Religion: The Pro's and Con's

nauseous_monkey

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I am an Atheist, which means I do not engage in the activities and thinking patterns of any religious denomination. Now that that is out of the way I hope you guys can join me on a exploration of the positives and negatives of religion and it is worth endorsing or denouncing religion.

I ask this because I regularly come into a situation where religious people make silly statements or do silly things which I strongly disagree with and I am thus tempted to argue with them about their religion as to maybe induce rationaltity.

Is it a good thing to tell people that their religions might be wrong... What if religion did not exist?

I have been asking myself this and I am trying to reach an answer to this question by analysing the pro's and con's of religion as a whole.

To start things off here is what I think:

Positives about religion:
- Moral Viagra
- Humane and mostly Non-Profit (Mother Teresa and helping the sick)
- Provides Hope to the Hopeless
- Creates a Breed of people that are hard working, willing to do anything to help and are unwilling to take advantage of a situation.... AKA the perfect employee.

Negatives about Religion:
- People can take it too seriously
- Murder in the name of Religion (The Crucades and 9/11)
- Hinders Education (Teaching Creationalism instead of Evolution hinders the Education of a budding Biologist)
- Psychological Terrorism to a Child and teaching them about Eternal Hell Fire for not agreeing with everything in the Bible/Quran.
-Mutilation (Circumsition)

That is a quick list that I can think of...

I hope you guys can add to the lists, and tell me if you think it is worth fighting against religion or should I rather just sit back and allow religious people to kill in the name of God.
 

Nick333

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Positives about religion:
Most of your pros aren't really pros at all.

- Moral Viagra
Religious morality is is limited and bigoted. Its all very well having an all purpose "morality" that religions provides but it ultimately leads to atrocities as evidenced by religious crusades and persecution through out and history and continuing to this day. Counter to popular belief simplistic, religious morality in the western world is only kept in check by liberal, secular constitutions instituted by forward thinking individuals centuries ago.

- Humane and mostly Non-Profit (Mother Teresa and helping the sick)
Frankly Mother Theresa is an aberration. Religion is a hugely profitable and usually non-taxable industry. The vast majority of religious leaders live in extravagant luxury.

- Provides Hope to the Hopeless
Living in hope of a better existence in the here after is hardly a motivation to better your lot in the only existence we can be sure of.

- Creates a Breed of people that are hard working, willing to do anything to help and are unwilling to take advantage of a situation.... AKA the perfect employee.
Sorry, but I see no reason to believe that this is the case.

Negatives about Religion:
- People can take it too seriously
- Murder in the name of Religion (The Crucades and 9/11)
- Hinders Education (Teaching Creationalism instead of Evolution hinders the Education of a budding Biologist)
- Psychological Terrorism to a Child and teaching them about Eternal Hell Fire for not agreeing with everything in the Bible/Quran.
-Mutilation (Circumsition)

That is a quick list that I can think of...

I hope you guys can add to the lists, and tell me if you think it is worth fighting against religion or should I rather just sit back and allow religious people to kill in the name of God.[/QUOTE]

I don't know that religion should be seen as an enemy that needs to be fought and/or destroyed. However, whatever value religion has to the individual, it is by and large a force for bigotry and oppression and should be opposed when it tries to insinuate itself into the legal and governmental spheres of society.
 

fivelza

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I am an Atheist, which means I do not engage in the activities and thinking patterns of any religious denomination. Now that that is out of the way I hope you guys can join me on a exploration of the positives and negatives of religion and it is worth endorsing or denouncing religion.
Your opening statement kind of sets you on the road to denounce religion does it not?

I ask this because I regularly come into a situation where religious people make silly statements or do silly things which I strongly disagree with and I am thus tempted to argue with them about their religion as to maybe induce rationaltity.
Silly statements are not only made by religious people ;)

I hope you guys can add to the lists, and tell me if you think it is worth fighting against religion or should I rather just sit back and allow religious people to kill in the name of God.
Why do you want to fight religion....?
 

HavocXphere

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Pros
Social integration
Feeling of solid moral foundation
Fanatical faith that things will turn out alright

Cons
Religion is one big con job
 

Balstrome

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How many of you that profess to be athesist, have ever bothered to talk with a religous leader, and find something out about the belief system. The reason I say this, is that reading here over the past few years, I see very little evidence that anyone who is against religion has ever done such a thing.

It's seems to me to be a mob mentality, nuke the pedo-catholics, and slum-oes. Or is it that inside these folk are unsure if the way they claim to believe is the correct one, and are hoping that one of the religous folk will tell them that it's ok to be human.

Another thing that pisses me off, is the way these folk misrepresent ideas and statements, and never get called to task for this. If I had to misquote or make up stuff about things that Dawkins said, I would be nuked badly. Yet, untruths about Islam and the other religions get made and nothing gets said about this. If I misquoted Richard D, I would be told to go and reread his books and get a better understanding of his works, yet when The Athesist's make statements about christians and their believes, is ok if they lie thru their teeth, with the claims that they make. Sounds fair to me.

Here's a fact for you, the reason that most of the literate folk in Africa can read and write is mainly because of religous folk taking time to teach them to do this. I can not think of an athesist culture of learning and teaching of similar size and indurance, can you ?
 

Waaib

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@ nauseous_monkey: You seem to post this kind of thing regularly.

Care to shed any light on what it is you are searching for? If you are so anti whatever why do you care?

Lets say I hate broccoli. When it's served I just push it to the side and ignore it. I don't make continued efforts to like it or assault the chef for serving it. If you are resolute in your Atheism then why keep posting threads these?
 
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noxibox

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Morality - religion does not provide a useful morality because we are still left to sift through the material to decide which rules to follow, which to ignore. No different to having no religions.

Mother Theresa's charity work was of questionable value.
 

noxibox

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How many of you that profess to be athesist, have ever bothered to talk with a religous leader, and find something out about the belief system.
The more one finds out about various religions the more one realises that it is all a con. There is no reason to believe any one of them is true.

it's ok to be human.
I think the religious need to be told this.

Here's a fact for you, the reason that most of the literate folk in Africa can read and write is mainly because of religous folk taking time to teach them to do this.
If they did so they had one singular motive - indoctrination, more followers for their religion. And if they're Catholic missionaries they'd be spreading other dangerous rubbish, like railing against contraception.
 

redarrow

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Warran Buffet and Bill Gates have so far contributed tens of billions to charity, and are considered the most philanthropic individuals on earth, both are Atheist.
Is that public opinion? Or did you just make it up? Or is it the opinion of a select group that you simply chose to use in this instance? :rolleyes: - Because I have never heard that one before.

Seriously, don't try pushing Gates as Mr Charity , the guy happens to be the big boss of Microsoft - that speaks volumes in itself. :p

Secondly dishing out money is easy (especially when you have that much) consider an example, person A donates x to some Charity, person B donating his time to the Charity uses the money to buy supplies and then actually goes out among the poor/sickly/needy and physically helps them. Now ask yourself who is the really charitable person?

If constrained would you prefer to give 10% of your monthly earnings to charity or 10% of your time actually working among sick/needy people? Assuredly most people would choose to donate 10% of their money because it's easier.

Mother Theresa may be an exceptional example, but I have as yet to hear of an atheist who so selflessly donates not just a fraction of their time/money but their entire life to the needy.

All of Bill Gates money would be no more useful than a heap of paper if there were not people doing the actual charity work.
 

redarrow

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regardless, he is the one who had to go all out even, act nerdy so that he could reach his dreams and advance humanity, you may not have even been able to type that if it was not for him, he earned every cent honestly, and has made the world better at it too, so that is his money plain and simple, it does not matter how much or how easily he got it, he worked for it, and his style and character changed the world and earned it for him, it is completely his.
I never said I grudged him a cent.. nor did I claim that it came easily or anything like that. You've simply skipped over the actual point I made which was to compare giving money as opposed to performing actual charitable works. :rolleyes:

so what ever he gave to charity, has the same worth per dollar, as what the man on the street has given per worth per dollar.
Did I in any way imply that this was not the case?

your thinking like a communist, and hey communism has clearly proved not to work.
Oh please :rolleyes:

I am completely against communism, I would love to see you embellish precisely how you came to that conclusion?

I think you need to re-read my previous post, clearly you did not do a very good job at it the first time around. :p
 

Claymore

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How many of you that profess to be athesist, have ever bothered to talk with a religous leader, and find something out about the belief system. The reason I say this, is that reading here over the past few years, I see very little evidence that anyone who is against religion has ever done such a thing.
Actually, I think you'll find that most atheists have had a religious upbringing. I've got 20 years of religious education, and have read a whole lot on the topic since then too.

yet when The Athesist's make statements about christians and their believes, is ok if they lie thru their teeth, with the claims that they make. Sounds fair to me.
I think anyone who makes false statements about Christians will be taken to task. Of course, there is the problem that even the Christians cannot agree on many aspects of their own faith.

Seriously, don't try pushing Gates as Mr Charity , the guy happens to be the big boss of Microsoft - that speaks volumes in itself. :p
Read up a bit on the Gates Foundation - they are doing some fantastic things (and not just mere donations either).
 

redarrow

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Read up a bit on the Gates Foundation - they are doing some fantastic things (and not just mere donations either).
I am aware of the Gates Foundation, we were talking about the man Bill Gates though, not what has been done with his money.

k, but giving the money is just as good as doing the work, the only diffrence is in the way you look at it.
I must disagree.
I can make money doing something I really like, or perhaps I could even make it in an unethical manner - does donating it then make me as charitable as the person who gives their lives to helping others?

Gates is a genuine geek, I read his book actually ("The Road ahead") and what I can tell you is that he really does enjoy his work - thus he earned his money doing something that to him is fun and gave him personal satisfaction - so now he donates some of this money to charitable works - how can you suggest that it's just as charitable as if he actually donated time to help people.

People without money can do things. Money without people can do nothing - thus human assistance is (and always will be) a greater thing to give than money.

To further see the error in your claim that giving money is just as good as doing the work, look at it like this:
If every able person in the world donated money for charitable works but none of them donated personal time, then no charity work would get done.
However if everyone donated time, even though no one donated money, then charity work would still get done. (Albeit a bit hampered in certain ways)

and besides you claim gates never done charity work? have you ever heard of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation it is a lot of personal work to set up something like that too.
Yea I've heard of it.. Sure it must be all sweat and tears for the big boss of the most successful software company in the world to have to try and set up a charity drive.. whew!
Of course I'm quite sure he did it all by his lonesome.. I mean come on, why would he use his billions to pay someone else to do all the hard work for him?
 

icyrus

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Sometimes you come across opinions that are so staggeringly naive that its hard to believe they are not satire.

Casting doubt on Bill Gates's charitable contributions to the world because of the amount of money he has is sheer stupidity. Yes he has lots of money and can afford to give what he has but he has no obligation to do so. He could have taken that money and bought boats, planes, small islands and an endless supply of alcohol, drugs and hookers.

He has chosen to use his money to help others and as a single person there are very very few others who could claim to have contributed as much as him to the greater good.

To cast doubt on the level of good he has done because he chose to give money rather than his time is pettiness and stupidity of the highest order.
 

chopsky

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He has chosen to use his money to help others and as a single person there are very very few others who could claim to have contributed as much as him to the greater good.
The "greater good".
Communist Russia called, they want your life back.
 

icyrus

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The "greater good".
Communist Russia called, they want your life back.
Honestly. Don't be simple, the meaning in this context was quite clear. Perhaps you would like me to rephrase it so as not to confuse you.
 

chopsky

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Honestly. Don't be simple, the meaning in this context was quite clear. Perhaps you would like me to rephrase it so as not to confuse you.
You needn't rephrase it. I know exactly what you meant. I just think it's disgusting, that's all.
Bill Gates gives away his money and somehow makes an immense sacrifice for the sake of the greater good. What greater good?
What you're ultimately referring to is altruism i.e. the very essence of Communism. You just choose not to look at it that way.
 

icyrus

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You needn't rephrase it. I know exactly what you meant. I just think it's disgusting, that's all.
Bill Gates gives away his money and somehow makes an immense sacrifice for the sake of the greater good. What greater good?
What you're ultimately referring to is altruism i.e. the very essence of Communism. You just choose not to look at it that way.
Helping people is disgusting... got it.
 

chopsky

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Helping people is disgusting... got it.
No. Try understand the point made. You can freely help people if you want to. That's fine and good. But don't be fooled into believing you're doing it for the sake of some 'greater good'. If you choose to help people who are deserving of your help, then do so because the act is of great value to you. No sacrifice need be involved in an act of benevolence. No good ever comes from sacrificing a greater value for a lesser value.
 

icyrus

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No. Try understand the point made. You can freely help people if you want to. That's fine and good. But don't be fooled into believing you're doing it for the sake of some 'greater good'. If you choose to help people who are deserving of your help, then do so because the act is of great value to you. No sacrifice need be involved in an act of benevolence. No good ever comes from sacrificing a greater value for a lesser value.
So what exactly is your problem with Bill Gates's charity work? Or did my phrasing just set off some Pavlovian reaction in your mind?
 
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