General Question

elhaha1001's avatar

Does religion have any future?

Asked by elhaha1001 (377 points ) March 28th, 2011

We all know that religion has been a debate in some countries.

There are some misunderstandings among religions that make people fight among themselves for the sake of their religions.

Most people believe that their religion is the best, and they will probably say that other religions are wrong.

As the result, there are fightings, bloodbath, wars, only for the sake of religion.

However, religion also gives up hope. It teaches us life, love, God, and the beauty in the world. Even though all religion teach people about love, people tend to fight for their own religion and even kill people (in the name of their God or whatever they call it)

Also people will reject some culture which is “not related to religion”, such as :
1. other small religions besides the big names of religion (ex: Islam, Catholic, Christian, Buddha, Hindu,etc) which is believed by some tribes in the rainforest.
2. Prostitution. Even though it is not permitted, they still have the right to live, and sometimes they are even forced to do so because the have no other job.
3. Same-sex marriage, transsexual, which is still a debate for a long time
4. Some ridiculous orders which are not allowed by specific religion (but allowed by other religions)
5. Atheism. People say that atheist people do not really care for the world. (Really?)
So, in what is your own opinion about this? Does religion have a future?

Some sources I found : tierneylab
americanhumanist

(Please do not give just short answers, answers with explanation would really help.

And if could please provide your name, age, religion, and also country please.

I’m trying to do a paper work, so it would be best if I could draw some conclusions)

I’m Leon, 19, Catholic, Indonesia. Thanks!

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55 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

It won’t disappear overnight, but in a long process it will become less important to more people.

sarahjane90's avatar

As a person who believes in logic and science, I have a difficult conflict in believing in a “higher power” – as much as I like the idea. I would not dismiss the importance of religion, but the feasibility in believing may become more and more conflicted for those who place a large degree of importance on science and cold hard facts.

Nullo's avatar

It’ll hold out. The Soviet Onion tried to squelch it, and it didn’t go anywhere.

snowberry's avatar

I like that. The Soviet Onion. Sweet.

Agree with Nullo. Man has an innate need to worship. It’ll show up and continue to show up as long as there is breath.

Some worship the human body. Others worship science, power, materialism, or money, god, gods, or God, another human being, or even their pets. It all depends on the individual.

Now this really ought to get them flaming. You can even worship evolution, or atheism….

critter1982's avatar

War, inherently, has a winner and a loser. Therfore war in and of itself will never eliminate religion. Chris, Christian, US.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
miki's avatar

Religion will always have a future as long as someone has faith in whatever that religion is. You don’t need a billion dollar mega church to have a religion. If a mob of atheists slaughter the whole mega church, and misses that one person hiding under back pew, and that person is faithful their religion lives on.

marinelife's avatar

Religion is deeply ingrained in the human mind and in our culture. It is not going to disappear. it is likely that it will be modified.

Agnostic US

ETpro's avatar

While it probably dates back much further, we know that as far back as 1253 BCE, religion was co opted by political and military leaders to exert control over people and to exploit them. Pharaoh Amenhotep !V proclaimed Amon Ra (Aton, Aten, Amen) the one true God, and forbade the worship of any of the lesser Gods. He renamed himself Akhenaten. He did this to consolidate his control under priests favorable to him. After his death, priests of other Gods pressed for a return of their lucrative cash cow. When the 18th dynasty fizzled without an apparent heir 12 years after Akhenaten, the new dynasty declared him The Enemy and sought to wipe out all traces of hos influence.

Nothing has changed. Christianity immediately after the death of Christ was a series of competing cults each built around the teachings of one of the disciples, including one devoted to Mary Magdalene. The gospel of Thomas appeared to be the root of Gnosticism.

This diversity all came to a crushing end when the heathen Roman Emperor Constantine the Great had a vision after winning a great military victory. He decided that Christianity would be a great tool to unite the waring factions of the crumbling Roman Empire. In 313, he met with Co-Emperor Licinius in Milan and issued the Edict of Milan giving Christians the right to openly practice their faith throughout the Roman Empire.

But Gnosticism in particular was seen by religious leaders as a heinous threat, because it emphasized personal knowledge and study; and thus if it prevailed, it would have left a Pope, cardinals, bishops and priests meaningless and penniless; and made use of religion as a political tool difficult to impossible. Therefore, it had to be crushed. Gnostic devotees were slaughtered and all known books and knowledge of it were destroyed.

In 1945, an intact copy of the Gospel of Thomas and 52 other texts were found buried in a pottery jar in the sands of the Egyptian desert. and additional apocryphal works been discovered, shedding new light on what Gnostic beliefs may have been.

Constantine convened the Council of Nicea, in 325 CE. The convened bishops and religious leaders debated and decided upon which of the many putative Gospels of that day would be part of the Christian Bible. It remains a subject of debate to this day how much influence Constantine exerted over that first Canonization of the Bible, or indeed whether he was even truly a believer. Seeing that he murdered his brother-in-law Licinius to gain absolute control of the Roman Empire for himself, he doesn’t sound all that pious. In any case, further discussion of Canonization continued until the Council of Trent settled the Roman Catholic Bible in 1546 and Thirty-Nine Articles of 1563 for the Church of England, the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1647 for British Calvinism, and the Synod of Jerusalem of 1672 for the Greek Orthodox. In each case, attention was directed not just at historical accuracy, but at selecting the “right” canons so that control of the church’s vast wealth and power ended up in the “right” hands.

An examination of Islamic evolution will reveal a very similar struggle for control and exploitation of the faith for political and military purposes.

The sooner we realize that ancient superstition is a poor guide for modern life, the better, IMHO. THere is great wisdom in the Bible and in the Apocryphal texts, but there are also enough contradictions and absurdities to make it astounding that so many fundamentalist Christians insist every word is divinely inspired truth. As many iterations as it has been through, one has to wonder which bible from which date that belief in inerrancy applies to

ocapmycap's avatar

there will always be need for self-abnegation, and some will always find it easiest to abnegate the self in the name of a deity the existence of which they have learned about from other people, other teachings.

those noting the innate need to worship are correct in noting the need, but the need does not justify the (secular) evil of organized religion. which is to say the need simply explains the fact of religion and does not prove its usefulness over other objects of fetish and worship.

nor for example does a person’s need to worship a deity exonerate him from his unrefined understanding of sexuality and gender.

it is no less ridiculous to worship an established god than it is to worship your lover’s feet, or a stranger’s discarded gum, or a photograph. (there are many bibles and few of them are books.)

i accept all religions and believe in none of them.

but to attempt to alter what another worships is self-worship, not self-abnegation.

i find the concept of organized religion to be anathema to the development of the individual; members may call what they worship by the same name but no two of them are worshiping the same thing. they are united not by belief in a common god but by the belief that a group of people can know a common god.

god is a person’s private language and organized religion is a consensual and senseless conversation in that language. i have been to church and it is like watching babies speak to one another.

but i imagine i am a baby to them as well and that is fine.

so although they are antithetical, it is because of self-worship and self-abnegation that religion will continue to exist by necessity – in a less organized and more poorly defined form in the future.

i am twenty and i am an agnostic atheist. i live in america.

thorninmud's avatar

There’s bound to be some kind of “natural selection” process that will thin out the herd of religious institutions, leaving those that are the fittest to survive under the pressures of an increasingly well-educated society. Religions that cling to assertions that bring them into direct conflict with mainstream science or prevent them from coexisting peaceably with others will have a hard time in the long run because they’re maladaptive.

Some religions are more adaptable in this respect than others. They’re willing to view their ancient cosmologies as metaphorical or mythical, and reject interpretations of scripture that promote violence or hatred. They have no quarrel with people having other ideologies or lifestyles. These religions will have longer legs.

miki's avatar

@ETpro According to your lesson, it seems it’s safe to say that as soon as people stop using religion as a source of somewhat political gain, the better. Yes, there may be contridications in the Bible according to the laws of science, but what is missing is the element of faith which can be simply defined as believing in someone or something without logical proof. Now, to someone who will simply fall apart without cold hard facts, that may be hard to do. But for many, it has provided satisfaction in their lives. Their beliefs just weigh more than what others claim, or can proove what is logical. Which is why religion is still alive and kicking… and will remain that way.

miki -age 29 AME washington dc

cazzie's avatar

God, I hope not.

I’m 43, female and atheist in Norway. I wish everyone would just educate themselves to a point where belief in an ancient book(s) is recognised for the ridiculousness it is. I have no problem with the feeling of spiritual wonder and awe we all feel from time to time. I think that is great, but we shouldn’t be hell-bent on preserving a narrow-minded, self-destructive way of life that simplifies a way to hate and kill.

Fairylover78's avatar

Female, 32 USA Atheist. I am with @ETpro and @cazzie on this. I grew up Baptist, but my folks were open enough for me to attend other churches with friends ect… so I gained an understanding, and took it upon myself to learn more about many religions as I was growing up and I came to many of the same conclusions that ETpro mentioned above. Yes, I understand that people feel like Religion or belief in God gives hope, of course it does, it’s scary to think of death and even scarier to think of death without something more beyond it… I honeslty over my life have felt more and more that the word God in itself has been bastardized in so many ways. So many evil and awful things have been done in Gods name that, shit I don’t think I would want a God like that even if he/she/it did exist. Whos to say who’s right and who is wrong, who is to say that one ” God” is better or holier than another… the simple fact is that all that matters in life is the beauty and love that you have within yourself. We are god in ourselves, we hold the power to learn, to love to condemn even… but we also have the ability to think logically and now more than ever really examine and asertain TRUTH by studying Facts not by going by what is told to us over a pulpit. It does seem a New Age for religion… I (hope) and feel like more and more people are coming to realize that the truth lies within us all and all around us. I see “god” if that’s what you want to call it, in every beautiful flower or sky I see, in every sweet gesture and kind word said. I see it in our faults as well as our attributes as humans. I need look no further than astronomy, science and just the world in which I live to feel awed by life… why make up a figure in my mind when all that I need is in me and all around me. This of course is my opinion and surely many would disagree….

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Atheist, 27 USA. For some people, religion will always provide something and so it will always have a future. Soon enough, in countries where organized religion will become a thing of the past, you’ll see people be drawn to it for its counterculture status. It’s all cyclical.

Riggerman's avatar

Alright, how does religion give up hope, when you pray you go and hope it is answered. As for war, war does breed a stronger beleif in religion which is the entirty of religion, beleif (no athiests in foxholes) . But one man put it this way for me, “If you’re trying to find a supirior being that doesn’t want to be found and created all that man has found how will you find a superior being, like a father that doesn’t want his children to see him.” As for war and everyone saying their religion is the best noone will ever find out which is true especially the after death happenings. People naturally want to know their right in their beleifs such as teaching a child please, thank you, bless you, sir and ma’am, and so on for manners. As for the prostitute “sweating like a whore in church” enough said. Athiests care for the world too much and dont beleive that a superior being created it and try to disprove a ‘superior being’. As for the nations and the world trying to snuff out religion read ‘1985’. Religion will always be around as long as there is a group to beleive that is why there is no unified world religion.

toaster's avatar

Following Europe’s developed model of religious progression through the centuries it can be apparently noted that foundational Christianity, especially in fundamental practice, has fallen in acceptance levels to around ~30 percent in Western Europe and Scandinavia (~80 percent America). Also noted is the seesaw rise of agnostic/atheism, which comprises roughly a quarter of Europe as a whole. Religion will never fade out as it is intrinsically part of the human conscious.. at least until science and technology trumps in even more.

SpatzieLover's avatar

To answer your question @elhaha1001: In Fluther no.

In the real world, YES. It will not leave.

ETpro's avatar

@miki The Bible is not only contradicted by what we have learned in science, in many places it contradicts itself. The order of creation is different in Genesis ! and 2, for instance. Perhaps I should have spent time talking about what I think should replace faith as faith wanes. And make no mistake, organized religious practice is waning. This doesn’t mean that more and more people are melting down because they cannot order the world around them without formal religion. Nor has there been a huge spike in criminal behavior and amorality in the countries that show the greatest movement away from formal religious practice.

The thing we call the Golden Rule has been around for a very long time. We know it was written down in the Hammurabi Code ca. 1700 BCE, before the Talmud was set to writing. But that simple idea, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” is the foundation of all law and order even today. It is also logical. One needs no fear of eternal damnation to realize that reason demands living by the Golden Rule.

Symbeline's avatar

Religion seems to be a vital tool for most of the world, one by which we draw a sense of guidance, security and purpose in such a dark and violent world. It makes us feel less fragile, lost and helpless. Faith, belief and desire are given ’‘physical’’ manifestation through organized religion, churches, cathedrals and temples, events, special holidays. These, I believe, serve to cement the idea of faith for those looking to step forward, which is linked to the needs I mentioned above. You can see such behaviors in all sorts of forms of beliefs, ancient and present. Sacrifices, rituals, going to mass, things the like.
Acting on a set of rules and the like makes the religion or the belief seem to exist rather than just saying, well I don’t like this and I want that. Acting gives credibility. Explore many different kinds of beliefs and they all seem to have many things in common.
A doctrine which teaches a set of moral rules to live by. A reward for those who obey, usually something like salvation from the world’s cruelty, everlasting life, continuing to exist under different forms, finding the ultimate state of existence, stuff like that. This sort of stuff echoes our desires in the face of incertitude, fear or adversity, which we currently live. Acting by a set of rules, events and activities in most given religions fortifies the faith, or at least the idea thereof. But you’ll notice, as I mention, that from Pagans to the Mayas to modern Christianity to whatever else, the cycle and concepts always seem very similar. So to me it seems a very human thing, and I don’t think religion will really ever go anywhere, however it may transition its shape into different ideas, (as it has often done) but these ideas will serve the same concept.
Our survival instinct wills us to survive, but not merely physically. Psychologically too, especially in the face of death and fear. If we had no way to deal with fear, we would still be huddling in caves, and social evolution would not exist, or if it would, it would be quite primitive when it comes to technology and scientific advancement and stuff. In my mind, or as far as I may comprehend, religion is a giant delusion we utilize to survive. Fear is the greatest foe, therefore our greatest drive, especially inner fear that conjures doubts. Knowledge is power, and when we don’t know, or least be convinced that we do, we’re afraid. So if we can’t know, we make shit up. (this on a universal scale as much as an individual one; gods, self projection, what have you) But there’s gotta be something to say about how just about every single religion or belief systems I’ve ever heard of seems to cater to the same types of human elements.
Which brings me to my idea that religion can’t ever really leave, because it roots itself deeper in our societies, and societies are how we humans thrive. Now, religion has always been present in society, as ways of life and such, but as we go forward, some skins need to go. (the church no longer rules anything, but we still desire peace and guidance, whatever the navigating element turns out to be)

You can see a lot of religious like behaviors in different every day things we deal with. Politics, careers, education, ideals, life styles, opinions and views. I’m not a sociologist, so I can’t really make much of an example, but this same behavior that to me resembles the concept of faith is used to deal with more individual things like image, shame, social status, security and whatnot. Believing hard as stone that your government will look out for you, whether this is true or not, thinking you’ll win a case in court because you think you should, denying things about yourself that you don’t like, having everyone else be the bad guy, and so forth. There may be a missing link when it comes to linking this with what I’m trying to explain about the idea of religion, but to me it seems to make sense. Because religions of old did not allow for such intricate exploration of the self or others. I mean I really wouldn’t have wanted to live anytime before the 1940’s.

This despite that Agnostics, Atheists or Nihilists and the like seem to subscribe to an entire different ideology. But I’m an Atheist, ecxept in my head and how I go about every day life, I don’t find myself to be much different than a Christian for example. (or at least my perception of most religious folk.) My actions are just much less pronounced, and me saying I can accept death might just be another form of denial. I’m pretty sure I won’t say that on my deathbed.
Anyways, I could have tried to explain this a little better, but I hope it makes some bit of sense? Religion is a human thing, which greatly helps to maintain societies (this may be relative when comparing some to others, but a society, as long as it exists, is doing its job, I suppose.) and advancement. Kind of ironic if you think about it. So yeah, religion, in some way or form, will probably always be around. Hell I know this guy who thinks he’ll live for 200 years, by getting implants and stuff. He bases everything he believes in from whatever sci fi movie that came out two weeks ago. So if it’s that easy to delude oneself…
I went from the universal fear of death to every day things, but to me they all really exist on the same significant spectrum of the survival instinct. It’s like cutting a whole pie into small pieces; in the end, it’s still a pie. Maybe the idea of religion changes a lot so that we can keep up with our own increasing knowledge and advancement, but I don’t think we’ll ever be free of our vice that which defines us, so religion will never leave. American Gods had all those techy gods, too…and now I’m just side tracking.
So in a way, even if all the gods abandon mankind, we’ll find some way to keep the idea around. As I mentioned above with doing things to give a sense of reality to faith, it works great with every day things, since those are things we HAVE to do, rather than put aside time for it. (and anyways, a lot of religions, even today, have requirements that are deeply rooted in one’s every day social life)

I’m no good at all at trying to explain things like this though, and it’s just my opinion anyways. I just observe what I think I understand, and I’m not trying to speak for the entirety of mankind, despite what this sounds like. My name is Gisèle Manche de Pelle, I’m not telling my age, I’m in Canada (although I was born in France) and my religion is zombies.

Tuesdays_Child's avatar

There has been religion, of some sort, since the begining of time. Humans have worshipped all sorts of things, the sun, the stars, the earth, other humans, trees, along with unseen supernatural beings. Wars, famines, droughts and world events have been attributed to any and all of these things.
So, yes, I do think religion has a future.
44, Christian, U.S.A.

Qingu's avatar

Religion has already departed from philosophy. Almost no scientists believe in a personal god.

You can track the education and development of countries and it’s inversely proportional to religiosity.

I’m sure there will always be religious people; cults are impossible to eradicate. But I doubt it will be a political or philosophical force in the future. It only is now in backwards countries.

cloudvertigo's avatar

As long as places like this exist, as long as people desire sanctuary there will always be something for some kind of counterpoint. Coney Island, Tavern Friendships, and Scientology would suggest that even though established religious institutions are well organized in their recruitment and quite wealthy in physical and intellectual property it does not preclude the genesis of novel means to experience things which are socially multiplexive, visually pleasing, highly enjoyable, or simply quite innate to being descended from fish and apes—to say nothing of the value of catharsis.

everephebe's avatar

I have been thinking about a similar question. Do we have any hope for a future if we continue to have religion? I think not. I’ve seen first hand the destructive nature of religion.

If religion has a future, we may not.

No organized religion that exists today, will survive the next two thousand years. Let’s hope we last that long. Maybe religion will survive in some form, but none of the ones it takes today. Personal religion / superstition / mysticism, the kind that individuals make up themselves, may last for as long as we do.

Knowledge now destroys faith, in the past it was the other way around. I “pray” for an educated world. One day humanity will die out, let’s hope that religion goes long before that day. You get rid of religion, and the world might actually have peace.

Atheist 23, USA

shared3's avatar

Atheist, college aged, USA.

Despite my atheism, I believe that religion, while it will probably continue to decline for a while, will ultimately still survive. Some people need some sort of religion/spirituality. I see no reason why this would no longer be true in the future. It’s a basic yearning for many, and I’m willing to put my hard-earned money on religion’s continued existence.

AdamF's avatar

Adam, 41, Atheist, Earthling, now living in Sweden

I think that in many parts of the world for which democracy, prosperity, and security becomes an intergenerational norm, religion will become sociologically extinct. In other words (for any ecologist’s out there…similar to ecological extinction), yes small pockets of religous adherence will potentially persist, but the extent of their influence on society in general will be so small as to equate with extinction.

Frankly, we’re already getting there in much of western Europe.

But I don’t see that situation on the cards for much of the rest of the world, at least in the near future. Religion gives sollace to people for whom life is intolerable, and in too much of the world life is intolerable, sometimes, ironically, due to religious worldviews.

Nullo's avatar

@everephebe Atheists persist in labeling religion as destructive. This is not the case; it is the adherents who turn violent on their own, much as they do for sports, politics, and (in my own experience) parking spaces at the supermarket. No joke, we nearly had a knife fight on our hands. Over a parking space.
I don’t see why Christianity, which has existed for the past two millennia, or Judaism, which is a good deal older, wouldn’t be able to make it another few.
Furthermore, it is untrue that knowledge destroys faith, and that faith destroys knowledge. Provided that the educators are not actively seeking to destroy it, education can actually strengthen faith.

AdamF's avatar

@Nullo Actually, we often label religion as destructive when people are acting in direct accordance with their religious texts. Your own biogtry against homosexuals is a perfect example.

http://www.fluther.com/113188/do-homosexuals-have-a-moral-responsibility-to-come-out-of-the/

everephebe's avatar

Jesus said a house of cards cannot stand, or was that a house divided? Hmmm…
Hey @Nullo we’ll really have to agree to disagree. I feel like I understand where you are coming from because I used to be quite religious… But the idea that a faulty paradigm will be helpful in any way to the world, when it is actively a detriment, is… Um, wrong? In my opinion. If religion was perfect, there would be less trouble but it’s still believing in things for which there are no facts. Facts are nice! Religious views of women are, still repressive in most cases. Listen I like aspects of religion but we’re talking about the whole tamale here, right?

Mark 9:43 “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched…”

Throw this baby out with the bathwater! Rape has existed for more than two thousand years, and it’s no good, but it’s still practiced today. Doesn’t make it right, being “tried and true.” I hope that, that doesn’t last two thousand more years either.

False belief in an afterlife is damaging to the here and now. If people believe in a heaven they will make a hell out of this world. I persist, because I care about this darn planet and the people on it. God is this great excuse to commit genocide, to pollute, to bring about the Apocalypse, I say… Let’s get rid of the excuse. It’s a bad one anyway. Religion represses science, don’t argue with me on that, you’ll lose, and I won’t even have to “open my mouth.” There is too much precedent, and it continues to this day.

I like Jesus. He was a real humanist, but Christianity has little to do with the guy. He would be the first one to get kicked out of his own Church. Again, in my opinion.

Listen I don’t want to fight with you on this, and really I don’t mean to be mean. @Nullo, I have nothing against you as a person, at all. In my book Nullo you are “good people” as they say. Just religion, religion has been this bully, in my life and others. Yes it’s done some good, but look through the history, and what’s even going on today, in the name of religion. You don’t find the same thing with atheists, because they aren’t a group. Period. Flock-mentality, leads sleep to slaughter, they follow and can even help it.

Now if you want to talk about philosophies that include religion icons, then cool, there are some great people who were religious. But I don’t think it’s healthy for most people. It’s gotta be worse than smoking for you health, historically speaking. Faith isn’t all bad, it’s just mostly bad. In my opinion. There are good things, but really, the ship’s going down. Jettison the good stuff and meet us on a life raft. Women and child first. Religion is totally an iceberg for humanity, the nice good stuff is on top, and under the water lies the majority of it’s essence, and it ain’t good. And we’ve been cruising along and we are going to hit it, and we’ll all die.

Seriously, read the Bible, I mean all of it, it’s a pretty strong case against the religion of Christianity. Morality, truly exists only outside of obedience to a wrathful father figure, who will send you to a place where you will be tortured for eternity if you cross his omnipotent ass.

It’s fine if we disagree, today. But you could have burned me at the stake as a heretic not too long ago. So since you won’t, I’ll say my peace. And really I hope that we can have peace, you and I. If religion will, wise up, and come into the 21st century then… I really don’t care what you believe it’s ok. It’s your business. But when business as usual continues with the many religions out there, we have a problem. We really do.

Sorry for any offense I may have caused, or if I came across harsh, and sorry folks for all the mixed metaphors. I have a very strong opinion on this, so on this topic @Nullo, you and I probably won’t agree. But I have hope that we will still be able to, on a variety of other things. Or at least get along. I don’t expect that we shouldn’t be able to, because as a Christian your supposed to forgive me right? That’s a darn good rule. I won’t argue with that. Maybe it’s just religion is not for me personally. I’ll end this drunken rant here, and with love, cheers!

jerv's avatar

I wish I had more time to post a more complete answer right now, but for the moment I will just leave a link about how religion may become extinct in nine countries

ETpro's avatar

@Nullo After the hundreds of wars fought in the name of this or that religion, and the hundreds of millions dead, the distinction that people kill, not religion is a hollow one. It’s about equivalent to saying gund don’t kill, the little hard things they shoot out of their barrels do. If you are the target, it doesn’t much matter whether it was the gun, the bullet or the homicidal maniac wielding the gun that’s at fault, you’re still dead.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro I don’t quite agree. Guns are inanimate objects, incapable of action. People have the ability to direct objects to act. Besides, if people didn’t exist then guns never would have been invented, let alone made.
However, what is one reason among many that people would invent, manufacture, and use weapons to harm others? What can provide motivation and direct the actions of people?

@Nullo While knowledge and faith are not mutually exclusive, I think that the way Galileo was treated is a perfect example of how faith can interfere with knowledge, and also something that makes some seekers of knowledge wary of (if not outright opposed to) religion. A few centuries of that and you wind up where we are now.

Qingu's avatar

@Nullo, you have openly advocated genocide because your holy book says it is an acceptable (and sometimes mandatory) practice. You’re not really in a position to question why atheists think religion is destructive.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv Note that I avoided the usual “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Instead I deliberately used the more obscure “Guns don’t kill people, the little hard things they shoot out of their barrels do.” I kept it an apples to apples, inanimate object to inanimate object comparison. In truth, it is the bullet and not the gun that kills. But without guns directing them, not many bullets would kill. People kill people. But without religion directing them, it would happen less often.

jerv's avatar

@ETpro ”. But without religion directing them, it would happen less often.”
Precisely. As for the rest of it… well, check your inbox for a digression (regarding semantics) that I don’t feel like posting here.

@Qingu I think @Nullo may be in a position to question it all he wants. I question things that most people around me consider “common sense” all the time. Everybody has their blind spots, and that can cause otherwise intelligent people to not be able to see or comprehend what is obvious to others.

Qingu's avatar

@jerv, I mean, he definitely can question why we think this way. I guess I should have put that differently. I was basically noting the irony of a guy who thinks genocide is okay saying “I can’t believe people think my religion is destructive.”

mattbrowne's avatar

I don’t think ridiculing all forms of religion has any future. Religions will continue to evolve transcending from magic to an age of pervasive enlightenment, conforming with universal declarations of human rights.

cazzie's avatar

@mattbrowne No, that is wishful thinking on your part on both accounts. Ridiculing religion will be a sport as long as they exist and if they were going to lead to ‘pervasive enlightenment’ don’t you think it would have by now? Some people see themselves as religious and use what they learn in a pleasantly enlightened way (such as yourself, if you don’t mind me saying), but most people don’t. They want their world in simple terms and religion is the pill they take to get there.

LostInParadise's avatar

Part of the problem with current religions is that they focus on individual responsibilities with no mention of individual rights or social responsibility. There is nothing in religion about democracy, civil rights, free speech, environmental destruction or global warming. If religions ever incorporated these issues, it would be a monumental change. I do not see it happening. Religion is mainly a convenience to the ruling classes,” the opiate of the masses” as Marx put it.

AdamF's avatar

@mattbrowne. Sure religions will evolve. But your own statement about them one day evolving to “comform with universal declarations of human rights”´emphasizes the fundamental problem with the world’s major religions.

They act as barriers to reasoned and evidence based discussions about morality, and they all to often divorce issues of morality from human wellbeing. It’s for these reasons that they’re (often at best) trying to play catch-up with the morality of secular democractic societies, or at worst (and all too often) digging their heals in.

If the best we can say is that ‘maybe one day they’ll conform with basic human decency’, that’s hardly a ringing endorsement of religion’s necessity.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne Yes, but it’s a slow journey with enough dissenters that there is no guarantee we’ll get there. That still puts it in the “Maybe one day…” category.

LostInParadise's avatar

Religions are not democratic. They are a tool for keeping the masses in their place.

With all the suffering Jesus went through at the hands of the Romans, he never once protested against Roman rule of Israel.

The American Revolution was not a religious movement. Many of the founding fathers practiced deism rather than Christianity. Deists believe that God created the universe and then left it alone. The difference between a deist and an atheist is the theory of evolution.

There is no conspicuous fundamentalist component to the current Middle East uprisings. The Taliban, by contrast, are both fundamentalist and autocratic.

The right wing fundamentalists in the U.S. put a twist on things by labeling intellectuals as elitist while promoting the interests of the most wealthy. At the same time they want to restrict such rights as abortion, gay marriage and union organization. They are hardly democratic.

For religions to emphasize basic rights would be something that has never before happened. I do not see it happening.

comicalmayhem's avatar

Back when religion was rising, there was little to no scientific proof to disprove any religion. As more and more stuff is disproved about religion, more and more people will probably convert to Atheism or become agnostic. Atheism is realistic or otherwise for people who just don’t care about religion at all and just live life regardless of how we got here or what could be up in the sky. I do think religion will be a declining theology or whatever you call this. The decline of religion will probably lead to more wars between majority Atheist nations and nations very strong about religion that will remain in denial. This assuming that after scientific proof Atheists are proved right. You never know, maybe Christianity will be proven right. But do you honestly believe it could be? That’s why I’m no longer Christian. I don’t believe Christianity could ever be proven right. Check out my most recent question for more.

I’m 15, male, agnostic, usa.

jerv's avatar

@comicalmayhem There was a time when the average person had no way of understanding anything about anything without falling back to religion. We now know that the Sun is a ball of hydrogen and we are a little pebble orbiting around it despite what The Church maintained for centuries. We used to believe that headaches were caused by demons inside our heads and many ailments could be cured by a good bleeding; we now have a little thing called “medicine”. We used to have no idea why stuff fell when we dropped it, but any modern day school-kid who paid attention in class knows that F=G( (m1 * m2 ) / r).

Science hasn’t completely supplanted faith, but it has reduced our reliance on it, nuch to the chagrin of many.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@jerv Exactly. We keep taking away aspects of religious beliefs and in the future, there won’t even be a need for it because it’ll all be explained by science.

jerv's avatar

There is a “gotcha” there though, namely the “Prime Cause” argument. While science can explain how a big bundle of energy coalesced into stars and planets and galaxies, and how one of those planets had single-celled organisms turn into us, it has yet to explain where that energy came from in the first place.

Accordingly, I think religion has a future, but unless/until it finds a way to peacefully coexist with science, it will increasingly be marginalized, if not outright ridiculed. Like the Republican party, religion will be divided between those that evolve and change with the times and those that become punchlines. Well, at least the three main ones (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Many of the others would be hard to marginalize more than they already have been.

comicalmayhem's avatar

@elhaha1001 So, yes. I think religion will become obsolete one day, but centuries from now. They could evolve with new discoveries, but after a bunch of scientific discoveries, they’ll practically be a different religion.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv I am not sure how explaining an uncaused cause by positing another uncaused cause to cause it explains anything. If all things including the Big Bang have to have a causal agent, then so would God. So who created God? And who created his creator? That falls into infinite regression. If God could exist eternally, then why couldn’t the Universe in some form exist eternally without God?

jerv's avatar

@ETpro True, as far as you go. However, people expect science to make sense and therefore seem to be more able to put some sort of divine power in there since Gods need no reason, no cause, no justification, or any of the other things required of any logical theory. Faith can handle the infinite regression with a little hand-waving; just say, “God caused himself.”, and forget about logic. Science lacks that luxury.

mattbrowne's avatar

In any case solving the infinite regress issue is beyond science, whether God exists or not. Yet science having this limitation does not mean God must exist. But we can choose to believe he does.

ETpro's avatar

@jerv Science makes sense of what it knows. What sort of people make sense of what they don’t know instead of simply admitting they don’t have the answers yet? How much real sense do they make?

@mattbrowne Not so fast. If God does exist, and is omnipotent, omniscient and able to speak the entire Universe into existence and invent all the laws that govern it, are you really prepared to say that such a God is incapable of revealing himself to man? And how can you know that if God does not exist, science will never solve the problem of eternity? You would have seemed quite wise to say, 4,000 years ago, that man would never figure out what held the planets in their orderly tracks of motion; or what stones and wood were really made of. But on both counts, you would have been totally wrong. One thing that is clearly beyond the reach of science today is accurately predicting what science can and cannot fathom in the next millennium, or the next 10 millinnia.

mattbrowne's avatar

@ETpro – He might be capable of revealing himself to man, but choose not to intervene in a way that would violate any natural laws.

“To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.”

This principle cannot be applied to the issue of infinite regress. In fact scientific method cannot even be applied to scientific method itself. Science can’t make any statements about science itself. For that you need metascientific statements.

Based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_by_contradiction we can use first and second order logic

X = “Science knows everything”

Note that X is a metascientific statement and also part of everything that is known. X can’t be true, because here is one additional statement beyond science.

LostInParadise's avatar

At any point in time there will always be questions that science can’t answer. Take any phenomenon and keep asking “why” until you reach unanswerable questions. The one size fits all answer to these questions by religion is always, “Because God wills it.” What is significant is that the nature of those questions has changed dramatically. We have gone from asking why the planets stay in orbit to asking why relativity and quantum mechanics hold true. As we have gained knowledge, God’s freedom of action has declined to the point of irrelevancy.

Additionally, the major religions do not address the major man made problems we are facing.. They concentrate on individual morality but to not speak of collective morality. They do not talk about pollution, environmental damage, species mass extinction, global warming, privacy or genetic engineering. All of these issues cry out for being addressed at a spiritual level, but the current religions are silent, which again marginalizes them.

ETpro's avatar

@mattbrowne Here’s a great discussion about pessimistic skepticism. It’s 27 minutes long, but worth listening to in entirety. I particularly like what he has to say in closing about optimistic skepticism, but I could be wrong about its value.

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