A good argument can be made by both atheists and non-atheists that religion is a necessity in society (esp. more primitive and less civilized ones) as it keeps society in order. For example, in the dirt poor areas of Africa and the Middle East, why don't most poor people steal, kill, and stab each other for resources when they lack the most basic necessities?? It is because (in particular with Muslim countries) they think that if they do so, they will go to hell and that belief and fear in a fake celestial dictator and the afterlife is what keeps them from not killing and creating mass chaos...
So the question is, in the 21st century, is religion a moral necessity, even if it is an evil one?? This doesn't relate so much anymore with western societies (still does with America to an extent) and was much more of an issue say 30-50 years ago. I am undecided on this but I can see from both sides of the aisle, what y'all think??
aying that religion is necessary for order in society presupposes much. One would need to first show that order in society can not be achieved by any other means. That religion might be able to establish order in society is not the same as it being necessary for that order to arise.
I think some study of other social species shows that religion is not necessary for order to exist in a society.
Also, morality doesn;t come from religion anymore than it comes from turnips. Religion imposes rules, not morality. Because I am compelled to follow rules for fear of punishment does not mean I am a moral person. It either means my choices are limited by outside means or that I am just very obedient.
My first question would be about finding Data to support the idea that poor people or religious people don't commit crimes. Somali is Muslim, terribly poor and quite lawless. In fact the top five murder places in the world are all areas in Africa.
How has religion helped these folks. Well, I don't know that it has by any measure. If you lived in Swaziland, your life expectancy isn't even 40 years, yet it is virtually entirely religious. but this doesn't point to religion as the cause, so let me throw out a short list that just comes to mind of crimes perpetrated by religion as known by a guy a half a world away.
Hunting Albinos for their magical powers. Link
Kelltrill has an excellent list here on TA of the acts of violence due to gods in Africa.
This ignores the Catholics saying don't use condoms. This ignores those governments propped up due to religion. I can only conclude that religion does much more harm than good. If we want to show Africans how to do things, cool. But it's their culture. We've spent a century or more trying to westernize them and it seems to not be helpful. Instead of amassing armies, amassing a few AK-47's allows just a few people to rape and pillage whole villages. We have caused more harm than good, just as anthropology would have predicted.