Is Religion a Necessary Evil?
Hundreds of millions thrive without it.
...Religion in general is what I am referring to, not just JW. The reason I ask is because last night I had a dream that there was concrete indisputable evidence of some sort, (no real specifics in my dream) that disproved the validity of the bible and confirmed that Jesus never existed. After much confrontation from different sources, the UN, the collective superpowers, religions worldwide, this proof finally got out to the media. When it did, it was met with a wave of riots, crimes being reported everywhere, and just general lawlessness. This got me thinking. Granted, Religion as a whole has caused a lot of problems in the world, but many religious groups are very active in charity, peace keeping, and aide to third world countries and such. And, in a way, religion is the basis of many people's "moral compass". Many people try to behave because of a morbid fear of hell, armageddon, etc. but also to try and acheive some sort of reward like paradise, heaven, a palace full of virgins...
My question to all of you is, what do you think? Do you think that some sort of moral code is needed to keep people from just running rampant, (an opiate of the masses, if you will) and religion is it, for better or for worse, or does this man-made invention cause more problems than it solves?
I think laws against crimes would still exist even if the Bible never existed. As human beings we have enough intelligence to figure out right from wrong and use our concience to decide. We would use that concience to set up rules and laws. Animals still kill and have sex in public, but they are guided by instincts. If the Bible never existed, we might be living darker world but I think the basic crimes (like killing, raping, stealing)would still be punishable by authorities. It's just comon sense that those things are evil.
Religion and ethics are two separate issues:
- a person can be extremely religious, yet still be quite unethical. Sadly, there are all too many of that sort about.
- conversely, a non-religious person can still have a strong code of ethics. As a litmus test as to whether a certain practice is right or wrong, you only need think for a moment what the world would be (i) without it, and (ii) if everyone did it. You certainly don't need some self appointed spiritual leader to tell you what is right and wrong.
The danger with allowing a religion to become the collective conscience is that what normally would be viewed as an atrocity can suddenly become a god-dictated duty:
- eg. Burning children in fires, exterminating the Canaanites, burning heretics at the stake, witholding essential medical treatment (such as blood transfusions or organ transplants) etc.
As to the WTS claim that "spirituality is essential", all I know is that I have got by quite well without it for these last 17 years.
Do you think that some sort of moral code is needed to keep people from just running rampant.
The U. S. founding fathers certainly thought religion was necessary. I think laws are based on moral codes; but moral codes are what holds society together. Laws should be just the back-up whipping stick when the conscience fails. However given enough amorality in a population, the laws become overwhelmed and the system breaks down. The FF's thought that laws and democracy only work for a relatively moral population and that moral religious training was critical to successful government.
In my opinion, the idea that a person only restrains himself or herself because there is a religion is false (as in error), and so the idea that society would behave only with religion is wrong as well.
I was wondering if the post made reference to religion being "the opium of people", that is, the way for the oppressed and downtrodden to think that one day their present hardships will be erased. Some people would argue in favor of such a thing. I believe it's equally wrong.
Scandinavian countries are very much atheistic, yet law and order do prevail there. There is the occasional fool and killer, but, overall, those countries work.
You see, kitten, some people really need religion to wake up every day and not take that hit of crack.
Some people need religion to keep themselves from going out and killing people.
Some people think that everyone needs this moral code, or else they turn into wild animals (even face-ripping monkeys). ;) A good keyword for these people are self-righteous arrogant assholes.
Some people just believe.
If all people thought one way and one way only, this would be a boring world. Don't be like the extremists in each side, embrace differences, seek to understand if you can, and remember that everyone's blood is just as red as yours. :D
Suppose you have a standard for morality that doesn't come from any Bible or Quran. A simple one: Any volitional action that is good for yourself and/or society is moral, while any volitional action that is bad for yourself and/or society is immoral. And one basic rule: Initiation of force, threats of force, or fraud is prohibited (first-strike offensive force is banned) and punishable by defensive or retaliatory force (so you cannot continue pulling scams or threatening or making good on threats on innocent people).
What religion is going to impose that rule structure?