Do We Need Religion?

  • meerkatmatt

    meerkatmatt (100)

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    One day, it struck me, if religion is wrong surely we've wasted so much time, and so much money with worship and building churches and mosques and synagogues? If there is no God, and personally I'm an agnostic verging on atheism, then has religion all been a complete waste of resources? At first I thought yes, however if we didn't have the concept of moral right and wrong and ultimate judgement at the end of our lives would there be a lot more evil in the world? And also, is the best method of implementing this concept through making people believe in an omnipotent God who will judge them at the end of their life?
    November 17th, 2012 at 12:59am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    As a New Age Christian, morals don't have to come from religion. I'm sure mankind would have figure out not to kill, rape, steal, etc. all on their own with a book "from God".
    November 17th, 2012 at 01:02am
  • ponder hop.

    ponder hop. (100)

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    I'm not religious or anything, but I think that even though religion might be 'wrong' in 'most' aspects... Religion is still important. Most religions keep humans 'human' and that's what really separates us from animals. The ability to believe in something we haven't seen before. Like, you can teach a chimpanzee to drive, wash clothes, build something, eat with a fork, and not bite - but you can't teach it to believe in God.
    It also keeps the community together in it's own ways. For example, without Religion, there would be no Christmas! Christmas is the birth of Jesus, and if we had no religion there would be no Jesus, no Christmas, no Easter and many other things that we celebrate that are actually religious but we just don't pay attention to the more Religious part of it.

    In fact, Religion is a belief. If you believe in something and it helps you through hard times, wouldn't you want to share it and/or make something that can strengthen your faith? That's what people built - Churches and all that. To gather together and believe together. Other people might think 'wtf why you morons, stop its pointless' but to the people it means something. Do you forbid and say that it's wrong to believe in something?
    Sure, the Bible doesn't support homosexuality and teaches us to forgive everyone and love everyone and donate all your money to charities because there's a heaven and you'll be rich there in God's kingdom and all that.
    But that's because some people take it literally. All the Bible really teaches us is just to be peaceful, don't steal, rape, kill, and just live a good happy loving life. I bet that if religion never existed, more than half of the religious people today would be out to do something 'bad' because nothing it holding them. Sure morals can be worked out without religion, but religion is like a teacher to some. It just helps them.

    I think that religion should exist, not to ban and forbid but to unite people as one. :)
    Once again, I'm not religious or anything and my point here is NOT to make everyone go and grab a Bible, just stating my opinion, just respecting what others believe.
    November 18th, 2012 at 02:30am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    I think religious zealots are the problem, not religion itself. I think using religion to scare people is a problem, but not the act of having faith itself.
    November 18th, 2012 at 07:37pm
  • Joey Jordison

    Joey Jordison (100)

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    I'm an atheist, so follow no religion, but for me, religion is (usually) a beautiful thing. It enriches peoples lives, gives them a structure for their lives, teaches them morals to live by and so on. I'd never advocate eradicating religion from the world because for a lot of people it's a positive influence throughout their life.

    However, I do think religion should only be dealt with on an individual scale, rather than having it implemented onto a large section of the public, such as having a state/national religion. When religion infringes on peoples rights, that's when I personally believe it becomes a damaging factor. For example the woman who was denied an abortion in Ireland because abortion is still illegal in Ireland due to it being a Catholic country. Or the continued debate about gay marriage and whether it should be allowed in case it offends. I think that is when religion causes issues. When people read the Bible (or other Holy Books) literally, and attempt to live in accordance to every single law, then it could be problematic and damage the religion.

    I think it was Kant who said that without religion, the moral order of society would collapse. I disagree. I think in a modern society, people can distinguish between right and wrong, moral and immoral without having a religious knowledge of such concepts. For example: in a society where homosexuality is more open and discussed, I think it's wrong for religion to still be an influencing factor on how they are treated by law and in society. Many of the ideas found in books like the Bible or the Qur'an need to be understood in the context of the time in which they were written, before being implemented onto the rest of the public. Like Dru says, when zealots attempt to scare people with their faith, that's when religion becomes a problem. Having faith isn't a problem, but ascribing to a religion which may have such extreme views can be a problem.

    But that's just my jumbled opinion.
    November 18th, 2012 at 10:39pm
  • roses and robots

    roses and robots (100)

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    Joey Jordison:
    I'm an atheist, so follow no religion, but for me, religion is (usually) a beautiful thing. It enriches peoples lives, gives them a structure for their lives, teaches them morals to live by and so on. I'd never advocate eradicating religion from the world because for a lot of people it's a positive influence throughout their life.

    However, I do think religion should only be dealt with on an individual scale, rather than having it implemented onto a large section of the public, such as having a state/national religion.
    You took the exact words from my mouth.
    November 24th, 2012 at 11:09pm
  • Answering.Alexandra.

    Answering.Alexandra. (100)

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    I really like this forum, actually. I understand the whole religion controversy and what not. I was raised a conservative Christian. I was raised to treat people with respect, honor my God, read the bible, worship, etc. But as I got older, I realized that I don't like being categorized into one religion. I don't consider myself a Christian, although I do believe in God, the bible, and the trinity. I think that we don't need to have religions and cults to prove who we are and what we believe in. People should just be able to see that .

    I think people take religion much too seriously. We, as society, get in pointless fights over which is wrong and which is right. I think we should all have our own views and not follow a religion. After finally leaving my church, I've begun to see the world. My church is honestly nothing but a cult trying to earn money. That's all I can see churches as now. It's sad, yes, but that's what the world is becoming daily.
    November 25th, 2012 at 12:04am
  • raroman

    raroman (100)

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    Its an interesting question. I think people need something to have faith in. Something to explain or pray to when things go bad. Something/one to depend on. Someone to reinforce good morals.
    And yes, people have abused this foundation of a deity, but in reality there are many good people out there because a higher power/they believe a higher power saved them, has a plan for them, and loves them.
    And maybe people are becoming less religious because of technology and realizing we need each other, and if we have each other, we can do anything. Also, there's a belief that God works through other people. God will send you someone, or something like that.
    November 26th, 2012 at 12:01am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ Answering.Alexandra.
    Churches can be like that, but there's something to be said about coming together as a group to worship. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. That's what a church is supposed to be, fellowship with people who believe as you do. It depends on the church. Not all of them are cults or bad, but some of them are.
    November 27th, 2012 at 02:31am
  • Answering.Alexandra.

    Answering.Alexandra. (100)

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    @ dru will wait

    You're totally right. I definitely understand that. I was not trying to classify every church or organization as a cult. But it's like every church that I see around where I live is all for the money, not for God.
    Churches should be a place with worship and loyalty. I would honestly be the happiest person if I could find a church like that somewhere. I'm sure it's out there.
    November 27th, 2012 at 08:23am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ Answering.Alexandra.
    Some of the best churches I've heard of don't even own buildings. They either rent a building one day a week or hold their fellowship in someone's basement. When you have to work at it, I think you don't take it for granted so much.
    November 27th, 2012 at 04:40pm
  • fat lamb

    fat lamb (105)

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    No one should need an incentive to be a good person; however, that is unfortunately how things go quite frequently. Time and time again I question religion. Even when I was a kid and I "believed" in the concept of God, I still thought about death and the afterward. Knowing that life was going to end and I'd be nothing one day did nothing but sadden and create anxiety in me. But I in no way had it become my motive for anything. I try not thinking about it in fact: the end. It's a very depressing topic, because I think that every person deep down, no matter what religion they believe in, doubts, and knows that there's nothing after death.

    Is religion necessary? Again, I do not think the fear of an almighty being should dictate the quality of the life we live and the choices we make. If there is some form of Heaven and Hell, then I have long accepted that I will go to Hell, because I'm not going to try to be something that's not true to my character just so I can have the better outcome after death. Hope is in no way a bad thing to have, and faith is like a fancy form of hope in my opinion. The only purpose religion serves is to keep people down to earth (no pun intended) and not slip into severe depression from the thought of an end.

    Other than that though, I despise the people who try justifying their flaws with illegitimate Bible "facts" (i.e. homophobia). I really wonder how many people would say they hated gays if there was no popular book saying it was damnable. At least then it'd be his or her personal opinion and not a following sheep-like agreement.

    There's so much more I want to say, but really everyone should just watch the movie "Religulous" with Bill Maher.
    December 16th, 2012 at 05:22am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ fat lamb
    I don't think that's the purpose of religion at all (to keep people from getting depressed/etc). If so, it certainly doesn't work.

    I don't know there's nothing after death and neither does my atheist mother. I really don't think that you have any right to suggest every person "knows" there's nothing after death because I think you'll hear from quite a few people who disagree and, honestly, you don't have the right to tell them you know what they believe better than they do. Sorry, but you don't.

    I don't believe a loving God would sending good people to hell and I think the most important thing for any person, regardless of belief or absence of, should always try to do the right thing. Morally right, not religiously right, like pre-marital sex or not working on Sunday. Morally right as in, don't hurt people or rape people or lie to them to further your own ends.

    I just feel like your summation of religion is very very out there and requires quite a few leaps of faith on your part to shove ideas down people's throats like that.
    December 16th, 2012 at 07:25pm
  • Joey Jordison

    Joey Jordison (100)

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    fat lamb:
    There's so much more I want to say, but really everyone should just watch the movie "Religulous" with Bill Maher.
    I watched this documentary a few months ago and I found it unbelievably offensive. I don't think it portrays a good argument for the basis of everybody becoming atheist, or presenting the flaws of religion; it instead focuses entirely on deriding religion and making them out to be full of nut-jobs who believe in ridiculous stories and beliefs. He focused mainly on the fundamentalist members of religion, such as Ken Ham, or used ex-members of religions to pick apart the faith, such as the ex-Mormons who laughed at the story of Joseph Smith, and ignored many members of churches who do good for their community or are active in schemes which help others. I don't know much about Bill Maher and his views (other than his rather obvious hatred for all things religious, but Religulous seemed like nothing other than a good excuse for Maher to rant about religion being absurd on camera for almost two hours. There are better ways to get across views against religion without simply tearing them apart piece by piece and mocking them incessantly.

    Also, there are plenty of people who view things such as homosexuality as abhorrent, yet don't believe in any religion. Same with views about things such as sex before marriage, divorce, abortion etc. Just because they are traditionally understood to be looked down on by society because of religious beliefs and associations, there are plenty of atheists or agnostics who have moral opinions which are associated with religion yet are formed without religious beliefs. Just because it says in the Bible and other religious texts that homophobia (for example) is wrong doesn't mean that everyone who holds that view is religious.

    I also agree with dru that I don't think the purpose of religion is keep people from being depressed or upset. Although some may find their religious beliefs restricting in certain situations, for most religion is a source of comfort, happiness and guidance. And it's because religion provides comfort to so many that I think it should still have a place in society.
    December 17th, 2012 at 12:47am
  • Lee Hi;

    Lee Hi; (285)

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    I choose to stay out of religion for personal reasons so I'm Agnostic.

    I think religion is good in some ways because it unifies people and brings them together. However, the people in it make religion a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. People use religion as way to justify all their actions, both good and bad. I've seen the ugly side of the people behind religion and I absolutely hate it. People tear religion down and stomp on it.

    I find the whole purpose lost to the wind most times. Different religions clash constantly, people are discriminated against for being for this religion or for not being for it, for liking the same sex, etc. Granted religion has it's good points as it gives people something to hope for and brings structure, but I feel like it does more bad than good. I've seen people torn apart because of it and it's a sad thing to see.

    (Obviously, I know that it's mostly not the religion itself but the people in it and this doesn't apply to everyone.)
    December 28th, 2012 at 01:57am
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    You know, I think that this is a very interesting question. I mean we can postulate theories as to how religions came about, or why? I mean obviously before much was known about how the natural world work, religion was about resources. Where did they come from? The gods, the spirits, the dreaming...or wondrous things such as lakes being formed because a great big frog spewed up water, or kangaroos getting their tails because the ancestral roos got into a fight and threw spears at each other [Indigenous Australian dreaming stories]

    But, now you would think with all our technological advances that religion wouldn't be necessary, but religion or beliefs fulfill a part of our lives that materialistic things can't. Or at least it does for me and the people I know. Without God in my life, I wouldn't know my purpose. I wouldn't be complete. And that may sound cliche, but it's the truth. He has His hand on everything in my life. And, to be honest, He has always been working in the background even when I wasn't focussing on him.

    So, yes, I think we need beliefs in something higher. Maybe we don't necessarily need religion with all its rigid structures but at least as a Christian, [considering it as a way of life, a personal relationship, and not a religion] I think my faith and belief is essential to who I am.

    @fat lamb I don't believe in God because I'm afraid of what comes after I die. I believe in God because He makes sense. Also, there are many people who think that the idea of dying and that there is nothing after death is just another reason to live life to the fullest, in fact it doesn't depress them at all, it just makes them enjoy life more. :)
    January 8th, 2013 at 04:19pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    The Pies Endure:
    So, yes, I think we need beliefs in something higher. Maybe we don't necessarily need religion with all its rigid structures but at least as a Christian, [considering it as a way of life, a personal relationship, and not a religion] I think my faith and belief is essential to who I am.
    I don't see how your second statement applies to your first. It speaks to why you need faith, but not why other people need faith. Why do you believe other people need faith? (Or am I misunderstanding the "we" in your first sentence, which is entirely possible.)
    January 9th, 2013 at 01:20am
  • ThePiesEndure

    ThePiesEndure (115)

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    @ the drupocalypse.
    The two statements aren't directly linked. I think we all need faith of some form or other. But me personally, I need faith in God :)
    January 10th, 2013 at 04:14pm
  • lamiarr

    lamiarr (100)

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    I think religion gives hope to people for their future. Wink
    June 15th, 2013 at 05:50am
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    @ lamiarr
    Religion or faith? Religion is organized, faith is just belief.

    I personally think that we don't need religion at all. I think religion is very controlling in telling people what to believe. I think faith is what gives people hope. I think religion can actually diminish hope. It's why people tell people they're going to hell for being gay. Faith is simpler because it doesn't have a set of guidelines and people telling you that people who don't fit them are bad.
    June 15th, 2013 at 06:00am