There is good and bad in all religions but I would order them this way:
1. Islam for retarding social progress and subjucating women and gays in their societies. It also has a chilling effect on social discourse and has the depressing habit of giving unstable people jihadist? ideas,
2. Christianity just because of the high percentage of fundamentalists and evangelicals
3. Judaism because of the lower percentage of fundamentalists - except in Israel where the more fundamental Jews are gaining in population and control. In addition Jesus was a Jew which must count for something.
Hands down, Christianity is the most harmful religion. Its entire history, from the Crusades; through the 600 year Inquisition; through the mass eradication of native peoples of the western hemisphere; through the internecine mini-wars between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland; through the Christians and Muslims raping and killing each other in the former Yugoslavia; to the Christians and jews in the middle east intent on the third "Crusade;" Christianity is responsible for more death, torture, and destruction than any religion in history - BY FAR! Fanatical Islamists aspire to match the evils of Christianity, but they have a long way to go to catch up. If they ever acquire a nuclear bomb, they will be able to match what the Christians blithely did to the non-Christians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But for now, Christianity takes first place in terms of harm done with the implied imprimatur of a fictitious supreme being.
The worst thing about ANY religion is the promulgation of ignorance and fear. Ignorance that hinders the advancement of science and knowledge; and paralyzing fear of death and retribution beyond the grave.
There is nothing rational people can do to eradicate religion, or to mitigate its disastrous effects. All we can do is wait out its inevitable, slow death. In most developed countries in the world, Christianity is fast disappearing. In the U.S. the rabid intransigence of the descendants of Calvinist Presbyterians (Puritans) stubbornly persists. But even here, reason is finally beginning to peek through the mystic fog. Church attendance is steadily declining; Catholic priests' hypocrisy is becoming more public; Rational books like "The God Delusion" are making the best seller lists; and P.Z. Meyers is kidnaping holy crackers. Little by little, medieval beliefs in supernatural nonsense are slipping away under the weight of their own excesses.
Both! Some people use it to manipulate others into doing bad things (this I know from repeated, direct, personal experience). Some people use it to feel good about themselves in spite of the bad things they have done. And, some people do bad things because the teachings of Christianity have screwed up their natural sense of morality as well as their ability to think properly.
Thanks Mo Trauen for sharing these links.
The teachings of Christianity make people evil?
Evil men will be evil whether they are Christians, Jewish, Islamic or Atheistic.
I can name a ton of good people who were influenced by the writings of Christianity.
Please show me any teachings of Jesus which are considered evil.
Didn't read any of the links, did you?
Please don't try that old "Jesus did away with the old testament" crap. You know as well as I do that he said he came to affirm the old laws. If he meant to announce a repeal of the old testament, he should have done so clearly, which he did not. If he had, Christian bibles wouldn't include it and Christians wouldn't constantly be citing it.
I can think of two very evil teachings of Christianity just based on its central myth: First, teaching people that it's okay for a father to plot to have his own son murdered is evil. Second, teaching people that they don't have to feel guilty, suffer punishment, or offer compensation for heinous crimes they committed if they just joint the right church is evil.
There are many others, such as teaching people that there is no other source of morality except god. This is evil because it inevitably leads to the belief that people who don't believe in the "true" god are evil. It is also evil to teach authoritarian morality, because it leads to authoritarianism and intolerance and subverts the natural sources of morality: reason and empathy.
Teaching people that they will spend an eternity in hell for picking the wrong belief system is evil because it is a huge affront to a basic notion of justice and morality: proportionality. Worse, it teaches people that they should feel NO empathy at all for those who don't belong to the right religion, which means that they not only feel no moral duty toward many of their fellow men, they feel self-righteous indignation and hostility. In fact, this notion teaches them to indulge in a gleeful, sadistic cruelty toward others.
Teaching people that "magic" is an acceptable explanation, even the required explanation, for natural phenomena is evil because it is completely untrue and prevents investigation of the true causes with the result that humans live in horrific conditions for centuries at a time.
Teaching people that there are such things as "thought crimes" is evil.
These are just the ones I could think of in the short time I have right now. Maybe you should read some of the links.
A lot of people like to pull the OT's ethics from its time frame and quote things they dont understand, which at a time were actually moral.
But Lets not only pull ethics out of context and timeframe, but science, philosophy and theology.
One atheist here said they enjoy reading the Bible as they try and understand the anthropology and mindset the ancient Israeliets had. I completely agree with them. To attempt to pull only the ethics from OT and not everything else is just ridiculous.
Just like science, we have progressed a long way.
But Jesus came and showed us a new law, a spiritual law, no longer was the action which made it right or wrong, but it was your intention.
The OT is like this 'Keep the Sabbath' but Jesus is like 'Keep the Sabbath and do what is right on the sabbath day.'
'Teaching people that they will spend an eternity in hell for picking the wrong belief system is evil because it is a huge affront to a basic notion of justice and morality'
The Bible never talks about that ;). You should read some of the early church fathers work, or just Romans 2.
'Teaching people that there are such things as "thought crimes" is evil.'
Interesting. The justice system and I disagree with you on that one.
Actus reus and Mens rea ;)