(Original post by charliecrucis)
I would have to say that it isn’t. And here’s why:
I would first point out that I have, in no way, any problem with a person’s individual beliefs, whilst those beliefs don’t impact on the happiness of others. In fact I would be inclined to say that I would actively support your right to believe whatever you want, be it a religion or otherwise, but as soon as your beliefs have a negative impact n other people, this is when I have a problem with it.
So I shall base this with regard to religious authorities. And it would perhaps be appropriate to start with the Pope, in my opinion one of the worst of the religious leaders, and certainly one that can indicate my point best.
Concerning the most recent revelations about the steady complicity of the Vatican in the ongoing—indeed endless—scandal of child rape, a few days later a spokesman for the Holy See made a concession in the guise of a denial. It was clear, said the Rev. Federico Lombardi, that an attempt was being made "to find elements to involve the Holy Father personally in issues of abuse." He stupidly went on to say that "those efforts have failed."
Now, many religious people would hold the belief that due to the lack of any sort of written moral guidance, those ‘without God’ must be immoral and evil. But, speaking as an atheist, I feel that the most immoral acts come from those who are able to manipulate biblical scripture in order to justify their hideous acts against human kind, namely child rape and the cause of HIV/Aids throughout Africa; and the constant aim to reduce everyone’s ‘free will’ to the absolute minimum. Rather akin to the Animal Farm quote “We are all equal; just some are more equal than others” which suggests in terms of this debate (forum) that the Pope feels somewhat ‘more equal’ that the rest of human kind, which I think has been commonly described as blasphemy, albeit very well disguised.
There are two separate but related matters here: First, the individual responsibility of the pope in one instance of this moral nightmare and, second, his more general and institutional responsibility for the wider lawbreaking and for the shame and disgrace that goes with it. The first story is easily told, and it is not denied by anybody. In 1979, an 11-year-old German boy identified as Wilfried F. was taken on a vacation trip to the mountains by a priest. After that, he was administered alcohol, locked in his bedroom, stripped naked, and forced to suck the penis of his confessor. (Why do we limit ourselves to calling this sort of thing "abuse"?) The offending cleric was transferred from Essen to Munich for "therapy" by a decision of then-Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, and assurances were given that he would no longer have children in his care. But it took no time for Ratzinger's deputy, Vicar General Gerhard Gruber, to return him to "pastoral" work, where he soon enough resumed his career of sexual assault. All very much encouraged and approved by the Pope, as well as the (old) Archbishop.
The second story is more complex, but shows that as an institution the religion has become both ridiculous and completely unacceptable. I don’t need a sort of holy book to know that acts of this kind are wrong. It also shows that enough propaganda and, dare I say it, brainwashed support, can cause a man with inhuman, bigoted views and supernatural claims to be able to control an entire organization simply on the grounds of one religion (this would therefore mean that all other religions are false, or that he is a despicable liar).
Not at all dissimilar to a dictator ship, and to use the most awful of all examples: Hitler. Hitler gained power by making very large claims, promises and giving people something to revere or look up to. Propaganda also played a massive part, and, of course, the covering up of what really happened through use of television, posters and spokesmen.
Now, I am not unaware that the Pope has done some good in his life, in that he gives to charity and prayers everyday for people who are suffering (although I don’t believe that prayer will help anything, at least he is doing something which he thinks may help), but let us not forget that Hitler too gave to charity, and was an enthusiastic environmentalist. I still feel he is one of the most despicable men to have ever lived.
If a criminal came u to you in a court of law, you would not expect him to say “oh, you would mention that burglary, I’ve done so many good things too”, because the point still stands, the criminal is still a criminal.
I shall right no more, partly to avoid boredom and partly because I’m sure the last 10 minutes of y life have been in vain. But there you have it, a brief summary of why I feel that religion is NOT a force for good in this world.