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)

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I appreciate the compliment that we think alike in some respects, but, RE: "I think we have to be careful about labeling all religions as a "Negative Force" for the same reason.  Religions are comprised of people, and there have been wicked religious people, and stupid ones."

Sorry, can't go with you there, Bob - while I'll be the first to admit that there are "wicked" and stupid religious people, I'll be the first to admit that there are good, caring ones, as well as those who are highly intelligent, but I can't accept that belief in anything magical or supernatural is anything but negative - it's not the people with whom I have a problem, it's the belief system.

Those wicked and stupid people, have been stupid enough to follow a wicked and stupid doctrine.  They have been influenced by it.  Adolf Hitler and Anders Breivik are good examples of this.  They interoperate their faith based on the doctrine and act on it.  

The bible implies Jews are bad. So Hitler orders for them to be gassed. The bible says some negative things about homosexuality, the Westboro Baptist Church protests against them by making websites stating that their god hates them, picket their funerals and just spread general hate about them.  

Well, we've run headlong into Godwin's Law.  I win!

@Keith, those claims just aren't supportable on the evidence.

Aders Brevik testified his crimes and has been very clear on his reasons. People don't believe like he does and so he acted on it. 

There have been plenty news articles documenting the goings on of WBC, they even post notifications about their planned picketing of funerals. They have websites self documenting their hatred of LGBT. There was a documentary called "Jesus Camp".  Every single one of their websites has the word "hate" as part of its title.  Every single televised interview with Shirley Phelps Roper is evidence of itself that they do in fact view themselves as Christians and opposed to the rights of LGBT

As for Hitler he has been quoted many times stating that he is a Christian.  There have been interviews with holocaust survivors former nazis etc.  Now I know and most people may be skeptical about taking the word of eye witnesses' etc. But we know one thing for certain, the holocaust did happen, it is a factual part of history and a lot of Jews were murdered due to Hiltler. There are photographs available of the actual gas chambers used to kill the Jews. 

So yes my claims are supported with evidence. 

RE: "Religion does a better job with these than the principles of physical science, because the religions that have survived over the millenia did so by encouraging healthier societies.  They are the survivors of natural social selection."

I could spend hours refuting every word of that tripe, but I have neither the time nor the inclination - let those here accept what you say at will --

Lol or we could simply tell him he is wrong and leave it at that

10. If by "belief" you mean correct science and evidence that can save lives (like vaccines, information of when major storms or earthquake will hit a certain place, etc.) then yes.

9. In no science class is "God made the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th". In no PUBLIC school that is payed for with TAXES should there be any religion. None, no electives, nothing. Keep it at home or in your catholic school that is not funded by TAXES.

8. I'm happy to say that there are many governments world wide (England, New Zealand, and other places in Europe) that DO have Atheists in them. The founding fathers knew the importance of keeping religion and those certain pesky (not all) religious people OUT of politics. 

7. Put yourself in someone else's shoes Professor Robert. A working class person (or any person really) who was raped and got pregnant as a result. They have no interest in keeping the child or giving birth at all. Should they be allowed an abortion? 

6. I think that you are mistake. Your religion preserves what history? The bible? You call Noah's Ark, Exodus, Adam and Eve, the life of Jesus, Genesis Creation, the tower of Babel, Soddom and Gemorrah or any story from the Bible history? You want some history, in about 1616 the Church almost executed Galileo for disproving Biblical accounts of Astronomy (mainly that Jupiter has 4 moons and the solar system is heliocentric).

5. If by mass murderers you mean Hitler (who was a CHRISTIAN by the way). So he wasn't an Atheist. Stalin, Mao Zedong, Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un, etc. - these people are ANTI-THEISTS. There is a different. They simply don't believe in God (like Jainists). There are religions that DON'T involve God. So no, Atheists don't mass murder, dress up like Jesus and shoot doctors, protest soldier's funerals, discriminate based on race, sex, religious preference, etc. These are things RELIGIOUS people do. That is not to say that they don't do good things either, but let's be real, over the course of history, they have done more harm than good. 

4. Really? So the Vatican ISN'T anti-gay. If I remember the current Pope thinks that adoption by gay couples is child discrimination. If someone is gay, a priest would tell them to remain celibate. Let's turn to the bible, Leviticus 20:13; Exodus 35:2; Exodus 21:20-21; Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:18; and if I recall, Abraham (the so-called founder of this religion) used slaves, lied to all the powerful people he met about his wife out of his own self-interest, and mutilated his own, his slave's and his children's penises because God told him to. 

3. You see Democracy isn't claiming to be led by a divinely good being. Democracy isn't claiming ANYTHING divine. However, many of the people in THIS Democracy ARE making these divine claims, and are the ones authorizing these drone strikes. So it looks like there IS some sort of religion to these strikes. 

2. Junk science is always bad. No matter where it is. It undermines real science and takes us back to the dark ages. Its like trying to use ancient remedies to cure the flu. You know that the Egyptians used honey mixed with dates as contraception (inserted into the vagina). If you don't think that should be in the modern world, then neither should this junk religion science. 

1. As Keith pointed out, the crusades, the inquisition, 30 years war. Not to mention the wars fought for other religions. So yes, religion has started many wars and killed more people in history than anything else. 

I think it is you, professor, who needs to do more work. 

Let me just pull one claim from all of that @007, to highlight a point.

"Religion has started many wars and killed more people in history than anything else"

The evidence just doesn't support such a claim.   Here's Wikipedia's list of wars by death toll: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_and_anthropogenic_disaste... 

Why hold to a belief in spite of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary? 

Most of what you write above is similar in character.  You're holding on to it as a personal belief, but reality is saying something different.

There were a number of wars I didn't see listed there - all of the battles the OT tells us Joshua "fit" in order to reclaim the Levant, the Crusades --

Of course you're aware what WWI was fought to establish Germany's right as the center of the Holy Roman Empire, and WWII was a continuation of that, Then there's the Thirty Years War - I could go on but I'm an hour and a half past my bedtime, and I'm sleepy.l

Old Testament village populations in the Levant are hardly going to alter the conclusion, and the Crusades were listed, though even when you add all of them together they're way, way down the list.

So again, the evidence refutes the claim on the surface, before we even dig into issues like the fact that the Spanish Crusade had very little to do with religion and everything to do with ethnic Europeans fighting off an occupation by invading ethnic Arabs, or that the First Crusade was in response to a request for aid from a Greek ally against Turkish aggression, or that the 30 years war was as much about the rights of the German nobility as about religion. 

My question is why would you hold on to this atheist mythological belief in the face of clear evidence to the contrary? 

You seem to have conveniently left out WW II and the Nazi extermination of 7 million Jews.

RE: "the 30 years war was as much about the rights of the German nobility as about religion." - so that means it was as much about religion as it was German nobility --

How ironic, that a theist would accuse an atheist of holding mythological beliefs, when your entire premise is based on one, enormous myth known as the Bible!

There are a lot of wars not in there. The Spanish Civil War, the Spanish - American War, the Mexican - American War, the French - Indian War, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, the Hundred Years War, the Conquests of Greece under Alexander the Great... There's a lot. And if you notice, those are mostly battles concerning governmental power or territory and not religion.

Personally, I've never favored the argument that more wars have been started over religion. I don't think our historical record is accurate enough to make that claim. There's been a lot of fighting through human history. Further, like all things in human society, there is hardly ever one reason that a war was started. Generally, there's a confluence of different reasons. Religion might be a part of it, but it's rarely the only reason. I think a stronger argument could be made that the desire of powerful people to gain more personal power is the leading cause of most wars. Sometimes they use religion to do that. I think Hitler is actually a prime example of this. He has been associated as both having theistic reasons for conceiving the Holocaust, playing up on historic antisemitism which had its roots in the medieval Catholic church (which also influenced him), and publicly and privately professed to be a Christian, but at the same time tried to limit the power of outside churches and recognized that religious fervor had it's political uses. There's no doubting that there was a religious element to WWII, but it was also about expanding the power of the Third Reich and Hitler personally to create what he envisioned the world should be like.

Personally, I don't think we should use the argument that more wars have been started for religious reasons. I think we should rightly recognize when religion has been destructive and contributed to the death, persecution, and/or oppression of others, but we should also recognize that people can be deluded by more than just religion, and the same cognitive processes that lead a person to believe that apostates should killed is the same process that leads a person to think that people from another country/ethnicity/over the mountains should be killed.


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