Wednesday, November 19, 2014

RE: 6 Reasons why Religion Does More Harm Than Good


Let me make one thing abundantly clear:

I am not one who normally rants about any stupid article I found on the internet, but when I came across this article:

I just about broke my forehead from how many times I face-palmed myself. That's how beyond dumb the article is.

I do understand the article begins with a poll of Brits and their view of religion but let's look at how stupid the notions in the article are with my take in red script.

Religion promotes tribalism. Infidel, heathen, heretic. Religion divides insiders from outsiders. Rather than assuming good intentions, adherents often are taught to treat outsiders with suspicion. “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers,” says the Christian Bible. “They wish that you disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them,” says the Koran (Sura 4:91).

This argument doesn't really work especially with Christianity because it assumes that the people in the religion are fighting only people who are not in the religion. Of course anyone who has actually read the Bible (i.e. anyone who isn't the author of the article) knows:
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places (Eph 6:12).
In fact, the author misquotes 2 Cor 6:14 and left out the fact the verses were actually talking about the mixing of incompatible beliefs, not about interacting with non-believers; the example Paul gives is worshipping Jesus and Belial. 

2. Religion anchors believers to the Iron Age. Concubines, magical incantations, chosen people, stonings . . . The Iron Age was a time of rampant superstition, ignorance, inequality, racism, misogyny, and violence."
Historians would not agree with you on that
Sacred texts including the Bible, Torah and Koran all preserve and protect fragments of Iron Age culture, putting a god’s name and endorsement on some of the very worst human impulses.
If that's true, then how do you explain all this?
Do any of these findings sound like they're from people stuck in the Iron Age?

Religion makes a virtue out of faith. Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus. So sing children in Sunday schools across America.
That's wrong. A quick Google search shows that lyric only exists in a Methodist hymn and not all Christians are Methodists. 
 The Lord works in mysterious ways, pastors tell believers who have been shaken by horrors like brain cancer or a tsunami. Faith is a virtue.
I don't know what pastors the author talked to, but I don't know of any minister who would use that phrase and make it sound like a cop-out. There are many factors that influence how people cope with tragedy, but I do find it odd that when tragedy happens, people move toward religion, not away from it.
As science eats away at territory once held by religion
What is the author smoking? That notion is not true.
, traditional religious beliefs require greater and greater mental defenses against threatening information.
More like atheism goes through greater mental gymnastics to avoid admitting they're wrong on something.
 To stay strong, religion trains believers to practice self-deception, shut out contradictory evidence, and trust authorities rather than their own capacity to think. 
but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. (1 Thess 5:21)
You were saying?
Government, in particular, becomes a fight between competing ideologies rather than a quest to figure out practical, evidence-based solutions that promote wellbeing.
Mostly because the people who say ideology should trump facts are the same people who reject God and absolute right and wrong. 
 4. Religion diverts generous impulses and good intentions.
I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this because it is another example of atheist mental gymnastics but I will point out religious people have proven to be far more generous than atheists. 
And before you even try, No….calling for higher government handouts doesn't count as being generous.
5.  Religion teaches helplessness. Que sera, sera—what will be will be. Let go and let God.We’ve all heard these phrases, but sometimes we don’t recognize the deep relationship between religiosity and resignation.
Mostly because no connection actually exists. No one seems to know where the phrase came from so you can be sure it has nothing to do with Christian teachings.
 In the most conservative sects of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, women are seen as more virtuous if they let God manage their family planning. Droughts, poverty and cancer get attributed to the will of God rather than bad decisions or bad systems; believers wait for God to solve problems they could solve themselves.
Then how do you explain in Christianity women have an equal chance to be a saint whether they have kids or not? How do you explain advancements in cancer treatment and agriculture all came from Christians?
This attitude harms society at large as well as individuals. When today’s largest religions came into existence, ordinary people had little power to change social structures either through technological innovation or advocacy. "
This ignores the fact it was religion that gave people notions like private property and individual rights…notions that people have regardless of their station in life.

Religions seek power. Think corporate personhood. Religions are man-made institutions, just like for-profit corporations are.
Nothing man-made could have made the breakthroughs Christianity has.
And like any corporation, to survive and grow a religion must find a way to build power and wealth and compete for market share... And just like for-profit behemoths, they are willing to wield their power and wealth in the service of self-perpetuation, even it harms society at large.
So we're supposed to ignore the tactics of today's atheists, like forcing religious symbols to come down because of some bogus notion of the Constitution? 

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