Christianity led to the abolition of slavery, a practice that goes as far back as the written word. Christianity led to women's equality, something that never occurred except in rare and temporary circumstances in the rest of history. Atheism combined with fascism and communism led to the 40-60 million dead in China's Great Leap Forward, 30-50 million in Stalin's Holomodor and Purges, and 1/3 of Cambodia's population under Pol Pot.
If one is brought up to not believe in a higher power other than themselves, they may assume that they are "it". The danger of that assumption can be that you answer to nobody other than yourself. People are worth only the value that YOU place on them, not anybody else. Therefore, no eternal consequences for your actions.
When people have something to believe in, it gives them hope, which leads them to aim for good things. This is usually done by behaving in a positive manner. People's faith also gives them a standard by which to live their lives, and this helps to establish some order within the population. There are some people that use their beliefs to justify the harm that they cause others. The extremely harmful of this bunch are usually called radicals, and this is because they are not the norm. Faith, normally, leads to positivity, respect and contemplation when dealing with one another.
While all religions have their own tenets, the basic principle of all religions is to live a good life living in peace and harmony because the higher power, or God, would want us to and is always watching us.
Faith in a higher power makes us believe that their is a superior being, far superior to us and so out of either fear or love we should serve one another. Believing that this higher power has dictated rules by which we should live our lives encourages us to follow these rules and live in peace.
If there were rules with no cause to follow them and people did not believe that there would be repercussions for their actions then it is possible that they would commit all the sins they wanted with no thought for what is right or wrong.
If people believe that there is a higher power, they are more likely to act in such a way as to please that power. People are less likely to live solely for themselves if they feel that their behavior has consequences beyond this life. Further, believing that life is orchestrated by someone can be reassuring during times of conflict or turmoil.
Without a higher power to be accountable to, we have no higher moral standard to adhere to. Thus, any action we take will be arbitrary, because there is no logical BASIS to do anything. Only when we are accountable to a higher power do we have a logical basis for any moral code. The alternative is to adhere to the idea that all ideas are involuntary. A self-destructive statement.
Belief that there is something greater and more important than ourselves is necessary for the greater good. Self importance equates to selfishness and lack of compassion.
Religions are very communal and social phenomena. Not only do believers reach out and meditate or pray to something that they can't see or feel, they open themselves up to helping and being helped by those around them. Church congregations and those that regularly worship in temples, synagogues and mosques, are extended families of a sort. So, even if there are no deities, in numbers, humans of a common idea find an energy they would not have on their own. From soup kitchens to international organizations that feed famine stricken villages in Africa, the whole of a group of believers is greater than the sum of its individuals, and that is a higher power for greater good.
Two thousand years ago women, children, the disabled, and the poor were not looked at has having human value. Only after Christianity began to take care of these individuals, give such individuals value within the Christian community, and begin to teach that they too had instrinsic value did idea that such individuals could have human rights. This is further explained here: http://www.exegeticalstruggles.com/2011/08/religion-is-better-than-science-why.html
When people have faith in a higher power, they are more likely to think about their connections to others. This leads to a more socially responsible attitude. I was raised by atheists and really think they suffer from a sense of alienation and disconnection. I have watched them become more bitter and anti-social over the years. They tend to live just for themselves, in relative isolation.
Yes, I believe faith in a higher power is for the greater good because it brings people together and keeps people positive. If no one had faith in a higher power, I think there would be a lot more crime, hatred and violence. People would give up on life when faced with bad times and tragedies. Having faith in a higher power helps so many get through tough times and just life in general that I think it is for the greater good. It is comforting and loving for many. This is a good thing because life can be hard.
Having faith in a higher power is necessary. I feel that having that faith helps many people cope when faced with difficult situations. When people stop believing in something better then they will be faced with a hard reality and they may not have the strength to handle it in the best way.
If you believe in God, then you believe that you are subject to his will, which is benevolent. If you are subject to his benevolent will and behave in a malevolent way, then you know that you are in for trouble. Therefore, believing that you are subject to his benevolent will inspires the majority of those who believe in him to act in a good and positive way towards themselves and others, both locally and globally.
Having faith in a higher power, regardless of what that power may be, will have a greater good on society. It keeps people in check, and helps to make them accountable for their actions. Without having someone to answer to, people may feel like their actions have no consequences, and could make for the downfall of society.
I strongly believe that faith in a higher power such as the Lord, benefits all mankind. As this should be a convincing argument for most, since having faith in mankind to solve the world's problems has led most countries to war, economic destruction, moral deprivation and diminished family values and principles.
All the biggest wars, genocide, rape, murder, conquests, murders... BAD stuff happens for and in religion. People have been made slaves for the color of their skin under the guise of "its good for their non-Christian souls." People have been killed by the millions for it time and time again. In the religious texts, there is plenty of Evil! ALL OF THEM.
Are you kidding? belief in a higher power detracts from the greater good by causing people to do and believe in irrational things that hurt others. People impose their beliefs on others. There is no good reason to believe in a higher power. We need to do things to better humanity and not all of those things coincide with "god's plan."
I do believe that some people seriously need religion. Without it, they would be lost. Especially during a time when, for example, they have lost a loved one and just feel so hopeless. Then they can turn to the god and the heaven they believe in, hoping that the person they lost is in a better place. However, I believe religion is not for everyone. There are people who believe that when you die, that's it, and they can accept this and move on. They don't believe in heaven and hell and god because it doesn't make logical sense to them. Forcing someone to believe in religion when they truly don't is one of the wrongest things anyone can do. It's good for some, bad for others.
The belief that people should believe in a superior power for the greater good... But, greater good to whom? To the power-hungry dictators? To the business of certain religious entities? Because religion has been with us for long, it makes the majority of us really do think religion is better, and that it helps us. That's is the power of social conditioning and internalization. Yet, there is no evidence that believers in a higher power are any more arrogant, altruistic or philanthropist, helpful to others, or any more selfless than non-believers. It's a myth, both the higher power and the "greater good".
Faith in a higher power is a very ambiguous concept. Just because someone believes in an ultimate being, that doesn't mean it's good. The higher power could want this person to kill off people that disagree with them, or do other violent acts. For this reason, faith alone is not good for the majority.
I believe in personal responsibility and accomplishment. People control their own destiny and should take action to do good for themselves and others. Believing in a higher power allows people to be complacent or excuse their bad behavior. In addition, belief in a higher power has been the excuse for much violence throughout history. Moral behavior is not tied to faith, but to a person's desire to help others and him/herself.
People often report that faith in a higher power has been a sustaining and inspiring source for their work and well-being in the face of adversity, and these accounts deserve respect--but not credulous acceptance; the benefits they obtain ultimately seem available through explanations that do not challenge everyday experience so strongly. People with faith, in exhibiting their devotion or focus on a supreme being or force, are apparently doing something that is helping them. Skeptics have no evidence that a higher power is actually supporting them, however; it seems more likely that they are accessing parts of their mind and accessing biological mechanisms that together offer them valuable perspective, vitality, and hope. Again, these benefits should be respected--but more careful study of the physical and psychological processes at play here would presumably allow the same benefits to be explained differently, and perhaps cultivated without a religious frame of reference.
Developing faith in a higher power is just putting us at stake. We do not know how and when we may be turned down or ditched by the higher power having resources of greater value than that of ours. A higher power might have offered a helping hand to us having ill-minded thoughts within the loopholes of their agenda concerning us.
Faith can benefit the individual if it provides a person with a reason for being good and doing good, but there is no intrinsic power or quality in spiritual or religious faith that benefits the greater good. People can do and be good without believing in a higher power. Others need to believe in something outside of themselves. That is why it is an individual choice.