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Is religion more of a destructive or benign force in the world today?

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Slowly with time the massive lies and scare tactics called religion - implemented to control society - fade and less people are oppressed or worse yet die in the name of said lies. The rules of society are dictated by laws now, and our gods are the practitioners of said laws. Amen.

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You can't really have this kind of quiz about "religion" as a whole. There are too many types. Many of which are quite benign. And there are others which tend to be more destructive. Some religions are quite self-contained and peaceful.

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Religion is incapable of being an a destructive force, it's human nature that is the destructive force. Religion is an inanimate object used by humans as an excuse to do bad. If there wasn't Religion, humans would create other excuses to kill each other (Like politics, race, class, et al.). Human nature is inherently violent and confrontational, mostly due to their inability to admit their wrong(pride).

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Considering that most of the wars were done under the name of God...

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Religion is just a product of culture and nationalism. People like to say that religion causes wars (crusades!!), but religion is only the proximate cause. Even if you could somehow remove religion, it'd still be righteous us versus backward them who don't deserve such riches.

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Pointless question without identifying what religion the question is about.

Jainism and Zoroastrinism are certainly benign forces. The same can not be said about some other religions.

The idea that you can somehow generalize about all religions without looking at their content is akin to saying you can generalize about all "books".

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Killing in the name of god is common practice.

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Greaper1:

" Killing in the name of god is common practice. "

There is no such thing as "killing in the name of god" in e.g. the Jain religion.

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What a negative way to phrase this. How about "positive".

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There is no such thing as "killing in the name of god" in e.g. the Jain religion.

Maybe not, but that hasn't stopped the Janist community from assuming majority control of the international diamond trade over the last decade - a trade which includes blood diamonds.

I'd consider a religious group that preaches non-violence and respect for all things while making millions exploiting other people to be a destructive force.

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"Considering that most of the wars were done under the name of God..." or the lack their of. remember many of the this centuries wars were against Communism. But yes its often god pitted against god. Just think about this when you are getting groped by a TSA agent it is gods fault!!! the terriost are planting bombs on airplanes in the name of god, and since their is only one god, their god is your god and my god.

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Depends on where you are really.

Killing in the name of god is common practice.

Remove the 'in the name of god' part and you're pretty much correct. Just look at the Ukrainian genocide, not religious yet it killed millions of people in the name of unity under the communist regime.

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Don't mix religion with moral values. You do not need religion to be a moral person. That said, you don't need religion to start conflicts or wars.

In my humble opinion religion (or brain washing to use a more modern equal phrase) is a form of Mass Control that belongs back in the dark ages where it came from.

Regardless of the religion or what they preach, or how peace they are.

We do not need religion to be peaceful and respectful. All you need is good manners and respect for other peoples space, thoughts and personal property.

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High population growth is associated with poverty, political oppression, oppression of women, low educational attainment, lack of democracy, and environmental destruction.

Religions tend to promote high population growth. So even taken on that basis alone, it's clearly more destructive than benign.

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Find me a religion that would politely refuse a monetary handout and I might consider investigating its belief system. (But seriously, don't waste your time.)

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Well I'd have to say the answers available are too narrow minded. As many have pointed out, some religions aren't a problem and others are. Being agnostic, with a buddist missus, and a protestant turned catholic parent, an islamic relative, some athiest relatives and so on and so forth, it all depends on which religious beliefs a person chooses adheres too as well as their perception of their religion.

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Religion is fallable, unlike god. That's why it's the most destructive force on earth apart from totalitarian dictatorships.

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Religion is fallable, unlike god. That's why it's the most destructive force on earth apart from totalitarian dictatorships.

How's something inanimate fallable?

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Religion....Never understood why a person needs to believe in something of a 'higher power' to get by day by day. If everyone believed in themselves as much as they believe in thier god, then the world would be a much better place.

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The dominant religions always seem to be about dividing people into "The Good" (your religion) and "The Bad" (other peoples religions). This may or may not have been the intent of the original founders of these faiths, but the human factor guarentees that divisionism WILL become a significant factor. Faiths all too easily lend themselves as political tools.

I'll exclude Buddhism as it's less a 'religion' per-se than what one man saw as a "self-improvement" guide that could be applied to many religions (if you're into that whole ego-hating, self-evaporation, nothingness-loving thing ... which I think a short walk off any tall building could accomplish without 50 years of meditating - but that's just my opinion dontchaknow).

Alas, people seem "wired" for religion - doesn't seem to matter WHICH religion - so I doubt religion or its influences are going to go away. This means we need to develop some kind of philosophical and practical framework within which all religions can operate as freely as possible while, at the same time, avoid doing damage to each other.

The United Nations was an attempt at doing this for political/economic philosophies ... so why not aim at something similar (and better) aimed at smoothing the sharp edges between religions so they can't easily be used as weapons of mass destruction ?

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I guess "beneficial" is not a choice.

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"destructive" or "benign". Interesting choice to use "benign".

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Aum shinrikyo = destructive

Mother Teressa = benign

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There is a reason the concept of rights developed in the West (China's view of rights differs from ours). The dignity of the individual created in God's image. We have rights by our being human, from conception to death. But we are drifting from this basic premise and innocent lives are being lost on one end, and perhaps in the not to distance future, the other end will be deemed as non productive and not of much use. Without a sense of a moral order we have the morality of those who can sway public opinion. This is not always in the best interests of the moral order.

BTW we are not obliged to follow laws that go against the moral order in the military nor in society. This is written in our hearts, as the poster above pointed out in the statement that one can be moral without religion. I might add as long as one does not have an erring conscience.

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Religions, more often than not, are but masks for objective social forces. Ex: Catholicism expresses the interests of the landed nobility and of the feudal order, while Calvinism (or Puritanism) represents those of the bourgeoisie or capitalism, Judaism mirrors the interests of a precapitalist mercantile class.

Organized religion is often nothing more than an attempt (albeit a somewhat successful one) to conceal the true driving forces of social dynamics from the masses in order to exploit them easier into toiling and fighting for interests they wouldn't consider worthy otherwise.

It is in this that religion reveals its most destructive role in the world.

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Instead of another futile discussion we could watch the Christopher Hitchens debating Tony Blair on pretty much the same topic which probably has inspired someone at JT to ask the very question. They both make some good and valid points in a much more erudite and informed way than I possibly ever will be able to, so I won't bother but I'll just point out to techall, following what Hitchens said; empowering women to choose if and how many children they want to have did much more good than Mother Teresa's misguided intentions. And the suffering she caused by insisting that contraception is a sin probably outweighs her achievements. It could be compared to someone insisting that seatbelts are evil, but comforting car accident victims.

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Aum shinrikyo = destructive, Mother Teressa = benign

Um ... you might want to investigate some of MT's details rather than just what her PR people generated. She was not "benign" in either the theological or practical sense. Not awful, but not "benign" either.

In any case, people who become convinced they have some superpower on their side, well, you've heard the phrase "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" I suppose ....

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"I guess "beneficial" is not a choice."

I think that really funny. benificial for the person getting blown up or killed or shot in the face in the name of god. or benificail for the person doing the killing (or at the very least finger pointing and/or judging)

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I guess the reformed drug user who found religion or the convict who saw the error of his ways through religion don't have any say. Just destructive or benign.

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The substitute religion of "progressivism," with its quasi-religious elements of fervor, moralizing, heretics and True Believers, blind faith and even an Armageddon component (world destruction through an imminent "Global Warming") is indeed destructive of everything it touches.

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Computers are fallable. Of course, this would usually be in their design but may also happen due to outside sources, such as cosmic rays. Extremely rare but real in causing computer malfunctions.

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Dictionary definition of benign: showing or expressive of gentleness or kindness

I think you're confusing it with another word. MT might not have been a saint, but suggesting she was a cruel or vicious person is a flippant attempt to make a point.

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Humans appear incapable of living peaceably. I agree with the other comments here about how even if we removed religion from the equation, we'd still find some other excuse to hurt each other. I don't blame religion-- I blame human nature.

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The substitute religion of "conservatism," with its quasi-religious elements of fervor, moralizing, heretics and True Believers, blind faith and even an Armageddon component (world destruction through an imminent "Terrorism") is indeed destructive of everything it touches.

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Well let me put it this way, if you see a soup kitchen giving food to poor people, or a homeless shelter; it is often associated with a church. I bet churchgoer participation in volunteer activities far exceeds the atheists posting on this site.

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I just got a thing in the mail today from my local temple asking for money. It even had the bank transfer paper attached for my "convenience".

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I speak as a person who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is the true definition of "Christianity." I don`t like religion. It is man-made, and mostly an absolute curse. Religion is something that happens outside of us. Salvation, a relationship with Jesus Christ, is something that happens on the inside.

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I speak as a person who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ

You speak as a person who said in a recent post:

"I think as punbishment (sic) this brat should have hot water poured over him, and see what HIS reaction is."

I would suggest you have a pretty odd relationship with Christ, given that comment.

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Religion has shown to be a destructive force from the time of the crusades. Well organized discrete espionage system sometimes.

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I voted benign. Benign actions guided by faith don't make the 7:00 news but they occur with great frequency.

Taka

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Just saw a bunch of 20 year olds with blonde hair in the train. White shirts, neck tie and a lapel badge that said 'Elder'(??) and something else and 'Jesus Christ' I am sure they were the Mormons or something. They were talking loud, their rucksack was on the floor and the passengers could not move around freely. No one needs to force feed spiritual things to other human beings. In some remote part of Asia, I visited a place of worship. No need to pay any money or register yourself. If you wish you could even stay over at the open halls. Basic amenities are there. Come and go whenever you want. Some wealthy business people contribute towards the building and maintenance voluntarily. The place was clean and quiet. I think that is how a religion should be. Why propagate your beliefs? Never understood that.

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Religion has shown to be a destructive force from the time of the crusades.

It is hardly that cut and dry. Read some history. The development of music, the transfer of medical knowledge, astronomy, the study of language (to name but a few subjects) were always the pursuits of monks in the better religious orders.

There is culture (spirit) and there is society (organized religion) - where the clergy are active.

To me it is more a question of realizing that the clergy - like "the poor" - will always be with us. In this day and age I consider ppl like Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann to be clergy, if you get my drift...

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