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: 1050

Comment by Suzanne Olson-Hyde on March 6, 2012 at 4:57am

Buddhism is trying to open up on all levels - when they study for doctorates, usually about three years, women can become lamas, abbots etc.  If a female lama dies,  and she’s been a good scholar and practitioner, it is possible that the ''reincarnation'' may be a female, too. But to become head honcho, could take a very long time. Nuns are openly pushing for this, so, maybe in my lifetime.

Dalai Lama quote - “The purpose of the incarnation is to serve people about dharma - faith. If the circumstances are such, female form is more useful, then why not?

And I also mentioned, in case Dalai Lama’s incarnation one female comes, then must be very attractive female. So the very reason, you see more influence to others, an ugly female then may not much effective."

It will be social pressure that there may come the day a Dalai Lama just may be female, but she has to be pretty - well it is a start.

Of course there are nunneries, the same as Catholic nunneries, and of course, many good people, both male and female - but it is still misogyny if a female cannot get to top post, because she is not the right gender.

This particular Dalai Lama was chosen at the age of two years, and then trained. Lots of things are changing in Buddhism, Monks and Nuns cannot be gay - they used to be against abortion, now, in certain cases, it is allowed, Homosexuality was forbidden,, but now consensual sexual practices that do no harm are acceptable. Masturbation is a no-no.


One of the things I found interesting on this site was the actor Steven Segal was a reincarnation of Chungrag Dorje (who?)  by Penor Rinpoche - there they go again reincarnating - but really Seven Segal, surely they could have picked someone better :D

Comment by Diane on March 6, 2012 at 6:11am

No I don't think religions are all bad.  Heck, the Mormons even get special underwear.  

Seriously, I think there is something to be said for the sense of community and belonging that one can feel as part of a particular religion or church.  Having rituals can be a good thing, especially in the U.S., where some people's lives seem relatively bereft of spirit-sustaining factors.  

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


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