T Nation

Religion

Ever wonder what the world would be like without it? I’m not talking about one particular religion but rather religion as a whole.Sometimes I just can’t help but think of how many people have died because of it. How many people has it really saved?
BTW I fully respect anyones right to their beliefs.
Any thoughts from people who are much smarter than me? :slight_smile:

Let’s see, Hitler or the Crusades? Stalin or the Ayatollahs of Iran?

One persuasive fact is that the suicide rates for religious people are much less than for professed atheists.
For me, I don’t think the world would be a better place without religion. I think the anomie would affect everybody, even longstanding agnostics. I think people can believe whatever they want to believe. So if they can believe in Pink Elephants that fly, why shouldn’t they be able to believe in organized religion?

But perhaps people should submit to some amount of argument about their beliefs so that their belief system don’t remain closed systems, so that their ideologies can be responsive to the outside world.

I think any ideology, with or without a supreme being, will corrupt its own ideals if it prevents itself from dialogue with other perspectives.

There’s a belief system like that Brian, it’s called science

Science is a method, not a belief system.

Materialism is a belief system people often confuse with science.

Animals dont have religion, dont need it either and, like us, have been around for quite some time.

So, survival-wise, it`s useless.

What would the world be without it? Very much better.

You`d have people thinking by themselves, creating their own beliefs by and for themselves. Having no universal scapegoats, they would be more responsible too.

Well, I cannot guarantee it, but if you take out the unnecessary, you`ll automatically gravitate towards a better adaptation to your real life and needs. Therefore happier.

Ah, dream on… ;0)

i’d like to point one thing out to all of you who think the world would be better w/o religion.

both Christianity and islam are the two major reasons for almost all of science. almost every major scienist after the 1400(you know, the ones who brought us out of the dark ages, and pretty much made every major scientific discovery) where christians… also, the musclims made huge gains in different areas in the 800-1300ish time period(they came up with our current number systems, and the bases for most of the higher maths).

why? because each of these two faithes believed in a God who was orderly. and since they knew God was orderly, they assumed there was an order to fine in everything. without either of these two religions, would wouldn’t be much better off then we were at the time of christ.

also, something else to condsider, before this past centurey(from the time of christ to the 1900’s), which group of people was responsible for starting almost every major charity organization? which group of people started more hosiptles, schools, collages, and such then any other? you got that one right again, christians, muslims, and jews.

which group of people fought from slaves freedoms in america, which group of people was loudest for womens rights at the turn of the centurey, and many other causes like this? you got that one right too, christianity.

i would like to address one thing in partiular, this comment:

“Having no universal scapegoats, they would be more responsible too.”

this is just flat out insain. religion does the oposite of giving a scapegoat, it gives reasons to be acountable. you are acountable to a higher God. honestly, lets just think this one through. say someone believes there is no God. what does that mean? that means he is just an animal, and is only expected to behave like one. that also means there is no trueth, no rights and wrong, no moral giver, hence no morals. this person has NO REASON to be responsible. he is just an animal, and is only expected to behave like one. if there is no God, i can go, and kill you, and i didn’t do anything wrong. i can go and rape all the women i want, and it doesn’t matter. i’m just an animal. i can go, and try to blow up the white house, and it doesn’t matter. survival of the fittest.

you see what i mean? oh yes, you can go and say there are still things you can and can’t do, but, you see, you have no base for it. if there is no God(or no religion), then man is just an animal, and there really are no rights and wrongs. you have no reason to be responsiable to anything.

also, look at the practical outcome. would you say teenagers today are more religious then they were 50 years ago? i hope you would say no… all statistics say the level of teenagers and young adults today that believe is God is WAY down. so, obviously, alot less people in this age group believe in a higher power(or take it seriously) then 50 years ago. but, are teenagers today more responsible? hell no. you can’t really dispute those facts. obviously taking religion out isn’t going to automaticaly make people more responsible. (this doesn’t just apply to teenagers and young adults. look at american and european society as a whole. people with real religious beliefs are way down, and, obviously, so are alot of other things, like responsibility.

I think some people get turned off by religion when they see the populate who claim to be it’s followers act in a deplorable way. This is somewhat understandable. But one ought to judge the merits of a particular religion by it’s progenitor not it’s followers.

Many religions have left dark blotches on history. It is reprehensable to say the least. However, how many lives have been destroyed under the spell of atheism?

yawn…this discussion again.

Okay, if we’re going to judge religion by the depths of it’s abuses, then let’s please do so with regard to secular endeavors as well.

Science has produced weapons of tragic proportions: Atomic/Nuclear bombs; Chemical weapons; Biological weapons.

Science has also produced more lethal technology, as well as more invavsive technology. Science has also been used to justify the massacre of more than 6 million Jews, hundreds of thousands of Gypsies and Homosexuals…not to mention Slavery and gender discrimination.

In the name of science, millions of consumers throughout the world are conned out of their hard-earned money everyday (because a scientific study shows that brand ‘x’ is shown to improve cardiovascular health in 66 year-old men with acute erectile dysfunction).

Of course, Science has also prolonged our lives (vaccines), made life a more interesting experience (viagra and MAG-10), enabled great discoveries that in turn have lead to various inventions…including the internet and computers…and so on.

In other words, let’s not be so darn shallow and just write off religion (or anything else) just because we like to listen John Lennon sing “Imagine.” If we do, then we’d be left with nothing, except our own ignorance.

Peace!

LJ

STOKED:

what does that mean? that means he is just an animal, and is only expected to behave like one. that also means there is no trueth, no rights and wrong, no moral giver, hence no morals.

Define truth. Define right. Define wrong. Define moral give. Define morals.

Don`t even bother to do it, and even less think that people will care, unless they ask you. Why?

  1. Because you have your definition you strongly believe. Joe Blow has a different one, for which he has as strong convictions as you. So does John Q, and for that matter any other person. Since people cannot even agree with the definition of ONE word, like peace, by extension it`s impossible that they ever agree, large scale AND coherently, on constructions of words either, whether commandments, codes of conduct or ethics.

  2. Since most people tie religion to their ego and emotions, they cannot have a detached, rational weighing of the pros and cons of it. Translation: Somewhere down the argumentation road, usually after 1 dangerous statement (challenging question) the impenetrable wall of self-interest (of the challenged) pops-up. This kills all further possible intelligent discussion, because the other`s on fighting/survival mode. End of argument.

Congratulations, though. By understanding this, you now realize the futility of debating religion or beliefs.

You now understand why there can be no universals truths. Ever.

On the other hand, I have to say that that quote sumps up very well the behavior for most of humanity and the current state of affairs. Good things LAWS exist. Texas style, personnally. Police officers and armed forces are for more real, and hence people comply more to them, than whatever God concept.

If you think the world sucks now, imagine if there were no laws and enforcement to keep people under control. Heck, some even have fun breaking it. Imagine if you had no INCENTIVES to restrain them. Long live the law.

And did you mention the greeks contribution to the advancement of civilization? They had pantheons, did all that before the Dark Ages, and laid the base of modern civilization. Not bad for non-Christians.

this person has NO REASON to be responsible. he is just an animal, and is only expected to behave like one. if there is no God, i can go, and kill you, and i didn’t do anything wrong. i can go and rape all the women i want, and it doesn’t matter. i’m just an animal. i can go, and try to blow up the white house, and it doesn’t matter.

I doubt it. Let me debunk your whole theory with one example: myself. I am an atheist. I have no God. I don`t kill people. Never did. Ditto for raping women. Ditto for being an animal and blowing up the White House.

It only took one case of an average Joe to disprove your assertion. I sincerely hope for you that your other beliefs can sustain tougher evidence questioning. Statistically, I am sure theres a couple of other atheist-Joes who havent gone postal like you describe.

…survival of the fittest.

LOLLL. It IS survival of the fittest ALREADY. Always have been. Always will. You doubt it? When will Joe Blow put some OTHER mans family before HIS a) in starving conditions, b) when his paycheck comes in (exception: alimonies), c) heck, most of his/her life ??? You guessed it: never, unless all of his/her basicearthlyneeds are met (see Maslows self-actualization theory, in short you dont think of others and/or feeling higher ideals like love until you have gained enough security for basic-survival needs). And if hes up-there in the scale, like Bill Gates, his philantropic deeds are just tax-friendly decisions that look politically good.

you see what i mean? oh yes, you can go and say there are still things you can and can’t do, but, you see, you have no base for it. if there is no God(or no religion), then man is just an animal, and there really are no rights and wrongs. you have no reason to be responsiable to anything.

You should write drama, by the way. Nice way of polarizing and using extremes. Like real-life was like that. LOL. Re-read my previous post. There truly is no right or wrong. It`s all perception related.

Know this however, if you absolutely need a God to keep yourself under control, fine, be my guest. Because the day you lose it, Ill put my size 10 1/2 up your ass if you try to go crazy on me, God-related or not. And I dont need God or any permission to answer back. It`s just legitimate self-defense.

Oh, and I won`t probably go crazy on others either for the same reason, expecting a returning of the favor. Makes sense. If legalized dueling (as once described in T-Mag), people would be far more respectful of others.

Final thing for the apocalyptic doomsayers who says this world is going to Hell. PEOPLE RESPOND TO INCENTIVES. Be it survival, laws or governments. Don`t like the situation? Change the incentives.

By the way, people have survived tougher time than this decadent period. We`ll survive this one, once more. Guaranteed. Humans are a tough species to kill.

LITTLEJAY: Clap! Clap! Clap!

Blaming science for the killings makes no sense. Blame the sucker who pushes the launch button.

It’s exactly like the firearms debate. Machines don’t kill by themselves.

We don’t have a technology problem.

We have a people problem.

End of story.

I think the world would be much better.

DAN C

thank you for your posts back, i appreacate(sp?) them, and i’m glad this is staying sorrta civil. i would like to address a few things you have just said.

"Define truth. Define right. Define wrong. Define moral give. Define morals.

Don`t even bother to do it, and even less think that people will care, unless they ask you. Why"

you are 100% correct, and this is my point. see, YOUR worldview dictates this. and since there are no absolute trues, you cannot tell me i have to do anything.

tell me, why do i have to be respectfull? why? see, you can’t give me a reason, if there are no absolute trueths, because it might be right for you to be respectful, but for me it is not.

you talked about this is the reason we have laws. but who came up with those laws? what makes those laws right?

you also talked about insentives. i agree 100%. if you take the view that there are no absolute trueths, you MUST give people insentives to behave like you want them too, or they never will. why? because they have no other reason NOT to just do whatever they want.

do you see what i’m saying here?

i’m saying, once you cut away all the bullshit, without an absolute moral giver(ie, a God, or something else), and absolute truth, people have no insentives on there own to act responsible(hell, if there is no absolute truth, WHAT is responsiblitiy? whats responsible to you might not be responsible to me)

on the other hand, IF i do believe in a God, and IF i do believe in absolute trust, then i have some one who i am accountable too. i have a real incentive(not one that is forced apon me) to be “responsible” or to do what is right(what is right based on the absolute truths the moral giver, or God, sets up)

i said all of this, and my last post, simply because you said without religion people would be more responsible(which, assumes people would be “better”). i completely disagree. and thats why i disagree.

also, about my examples. you said they where proven wrong, because you found an execption to them(yourself). first, i purposfully used extremeism in the examples to kinda get my point across. also, it doesn’t matter that YOU do not act like it. i wasn’t saying that EVERYONE who wasn’t religious or who didn’t believe in God, what i was saying what that if you don’t have absolute truths, then you cannot commend those examples. they are perfectly fine.

when you talked about those examples, you said about if people would go crazy like that, then you(or other people) would do phyical things to stop it. what really does that prove? nothing, in a world of relitive trueth, you think what they are doing is wrong, so you stop it, but, that doesn’t change the fact that you truethfully can’t say what they are doing is wrong. you can’t call it wrong, because there is no wrong. you can say you don’t like it, but you can’t call it wrong.

i would like to say, i understand religious arguments over the internet are pretty much pointless. i do understand that. i’m not trying to have a religious arguement. i am also trying to boil things down and look at the facts and consiquences of different beliefs.

also, i realize that topics like this are hard to discuss, because you and i are coming from completely different backrounds. my worldview is one of a creator, and absolute truth. yours is one of relitive truth.

Dan C - I was hoping you would reply to this thread! Always good to here your take and I couldn’t agree more.

o, i wanted to say something about insentives that i forgot. what is the main insentive that everything boils down too? basicly, its, “is this helping me” or “what do i get out of this”

people are selfish, you cannot deny that fact. that fact drives all insentives. if you do something against the law, the government will throw you in jail. what does that bug us, why is that an insentive? it boils down to we want whats best for us, and that isn’t good for us. so we don’t like it. that can be applied to pretty much every situation.

what does that mean? that means we’re going to do whatever it takes to get ahead. why? because thats whats going to help us. you really can’t deny that one either, just look at the world. everything is about getting ahead. the gay’s want to get ahead, women’s rights, minority rights, politicians lie to get ahead, people do everything they can to get ahead.

whats best for one person to do to “get ahead” isn’t whats best for society as a whole(ask the little starving kids in cuba, who suffer because castro wants to “stay ahead”, ask anyone suffering under a dictator)

yes, i realize that that is extremeism once again, but you HAVE to look at the end product of any line of thinking to truely evaluate it. you have to look at the end, the extreme, to see what someone is really saying.

also, i’m not saying everyone who doesn’t believe in a God or in absolute truth are horrible people. i know most of them are good people. but, like i’ve heard you and others here say before, when talking about religion, you can’t look at what the people do(thats not fare to the religion), you have to look at what the religion says(which, if you didn’t realize it, secular humanism and atheism ARE religions)

i’m taking you to the end, showing you what they line of thought really means, and what really happens.

i would like to address one more thing, please don’t take offense to this:

“2) Since most people tie religion to their ego and emotions, they cannot have a detached, rational weighing of the pros and cons of it. Translation: Somewhere down the argumentation road, usually after 1 dangerous statement (challenging question) the impenetrable wall of self-interest (of the challenged) pops-up. This kills all further possible intelligent discussion, because the other`s on fighting/survival mode. End of argument.”

you realize that works both ways? people who don’t believe in God do the same thing.

ps. excuse my horrible spelling, i know its bad… :slight_smile:

The real question is not whether or not religion is true/false or good/bad, but rather why humans insist on these mythologies?

Is there an evolutionary need, or is it an evolutionary solution; or rather, is it like Dawkins’ would claim and a result of transmitting memes?

Regarding it being useless “survival-wise” like someone suggested:
There is no evidence suggesting that it has no utility for survival. Indeed, I could put forth a few reasons why it could be useful, reasons crafted by men far smarter than I.

(Rubs hands together.)

Good feedback so far. This is gonna be fun.

TTYL. Type to you later.

" The real question is not whether or not religion is true/false or good/bad, but rather why humans insist on these mythologies?

Is there an evolutionary need, or is it an evolutionary solution; or rather, is it like Dawkins’ would claim and a result of transmitting memes? "

what? in the first part of your first sentencee you say the real question is not whether or not religion is true/false, but then in the second part of your sentencee you make the assumtion its false…

you do the same thing again in your second sentence, you make the assumtion that its false.