How has religion profoundly negatively impacted, even retarded the advancement of society in
terms of scientific research, reproductive rights/health, medical advancements, human sexuality, status of women/children/LBGT people, &overall general quality of life/well being?
It seems pretty obvious from a study of History that whatever organization wields power it will attempt to maintain the status quo. It wants to keep what it has. The various religious leaders - who had tremendous influence up until around 150 ago -would endeavour to block just about any idea, concept, invention or innovation which didn't suit their interests. Usually they'd find some pretext such as their particular interpretation of some religious text. It still happens today, but without so much effect.
We need to remember that there are two ends to the society's spectrum: the ultra conservatives and the way out radicals. Most of us fall between these two extremes However, it you were to put a fulcrum in the middle of such a spectrum or scale you could certainly put the Religionists, then the Police Forces, Armed Forces, Statute Law-makers on the 'heavy end' i.e. the Conservative side of the scale.
It is as it should be, I think. We have an ever-shifting balance. But it seems that the Conservatives are not quite as conservative anymore. The world is changing. A good measurement is how little the Church can control most of us anymore. They're being side-lined has people begin to search for their own truths; their own philosophies of life.
It has helped more than it has hindered. If you take away all the religions, the world would be 1000 times more evil than it already is. The rights of others would be void. At least religions can keep millions of people in check with some form of morality. It cannot get rid of all the wrongs or evil. It cannot make everybody good. People have to accept what is. Some people hate the government, the military or cops. But, take them away and see what kind of world you have. The bad people would overtake the world. So religion does its part in keeping some people sane enough to mind their own business and restraining some of man's impulses for evil.
Religion is practiced all over the world and people have a inner desire as many other necessities ,anything that you put over your own life and is willing to sacrifice your life for and motivates your heart can be a form of worship. Example even people who put their mind and heart into their country are delivering worship , because people pledge their allegiance , and symbolize it with the hand over the heart, this a form of patriotic religion, that has nothing to do with God . religion is used as a power over people to control them or lead them into a path that benefits a leader, but most people relate religion to God, but the fact is your home, your car, your money , even a relationship can be your god.
So religion can not be singled out as one with God, but what have you made your God ! that is why there is much chaos in the world today and what is truth.
The truth is God invites you. He examines the heart to see if you really are searching for him.
Reference Bible 1Ch 28:9 “And you, Solʹo·mon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a complete heart and with a delightful soul; for all hearts Jehovah is searching, and every inclination of the thoughts he is discerning. If you search for him, he will let himself be found by you; but if you leave him, he will cast you off forever.
No one can force the Heavenly Father's hand , he is the one that will let himself be found by you.
If he does not you will never understand ,or you will never understand his inspired words.
People can not control the almighty of the heavens and universe.
With profound influence, comes profound changes. Whether those changes are good or bad is always up for debate.
But religion, right from the start has a history of 'executing' dissenters. The most notable execution of a dissenter appears to be Jesus.
Many scientists and free thinkers were not only executed by the religion of the day, they were tortured in hideous ways to try to get the "blasphemer" to admit that the popular religious thought of the time is the only way to think.
Advancement of society has come at a very high price. Religions to this day have dogma that calls for the execution (or condemnation) of "scientists", witches, research (fetal cell research comes to mind), reproductive rights (abortion), health (anti-vaxers), sexuality (LGBT), even executions for those that eat pork and shellfish!
Religionists go to great lengths to enforce their way of thinking by trying to dictate to governments and legal efforts. They desire control over the populace in order to justify the irrational thoughts in their heads.
Religion constantly wants to control the very thoughts of its followers. You must read this book (and no others), you must vote a certain way, you must prepare your food a certain way, you must pray for continuous forgiveness of your "sins".
And the religion gets to dictate what is a "sin" and what isn't. Even down to how two people have sex in the privacy of their own bedrooms.
I can't imagine even wanting that much control over people! But some "leaders" do want that sort of control and they achieve it through religious demands.
Until one throws off the extreme heavy collar of religious dogma, society will not advance properly. Religion is so restrictive that proper research and new ideas are generally forbidden!
I actually hate the word "abomination", but that is what religion is, an abomination, a blight on the minds of the Earth citizens.
In ancient times, religion actually helped a great deal with society, particularly with scientific endeavor, as it offered the best practical advice (don't eat pork, since raw pork makes you sick; don't be promiscuous; etc). Nowadays, we're way, way past that, as we have actual reasons for not having immoral behavior and a much better understanding. Religion inhibits science on a massive political scale nowadays, from resistance to evolution in the 30s all the way to today, to a lack of funding for AIDS research in the 80s, and on into today's conservative political outlook.
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