Religion, a force for good?

by Dean Fox 21 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • villabolo

    Welcome Dean Fox.

    In my opinion religion is a narrative or story that people make up or accept in order to understand and manipulate a mysterious world. Some religions may be more dangerous than others depending on the contents of their teachings, history or laws. Monotheistic religions like Hebrew, Christian or Muslim seem to be worse than polytheistic religions in inspiring authoritarianism and, in their fundamentalist versions, creating intolerance towards others.

    Early, so called primitive, religions bonded humanity with its natural environment. Later, so called civilized, religions are a projection of a over-humanized authoritarian environment.

    So is religion a force for good? In its early nature worshipping forms yes. But in its "civilized" forms no.


  • PSacramento

    Anything can be a force of good or a force of bad, because its PEOPLE that are in control not "religion".

  • bluecanary

    Welcome to the board Dean!

    I believe that people are a force for good-or they can be. It seems you and I are on a similar wavelength here.

    I think that the religion you are a part of is irrelevant. It is the act of choosing a religion (or lack thereof) that makes a person commit to a moral path. When we go along with a religion because we are born into it or everyone around is doing it, we didn't put any real mental effort into it.

    When, later in life, we are confronted with a choice of which path to follow, and we really make an examination and choose based on what seems right, whether we choose a religious path or an a-theistic one, we are usually more committed to following through on it. At that point, the religion becomes either the tool or the cheerleader to see us through the choice we have already made to do good.

    I think that "good" requires a combination of thought and feeling. People who do bad things in the name of religion are the kind who rely on a whole lot of feeling with little to no thought.

  • Dean Fox
    Dean Fox

    Thank you kindly for all your considered responses. I hope that regardless of your personal beliefs none of you will ever fall for the simplistic notion that "religion is a force for good" or indeed evil.

    It would seem there is a considered concensus that people are the force behind what they do either individually or as a group. This seems to me to be a healthy attitude. An interesting question to ask family, friends and perhaps congregations too, to find out if they consider their responses and perhaps get them to.

    The problems that occur with any religion are often borne out of the assumption that the religion is automatically good so whatever it commands must be for the greater good, even if this includes blowing oneself up in order to attain salvation and 72 virgins. Perhaps if people thought a little more about such things they could be fore armed against such abuses by people cloaking themselves in religious trappings.

  • Heaven

    Another one of the issues I've seen in organizations is the hidden agenda. Not everyone is privvy to this.. only certain privileged or elite ones. I see this in religion as well as corporations. What are the real goals of religion?

    What I know is that people say a lot of things. Words are just words. What they do is the real truth. Do the things said and done within the WTS align? Do they align with the Bible? Do they align with principles? Do they align with supporting the human body, heart, mind, and spirit?

    Not from my experiences and observations. I therefore conclude that this religion is not for good.

  • MissingLink

    Religion is a racket and a snare.

  • SixofNine

    I'm more inclined to see it as a farce for bad.

  • glenster

    It's when people get too 'centric about belief, non-belief, age, income level,
    race, political party, nationality, etc., that people get hurt or killed.
    Whichever belief or non-belief outlook you pick, don't be 'centric about it and
    not be able to be friends with others or you're a pain in the ass either way.

    Don't hurt anybody on the offense for God unless God parts a sea to have a
    dove fly down and have an angel make an announcement or such.

    A Catch-22 in painting Christians by those who are offensive by the above
    terms is that James said "Show me your faith by your works." If someone is
    middle management for organized crime or such, I don't care what they say, James
    said they don't have the faith.

    That said, depends on the religion, but yes, religion can motivate people to
    be charitable, etc.

  • Dean Fox
    Dean Fox

    Missinglink: "Religion is a racket and a snare."

    Is it though? Sure it can be used as such, and perhaps often is, but that is my point it isn't the religion but how it is used.

    In another forum it was suggested that the world would be a better place without religion, to which someone else replied that they doubted it because something else would take its place - although I wonder if this would not just be a re-emergence of religion. No matter I don't believe that if there was no religion the world would be any better. Conversely I don't believe religion really makes the world a better place either.

    Humans are naturally social animals. It's a survival trait. They form groups. They are also naturally wary of groups to which they don't belong. You can see this manifest at all levels. As an individual walking down a quiet street you become alert when someone else approaches, especially at night. You become more alert if you come across a group, being two or more people. You become even more alert when you don't identfify with that group. The group may or may not be a threat but your survival instinct kicks in and you become wary. This is why people get so upset with teenagers hanging around, younger children or adults don't identify with them and become intimidated.

    I could go on to explain how these basic instincts translate upwards in scale to countries. Suffice to say churches are more a manifestation of people wanting to congregate, belong and identifiy with a group, that they are based around a religion is merely what makes them churches. What that group does and how it interacts with other groups depends on the dynamics within the group, what the leaders say.

    Yes this desire to belong and identify with a group is exploited to varying degrees by various groups especially churches, but not all churches do it and not all do it to the same degree. Like I said religion is a tool, it is not a force. The religion doesn't snare you rather the church may do or may play on a natural desire to belong to recruit members.

    I've seen TV adverts in Houston Texas for churches expounding the virtues of the social and networking possibilities within the church. I was told while there that the best way to get a social life and the only way to network was to join a church.

  • Dean Fox
    Dean Fox

    Glenster: "That said, depends on the religion, but yes, religion can motivate people to
    be charitable, etc."

    Ah, my point is that the religion can only do this if the church is inclinde to encourage its followers to do this in the spirit of the religion upon which the church is based. That you can have the same basic sacred texts and have different churches with different churches with some being more charitable and others more self serving (to the leaders of the church).

    It's not the religion that provides the motivator it is the interpretation by the church.

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