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Atheist Debates - with Inspiring Philosophy - Does religion have a positive effect on society.

phxbillcee 9 Apr 26

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It's a mixed bag. I think religion in general is far less benign or harmless than most people seem to think it is, and I think many of the perceived advantages would exist with or without religion. People are perfectly capable of finding common cause and community and refuge together; there's nothing about theism that inherently is required to do that. All you need is a shared experience and/or identity to gin that up, and if people only realized they all share their humanity and the human condition that would suffice. And one reason they don't realize that is because of the tribalism and sectionalism that religion engenders.

I can't think offhand of any good that religion bestows upon humanity that has minimal bad side effects and can't be done some other way, but I'm willing to be regaled with suggestions if anyone has them.


Religion used to control society, back in the Middle Ages. And say what you want about the Catholic Church being the most corrupt organization in the world, but it built civilized society back up in Europe after the fall of Rome and kept society in order for 1,000-ish years.

So yeah, religion could be good and bad for very different reasons.

No doubt, they even fostered scientific exploration for a short time. But, because they were a political & religious power the bottom line was adherence to their rules/beliefs & continuation & strengthening of that power. A bad situation that leads to tyranny & repression, no matter who wields it.

@phxbillcee A fair point, but where would Europe have been without the Catholic Church? The first hundred or so years of the Dark Ages were pure bedlam and anarchy, with roaming barbarian tribes raiding villages and no one government having enough power to take control.

After a while, the Catholic Church, admittedly through the shaming of the European people and repression of the "impure" customs of the Pagan people, they brought order to Europe. Without the Church, how much longer would Europe have been in anarchy?

Furthermore, Muslim raiders invaded Spain in the Umayyad Invasion of Gaul in the 700s. If not the Catholics, then probably Europe would be Muslim now, and frankly, so would most of the world.

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