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?"'

http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2012/02/neo-atheism-atheists-d...

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.

Thanks!

John

Views: 1010

Tags: atheism, poll

Comment by Virginia Templeton on March 5, 2012 at 12:02am

I don't think religions are bad in general, just the way people utilize them. Religion started as a way for people to understand the world around them. Today, I think religion is still a way for people to cope with things. Some of us are strong enough to be able to get through our problems without a imaginary friend, but others need that childlike safety net.  I'm not going to say it's horrible because good has come from it as well as bad. But religion itself is not bad, it's the people who are; so even if there were no religion, there would probably still be stupid people trying to find ways to force their views on the world.

Comment by Raymond Baker on March 5, 2012 at 12:36am

No.

But the few I do find to be relatively helpful are eastern religions. Western/middle-eastern religions are bad for reasons that have been cited here more times than is necessary.

Comment by diggerbanks on March 5, 2012 at 3:19am

Gangs aren't stupid, it's nice to belong in a gang. Sometimes gangs do stupid things, get carried away and are a little disrespectful to other gangs.

Comment by Christopher Stewart on March 5, 2012 at 3:39am
All religions that I can think of are 'bad' religions to me. The reason is not because all of these groups commit atrocious acts. A majority may even do things we atheists would deem admirable in the world of today.
All religions seem to tell us that its okay to believe in something with no evidence needed. Reason gets pushed to the side as a faith based mentality takes over. With god pleasing intentions, that dangerous
idea helps people feel obligated to make certain decisions whether good or bad.

God is often mysterious, has a bigger plan, and is without flaws. This makes it more simple for a person to feel like someone who is 'on track' make immoral decisions with a heavenly goal. Religion can make it okay to kill children. People seem to not need the same godly intervention when performing acts of kindness. No matter the religion, humans don't need it to make a morally sound decisions.

Believing in any god without proof is like saying that nobody needs proof for their gods. This is not okay in a world where gods are giving some awful orders. So even if a church reaches out to people in need of help, a faith in a fictional character helps to keep the door open to religions that may promote children to blow themselves up. Or stop a needed vaccine from being used on a child. Etc... those good believers probably would reach out without religion.
Comment by Lars NIelsen on March 5, 2012 at 4:55am

I don't think religion is generally bad… But I do think that some misuses them like Extremist in both Christianity and Islam.

Ingeneral many religions has some good rules to live by.

Comment by Rocky Oliver (LotusGeek) on March 5, 2012 at 7:15am

Since you're wanting unbiased opinions, I'm going to respond before reading any of the other responses ;)

I think many religions, in and of themselves, are not "all bad"; I think it is the people who are IN many religions are the ones that are "bad" (or "evil", if you prefer). They pervert whatever the altruistic message may be to suit their own, selfish needs - to make money, to have power, to oppress and demean others, etc.

I have many very devout xian friends who are extremely sweet, loving people that "live their faith as a walking testimony" every day. They love others no matter what their beliefs are, they don't push their faith on others, they don't demean or belittle others, and so on. Basically they are the rare "good" xians that, if there were more like them, would give xianity a good name.

The problem is that there are so, so many people out their who use their xian religion to oppress others, and to make them feel above and superior to those not like them. These people even piss off the "good" xians I mentioned earlier.

So, I think religion is simply a tool; and just like a tool, you can use it for good or for evil - it depends on who's using it.

Comment by Sebĉjo on March 5, 2012 at 7:41am

I'd say yes, in a way. Even those like Taoïsm or Buddhim aren't that good. Both are quite selfish, and the mystical way of thinking of the second can only lead to credulity and brainwash.

I can't see how Karma could be interpreted as something not supernatural, though. I really need extra explanations concerning that point...

Comment by Greg Gorey on March 5, 2012 at 10:20am

How can a religion that literally teaches that there is no self be selfish? LOL

Comment by Arcus on March 5, 2012 at 12:22pm

No.

Since religions are man made they will reflect social mores and societal development. As such, even quite barbaric religions can actually be much better that what they replace, i.e. Christianity displacing the barbaric Roman customs such as gladiator fights or Mayan particularities such as mass human sacrifices. Unfortunately though, religions tend to outlive their usefulness...

Comment by Sebĉjo on March 5, 2012 at 12:49pm

Greg : Just like a religion that teaches poverty as a way of living can have a state as rich as Vatican. For example, the Dhammapada extols detachment and begging to become ascetic... and being detached to humankind while relying on others' generosity sounds like a selfish behavior to me.

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