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whiteliondreams's avatar

Does being non-religious and pro-evolution contradict the edict that society cannot enjoy good conditions without the belief in a moral creator?

Asked by whiteliondreams (1703 points ) July 17th, 2012

It’s understood that there are many positive aspects of being a religious practitioner for yourself and for your congregation, but in what ways does being religious today affect society in a negative way?
How does being religious make being Buddhist, atheist, or amoral more difficult, if at all?

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20 Answers

Nullo's avatar

No time to answer anything but the title:
Society has religious people in it, even if you are not.

ragingloli's avatar

There is not a single positive effect that religion has that is exclusive to religion.

zenvelo's avatar

What edict? Who proclaimed that?

And pro-evolution is not non-religious. You can be very religious and know that evolution describes how the earth is today.

Being pro some religions is harmful because they preach intolerance and lack of understanding and ignorance. But other religions promote tolerance and inquiry.

SuperMouse's avatar

Being religious affects society in a negative way when people fly planes into buildings in the name of God. Being religious affects society in a negative way when politicians try to blur the lines between church and state and legislate their morality by outlawing same sex marriage, taking away a woman’s right to do what she wants with her own body, and take away the personal freedoms of the members of that society. When a group of people thinks their god is stronger than another’s god therefore they are better people, religion has a negative affect on society.

I don’t see being religious as making being any of the things you mentioned difficult, I see being judgmental as doing so. One can be faithful and consider themselves religious without hating atheists or people of different faiths. One can believe in God and adhere to a religion without thinking those who do not subscribe to their faith as amoral. To my mind the issue there isn’t being religious or believing in God, it is being judgmental. For the record, I have run into as many judgmental atheists as I have judgmental people of faith.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Pandora's avatar

@SuperMouse Amen!
Obiously SuperMouse already said it well enough.

Fyrius's avatar

@tom_g
↑ Go upvote this guy, his link is relevant as heck. Here’s an outtake from the abstract:

The historically unprecedented socioeconomic security that results from low levels of progressive government policies appear to suppress popular religiosity and creationist opinion, conservative religious ideology apparently contributes to societal dysfunction, and religious prosociality and charity are less effective at improving societal conditions than are secular government programs. (...) The nonuniversality of strong religious devotion, and the ease with which large populations abandon serious theism when conditions are sufficiently benign, refute hypotheses that religious belief and practice are the normal, deeply set human mental state, whether they are superficial or natural in nature. Instead popular religion is usually a superficial and flexible psychological mechanism for coping with the high levels of stress and anxiety produced by sufficiently dysfunctional social and especially economic environments. Popular nontheism is a similarly casual response to superior conditions.

TL;DR: Widespread religiosity is a good coping mechanism if everyone’s life sucks, but for us lucky first world kids, religion generally isn’t a beneficial thing.

Fyrius's avatar

@SuperMouse
“For the record, I have run into as many judgmental atheists as I have judgmental people of faith.”
What, you kept count? :P

I for one have no idea how many of each I’ve met in my days. I don’t like pretending they’re equally common without having any statistics to back it up, though. What if they’re not? There’s no reason why they should be.
And more particularly, I definitely don’t like how easy it is to score fair-mindedness points by insisting they are. If that doesn’t make you feel nervous about saying so, well, it should.

But excuse the tangent.

AdamF's avatar

@SuperMouse We all judge, as your list of societal injustifices indicates. I think that’s a vital component of societal progress. To me what differentiates between good and bad judgements is the justification we use for such judgements. When I consider your list of moral concerns (retaining homosexual rights, women’s reproductive rights), then I suspect you believe that evidence and reason trumps literal interpretations of abrahamic religious texts as a basis for societal well-being.

If so, then I’m wondering how you would compare the adverse impacts of judgemental atheists versus judgemental people of faith? I suspect the judgemental atheists you are referring to are guilty of conversational intolerance, whereas the judgemental people of faith you are referring to are causing real human suffering.

I have a hard time judging these offenses as even remotely comparable.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Fyrius no I have not kept count and do not have statistics. That being said, all one needs to do is read any of the theist vs. atheist threads here on Fluther to see the anecdotal evidence my observation is based upon.

@AdamF I would tend to agree with you that there is much more damage and human suffering in the name of religion then there is in the name of atheism. That does not negate the fact that atheists can be just as judgmental as theists.

justdave's avatar

Only if the society has an edict that society cannot enjoy good conditions without the belief in a moral creator. Without the edict there is no conflict.

Pandora's avatar

Oops, I meant to write obviously, above.

ETpro's avatar

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

That’s quite a brew in the question details, @whiteliondreams. I’m tempted to rant, but prefer to let this clip do it for me. Pay particular attention to belief in Angels.

AdamF's avatar

@SuperMouse “That does not negate the fact that atheists can be just as judgmental as theists.”

Agreed, atheists and theists can both be judgemental. My point was that if define being judgemental as a core obstacle to achieving “good conditions” for society, we end up with serious problems of false equivalency.

For example, I could argue that many homosexuals are judgemental of members of the Westboro Baptist Church, but I hardly see that as a problem.

AdamF's avatar

@ETpro Great clip!

whiteliondreams's avatar

@ETpro While I appreciate the clip, which is in fact, awesome; unfortunately, I fear that proving America is no longer the best country in the world doesn’t justify why being unreligious is amoral and the actuality that crime rates are higher because of religion. Which is an answer I was looking for. Aside from that, there are numerous variables that impact society due to religion and these are not impacting our society in a positive manner. America was built on these doctrines and they have come as far as they could, but I cannot say that the country would prosper with a rekindling of such. I just wanted to see what everyone knew about the social implications religion has on any society in the world, but most particularly the United States. I don’t like how some people here become antagonistic or impetuous because of their intellectual complacency, so I cannot say that I enjoyed this forum as much as I normally do. Yes, who says this is all about me, right? It isn’t, it’s actually about all of us and I wanted to learn something about the topic, which I did from some of you, but at the price of being condescended upon.

ETpro's avatar

@whiteliondreams I was specifically interested in two facts that clip brought forward, although many get to the point. One, America is #1 in the world in belief in Angels; and two, America is #1 in the world in incarcerations per capita. But the fact we have the highest infant mortality rate outside the third world and think we have the world’s best healthcare system is telling.

But to get closer to your OP, the US states with the highest percentage of Christian Conservatives also spend the most per capita on pay-per-view online porn.

Ron_C's avatar

The paper @AdamF linked verified my belief that secular people are happier, wealthier, and much more progressive than the religious.

My wife and I are not rich but donate a significant amount of our income to charities like Habitat for Humanity and various cancer research organizations.

We feel that money donated to churches and religious groups is wasted money.

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