When some people say“ hey, I acknowledge extremists are bad, but what is wrong with going to church to volunteer,  give to the needy, help the community“ what do you all say?   just wondering

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Comment by Dr.Grixis on November 19, 2012 at 12:01pm

Religion does often provide a sense of community that in the more peaceful countries is used for many different charitable projects to increase the position of the poor(er) and weak(er) members of society. When arguing about religion, I do feel that it is important not to disregard this well known aspect of (organized) religion and religious communities. It forms the basis of many people their affiliation with their church as well as a great source of happiness.

When discussing the Catholic church for instance, it is quite odd to discuss their horrible practices and ideas about condoms while disregarding other forms of charity that the Catholic church does do, both on a local and international level. Whether it balances out in favor of said religion is something to discuss, but it is definitely the case that religion can be a force for good.

Being in a conversation with a good person is the start of having a fruitful discussion, as such it is important to show respect for the goodness of the person you're discussing with, attacking religion in a very direct way without taking into account the human nature and the commitment people have with the good aspects of their religion is pointless. Not only are you not addressing the core fundamentals of people their religion, they would also most likely feel that you are creating a strawman argument of their position and their (personal) religious beliefs and actions.

Choosing a strategy in a debate and taking into account the personal characteristics of the person you're talking to is extremely useful and requires one to establish a position in which you can actually talk from person to person, asking questions about people their religious beliefs is often more useful than "attacking" religion is, both in gaining respect from the theist as well as being able to discuss religion in a way that is constructive on a personal level. 

A debate however is a completely different manner, in which I would prefer Cristopher Hitchens' ruthless dedication to honesty and truth.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on November 19, 2012 at 12:06pm
Comment by archaeopteryx on November 19, 2012 at 12:59pm

@David - RE: "whts wrong witht worshiping a rock on Sundays" - because it's disingenuous, a waste of time, and promotes rock-worship.

Comment by david garcia on November 19, 2012 at 1:19pm

@ liz ; right we can morals and we can give / volunteer without religion. I agree .. we really don’t need religion for anything that I could think of…. But  I have people that say … hey as long as they are not hurting anyone .. then let them worship a rock…….

I agree that religion has impeded human progress and has tortured and oppressed people  and in many ways it is evil.. but if a moderate says I want to worship a rock I  am not trying to convert anyone or hurting anyone… why cant I worship my rock on Sundays… (this is a real argument) what do we say to that

Comment by Emperor Milos on November 19, 2012 at 1:39pm

but if a moderate says I want to worship a rock I  am not trying to convert anyone or hurting anyone… why cant I worship my rock on Sundays… (this is a real argument) what do we say to that

Why can't adults believe in Santa Clause on Christmas? Why do we have to tell children that the Easter Bunny is not real. It doesn't really hurt anyone, so why do we do it?

Also, as a moderate, and being aware of the extremes that religion promotes in certain circles, by simply choosing to ignore those things, because you aren't personally throwing acid in a child's face because she looked at a boy, or refusing a woman abortion, full well knowing that she and the baby will die, your hands aren't exactly clean either.

Just because you don't participate in your religion's extremes, doesn't mean that your indifference is not harmful to anyone.

For example, I grew up in Serbia during the early years of the Balkan War. I was a child at the time, and was not very familiar with what was happening aside from what I heard from the media and the adults around me.

To me, at the time, Croats were all evil, and the Serbian military was great, because they were defending my homeland.

But after growing up, and listening to different points of view, and having access to more broad information on the war, and the parties involved, I will argue against any Serb who agrees with the genocides that took place. I couldn't say anything when it was happening, because I was far too young and uninformed (misinformed), but now, that I have a voice, and evidence to back it up, I speak against the Balkan War whenever the topic comes up with my relatives, or any Serbian friends I have.

Comment by Tracey on November 19, 2012 at 3:33pm

@ Sarah.There are multiple atheisim based and secular organisations. Many have been listed here.

I also own, and operate such an establishment myself and have been doing so since 2007, dealing  specifically with homelessness, unemployment, poverty and basically human NEED. I am currently working on expanding this to the USA, where unfortunately, all of the above issues are rife, DESPITE the fact there are religious homeless shelters, soup kitchens..etc.. I wonder to myself, IF these religious organisations TRULY "work" to end these issues, why is it that the intention seems to be KEEPING the people going through the trials and tribulations associated with their situation, DOWN? Shoving a meal in someone's face and "praying" for them is not a solution to the issue. A temporary bed for a week and then you are back on the streets is NO solution either. Although it keeps those down and out coming back, over and over. The only ones this cycle really "helps" are these religious charities.

 The work we do however, helps people with their lives, it creates opportunities, it helps give them one fundamental thing back THEIR SELF RESPECT. We find them permanent housing, help them with budgeting, retrain them so they can be gainfully employed again, if of course they cannot find work in their former career path. We help break this dividing line between the "haves" and "have nots".  I actually desire it to get to a point where homelessness and poverty is not an issue anymore.. so basically.... my aim is to put MYSELF out of business with this work.


Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on November 19, 2012 at 4:25pm

Here is a link to an Irish site called Good without Gods. The frist one Kiva is great.

Comment by Ron V on November 19, 2012 at 6:30pm

Again, it's not helping that's the issue, it's all the other nonsense- http://www.atheistrev.com/2009/11/whats-so-bad-about-religion.html?m=1

I think this article provides some answers to your question.

Comment by Obfuskation on November 19, 2012 at 10:39pm

Good and generous people do good and generous things.  If they are religious, then many of them use religion as a vehicle for their natural tendencies.  If they were to leave religion behind, they would still do those things.

What's wrong with throwing some worship X's way?  Because, X doesn't exist, and it would be a waste of my time to fake believing in a poorly crafted fairy tale. 

Comment by Kir Komrik on November 20, 2012 at 2:51pm


Bam! Well, I think you took this question, rolled it up and smoked it.

- kk


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