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88
114
Positive Negative
Debate Score:202
Arguments:96
Total Votes:228
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 Positive (48)
 
 Negative (48)

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BenWalters(1513) pic



Has religion had a net positive or negative influence on humanity?

Religion generally preaches a positive ideology, and does cause many people to devote their lives to helping others. But intentions are very different to effects, and religion has held humanity back in many ways as well.

Do the postives outweigh the negatives?

Positive

Side Score: 88
VS.

Negative

Side Score: 114

Seriously, take it from someone who is NOT a religious fanatic and stop believing the media.

Side: Positive
4 points

The way I see it, religion was crucial to our early development. The hunger to find answers that we had no clue how to find drove us to come up with reasons, and these reasons not only sated our curiosities so we could get to work, but they also set up morals that most people at the time couldn't just grasp.

We take religion for granted today because we know better. We know why we should be have like decent human beings, and we can explain many of the things we could not. The problem with that is, we have no real idea of what perspectives an average human being had in ancient times, and I'm of the thought that most people back then didn't have the common sense to determine what was right and wrong naturally.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not praising our religions, but they were necessary for our early development. Absolutely necessary. When you think about what we've become, and what we've built, I can say with confidence that religion has had a much more positive than negative effect on humanity. Mainly because we wouldn't be here right now without it.

Side: Positive
2 points

Now, I should clarify a couple of things since this has had time to sift about. I don't think religions are going to be very important in the future.

I tend to think of them as crutches. They help earlier civilizations band together when they would otherwise war each other for food and resources. However, now religions are becoming an excuse for large nations and extremist groups to war. Well, alright, religion's been used as an excuse for quite awhile, but that's one of the unfortunate effects of it. We don't need it anymore. We have science, logic, and reason now, and that, plus compassion are about all the human race needs.

As the world moves further and further along, it becomes more and more apparent that we need to get rid of our crutches; the more we hold onto them, the more they're going to hold us back, because if we keep looking to insist upon dated schools of thought and philosophy, and views that are no longer applicable, our species is going to stagnate and grow dull.

Side: Positive
3 points

Asking if religion has had a net positive or negative influence on humanity is analogous to asking if the human habit of forming ideological alliances with one another has been generally beneficial or harmful.

The "anti-religion" sheep can upvote themselves as much as they like, but it doesn't make their illogical rhetoric any less lame. :)

http://www.createdebate.com/debate/show/ Anti_Religion_Rhetoric_is_lame

Just ask anyone who pipes up about how horrible religion is to define it in their own words and they'll either refuse and bombard you with their own appeal to authority arguments, or they'll offer something up that is quite easy to logically dismantle and expose as nothing more than a veiled "my religion is superior to theirs" diatribe.

I am dying to be shown the error in my thinking about this... so any lurkers who might also be interested....please upvote this until someone rises to my challenge. If the positive side's score makes it higher than the negative there'll be steady steam of potential opponents.

Side: Positive
2 points

We wouldn't be having this debate without religion. I do personally feel that the positives do outweigh the negatives, however that is not to say this couldn't change in the future. It is definitely arguable that religion has given us everything science has, as the two are essentially 2 sides of the same coin. And religion has brought works of art, literature, music, etc.

But there is no disputing the pain it has caused. Much blood has been shed over who's God is better, and we're still no closer to putting this squabbling to bed. In the future, if this continues, then I may flip sides. But for now, we can't ignore the great things we have received from religion.

All this coming from an atheist!

Side: Positive
BenWalters(1513) Disputed
4 points

What scientific advancements has religion brought us? Most major religions have opposed scientific discoveries, they explain that which only God's may do.

Side: negative
ChuckHades(3198) Disputed
4 points

I don't mean that religion on its own brought scientific advancements, in the same way I don't believe that science on its own brought us these advancements. Many discoveries in astronomy and biology never would have happened without people who had challenged religion. Darwin was a christian before discovering evolution. In the same way, a society with no religion lacks a sense of culture. Also, you have to bear in mind the countless universities and schools which were set up for religious purposes. Just look at the renaissance, almost all the great minds from that time were educated in a religious environment.

"Most major religions have opposed scientific discoveries"

This isn't really true at all. Islam brought advanced mathematics, Christian monasteries were the first to store large quantities of knowledge in written form, and Judaism has a rich past in encouraging discovery. I think your premise is unjustified.

Side: Positive
hhioh(454) Disputed
2 points

Many great scientists held religious beliefs and it could perhaps be argued that if they were not religious, their lives may have taken different paths and/or may not have ended up in a situation to discover what they did.

Side: Positive
2 points

no religion no wars. no religion, gays can live happy, in fact no religion no slave trade. you can believe in a religion or set of beliefs but actual organized religion is causing more problems than fixing. Most religious views are good and moral but churches often are hypocritical. coming from a straight religious conservative in a catholic school. have your views don't fight over them and don't question others ability to do what they want.

Side: negative
2 points

Religion has done a positive things in our life. If you look at the history ever since Jesus came He changed the world. He changed people's lives and told people how we are suppose to live and act everyday. You should read the book called "What if Jesus was never been born?" by Dr. James Kennedy. He explains some stuff that happened through out the history and if Jesus was never born we wouldn't have what he explained in the book. I suggest every atheist and agnostic person to read it. Most of the stuff he said was true.

Side: Positive
3 points

Religion has done a positive things in our life.

That is not the debate question. The question is whether it has had a net positive or negative effect. It doesn't matter if religion has done positive things. What does matter is that whether or not it has done more positive than negative things or not. And I don't think that you have proven beyond reasonable doubt that it has.

He changed people's lives and told people how we are suppose to live and act everyday.

Hitler has also changed people's lives and told people how they are supposed to live and act everyday. Does this mean that Hitler has had a net positive influence on humanity?

I suggest every atheist and agnostic person to read it.

I have read it. I think that it is full of bias.

Most of the stuff he said was true.

So which parts are not true then?

Side: negative
BenWalters(1513) Disputed
2 points

If you look at the history of Jesus from a source other than the Bible, it's not all that unlikely that he was never born.

Second, did people take in his message? I see good and bad Christian's, simply following the idea of Jesus does not make people better. If anything, many people in the middle might even become religious, and then think 'I'm obviously a good person, don't need to be nice to them', I've seen it happen. And do you really think that the ideas of Jesus wouldn't have come from somewhere else?

And also, what about a Jesus, with no religion? Simply a moral philosopher? What about other religions? This question has no easy answers.

Side: negative
Cuaroc(8825) Disputed
2 points

If Jesus was never born then half the wars in the worlds would have never started.

Side: Negative
2 points

firstly, let's suppose that there is no religion/belief in this world...

what would happen if that's the case? because there is no religion or belief which human can rely on to do good things, a lot of war could have just happened by now... no peace, human will know no fear against something for committing crimes. say, in Christianity or Muslim , they believe their gods, in Buddhism or Hinduism, they believe 'The Law of Karma' they fear for the consequences they'll get in the afterlife , so that's why they're afraid of committing crimes,or because they want to be happy in the afterlife

Side: Positive
BenWalters(1513) Disputed
2 points

Do you really think that if there was no religion, there would be significantly more wars? There have been millions of deaths in the name of religion, first of all. Second of all, people have evolved to have a natural intuition in regards to morality, killing people is not the standard attitude.

In my experience, the religious people that start wars do it in the name of the greater good, and ignore the idea of the after life. You can also start to prove that theists don't 100% accept an afterlife, or wouldn't suicide rates be higher in theists? If I knew I could go to heaven when I died, and didn't want to do something, what's stopping me from killing myself?

Side: negative
Huahahaha(81) Disputed
2 points

oh well, you got some pretty awesome arguments there..

OK, you said that there have been millions of deaths in the name of religion, first of all. in fact, yes, it's true, but if you look back, it's not like Jesus told his followers to wage war like you said. it's humans' ego which had caused war you know. humans waged wars in the name of their religion, so they can get more support or anything from that religion followers, or even to make all of the war stuffs seem 'right to do'. i bet you know terrorists. yes, they committed crimes in the name of Islam, it sucks, nothing in their Koran tells them to do crimes, it's just simply a misinterpretation of understanding. in fact, not all Muslims are terrorists, most of them are good people.

second, about the (a)theists,

yup, they don't 100% accept or even believe afterlife. but it's up to them, there are penal codes in every countries to control their deeds, no matter where they are, they must abide by the laws.. and one more thing, you wouldn't be able to know whether you'll go to heaven if you died (i don't even think so). it depends on the good things you've done in your life. and what will stop you from killing yourself? your WILL mate, if you already have no interest to live in this world, i bet you wouldn't have disputed my arguments (turn on your computer, and go browsing on the internet). well that means you still don't want to die because you still have the WILL to dispute my arguments again

i look forward to your reply :D

Side: Positive
vandebater(444) Disputed
2 points

no beliefs mean no disagreements and so no conflict no crime no victims etc. people don't hurt other people because they have an "urge" unless they're mentally insane. also atheists don't believe there is no right and wrong they believe in logic. no one logically attacks others for no reason. it is conflicting beliefs which cause problems so no religion less problems.

Side: negative
2 points

First of all, most people who claim religion to be a negative thing talk about the number of wars it has caused etc. which is false and so takes away a large backbone in the 'negative' argument.

Secondly, let us look at the other side of the coin. Has atheism benefited us more? Look as the USSR, with Stalin killing millions under his atheist state, North Korea letting a large proportion of its population starve. Religion more often than not provides a moral compass for nations and (although this isn't always true) it helps a country to act morally.

Thirdly, religion has often been responsible for education facilities and promoting thought, something which is inevitably good for humanity as it advances our thinking and our perception on different situations.

Thirdly, look at the 'great' societies throughout history, most of them have been grounded in religion. One can surely build from this that religion has brought people together as it allows them to have common ground. It also allows a framework for a successful nation to be built upon. You can even look at modern nations, as most of them have a religious grounding. Without the nations we have had, it would have been harder to people to discuss ideas, test theories and move forward as a human race and so from this one could claim that religion has been a positive influence.

Side: Positive
1 point

First of all, most people who claim religion to be a negative thing talk about the number of wars it has caused etc.

So what? That's not the only bone I have to pick with religion. If that is your only opposition to the atheists, then you have not shown beyond reasonable doubt that religion has had a net positive influence.

Has atheism benefited us more?

This is not the debate in question. Whether or not atheism has benefitted more has no bearing on whether religion has had a net positive or negative influence. So your argument here violates Occam's razor. Furthermore, Stalinism is a state religion. The Russians were forced to worship Stalin and Lenin as gods. Indeed, they were revered as gods by some Russians at that time.

Religion more often than not provides a moral compass for nations

This is an unjustified assertion.

look at the 'great' societies throughout history, most of them have been grounded in religion

This is argumentum ad populum. Even if I were to accept that "great" societies were grounded in religion, it still doesn't mean that it has had a net positive influence on humanity. Look at the Ancient Greek societies, they believed that religion and morality were very much separate. Their moral codes were very much not grounded in religion. Thus, your entire argument also commits the genetic fallacy.

One can surely build from this that religion has brought people together as it allows them to have common ground.

And you haven't shown whether this "common ground" is good or otherwise.

Side: negative
Canin88(110) Disputed
1 point

"Secondly, let us look at the other side of the coin. Has atheism benefited us more? Look as the USSR, with Stalin killing millions under his atheist state, North Korea letting a large proportion of its population starve. "

They didn't do these actions because they were atheists. This had nothing to do with whether they were theist or atheist. They were just tyrants.

Side: negative

Up vote for you because you were down-voted without any legitimate response.

Side: negative

Religion is what gave some people the inspiration to live. Listen, religion did not cause war it was human intolerance and those people don't even do what their religion tells them to do so don't say anything about religion being evil or blind or stops science. In my religion we don't want wars or inhumane executions. Not only my religion depicts that no one is allowed to kill a million people in an explosion and claim they did it in the name of their religion, but that the people who do it get punished. Basically people that start holy wars would not have started it if their religion says so, and human intolerance is everywhere before and after religion spread.

Side: Positive
3 points

Listen, religion did not cause war it was human intolerance

Is human intolerance and religion mutually exclusive?

don't say anything about religion being evil or blind or stops science.

Are you saying that religion does not do all these things or that people practicing the religion do not? Be specific.

In my religion we don't want wars or inhumane executions.

What is your religion?

Side: negative
1 point

This question is hard to answer because it apply to to different people but to make this simpler we will concentrate on religions that claim peace. For these religions, human intolerance and the 'peaceful' religion itself is mutually exclusive. The problems start to arrive when stupid religious people like Osama Bin Laden claim that they killed these people in the name of Islam, then that is human intolerance because they themselves don't do what their religion tells them to do. So how can the religion of these men be blamed if the only way they did those bad things was to not follow their religion. I used to be agnostic but now i am a Muslim. When the pope was talking to cosmologists at a meeting, he told them not to research the origin of universe. This is not the Catholic church's fault but the popes's fault. He was weak and could not defend Christianity. So, what did he do? He tried to destroy all chances of anti-christian evidence.

Side: Positive
iamdavidh(4871) Disputed
2 points

._.

That's all well and good.

The supporters of any religions when on a platform where others who may or may not share that religion will hear or see what is being advertised of it, will undoubtedly put it in the best light.

Destpite the best or worst intentions of any religion though, find me one in which none have ever been killed solely in the name of it.

This religion you are speaking of does not exist.

At its core religion serves a sole purpose, that is to give mortal beings the illusion of immortality.

That is it. That is its power. Everything else is decoration.

Because the human psyche is just bright enough to understand all of our impending deaths, but not quite smart enough to grasp it as innevitable and natural, these superstitions have a great power over most.

The original intent of any power is inconsequential, because it can be used however one wishes by whoever weilds it.

And every religion has and can be used for evil.

Taking away relgion is simply taking away a powerful tool,

one that frankly, people really don't have a use for if they are simply honest and thoughtful about mortality.

Side: negative
marcos(74) Disputed
1 point

Oh, really? There have been many reports about people murdering the innocent because their God told them to. And lets not forget The Dark Ages. The Dark Ages was a time when religion was the authority during that time. It was a time when many had died for not following the authority of religion. It was a time when literally all science, technology, and medical advancements came to a complete stop because of religion. But when it came to science, many scientist where killed, banished, and tortured because of their scientific discoveries that went against the teachings of religion. Many of those scientific discoveries were lost, burned, and buried away. Look at the Library of Alexandra. All information of that era, all the history that was lost, all the discoveries that were recorded, were destroyed by those who's actions were influenced by their religion.

And even in today's modern world we see many problems. You say that it's human intolerance that is the cause of these wars, but the reality is that religion is what makes them intolerant, and ignorant. You say people cause the terrible crimes because they don't know what their religion is telling them. So tell me, are you an expert in every religion? Do you know all the teachings of all of these religions? What you don't get is that people can use religion as a valid excuse to do these crimes. It doesn't matter is the religion says it doesn't, people will do that. Look at all the hate crimes against homosexuals, atheist, and anyone else with other religious beliefs.

Side: Negative
2 points

Interestingly enough Atheistic regimes have caused far more deaths than religious ones, however that does not mean that atheism is the cause, rather the more totalitarian the government the more likely a great number of murders etc were committed. SO to anyone who even once mentions the crusades or some other comparable event... Spare me.

Side: Positive
2 points

I am someone who does not believe in god. BUT (besides not letting homosexuals marry and fighting pro-choice) religion is very important in society. It teaches people what is right and wrong and persuades them to do the right thing with promises of a better life (or afterlife)

Side: Positive
2 points

Overall? I would say positive. Religion (in the modern age) has laid down good morals for people to follow.

Side: Positive

I will opine that the positive forces of religion do outweigh the negative forces.

Side: Positive
1 point

Had Christianity and Islam not bee invented (yes, invented), then yes. But I just can't fathom how, after seeing what has been done in the name of Jesus and Allah, how it has.

Other religions, yes. Religion in general, no.

Side: Positive
Huahahaha(81) Disputed
1 point

really? so your point is: you can't stand the fact that many wars have been waged in the name of Allah or Jesus? I've explained this thing in my previous argument, the one that caused war to happen is humans' ego, not religion.

Side: negative
jujujumping(7) Disputed
1 point

Well, humans wouldn't have so big of an ego if they didn't think they were better because of their religion. It is true that racism and wars are not caused directly by religion, but people have crafted them around religion, and thereby linking them. You cannot argue that people have not used religion as an excuse to treat others terribly. And if you say that religion is good, then shouldn't the head of those religions (namely the gods/priests) kick out all the bad people so they don't hurt other innocent people anymore? If religions won't be used to help save lives, and will not degrade immoral people within the religious group, then that group will have to face the consequences of others stereotyping against them.

Side: negative
1 point

If you deal with the more serious atheists, you would find that the number of wars is the least of the problems we atheists have with religion. There is an entire multitude of reasons why I have a bone to pick with religion even if you take armed conflict out of the list.

Side: Positive
1 point

I'm only arguing this side because there is at least one positive thing that has come from religion; change. Yes, if it weren't for religion we may not have the scientific knowledge we have today. It was the ancient Islamic astronomers who collected so much information about planetary motion and disproved the Greek model which was based on ancient Greek religion that placed earth at the center of the universe, that later Christian astronomers based their knowledge on it. Albeit, the Christians still believed Earth was at the center of the solar system, it wasn't until later that that notion was challenged. More importantly, these church supported scholars could not have made as much progress in scientific studies if they'd studied in the private sector. While the Religious leaders sanctioned scientific research in order to give legitimacy to there religious beliefs, the scientists were only seeking the truth, whatever it came to.

Even when Isaac Newton first published "Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica" the church still believed he was doing God's work. Little did they know how liberating this new way of thinking was going to be. After all, it was the oppression of religious doctrine that brought out rebellious thinking. That's what oppression does.

Side: Positive

A small reminder, we are talking about religion not man's religion. Otherwise that would be different. Honestly, I do agree some wars are caused because of people thinking their religion is superior but I don't side the negative because that would religion is the cause of human intolerance. It's like blaming cars for making everyone lazy. It is human intolerance+ religion that causes the problems even though religion is trying to stop human intolerance.

Side: Positive
1 point

Religion has had a very positive influence on humanity. Religion helped people get out of the Middle Ages in Europe. I believe that no matter what religion you are, you are a better person. If people didn't have religions, people would be very bad people. Our religions teach us morals and values. Almost anything we do links back to religion, even if you're a person with no religion, you have probably done or said something concerning religion in a positive way.

Without religion, i believe this world would be chaos, sure, there have been world wars because of religion, but it's NOT the RELIGION that caused these wars, its the PEOPLE. Some people take their religion too seriously and THAT'S what makes the wars. The religion in general, has nothing to do with the decisions of these people.

Side: Positive
1 point

So what you're saying is; I don't have a religion, therefore I'm a bad person. That's not a fair statement given the fact that a lot of Atheists have done good, too. You don't have to belong to a religion to be a good person.

Side: Negative
1 point

Exactly. Look at Bill Gates. He gives billions of his wealth to charity and yet he's atheist. He is also an example that you don't need religion to be moral, you can be moral with logic and reason. For example, I know killing is wrong because you are taking the life of someone else. I don't need a God to help me figure that out.

Side: Negative
1 point

In the end I think that religion is an eneviability. Every culture has had some belief system, some moral code and way of explaining the world. Currently we explain the world therough science and we gain morals from others and society. However we should remember where that societal feeling came from. It is long standing and came from people who used many different beliefs, but in the end it is a huge piece of why societies have structures and morals.

Side: Positive
1 point

Religion has had a positive effect on history because without religion people wouldn't unite!!Countries were able to gain independence because they united under a religion. For example India would not be independent unless freedom fighters emerged and these freedom fighters were of the same religion thus they told the people to unite under their religion and overthrow the British.The US was not there when Britain, India and other Old World countries were present. It was then discovered by Christopher Columbus as a New World country. But how did it quickly develop to be one of the most modernized country in the world. The answer is religion. In the past, a few wars had erupted between the US and Britain for freedom. Because the people united under their religion they gained independence. At the same time slavery was abolished because even slaves are people and they are also under the same religion. I now end my point by saying, "You are free today because you united before under religion".

Side: Positive
1 point

Religion has been our base. It has provided the platform we were and are standing on. Many people under different religions go above while some people stay level or go below their base. Successful people always talk about their past and one thing everyone talks about is religion. Some people say "i was an untouchable but under the religion of Hinduism i was a leader". They always talk positive about religion. Historians and Humanists of the past and present always start from religion to find more about a person. Muslims used Greek and Roman texts to find, do and alter many things. Religion has a positive influence on humanity because without it there would be no Muslims, Hindus, Greeks, Christians etc. We would just be people. We would have no history and history itself would be boring then ever. Religion plays a major role in our daily life. It gives us faith and a reason to believe in God. I end my point by saying "With religion as our base we achieve success, failure or none which helps us in our afterlife".

Side: Positive
12 points

I've yet to see anything good done by an individual in the name of religion they would not have done in the name of human decency should god be absent from that equation. Individually it is more a matter of god being there to take the credit when the deed is done than present to encourage the act.

The charitable, in other words, are charitable with our without god--I submit as proof atheists who are charitable. There are no statistics pointing to any reason to believe that those who think there is a god are kinder, more giving or otherwise more caring than those who do not.

Where religion is a negative is its ability to control masses. And it is only through control that great evils can be justified in the mind of the majority of humans.

Most humans, if a god is not saying it's okay, or even telling them they have to do it, would not participate in stonings, burnings or religious wars.

Sure, other excuses can be made and religion is not to blame for every horrid act. But you cannot take away human nature, you can take away a belief system adopted by the humans with this nature.

Take away religion and humans are no more or less charitable, and I'm fairly certain there are less than half the atrocities our shared humanity has inflicted on one another.

Side: negative
5 points

Absolutely in no way is religion needed for positive behavior in fact I think arguments can easily be made to the contrary, religion is a catalyst that bigotry, racism and ignorance are very easily attached to and fostered from.

Side: Positive
atypican(4878) Disputed
1 point

I've yet to see anything good done by an individual in the name of religion they would not have done in the name of human decency should god be absent from that equation.

As if you had a way of knowing such things.

Individually it is more a matter of god being there to take the credit when the deed is done than present to encourage the act.

Some people are just not prepared to think about what religion is without getting all theistic. :)

The charitable, in other words, are charitable with our without god--I submit as proof atheists who are charitable.

People whose actions are guided by an internally held concept of greater good are more charitable than nihilists.

There are no statistics pointing to any reason to believe that those who think there is a god are kinder, more giving or otherwise more caring than those who do not.

Really?! How did you find out that there were no such statistics?

Where religion is a negative is its ability to control masses.

This would be an argument against government too then.

And it is only through control that great evils can be justified in the mind of the majority of humans.

To the contrary, mindsets that are overly absolutist have a way of voluntarily teaming up.

Most humans, if a god is not saying it's okay, or even telling them they have to do it, would not participate in stonings, burnings or religious wars.

That is an argument for the existence of god. I thought you were atheist!

“The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other - instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.” ~Abbey

you cannot take away human nature, you can take away a belief system adopted by the humans with this nature.

you can't "take away" a belief system unless you are willing to commit murder or genocide.

Take away religion and humans are no more or less charitable, and I'm fairly certain there are less than half the atrocities our shared humanity has inflicted on one another.

If you care to expose it to scrutiny, I think you will find that your position is logically untenable. You argue as if religion was something that can be taken away. My position is that religion can be altered and modified but not done away with.

Side: Positive
4 points

As if you had a way of knowing such things.

Assuming that this is sarcasm, you haven't provided any arguments to support this statement.

People whose actions are guided by an internally held concept of greater good are more charitable than nihilists.

You are setting up a false dilemma and attacking a straw man. It doesn't mean that by rejecting the supernatural we turn into moral nihilists.

Really?! How did you find out that there were no such statistics?

No evidence from you to show that such statistics does not exist.

This would be an argument against government too then.

This is a red herring. It has no bearing on whether religion has had a net positive or negative influence on humanity.

That is an argument for the existence of god.

Really? Why don't you spell the argument out then?

you can't "take away" a belief system unless you are willing to commit murder or genocide.

An unasserted claim.

If you care to expose it to scrutiny, I think you will find that your position is logically untenable.

This is something that you claim, but have not proven.

You argue as if religion was something that can be taken away.

Another unasserted claim.

Side: negative
iamdavidh(4871) Disputed
4 points

1. To my ability to know if one would do good without belief in a god... there are people who do good without belief in god. Now, I understand your point that I have no way of looking through a crystal ball and seeing different scenarios play out. You are demanding a far greater burden of proof from arguments against a god than for one though. This is typical of the religious and you do it a couple of times here as I will point out. For the sake of any meaningful debate, that those who are not religious do good sometimes is proof enough, the onus for evidence to the contrary would fall on you, not me in this instance given that fact.

2. About nihilists... An example of a very small subset of a belief system (or disbelief system or ideology) is not proof of the whole. I'm speaking in broad terms. I could cite groups like "God Hates Fags" and indeed I think the number of these religious groups and their influence far outweighs any harm the comparatively small group of true nihilists have or could do. That's not the argument though. It is if I said something to the effect "Vegetables are better for you than candy" and you said "People who ate bad Brussels sprouts got sick" without even giving an example of one being cured because of candy. I never deny that someone who does not believe in a god could do harm, or even a group in individual instances, I'm talking about a trend.

3. About statistics on whether atheists are as charitable as theists... My proof is in the lack of statistics to the contrary. Asking for statistics of non-existent statistics creates an endless and meaningless cycle. Meanwhile as with point 1, you are asking for more proof from this position than you are willing to provide for yours. You provide nothing to the contrary of this. That argument when taken out of the touchy context of religion sounds like this--Me: "There's no proof people with green eyes are more charitable than people with blue eyes" You: "There's no proof people with green eyes are not more charitable therefore people with green eyes are more charitable."

4. This would be an argument against government too then.

It could be a good argument about some governments. It is not a good argument against governments where individuals (instead of a god) have a say, and where laws can be changed to adapt to humanity, instead of written in stone demanding humanity change for the chiseled rock. It is a horrible argument against democratic governments actually.

5. About most of humanity being incapable of atrocities without "divine" influence and your claim that this is an argument that a god exists and you thought I was an atheist... Good job not following earlier inclinations to mistakenly counter general statements of human psyche with individual examples of the opposite, like citing some atheist serial killer or something. Hopefully it is a sign you accept that where most humans' mentality lies is in a place where, unless extreme circumstances prevail, they in fact would not burn someone for being a witch or fly a plane into a building or similar example. That these people would need to justify it. My point being that only a god could be justification in the minds of most is very relevant. However, being atheist I realize belief in a non-existent god is just as powerful as the real thing. It is not a god influencing people who commit atrocities in the name of god in reality, it is only in their head. Thus it would have been better if they did not believe in this god.

“The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other - instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals.” ~Abbey

Sometimes. However it is not as if young men (and women) would not also die fighting eachother in this instance as well. They simply would not have to travel as far. Perhaps Abbey meant petitioning their government to avoid war? Instead of actually waring with the government... I certainly hope so.

6 About an inability to take away religion without genocide or war... Maybe. The number of those who do not believe in god is growing somewhat relative to population, but very, very slowly. Since I was not threatened with death myself in order to catalyst my switch from indoctrination to freedom, I can only assume other humans are capable of the same. At risk of a demand for statistics, I'd say it is fair to guess most atheists were once religious, the logic being A-theists have more kids. B-theists more often raise their kids to be theists. C-The number of atheists is growing. It seems mathematically impossible that most atheists were not once religious, and that they changed their mind without threat of violence.

Side: negative
Uspwns101(445) Disputed
1 point

Define "Good". Because your definition of good and many religions definitions of good are entirely different making your entire argument suspect.

Side: Positive
iamdavidh(4871) Disputed
2 points

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/good

I didn't realize the actual definition of good was up for debate here. It would not be above many a theist though to change that definition to fit a narrow perspective. Generally, they would at least bother to define it themself instead of simply dismissing an argument based on their own confusion about the term's meaning.

The debate is a positive or negative influence on humanity though, so if the term good is a point of contention simply replace that with "positive" and it should all clear up for you.

Side: negative
7 points

Personal belief and faith are completely acceptable, I can have faith in that my vehicle will safely get me to work. Though it is not a truth it is a belief, and faith is a belief put into action. Belief essentially being based off of personal experience, since everyone experiences different things throughout their lives hosting different beliefs is something everyone does.

However, when one takes their personal belief and believes in it so strongly that they begin believing that their ideology is correct and those whom do not believe the same are incorrect that is when religion comes into play. As a religion does not have to be reasons for why the universe has come into being, it can be as simplistic as a fundamental set of beliefs and practices; though generally believed in by a group of people could even be believed in by a singular person.

For example: Joecavalry believes that Sunday should be a day of grilling and football. He believes this so strongly that those whom believe anything different are wrong, he will argue his position that Sunday being the day before the workweek deserves to be a day of relaxation filled with grilled food and a sport played with the skin of a pig. Not only does this belief hurt himself, it hurts his relationship with other people. As Joe will argue his position to the grave, and hears no other sides. Because of his strong belief in Sunday grilling and football he has missed great opportunities and missed wonderful things. Since personal religion can evidently be negative, imagine that closed minded thought process being branched out among millions of people in an organized manner. Your average organized religion teaches you that your religion is right, and that the others are, of course, incorrect.

With the thought process that I am correct, my fellow believers are correct, and you are wrong is obviously a detrimental way to think. You can try and lightly bring up the ideology of evolution around certain people and they will become not only upset but even hostile at the mere mentioning of the idea.

Mob mentality is something that religion definitely creates, as the individual average Joe would never do things that people have done over the years without the prompting of someone who is preaching, in the minds of the listeners and believers, absolute truths ( NAZI Germany, the crusades etc. ).

Throughout history people have taken a personal belief and turned them into the beliefs of their religion, then as those whom do not believe and reject the lunacy are essentially thought of as people attacking the religion. Which is where ignorance gets amalgamated with religion. The first thought that comes to mind is the positions behind homosexuals and their restrictive rights as human beings. People have been told that homosexuals are bad for society, and with the negative thought processes they have become a hated group of people by the majority. It is almost funny how people when asked if there should be equal rights for all, the winning side is always by a landslide.

People can be tricked into believing things simplistically due to someone in a position of power stating that whatever he/she wants or does not want directly corresponds to whatever religious group he/she is identifying with. Then you have people who are taking in 'absolute truths' and being directed into believing certain ideals and leading people into believing that certain religious groups ought to be hated for their atrocities or that some religions are better than others...

Religion has been and will more than likely always be a tool for manipulation. Using the mixture of fear, hatred, ignorance, added into religious belief gives those in positions of power the ability to direct people down paths they would normally never go down by themselves. If the action is believed to be justified by any given persons religion whomever is directing the manipulation has nearly 100% support from the ignorant followers whom would blindly do as they are told, whether it be killing witches, bombing churches, schools, or embassies, works of art destroyed, child abuse, and countless other atrocities that have been linked to people whom have been influenced by someone puppeteering their religion so that whatever is essentially wanted will be accomplished at whatever cost in the mind of any given extremist leader.

When it all comes down to it, I think religion has had a net negative influence on society.

Side: negative
atypican(4878) Disputed
0 points

However, when one takes their personal belief and believes in it so strongly that they begin believing that their ideology is correct and those whom do not believe the same are incorrect that is when religion comes into play.

I certainly do think that religion intrinsically entails certain forms of intolerance. I know from experience though that there are religious ideologies that truly value diversity. Whether one thinks of themselves a secular or religious, no one tolerates diversity of core values. The thing about ideology is that people's actions are based on it. You would be an idiot not to resist a spreading ideology you recognize as contrary to your interests. Suppose your next door neighbor believes it's their right to walk into your house whenever they please a take things without asking. If you think their belief is incorrect, according to the logic you presented this makes you :O a practicer of religion.

Your average organized religion teaches you that your religion is right, and that the others are, of course, incorrect.

As far as fundamental tenets go, it's not just your average organized religion that won't tolerate variance but all of them regardless of how organized they are, or whether they are thought of as "religious" or not.

With the thought process that I am correct, my fellow believers are correct, and you are wrong is obviously a detrimental way to think.

That thought process is not necessarily obvious or detrimental.

You can try and lightly bring up the ideology of evolution around certain people and they will become not only upset but even hostile at the mere mentioning of the idea.

I know what you mean! But I've noticed that vehement resistance against attempts to challenge one's pet assumptions is by no means peculiar to those who identify as religious.

Mob mentality is something that religion definitely creates

I'd blame lazy habits of thinking and cowardice.

the individual average Joe would never do things that people have done over the years without the prompting of someone who is preaching, in the minds of the listeners and believers, absolute truths ( NAZI Germany, the crusades etc. ).

So is it tyranny that causes slavery or the reverse?

those whom do not believe and reject the lunacy are essentially thought of as people attacking the religion.

To reject the lunacy one cannot avoid saying "I am correct and you are wrong"

Which is where ignorance gets amalgamated with religion.

There might have been something to "love thine enemy" after all. :)

[taken purposefully out of context] some religions are better than others...

Contrary to the emerging orthodoxy you support, some religions are better than others. Just as it's true that some people are healthier than some others.

Religion has been and will more than likely always be a tool for manipulation.

So will hands, words, speech, government etc..

Using the mixture of fear, hatred, ignorance, added into religious belief gives those in positions of power the ability to direct people down paths they would normally never go down by themselves.

An argument against those in positions of power adding fear, hatred and ignorance into religious belief, isn't an argument against religion itself. An argument against the abuse of something isn't an argument against it's use.

Side: Positive
6 points

Volumes have been written on this topic, and this forum is far too limited to bring the full evidence to bear for both sides. Briefly, lets look at some of the fundamentals of the major religions that have impacts on the world today, and since many of these posts have spiraled in to discussions on war, lets skip that point, too. What remains are bigotry and homophobia (Christianity), fairy tales (creationism), widespread repression of women and brutal, unjust punishments (Islam), class repression (Hinduism), state subsidized robbery (Judaism) and murder and extremism (all of them!). Ironically, even today's atheist leaders are guilty of the same intolerance they level against the religious, and this too is yet another negative consequence of religion in the world today. And this is by no means the complete list of today's ills. Looking at history, we would need volumes. While there is no question religion has done some remarkable things in the world, it has done so at a terrible cost. Historically, it may have had a place; that's another topic. The major religions of today are nothing more than anchors miring society in the past, forcing people to cling to doctrine created centuries or millennia ago and promoting backward ideals that have no place in a modern, enlightened society. The net effect of major religions hold us back as individuals, and hold us back as a species.

Side: negative
5 points

Negative of course. The biggest reason we have so much conflict in the world today is because of religion. The War against Terror is just against terrorism. But what do we Americans do? We discourage Islam in a country that says everyone has 'freedom of religion'. People use religion to justify their actions. The Holocaust persecuted everyone who was thought as inferior; namely Jews. Christians are supposed to love everyone but many bully homosexuals, practice racism, and they are so stuck on not committing sin that they fail to face reality. Instead of trying to fix a problem themselves, they pray to their God to fix it for them. 9/11= Islam and Christianity clashing. The Five Pillars of Islam are supposed to be practiced everyday. But I don't see the Taliban or Al Quida giving to the poor.

Side: negative
3 points

Religion has been responsible for a huge amount of negativity such as the crusades, ethnic cleansing, honor rape, the witch trials ect. ect.

Side: negative
1 point

Actually the crusades were not because of religion many people ad many reasons as to why they joined the crusades. But, this is what you should know, THE POPE WAS A LIAR!!!!! He told everyone to die for their religion and that they are being attacked by "infidels", when all the pope wanted was power! The want for power started the crusades and the pope insisted it was for Christianity.

Side: Positive
Uspwns101(445) Disputed
1 point

Honestly... the holocaust caused by religion, hardly. The fact that Jews have a religion of their own had very little to do with the reasoning behind the holocaust.

Side: Positive
Maplecat(70) Disputed
0 points

BUT, with average day people, it actually helps them make the right choice. For example: WWJD (What would jesus do)

Side: Positive
3 points

Just saying most wars have been based around religion........ so yea negative

Side: negative
hhioh(454) Disputed
3 points

You wildly claim that most wars have been a result of religious intentions, which is false, and I think only reaffirms the stereotypes associated with religion held by many ignorant people.

Supporting Evidence: Only 7% due to religion (www.godandscience.org)
Side: Positive
BenWalters(1513) Disputed
1 point

I agree, saying most wars being a result of religion needs proof before you can say it just like that, which you probably won't find, but the point still has some validity, what level of murder is acceptable before it overcomes the good religion invariably brings?

Side: Negative
1 point

If you think that that is the only bone that atheists have to pick with religion, then you are one great ignoramus.

Side: negative
Uspwns101(445) Disputed
1 point

This is a common misconception one that I can safely say is false.

Side: Positive
3 points

Because it wastes your time and limits your actions even if they are good.

Side: negative
2 points

Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things, that takes religion. ........ WE DO NOT NEED RELIGION.... If we didn't have it maybe we would be more advanced and more united

Side: negative
2 points

I am not a person that doesn't believe in God. I also know and believe that religion must bring people together. The sad thing is that, it affects the human race negatively more than it does positively.

Religion is basicly between God and the person only, that is right I believe?

We can say that there are countless positive effects of religion but one must be blind to ignore how awfully negative effect it has on the human race.

All these "holy books", "saviors", "holy places" pull us humans apart from eachother... Each religion forbids something else, and people actually form different groups. Unfortunately, religion has been used for political issues.

Religion says people who don't believe in God are going to "Hell". How can that have a positive influence on humanity? People want to have free thoughts and not feel guilty because of their beliefs, ideas!

Religion brings people apart, and literally puts tags on them.

Many people think all Muslims are terrorists? When I say I am Muslim, I am tagged as a terrorist!

Religion is something very private, like I said between God and human. But materializing religion only ends up with wars, and enmity.

Side: negative
1 point

negative becous it just causes war but also good becouse u choose what u believe

Side: negative

Religion has caused countless wars and murders. There is always someone who wants to justify his killings by using God's name.

Side: Negative