Friday, November 20, 2009

What Is So Bad About Religion?

my comments in green
What's So Bad About Religion? AtheistRevolution says
  • Religion is Inherently Divisive
    • labeling children as belonging to various faith traditions about which they may know little
    • segregating schools
    • taboos about marrying out of the in-group
    • [sometimes] dehumanize members of the out-group
    • [sometimes] makes the wholesale slaughter of out-group members permissible
  • Some Elements of Religious Doctrine are Directly Harmful
    • "end times" theology (has this spread to the UK?)
      • little motivation to improve one's world if one is convinced that the end is coming during one's lifetime. c.f. Humanists believe that this is the only life we have and that their is no other world after we die
        • If a politician is convinced that the end of the world is right around the corner, we cannot expect him or her to pursue policies in the long-term interest of our nation and the future generations which will inhabit it.
        • We may even be forced to imagine the same politician attempting to hasten the end through deliberately provoking wars, foreign occupations, and the like. I don't know of any politicians that really think this way - but then I don't live in the USA!
      • how many other institutions or belief systems could lead one to bring about mass destruction to hasten an afterlife? 
        • How many other institutions or belief systems could so effectively motivate the sort of suicide bombings that have become so common in Iraq?  Indeed, what is the psyche of suicide bombers?
      • the stubborn insistence that we cling to such antiquated ethical systems hinders progress in a number of important domains (e.g., human rights, gender equality, reproductive rights, slavery, stem cell research, etc.).
    • Summary
      • What is so bad about religion is that
        • it divides people and demonizes the out-group to the point where virtually any fate inflicted on them can be justified as divinely sanctioned. 
      • What is so bad about religion is that 
        • it fosters a primitive form of morality that hinders progress in virtually any domain beneficial to our modern world. 
      • What is so bad about religion is that 
        • it facilitates the commission of atrocities by good people who are merely pursuing "the divine."
    Read further arguments at Atheist Revolution

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