General Question

niki's avatar

Why religions (including Christianity) can often cause more bad things than good?

Asked by niki (699 points ) July 6th, 2010

Because all these religious people (but IMO especially Christians) kept preaching one thing, but then DO the other (contradictory) things. Like for example, Christians often talk about Love, Love, and Love,
yet I too often saw THEY are the ones who are the most judgmental, passing judgments into other fellow human beings, playing god themselves, condemning others, alienating other fellow human beings, and in general due to their narrow mindset (ie: because they only see and hear “what the Bible said”, and don’t CARE about any other things in this world!) cause so much hatred and at the worst case wars.

I even saw many non-religious people (ie: atheists, agnostics) who really show real, compassionate LOVE & did many touching good deeds in their daily life,..without any narrow mindedness and passing judgments and “following what my Holy Book said” as if like robots who have to follow their manual/instructions, instead of pure AUTOMATIC loving.

Religions could be a good thing, ie: it teaches some good morals, humbleness, be kind & generous to other fellow human beings, love & taking care of Nature,
but it’s very very sad sometimes to see/witness of how so many people (a.k.a human beings) just look for the trees instead of the forest, place too much importance on the differences in the doctrines that makes them “different and special” than other religions, thus causing hatred & wars.

Why is this?
Why religions can often, in reality (not “theoritecally”), cause more bad things than good things?
cause more hatred than love?
cause more passing judgments, instead of showing full, selfless LOVE to other fellow human beings?

It seems that even John Lennon in his song “Imagine” knows (envisioned) what real, true LOVE is, better than so many so-called “religious” people!

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35 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

Religion is more about controlling people than love. One of the best ways of controlling people is to give them something to disapprove of or hate.

xD_4meh's avatar

You’re trying too hard to convince yourself that Christianity is responsible for the majority of the blame. You’re right in one aspect, which is that Christianity has many hypocrites, but it also provides a great foundation for families to build on. Whether or not you’re a religious person, you can’t dismiss the fact that it encourages good works, although not always followed, and point all the fingers at it.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

“We are going to discuss this morning the dissolution of the Order of the Star. Many people will be delighted, and others will be rather sad. It is a question neither for rejoicing nor for sadness, because it is inevitable, as I am going to explain. You may remember the story of how the devil and a friend of his were walking down the street, when they saw ahead of them a man stoop down and pick up something from the ground, look at it, and put it away in his pocket. The friend said to the devil, ‘What did that man pick up?’ ‘He picked up a piece of Truth,’ said the devil. ‘That is a very bad business for you, then,’ said his friend. ‘Oh, not at all,’ the devil replied, ‘I am going to let him organize it.’

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organize a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others. This is what everyone throughout the world is attempting to do. Truth is narrowed down and made a plaything for those who are weak, for those who are only momentarily discontented. Truth cannot be brought down, rather the individual must make the effort to ascend to it. You cannot bring the mountain-top to the valley. If you would attain to the mountain-top you must pass through the valley, climb the steeps, unafraid of the dangerous precipices.

So that is the first reason, from my point of view, why the Order of the Star should be dissolved. In spite of this, you will probably form other Orders, you will continue to belong to other organizations searching for Truth. I do not want to belong to any organization of a spiritual kind, please understand this. I would make use of an organization which would take me to London, for example; this is quite a different kind of organization, merely mechanical, like the post or the telegraph. I would use a motor car or a steamship to travel, these are only physical mechanisms which have nothing whatever to do with spirituality. Again, I maintain that no organization can lead man to spirituality.

If an organization be created for this purpose, it becomes a crutch, a weakness, a bondage, and must cripple the individual, and prevent him from growing, from establishing his uniqueness, which lies in the discovery for himself of that absolute, unconditioned Truth. So that is another reason why I have decided, as I happen to be the Head of the Order, to dissolve it…”

- Jiddu Krishnamurti
(emphasis mine)

mammal's avatar

This is such a repetitive topic, i wish people would focus more on the wickedness of Globalisation and Capitalism.

JLeslie's avatar

People choose whether to be assholes or not. People can be hateful in the name of religion, but they can be hateful for many other reasons also. We can’t blame religion really, we should blame ignorance, insecurity, and people who feel the need to control others.

JLeslie's avatar

Although, religions that preach they have the one right and only answer, do kind of reinforce there is only one right way, and so they reinforce a black and white, us and them, good or evil mentality. Not all religions do this.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Easter had traditionally been used by some churches to assign blame for the crucifixion to the entire Jewish population over the last 2000 years.

Christmas is promoted so intensely and people assume that “Everybody celebrates Christmas!”
It is not so!

Employers often find it hard to tolerate Jewish employees taking time for Jewish holidays. In addition, unlike Christian holidays, these holidays always are unpaid days off work.

zophu's avatar

There are some interesting and valuable people who are religious. But, ultimately it is a sickness upon society that is perpetuated unnaturally by parasitic rulers. It is a part of the system of overcontrol that we suffer under, and may eventually be crushed under. So, I understand where you’re coming from.

I’m feeling crushed at this moment in time. I’ve become very dependent upon the people around me, and they happen to all be religious. Even my clinical psychologist who I am going to have to trust to understand and accept me. I don’t have high expectations, but hopefully humanity will shine through the religion and I wont be completely screwed over.

Religious people have the very perverse ability to condemn the humanity of others, for they consider it a weakness. Our very existence is a sin. That is the real problem, not so much their hypocrisy. I don’t understand how people don’t see that these ways of thinking are simply methods of generating subservient behavior in the masses.

@hiphiphopflipflapflop I wish someone had allowed me to learn some of J.K.‘s wisdom when I was younger. I’ve been listening to some of his speakings all day today. edit: perhaps more mechanically repetitive than I should be come to think of it…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Maybe you should start your own religion to address a few of your concerns and set things right.

JLeslie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I have always wanted to start my own religion.

For the tax break LOL.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Why not? Let’s call it John.

lillycoyote's avatar

Whatever it is that religion provides to people, it is compelling enough that it has always proved extremely useful to those who have seeking to gain power and/or to retain power.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@lillycoyote has her own Popeye religion. Sorry to share dear, but we need converts desperately.

zophu's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Omblosics would be a good modern religion name. Nice sciency feel to it, but with some mystery. I’d go with Omblosics.

lillycoyote's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You do Realize that we could all be persecuted merely for mentioning Popeye? Discretion, please. You’re going to get us all crucified.

jazmina88's avatar

I’m OliveOyl and want to go to the Popeye Church…...........they have chicken, right?? and blimpie burgers.

Jeruba's avatar

Because so many people of passionate conviction are not content to say, “This I believe.” They feel impelled to add, “And this you too must believe.” And they don’t understand that others resist the imposition of belief just as much as they themselves would do.

Nullo's avatar

The short answer is that people suck.
That said, I think that it is incorrect to suppose that love is truly blind, or that it is not judgmental. Love keeps no record of wrongs, certainly, but it does not impede correction – indeed, I would say that it encourages it, since correcting a child lets him better integrate into society and ultimately find a better place in it.

For instance, when in my younger years I decorated the wall with crayon, I was corrected by my loving parents, who do not hold my… primitive artistic efforts against me. When I fought with my sister, I was corrected by those same parents and ultimately forgiven by all parties.

When I see someone abusing an animal, I judge their actions against the norms of society, find them guilty of animal abuse, and if I feel that it is appropriate that I do so, I correct them or else take steps to see that they are corrected.
When I see someone lying for example I judge their actions against the norms of God, find them guilty of deceit, and if I feel that it is appropriate that I do so, I correct them or else take steps to see that they are corrected.

Often when people talk about Christians being judgmental, they’re thinking of a specific instance. Is that the case here?

Coloma's avatar

Well…if one takes into consideration that more people have been killed in the name of ‘Christianity’ than all other wars and skirmishes combined throughout history…..

As ‘they’ say…IF Jesus were here today he certainly wouldn’t be a Christian. haha

zophu's avatar

@Coloma I think he would work at Home Depot. That seems like the place Jesus would get a humble job. Start a nice blog for his preaching; and Home Depot, lumber department.

JLeslie's avatar

@zophu And wear a yumulke.

Coloma's avatar

@zophu

Yes, he’d certainly be back to square one. lol

gemiwing's avatar

Religion doesn’t do bad things- people do. People who use any belief system in order to put down others, gain power or harm others are not religion. Religion is a set of ideas- not actions. We do the actions, not the beliefs.

Secondly- please, stop lumping us all together. Please. Pretty please with ice cream, waffles and a chicken wing on top. By lumping all people who have a religious preference together you actually end up undermining your argument- and the basic feelings behind it are worth talking about.

There are Christians who love gays, there are followers of Mohammad who don’t believe in jihads and not all Jews invest money. We need to start seeing beyond these labels to the individuals behind them. Then, possibly we can start to find solutions to those who abuse others in the name of religion instead of simply having the same X is bad argument.

niki's avatar

@gemiwing that is one good answer, love your last paragraph especially. thank you.
we should stop hating each other (‘cuz people are different from one another?) and start to bond together & work on the real solutions to problems of the world altogether, instead of focusing on our differences (the ‘trees’) and blaming each other, we should look at the bigger picture (the forest): we live under the same sky, and are the inhabitants of the same small tiny planet in this vast universe called Earth.
more time should be spent on fixing the problems of the bigger pictures, instead of spending every minutia & efforts & energy to insist “my way is better than your way”.

zophu's avatar

@gemiwing you don’t have to do actual harm to someone to condemn them. It’s the ability to condemn others’ very souls that lumps religious people together. They all offer only one (maybe a few if you’re lax) set of options for salvation. They hold people to only two possibilities, and eventually, they’re going to be fairly confident that they know someone’s on the bad one. These individuals suddenly become expendable, even loathable. There is always the “us” and the “them,” no matter how you look at it when you’re in the religious mindset. If it’s only tolerance a religion has for our humanity, it’s only a matter of time before that humanity becomes too much.

gemiwing's avatar

@niki I agree. I wish we could figure out how to get people together and stop pushing everyone apart into separate camps.

@zophu Good points, and that leads me back to lumping people together. Not all people believe that their path is the only path. There are religions that don’t believe in salvation- because we’re all already saved. There are people in religions that believe in saving- but they themselves don’t believe that aspect of their chosen religion.

I think we can find the us vs them mentality about anything humans touch. I think religion is just another tool some people use to feel superior. For others it’s money or color or education. I blame the strong us v them issues on our tribal nature.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Because it’s easy to hijack a good idea for selfish purposes.

Jabe73's avatar

I’m not as sure about the other religions but most “Christians” in general already acknowledge that they are no better as individuals than anyone else but because they accept Jesus as their lord and savior who died for our sins because “we all fall short of the glory of god” along with the bible talking about not being saved by works so “no one can boast of them”, this will always be the religious hypocrites “out” so to speak. Christians do not need to be good because they are already “saved” by their beliefs alone. This is why many Christians seem like hypocrites. In the end organised religion is really about using the bible to enforce their political agenda by twisting scripture to support their views while conveniently ignoring many other parts of the bible. I have lived around this my whole life so I know this.

gemiwing's avatar

@Jabe73 What about Catholics or Mormons? Depending on your action, you could be kicked out of Heaven. Some things can’t be absolved- like suicide.

mattbrowne's avatar

@niki – Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in the eyes of religious people and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

Mikewlf337's avatar

Religion doesnt cause suffering. People do. Don’t blame the whole congregation because of the actions of a few. Every heard of the saying “the loud minority”

zophu's avatar

@gemiwing Not all Nazis believed Jews were less-than-human, but they still wore the uniform.

You might think it unfair of me to compare religious people to Nazis. But if you said that I would have to say that at least the Nazis believed in Human-strength, even if they foolishly thought it was gauged by race.

If there’s always an omnipotent intelligence to turn to in a person’s mind, that person’s perception of humans is that they are less-than-true, less-than-real, less-than-“holy”. And that is unacceptable within a society.

Not that people who believe in omnipotent intelligence are all maliciously condemning people. And not that all people who believe they believe in omnipotent intelligence actually do to any large or unwavering degree. I think a lot of people identify God with their awe of the complexity and meaningfulness of nature.

But regardless of the wisdom of some of the religion’s people, or even most of its people (if that were ever the case), religion is still effectively here for one purpose: simplify humanity. To be simple in a complex world is to perish.

Look beyond the solace you gain from your religious traditions and community and find the true nature of your spirituality. I think you will come to understand that religion ultimately holds that spirituality, directs it in unnatural ways. All for the sake of controlling your community within this world. Owning it.

But then, everyone needs their community. You shouldn’t blame our “tribal nature” for the weakness you see in people. Our tribal nature is the only thing that has maintained what humanity we have left.

Nullo's avatar

@zophu said:
If there’s always an omnipotent intelligence to turn to in a person’s mind, that person’s perception of humans is that they are less-than-true, less-than-real, less-than-“holy”. And that is unacceptable within a society.
I don’t get what you mean by “less than true.” But we religious types have no trouble considering other people to be real.
Christian doctrine (I can’t speak for others) maintains that all have sinned, and that nobody is righteous or holy. Holiness is a destination, not a gradient. Some are closer to the destination than others, but you’re not there until you’re there.

religion is still effectively here for one purpose: simplify humanity. To be simple in a complex world is to perish.
I always saw religion as an attempt to provide a mental framework for dealing with God.
More recent subdivisions of the Church have taken to saying that “it’s not about religion, but about relationship.” That is, a relationship with God. There are rules in relationships, certainly, but it’s different than, say, the traffic code.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@zophu ”...the complexity and meaningfulness of nature.”

Nature has no meaning beyond that which humans attribute to it. Meaning comes from mind. Do you propose that nature has a mind?

Are mindful humans the mind of nature? How does mind arise from non mind?

Pah-leeze don’t say complexity… I don’t believe that god has any powers beyond mindless nature.

zophu's avatar

@Nullo “I don’t get what you mean by “less than true.” But we religious types have no trouble considering other people to be real.”

Humans are holy because they are human. There are no exceptions. I think I made myself clear.

“Christian doctrine (I can’t speak for others) maintains that all have sinned, and that nobody is righteous or holy. Holiness is a destination, not a gradient. Some are closer to the destination than others, but you’re not there until you’re there.”

Yes. That is the spiritual occupation of the obedient citizen. Contained. So that their spiritual wonderings don’t interfere with their civil duties of maintaining the status quo. “It’s okay to be mediocre and have no radical effect on the world when your soul is in the safe hands of your spiritual solace. No reason to rock the boat. Or change anything. At all. Just get married, have some kids, retire nicely. That’s all the meaning you need. In fact, that’s more than you need—many don’t get even that.”

Not that individuals can’t live awesome lives while considering themselves religious; it’s the broader social aspects of religion that I’m feeling these things towards more than anything.

I always saw religion as an attempt to provide a mental framework for dealing with God. More recent subdivisions of the Church have taken to saying that “it’s not about religion, but about relationship.” That is, a relationship with God. There are rules in relationships, certainly, but it’s different than, say, the traffic code.

It’s the theism that gets in the way of understanding that humans are free. We are free, you understand? If we fuck up, we die. If we do well, we become awesome. There’s no Parent to guide and protect us. We are our own parents as much as we are our own children. Don’t you see the parallels between basic human psychology and theism? Don’t you see how it’s not only been exploited by those in power?—it has been reinvented. Children of God are children of the state.

There are levels of social health that can not be achieved in a religious community. It is my awareness of that, that drives me. It is that awareness that I’m going to try and share. Condemning religion directly is crude. I think I’m done.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I used the word meaning existentially. The sensation of “complexity and meaningfulness” is awe, don’t you think? I was saying that a lot of religious people don’t actually imagine for themselves an all knowing parent-god; they just respect their awe of nature and attach that respect to their religious inclinations. Yes, there is meaning in mystery. Meaning isn’t synonymous with knowledge. Haven’t you ever seen mystery as something other than chaos? You think that is the worship of complexity, or the first step in forming a new code?

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