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Does Religion do more harm than good?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Green Gaia, Jul 30, 2004.

?
  1. Yes

    23 vote(s)
    37.1%
  2. No

    22 vote(s)
    35.5%
  3. I don't know

    17 vote(s)
    27.4%
  1. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    Well, does it?
     
  2. sisjadie

    sisjadie New Member

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    My point of view is that if a religion causes problems among a people, there are some real issues there. Religion is something people hold dearest in their lives. Oftentimes they seem to forget that there are other beliefs out there and each person will have their own interpretation of each. When someone then states something different than what the origional person believes, that person will sometimes see it as an attack as though someone is trying to change them and animosity results. In my opinion this is one of the saddest misunderstandings that occurs amongst people. It happens often to people, I know, I've been there. So to sum it up, my opinion is that the religion itself doesn't cause the harm, it's the misunderstandings that come with human differences that, when allowed to, can cause the upset in a person's mentality.
    ~J

    "Still another cause of disagreement and dissension has been the formation of religious sects and denominations. Bahá'u'lláh said that God has sent religion for the purpose of establishing fellowship among humankind and not to create strife and discord, for all religion is founded upon the love of humanity. Abraham promulgated this principle, Moses summoned all to its recognition, Christ established it, and Muhammad directed mankind to its standard. This is the reality of religion. If we abandon hearsay and investigate the reality and inner significance of the heavenly teachings, we will find the same divine foundation of love for humanity."

    (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 231)
     
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  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Maize,

    Don't you believe in asking any easy questions?

    I think much of the good done by religions is done quietly, by individuals, or by individual congregations. It largely escapes our notice. For instance there's a soup kitchen here in town run by a Catholic charity. It feeds about 500 people each day. It's been quietly doing that for years. Then, there are the pastors who visit sick people. And so forth. To answer your question accurately, wouldn't we have to take into account all the simple, quiet acts of decency and kindness that are facilitated by religions?
     
  4. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    Nope. Where is the fun in that? :p

    Do you not think these people who show kindness to others do so only because of their religion? Are there not many people who are kind and compassionate, who do not profess a certain religion?

    Looking at history, how much damage has been done in the name of religion?

    Certainly religious organizations have done good, but is that because of the religion, or because of the people's desire to do good?
     
  5. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    (1) Maize writes,

    “Do you not think these people who show kindness to others do so only because of their religion? Are there not many people who are kind and compassionate, who do not profess a certain religion?”

    It was not my intention to create the impression that I believe people who show kindness to others do so only because of their religion. On the contrary, I think that kind people tend to be kind regardless of their religion (or lack of religion), and that unkind people tend to be unkind regardless of their religion (or lack of religion). (On some days, I might even go further, Maize, and say that traits like kindness seem to be like athletic ability – just as some people are born with greater athletic ability than are others, some people seem to be born with a greater talent for kindness than others. More or less believing that, I think the most a religion can do is facilitate or encourage us to develop our natural talent for kindness to whatever degree it is possible for us to develop it, according to our talent for it.)

    So, I think organized religions often facilitate acts of kindness, etc. They do so in a variety of ways – from paying the salary of the pastor who visits sick people to raising money for charities and even to helping create a culture of compassion. But I’ve chosen that word “facilitate” with care. My hunch is that the basic motivation to kindness (etc.) comes not from the religion itself, but from the hearts and spirit of the people involved in the religion.

    There are some people who would disagree with me. I have heard people say they believe that man is essentially evil and that only religion (along with the fear of the law) prevents people from doing all sorts of wicked things. Such people tell me that religion not only facilitates acts of kindness, but that kindness would not exist without religion.

    I find their view incomprehensible (Unless it can be understood this way: They are talking only about themselves) because I have known too many decent people to suppose that people are born evil.

    (2) There seems to be a huge historical difference in the number of religious wars fought by religions of Middle-Eastern origin and religions of Far Eastern origin. The Middle-Eastern religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) have a long and bloody history of religious wars, while the Far Eastern religions (Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism) have very few if any religious wars.

    I've often wondered why that is?
     
  6. Curtis

    Curtis New Member

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    sisjadie, You quoted from, The Promulgation of Universal Peace. Concerning your statement, ". . . . .that God has sent religion for the purpose of establishing fellowship is founded upon the love of humanity." God did not send religion into the world. He sent His son Jesus Christ into the world to die on the cross for sinners, (Galatians 1:4, 1st Timothy 1:15, John 3:17-18) NASB(New American Standard Bible). Second, you believe that religion was sent to facilitate "fellowship among mankind". Here are a few words from Jesus Christ concerning the attitude the world would have towards those who seek to follow Him. Jesus said to His disciples, "If the world hates you remember that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were not of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, I chose you out of the world, because of this, the world hates you" (John 15:18-19). Jesus Christ also said, "Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on the earth? I tell you, no, but rather division:" (Luke 12:51). Jesus made the profound statement that has caused people to divide to this day. He said of Himself, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6). I do agree with you on the point of loving humanity. Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39).
    Why do people when they refer to Christ or talk about the character or attributes of God only talk about His Love? You never hear anything about His other attributes like Holiness, Wrath, Justice, Aseity, Omniscience,
    Omnipotence, Immutability, etc.
    Some people refer to satanism as a religion. If God sent religion for the purpose fellowship among humankind, the 1st Letter of John records a very interesting verse of scripture. It states, 'The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil' (John 3:9). What fellowship does darkness have with light?
     
  7. Nga_Believe

    Nga_Believe Member

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    Organized religion is one of the most horrible things established by mankind. Yes, churches feed the hungry and help the sick, but as you've all stated, that doesn't really count. Plenty of groups not religiously affiliated help the hungry. Besides, I think that such actions are totally outweighed by the disservices organized religions do for their followers, especially in Chrisitanity(all forms of it). Over the past 2000 years, the teachings of Christ have been slowly but surely diluted by man and its imperfection and arrogance to think that we as humans are capable of interpreting God's word and knowing what he intended for us.
    Look at history. Organized religion has got people thinking that its okay to KILL other people in the name of God or Allah or whomever. We have people fasting on holy days because the Vatican said to(don't eat mean on fridays during lent because its a sacrifice because jesus died on the cross for us, psst..that was actually started just to help the fishing industry). Catholic priests can't get married, not because they're "devoting their life to God" but because the church was filled with corrupt priests who gave the church's land to their sons and established a heirarchy in the church. We all like to think that the Bible is a collection of the teachings of God and Jesus, but especially in the New Testament, the Bible is an incomplete compiling of just what the church wants us to know. Why are those numerous other gospels written about Christ kept on the downlow?

    Bottom Line: Organized religion leads to belief in things that aren't true, and blind faith, and these things lead to such travesties as the Inquisition and the Crusades.
     
  8. Irenicas

    Irenicas high overlord of sod all

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    My own personal belief is that religion is fine. It's churches that are a problem. People quietly keeping faith and getting on with their lives can only be good - the are only a few religions (notable exceptions) that don't tell you to do what the majority would consider good. Where religion causes problems however is where the religion is either corrupted or run for some other reason other than for the religion itself (maybe the same thing, I guess). By this I mean - in the middle ages, the christian church was more worried about political power and making money than it was about helping people. Some of that has change. Much of it has not, and not just in the Catholic church.

    Religion causes trouble in anything larger than one mind.
     
  9. sisjadie

    sisjadie New Member

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    Yes I did quote that. According to what I beleive, what you have said is true as it stood at the time of Jesus. Jesus did not come to promote peace but to lay the foundation for life at his time. He came to set rules. He came to change the ways of life, in essense, and many people do not like that kind of change and did not accept that. That of course, is only a small portion of the story. But that is another posts' worth.

    There are many things Jesus said and many of them have been altered through translation and transliteration. Not to mention all the mass revisions that have happened in the Bible's history. However; the Bible, as well as the writings of many other religions exist as they are supposed to in their essence for the day they have reached. (this according to what I believe)

    The Promulgation of Universal Peace comes from the understanding that in the Baha'i faith, the Bab and Baha'u'llah came to establish unity and peaceful relations. I understand that from a Christian point of view, this may sound like the coming of the end. However; I found the answer in many quotes, but this one the most:

    " 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."

    (King James Bible, 1 John)

    Baha'u'llah referenced Jesus' word many many times, and never to change what he said but to make it clear for the new age.

    sorry for getting off on a tangent.
    Onto the Spiritual aspects. I was unaware that people only talk about his love. I do undesterstand that they mention it a lot more than all the other aspects. This could be due to the fact that In our existence Love and Mercy tend to be the two things we desire most. Also Because God is so great we can not even begin to understand him in the best capacity, it could be that the human race as a whole understand these attributes moreso than any others.

    Now the satanism... once again, this is just what I beleive. I personally believe that "satan" is a personification of the absense of communication with God. Just like Dark, in itself seems to be nothing but the absense of light.
    I can see satanism as a religion because it is what a group of people believe. This does not mean that not communicating with God is a good thing, it just means that as far as a "religion" it is something that some people have come to beleive, and sometimes a person's beliefs is all they have.

    Now, while I don't agree with the basis of Satanism, I do see that for a person's state of mind it can be helpful to have a fellowship with other people that believe the same as you, and have the same concerns and issues as you. This gives them something to look forward to when it comes time to meet again. I'm in no means saying all satanists have lost hope, because this holds true for any religion, if a person has lost all hope and allows themselves to get in a depressed state of mind, it seems that what the believe can very easily become the only thing they have left, and the people they fellowship with the only people they truely trust. Because it can give that person something to believe, because it can bring a bit of fellowship and friendship into a person's life, is cause enough for me to feel that any belief is a "religion." But that is just my point of view on the deal.

    As far as Jesus destroying the work of the devil, I can see that in the way that he came to guide mankind, and to steer us in the right direction. To lay down rules and guidelines, and to show us how those rules need to be interpreted. He taught us to stay clear of temptation just as he did.

    "4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

    (King James Bible, Luke)

    Once again, just my point of view.
    ~J




     
  10. sisjadie

    sisjadie New Member

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    I beleive I agree with you and Irenicas on this one, Nga_Believe. But I do admire the devotion many people have to these organized religions. My opinion here though is it is not so much the Organization of the religion that is the issue (I beleive it is part of it though) but the corruptibility of the heads of the organizations.
    The way I look at it though, everything is on it's destined path. If we feel we should change something, so be it, but if it is not destined to change, it won't. The religions exist today as they are meant to exist, corruptibility included. But that's just my point of view.
    It is one thing when a person becomes corrupted or mislead, it is another when that person is in charge of teaching everyone else.
    With individual investigation, you avoid that problem. And you work together as brothers. If one person is mislead, there are people that care enough to help him/her out. Without individual investigation, that one person can corrupt a whole denomination or division.
    Once again, just my point of view.
    ~J

     
  11. Nga_Believe

    Nga_Believe Member

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    I totally agree. And that's why I think FAITH and/or SPIRITUALITY are awesome but religion, that's dealing with some dicey business and going nowhere good.
     
  12. DontFearMe

    DontFearMe Member

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    I would have to say that it depends on what belief system you have and what it promotes. If it promotes for example the destruction of all blacks then I would say it is a religion designed to inflict harm on others. So, to say 'religion' in this sense is awfully general. For me, my religion has helped me to become a better individual. It all depends!
     
  13. Zohaib

    Zohaib New Member

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    I agree, it would have to depend on what belief system one has. I believe that religion does good to an individual. Sometimes in organized religions there are those that go to the extreme. They are evil people, but believe that what they are doing is good because it is in the name of their religion. A perfect example would be Osama Bin Laden. He believes that what he does is in the name of religion. Not only does this harm to society, but it harms the religion itself.
     
  14. Nga_Believe

    Nga_Believe Member

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    Personally, I just REALLY don't like to use the word religion at all. I think that every belief system should be individual to the person. Religion attempts to organize the beliefs of many and formulate them into one system, one set of guidelines to live by. So then we get these religions with all these teachings and as soon as one person decides that they don't agree with one of them, they're considered to be lesser than the other believers. This leaves people feeling bound by the code of their religion rather than free to believe what they want to believe. No matter good-intentioned a religion may be, as soon as there becomes two people, someone has to compromise their beliefs in order to establish consistency and that's wrong.
     
  15. hebrew

    hebrew Member

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    undefined :mad:
    For all people out there who deeply believes in religion and hold there own to there hearts will possilby find this upsetting.
    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RELIGION. The word religion(which is the greek word religios) means to seperate. Now if you think about how much confusion RELIGION brings on the earth, the meaning of the word is why. Religion is and was man made. It was made to cause confusion and to actually become further from the Lord, than to become closer. ALL religions, and I do mean ALL, are a stem from some type of idolizing and pagan practices. If you use common sense, if we are all suppose to live by the word which is the bible, and follow Christ, then why is there so much chaos? No where in the bible do you see pentacostal, jehovah witness, muslim, islam, judaism etc. When Moses went to the mountain of Zion, the Lord gave him commandments and that is it; he didnt give him religion. So where do these other religions/philosophies come from? The most high has laws, statues, and commandments in the bible, and either you follow them, are you dont. No person,religion, and church should pick and choose which laws to abide by and which ones not to. For example, catholiscm(excuse me if I spelled it incorrectly) no where in the bible does it say to have a hail mary prayer;the proper prayer in matthew the 6th chapter is the ART FATHER. Also, the rosarie beads are off because the bible also states not to use repetitive chanting(also in matthews the 6th chap.) No where in the bible does it says to celebrate christmas, easter, halloween, thanksgiving, etc. The only true holidays(HOLY DAYS) to observe is in the book of leviticus the 23rd ch.
    AND BY THE WAY, THE LAWS, STATUES, AND COMMANDMENTS WERE GIVEN TO THE JEWS AND THE JEWS ONLY. palms 147
     
  16. Reverend Jeremiah

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    The small percentage of religious people who do humanitarian good are very small in percentage compared to the mass majority of beleivers who do not
     
  17. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    Do you have references?
     
  18. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    Same reaction as Pah!

    When I saw the thread title, I thought, ah, Maize has got her big wooden spoom out, sparks are going to fly.
    I voted grudgingly 'Yes' because of the schisms that arise out of Religious fervour - I was thinking 'NetDoc', immediately.
    There is a vast number of truly Religious people who do good, as there is a vast number of atheists who do good. Unfortunately the very devout are the ones who make all the noise, attract publicity, and do more harm than good to their own cause.:eek:
     
  19. Reverend Jeremiah

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    I speak only of personal experience. Perhaps I should have made that note on my original post.
     
  20. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    All I can say is that you must have been incredibly unfortunate in what you have experienced.:rolleyes:
     
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