Author Topic: Good Things Religion has Done  (Read 28163 times)

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Offline Dynamic Dragon

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2013, 05:15:25 pm »
There have been a number of people who got off a destructive habit at least in part because of religion.
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Offline Caitshidhe

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2013, 05:58:32 pm »
...yeah, and? That's not inherently because of religion but because religion was the coping mechanism that particular person found most effective when it came to kicking a bad or destructive habit. It's no different than having needlepoint or jogging or kickboxing or writing poetry as a coping mechanism. That has nothing to do with the inherent goodness of any of those things, just that this one happens to work for that specific person.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 06:01:28 pm by Caitshidhe »
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Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2013, 06:36:29 pm »
If we can agree that religion isn't inherently good, wouldn't it make sense to say that religion isn't inherently bad, either?
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Offline Saturn500

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2013, 06:43:35 pm »
If we can agree that religion isn't inherently good, wouldn't it make sense to say that religion isn't inherently bad, either?


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Offline Caitshidhe

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2013, 08:06:09 pm »
Of course.
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2013, 10:53:24 pm »
The religious moral code, flawed as it is, is still better than some of the alternatives. Many people have been driven to become better versions of themselves by religion.

"Everything is part of the Great Plan of a benevolent being" can be more comforting than "Shit happens, the universe doesn't care about you", to some people. And, though it goes against my Deeply Held Principles, there are times when comfort is more important than the truth. Rare times. But still.

I suspect this could be done equally well or better by non-religious institutions, but we work with what we have.

If we can agree that religion isn't inherently good, wouldn't it make sense to say that religion isn't inherently bad, either?
I don't disagree with the conclusion, but I don't see how it follows from the premise.
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Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2013, 10:59:40 pm »
...Hmm, I see how that came out now.

Here's a better version of what I was trying to say:

If the good things done in the name of religion can't be attributed to religion, then why should the bad things done in the name of religion be attributed to it?
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Offline Sigmaleph

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2013, 11:03:21 pm »
Ah, I see your point. Thanks for clarifying.
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Offline Caitshidhe

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2013, 11:11:45 pm »
...Hmm, I see how that came out now.

Here's a better version of what I was trying to say:

If the good things done in the name of religion can't be attributed to religion, then why should the bad things done in the name of religion be attributed to it?

Well, when the bad things are done as part of a literal following of what a particular religious text says, it's not too far off the mark to attribute such a thing to religion. For example, whipping and/or stoning people for extremely minor 'crimes', or forcing a rape victim to marry her attacker, or killing someone for daring to work on the Sabbath.
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Offline Witchyjoshy

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2013, 11:57:01 pm »
Ah, I see your point. Thanks for clarifying.

Eh, least I could do for a post that's really wonky in retrospect.

...Hmm, I see how that came out now.

Here's a better version of what I was trying to say:

If the good things done in the name of religion can't be attributed to religion, then why should the bad things done in the name of religion be attributed to it?

Well, when the bad things are done as part of a literal following of what a particular religious text says, it's not too far off the mark to attribute such a thing to religion. For example, whipping and/or stoning people for extremely minor 'crimes', or forcing a rape victim to marry her attacker, or killing someone for daring to work on the Sabbath.

True, to an extent, but following a religion doesn't necessitate following every rule or bit of dogma that religion provides.  Everyone picks and chooses pieces of their religion, or has pieces of religion picked and chosen for them.

People who adhere dogmatically enough to a religion to do those kinds of things don't count as "good people doing evil things" to me.

Of course, this becomes a problem in situations where people consider their religion's holy book to be the literal word of god, instead of it being man's record of the divine.  This is where things like fundamentalism come from (though by far not the only source of it)

As far as I know, I can't think of any place in the Bible or the Torah where it actually claims the entire book is the literal word of God.  Then again the thing's so vast that I'm surprised I know anything about it at all.  It, like the serpent being the devil, seems like a relatively modern interpretation.
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Offline Flying Mint Bunny!

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2013, 07:48:18 am »
There have been a number of people who got off a destructive habit at least in part because of religion.

Although I agree that religion has contributed good as well as bad to the world, I don't think that's a good example.

Personally I think that Twelve Step type programs where a persons addiction is used as an opportunity to convert them are morally wrong.

Offline Jack Mann

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2013, 10:59:14 am »
A lot of churches actually use their resources to help take care of the poor.  A lot of them, especially in this country, don't ask if the people are Christian or not because it's more important to be helping people than to convert them.

In Muslim countries, similar acts happen, as charity is one of the pillars of Islam.  If you don't give to the poor, they are taught, you are not a true Muslim.

Tammy Faye Messner was one of the first people to bring national attention to the AIDS epidemic of the 80's.  She'd bring these people in, junkies and gays, and she'd ask people to help them.  Sometimes with prayer, yes, but also to help get them medical care and to try to find a cure.  She did this because her understanding of Christianity meant you were supposed to help people, whether or not they were sinners.  She might not have approved of their lifestyles, but they needed help, and by God, she was going to help them as best she could.

Have these people also done bad things, often in the name of the same religion?  Sure.  A lot of the same churches have campaigned against gay marriage.  Many Muslims support violence against those they view as heretics.  Tammy Faye was, if not directly involved, at least complicit with her husband's mismanagement of Church funds.  But they also did some good things for their religions.
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Offline Old Viking

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2013, 04:03:50 pm »
The comfort value of a belief is a shaky prop at best.  And "They've also done some good" is hardly a ringing endorsement.  I often wonder where we'd be if all the human energy, ingenuity and dedication devoted to religion throughout the ages had been directed toward human betterment.
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Offline Dynamic Dragon

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2013, 04:05:30 pm »
The comfort value of a belief is a shaky prop at best.  And "They've also done some good" is hardly a ringing endorsement.  I often wonder where we'd be if all the human energy, ingenuity and dedication devoted to religion throughout the ages had been directed toward human betterment.
Often, religion and human betterment go hand-in-hand.
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Offline Meshakhad

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Re: Good Things Religion has Done
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2013, 04:08:07 pm »
Even if religion had never been invented, all that energy would have gone towards developing what we would call secular ideologies.
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