Religion does more harm than good
Debate Rounds (4)
Round 2: Opening arguments
Round 3: Rebuttals/Arguments
Round 4: Rebuttals/Conclusion (no new arguments)
I look forward to a good debate!
http://www.infoplease.com... . My examples will be about Christianity and Islam since the people who believe in these religions taken together are nearly as half of the world's population.
With my first argument I will defend the statement that religion literally separates us. So let's imagine this- there are roughly 4,200 different religions, most of this religions separate to smaller religions, and most of these 'sub religions' separates to more divisions of that particular religion. For example, the main religion Christianity has three main divisions: Roman Catholic, Orthodox Eastern, and Protestant. According to David Barrett et al, editors of the "World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200," there are 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world today. And the number of Islamic divisions is over a 150. All of these divisions separates the society and differentiate the people to many communities without any reasonable purpose that has proved to be true or not true. And when a society is not united, there's nothing good about it.
My second argument is that religion has become the easiest way to manipulate people. We cannot be certain about the reason why religion was created. Even if the original idea was to unite people and give them answers to the questions without answer, later religion was turned into the easiest way to make people do what you want. People are afraid of the higher power they believe in. It's in their heads- they are afraid what is going to happen to them after they die, what is going to happen if they are 'bad people'. That is why they have these religious rituals to worship a particular higher power. That higher power always has its teaching which always is teaching against something. Our religion frequently forbids us to do certain things, saying that is against its teaching. But what if this is a way to make people do what somebody wants, to make them believe in what somebody wants? What if religion is an idea of a great genius who wants to rule people and make them do what he wants without giving explanations? I'll give a simple example with the crusades in the 11th century. Each of these crusade was in the name of Jerusalem and its freedom but its proven that this was a way to make people fight for territories, many people were killed in the name of Jerusalem's freedom but actually it was only for territories. If it wasn't for territories the crusaders wouldn't have negotiated so much with rulers to do some things for these rulers in exchange of payment.
Regarding the good and benefits religion brings to society, whether a religion's beliefs are proven true or logical or not has little to do with what I am about to consider. What matters is that religion as a whole has indeed spurred mankind on to greater heights.
Firstly, each religion has their laws that are mostly for good. For example, Christanity forbids steadling and killing. Buddhism strongly discourages harming any living thing. (This is actually why monks gain a lot of weight—they cannot waste food, most of which are 'offerings' from people. They have to finish every bit of what's ordered or given. Yes, even if it is meat, they have to force it down. —Personal interview of a monk.) Therefore, most believers do good and hence contribute positively in the form of charity or goodwill to society. Religion has indeed created a lot of controversy regarding laws such as gay marriage or extreme conservativeness, but it also has very successfully propelled people to create civilisation out of the savage. This is where my second point comes in.
Someone said that religion without science is blind, but science without religion is lame. The implication behind the sentence is that whether one admits it or not, majority of humans need something to inspire and push them towards their goals. They are unable to function without sufficient motivation. Religion therefore provides meaning and purpose in life. Having a deeply felt belief system can help someone cope with many of the perplexing and distressing questions that surround the meaning of existence, for example. They don't necessarily need proof that their gods are real. If people are satisfied with pure faith, just as some are satisfied with a simple apartment or others a lavish mansion, what good would come from dismissing them? Take depressed people for example—they find no meaning in life. Either unable to derive the needed motivation, willing to believe in something in order to feel better, or forced to do it, people turn to religion.
Third, having a religion relieves a lot of unneeded stress. Belief in religion allows a person to dump all their responsibility and mental pressure in a make-belief (or not) entity that they believe will never fail them. Religion reduces pressure from the many choices humans have to make in their lives. It offers a set of rules to people, and those who accept them are free to worry about other, more important matters instead of forever questioning and shifting their beliefs around. It is certainly not the best solution, but a person's willpower is a limited resource. Willpower that has been used on insignificant decisions will add up and eat away at a person's tolerance and patience, resulting in increased levels of anxiety. Therefore with religion, a person has at least stablised a large part of their life. A recent National Institute of Mental Health study, for example, found that people who consider religious beliefs to be a central element in their lives experience lower amounts of depression than does a control group. Below I reiterate my point.
One who does things in the name of religion may believe at least one of the following, whether they admit it or not:
I accept my destiny and it was not really my decision to make because my path has already been chosen.
I am not, as a person, liable for the consequences due to the above, therefore my conscience is appeased.
I will continue to have everything I have so long I remain in my beliefs.
And so on.
If you notice, this is actually a person giving an omniscient entity power over their actions which results in the person not taking the blame of wrongdoing and so continuing through life unscarred. The person doesn't have to worry about what happened because 'it was supposed to happen' and they 'couldn't have done anything to prevent it'. Besides, why should they worry? After all, the true intent was not theirs. It allows a person to give up their responsibilities, blame and guilt into faith—that they are having the best path chosen for them. They are in control, but yet, when it's convenient, utterly powerless.
Religion is hence, a very useful and effective tool —or illusion to some— for us humans to better ourselves. Whether or not I approve of this behaviour, I cannot deny that it is extremely efficient in getting people through their lives. It enables people to have a direction, a goal, a duty in life—things that they would not spawn such a devotion to otherwise. It is with this devotion that stemmed bit by bit from many individuals that we humans have created technology, revolutionised industry and achieved globalisation.
Willpower as a limited resource: http://psycnet.apa.org...
Faith reduces stress: http://www.dummies.com...
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