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Is religion holding us back?

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    EDIT; I realise that there are stupid atheists and clever theists, I'm saying that shouldn't intelligence make us inclined towards atheism, not atheism towards intelligence?

    Are there more atheists because the human race is becoming more intelligent and those intelligent people are making more scientific discoveries?

    One explanation of religion is that god was used to explain things that science couldn't at the time.

    Now science has revealed facts such as the cause of diseases, weather systems and tectonics, more people believe these than people think that god gave them to us as a punishment.

    It's also well known that most atheists come from richer countries ie they've recieved a better than average education and now understand science such as evolution and tectonics.

    People from poorer countries don't recieve such good education if at all so never learn about evolution etc. Plus if they're poorer, they might cling onto faith as a means of hope that the future will get better, whereas richer people don't need this.

    So my questions are;

    Do you think religion is holding mankind back? Or did it only in the past? - Personally, I'm not sure. As it does help many people and help them decide to make the right moral decision, so makes most followers better people. But then again with the bible etc explanations of why things happen, people were happy, and didn't want to question god so were either put off do experiments or put off from publishing their results in fear of being persecuted or whatever.

    Why do intelligent people still belong to religions?

    And thus, will all educated people eventually become atheists?

    Will religious beliefs bring a holt to scientific discoveries? - I know people keep saying that their religion promotes scientific discovery, but they can't approve of discoveries that make their god or religion less believable can they?
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    Actual belief and spirituality fall outside of the realm of education and intelligence. However, people who are controlled and told what to think by organised religion will have the narrow mindset that naturally accompanies having any ideology shoved down ones throat. Holding on to any ideology dogmatically is unwise.
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    (Original post by Clare~Bear)
    Are there more atheists because the human race is becoming more intelligent and those intelligent people are making more scientific discoveries?

    One explanation of religion is that god was used to explain things that science couldn't at the time.

    Now science has revealed facts such as the cause of diseases, weather systems and tectonics, more people believe these than people think that god gave them to us as a punishment.

    It's also well known that most atheists come from richer countries ie they've recieved a better than average education and now understand science such as evolution and tectonics.

    People from poorer countries don't recieve such good education if at all so never learn about evolution etc. Plus if they're poorer, they might cling onto faith as a means of hope that the future will get better, whereas richer people don't need this.

    So my questions are;

    Do you think religion is holding mankind back? Or did it only in the past? - Personally, I'm not sure. As it does help many people and help them decide to make the right moral decision, so makes most followers better people. But then again with the bible etc explanations of why things happen, people were happy, and didn't want to question god so were either put off do experiments or put off from publishing their results in fear of being persecuted or whatever.

    Why do intelligent people still belong to religions?

    And thus, will all educated people eventually become atheists?

    Will religious beliefs bring a holt to scientific discoveries? - I know people keep saying that their religion promotes scientific discovery, but they can't approve of discoveries that make their god or religion less believable can they?
    I think it varies throughout history to be honest, as in the past, religion was often a driving force behind discovering new things and learning.

    In the modern era, which has become inscreasingly secular, I think that Religion doesn't necessarily hold us back, and on the whole is still a force for good in many aspects such as charity work. However the problem arises on touchy issues like genetic research and stuff like that, where religious views can be used to justify stopping scientific discovery - in examples such as this, I'd say Religion does hold us back, but only because we let it get in the way (either in the personal or public sphere) of thinking such research would be a good thing.

    On issues like Homosexuality, abortion & what have you, I'd say that provided it doesn't force people to do things, all religion does is express it's opinions.

    1) Intelligent people still believe in religion because the two aren't incompatible. People working to make discoveries in the middle ages for e.g. saw their research as a way of understanding the world and hence coming closer to understanding God. I can't remember exactly who it was (might have been Thomas Aquinas...not sure exactly) - but anyway, he reasoned that because God made humans able to rationalise things, that he is probably OK with us using the ability he's given us to work out the world around us. - Similar ideas still exist today, and you must also remember that Faith is personal, and therefore fairly flexible from person to person.

    2) I think that eventually most people in secular societies will become atheist/agnostic, with a few religious people still hanging on to their beliefs. But I think that the general decline of religion in the public sphere also plays a role in that, not just education and so on.

    3) - see my above comments on whether religion does impede scientific research. Obviously there are also those who oppose certain scientific discoveries & research, especially on areas like genetics, however at the end of the day you have to weigh up the potential benefits to all of society in conducting such research - whilst still keeping in mind that your work can be controversial, but if your work is going to benefit many many people, then obviously a decision has to be made, either by researchers or government, as to whether it's worth conducting despite the reservations of religious people.
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    (Original post by TheHistoryStudent)
    I'd say Religion does hold us back, but only because we let it get in the way (either in the personal or public sphere) of thinking such research would be a good thing.
    See, now here's the problem. when you are suggesting that religion might be "holding us back", you're not saying explicitly what it is holding us back from. It might hold you back from things that you'd like to see happen, but do you really know whether something like that is good for you? How do you know exactly? The job of religion is to guide you to a better life in this world and the next, it is not the job of religion let people do whatever they want. People get irritated when religion points out the obvious, no amount of scientific discovery will prevent your death from coming. If anything, Science simply helps delay the inevitable a little. In fact it can't even do that. Many people die young despite our advancements. Look at the greats like Newton, Einstein, Darwin etc. Where are they now? They have written and then they passed away. No person will appreciate their work forever and this is what religion emphasises. This world is nothing, all your work and wealth will eventually be inherited by others. So when you claim that religion is holding us back, just know that you're temporarily forgetting that religion is not concerned with your wants of this world, it is to prepare you for something even greater than this.
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    Just because one is an atheist does not make one intelligent. Similarly, there are more intelligent people than there are atheists, consider.
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    Personally I consider myself to be both religious and intelligent. I am a believer in science and I do not think that my religious beliefs have any place in law or the lives of others.

    However, in my private life I have faith in certain things that I have clung to at different points in my life - my religion has helped me cope and find comfort in very dark days. I do not feel I have been held back at all by it.

    Religion has helped bring my family closer, it has given us a sense of community with others who have similar beliefs, it gives me hope for something more than this life and as I said, provides comfort in times of weakness or darkness.

    That is my own personal experience. I don't talk about it with others (without being asked), I'd never try to convert anybody, and I don't believe my faith has any business telling other people what to do. I strongly support separation of religion and politics. I also dislike the religious who use their faith to discriminate against others or impede the progress of science, just as I dislike atheists who have some kind of superiority complex or view religion as a crutch for the weak.
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    (Original post by noisy06)
    See, now here's the problem. when you are suggesting that religion might be "holding us back", you're not saying explicitly what it is holding us back from. It might hold you back from things that you'd like to see happen, but do you really know whether something like that is good for you? How do you know exactly? The job of religion is to guide you to a better life in this world and the next, it is not the job of religion let people do whatever they want. People get irritated when religion points out the obvious, no amount of scientific discovery will prevent your death from coming. If anything, Science simply helps delay the inevitable a little. In fact it can't even do that. Many people die young despite our advancements. Look at the greats like Newton, Einstein, Darwin etc. Where are they now? They have written and then they passed away. No person will appreciate their work forever and this is what religion emphasises. This world is nothing, all your work and wealth will eventually be inherited by others. So when you claim that religion is holding us back, just know that you're temporarily forgetting that religion is not concerned with your wants of this world, it is to prepare you for something even greater than this.
    I agree on the point of religion preparing us for a life after death. However the thing to remember is that we have no evidence past faith to suggest that such a life exists - religion therefore, should not impede scientific progress which could make the life we have at the moment better, longer, more comfortable and so on in the name of preparing us for something which may not exist anyway.

    I also disagree on the general idea of the inevitability of death meaning that all of the work we do in life is worthless/useless. What you're forgetting is that while people do die, they do leave a legacy behind them, one which can be good or bad. Great scientists for example, like the ones you mentioned, Newton, Einstein, Darwin may well be dead, but despite that, have left a legacy which has allowed us to have a new understanding of the world (and universe) around us. Exactly the same (and more) can be said of the work of scientists that have benefitted humanity directly too, such as those who work in medicine.

    In order to clarify my original point on what exactly religion was holding us back from, I would say that in the case I was mentioning, it would be scientific advancement which may well be beneficial to us (such as genetic or stem cell research which could be used to cure currently incurable diseases in the future). - It all boils down to (in my view) which "life" takes precidence over the other, this one or the after-life - which life is more valuable, which one should we protect, and which one should we act upon - I suppose you could say that science & religion do similar things for the different lives - in that they help you (or try to) attain a better standard of life (in this world or the next).

    The thing is though, I don't see why one should take precidence over the other on matters like scientific research, which does have the potential to massively benefit people now. Sure you can say that it is against God's plan and so on, but we have no evidence (again past faith) to prove that a God or an Afterlife is real - therefore we have no rea reason to not conduct research in the name of preparing ourselves for this next life. - It's those occasions where religion holds us back, but in many other areas I'd say it is on the whole a force for good.
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    In short, yes.

    Ironically, there was a time when religion moved the world forward - Islam had the largest focus on science and mathematics and the first schools in many countries were run by monks.
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    Judging by the many phenomenally intelligent and educated religious people I know, I suspect it won't be the case that education will eventually lead to universal atheism. In fact, the most educated and intelligent people I know tend to be theists.
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    Well.
    Religion and intelligence are separate. Just because you're one doesn't mean you're not the other.

    Plus. Faith is a very nice tool to have. The ability to have hope and someone to turn to is reassuring to say the least
    Even intelligent people need that
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    What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this Forum is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
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    Definitely. It affects all parts of mankind. In the less developed parts of the world it creates conflict and disease. The middle east has been at war with itself because of religion for centuries. In North Korea they have created a religion out of their leaders in a nationwide brainwash. Religious ideologies have been the basis for almost all terrorist attacks too. For disease, the catholic church has spread its tendrils across Africa and by trying to prevent the use of condoms has lead to millions of HIV/AIDS infections. Look up the Hitchens and Fry vs Catholic representatives debate on youtube. There are a lot more examples than these. Women have no empowerment in many of these cultures in these countries and are treated as second class citizens.

    In the developed world it places delays on things like embryonic stem cell research (a research project that has the potential to repair and regrow any part of the human body).

    These are just a couple of examples. Religion did once have a place in a world where explanations could only come from a God. In the modern world these explanations are formed through rational thought and science. The fact that atheism is increasing massively and in some countries now has a majority in the population is proof religion is being dropped.
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    (Original post by Enigma.)
    Definitely. It affects all parts of mankind. In the less developed parts of the world it creates conflict and disease.

    The middle east has been at war with itself because of religion for centuries.

    In North Korea they have created a religion out of their leaders in a nationwide brainwash.

    Religious ideologies have been the basis for almost all terrorist attacks too.

    For disease, the catholic church has spread its tendrils across Africa and by trying to prevent the use of condoms has lead to millions of HIV/AIDS infections.

    Women have no empowerment in many of these cultures in these countries and are treated as second class citizens.

    In the developed world it places delays on things like embryonic stem cell research
    Precisely
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    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    Judging by the many phenomenally intelligent and educated religious people I know, I suspect it won't be the case that education will eventually lead to universal atheism. In fact, the most educated and intelligent people I know tend to be theists.
    Confirmation bias.
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    yes and no - yes in that organised religion the abrahamic ones in particualr, thier dogma is rigid and unyielded, grounded in the past with ideals that no longer matter. The people tend to be more modern thinking but not all, thus we have people with vile cruel beliefs.

    Hopwever spiritual faith has its plus points, it provides, peace, hope, love, patience. SPirituality has its place but organised dogmatic religion - no id say for the most part.
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    (Original post by Clare~Bear)
    EDIT; I realise that there are stupid atheists and clever theists, I'm saying that shouldn't intelligence make us inclined towards atheism, not atheism towards intelligence?
    Precisely correct.

    Are there more atheists because the human race is becoming more intelligent and those intelligent people are making more scientific discoveries?
    There aren't more atheists because humans are becoming more intelligent. There are more atheists because people have the freedom of speech and the freedom to chose. Another reason is the ease in which information can be distributed. In our era, all you have to do to make an informed decision is to go online.


    Do you think religion is holding mankind back? Or did it only in the past? - Personally, I'm not sure. As it does help many people and help them decide to make the right moral decision, so makes most followers better people. But then again with the bible etc explanations of why things happen, people were happy, and didn't want to question god so were either put off do experiments or put off from publishing their results in fear of being persecuted or whatever.
    Yes, religion is holding humankind back. It may certainly help individual people deal with personal issues, but the only way it can survive is by suppressing/denying knowledge in order to support its own claims, which it always did throughout history. Religious institutes ideally would (and always have in the past) suppress a large amount of scientific knowledge if it contradicted their own theistic beliefs. They censored books and executed "blasphemers" (the latter is still punishable - but not necessarily by death (it still does its job of silencing people) - by many religious states).

    However, and I'd like to emphasise this censoring religion will hold back mankind just as much as censoring "blasphemy" would. The beauty of modern culture is the ability of people to chose their way of life.

    Why do intelligent people still belong to religions?
    I can only think of three reasons an intelligent person would belong to religion.

    1) They were born into a religious family and would rather delude themselves into belief than let go of what their whole life was built on
    2) They're pretending
    3) They're uninformed

    And thus, will all educated people eventually become atheists?
    Yes, if they were educated sufficiently and if they're not stupid.
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    (Original post by Dragonfly07)
    Precisely correct. . . . .
    Couldn't agree with your points and explanations more, shame my +rep won't actually boost your points. TBH I'm really surprised there's only been one neg (and not at me) on a thread thats criticising religion . . . !!!!
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    (Original post by Clare~Bear)
    Precisely
    Wars aren't started by religion, they're started by men being greedy. They then use twisted religion to sell it to the masses.
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    (Original post by jayne.corr)
    Confirmation bias.
    Perhaps, but I know plenty of religious people at the very top of their field.
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    In 1st world democratised countries with a strong scientific community and a sense of freedom of speech, not at all. I'd say it's a positive force, in fact. It reinforces morals and instils some vestige of societal cohesion. Most people are liberal so the antiquated dogma of many religions is boycotted and people just look to religion to give them reason for moral action (not that they really need it, preponderance is enough) and give them purpose.

    But it's a completely different story in less advanced countries. Without education and free information people rely far too heavily on religion. They derive their morality and understanding of the outside world almost entirely from religious texts and the utterances of their beloved preachers. Opposing views are expunged. Science to the contrary and condemned. They're very much "stuck in their ways", making development a long and difficult process.

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