Atheists, would you say religion has had a positive impact on society, or negative?
I'm going to exclude extremists in this question, since both the religious and non-religious agree that they are bad. So, it more so concerns your everyday follower who generally doesn't provoke any hostility. As a whole, do you think religion for them has more of a positive or negative impact? Consider things such as morality, progress, and communal well being.
A bit of both. On one hand, it gives some guidance for living and appreciating others and I can see how it provides comfort. On the other hand, I feel it can interfere with natural questioning and curiosity. I was raised in a religious home so I have the perspective of both places. Spirituality I see nothing wrong with, I would argue that I myself, despite not believing in God, do have a deeply spiritual side. Most spiritual people who are not dogmatic are more open and accepting of others - they look for deeper meaning and purpose behind their everyday experiences. Spiritual people tend to think beyond themselves and their selfish need for a God to love them. Religious people often cling to a belief in God, because they fear what will happen if they don't.
Religion on the other hand squelches that seeking and freedom, at least it did in my experience. - it uses fear of devils and hell and all that to force people into conformity. In much of the Bible "God" is supposed to feared - "love him or else"... That never sat well with me, because as a "mere mortal" I always felt love was about respect, affection, kindness, and not about bribery and browbeating. If you worship me right you get into heaven, but if you don't - it's the down elevator for you! - doesn't seem loving or agreeable to my nature. Yes, that's overly simplistic, but basically religion is about conformity, tight restrictions and limited perspective.
Spirituality is a form of seeking and looking as I think Science is - a way to try to find better understanding. Honestly, for the open minded the two are not nearly so polarized as they often appear. Religion on the other hand, I believe has caused a lot more problems than its worth. Ultimately, if it gets people to a place of seeking and questioning it's a good thing, but if it mires them in fear and feelings of powerlessness, it is not a good thing.
i'm not an expert on history, so I can only answer on the effects of religion recently. islam is negative in oppressing women. American Christianity is negative in supporting republicans who do heinous things like defunding food stamps and raping the environment.
morals come from realizing that other people have feelings just like you do. that happens at about age 4 or 5. no religion needed.
so, on balance, mostly negative.
I would point out that there has been no shortage of Democrats raping the environment when it profits them.IE: Look at Al Gore the world's biggest hypocrite and his BS carbon exchange.
i would also like to point out that any so called christian or christian orginization that would want to defund food stamps is unaware of what christianity teaches about helping others. i unfortunately know these selfish people
Most who want to defund it feel that way because of runaway corruption in the system. Personally I want to see it fixed not killed, like welfare. That may mean starting over but I don't want to see anyone go hungry.
fraud in the food stamp system is very low. only fox viewers think food stamp fraud is high.
I saw it in person many times. People in front of stores selling stamps to get cash for alcohol or drugs usually selling them for $.50 on the dollar.
It is VERY common.
The program is on a debit card type thing now that requires ID in most states, so I don't think fraud is as rampant as it was with paper "stamps" from several years ago.
I haven't been in the country for 6 years but when I was they were using paper voucher slips in CA and were selling them for cash. But even if they have to use a card they will just take orders and go in and buy things to sell for cash.
http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/fraud/fraud_2.htm fraud is down to 1% of food stamp use.
Gov't compassion=abomination. Defunding food stamps might be good. We need to take responsibility; not shift to tyrannical gov't. When typhoon Yolanda hit here, one person sent money to help: an atheist friend. But God is love.
I have to go with negative as so many have taken the premise that we don't need to stop destroying the planet as by some stroke of magic a god will sort it all out for us and their belief that we can, and should, overpopulate without restraint.
Taking that to the extreme under Bush no country that promoted birth control was allowed to receive aid. While the only country to attempt to reign in population growth and show some semblance of responsibility, China, is atheistic.
There is some good that comes out of religion but IMHO the bad far outweighs the good. I always think of my years living in South America where tiny towns expend huge resources building huge cathedrals vastly out of proportion to their needs while the poor who serve them suffer. When such a church is demanding tidings from those who have nothing one can't help but hold some contempt.
in my opinion, religion was humanities way of understanding the world before science was discovered. while I think religion is harmful now, we needed it before science otherwise we'd running around like headless chickens (apes).
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