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Religion + Mankind


Here is a philosophical question.  Over time has the world's religions (note this is not for any "one" specific religion) been more or less helpful to mankind/civilization?

Aha! I spend all my days contemplating this!!!

Religeon has been helpful to mankind to an extent. While the messages they give are hardly ever actually followed, they keep average people in check. Mankind is egocentric and greedy by nature, so there wouldn't be much hope for civilisation without something to surpress that. Religeons were the solution to that. Meaning, they make people behave themselves (usually), while giving them a sense of purpose in life, and making them feel important, so they don't seek more than they have already. "Religion is the opiate of the people" - Karl Marx.

With people actually working together now, technological advancement was possible. And through that, advancement in other areas. So, over the years, religion has greatly benefited humanity (forgetting holy wars, crusades e.t.c.).

But now we've come so far and are beginning to understand so much about the world around us, the universe, and ourselves, that it's contradicting religion. And while religion has an explination for pretty much everything, what science has explinations for can be proven and backed by evidence. And that's where Atheism vs Theistic religeon, logic vs tradition*, and left wing vs right wing all come from.

And the two can't co-exist peacefully anymore - science is now going into things such as stem cell research, cloning e.t.c. and religion opposes that. Science is also finding things that are making us realise what humanity is - just another species on the planet, no better or worse than any other. Which takes away the sense of importance religion gives. Which is why groups such as christian fundamentalists take the bible literally and use it to disprove (Yes, disprove the one with evidence when you have none) science.

I think that in the end science will win out (as in, hundreds of years), but before that can happen, human thinking needs a major reform - both as a species and individually we need to become more positive, and less arogent and self centered. We need to do things and help each other because we want to, not because we feel we have to.

So basically, religion has been helpful, but its got to the point where its now holding us back. But science won't win without major reform in our thinking.

Those are just my views on everything.

* I couldn't think what the opposite to tradition was called. I thought of futurism, but that was an art movement :p

I think religion has helped humans survive as intelligent beings with no understand of the how reality works.  However, as we learn more and more about how things actually work we have less and less need for this "security blanket".

Motor Mouth:
Religion has been a cornerstone and bedrock of all civilizations up to this point. Many dynamic and great leaders who changed the way we look at the world came from religious backgrounds. Martin Luther King (Baptist) and Malcolm X (Islam) come to mind. But as there have been alternatives to organized religion popping up and people not being as afraid to question religion being more open, religion is being asked tough questions to see if it can really stick as it had up to now.

Narei Mooncatt:
I think if put on a scale, the good done in the name of religion outweighs the bad. Just don't ask me to quantify it any more than that because I don't know much about any religions, and thus, the rest of this post may be completely off base. :P

I do think that going way back, religion started out as a tribal thing, when our ancesters worshiped various gods to help them make it through. I.E. praying and offering sacrifices for rain or a good hunt. It would be my guess that people from these types of religions seemed to act as if they felt to be beholden to their gods, that anything good and bad must have been because the gods were rewarding or punishing them. That still seems to hold true to a point today like when people pray for someone in a hospital. We no longer beg (for lack of a better term) for the gods to help us in every major part of our lives, but more ask for guidance. Instead of trying to please a god with certain rituals for immidiate rewards like the rain for crops, most religions I think have morphed to emphisize doing morally good in your life because there could be a judgement made on your soul after you pass. I'm not religious, but I do believe that for the most part, these moral guidances given in todays major religions do help a person to live better. They teach us things like the golden rule. I guess one of the reasons it works so well is because it could be likened to fables. Their teachings involve stories of people long ago that help others understand life lessons. Whether the stories are really true or not isn't the point, only that you give a way for people to understand and see the morality of them and find that sense of purpose. Hypothetically, let's say religion (not any specific one, but the concept of religion itself) was made up by someone who started preaching. We all know that even a lie, if repeated often enough, well eventually be seen as truth. If this person is able to get a following with these made up teachings of miracles and morality, then those people will be influenced by these made up stories.

Of course I'm not saying all religions are preaching made up stories and outright lies. I'm mearly explaining how I see religion can work to better mankind. Personally, I'm remaining on the fence but leaning toward misconstrued truth. I think that the original basis of most of religious stories was probably true, but over time got mis-interpreted into what we have today and also having to rely on "miracles" to explain things they didn't understand back then. Take Jesus walking on water. What if it was just someone spotted him walking along a flat area on a bright, hot day where the heat radiated off the sand and made that glossy water reflection effect like you sometimes see on roadways. Wouldn't it be interesting to find out that someone just originally saw that and said it *LOOKED* like he was walking on water, only to be retold that he really did and then glorified with each passing tale?


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