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does religion have a positive or negative impact on society


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many religions have a code of rules and they may be perceived to help society ie Christians believe it is wrong to steal.

but some extreme forms of religion can cause war and chaos. ie imperialism, the crusades religious wars, terrorism to name just a few.

so does religion have a positive or negative impact on society? do religious people make the earth a better place to be? or a worse one?

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Why do people assume that imperialism is always necessarily bad nowadays? Isn't the spread of goodness exactly what makes the Earth a better place to be? I think secularism has become so obsessed with cultural differences that people have ceased to consider that there might still be universal forms of goodness and truth that transcend any and all cultural differences. Religion is a human universal that is positive insofar as people feel a sense of security and stability with having meaning in their lives. Still, it doesn't really work to generalize about religion's effect on people because the effects of religion can differ per religion, per interpretation, and per individual. Eliminating a certain religion or interpretation from the life of one individual could have positive effects while doing the same for another will have negative effects. Substituting one interpretation for another may have positive effects for one person, while another person my benefit more from changing from their parents' religion to a new one. The only religion that has truly negative effects, imo, is secularism when it substitutes non-religious forms of dogma for religion. I only say that because I think that rejecting religion while practicing religious-type beliefs in other ways leads to less responsible stewardship of one's spirituality and behavior. This is not to say that all religious people are actively responsible stewards in this way, but at least they are aware of their faith/beliefs, whereas people who see themselves as secular and therefore non-religious often think that they are simply neutral when they're not in practice.

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Religion in its purest form are just moral codes normal people abide to by themselves, ie. do not steal and do not harm thy neighbor. Only If someone charismatic takes advantage of a religion for their own means, religion can become dangerous. But you don't neccesarily need religion for that: look at Hitler.

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Religion is negative. Always.

Religion is always negative because of it's inherent nature to instill difference between peoples. Differences as we all know cause clashes between the two or more groups of people that have them.

 

Some simple examples are, Race. Black and white.... just look at slavery in the Americas.. or even in the roman empire.

Culture, just look at small cultural differences between natives in tribal areas of Africa.

Another cultural difference can be exhibited in your school of thought, resulting in different political/economic systems.

 

Difference imo is bad due to our human nature to dislike difference.

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"many religions have a code of rules and they may be perceived to help society"

So do most atheists.

Religion is, therefore, unnecessary.

 

Also, only religion pretends that you can confess your wrongdoings to God and then it's all OK again.

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Also, only religion pretends that you can confess your wrongdoings to God and then it's all OK again.

 

I see this as a positive aspect of religion. I find it ironic that Christ supposedly said, "forgive them they know not what they do" when he was being persecuted/crucified, yet the people who identified with the Roman soldiers (the Nazis) still blamed the people they identified with the Pharises and their followers (the Jews) for killing Jesus and therefore wanted to retaliate against them for it. I guess it is a little complex to understand if you're not pretty familiar with the story and logic of Christianity, but according to Christianity everyone is supposed to see themselves as contributors to Christ's death and to accept forgiveness for it and forgive others. They're not supposed to live in shame and blame others.

 

Imo, when people live in shame and blame others for wrong-doing, or when they live with the self-image that they are superior to criminals or other wrong-doers because they are somehow "free of sin," this results in a very negative social attitude; one which permeates secular life, imo. I'm not going to preach that secular people need to be "saved" as Christians in order to stop doing this. I just have noticed that many do and they are incapable of forgiving themselves or others for doing so most of the time, because they see forgiveness as promoting wrong-doing, unlike Christianity which sees it as a redemptive measure.

 

 

 

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I see this as a positive aspect of religion. I find it ironic that Christ supposedly said, "forgive them they know not what they do" when he was being persecuted/crucified, yet the people who identified with the Roman soldiers (the Nazis) still blamed the people they identified with the Pharises and their followers (the Jews) for killing Jesus and therefore wanted to retaliate against them for it. I guess it is a little complex to understand if you're not pretty familiar with the story and logic of Christianity, but according to Christianity everyone is supposed to see themselves as contributors to Christ's death and to accept forgiveness for it and forgive others. They're not supposed to live in shame and blame others.

 

Imo, when people live in shame and blame others for wrong-doing, or when they live with the self-image that they are superior to criminals or other wrong-doers because they are somehow "free of sin," this results in a very negative social attitude; one which permeates secular life, imo. I'm not going to preach that secular people need to be "saved" as Christians in order to stop doing this. I just have noticed that many do and they are incapable of forgiving themselves or others for doing so most of the time, because they see forgiveness as promoting wrong-doing, unlike Christianity which sees it as a redemptive measure.

I disagree i have many Christan friends who are so called "redeemed" for doing something to me ie steel something of mine. and act like because god forgave them its like it never happened and I have no right to still be angry at them(or have the object back for that mater).

i believe the "say sorry to god and it's cool" mentality is a defense mechanism to avoid guilt. and therefore allow people to break there so called

"moral code" without any fear repercussion or even guilt.

Edited by cipher510
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Lemur,

Are you sure that "according to Christianity everyone is supposed to see themselves as contributors to Christ's death"?

Because it seems rather silly to me. Christ died a long way away, and many years before I was born.

I really didn't contribute to his death. I could't have if I had wanted to.

 

Also, I believe that the state of "feeling bad because you know you did something wrong" i.e. remorse is a powerful force to prevent people doing things that are wrong.

I'm fairly sure that a lack of remorse is part of a psychopathic disorder.

If "confession" short-circuits that feeling then it's a bad thing.

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Lemur,

Are you sure that "according to Christianity everyone is supposed to see themselves as contributors to Christ's death"?

Because it seems rather silly to me. Christ died a long way away, and many years before I was born.

I really didn't contribute to his death. I could't have if I had wanted to.

 

Also, I believe that the state of "feeling bad because you know you did something wrong" i.e. remorse is a powerful force to prevent people doing things that are wrong.

I'm fairly sure that a lack of remorse is part of a psychopathic disorder.

If "confession" short-circuits that feeling then it's a bad thing.

agreed, exactly what I meant when I said

 

I disagree i have many Christan friends who are so called "redeemed" for doing something to me ie steel something of mine. and act like because god forgave them its like it never happened and I have no right to still be angry at them.

i believe the "say sorry to god and it's cool" mentality is a defense mechanism to avoid guilt. and therefore allow people to break there so called

"moral code" without any fear repercussion or even guilt.

 

anything that disables guilt/remorse is not a system of morality but a system to avoid morality and any such defense mechanism is almost a kind of insanity and therefore bad not to mention in many places its not god's forgiveness that you should need! its not god's place to forgive you its the place of the person you did something wrong to!

Edited by cipher510
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I disagree i have many Christan friends who are so called "redeemed" for doing something to me ie steel something of mine. and act like because god forgave them its like it never happened and I have no right to still be angry at them(or have the object back for that mater).

i believe the "say sorry to god and it's cool" mentality is a defense mechanism to avoid guilt. and therefore allow people to break there so called

"moral code" without any fear repercussion or even guilt.

 

 

You're illustrating my point that secular people don't understand the logic of forgiveness in Christianity. Basically, you have to recognize that shame/guilt is a form of punishment that indebts people to those they "sin" against. So if someone stole something from you and felt sorry for it, but you didn't forgive them, they would be indebted to you until you were satisfied with their atonement to you and forgave them. What Christianity does is substitute God for the victim (in this example, you), so for example you would say that when a person steals from you they are actually sinning against God and therefore they would repent to God who would forgive them in exchange for their redeeming themselves by serving "His will." So, without getting into the theology too much, the person who stole from you is supposed to seek a way to redeem themselves without submitting to your authority on the matter, instead submitting to "God's authority" however that is "revealed."

 

Lemur,

Are you sure that "according to Christianity everyone is supposed to see themselves as contributors to Christ's death"?

Because it seems rather silly to me. Christ died a long way away, and many years before I was born.

I really didn't contribute to his death. I could't have if I had wanted to.

 

Also, I believe that the state of "feeling bad because you know you did something wrong" i.e. remorse is a powerful force to prevent people doing things that are wrong.

I'm fairly sure that a lack of remorse is part of a psychopathic disorder.

If "confession" short-circuits that feeling then it's a bad thing.

 

 

agreed, exactly what I meant when I said

 

 

 

anything that disables guilt/remorse is not a system of morality but a system to avoid morality and any such defense mechanism is almost a kind of insanity and therefore bad not to mention in many places its not god's forgiveness that you should need! its not god's place to forgive you its the place of the person you did something wrong to!

 

Look, I don't need to get into a discussion where Christianity gets put on trial and I have to defend it because I understand the logic. It comes down to the morality of whether human submission to human authority is good or not. If you believe that it is good, then you would consider "short-circuiting" guilt and remorse in order to seek divine redemption as pathological. If you looked at it this way, it would push you in the direction of submission to human (or "worldly") authority. If, on the other hand, you (wish to) believe that there is authority that transcends human fallibility and egoism, then Christianity offers you a way to cultivate that. Yes, you can spend your life submitting to the ego of person(s) you have sinned against, or you can look for ways to redeem your self by transcending the authority of the victim.

 

On a totally non-theological ethical level, I happen to question the idea that giving authority to victims over perpetrators is good for those victims. If someone harms you and you get to enslave or torture them until you're satisfied that they have paid their debt to you, doesn't this have the potential to make you drunk with power? Yes, there is the possibility that you will be reasonable and extract exactly the correct penance for the crime, but if you were honest with yourself you would admit that you were not completely objective since you were victimized by the person. Then you get into the logic of judge and jury selection, and creating laws and punishments that suit the crime. Ultimately, if you realize that all humans and human institutions are fallible, you might consider the notion that there are higher ideals people strive for. If you called these ideals, "divine," then you could call the will to achieve higher ideals than are possible by fallible humans "the will of God." In that case, you could start to understand why people study and write theological philosophies to cultivate ideals of fairness and justice that go beyond human interests and passions.

Edited by lemur
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You're illustrating my point that secular people don't understand the logic of forgiveness in Christianity. Basically, you have to recognize that shame/guilt is a form of punishment that indebts people to those they "sin" against. So if someone stole something from you and felt sorry for it, but you didn't forgive them, they would be indebted to you until you were satisfied with their atonement to you and forgave them. What Christianity does is substitute God for the victim (in this example, you), so for example you would say that when a person steals from you they are actually sinning against God and therefore they would repent to God who would forgive them in exchange for their redeeming themselves by serving "His will." So, without getting into the theology too much, the person who stole from you is supposed to seek a way to redeem themselves without submitting to your authority on the matter, instead submitting to "God's authority" however that is "revealed."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look, I don't need to get into a discussion where Christianity gets put on trial and I have to defend it because I understand the logic. It comes down to the morality of whether human submission to human authority is good or not. If you believe that it is good, then you would consider "short-circuiting" guilt and remorse in order to seek divine redemption as pathological. If you looked at it this way, it would push you in the direction of submission to human (or "worldly") authority. If, on the other hand, you (wish to) believe that there is authority that transcends human fallibility and egoism, then Christianity offers you a way to cultivate that. Yes, you can spend your life submitting to the ego of person(s) you have sinned against, or you can look for ways to redeem your self by transcending the authority of the victim.

 

On a totally non-theological ethical level, I happen to question the idea that giving authority to victims over perpetrators is good for those victims. If someone harms you and you get to enslave or torture them until you're satisfied that they have paid their debt to you, doesn't this have the potential to make you drunk with power? Yes, there is the possibility that you will be reasonable and extract exactly the correct penance for the crime, but if you were honest with yourself you would admit that you were not completely objective since you were victimized by the person. Then you get into the logic of judge and jury selection, and creating laws and punishments that suit the crime. Ultimately, if you realize that all humans and human institutions are fallible, you might consider the notion that there are higher ideals people strive for. If you called these ideals, "divine," then you could call the will to achieve higher ideals than are possible by fallible humans "the will of God." In that case, you could start to understand why people study and write theological philosophies to cultivate ideals of fairness and justice that go beyond human interests and passions.

i didn't say that i need to torture these people for stealing something (or whatever else) i'm saying if you do some thing wrong you should feel bad about it. and if you want forgiveness you need to seek it from the victim. no one else can forgive you. and no one else has the right, not even god. if the victim refuses to forgive you you must decide weather you really deserve to be forgiven yet or ever for that mater. and if you want to be forgiven then forgive others and try to be a good person and maybe you will someday you will find redemption.

this is not about putting Christianity on trial but about weather religious people are better (ie more moral) people. and weather religion in general has made the world a better place.

Edited by cipher510
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Lemur,

the answer to my question was either "yes" or "no".

Forgiveness has nothing to do with Christianity.

but the thread is not specifically about Christianity it is about weather religion ANY ALL RELIGION is beneficial to society and a few people who don't feel guilt due to their wrong doings as long as god tels them its ok harms society

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but the thread is not specifically about Christianity it is about weather religion ANY ALL RELIGION is beneficial to society and a few people who don't feel guilt due to their wrong doings as long as god tels them its ok harms society

 

Like i said, i believe religion is always going to provide a negative impact on society.

I would think that a secular society can evolve any positive outcomes that religion may have had without the negatives that religion has associated with it. You may be able to study this phenomena by introducing beneficial stimuli to various cultural animal species and then observing the effects through out multiple generations.

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Lemur,

the answer to my question was either "yes" or "no".

Forgiveness has nothing to do with Christianity.

Forgiveness is indeed a concept that is not specific to Christianity. I was just explaining how Christianity as a religion utilizes the idea of divine forgiveness to inspire believers to redeem themselves without submission to worldly/human authority. It was just one example of how religion may be beneficial or detrimental socially, depending on how you view the ethics of submission to human/worldly authority with regard to moral/ethical transgressions.

 

but the thread is not specifically about Christianity it is about weather religion ANY ALL RELIGION is beneficial to society and a few people who don't feel guilt due to their wrong doings as long as god tels them its ok harms society

I just mentioned Christianity as an example. I think other religious practices could be discussed as to how they could be specifically beneficial or detrimental socially. We could also discuss Islamic practices of modesty in dress as being either repressive or empowering. I just think it makes more sense to discuss specific practices instead of generally assuming that religion or secularism could be socially beneficial or detrimental as a whole without regard for specific cultural practices or beliefs.

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I just mentioned Christianity as an example. I think other religious practices could be discussed as to how they could be specifically beneficial or detrimental socially. We could also discuss Islamic practices of modesty in dress as being either repressive or empowering. I just think it makes more sense to discuss specific practices instead of generally assuming that religion or secularism could be socially beneficial or detrimental as a whole without regard for specific cultural practices or beliefs.

exactly what I meant when I said that this thread is not specifically about Christianity however Christianity is well known so therefore it makes an excellent example but this is about ALL religion. not just Islam the topic is meant to be a little abstract

Edited by cipher510
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I think religion has overall done more good than bad, by helping peoples stick together, which is more important than being tolerant of far away "heathen". However, I think it would have been better to replace religion with other alternatives, but I don't know if it would have worked all that well without science. People believed a lot of really crazy shit before the scientific method, and in fact quite a few still do anyhow.

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While religions often support useful moral codes, an atheistic love of humanity and desire to organize society so that people can live together in harmony would produce and sustain a similar moral code. Also, since an atheistic love of humanity would endorse its moral code on rational rather than superstitious grounds, it would give morality a more substantial anchor. Further, since religious moral codes always contain some purely superstitious rules which actually harm human good, while atheistic moral codes strive to be nothing but purely rational and humane, atheistic morality is superior.

 

But religion's worst negative effect is that it infantilizes people by blocking their access to the most fundamental and sophisticated questions of human existence, such as what does life really mean, how do I create a meaningful system of values with nothing outside of me to guarantee that my choices are correct, how do I preserve the courage of my existence when facing the certainty of extinction at death, etc. When people's access to these questions is blocked by a child's fairy tale, the value of their existence is profoundly diminished.

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Lemur,

for the third time of asking.

Are you sure that "according to Christianity everyone is supposed to see themselves as contributors to Christ's death"?

Because it seems rather silly to me. Christ died a long way away, and many years before I was born.

I really didn't contribute to his death. I could't have if I had wanted to.

 

 

 

Also, if someone offends me in some way; then they say "It's OK I went to confession about it" then they offend me a second time.

A non existent God does not have the authority to dispense forgiveness on my behalf.

If they want to be forgiven, why shouldn't they ask me to let them off?

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An interesting Christian teaching is turn the other cheek and/or love your enemy. Relative to the forbidden words of PC, this Christian teaching makes one less vulnerable, since one simply turns the other cheek and neutralizes the impact of the bully. The bully have a better time if they can push a button. If you don't turn the other cheek your an easier target. Religion helps one regulate the irrationality of human impulses and emotions.

 

I saw a skit done by the comic Steve Martin. He wrote a hymn for the atheists. His point was religion has all this beautiful music, but the atheists don't even have a single hymn. He thought he would write for the atheists. Music is from the soul or heart, which is why religion is so full of hymns. The atheists are more of the mind and not enough from the heart to inspire music. The purpose of religion is to reach the heart, while the purpose of science is to reach the mind.

Edited by pioneer
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Lemur,

for the third time of asking.

Are you sure that "according to Christianity everyone is supposed to see themselves as contributors to Christ's death"?

Because it seems rather silly to me. Christ died a long way away, and many years before I was born.

I really didn't contribute to his death. I could't have if I had wanted to.

 

Yes, I think Lemur is correct. That is the Christian view as written in the new Testament. But it is with a slightly different emphasis which I think is colouring your view. Imagine this anology:

 

You and lots of other people are in a boat going down the river. The boat is headed for the waterfall and you will all die if nothing is done. But a guy standing on the bank notices. He can stop the boat by felling a small tree, but to do this he has to climb it and overweight it making him and the tree fall into the river. He is then swept over the waterfall, but the boat is saved. The people on the boat are guilty of the man's death in a way similar to how you are guilty for Christ's death. You never asked him to save you, but you would have died without him.

 

Also, if someone offends me in some way; then they say "It's OK I went to confession about it" then they offend me a second time.

A non existent God does not have the authority to dispense forgiveness on my behalf.

If they want to be forgiven, why shouldn't they ask me to let them off?

 

Because you have no right to judge. You have no right to offer your forgiveness because you are just as flawed as they are. Only the perfect being (God) has the right to judge and therefore only he has the right to forgiveness.

 

This is in my opinion, one of the principle ways in which the modern church falls down. There is definitely a perception in modern society that Christians are judgemental, while it should really be the other way around. Christians should never judge other people.

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Lemur,

for the third time of asking.

Are you sure that "according to Christianity everyone is supposed to see themselves as contributors to Christ's death"?

Because it seems rather silly to me. Christ died a long way away, and many years before I was born.

I really didn't contribute to his death. I could't have if I had wanted to.

 

Yes, that is correct. The way it was explained to me is that Christ would have died for any one individual's sin, so that all are responsible. Note that some people get more upset at the thought of someone suffering on their behalf than at the thought of they themselves suffering.

 

Also, if someone offends me in some way; then they say "It's OK I went to confession about it" then they offend me a second time.

A non existent God does not have the authority to dispense forgiveness on my behalf.

If they want to be forgiven, why shouldn't they ask me to let them off?

 

God considers all wrongdoing to be a sin against him, which you cannot forgive on behalf of God. On the other hand, both new and old testaments say you should try to get forgiveness from the person you wronged before seeking it from God.

 

"Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. " -- Jesus, Matthew 5:23-24

 

"If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving his neighbor about something entrusted to him or left in his care or stolen, or if he cheats him, or if he finds lost property and lies about it, or if he swears falsely, or if he commits any such sin that people may do- when he thus sins and becomes guilty, he must return what he has stolen or taken by extortion, or what was entrusted to him, or the lost property he found, or whatever it was he swore falsely about. He must make restitution in full, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the owner on the day he presents his guilt offering. And as a penalty he must bring to the priest, that is, to the LORD, his guilt offering, a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any of these things he did that made him guilty." Leviticus 6:1-7

 

It is only the Catholic Church that forgives on behalf of others.

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Yes, I think Lemur is correct. That is the Christian view as written in the new Testament. But it is with a slightly different emphasis which I think is colouring your view. Imagine this anology:

 

You and lots of other people are in a boat going down the river. The boat is headed for the waterfall and you will all die if nothing is done. But a guy standing on the bank notices. He can stop the boat by felling a small tree, but to do this he has to climb it and overweight it making him and the tree fall into the river. He is then swept over the waterfall, but the boat is saved. The people on the boat are guilty of the man's death in a way similar to how you are guilty for Christ's death. You never asked him to save you, but you would have died without him.

 

 

 

Because you have no right to judge. You have no right to offer your forgiveness because you are just as flawed as they are. Only the perfect being (God) has the right to judge and therefore only he has the right to forgiveness.

 

This is in my opinion, one of the principle ways in which the modern church falls down. There is definitely a perception in modern society that Christians are judgemental, while it should really be the other way around. Christians should never judge other people.

so a potentially imaginary god gets to allow people to treat people like crap and still have a pompous attitude and claim others are cursed to a eternity in a lake of fire?

something is very wrong with this system.

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