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Religion as a social institution

thett3
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12/2/2013 10:18:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Disregarding whether or not a religion is true, how important, if at all, do you view religion as a social institution? Personally I believe that religion can be important in unifying a populace and the teachings of most religions (though not all) teach important lessons, if stringing along unfortunate prejudices.

I'd be inclined to attribute much of the violence religion has caused throughout history as flaws brought about by humans as opposed to religion itself being a bad thing. Humans seem to have a tendency to in group behavior and to oppress others. The entire 20th century is ample evidence of the destructive power of other widespread beliefs that often replace religion in the mind of the populace such as nationalism and the perversion of Marxism that was the communist state.

Personally I think it would've been better, to use the USSR as an example, if the Orthodox Church had kept it's influence as the unifying "belief" of the populace instead of communist ideology. I know that political ideology and religion aren't the same, but most people seemingly like to latch to some kind of unifying narrative with which to explain their experiences, whether that's God's work, class struggle, or external oppression.

So I think in most contexts religion can be a good force for society, especially in terms of counter balancing the influence of the state. Any thoughts?
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
thett3
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12/3/2013 12:20:32 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Anyone?
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
Lordgrae
Posts: 666
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12/3/2013 12:50:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/2/2013 10:18:52 PM, thett3 wrote:
Disregarding whether or not a religion is true, how important, if at all, do you view religion as a social institution? Personally I believe that religion can be important in unifying a populace and the teachings of most religions (though not all) teach important lessons, if stringing along unfortunate prejudices.

I think it was at one time important. it unified groups and gave nations power of the people. however, with democracy and diffusion of religions, and an ever broadening awareness of other people farther and farther away on the planet, religion has become a dividing factor.

I'd be inclined to attribute much of the violence religion has caused throughout history as flaws brought about by humans as opposed to religion itself being a bad thing. Humans seem to have a tendency to in group behavior and to oppress others. The entire 20th century is ample evidence of the destructive power of other widespread beliefs that often replace religion in the mind of the populace such as nationalism and the perversion of Marxism that was the communist state.

Religion does not create greed. it does not create those with power. It gives those with greed and power the ability to control the people, and justify atrocities. Religion rarely causes wars, but they expand it and make it last much longer then the actual conflict.

Personally I think it would've been better, to use the USSR as an example, if the Orthodox Church had kept it's influence as the unifying "belief" of the populace instead of communist ideology. I know that political ideology and religion aren't the same, but most people seemingly like to latch to some kind of unifying narrative with which to explain their experiences, whether that's God's work, class struggle, or external oppression.

The USSR was not atheist. It practiced state worship. People like to think that there is a powerful being looking out for them. But it isn't productive and it doesn't move us forward as a society. When half of the US populace thinks the earth is less than 10000 years old, that is not good. When they believe things that contradict facts, and as such are willing to kill others who believe radically different falsehoods, and will discount modern medicine for their beliefs, that is bad.

So I think in most contexts religion can be a good force for society, especially in terms of counter balancing the influence of the state. Any thoughts?

They can be a force for good. Reform churches, synagogues, etc. are good. They provide community spirit and help the poor. But these people unknowingly increase the perceived support for a different group. The radicals are enabled by the reform. The reform often make donations to larger affiliate group that support these radicals, they increase the perceived support for them, giving them even more power.
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thett3
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12/3/2013 2:08:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/3/2013 12:50:27 PM, Lordgrae wrote:
At 12/2/2013 10:18:52 PM, thett3 wrote:
Disregarding whether or not a religion is true, how important, if at all, do you view religion as a social institution? Personally I believe that religion can be important in unifying a populace and the teachings of most religions (though not all) teach important lessons, if stringing along unfortunate prejudices.

I think it was at one time important. it unified groups and gave nations power of the people. however, with democracy and diffusion of religions, and an ever broadening awareness of other people farther and farther away on the planet, religion has become a dividing factor.

I'm with you that religion is declining as a unifying factor. My concern is it's replacement or, more aptly in the west, it's lack of a serious replacement.


I'd be inclined to attribute much of the violence religion has caused throughout history as flaws brought about by humans as opposed to religion itself being a bad thing. Humans seem to have a tendency to in group behavior and to oppress others. The entire 20th century is ample evidence of the destructive power of other widespread beliefs that often replace religion in the mind of the populace such as nationalism and the perversion of Marxism that was the communist state.

Religion does not create greed. it does not create those with power. It gives those with greed and power the ability to control the people, and justify atrocities. Religion rarely causes wars, but they expand it and make it last much longer then the actual conflict.

Religion does, as does any social institution have the ability to be abused. My primary contention is this: while power hungry people can sometimes use religion for control, the teachings inherent in most religions such as forgiveness and kindness tend insulate the populace against radical and far more dangerous ideologies. I would argue that such power hungry men have much better luck gaining command of the state apparatus than they do the church and without the counter balancing effect of the church the populace is much more susceptible to dangerous ideologies.

Personally I think it would've been better, to use the USSR as an example, if the Orthodox Church had kept it's influence as the unifying "belief" of the populace instead of communist ideology. I know that political ideology and religion aren't the same, but most people seemingly like to latch to some kind of unifying narrative with which to explain their experiences, whether that's God's work, class struggle, or external oppression.

The USSR was not atheist. It practiced state worship.

My point exactly. The Orthodox Church certainly wasn't and isn't perfect, but it was vastly better than the ideology that replaced it in the minds of the populace.

People like to think that there is a powerful being looking out for them. But it isn't productive and it doesn't move us forward as a society. When half of the US populace thinks the earth is less than 10000 years old, that is not good. When they believe things that contradict facts, and as such are willing to kill others who believe radically different falsehoods, and will discount modern medicine for their beliefs, that is bad.

I'm with you that ignorance, violence, and refusals of vaccinations due to over zealous religious beliefs are bad. I just don't think this comes anywhere near outweighing the positive impacts of religion, especially as a hedge against the state.


So I think in most contexts religion can be a good force for society, especially in terms of counter balancing the influence of the state. Any thoughts?

They can be a force for good. Reform churches, synagogues, etc. are good. They provide community spirit and help the poor. But these people unknowingly increase the perceived support for a different group. The radicals are enabled by the reform. The reform often make donations to larger affiliate group that support these radicals, they increase the perceived support for them, giving them even more power.

But the radicals surely are only a small minority of the religious, no? Which churches are radical?
DDO Vice President

#StandwithBossy

#UnbanTheMadman

#BetOnThett

"Don't quote me, ever." -Max

"My name is max. I'm not a big fan of slacks"- Max rapping

"Walmart should have the opportunity to bribe a politician to it's agenda" -Max

"Thett, you're really good at convincing people you're a decent person"-tulle

"You fit the character of Regina George quite nicely"- Sam

: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right