Post Reply Religion, Does it have a place in society?
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Posted 9/4/08
Does religion have a place in society? Does it benefit mankind, or does it hamper mankind? It’s a highly debated question that’s been discussed and fought over for ages.

John Bowker, author of “Is God a Virus,” argued that people are genetically predisposed to religion because it serves the basic biological need of uniting people under a common and structure. Richard Dawkins…disagrees.

Emile Durkheim, who pioneered research into this subject, concluded that people cannot live without the organized social structure that religion provides. He also argued that religions are more likely to create harmony than secularism because it teaches social virtues that encourage triumph over primitive desires and emotional impulses.

The twentieth century psychoanalyst Erich Fromm attested that religion is often a necessity for healthy psychological development. According to Fromm, religion is an ideal crutch. Basically, the Catholic Church is like a company that hands out “mental” wheel chairs.

So what about us? What do we think? Personally, I think that organized religion is unnecessary, superfluous, and (except in a fascistic sense,) counterproductive. I’m far from the first to preach about how religion should be a personal experience. Buddha and Jesus Christ spoke about religions as a personal experience. They didn’t discuss political evils, but provided guidelines for behavior and happiness in individual circumstances.
However, some religions aren’t applicable to this. Many religions cannot exist except as political bodies and organizations: Islam, Judaism, and many branches of Christianity.

Now, we’ve arrive at my pet-peeve. People take things and use them for something they’re not meant to do and then get mad when the results are bad. Christianity, for example, wasn’t created as a governmental system. Yet, that what early zealots made it into! Kierkegaard heavily criticized this, referring to the church as hollow and corrupt. Kierkegaard and I agree-religions like Christianity aren’t meant to be used to run nations.

It’s like when Japan made Shinto their national religion in order to motivate people for WWII. It didn’t work, and Shinto lost her luster. She’s steadily regained it over time, but the damage to that gem isn’t something that can be easily repaired. Shinto is a beautiful religion, but what it became was a hideous tool for manipulation.

You see, I find it so odd. Shinto developed before civilization. The founders of the religion were so closely tied to nature that they didn’t have a word to describe it. There was no diversity-nothing to compare nature to. Nature was simply the world, and all there was too it. Why in the world would anyone think it useful as political being? That’d be like trying to run a nation based on a Buddhist church.

Buddhism is a great personal philosophy, but it’s not applicable to politics! Buddha clearly wasn’t trying to start a new political party, after all. Jesus Christ, likewise, didn’t care if he had a large following or not. In truth, he was a very down to earth person who got to know his disciple very personally…

This being said, organized religion has caused a lot of harm to humanity. The Crusades, the holocaust, the inquisitions, the middle-eastern crises…these are only a few examples. Yet, it seems that even organized religion does more good than bad.

Let’s take, for example, an Islamic country. Saudi Arabia. Being run by Islamic officials it is an incredibly bellicose nation. As a matter of a fact, it spends a greater percentage of its GDP on war and military than any other nation-a full 10%. Compare that to Japan’s 1% and America’s 2.7%.

Obviously this element of Islam’s influence is evil, at least from our value system. However, what many people don’t know is that one of the five pillars of Islam-Zakaah-urges Muslims to donate a portion of their wealth to charity at least once a year. In recognition of this Saudi Arabia donates 15% of its GDP to charities all across the world.

They do not discriminate either. Friend or foe, people in trouble receive relief all across the world thanks to Islam. In this case Saudi Arabia focuses on areas struck by natural disasters, disease, and starvation.

Now imagine, if you would, that America was an Islamic nation. Could you picture how much better the world would be if 15% of America’s GDP was circulating around the world in the form of relief for millions of starving men, women, and children? Building homes, schools, churches, providing clean water, clean food, clothing, education, medicine?

Statistically organized religion does more good than bad for humanity. However, I still dislike it for the same reason I dislike fascism. I do not believe the “greater good” justifies the evil. Organized religion may save more lives than it takes…but it still takes lives.
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Posted 9/28/08 , edited 9/28/08
Hello.
I myself believe religion plays a significant role in the society.

For example, when people have problems in their lives,many of them turn to religion as a form of salvation. We can just randomly flip a sacred book and find a quote inside it which will help guide us to solve our problem, or to help us to at least not think about our problem for a moment.

Religion is a form of belief for everyone,but when it is misused by people,religion is despised. is this the fault of anyone?
Can we blame the religion? Of course not. I believe all religions spread a 'peace message'.
With religion,there are religious wars,terrorism based on religion,and whatnot.
But without religion,wars occur regardless. And most of these wars occur because of people's greed. Greed over money,greed over power,etc.
Religion actually helps in some way,because it gives people an ethical guide as to how to behave in the right way so everyone can live together in harmony,and some problems in the world such as hunger in LDCs (Less Developed Countries) can be solved/are being solved.

To counter/agree with some of the stuff SeraphAlford said....


Many religions cannot exist except as political bodies and organizations: Islam, Judaism, and many branches of Christianity.
First of all, I have to disagree with this. Islam, Judaism nor the branches of Christianity you speak of are "religions-as-politics",so to speak. Many people who are in these religions are not even involved in politics. And these religions do exist outside of the political world. Unless you can provide some proof,it just seems wrong for you to make a point like this. Because you are offending many people of the religions you are talking about. But I agree that

religions like Christianity aren’t meant to be used to run nations.


Secondly....

Let’s take, for example, an Islamic country. Saudi Arabia. Being run by Islamic officials it is an incredibly bellicose nation. As a matter of a fact, it spends a greater percentage of its GDP on war and military than any other nation-a full 10%. Compare that to Japan’s 1% and America’s 2.7%.
I suppose you'll have to count by the AMOUNT rather than the PERCENTAGE because America has an annual GDP so much higher than that of Saudi Arabia's. So the cost spent could be similar. We dont know.

Next,

Obviously this element of Islam’s influence is evil, at least from our value system.
Islam is not an evil influence. It is the people who are misusing Islam to conduct their deeds.

Then,

Now imagine, if you would, that America was an Islamic nation. Could you picture how much better the world would be if 15% of America’s GDP was circulating around the world in the form of relief for millions of starving men, women, and children? Building homes, schools, churches, providing clean water, clean food, clothing, education, medicine?
Okay. I totally agree with you on this one. The world needs more money circulation from rich countries like America to save more people.

And finally....

Statistically organized religion does more good than bad for humanity. However, I still dislike it for the same reason I dislike fascism. I do not believe the “greater good” justifies the evil. Organized religion may save more lives than it takes…but it still takes lives.
True, greater good does not justify for evil. But without evil,will we know the true meaning to 'good'?
Besides,everyone dies anyway,regardless of whether a person belongs to a religion. Religion will only help a person return to God at a faster rate than people who do not have religions. Then again, if a person has not done enough good deeds, he/she cant return to Heaven.

man,that was long
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Posted 9/28/08

shizukakimura wrote:

First of all, I have to disagree with this. Islam, Judaism nor the branches of Christianity you speak of are "religions-as-politics",so to speak. Many people who are in these religions are not even involved in politics. And these religions do exist outside of the political world. Unless you can provide some proof,it just seems wrong for you to make a point like this. Because you are offending many people of the religions you are talking about. But I agree that.


I didn’t say that all Muslims are political. I said that Islam was political. Not only does it provide a guide for personal life, it also gives a set of rules for how a nation should be governed.

This is also true of Judaism.

As far as Christianity, when I said that it wasn’t meant to be political I was talking about Christ’s specific Christianity. Some branches of this religion rely not only on the revolution of Jesus, but also the old testament which contains Mitzvah, and these set out political laws.

Now, most modern Christians believe that the law was nailed to the cross. This, however, isn’t true of some of the more traditionalistic denominations.


I suppose you'll have to count by the AMOUNT rather than the PERCENTAGE because America has an annual GDP so much higher than that of Saudi Arabia's. So the cost spent could be similar. We don’t know.


America spends a lot more money on military than Saudi Arabia. However, America’s economic and politic condition isn’t as precarious as Saudi Arabia’s. In other words, America doesn’t -need- the money it’s spending on its military. Saudi Arabia does.


Islam is not an evil influence. It is the people who are misusing Islam to conduct their deeds.


These people aren’t intentionally misusing Islam. They’re mislead in their own logic of what Islam expects of them. This being said, they couldn’t misunderstand Islam if Islam did not exist. So it -is- Islam’s influence, but it’s not necessarily Islam’s fault.

Islam is a great and peaceful religion.


True, greater good does not justify for evil. But without evil,will we know the true meaning to 'good'?
Besides,everyone dies anyway,regardless of whether a person belongs to a religion. Religion will only help a person return to God at a faster rate than people who do not have religions. Then again, if a person has not done enough good deeds, he/she cant return to Heaven.


You’re a Muslim, huh? Well, Christians don’t believe that. Christians believe that all people who choose God are forgiven of their sins.

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Posted 9/29/08

SeraphAlford wrote:



First of all,thanks for clarifying my doubts.
And no,I'm not Muslim. My 'religion' believes in the spread of Tao (loose translation: The Way) so everyone can return to Heaven. This is because we believe that all religions have the same origin and our aim is for everyone to Return to Origin. Which is one of the reasons i cannot stand religious disputes/discrimination. (and no,there's no name for my 'religion' which is the reason i put the apostrophies at the word religion.)

I myself am a believer of God, but I personally feel this:
Just because we choose God does not mean we are forgiven of our sins. To me it just sounds like "Oh we are forgiven of our sins because we have chosen God."
I need someone/anyone to answer me this: In what way are your sins forgiven if you choose God? I know Christians repent to God everyday so they can be forgiven,but is this really the case? Just because we repent? I agree we repent so we can learn from our mistakes, but is it not better that we do not even do some things in the first place so we have no sins to repent for? What,then,happens to those people who have "chosen God" and go to Hell instead? They havent repented enough? They've done too many sins to be forgiven? What?

These are just personal opinions based on my own thoughts. I do not mean to harm anyone. If you dont like me saying/questioning all these,you can scold/tell me,just so I know I have done something you dont like,and I can apologise if you want me to.
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Posted 9/29/08

shizukakimura wrote:
First of all,thanks for clarifying my doubts.
And no,I'm not Muslim. My 'religion' believes in the spread of Tao (loose translation: The Way) so everyone can return to Heaven. This is because we believe that all religions have the same origin and our aim is for everyone to Return to Origin. Which is one of the reasons i cannot stand religious disputes/discrimination. (and no,there's no name for my 'religion' which is the reason i put the apostrophies at the word religion.)

I myself am a believer of God, but I personally feel this:
Just because we choose God does not mean we are forgiven of our sins. To me it just sounds like "Oh we are forgiven of our sins because we have chosen God."
I need someone/anyone to answer me this: In what way are your sins forgiven if you choose God? I know Christians repent to God everyday so they can be forgiven,but is this really the case? Just because we repent? I agree we repent so we can learn from our mistakes, but is it not better that we do not even do some things in the first place so we have no sins to repent for? What,then,happens to those people who have "chosen God" and go to Hell instead? They havent repented enough? They've done too many sins to be forgiven? What?

These are just personal opinions based on my own thoughts. I do not mean to harm anyone. If you dont like me saying/questioning all these,you can scold/tell me,just so I know I have done something you dont like,and I can apologise if you want me to.



Well, I very much like your nominal religion. I do not believe in bickering between religions. I think we should not stand behind the scenes where religions fight each other, but rather stand where religion faces the world. Religion should unite people, not divide them.

As far as the “Oh, I’m forgiven,” thing, I think you’re looking at it wrong. That’s actually something that I struggled with as a Christian. It seemed odd to me that murderers and rapists could gain access to heaven.

Still, I realized a few things. First off, just because somebody does something bad doesn’t make that somebody a bad person. Suffering, under all circumstances, is a bad thing. Does that mean that Jesus was bad for suffering? No, not at all.

Just because somebody does bad things doesn’t mean that there isn’t good within that person. I believe people are good by nature and corrupted by sin, not that we’re evil by nature and redeemed by good deeds.

I also realized that heaven wasn’t a reward like a trophy for winning a race. It was simply a choice. We have to choose to go to heaven, to leave behind our sin. Not everyone is going to make that decision. Alas, not everyone is going to choose good. Some people choose evil. Some people choose hell.

While I’m not happy about their decision, I’m glad that they have some say in the matter. Who would want a God that forces you to serve him like some kind of slave?
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SeraphAlford wrote:

Well, I very much like your nominal religion. I do not believe in bickering between religions. I think we should not stand behind the scenes where religions fight each other, but rather stand where religion faces the world. Religion should unite people, not divide them.

As far as the “Oh, I’m forgiven,” thing, I think you’re looking at it wrong. That’s actually something that I struggled with as a Christian. It seemed odd to me that murderers and rapists could gain access to heaven.

Still, I realized a few things. First off, just because somebody does something bad doesn’t make that somebody a bad person. Suffering, under all circumstances, is a bad thing. Does that mean that Jesus was bad for suffering? No, not at all.

Just because somebody does bad things doesn’t mean that there isn’t good within that person. I believe people are good by nature and corrupted by sin, not that we’re evil by nature and redeemed by good deeds.

I also realized that heaven wasn’t a reward like a trophy for winning a race. It was simply a choice. We have to choose to go to heaven, to leave behind our sin. Not everyone is going to make that decision. Alas, not everyone is going to choose good. Some people choose evil. Some people choose hell.

While I’m not happy about their decision, I’m glad that they have some say in the matter. Who would want a God that forces you to serve him like some kind of slave?


I understand your reasoning.. I can see your point. Yes,people are good by nature. But because of Adam and Eve,we have Sin in this world. (Okay,I'm not blaming them,but still.)

Heaven definately is not a reward. It is HOME. I believe God is waiting for us to return to Him/Her.

I do not think that people can go to Heaven because they choose to leave behind their Sin. I believe we have to somehow redeem ourselves before we can go back to Heaven. For example,we can lead people to believe in God and help them return to Heaven. It could be hard to do,but it doesnt sound so bad. At least not to me.
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Posted 9/29/08

shizukakimura wrote:


SeraphAlford wrote:

I understand your reasoning.. I can see your point. Yes,people are good by nature. But because of Adam and Eve,we have Sin in this world. (Okay,I'm not blaming them,but still.)

Heaven definately is not a reward. It is HOME. I believe God is waiting for us to return to Him/Her.

I do not think that people can go to Heaven because they choose to leave behind their Sin. I believe we have to somehow redeem ourselves before we can go back to Heaven. For example,we can lead people to believe in God and help them return to Heaven. It could be hard to do,but it doesnt sound so bad. At least not to me.


I understand your view very well. Still, just to encourage this line of thought:

What about those people who are never given a chance to redeem themselves? The example you gave was that we could lead other people to heaven, or to God. What if, however, we chose to live a good life and then promptly got struck by lightning?

Everyone has sinned. Not everyone gets a chance to redeem themselves. Does that mean that these people are condemned?

By your logic you must repent for your sins to get into heaven. Well, these people sinned, and then decided to be good, but weren’t able to redeem themselves. Are they going to hell because of this?

I don’t believe that. As a Christian I believe that Jesus Christ washed away our sin with his blood. Now all that remains is our choice. Do we want darkness and evil, or truth and heaven?
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Posted 9/30/08

SeraphAlford wrote:

I understand your view very well. Still, just to encourage this line of thought:

What about those people who are never given a chance to redeem themselves? The example you gave was that we could lead other people to heaven, or to God. What if, however, we chose to live a good life and then promptly got struck by lightning?

Everyone has sinned. Not everyone gets a chance to redeem themselves. Does that mean that these people are condemned?

By your logic you must repent for your sins to get into heaven. Well, these people sinned, and then decided to be good, but weren’t able to redeem themselves. Are they going to hell because of this?

I don’t believe that. As a Christian I believe that Jesus Christ washed away our sin with his blood. Now all that remains is our choice. Do we want darkness and evil, or truth and heaven?


I believe it just means these people are not fated to return to Heaven in this life,and/but they might be able to do so in their future lives.
I say 'might'.because we cant decide our future lives. We may not even get reincarnated as humans,even. So,yeah.

As for the last question... I feels its wrong to phrase it like this. People always choose the 'good' side of things. People decide for themselves as to the definition of good.
A person can earn a lot of money and choose not to donate it so he can leave the money for his children. We might think its wrong,but he may think that its the right thing to do. So,once we have our personal definitions of 'right',we go our own paths,which,God might feel is wrong. We dont know.
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Posted 9/30/08

shizukakimura wrote:


SeraphAlford wrote:


I believe it just means these people are not fated to return to Heaven in this life,and/but they might be able to do so in their future lives.
I say 'might'.because we cant decide our future lives. We may not even get reincarnated as humans,even. So,yeah.

As for the last question... I feels its wrong to phrase it like this. People always choose the 'good' side of things. People decide for themselves as to the definition of good.

A person can earn a lot of money and choose not to donate it so he can leave the money for his children. We might think its wrong,but he may think that its the right thing to do. So,once we have our personal definitions of 'right',we go our own paths,which,God might feel is wrong. We dont know.


So you believe in Samsara, right? Like, the wheel of life, death, and reincarnation? That’s really interesting. It’s kind of like a combination of Judeo/Christian/Muslim theology and the Santana Dharma.

As far as each of us having our own definition of what’s good…I think some deeds are simply bad, but that doesn’t make them bad for us.

Again, suffering is bad by its own existence. However, Jesus Christ suffered. Do I believe he sinned? No, because for him it was a good thing to do, though suffering itself is bad.

The book of Romans in the bible says something along the lines of, “Whatsoever a man makes wrong, for him it is wrong.”

I think God takes our intentions into consideration. He really just wants us to -try- and do what’s right.
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SeraphAlford wrote:

So you believe in Samsara, right? Like, the wheel of life, death, and reincarnation? That’s really interesting. It’s kind of like a combination of Judeo/Christian/Muslim theology and the Santana Dharma.

As far as each of us having our own definition of what’s good…I think some deeds are simply bad, but that doesn’t make them bad for us.

Again, suffering is bad by its own existence. However, Jesus Christ suffered. Do I believe he sinned? No, because for him it was a good thing to do, though suffering itself is bad.

The book of Romans in the bible says something along the lines of, “Whatsoever a man makes wrong, for him it is wrong.”

I think God takes our intentions into consideration. He really just wants us to -try- and do what’s right.


Samsara? I think its more like a combination of all religions... Then again,I cant be too sure.... *shrugs*

Yes,I agree that God wants us to do what is right to the best of our abilities...

Again,you refer to Lord Jesus for having suffered on the cross. I do not deny that,but it does not mean we have to suffer physically because we have sinned. I know Lord Jesus definately has NOT sinned. Some receive punishment (and suffer) in Hell. We don't know. Essentially,suffering is a form of punishment God has 'bestowed' upon us because we have sinned. It does not have to be bad. We see it as bad because we do not enjoy it. I'm not saying God enjoys to see people suffer,just that punishment is essential for wrongdoings,however inappropriate we see it. Think of it as a parent trying to correct his child's mistakes so he won't commit them again. You don't go showering praises on someone who has done something wrong;you chastise him.

This means we have to agree to differ in several of our opinions... (:
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