Religion Voted The New Social Evil

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Moridin
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Religion Voted "The New Social Evil"

This was quite odd.

Religion Voted "The New Social Evil"

A CHARITY set up by an ardent Christian to fight slavery and the opium trade has identified a new social evil of the 21st century - religion. A poll by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation uncovered a widespread belief that faith - not just in its extreme form - was intolerant, irrational and used to justify persecution. The responses may well have dismayed him. The researchers found that the "dominant opinion" was that religion was a "social evil". Many participants said religion divided society, fuelled intolerance and spawned "irrational" educational and other policies. One said: "Faith in supernatural phenomena inspires hatred and prejudice throughout the world, and is commonly used as justification for persecution of women, gays and people who do not have faith."

Tom Butler, the Bishop of Southwark, rejected the indictment of faith. He said: “People meeting together, week after week, for worship, support and education in church, synagogue, temple, gurdwara and mosque can not only help people build local community but can teach children to become good citizens.”

However, Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said he was “extremely pleased”.

“Britain has had it with religion,” he said.
 

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  • #2
Poop-Loops
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What a load of crap. There is nothing new about religion.
 
  • #3
Hurkyl
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Nor is religious persecution new in the grand scheme of things -- but relative to recent history in the U.S.A. at least, religious persecution seems to have become the new, hip thing to do.
 
  • #4
W3pcq
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I know many people, who are religious and follow the Bible, who believe that the bible itself says to stay away from churches. They believe that churches go against the bible by putting a regular person in a position of authority in interpreting the bible. They say the bible is meant to be interpreted by the soul, and everyone will naturally see it differently. They believe that churches are where satan is, as warned in the bible, and that religious persecution is the result. They also claim that the Koran, Kabala, and bible are pretty much the same at the chore. I couldn't say because I have not read any of them, being skeptical that they are "written by god".

I say if you choose to have faith in a higher power, then try and find it yourself rather than having faith in a person who puts himself on a pedistool and claims an authority by proclaiming to be closer to god. That is the basis of pretty much every cult, someone claims to be closer to god and the sheep follow.
 
  • #5
Poop-Loops
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Jesus specifically goes on a rampage against "temples" in the New Testament and says that you should pray by yourself, away from sight, so that you can just speak to God yourself instead of doing like a lot of Evangelicals do these days, that is pray in public and publicly announce how much they love God, but then go and start wars, molest kids, or whatever. Not cool.
 
  • #6
lisab
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I couldn't say because I have not read any of them, being skeptical that they are "written by god".

Most religions state that the bible is inspired by god, not written by him. But I encourage you to read it anyway -- it's a good story, and it's a huge influence on our society.

Even atheists like me can get something out of a good story.

Plus, having a solid knowledge of the bible makes you better at crossword puzzles :wink: .
 
  • #7
Ivan Seeking
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Nor is religious persecution new in the grand scheme of things -- but relative to recent history in the U.S.A. at least, religious persecution seems to have become the new, hip thing to do.

I think that to a large extent you have Bush and the Republicans to thank for that. Tsu and I are both people of faith, but because of Bush and many of the people who have supported him, and because of what he has done, many times even we feel anti-religious now.

But therein lies the absurdity of this study. There is no way to assign beliefs or even attributes to "religion" unless we specify which one we mean. In fact, contrary to some of the objections made, the essense of the Christian message is love and acceptance, not intolerance.

was intolerant, irrational and used to justify persecution

Love your enemy, judge not or you will be judged, visit and provide comfort for the infirmed and imprisoned, help those who are less fortunate than you, blessed are the peacemakers... Hmmm, that doesn't quite match the list given.

Perhaps the problem is more one of human nature than faith.

Irrational? There are thousands of years of history that one might use to justify faith. But beyond that, if a person finds that a religious model works for them as promised - that indeed they are happier, their life improves in tangible ways, and they feel a sense of meaning in their life - it is perfectly rational to accept that model.

People have faith because they see a difference in their lives when they make the choice to have faith. One doesn't dedicate their life to a belief based on nothing but a story. They do it because they see results.
 
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  • #8
Poop-Loops
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Love your enemy, judge not or you will be judged, visit and provide comfort for the infirmed and imprisoned, help those who are less fortunate than you, blessed are the peacemakers... Hmmm, that doesn't quite match the list given.

Perhaps the problem is more one of human nature than faith.

Of course. The problem is you can very easily use religion as a cover for your own evil.

Slavery was defended on the grounds that it was OK in the Bible, not to mention that religious texts are so vague that anybody can interpret it in any way they like.
 
  • #9
Astronuc
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I share Ivan's sentiments.

Those who are evil will find a way to justify it - even without religion. One could condemn every human institution, even all of humanity, based on the acts of some - but that wouldn't be right.

To use religion to justify intolerance, or segregation or exclusivity, or any immoral act is simply a misuse or corruption of religion - just as one could misuse food and overeat, or misuse a tool as a weapon, and so on.
 
  • #10
Gokul43201
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was intolerant, irrational and used to justify persecution
Love your enemy, judge not or you will be judged, visit and provide comfort for the infirmed and imprisoned, help those who are less fortunate than you, blessed are the peacemakers... Hmmm, that doesn't quite match the list given.


Does this?
I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the Earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Ivan said:
Irrational? There are thousands of years of history that one might use to justify faith.
Thousands of years of history justifies jack squat. Are you even trying to make a rational argument? We've had thousands of years of crime, slavery and subjugation of women. We've had thousands of years of people believing in all kinds of witchcraft, magic, superstition, and other irrational ideas. That doesn't justify any of them, nor does it make them rational.

But beyond that, if a person finds that a religious model works for them as promised - that indeed they are happier, their life improves in tangible ways, and they feel a sense of meaning in their life - it is perfectly rational to accept that model.
So long as they don't go about imposing their superstitions on others.

People have faith because they see a difference in their lives when they make the choice to have faith. One doesn't dedicate their life to a belief based on nothing but a story. They do it because they see results.
Of course there are results. Very comforting results, even. But the same can be said of getting hooked to cigarettes or booze.
 
  • #11
Moridin
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The thing is that you can use the bible to justify anything. Good people will selectively read the bible and only notice the good parts and vice versa.

All atheists should be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)
All homosexuals should be stoned to death (Leviticus 20:13)
All disobedient children should be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
If your hand or eye offend you, you should cut it off or pluck it out (Mark 9:43)

The bible has its roots from cattle sacrificing primitives. Surely, we can do better than this?

According to some calculations, the character of Jahve has personally killed over 33 million people in the bible, making him the biggest genocidal maniac in all of history (if he existed and the stories are true). In comparison, Satan has killed 10.

Astronuc said:
To use religion to justify intolerance, or segregation or exclusivity, or any immoral act is simply a misuse or corruption of religion - just as one could misuse food and overeat, or misuse a tool as a weapon, and so on.

The data seems more consistent with the conclusion that using religion to justify tolerance, love, peace and moral act is a corruption of religion. Let us be honest, the only reason religion is still left is because it has been indoctrinated into children for generation after generation.

Ivan Seeking said:
Irrational? There are thousands of years of history that one might use to justify faith. But beyond that, if a person finds that a religious model works for them as promised - that indeed they are happier, their life improves in tangible ways, and they feel a sense of meaning in their life - it is perfectly rational to accept that model.

Non sequitur. Just because a concept or idea is pleasant has no effect on its truth-value. I can invent a religion, where you will burn forever and ever in Hell and be eaten by bob, a demon with seventeen horns if you do not teach your children love, respect, science and reason. If we where to replace all religious extremism with the religion of bob, the world would be a much better place. However, would this suggest, even slightly, that bob exists?

Let us face it, the major world religions are pretty much mutually exclusive. No matter how much we twist and turn, at least 4 billion people are delusional, in the sense that they are subscribing to a worldview that is entirely factually false.
 
  • #12
Poop-Loops
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All atheists should be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)
All homosexuals should be stoned to death (Leviticus 20:13)
All disobedient children should be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
If your hand or eye offend you, you should cut it off or pluck it out (Mark 9:43)


http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_teachings_of_jesus/on_prayer/mt06_10b.html
http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_teachings_of_jesus/on_prayer/mt06_10c.html

And furthermore.

http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_teachings_of_jesus/on_self-mutilation/mt05_29a.html

Read all of those.

But the last part you quoted isn't entirely accurate. It's meant that if it makes you sin, get rid of it. Not necessarily "offends".
 
  • #13
binzing
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Sweet sweet atheism!
 
  • #14
Cyrus
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Sweet sweet atheism!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm Hmmmmmmmmmmm. :approve:
 
  • #15
Moridin
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But the last part you quoted isn't entirely accurate. It's meant that if it makes you sin, get rid of it. Not necessarily "offends".

Your objection seems consistent with self-mutilation if you are a sinner. The key here is that all Christians are sinners on the Christian worldview, by default.
 
  • #16
Poop-Loops
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No, that's not how it works. You are born a sinner, sure, but you are supposed to beg Jesus for forgiveness and he'll do it because he's cool like that.

But when a body-part continuously sins (apparently you have no control over it or something), then it's better to just get rid of it instead of constantly sinning. So if your pen0r causes you to be an adulterer or rapist, cut it off and stop raping or adulterizing people.
 
  • #17
Moridin
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Or if you look at beautiful young women.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt 5:27-28)

So look at women means that you should pluck your eyes out.
 
  • #18
Poop-Loops
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Yeah. So?

I mean, I don't exactly get a chance to look at women, but doesn't everybody just sit at home 24/7 like I do?
 
  • #19
JasonRox
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I think that to a large extent you have Bush and the Republicans to thank for that. Tsu and I are both people of faith, but because of Bush and many of the people who have supported him, and because of what he has done, many times even we feel anti-religious now.

But therein lies the absurdity of this study. There is no way to assign beliefs or even attributes to "religion" unless we specify which one we mean. In fact, contrary to some of the objections made, the essense of the Christian message is love and acceptance, not intolerance.



Love your enemy, judge not or you will be judged, visit and provide comfort for the infirmed and imprisoned, help those who are less fortunate than you, blessed are the peacemakers... Hmmm, that doesn't quite match the list given.

Perhaps the problem is more one of human nature than faith.

Irrational? There are thousands of years of history that one might use to justify faith. But beyond that, if a person finds that a religious model works for them as promised - that indeed they are happier, their life improves in tangible ways, and they feel a sense of meaning in their life - it is perfectly rational to accept that model.

People have faith because they see a difference in their lives when they make the choice to have faith. One doesn't dedicate their life to a belief based on nothing but a story. They do it because they see results.

Have you tried a life without faith?
 
  • #20
Math Is Hard
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Have you tried a life without faith?

If it ain't broke, why fix it? :smile:
 
  • #21
JasonRox
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If it ain't broke, why fix it? :smile:

I would hope standards one's life are a bit higher than that. :smile:
 
  • #22
Math Is Hard
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I would hope standards one's life are a bit higher than that. :smile:

Standards? What do you mean?

If you have something in your life that makes you happy, and it doesn't harm you or anyone else, why would removing it from your life necessarily make you happier? In fact, wouldn't that just be likely to make you unhappier?
 
  • #23
Poop-Loops
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and it doesn't harm you or anyone else,

I think that's the problem here.

How much have you donated to a church? To buy Bibles? Stuff that a non-religious person would be ridiculed for doing?

http://www.searchenginelowdown.com/uploaded_images/Geek-710635.jpg

We call ^^^ that person delusional, but we call

http://www.byzantines.net/moreinfo/bishop_george.jpg [Broken]

^^^ that person religious.

What's the difference?
 
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  • #24
Math Is Hard
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I think that's the problem here.

I agree. But faith is not always a bad, harmful thing. Sometimes it's a very good and life enhancing thing.

How much have you donated to a church? To buy Bibles? Stuff that a non-religious person would be ridiculed for doing?

None. I donate to charities that help animals.

Why would the non-religious person be ridiculed for a donation to a church? Gee, that seems kind of mean and intolerant.
 
  • #25
LongOne
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And one more set of opinions ...

After a long life of thought about many subjects, including religion, I have come to the following conclusions regarding religion:
- Religion, primarily, is man's way of dealing with his mortality
- Most religions teach many worthwhile traits; some traits have no social value whatsoever, though
- Many people practicing a religion don't live by its worthwhile traits
- The very religious can be the most intolerant, despite most religion's advocacy of tolerance
- Many religions preach proselytization (is this a good word?). Really irritates me, though, when I'm the object of their proselytization.
- I would suggest that more people have been hurt/killed/whatever in the name of religion that anything else
- Bottom line: Live a worthwhile life, with value to your family and society and be happy. If you really need religion to make you happy or secure, then adopt one, but keep it to yourself.
 
  • #26
W3pcq
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I believe that there is a dark side and light side of the force per say. I also think that people can deduce what is good and bad using rational thought. If you do something you know is wrong, but are compelled to do for personal satisfaction, you are tampering with the dark side. The problem is that it is more profitable in terms of materialism. The light side of the force benefits you more in terms of true happiness and enlightenment. The dark side of the force will turn you into a week person who relies on gross methods of satisfaction. The result may be many things that come as a price to wickedness: Having no true friends, having no true love, being addicted to money as a means of happiness.

I think that the movie "Into the Wild", summed it up pretty well at the end when the main character writes in his dying moments, "Happiness isn't real unless shared". I believe this to be generally true of human nature.
 
  • #27
Moridin
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"It is merely an accident of history that it is considered normal in our society to believe that the Creator of the universe can hear your thoughts while it is demonstrative of mental illness to believe that he is communicating with you by having the rain tap in Morse code on your bedroom window." - Sam Harris, The End of Faith
 
  • #28
VashtiMaiden
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... that is pray in public and publicly announce how much they love God, but then go and start wars, molest kids, or whatever. Not cool.

praying in public? those are hypocrites,
 
  • #29
VashtiMaiden
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Most religions state that the bible is inspired by god, not written by him. ...
.

yes, indeed. It is written in II Peter 1:20-21.
 
  • #30
Andre
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After a long life of thought about many subjects, including religion, I have come to the following conclusions regarding religion:
- Religion, primarily, is man's way of dealing with his mortality
- Most religions teach many worthwhile traits; some traits have no social value whatsoever, though
- Many people practicing a religion don't live by its worthwhile traits
- The very religious can be the most intolerant, despite most religion's advocacy of tolerance
- Many religions preach proselytization (is this a good word?). Really irritates me, though, when I'm the object of their proselytization.
- I would suggest that more people have been hurt/killed/whatever in the name of religion that anything else
- Bottom line: Live a worthwhile life, with value to your family and society and be happy. If you really need religion to make you happy or secure, then adopt one, but keep it to yourself.

I concur. One can see several symptons of some religions merging with http://www.psysr.org/groupthink%20overview.htm [Broken]. Intolerance of the extreme religious seems to associated with excesses of #4, stereotyping of out-groups. But that goes anywhere, no religion required for that.
 
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  • #31
Astronuc
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The data seems more consistent with the conclusion that using religion to justify tolerance, love, peace and moral act is a corruption of religion.
That conclusion is absurd!

Let us be honest, the only reason religion is still left is because it has been indoctrinated into children for generation after generation.
While that may apply to many, that was not my experience. I learned to question everything.

Let us face it, the major world religions are pretty much mutually exclusive. No matter how much we twist and turn, at least 4 billion people are delusional, in the sense that they are subscribing to a worldview that is entirely factually false.
No more exclusive than nations, or ethnic groups.
 
  • #32
Moridin
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Astronuc said:
That conclusion is absurd!

Can you present any data that is inconsistent with that proposition, or refute the data I presented to support it?

Astronuc said:
No more exclusive than nations, or ethnic groups.

I do not necessarily consider nations or ethnic groups to be systems of belief. But you do agree that around 4 billion people are simply flat-out wrong?
 
  • #33
Astronuc
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Can you present any data that is inconsistent with that proposition, or refute the data I presented to support it?
One has not presented any data to support one's assertion.

I do not necessarily consider nations or ethnic groups to be systems of belief.
Collections of people (e.g. nations and ethnic groups) share a culture, and part of that is a set of similar or common ideas/beliefs.

But you do agree that around 4 billion people are simply flat-out wrong?
Wrong about what? Which 4 billion people?
 
  • #34
JasonRox
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Standards? What do you mean?

If you have something in your life that makes you happy, and it doesn't harm you or anyone else, why would removing it from your life necessarily make you happier? In fact, wouldn't that just be likely to make you unhappier?

I would hope that your happiness is not dependent on the existence of God.

If removing faith makes you less happy, you should evaluate why that is. And after you done that, tell me why you became less happy. Because the concept of having faith makes you happier, never made sense and/or no one could explain so maybe you can explain it to me. I would prefer that you can explain your happiness and not just say faith. That's a little scary.

Why is it important to know the true source of happiness? So that you're not driving (driving being "happy") around in a half ass car where the engine is knocking all the time but you don't care because it's still running and like you said, why fix something that ain't broke so really no point in fixing the car. You never stopped to think about why it is running and still running, you chose to ignore the knocking simply because your happy it is running, in fact you might not even hear the knocking. But when it stops running, your car is finished and you'll never know why it just stopped. You're left unhappy and depressed with no reason because of your ignorance towards your own happiness. And what do you do? You bring it to the mechanic ("priest" and "religion") to fix it and they'll you what's wrong.

See, I don't like managing my happiness that way. I prefer to manage my own happiness and NOT put it in the hands of others. A mistake that's done over and over again and religion takes advantage of exactly that.

I wouldn't treat life as simple as getting from Point A (birth) to Point B (death).
 
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  • #35
BobG
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Why is it important to know the true source of happiness? So that you're not driving (driving being "happy") around in a half ass car where the engine is knocking all the time but you don't care because it's still running and like you said, why fix something that ain't broke so really no point in fixing the car. You never stopped to think about why it is running and still running, you chose to ignore the knocking simply because your happy it is running, in fact you might not even hear the knocking. But when it stops running, your car is finished and you'll never know why it just stopped. You're left unhappy and depressed with no reason because of your ignorance towards your own happiness. And what do you do? You bring it to the mechanic ("priest" and "religion") to fix it and they'll you what's wrong.

See, I don't like managing my happiness that way. I prefer to manage my own happiness and NOT put it in the hands of others. A mistake that's done over and over again and religion takes advantage of exactly that.

I wouldn't treat life as simple as getting from Point A (birth) to Point B (death).

Likewise, you can be left sick and weak because of your ignorance towards your own body. What do you do? You bring it to the doctor to fix it and they'll tell you what's wrong. Your logic suggests that it might be more rational to learn medicine yourself, so that you would be able to manage your own health (improve your nutrition making you less susceptible to disease - good; performing an appendectomy on yourself - bad).

Likewise, you can be flat broke because of ignorance towards investing, trash the planet's environment because of ignorance towards environmental science, etc. To each it's own domain.

It might well be true that life is nothing more than getting from point A to point B with emotions or thoughts you think you have being nothing more than chemical reactions and that those chemical reactions control your actions rather than any sort of free will.

It certainly is an act of faith to believe your emotions, free will, thoughts about the universe, etc are some phenomenon beyond just chemical reactions. While it's true that a lot of religions go beyond their appropriate domain, they serve a very valuable function within their area of expertise.
 

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