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Johnny_Rambo's avatar

Has religion brought us closer together or further apart ?

Asked by Johnny_Rambo (888 points ) February 16th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

41 Answers

onesecondregrets's avatar

Parted the seas of togetherness, man.

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t feel closer to anyone because of religion.

Sparkie510's avatar

Definitely further apart. So many of the world’s problems today are caused by religion – it’s crazy that people are arguing over stuff they don’t even know is real.

augustlan's avatar

It depends. It can bring people of the same belief system closer together. More often though, it pushes people with different belief systems farther and farther apart.

Judi's avatar

It is a loaded question. Religion, over the years has ripped people apart but look at what’s going on in Rowanda now. Bill Clinton was on Martha Stewart this morning (I know, I never watch Martha but I was on the treadmill and didn’t change the chanel because Bill was on.) He talked about the reconciliation miriacle happening there. He talked about a man who confessed to a woman who he worked with that he had killed her child. He was repentant and in tears and said she could call her surviving child to take his life for his sin. The woman forgave him. That’s faith. If you diferentiate between faith and religion there could be other arguments, but it’s just not so simple as “either/Or.” Issues of religion and faith are complicated, that’s why they spark so much debate.

EnzoX24's avatar

Religion is the foundation of all of society. These laws and customs we have all started out from a religious origin. Before anyone goes bashing religion because “I haven’t seen God, so he can’t be real!” please know that religion is the grandfather of modern law. To say you wish religion had never existed is to say that you wish there never was a modern society.

But I am glad that we moved away from religious ideals to ideals that fit our modern lifestyle. I do not follow religion, but I do acknowledge the benefit it has had on society. Churches and Temples still give a communal feeling, but thee always remains a sense of distance amongst the groups. I believe the biggest separation is among the devote and the Atheists. The Atheists hate it when the devote push their beliefs on them, but are all too eager to bash religion to the devote. The problem is no one is willing to shut up and let bigons be bigons. Once we learn to accept each others beliefs there will be a greater feeling of unity.

Sparkie510's avatar

@EnzoX24 – trouble is I don’t think that will EVER happen.

laureth's avatar

Interestingly, while religion was included in the first written set of laws, I believe most religious people these days would not look upon it as a “true” religion.

While religion might bring people of the same religion closer (unless, you know, they schism), let any two people of different religions meet in the wild and I’ll lay odds that they’ll either try to convert each other, kill each other, or both.

janbb's avatar

@ augustian – I miss your other “A.”

augustlan's avatar

@janbb I know…it’s weird not seeing it.

seekingwolf's avatar

I believe almost all religions create a sense of “otherness” in their followers…like “this is our community, and those are the ‘others’ or those who aren’t in our following…” This by itself is dividing.

When I first read this question, I read it in terms of a relationship and a couple’s differences in faith. I’m Buddhist and my bf is Catholic. It’s just something we’ve agreed NOT to talk about…

Bluefreedom's avatar

Religion is a very contentious issue for many. It has done both all throughout history – brought people closer together AND driven them far apart.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

further, no question. perhaps there are individual cases that people feel closer being in a community, etc, but as a whole, it’s definitely made enemies out of people more than it has taught people to love eachother.

wundayatta's avatar

Religion is community. Community is community. Really, religion is not different from any other communal organization. Religions have become a little more fractured as society become more mobile, and as people attempt to distinguish religion from state. Of course, the reason for that was that religion was divisive, and if you took an end run around religion, you could unite a people. Still, what replaced religion was hardly different from it in anything but name.

So, if you think of countries as being very similar organizations to what religions used to be when everyone in a town was the member of the same religion, well, we see that countries are both divisive and collaborative. Just as what we now think of as religions are. All I can say is that religion, in some cases, has brought us more together, and in other cases, has driven us apart. However, I think this is more because that’s the way people are, than anything having to do with the religion.

People organize in groups for safety and economy. We develop rituals that support our sticking together. We engage other groups like us, we hope, to our mutual benefit. Sometimes we fight when we want the same resources and we can’t figure out a way to divide them peacefully. This is no different in nation-states now, compared to religion-states two thousand years ago (or any time in between).

So the answer to your question is…. yes!

marinelife's avatar

Who’s us? I am pretty sure it plays no part in my Fluther relationships.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Why can’t it do both? Those who share in the same religion feel closer to each other, while those who aren’t a part of said religion are necessarily more distant.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

This question is too general and it’s loaded like a desert eagle too.

That’s akin to asking “Has sports brought us closer together or further apart?”... yes… and… no…. some are sports fans.. some aren’t.

That said, those of my “religion” are quite close indeed with one another. It is a doctrine of my faith to love your neighbor as yourself… to do unto others as you would have them do to you (yes, the golden rule)… to name a couple…were we to collectively embrace these doctrines, of course we would have more togetherness.

wundayatta's avatar

Just because it’s a loaded question doesn’t mean we can’t pull the trigger! ;-)

fireside's avatar

Religion has actually led to a gradual liberation of the individual over the course of time which has brought us closer together locally, regionally and sometimes nationally.

But along with the liberation of the individual soul, there has been a boosting of the individual ego which focuses on differences and creates divisiveness.

The future of religion should be a focus on humility and commonalities to create a robust and productive global society. Without that focus, we seem destined to keep moving further apart.

Sellz's avatar

I would think that it has made us become further apart. Because of the many different types of religion and beliefs, some people wont as much as communicate with some one of a different religion, let alone step foot in a place of worship that is not of their religion.

tabbycat's avatar

Further apart, sad to say—and this is especially true of fundamentalist religion. People who are convinced that their way is the only way of looking at things are difficult to be friends with.

essieness's avatar

Further apart, for sure.

laureth's avatar

@fireside – I understand what you mean about religion liberating the individual over the course of time, but in some ways, might it not have outlived that role? When serfs needed dignity and freedom, the church may have stepped in (when it wasn’t oppressing them in turn), but now it seems more like fundamentalist religion does much of the oppressing.

fireside's avatar

Hence the need for humility.
That’s where the biggest gains can be made to affect the largest change.

As for outliving that role, I say, “Are we all equal and compassionate yet?”

But that is based on my view of Progressive Revelation and the idea that is a religion is an evolving process that keeps pace with and guides our understanding. I do believe that religion which has become detached from the original virtues is “only a form without spirit remaining.”

Blondesjon's avatar

I believe religion has brought us further together and closer apart.

Truly a miracle brothers and sisters.

can i get an amen

fireside's avatar

How about furser togart and clother apether?

Blondesjon's avatar

@fireside…Are you speaking in tounges?!? Another miracle! Rejoice!

fireside's avatar

!esiarp evig dna eciojer enoyrevE !gnik eht si nojsednolb@
¡ǝsıɐɹd ǝʌıb puɐ ǝɔıoظǝɹ ǝuoʎɹǝʌǝ ¡buıʞ ǝɥʇ sı uoظsǝpuo1q@

wundayatta's avatar

How’d he do that???

Blondesjon's avatar

@daloon…When moved by the Spirit all manner of things are possible. Praise Him!

fireside's avatar

I didn’t do anything.
I thought jon did it.

Blondesjon's avatar

PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!!!

wundayatta's avatar

Ooooommmmmmm

how long do I have continue with this praise? huh?

MissAnthrope's avatar

augustlan took the words right out of my mouth. :)

It depends. It can bring people of the same belief system closer together. More often though, it pushes people with different belief systems farther and farther apart.

mij's avatar

I’m not a religious person by any means, but I have to say our family have just returned from West Java where we visited my daughter in laws family who follow the Muslim faith. They treated us as special people and we were made welcome into everyones homes with a warmness I haven’t seen for a long time, these are just basic village people getting on with their lives like the rest of us, and yes with all the usual family problems.
Being Muslims they follow their religion quite strongly but in a lovely way and we saw no sign of any radicals.
I like to think the religion made our visit more special as we were given a special blessing by a village elder before we left to travel home to Australia.
Good on them for holding on to their beliefs.

90s_kid's avatar

It seems to have brought us further apart. Read the Fluther religion-related questions and you’ll see what I mean.

inoffensive's avatar

Atheists never started any wars. There’s your answer.

Blondesjon's avatar

@laureth…Just say Mao.

mij's avatar

Ok 90s kid, I’ll check that out, sounds interesting.
Allways good to get someone else’s outlook on things.
Maybe it’s not so simple but I don’t really have a problem with other peoples religions or beliefs, as long as they don’t force it on me.
I’m accepted even though I don’t prescribe to a god or suchlike, just like to see that old sun come up and maybe go find some space in the bush or forest down South of Perth.WA. that does it for me…
Thank’s for all you guys interest.

Pachy's avatar

@Johnny_Rambo, as a kid, I spent a lot of time in Temple because my parents insisted on it. It was only until years later than I realized how glad I was that I had been “encouraged” to attend services and Sunday school, and how close I felt to the rest of the congregation. Most of those people are long gone and I almost never go to Temple or observe any of the holidays formally… but I do carry the people and the traditions in my heart, and always will. That’s not exactly what you’re asking, but it’s how I am motivated to reply.

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