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Old 02-15-2004, 10:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Do we need religion?

I was just wondering if things would be easier for mankind if there was no such thing as religion?

I mean debates like "abortions" and "gay marriage" would have ended way quicker if there wasn't a religious perspective of things...
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Old 02-15-2004, 10:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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...but there would still be a moral perspective, which is essentially what the religious view is right now.

Without religion, I'm sure mankind would be a lot more depressed, cynical, and pessimistic right now.
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Old 02-15-2004, 10:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think I do, but it is very hard to imagine a world without the belief in a God, so it's hard to say.

From a societal point of view, organised religion often has little to do with God, and if there was no God, I am sure those who want power would have found something else to claim it in the name of.

The belief in God may lead to a greater degree of moralising I suppose, but then again, my idea of God informs me of a very different set of beliefs than those who, for example, oppose gay marriage.
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Old 02-15-2004, 11:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The answer to these kinds of questions are always either:

"We don't, but THEY do!"

OR!!

"We do... but THEY don't!!!"

Which side of the fence you are on will predetermine which response you use
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Old 02-15-2004, 11:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I personally think the world would be better off if there was less religion.
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Old 02-15-2004, 11:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Hmmm.....lets see. Less death, Less hatred, Less judgement , Less ignorance, etc....guess it could make for a better society.
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Old 02-15-2004, 11:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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YEP! Less religion. Some people got way over board with religion that its freaky. But its still necessary because some people rely on the "judgment after life" to scare other people into behaving their naughty asses.
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Old 02-15-2004, 12:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy
I was just wondering if things would be easier for mankind if there was no such thing as religion?

I mean debates like "abortions" and "gay marriage" would have ended way quicker if there wasn't a religious perspective of things...
No, not by a long shot.

The abuses of the communist governments shows that belief in a god is not the source of man's inhumanity to man.

For example, Stalin ruled over a society where "undesireables" were removed or eliminated. At the other end of the spectrum, China forces some women to have abortions.

So if there is a factor to blame for these types of debates and the bad things that can come from them, we don't need to blame God; we only have to look in the mirror.
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Old 02-15-2004, 12:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Blaming hatred and ignorance on a code of ethics founded on being a good person, loving your neighbor, turning the other cheek and not being a criminal hardly seems logical to me.

What Lebell said.
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Old 02-15-2004, 01:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with the above. Having less religion might seem to make life easier, but ther will always be people with different ideas, whether they are founded a set religion or not. Having less religion does not do away with these feuds completely, but it does end a lot of moral foundation for people.
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Old 02-15-2004, 02:41 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Religion itself isn't the problem. Like Phaenx mentions, there's some good ideas in religion. The problem is how some many people just flat out ignore the good parts, like love thy neighbor and the whole pray to urself and God not the rest of the friggin world.

I think religion can stay, everyone else out of the pool. Humans aren't welcome on Earth anymore. Of course, it's kind of mean to push us on the rest of the universe.
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Old 02-15-2004, 03:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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A society pretty much needs a religion to satisfy the large portion of its population which is ignorant. Economically speaking, it's not possible for everyone to receive a higher education, so religion is a very effective way to answer the masses' questions about the world. Who made the world? The gods did. What happens when you die? The gods judge you. etc etc. Thus, the masses are comforted in their existence in a very cost-effective manner.
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Old 02-15-2004, 03:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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religion was important, it helped mankind to build civilisations because it gave mankind a reason to work together and to cooperate. And it helped to introduce some very importand moralic and ethic values which were needed to make larger societies possible.

But I think today religions are outdated, most people see the importance of such moralic and ethic values indepentend from religion, we don't need religion anymore. I can see the importance of charity without believing in god, and without beeing member of some sort of church. Today religion is mostly used as a excuse for hate/discrimination and as a political issue. I think believe should be a personal issue, there is no need to organise it.
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Old 02-15-2004, 10:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Personal values and ethics strongly correlate to faith in religion. A society full of individuals who believe in God creates an ethical, successful, and productive society. As society as a whole becomes less and less devout, accountability and morality continue to disappear. Our country was better off before faith in God and obedience to His will were replaced by faith in government and obedience to bureaucracy. We've become a bunch of sheeple who look to government for guidance instead of personal values that we should have ingrained in us from childhood. What we need is more religion and more faith in God.
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Old 02-15-2004, 10:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Religion started out explaining why the sun rose and why the rainy season didn't come this year, and now all it can give us is a book and an unproveable promise. Eternal happiness? Yeah, that shit makes a lot of sense.

That's all the screed I'm gonna give.

The religious difficulties I think you're imagining are linked closely to religion, but they're also linked to the "traditional values" of earlier decades and to dubious arm-chair science. I mean "traditional" in a pejorative sense. The sorts of values that include (but aren't limited to) the idea that marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman, and that it's ok to keep black people as slaves. Interestingly, a similar logical principle was at work as each belief met its end. The southerners needed to keep slavery, because otherwise their slavery based economic way of life would be lost (obviously). In much the same way, if the right to marry is extended to homosexuals, the status of marriage as between men and women will also be lost.

Boo hoo.

Personally, I like to think that our moral intuitions and our sense of right and wrong are too universal for any religion to be their originator. If there were no God, wouldn't murder still be wrong?

Religion gives us a more arbitrary and less free morality. It's the morality of a person (or persons or priestly class or what have you) that thought they had it all figured out. And in a sense, they did. If everybody does what the good book says, within reason, things tend to work out alright. However, the way we choose to live our lives today ought not be grounded in the arbitrary lifestyle decisions of a priest or a poet.

I'm getting off topic. The short answer is this: with or without religion, people would continue to hold on to beliefs that are anti-scientific, arbitrary, or out-dated.

edit: I equated supporters of man-woman only marriage with supporters of slavery. Go me. I hope no one is offended.
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Old 02-15-2004, 10:22 PM   #16 (permalink)
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People will still be assholes with or without religion.
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Old 02-15-2004, 11:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ustwo
People will still be assholes with or without religion.
Ustwo, normally, i really disagree with what you post.

But this might be the greatest post i've ever seen from you.


Like many have said. We'd like to think that man's indescretions are not our fault. And some honestly may not be. But for the most part, they are. Religion is just something to foist responsibility off on.
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Old 02-16-2004, 06:09 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ustwo
People will still be assholes with or without religion.
Well, y'all better sit down for this. I agree with Ustwo. Yeah, that's right, I actually agree with something that Ustwo has posted.

Assholes are assholes, and always will be assholes. But the assholes that I watch, and fear the most, are the assholes that wear thier religion as armor, and wield it as a weapon. These are the assholes that have always been, are now and will continue to be, the single biggest danger to civilized society.

Assholes, by themselves, usually just present themselves as assholes. Religion, left by itself, is usually not a bad, or harmful, thing. Mix the two, and now you have yourself a zealot.
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Old 02-16-2004, 07:11 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I think what is wrong with religion is they stopped writing it when the people who wrote it were ignorant of most of our world today and had explanations for things that today seem ridiculous.
Their value systems were designed for their cultures and not ours. There is no universal all time standard for this, anymore than societies are this way.

They should have never stopped writing the Bible, it should be a continuous works, but when they stamped "written by God" on it all practicality went right out the window because it froze it in time.

Religion should be as fluid as the environment it is designed to help in. The first infamous example of the atrosity of stagnant religion is when the Pope put Galelao in prison for 20 years because he was going to publish a paper claiming the earth was not the center of the universe at all, the sun is the center of this system.

Religion aint worked worth a shit since they froze it in time.
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Old 02-16-2004, 08:03 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill O'Rights
But the assholes that I watch, and fear the most, are the assholes that wear thier religion as armor, and wield it as a weapon. These are the assholes that have always been, are now and will continue to be, the single biggest danger to civilized society.
Tell it to Stalin or the Nazi's.
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Old 02-16-2004, 08:31 AM   #21 (permalink)
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The question is loaded..

Do "we" need religion?

some individuals need religion as much as air or water. They grow up with it, they feel protected by it, and they exist the way they are because of it. Others do not...

For us as a society to say we don't need religion is wrong, because we cannot make that decision for everyone. Case by case..

To re-word your question, do "you" need religion

I do not. I take my strength from myself, and I don't beleive in an omnipitant being's capricious whim folding my fate.. I can do that well enough on my own
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Old 02-16-2004, 09:31 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ustwo
Tell it to Stalin or the Nazi's.
ARRRGH!! Stalin and Nazis, Nazis and Stalin. Why does every single discussion on religion and politics have to involve these same two references? They are an abhoration, not the norm. I would argue that much more damage has come from mixing religion and politics than from keeping them seperate. The only thing is...I'm too busy (read lazy, if you prefer) to research, and cite, the countless references that are out there.

So close, Ustwo, so close, and yet, so far.
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Old 02-16-2004, 09:59 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Some people need their religion like Linus needed his security blanket. Some need religion to keep their behavior in check.

Still others need it to validate their hatred for others.
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Old 02-20-2004, 09:49 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by prb
Some people need their religion like Linus needed his security blanket. Some need religion to keep their behavior in check.

Still others need it to validate their hatred for others.

sadly you are right, on all accounts
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Old 02-20-2004, 10:06 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I don't need religion.
It does look like a lot of people believe they do.

As far as I'm concerned, religion does make it harder to communicate with each other about important things. That's too bad. I would chuck it just for that reason alone. We need all the help we can get in trying to communicate with each other. Having a big loophole like that where people can just say anything they want to - whether it makes any sense or not - has never helped the human dialog.
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Old 02-20-2004, 01:06 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Hitler was a catholic and was never excommunicated. Stalin spent much of his youth training to be a Priest.

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Old 02-20-2004, 01:37 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Stalin also spent the rest of his life there after persecuting jews and catholics, kinda funny how it works out. And Hitler might've been born and raised a catholic, but ze Furor was definitely into the occult.
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Old 02-20-2004, 01:45 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mojo_PeiPei
Stalin also spent the rest of his life there after persecuting jews and catholics, kinda funny how it works out. And Hitler might've been born and raised a catholic, but ze Furor was definitely into the occult.
Stalin's mother always told him that she wished he had become a Priest. I am not sure if Stalin was fundamentally anti-semetic or anti-religious, or if he was just a good Marxist (religion is the opium of the people and the sigh of the oppressed creature and all that - although in my opinion Lenin and Khruschev were the only truly Marxist "believers" to lead the USSR) or he just did it to divide and conquer the Soviet people. I think he persecuted many groups within the USSR, my feeling would be he attacked any social groups other than the Party, rather than he especially hated Jews. Russia, after all, offered Jews fleeing the Nazi's a chance to fight (while countries like Britain turned away Jewish immigrants in the late 30's...)

Hitler was definitely into a lot of occult and pagan stuff... but that is a religion also I guess, and I think it did play a part in his world view.
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Old 02-20-2004, 02:03 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I don't think the world needs religion, nor do I think it really needed religion in the first place.

I think an awful lot of the reasons people say that religion is (or more often, was) necessary can be explained through behavioral evolution.

For example, the idea that we needed religion to provide us with a reason to be moral suggests that, otherwise, we would all be immoral. From a genetic point of view, being moral has all sorts of advantages:

Having a moral mate helps you to be sure that the kids you are raising are really your own, not someone else's. Ergo, being moral makes you a more attractive mate. Monogamy has been adopted by other species as well, and they don't have a religious rationale for doing so.....at least I don't think they do.

Not killing your neighbors has been an immensely successful strategy for all sorts of creatures, including our own (herding couldn't exist without it).

I believe you can use similar analysis to explain nearly all the behaviors endorsed by religions - at least those with which I am familiar. (I have seen a very clever genetic explanation for altruism - which many use as proof that we have somehow risen above our genes)



Similarly, the idea that religion provided a cohesive glue to keep societies together suggests that they would fly apart without it. Again, the genetic advantages of communal living and sharing resources I think makes grouping inevitable. Here's an interesting thought experiment: which came first, the village or the church?


(If you want to learn more about how genetics can influence (NOT CAUSE!) behavior (and I think it is really fascinating) I suggest you read Richard Dawkins "The Selfish Gene.")



In short, I don't think religion is or was necessary. The really interesting question to me is, if it wasn't necessary, why does nearly (if not every) society develop a religion very early in its history?

My hypothesis is that religion, in the absence of science, is the obvious answer when a society starts to wonder why things happen.

Why is it raining? Why did my crops fail and my neighbor's didn't? Why did that man die?

And, most importantly, how can I change the outcome in the future?



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Old 02-20-2004, 06:05 PM   #30 (permalink)
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I suppose it wouldn't make too big a difference if we were purely getting rid of the institutions of religion. People would still have a wide range of opinions and would use faulty logic and arguments to "support" them just as many use religion. If we taught people to use logic when making decisions and not simply faith, then yes it would be better.
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Old 02-23-2004, 10:27 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Religion gives people something to live for. Without religion many people will not see a point to living a good moral life and will not respect authority. So even though governments try so hard to stay away from the topic of religion, a government will never have its authority respected if there was not any form of religion giving people a motive to be moral and respect rules. This does not apply to everyone, but many people do NEED religion to live their lives.
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Old 02-24-2004, 08:03 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I have been to church maybe 5 times in my life my father is Catholic and my mom is Prodestant, they have never pushed anything on me and never made me go to church for which i am thankful. As I got older I began to realize that organized religion is a farce (in my opinion) when my uncle told me they started asking for bills in the collection plate instead of change and now onto the envelopes, I don't know if this is the same at all churches he is Penecostal and I do not agree with asking for specific types of currencey, my other uncle who is Penecostal I'm not sure which type but a percentage of his pay cheque goes to the church which I find ridiculous, I hope this post was on topic if it was not I appologize.
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Old 02-26-2004, 06:14 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Religion, in my opinion, is used as a moral authority. If there is no religion what is the reason to be a moral person? Sure, to be nice and live in a fair society, but there would be no "karma" or "hell" to worry about. Religion, mainly Catholics, use hell and the devil as a way to scare people into doing good (I pissed off my religion teacher by this statement). If you do bad and you do not repent, God will smite you.
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Old 02-26-2004, 06:16 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Dante doesn't speak for the church, you may want to reasses your information.
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