I'm talking about all religions and every religion in general. What are your reasons?
Religion and religious persons impose their faith into public policy and politics. Where it clearly doesn't belong.
Religion is still very much mediatory in the schools of nations such as Republic of Ireland, where it has no place. Churches were built for a reason. This makes many members of other faiths and no faiths feel uncomfortable and excluded during a time when young persons find it difficult to fit in as it is. It isn't a matter of talking about religion, but actively telling young persons to practice it mandatory.
Many nations make it difficult for the non-religous to have any sort of successful career in politics (and being honest about their lack of faith at the same time)
Many religious groups impose their views of abortion on others and seek to make abortion illegal. Because of religion in other nations it now is or has been for sometime, outlawed medial practice. Abortion is not murder, murder is the illegal killing of a human being, not a pre-human being.
Religion demonises many educational fields in contrast with its doctrine, such as certain aspects of history and many accepted theories
There have been cases in the United States and some other country where person's have lost their jobs due to lack of faith or alternative faiths and sometimes on the bases of sexual orientation (which is thought to be justified because of certain beliefs)
Religion tries to justify many forms of discrimination including but not limited to, homophobia, sexism, racism and class
Certain nations such as Iran and Uganda take their discrimination justified by religious beliefs a step further by improving atheists and murdering homosexuals
Religion has caused many to rebel against its corruption. While this mostly occurs in changing religions or declaring oneself atheist; that is not always the next direction for some. For some they take that faith and change it for their own purposes, often resulting in more extreme and harmful faith systems mostly regarded as cults. These cults involve all sorts of dangerous acts, such as mass suicide and sometimes violent attacks of non-beleivers of their faith.
Religion has literally caused people to go to war due to the influence of the faith and disagreement with certain policies based on religious beliefs (especially when a doctrine influences such actions)
And it tells the ignorant to breed.
I have a problem saying that religion has done more harm than good. It implies that we have some way to quantify the good and harm done, and that we can isolate in the chain of cause and effect exactly what is attributable to religion explicitly and not any other factors. It also implies that we can know clearly as a matter of fact what has happened is the past when history is rather murky and sometimes completely obscured.
I think it's enough to point out that religion, if it was good or if it is as good as it is supposed to be, would not lead to or have lead to any other the terrible things that can be attributed to it. If a person's religion was good would it be responsible for _________? Saying religion is bad as a whole is not really convincing to a believer nor is it something I think we can argue with accuracy.
I do think in my own personal life if I do something wrong or something bad happens to me I have the common sens to take full resposabilty for those actions or accept that it was not Satan or some demon that made me do it, or any of those responsible for the bad event or even some obscure god punishing me. And if something good happens in my life I don't give any gratetude to any god for that either. I can not in all honesty say that religion is bad as a whole but very convenient to use to remove blame or resposability. And we can twist it any way we like but people, goverment, and religious institutes do make use of the above to justify bad behaviour. I think the problem is in the fact that any person can interpret the meaning of their religious scriptures as they please and feel that their view is the truth.
In no particular order:
1) Religion was clearly invented to keep certain people down while others prosper.
2) Religion divides people and causes war.
3) Religion fosters hate, bigotry, misogyny, and all kinds of other things that end in 'y'.
4) Religion obstructs progress in scientific advancement and prevents people from seeking out real facts/truths
5) Religion is a tool to justify all manner of heinous and unjust crime against humanity.
6) Religion causes people to waste their entire life studying and trying to live by utter bullshit and to try and push it off on everyone else they come into contact with.
7) Religion causes self-righteous behavior.
8) Religion is 'black and white' in a world of 'grey area'
9) Religion deludes people into false hope of an afterlife so that they devote their entire lives to what may happen after they die.
10) Religion promotes misunderstanding of the real world.
Well said, Amy L!
Politics is and or can be the same monster:
Take THAT, Religious Right!
I believe they just took a right cross.
Hey Barry - that's a really interesting point. I'm struck by the huge gap, for example, between what Prof Robert says on TA about Roman Catholic theology, and the actual reality on the ground for everyday Christians. He maintains that there's no coercion involved for people to be "good" - and yet many people report being plagued with terrifying nightmares of hell.
Maybe that is the case for Roman Catholicism, but in general there is very little gap between clergy in the protestant sects and the actual reality on the ground for "everyday Christians." I should know, I served in both fashions in the protestant lines of faith - first as a congregant (multiple denominations) and then as a pastor (exclusively Baptist). However, this is because most of the protestant faith place more authority in the members of the local church then they do the central governing body of the larger institution. There maybe a hierarchy, but the decentralized form of power makes the clergy more dependent of the political will of the congregation, and even then that political will is shaped more by the power garnered and manipulated by a few influential people (most of that influence garnered by money and/or deception).
I have heard of and known pastors who change their doctrinal views from seminary and from church to church quite often to fit the desires of the congregants in order to get the job - and not just because their doctrinal beliefs "evolve overtime". And, if they stand up for anything that goes against the will or damages the image of a few powerful oligarchs in the church (such was my case), their career is pretty much history in that particular church or denomination. The fact is that the majority of Christians in America are protestant, and their religious views are extremely tangled into their political views - whether on the left or right of the political spectrum.
Why else do the Republican'ts (no that is not a typo) and Democraps (still not a typo) cater to religious believers? Because the religious are a political force - promoting their religious beliefs into the political system, and spreading the propaganda and revisionist history that the US is a Christian nation, which it is not since the first amendment propagates that it is a nation of religious freedom - which includes freedom from it.
But I digress. The point is that in the protestant sects there is always, and has always been a coercion involved for people to be good. After all, look at the religious history of the US starting with the puritans, and then on further where "spiritual revivals" were nothing more than fire and brimstone services of "get saved or burn forever." Then, in modern terms, there are figures like Pat Robertson, the late Jerry Falwell, and even the beloved Billy Graham, and the most recent phenomena of churches putting on "Hell Houses" during Halloween. Even look at documentaries like Jesus Camp, and you see coercion all over the place.
Simply put, there is hardly any gentle nudging or encouragement to simply "be good for goodness sake" to quote a recent atheist ad campaign in the Washington DC area over Christmas time. Jesus is a good example of being good - at least a number of his teachings, but that is not the emphasis. The emphasis is "you better behave and do as you're told or God is going to scorch you like an ant!"
@Barry - thanks for that explanation. I like Prof Robert, but I thought he was being a bit disingenuous when he said people don't worry about going to hell. It's very interesting about the politics - where do we even start about that. People are able to twist religion to mean whatever they want it to mean. This isn't to say by any means that all religious people do this - I know they don't, and many are very humble and sincere. But since the scope for it is there, people do it. The reason the scope is there is that it's so damned complicated and sprawling and confusing. If it was simple and to the point, there wouldn't be so much room for using it to back up pre-existing beliefs. It's also distressing that too often, religion as it's practiced prevents people from being happy. This is not how things should be.