ForumTouchy Subjects ► Religion
Religion seems to be the root of a lot of controversial problems nowadays, and I don't see the purpose in it, other than a coping method I guess? But other than that, why do we waste countless days of our life looking up to something that we aren't even sure exists? Stemming off of that, how hard would it be for humanity to drop religion entirely? Religion over the years has been nothing other than a means to gain power over other people, and people who didn't agree to it, they were killed.
  
Aspen said:
Religion over the years has been nothing other than a means to gain power over other people, and people who didn't agree to it, they were killed.
I don't think its accurate to say that its "nothing more" than that.

If religion didn't offer anything to anybody, it couldn't be used to convert or control anyone when its used badly unless they offered something in exchange.

I think to better understand religion you could try seeing it through the eyes of someone who believes in the religion and listen to them to get a better understanding of what they get out of it and how it impacts their life.

You might be surprised to hear their own take on it, some religious people are self aware and aren't the hive mind many of us suspect they are looking from the outside in.
  
How is religion in particular a coping mechanism whereas other beliefs are not?
  
Aspen said:
But other than that, why do we waste countless days of our life looking up to something that we aren't even sure exists?

Let's see..... Pascal's Wager, Russell's Teapot, and I'll throw in social indoctrination. Also, the fact that most humans are moral, and so creating a moral universe for them to empathize with feels better than a cold and unfeeling one. It's called faith for a reason. As in, there's not going to be definitive proof, you have to have faith that it exists. Religious worshippers could just as easily ask you to disprove the existence of god(s).


Aspen said:
Religion over the years has been nothing other than a means to gain power over other people, and people who didn't agree to it, they were killed.

Sources? Because I can say:
  • That a majority of mathematics and engineering came from Islamic nations during the middle ages, because Islam itself (as in, written into the Quran) values education and knowledge[1]. Ever heard of Algebra? Negative numbers? Arabic Numerals?
  • Early Muslim countries (Muhammad himself) allowed religious freedom for Jews and pagans despite disagreeing on beliefs[2]
  • Muslims in general get a bad rep from their extremely vocal minority. A good portion of them are fairly progressive in terms of inter-faith interactions and being pro-science/pro-knowledge.
  • Most art (especially theatre) was used to promote the gods. If you like entertainment like films or music, chances are it can trace its roots to worship. [3][4]
< I might add more examples/sources if I feel like it later >
Religion is a social norm and a way of life. It's got way more depth to it than most atheists/agnostics realize, and discounting it as "just a church and a holy book" is a strawman argument.

So I want sources that it was used solely for power (I'll grant you that, yes, a some major religions were corrupt at one point or another, but not all the time). Religious persecution I'll give you, but I'll also point out that many groups didn't do religious persecution.
  
KyIIjoy said:
Muslims in general get a bad rep from their extremely vocal minority.
We can't just pretend there's the entire nation of Saudi Arabia where is dangerous not to be a Sunni Muslim. Even the Shiite Muslims aren't safe from discrimination.

That's not a vocal minority, that's like one of the heights of Islamic economic and cultural powers right now.

And forget about womens' rights, and I'm tired of acting like its not downright deadly dangerous to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Saudi Arabia.

Source for all this was anecdotal from a Shiite Muslim flat mate who was a student from Saudi Arabia.

Historically, Islam has been a lot better than this, though. Even in Afghanistan before the US backed Taliban took over they were pretty chillaxed there.
  
We can't just pretend there's the entire nation of Saudi Arabia where is dangerous not to be a Sunni Muslim. Even the Shiite Muslims aren't safe from discrimination.

Oh, yeah, I didn't really mean the Middle East. The Muslim powers are pretty terrible from a human rights perspective. I more meant "practicing Muslim-Americans", which, tbh, is probably the minority. But we can't pretend like they aren't doing what Christian England and Catholic Rome (and secular modern China!) hadn't already been doing for centuries.
  
I dunno, you can't tar all Muslims with the same brush, and it certainly doesn't excuse the west from its history, but Islam was a religion of conquest. Mohammed was a warlord, his descendants were warlords, the distribution of Islam is the consequence of as much war, slavery and bloodshed as Europeans.

Islamic mathematics and engineering are something to be grateful for, but we need to remember that after the 13th century that all came to a rather violent close in the Middle East. Mathematics flourishes in societies that are curious, it's not specific to any religion. The Catholic church (yes seriously) drove as much innovation as the House of Wisdom in its day. Most religions and societies have taken both stances, these days religion does not drive innovation, these days it's driven by post-enlightenment secular universities.

My point is: religion has both helped and hindered innovation to varying degrees at various times, it's probably a neutral player: the culture and people in it are as likely to use it to excuse anti-intellectualism as they are to use it to raise education up. For every Boko Haram or Ken Ham there are serious scientists looking for serious answers in real universities alongside their atheist colleagues.
  
I think it's become a distracting trope that whenever we discuss religious intolerance, we inevitably get reminded that Islam was super-tolerant a thousand years ago. Even if that's true, it's obviously changed since then, so how does that help us now.

@KyIIjoy
By my reckoning Muslim-Americans constitute 0.01% of Muslims. About as minor a minority as you can get.
  
Religion can provide existential comfort, a sense of meaning, social structure, and a social safety net. It makes sense that it would be appealing to many.

Naturally, when it becomes a political power, it can be turned to greed evil just like any other political organization. I think it can be a bit more dangerous due to the belief/faith aspect, however, as well as when religious groups develop cult-like aspects to bring in people who are alone or unhappy.
  
Concise and accurate.
  
All the smart people on the site having a discussion
  
praise god, i am one of many of the religious people.
  


This song started playing in my head after reading cheese man's reply, haha.
  
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