooner the world can move on from this oppressive mythology the better off humanity will be.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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07-11-2010, 09:58 AM
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
Religion isn't horrible, just when you mix religion and politics. The things that BnW mentioned (the Dark Ages, Holocaust, Inquisition, Crusades, etc.) only happened because religion had power over people politically.

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07-11-2010, 11:07 AM
 
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
(06-11-2010 05:32 PM)frederick_wittman Wrote:  I would say that overall that religion as a whole (regardless of its 'truth') has been an overall boon to society.
Of course it's bad for society. All monotheistic Abrahamic faiths are bad for society. Especially Islam, terrorist style.

Religion is irrational. It asks the rational mind to set aside reality and accept on faith something unreal cares, oversees, and polices the human condition.
Religion is stupid. However, society will always have a propensity toward the religious, while it remains an elective for the individual.

Personally, I don't care about stupid people. I figure they have to live with accepting the unintelligent, as a code of moral conduct for themselves. I care about what transpires within the boundaries of my own two feet.
And while the personal is political and vice versa, it's a big world with nearly 7 billion individuals bearing personal opinions. That makes any one, outnumbered.
So why stress that people choose to live stupidly? When you don't that's all that matters.
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07-11-2010, 11:25 AM
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
I just need to chime in again and say "wow, my spelling was bad earlier today!". Ok, I've got that off my chest.

I was tempted to fix it but I think my writing "internal" instead of "eternal" was just funny enough (for me at least) that I'll leave it. And, hopefully you all got the point anyway.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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07-11-2010, 05:34 PM
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
(07-11-2010 09:58 AM)jkshrout Wrote:  Religion isn't horrible, just when you mix religion and politics. The things that BnW mentioned (the Dark Ages, Holocaust, Inquisition, Crusades, etc.) only happened because religion had power over people politically.

Religion promotes blind faith. Blind faith is inherently a very dangerous state. This gives the leader of a religion unquestioned power over his followers. You need an uncorruptable leader(s) to make any religion a safe thing in society.
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07-11-2010, 08:01 PM
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
(06-11-2010 05:32 PM)frederick_wittman Wrote:  I would say that overall that religion as a whole (regardless of its 'truth') has been an overall boon to society. I know that the crusades, and other violent deeds have been done in the name of religion; though some of these bad things have been done in the name of a particular religion, it does not mean this particular religion was the CAUSE of the event. Correlation is not causation: it could have been some outside factor, 'z'.

If religion has been a boon to society, should we really be trying to do away with it? After all, 'truth' is a very subjective word- I do not think we should worry about what is materially correct.

I think that those who have been oppressed by religion would say otherwise. Slaves/serfs, non-monotheists, women, homosexuals, intellectuals, atheists, etc.

I do not see how it is a boon to society to teach people to do away with critical thinking. How far would our society be if Christianity had not held it back for almost two thousand years? Yes, Christianity established colleges in the Middle Ages (clergy-only); but the ancient Greeks and Romans (and later, the Arabs) were way ahead of the Christian nations when it came to scholarship.

If it were not for dissenting intellectuals, such as Galileo, or thought revolutions, such as the Enlightenment, we would still be stuck trying to cure diseases through faith "healing".

The thought process behind religion is in opposition to the thought process behind science, progress, and ultimately, a better society for everybody.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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07-11-2010, 09:42 PM
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
(07-11-2010 05:23 AM)Emperor Paradox Wrote:  
(07-11-2010 12:30 AM)Godless Wrote:  Of Course religion is a great evil not just to society but to humanity as a whole.

Why? It's simple.

By placing god on top of the food chain we devalue ourselves as less then another being. By labeling people as just servants of god we can justify all kinds of acts against each other in service to Yahweh or other gods. When people put a personal relationship with god above other people bad things happen.

Take the gay issue for example. The only reason so many people have issues with many gay people is strictly due to it being a "sin". In other words most of the hate stems from the fact it's apparently repulsive to god.

If God were out of the picture and humans valued each other as much as we value our relationship with god then we would likely make more of an effort to understand each other rather then just compare one another to "Morality" as laid out in an ancient book.

Of course this is but one very short and small summery of the idea but you get the picture. By glorifying god we dehumanize ourselves.

In an Evangelical Christian society you put god first then others then yourself. This would result in you serving others not treating them horribly in fact the bible teaches tolerance not hatred.

My reference was not in relation to Self vs Others but God vs humanity. You still put god first over others.

What god tells you to do to others is also really not always in their best interest or in any way kind. We are told to put adulterers, Witches, rebellious teenagers and anyone who works on the sabbath to death.

Jesus does not do any better on any of these fronts. Any honest examination of the advice found in the sermon on the mount points to a man who thought the second coming would be at any time and Jesus thought very poorly of women.

Jesus did not come to bring peace but a sword according to his own word. He also advices any man who cannot buy a sword to sell his garb and buy one.

The bible does not teach tolerance. It teaches injustice and inequality for all.

Also at the end of the day I repeat that the hierarchy of God to Others to Self is still placing your fellow humans under the demands of a moral code from a first century text written by bronze age men in tents.

By placing others first without god in the picture we strive far more to gain understanding of one another without hatred or judgment. We do not demean those who do not follow our God's moral code as Heathens or lost. We do not wish for some to suffer eternal torture and blame others lack of faith for the hardships of our lives.

Indeed I would claim that setting god aside is the only way to begin to work towards human unity rather then judging one another all the time.
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07-11-2010, 11:39 PM
 
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
(07-11-2010 09:42 PM)Godless Wrote:  
(07-11-2010 05:23 AM)Emperor Paradox Wrote:  
(07-11-2010 12:30 AM)Godless Wrote:  Of Course religion is a great evil not just to society but to humanity as a whole.

Why? It's simple.

By placing god on top of the food chain we devalue ourselves as less then another being. By labeling people as just servants of god we can justify all kinds of acts against each other in service to Yahweh or other gods. When people put a personal relationship with god above other people bad things happen.

Take the gay issue for example. The only reason so many people have issues with many gay people is strictly due to it being a "sin". In other words most of the hate stems from the fact it's apparently repulsive to god.

If God were out of the picture and humans valued each other as much as we value our relationship with god then we would likely make more of an effort to understand each other rather then just compare one another to "Morality" as laid out in an ancient book.

Of course this is but one very short and small summery of the idea but you get the picture. By glorifying god we dehumanize ourselves.

In an Evangelical Christian society you put god first then others then yourself. This would result in you serving others not treating them horribly in fact the bible teaches tolerance not hatred.

My reference was not in relation to Self vs Others but God vs humanity. You still put god first over others.

What god tells you to do to others is also really not always in their best interest or in any way kind. We are told to put adulterers, Witches, rebellious teenagers and anyone who works on the sabbath to death.

Jesus does not do any better on any of these fronts. Any honest examination of the advice found in the sermon on the mount points to a man who thought the second coming would be at any time and Jesus thought very poorly of women.

Jesus did not come to bring peace but a sword according to his own word. He also advices any man who cannot buy a sword to sell his garb and buy one.

The bible does not teach tolerance. It teaches injustice and inequality for all.

Also at the end of the day I repeat that the hierarchy of God to Others to Self is still placing your fellow humans under the demands of a moral code from a first century text written by bronze age men in tents.

By placing others first without god in the picture we strive far more to gain understanding of one another without hatred or judgment. We do not demean those who do not follow our God's moral code as Heathens or lost. We do not wish for some to suffer eternal torture and blame others lack of faith for the hardships of our lives.

Indeed I would claim that setting god aside is the only way to begin to work towards human unity rather then judging one another all the time.

a few things I would like to point out. first I can’t believe you actually brought up Luke 22 36-38 because if you actually look into what h say he is using a metaphor and when the disciples take him literally he tells them "that is enough" or “enough of this". He is not proclaiming violence.

Also in acts the disciples are show many times following gods will by serving others not condemning and hating them.

As for causing us to judge everyone the bible says pretty clearly don't judge Non-Christians(it does talk elsewhere about judging Christians so they stay on the path).

the bible also goes to great lengths to say that everyone is equal. Not quite a teaching of injustice and inequality for all.

When Christianity is taken straight from the bible you will find it is a great boon to society.
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08-11-2010, 12:56 AM
RE: Is Christianity bad for society?
Well that pretty much proves you have not read the book.

That and common you don't get to pull the metaphor card every time someone points out a contradiction in the bible.

The book I'm afraid is very much full of hate and Jesus is especially hateful of women and gays.

Go read the book. I mean the whole book and draw your own opinions. If that doesn't cure you go read some other "holy" books and you will soon see how the rest of us look at how silly and outdated the bible is.

Take off the glasses and examine your religion with the same eye as any other claims without historical evidence you quickly see how frail religion really is.
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