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What has religion done for humanity?

For discussion and debate about anything. (Not a roleplay related forum; out-of-character commentary only.)

Speaking in grand generality, has religion done humanity more harm or more good?

Overall, religion has done more harm than good.
56
32%
Overall, religion has done more good than harm.
65
37%
Overall, I would say it is balanced.
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Total votes : 177

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Zurkir
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What has religion done for humanity?

Postby Zurkir » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:13 am

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”Emile Durkheim proposed that religion has three major functions in society: it provides social cohesion to help maintain social solidarity through shared rituals and beliefs, social control to enforce religious-based morals and norms to help maintain conformity and control in society, and it offers meaning and purpose to answer any existential questions.”

Phil Zuckerman, an American sociologist, has stated that countries such as Denmark and Sweden who are not as vocal or entrapped in their religion have cultivated healthy and prosperous societies compared to countries where religion is a very expressed matter and even factors in to government.


Religion has always been a major element in humanity as a whole. From the ancient world to present day the concept - and practice - of religion has persisted. Wether or not religion has wholly done good or bad has always been a hot point of debate.





Critics of religion and religious doctrines regularly state that religion does far more harm than good. It promotes tribalism, anchors people to outdated standards and fogey ideas, and of course has been the source of religious wars, purges, and exiling. The crusades, jihads, the Spanish Inquisition, the schisms that would lead to internal strife and tear nations and people’s apart, mass sacrifices and brutal rituals, the list is quite long.

Many who oppose religion see religion as a universal platform for power and inevitable persecution. Karl Marx is quoted having said “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. it is the opium of the people.”

“Marx believed that religion had certain practical functions in society that were similar to the function of opium in a sick or injured person: it reduced people's immediate suffering and provided them with pleasant illusions which gave them the strength to carry on. Marx also saw religion as harmful to his revolutionary goals, as it prevents people from seeing the class structure and oppression around them, thus religion can prevent the socialist revolution.” -Wikipedia

Indeed, the Catholic Church as an institution has a very dark past and many use it as feasible example alone of why faith and politics should never mix. It can be said that it gives point to Marx’s theory in regards to religion being an institution of power which was exercised by the papacy over the centuries.

Another criticism of religion is the argument that it has shown to create systems of oppression and intolerance. Ephesians 6:5 says “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ.” The apostle Paul convinced the fugitive slave Onesimus to return to his master Philemon, who was a Christian prominent enough to host a house church. Zoroastrians often gave slaves as offerings to temples. The Mesoamerican peoples too had slaves in addition to brutal sacrifices to their gods and even practiced ritualistic cannibalism as a part of their religious doctrine.

Today, things such as birth control, abortion, stem cell research, space exploration, human cloning, even advanced robotics in some instances can be met with resistance from the various faiths. Recent concerns among white evangelicals have shown hesitancy in regards to getting the COVID-19 vaccine due to foolish suspicions of “the mark of the beast.” Though not all religious folk follow such hesitancy, there are enough who do to draw heavy criticism and pop forth the usual criticism of the hesitancy/ignorance of the religious.

Slavery, inequality, racism, sexism, ignorance and anti-science, persecution, and violence. These are the points of the critics of religion for religion.






Religious people and supporters of religion even when acknowledging the points of religious critics counter with points of their own. Emile Durkheim said religious representations are collective representations which express collective reality. Recognizing the social origin of religion, Durkheim argued that religion acted as a source of solidarity. Religion provides a meaning for life. While it can be argued that religion divides it can also be said that religion gives people and nations a common point of unit and identity. A point of relation and basis to eliminate any other potential barriers of nationality, race, or gender.

Another big defense of religion is that it can potentially ingrain a moral code within a society. Look at some of the base teachings in Abrahamic religions for example regarding things such as murder, adultery, and theft. Exodus 20:13 “Thou shall not kill.” “Kill” being in the context of murder, it is generally established. Exodus 20:14 “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:15 “Thou shall not steal.”

“[w]hoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely.” 5:32 – Saheeh International translation.

In Buddhism there is “Anantarika-karma”, (Sanskrit: “the deed bringing immediate retribution”) , Pali anantarika-kamma, in the Theravada (“Way of the Elders”) tradition of Buddhism, a heinous sin that causes the agent to be reborn in hell immediately after death. There are five sins of this kind: killing one’s mother, killing one’s father, killing an arhat (saint), injuring the body of a buddha, and causing a division in the Buddhist community. -brittanica.com

These mentioned offenses/principles today are upheld in western and other societies as well. Of course this leads to the debate of “does humanity need religion to be moral and well meaning?”
Many would say yes and many more would say no. Regardless, religion at least does play a positive role in a societal moral code. To what degree can be questioned.

In regards to slavery, religious war, purges, discrimination, and so forth. It could also be argued that these are select imperfections or flaws in specific doctrines and religions. For example, compare the Christian doctrine in which Christ was sent to die for humanities’ sins versus the Aztecs and Northern European pagan religions and cultures based on blood sacrifice and death. Slavery is not exclusive to religion and even religions that excuse or overlook this oppressive system shouldn’t be blamed for the existence of slavery itself.

War and conquest are inevitable as we humans seem to strive for strife. Defenders of religion can argue that even if the concept of religion didn’t exist this wouldn’t stop war, ethnic cleansings, and suppression. It is a common and fair statement that the likes of ISIS, the Taliban, and al-Quaeda shouldn’t define all of Islam. Much like the heavily politicized Catholic Church of the Middle Ages and the crusades shouldn’t damn all of Christianity. As with all faiths.

While Abrahamic and other religions do conflict with certain elements of science based on doctrine and moral code, there have been many famous and credible religious scientists such as Alessandro Volta, Sir Robert Boyd, Richard Smalley, Ibn Sina, and Ibn Khaldun for a few examples.
That said it’s undeniable that modern science in particular has had more than a few clashes with religion and critics do have a solid point with their claims here.



QUESTIONS I POSE;

•Do you think religion has ultimately done more good or bad for humanity through time? Explain, please.

•Does humanity need religion to be moral and “good”? Does it help at all if it isn’t “needed” per se? Why or why not.

•If humanity never turned to religion would the world be more wholly advanced scientifically, socially, and so forth?

•Does very existence itself seem to be meaningless and hollow without a higher power and a “life after” to believe in? Why or why not? (I ask this mostly as a means of garnering an address to the pro-religion point of “without God there is nothing”.)
Last edited by Zurkir on Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:25 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby New Jacobland » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:19 am

I say this as a positive atheist, so I am biased against religion as a whole.

I believe religion may have benefited society by uniting tribes and villages, but the harm it has done outways the good. Millions died in wars such as the Crusades, or the Protestant vs Catholic wars. Furthermore, it has hindered scientific development, and now people can say anything because of "Religious Freedom" even if said religion is QAnon or some other theory.
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Postby Zurkir » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:31 am

New Jacobland wrote:I say this as a positive atheist, so I am biased against religion as a whole.

I believe religion may have benefited society by uniting tribes and villages, but the harm it has done outways the good. Millions died in wars such as the Crusades, or the Protestant vs Catholic wars. Furthermore, it has hindered scientific development, and now people can say anything because of "Religious Freedom" even if said religion is QAnon or some other theory.


Good points.

Though as I said in the OP the defense in regards to history’s holy wars is that faith was just a platform. Even without religion being taken into context there would still have been wars and strife I think it is fair to say.
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Postby Neutraligon » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:33 am

Zurkir wrote:
New Jacobland wrote:I say this as a positive atheist, so I am biased against religion as a whole.

I believe religion may have benefited society by uniting tribes and villages, but the harm it has done outways the good. Millions died in wars such as the Crusades, or the Protestant vs Catholic wars. Furthermore, it has hindered scientific development, and now people can say anything because of "Religious Freedom" even if said religion is QAnon or some other theory.


Good points.

Though as I said in the OP the defense in regards to history’s holy wars is that faith was just a platform. Even without religion being taken into context there would still have been wars and strife I think it is fair to say.

True, but religion allowed the group to act more united then it really was. Religion as a unifying force can be both a positive and negative.
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Hakinda Herseyi Duymak istiyorum
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Postby Hakinda Herseyi Duymak istiyorum » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:35 am

Look at the Christchurch mosque attacks and jihadist organizations in other Islamic countries. religion is bad and kills
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Postby Dowaesk » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:37 am

As of right now, I dont have anything to contribute to thread. But I would love to see how this goes.
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Postby Romextly » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:37 am

New Jacobland wrote:I say this as a positive atheist, so I am biased against religion as a whole.

I believe religion may have benefited society by uniting tribes and villages, but the harm it has done outways the good. Millions died in wars such as the Crusades, or the Protestant vs Catholic wars. Furthermore, it has hindered scientific development, and now people can say anything because of "Religious Freedom" even if said religion is QAnon or some other theory.

Western ideas came from when judeo-christanity and scientific advancements worked together. Ideas such as freedom of speech came from the combination. I do believe that misguided leader have causednharm, but religion has also done well.

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Postby Dowaesk » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:38 am

Hakinda Herseyi Duymak istiyorum wrote:Look at the Christchurch mosque attacks and jihadist organizations in other Islamic countries. religion is bad and kills

Christchurch attacker didnt identify with any religion. He was rather a supporter of the Great Replacement theory. A movement that ought to kill muslims
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Postby -Ocelot- » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:41 am

It's a business. It's good for those make money off it. Social and spiritual "benefits" is how the seller sells you the product.

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Postby Zurkir » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:41 am

Neutraligon wrote:
Zurkir wrote:
Good points.

Though as I said in the OP the defense in regards to history’s holy wars is that faith was just a platform. Even without religion being taken into context there would still have been wars and strife I think it is fair to say.

True, but religion allowed the group to act more united then it really was. Religion as a unifying force can be both a positive and negative.


A fair take.
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Postby Neutraligon » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:42 am

Romextly wrote:
New Jacobland wrote:I say this as a positive atheist, so I am biased against religion as a whole.

I believe religion may have benefited society by uniting tribes and villages, but the harm it has done outways the good. Millions died in wars such as the Crusades, or the Protestant vs Catholic wars. Furthermore, it has hindered scientific development, and now people can say anything because of "Religious Freedom" even if said religion is QAnon or some other theory.

Western ideas came from when judeo-christanity and scientific advancements worked together. Ideas such as freedom of speech came from the combination. I do believe that misguided leader have causednharm, but religion has also done well.

Please stop using Judeo-Christian, it doesn't exist.
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Postby Dowaesk » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:44 am

Neutraligon wrote:
Romextly wrote:Western ideas came from when judeo-christanity and scientific advancements worked together. Ideas such as freedom of speech came from the combination. I do believe that misguided leader have causednharm, but religion has also done well.

Please stop using Judeo-Christian, it doesn't exist.

I think its more appropriate to say it never existed, ever.
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Postby Insaanistan » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:44 am

Religion itself has brought more good than harm.

With Islam, slavery was drastically changed, as while the religion itself was anti-slavery, the majority of those who came after and practiced slavery practiced one much more humane than the chattel slavery we normally think of.

Literacy and education were heavily encouraged. Motivated by the pro-education and discovery nature of the Qur’ân and Hadiths, Islamic scholars would go on to invent things such as glasses, modern hospitals, modern soap and more.
By the 8th century, there were fatwas against child marriage being issued by imams. Many Islamic scholars took their hypotheses that natural selection existed and humans evolved from monkeys (they thought monkeys not apes) from the Qur’ân itself, and nearly every Golden Age scholar was also a religious scholar.

People will point to jihadis, the Crusades etc but frankly, while not exactly the same, those things would happen anyway. Even without Christianity, there would have been some weird version of the HRE, though it likely would instead encompass all Germanic peoples and some Italians. Even without Judaism, the Jewish people would still exist. Even without Hinduism, Indian kingdoms would still conquer large swathes of territory. If Islam didn’t exist, Arabs and Europeans would still eventually go to war on a large scale. So too Persians and Arabs. The only reason most Arabs weren’t already under Byzantine or Persian control was frankly they thought the Arabs and their land weren’t worth it. Eventually, the Arabs would have taken advantage the Persian-Byzantine wars, risen up, and gone to war.
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Postby Neutraligon » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:45 am

Dowaesk wrote:
Neutraligon wrote:Please stop using Judeo-Christian, it doesn't exist.

I think its more appropriate to say it never existed, ever.

Hmm, probably did around the time Christianity was still just an offshoot of Judaism, but that time ended fairly quickly.
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Postby Insaanistan » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:46 am

Neutraligon wrote:
Romextly wrote:Western ideas came from when judeo-christanity and scientific advancements worked together. Ideas such as freedom of speech came from the combination. I do believe that misguided leader have causednharm, but religion has also done well.

Please stop using Judeo-Christian, it doesn't exist.

^This. Judeo-Christian is not a thing, but Judeo-Islamic is.
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Postby Insaanistan » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:48 am

Neutraligon wrote:
Dowaesk wrote:I think its more appropriate to say it never existed, ever.

Hmm, probably did around the time Christianity was still just an offshoot of Judaism, but that time ended fairly quickly.


Yeah, it’s interesting to look at how Christians went from synagogue goers with beards and turbans who ate kosher and just also believed Jesus (pbuh) was sent from God to now where many swear the Jews shall all go to hell for being Jesus’s killers.
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Postby Drongonia » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:49 am

Here before this thread devolves into a flame war, gets locked/trawled - #EarlyGang
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Postby Insaanistan » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:49 am

Hakinda Herseyi Duymak istiyorum wrote:Look at the Christchurch mosque attacks and jihadist organizations in other Islamic countries. religion is bad and kills

“Look at the atheist who shot up Muslims in Chapel Hill.

Atheism is bad and kills.”

What about Mehmed-i-Feth (May God be pleased with him), HHDI. Was religion bad then?
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Postby Zurkir » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:50 am

Drongonia wrote:Here before this thread devolves into a flame war, gets locked/trawled - #EarlyGang


Well so far it is going smooth but we still have all day. 8) I would rather it not though.
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Postby Hakinda Herseyi Duymak istiyorum » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:51 am

Dowaesk wrote:
Hakinda Herseyi Duymak istiyorum wrote:Look at the Christchurch mosque attacks and jihadist organizations in other Islamic countries. religion is bad and kills

Christchurch attacker didnt identify with any religion. He was rather a supporter of the Great Replacement theory. A movement that ought to kill muslims
Is that why Brenton wrote the names of the crusaders who killed the Turks on the Tarrant weapon ? Radically devout Muslims and Christians are the same.Religious freedoms of religious people are as limited as the scientific laws of seculars.
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Postby Aguaria Major » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:52 am

It has done some good and as an atheist I will admit that. It has been one of the biggest vectors for morality over the years of the past.

But millennia of jihads, holy wars, Crusades, religious terrorism, the history of the Catholic Church in general (I say this as someone raised Catholic), insertion into politics and the subsequent genocides and persecutions based on faith which continue to this day, all outweigh the good thanks to the sheer number of deaths these phenomena have resulted in;

Religion as a whole has probably killed more than most of history's deadliest diseases.

Plus, as of right now thanks to the wide availability of information, religion is becoming less and less necessary for the foundation of moral and ethical values, which make any positive value it did have obsolete.

So, to recap: its negative values which already outweighed its positives are still going strong while its positive values are now worthless.

We are much better off without religion.
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Postby Insaanistan » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:52 am

Hakinda Herseyi Duymak istiyorum wrote:
Dowaesk wrote:Christchurch attacker didnt identify with any religion. He was rather a supporter of the Great Replacement theory. A movement that ought to kill muslims
Is that why Brenton wrote the names of the crusaders who killed the Turks on the Tarrant weapon ? Radically devout Muslims and Christians are the same.Religious freedoms of religious people are as limited as the scientific laws of seculars.

He identified with Crusaders because they were white people who killed Muslims, not because they were Christians.
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Postby Neutraligon » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:53 am

Insaanistan wrote:
Hakinda Herseyi Duymak istiyorum wrote:Look at the Christchurch mosque attacks and jihadist organizations in other Islamic countries. religion is bad and kills

“Look at the atheist who shot up Muslims in Chapel Hill.

Atheism is bad and kills.”

What about Mehmed-i-Feth (May God be pleased with him), HHDI. Was religion bad then?

I would say that religion allows for/pushes extremes. A person who is already geared towards charity work and the like can be pushed to do more of that if they are religious. A person already geared to violence would be pushed more in and harder to the extremes of that.
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Postby Samudera Darussalam » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:55 am

Insaanistan wrote:
Hakinda Herseyi Duymak istiyorum wrote:Look at the Christchurch mosque attacks and jihadist organizations in other Islamic countries. religion is bad and kills

“Look at the atheist who shot up Muslims in Chapel Hill.

Atheism is bad and kills.”

What about Mehmed-i-Feth (May God be pleased with him), HHDI. Was religion bad then?

I mean, Mehmet is a controversial case if you looked at it from Western viewpoints, but well.....

Though to be fair, ideologies/ideals, whether they are religious or secular in nature can be used as justifications to oppress the others.

Drongonia wrote:Here before this thread devolves into a flame war, gets locked/trawled - #EarlyGang

I'm not going to say that this early :p, but hopefully it can be......as productive as it can be, like the other controversial thread.
Last edited by Samudera Darussalam on Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Cekovia
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Founded: Jun 22, 2020
Ex-Nation

Postby Cekovia » Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:56 am

the way this question is framed is a distinctly atheist one, as though religion were a creation of humanity like technology. humans did not create spirituality, we discovered universal truths (though we have often filled in the gaps in different and conflicting ways). and of course knowledge of our Creator is beneficial
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