I was reading this article, and became curious about this statement:

'"To say something along the lines of 'I'm an atheist; I think religions are not all bad' has become a dramatically peculiar thing to say and if you do say it on the internet you will get savage messages calling you a fascist, an idiot or a fool. This is a very odd moment in our culture. Why has this happened?"'


So, I was curious about the opinions of other atheists on this question. I won't reveal my own answer for now, to try to avoid bias, but I'd like to know the answer to this question. Feel free to reply in the comments.

Here's my formulation of the question.

If you're an atheist, do you think all religions are entirely bad?

Again, reply yes or no in the comments, and feel free to elaborate if you like. I'll tally the answers.



Views: 1086

Comment by William C. Walker on March 6, 2012 at 10:48am

Few people will argue with the FACT that organized religions are a social bonding.Even fewer stop  to think of the horrendous COST to the individual of it.  How much tea would you drink if it cost $ 20.00 a cup ?                                            This isn't all that bad of an analogy if one reflects on it.

Comment by Max Berkes on March 6, 2012 at 11:34am

I think that it is difficult to ascribe qualities such as varying levels of good or bad to any particular religion. They all have unverifiable beliefs about the supernatural. Certain religions are inextricably wrapped up in social mores, such as Judaism, and Judaism in particular has many atheist and/or agnostic members of the community, especially in the United States.

If we're talking about moral values, we have to remember that in all but the most fundamental groups there can be a wide range of interpretations and values among the members of any particular faith group. I think that, more often than not, people's religious views conform to their secular morality, whether they realize it or not. The real difference between being religious and not is whether one is a skeptic in regards to all the areas of their life.

Comment by Rick on March 6, 2012 at 11:47am

I interpret the word “bad” to mean harmful to society, in which case I would have to say NO, not all religions are bad. Of course, not having experienced all religions, my perspective may be (and probably is) skewed.

That being said, I do not see the value in any religion and think the world would be a much better place without it.

Comment by Gary Mueller on March 6, 2012 at 12:01pm

I think any organization that encourages retreat from reality into a mythological realm of gods, demons, dragons, talking animals, magic trees and enchanted fruit, zombies, flying horses, disembodied voices emanating from flaming fauna, and does not identify itself as a role playing game or a dinner and a mystery is unequivocally all bad

Comment by John Markos O'Neill on March 6, 2012 at 12:25pm

I think there are more than a few self-identified Christians who, when pressed, would admit that they don't actually believe a supernatural deity is real in the sense that nature is real.

Certainly in Judaism there's a tradition of participation without belief in the reality of God. I know several Jews who participate in the religion to some degree, but do not believe in God as an existing being.

Comment by John Markos O'Neill on March 6, 2012 at 12:30pm

It makes me wonder, too, is atheism culturally tied to Christianity? That is, is it only people who live in a predominantly Christian culture who get tied up in the problem of the (non-) existence of God?

Any people here who grew up in predominantly non-Christian cultures who can comment on this?  I suspect Islam is a lot like Christianity on the question of existence. What about other religions?

Comment by Max Berkes on March 6, 2012 at 12:41pm

I was raised in an atheist family, and I was nearly completely ignorant of Christianity and its cultural significance until fourth or fifth grade. Nevertheless, I have always known with absolute certainty that there was no afterlife, and as soon as I heard what Christians believe I equated it to the mythology of the ancient Greeks. I am not sure if Christian culture affected me or not in my early years, and I would like to hear about people's departures from faith in cultures different from my own.

Comment by Shabaka Tecumseh on March 6, 2012 at 3:17pm

Yes, evil in fact

Comment by Skycomet the Fallen Angel on March 6, 2012 at 3:19pm

No, but religions are MOSTLY bad. They do in fact do good through charity etc, but the bad they do through discrimination, dehumanization, violence, psychological harm, indoctrination of children, etc far outweighs any good they do. So... the world would be better without them.

Comment by Danny Sanchez on March 6, 2012 at 3:31pm


First anything religion can do we can do without it.

Second every religion that I know of says that something is. If it does not leave room for everything to be questioned than I believe it is bad for people. If it says something like "fire will burn you" I know that to be true but it prevents me from believing that there is a possibility that fire may not burn me. To an uneducated society this is very bad it might be that this society never discovers a way to get near flames and prevent themselves from getting burned.

We have not and may never evolve into all knowing beings who know what is right and what is wrong. Any religion that even suggests it knows something, is wrong and goes against free thought and discovery.


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