Religion is Good/Religion is Bad

Throw down and have it out.

Yes: Bartolomé de las Casas, Martin Buber

Yes: Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, John Hagee



My religion is good.
Your religion is bad.


“Religion poisons everything.” - Christopher Hitchens

My religion is beer.

Beer is good.


Religion is a symptom. Nothing more, nothing less. What’s to discuss? Humans are bad, humans are good/gode. If it were possible for religion to influence us, as if human behaviour and its expressions were involved in any sort of cosmic feedback loop, then the human race would be better than it used to be. I see nothing that points to any kind of spiritual evolution.

The absence or presence of God doesn’t affect what happens, only our perception of it. I’m not sure if that is an argument for or against God.

(please, boys, feel free to rip the above to shreds. I enjoy it.)

Well if we’re going to get serious about this, here are a few points to consider:

  1. Is morality an illusion or human projection, like other religious concepts?

  2. Does the word “religion” really mean anything? (Jonathan Z Smith argues no.) If so, what?

  3. If the answer to (1) and (2) are “no” and “yes,” respectively, to what extent do we have a choice in the matter of religion? For example, individuals and their societies seem to be capable of converting from one religion to another, or to/from atheism, but has there ever been any human population without a religion? (The Soviets tried, but failed.)

  4. Following (3), if we really do have a choice, then what (morally speaking) should our choice be? (Of course there doesn’t have to be just one right answer, though for all I know there might be.)

For tens of millions of years, possibly hundreds, our ancestors seem to have practiced small-scale, tribal religions (if that is even the right word) focused on the sort of deities / forces you would expect of hunters and gatherers. 10 thousand years ago some of us switched to mass agriculture, urbanization, empires with bureaucracies, and religions to match. Such societies now dominate the earth, resulting in a situation in which a handful of religions (albeit with great internal diversity) account for the majority of the human population. Recently we have experienced massive social changes, and struggled with the question of what social role(s) to give religion (while the religions themselves have also struggled to find their places).

So, what’s next? What should we hope for? An up-to-date scientific worldview for everyone, unmarred by rituals or vestigial group identities? A sense of community, suitable for raising children and “bringing them up right,” and imbuing our lives with meaning? A flag to rally around as we defend our land and people from our enemies who would strip them from us?

Morality is an illusion of human projection.

Religion is neither god nor bad, religion is dangerous.

For some a strong moral and ethical compass is innate. In others, it is utterly lacking.
…then again…that depends on which brand of morality is the “accepted” litmus test.

I love my God and I love my Jesus but after watching Christine Amanpour’s series,“God’s Warriors”, I don’t know anymore… :eh:

To each all their own…
conditional tense…