Best of JCM: Top 10 Reasons Religion is a Negative Force, part 2
This is actually the eight most popular post, but I have elected to consider this one together with its predecessor. For some unknown reason, people seemed more inclined to read this one than its parent, and that’s backwards. Typically, in a series, part 2 sees less traffic than part 1. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. You’re still with me, right?
Kieth Murphy, a user in the ThinkAtheist Forums, posted his Top Ten reasons why religion is a negative force in the world.
Not surprisingly, every single reason is a non-starter. I covered the bottom reasons, now let’s continue where we left off — #5:
There have been cases in the United States and some other country where person’s have lost their jobs due to lack of faith or alternative faiths and sometimes on the bases of sexual orientation (which is thought to be justified because of certain beliefs)
There are also cases of people who have lost jobs because of their faith. In the United States right now, some of the provisions of ObamaCare require a person to provide health services against their conscience.
This happens on both sides of the equation. Does it then follow that atheism is bad because it forces the religious to do things against our religion in order to function together in society?
Of course not. That’s ludicrous.
There are always bigots. Some incorrectly use religion as a justification. That’s human nature. Our solution? 2 Corinthians 5:17 — take off our fallen, sinful human nature and put on a heavenly one. Atheism’s solution? Oh, that’s right — there isn’t one. We are what we are.
Religion tries to justify many forms of discrimination including but not limited to, homophobia, sexism, racism and class
No, some people in religious instutions attempt to incorrectly use the Scripture to justify discrimination. But the perversion of something shouldn’t lead us to negatively judge the thing itself. That’s throwing the baby out with the dirty bathwater.
Certain nations such as Iran and Uganda take their discrimination justified by religious beliefs a step further by improving atheists and murdering homosexuals
So, we don’t really have 10 reasons on this list. 5, 4, and 3 are basically the same reason stated different ways.
Religion has caused many to rebel against its corruption. While this mostly occurs in changing religions or declaring oneself atheist; that is not always the next direction for some. For some they take that faith and change it for their own purposes, often resulting in more extreme and harmful faith systems mostly regarded as cults. These cults involve all sorts of dangerous acts, such as mass suicide and sometimes violent attacks of non-beleivers of their faith.
Wow. Ignorance to the millionth power. Pol Pot. Stalin. Mao. Corruptions of something should not lead us to negatively judge the thing itself. Those guys don’t mean atheism is evil or wrong. Cults, therefore, do not mean religion is evil or wrong.
And the #1 reason:
Religion has literally caused people to go to war due to the influence of the faith and disagreement with certain policies based on religious beliefs (especially when a doctrine influences such actions)
According to The Encyclopedia of Wars (New York: Facts on File, 2005), which chronicles every war from 8,000 b.c. to 2003 (1,763 wars), less than 7% are religiously motivated. Religions are not the main cause of warfare.
I’m not denying that religions have caused wars. But, if you were trying to prioritize a strategic plan to eliminate causes of warfare, religion wouldn’t be on your list of causes to address. It wouldn’t even be a factor in your plan.
So there you have them — a list of 10 reasons (actually 8, since 3 reasons were different iterations of the same reason) that religion is a negative force that are poorly thought out and just plain ignorant. Many work against atheism as much as they do against religion.
Is consistency too much to ask from the side that considers itself more logical and rational? It would seem so.