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Is Religion a good thing for society?

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    Despite being an Atheist I think religion is generally good for the world and society:

    1. It can encourage people to do good things.
    2. It is comforting for some people and makes them feel they have a purpose in life.
    3. It is a very social thing.
    4. It is a useful mechanism to help others.

    Obviously there are some cons - but I am an atheist because I have seen no reason to believe God is real. But do think religion is pretty harmless - so I have no issue with it's existence.

    What does everyone else think?
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    Religion can bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. It's the actions of those people which are either good or bad for society.
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    Its neither, however it is capable of making people do some very good things, and equally some very bad things. The worst part of it is the ambiguity. People interpret it in different ways, and this is what causes arguments, problems and conflicts.
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    (Original post by Damask-)
    Religion can bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. It's the actions of those people which are either good or bad for society.

    (Original post by Old Father Time)
    Its neither, however it is capable of making people do some very good things, and equally some very bad things. The worst part of it is the ambiguity. People interpret it in different ways, and this is what causes arguments, problems and conflicts.


    This and this.
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    Who cares if it's good or bad for society?

    Society is rotten anyway. Christianity is about saving the individual.
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    Depends what society it is. Middle east society has a different cultural atmoshphere where religion is deeply engraved and people are living fine there. Wheras a very different culture is experienced here in Europe. Both have bad points however.
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    Religion may be either good or bad or a bit of both. But is religion true?
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    (Original post by Martyn*)
    Religion may be either good or bad or a bit of both. But is religion true?
    That's not the question being asked. Whether religion is a force for good or bad clearly depends on both the particular religion and the individual. It's not as simple as the OP is suggesting.
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    (Original post by Hewitt)
    1. It can encourage people to do good things.
    2. It is comforting for some people and makes them feel they have a purpose in life.
    3. It is a very social thing.
    4. It is a useful mechanism to help others.
    1. It can encourage people to do what they think is a good thing because it says so in their holy book.
    2. It can be uncomforting knowing that you are effectively a slave to an all powerful being, just like an animal.
    3. So is golf.
    4. So is charity.
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    (Original post by para:lel)
    That's not the question being asked. Whether religion is a force for good or bad clearly depends on both the particular religion and the individual. It's not as simple as the OP is suggesting.
    I already answered the question. I was adding an additional question, which I feel is more important, at least scientifically.
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    (Original post by Damask-)
    Religion can bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. It's the actions of those people which are either good or bad for society.
    What she said.
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    Hmm I dunno, in ways it can be benificial for individuals who use it as moral text. However, I think when it gets into politics (preventing stem cell research as to not upset God) then it can be detimental to society as a whole.
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    (Original post by Damask-)
    Religion can bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. It's the actions of those people which are either good or bad for society.
    This.

    It actually varies.
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    The way I see it is that people who do good and bad things do not do it because of religion - religion is just an excuse. But religion can encourage them to do the act as it gives them a justification.
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    (Original post by Hewitt)
    Despite being an Atheist I think religion is generally good for the world and society:

    1. It can encourage people to do good things.
    2. It is comforting for some people and makes them feel they have a purpose in life.
    3. It is a very social thing.
    4. It is a useful mechanism to help others.

    Obviously there are some cons - but I am an atheist because I have seen no reason to believe God is real. But do think religion is pretty harmless - so I have no issue with it's existence.

    What does everyone else think?
    OR
    1. It can encourage people to do bad things
    2. It can be depressing to know that you are a sinner
    3. It takes money that could have gone to charity
    4. Religion has been usurped by the corrupt and greedy to cause suffering
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    Religion overall is a bad thing in any society. It always creates a division between the "chosen ones" and the "infedels".

    If religion instead were a set of principles without the mention of God, heaven, or Hell I would be okay with it.
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    Yes it promotes good values, but it also states:

    "If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die."

    "If a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be 'cut off from their people'"

    "Anyone who curses or blasphemes God, should be stoned to death by the community."

    I can't imagine how much of a mess society would be without these lovely teachings.

    But in all seriousness, it's not like atheists are all running about killing each other and committing adultery because they don't have a big book of rules at their disposal.
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    I am absolutely convinced that organized religion is the main source of hatred in our society today.
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    Why don't a pack of komodo dragons or lions rip each other apart? If they rip each other apart, their society will be unstable; their society will start to go extinct, and that wouldn't serve the individual's interests. Do you really believe that religion stops them from ripping each other? If religion is the only thing keeping some people from going on a murder rampage, then I hope they don't lose their faith.

    If people only do good things only because they believe they will be rewarded for it in the afterlife, then that's not very sincere. I'm an Atheist, and I'm very altruistic; I'm not good to people because I believe that I will benefit from it in a supposed afterlife, I'm good to people because I because their lives are the only lives they will live, therefore their lives are made more valuable.

    In short, you do not need religion to be a good person.

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