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Listen to Static Noise 94: We give our thoughts on Demolicious.

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This House Believes That Religion Does More Harm Than Good

Debate GDC

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34 replies to this topic

#31
Joey

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As for the questioning thing, I'm a christian and I question the beliefs all the time.

Luckily your avatar says as much.

#32
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Luckily your avatar says as much.

What?

#33
CristhyneS

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If there had been no religion, would there have been the Crusades or the Holocaust? There also wouldn't be the insane amount of fighting in America over the separation of church and state.


Yes. The Holocaust wasn't just against jewish people, but also against black people, homosexuals, psychiatric patients, etc. I don't think anyone would dare say "if there weren't black people, the Holocaust might not have happened", because a) it wasn't the only group targeted, and b) people would cry out "racism!" because no one thinks it's black people's fault that the Nazis had it against them, so why should we think it is Judaism's fault that the Nazis had it against them?

As for Crusades, I think that these do not differ much from any other war, and the ultimate goal of war is always dominance, whether it is political or economical. Everything else is just an excuse. See it with WWII. The country the Hitler first invaded what Czechoslovakia, and basically every country in Europe that had the means to help them deffend themselves looked the other way, because they wanted to avoid yet another war, and believed that if they let him have this small country, he wouldn't cause them much trouble. So they didn't declare war against Germany until he invaded Poland the next year, because that's when they got scared and thought their own sovereignty (and interests) might be in danger.

So I think religions are just an excuse for some wars, but not the actual cause. If there was no religion, there would be other excuses.

Now on the Catholic Church and birth control. Well this was covered in the original post. While it is true that this church discourages the use of birth control, it is also true that it strongly discourages sex before marriage, as well as maintaining sexual relationships with any partner other than your spouse. And while I don't share the Catholic church's view on this matter, I don't think pointing at them and blaming them for early pregnancy and the transmition of STDs is even remotely fair. It's very convenient for the 16 year old who got pregnant to say she didn't take the pills/use a condom because her religion doesn't approve of that, it takes the blame off her shoulders. But the truth is that her religion didn't approve of her having sex in the first play, but that didn't stop her.

Which takes me to the next point, which is the separation of church and state. YES! There should be a separation. And I think this should include not only public schools and other State-founded organisms, but also some more basic forms of law. It's a bit hard for me to try and explain this point in English, but I'll try. So what I mean by this is that, for example, parents have a legal power over their underage kids, and that is alright, but parents shouldn't be allowed to make decissions that might result in permanent changes/damage on their kids based on religion. The law should draw a line in this point. And I don't mean rituals such as Catholics' baptism, which is merely symbolic, and if the kid should grow to become an atheist or practice any other relagion, such symbol simply wouldn't hold any meaning for him. But when it comes to the parents having the right to have their kids circumsised for purely religious reasons, for example, or parents refusing that their kids recieve a life-saving blood trasfrussion based on their religious belives... it just doesn't make sense to me that it is legal to let parents do that claiming that it is their right of freedom of religion. A kid who hasn't even learned to talk being circumsized because of religion, is not being circumsised because of his religion but because of his parents' religion. However, if a conselting adult wishes to get circumsized or to refuse a blood transfussion even though it might save their lives, then that is their business and their right.

On the issue of child abuse, I do not believe that chruch can be blamed entirely for what some priests have done. It's not like church teaches priests that abusing kids is expectable or acceptable. However, I do think that the church (the Catholic one, at least) could lower the rates of child abuse if they allowed priests to get married instead of forcing them to live a life of chastity, but I believe the decrease wouldn't be that significant, even if they changed that policy, because I think most people here would agree with me that, even if they hadn't had sex for decades, it wouldn't move them to rape kids. So my point here is that, even if they allowed priests to get married, there will always be some priests abusing kids, and even if there weren't any churches, there would still be child abusers.

On the other hand, I do think religion is a very important source of comfort and hope for the human kind. More often than not, when people is deperate they turn to religion, and they usually find relief in it, whether it is because of the sense of unity that religion gives to people, or because they find someone to conect with on a one on one basis in their chruch's community. That this could also happen in other areas of the communities? That might be true, but it is not a easy to find this in other places, because I've found than when people step into a church they become less selfish and more willing to help others, because of what the church represents to them and what they have been taught. And besides chruch is in fact a great source of charity.

So in conclusion, if I imagine a world without religion, I can't see it being any better than the one we're currently in. I think it'd be the same, if not a bit worse. So what I think is that religion does more good than harm, but not by a great margin though.

#34
Tre's Busted Drumkit

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Religion, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. Most people in this world need something to believe in, some greater purpose for their existence. The thought that we're just an insignificant collection of particles that will, upon our death, return to the great universal soup from whence it came, is something many people are incapable of accepting.

That's where religion comes in. For many people, it's a justification for their existence. It explains how they got here, why they're here, and what's going to happen to them after they're dead. It's like comfort food, in a way. The belief that death isn't the end of being soothes a lot of emotions, and a belief that you'll see a deceased loved one again someday can be a very comforting thought during times of grief.

The problem with religion isn't that it exists, it's what people make of it. When was the last time you read about a Hindu extremist blowing up a plane bound for Mecca? Or a Buddhist radical suicide-bombing a Jewish temple? Or a Taoist fundamentalist shooting up a school full of Christin children?

You haven't. There are two religions in the world that give the rest of religion a bad name: Christianity and Islam. Both have very strong "obey or die" doctrine behind them--the threat of Hell in Christianity and, well, lots of nasty fates prescribed for those who violate Islamic law. They're also very intolerant religions, depending upon how orthodox you are in them, and they're the only two existing religions that have consistently called upon their followers to go out and convert others, by force if necessary. And even still, I know plenty of Muslims. None of them have tried to convert me, let alone shown up at my house with a bomb strapped to their chest. If anything, the Christians I know have done more to try and convert me. The conversations have ranged from simple little one-line hints being dropped to an outright, "How can I make you a Christian today?". But even still, that's a small percentage of Christians, and even the most ardent have backed off when I replied that the second Christianity openly accepted the fact that there are non-Christians in the world and was ok with it, I'd think about abandoning science. That said, firm proof of the Higgs boson changes things again, but we'll discuss that some other time.

Bottom line, religion itself is not bad. It's what you do with it as a believer that determines how good or bad it is in your case. I know a lot of people who use religion as motivation to do good things, and I know too many people who use it as motivation to do awful things. It's unfortunate that the dichotomy exists, and I fear it will only get worse as science moves closer and closer to proving that, while outside forces may well have had a hand in creating humanity, those outside forces were not an omnipotent "God" that created the universe.

#35
CristhyneS

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There are two religions in the world that give the rest of religion a bad name: Christianity and Islam.


I think Judaism also gives religion a bad reputation (as well as Christianity and Islam). I think we tend to be more forgiving towards them because they went through the Holocaust, but if you look at all the conflicts going on with Israel and Palestin, ever since the creation of the State of Israel, the Israeli jewish haven't exactly been perfectly innocent or much less martyrs.



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