This is a gradiated topic. Religion is seldom and all inclusively "bad". The thing that bums me out the most about religion is that it is comprised mostly of people that want nothing more than to be "good" and or "ethical", which is one reason why I get so pissed; I get this nagging feeling like they are getting duped somehow. My main "problems" with religion stem from:
  1. The root misnomer of Christian religion(s), which is the term "faith in God". Many religions are built on faith, yet it is an inaccurate statement. You inherit belief in god from parents, teachers and friends, and not from "God" him/herself. This means that Faith in God is nothing more than faith in man. More specifically "Faith in men who have faith in the men before them", so on and so forth. It is a conundrum that ends somewhere around 2000 years ago, or even before that. Thus, faith in "God(s)" means faith in man kind and faith in the church or temple of God(s). These are things I cannot have.
  2. For argument sake, god is perfect, man is imperfect. God created man imperfect yet holds us responsible for his mistake, as was observed by Gene Roddenberry. Also, Man is imperfect, thus all things of man are imperfect. The churches are institutions of man that dogmatically generate divine providence, which may be fundamentally flawed yet must be treated as the word of God. Dogmatic law itself is fundamentally flawed in this way.
  3. Religion is a reason or, as some would argue; the scapegoat for a great amount violence in this world. Muslim groups blow things up, the Crusades, the Inquisition, Bombings in Ireland, etc etc etc... All of these things are not moral nor are they ethical in my opinion, thus I cannot with good conscience associate myself with such groups.
  4. I was once told by a Nun that "Religion is not a salad bar", meaning you take the religion, the whole religion and nothing but the religion so help you God. Needless to say, this does not float my boat. All this leads to is outlandish interpretations (some seriously flawed) of religious doctrine for personal self-assurance and justification for perspectively flawed morality.
  5. I will assert that though I may not agree with some of the laws and stipulations of many religions, this does not in my mind necessarily make them bad. Unless a law of a religion violates my quasi-transcendental, personal code of morality (something itself which inherently must be imperfect, yes I know), I cannot, from my perspective, think of it badly. There are few laws that I feel are bad, and they are generally not "bad" enough to taint an entire religion to an evil pallor in my mind.
  6. Though no religion can help this one, it still is a touchy point for me. Long ago, most religions gave up the "Die all ye of heathen faiths" attitude. Most religions openly recognise the human right to have faith as you see fit. What I don't see is how any one religion can logically be any more correct than another. Were I to have fallen from the sky today, dumb to all religions and raised as a foundling, I would cling to the first religion presented to me. Chances are, no divine insight would help me while shopping around for faith. This just strikes me as... odd.
So perhaps this Node should be entitled "Why religion is fundamentally flawed" or "Why religion is naughty (not quite bad); because so many parts of it just don't make sense.


Re:
This is why I created the "Why it is bad" node. There are plenty of things that are good about religion; those are for a different node. I am quite empirical; no I do not believe in things as significant as religion without proof. Sorry, there are limits to my transcendental side. You cannot prove morality, yet they are things that are philosophical which one can infer by them selves through deductive logic. If no one tells you of god, you cannot infer his existence. Thus the empiric and absolute nihilist are two different things and can hardly be compared.

 

Religion is bad because it stunts intellectual growth and cripples human interaction; because it is an engine of control and oppression (mostly of women), and because it alienates people from the real, physical world and all its wonders. It narrows horizons, engenders isolation and fear, and strives in most cases to limit and control the experience and value of emotional, sexual and physical pleasure.

To try for quasi-empirical evidence for the "badness" of religion in the GDPs of more or less religious countries, in the level of incarceration, social disruption etc., to say "it leads to poverty!" is to cheapen the argument against religion, to reduce it to a capitalist cost/benefit calculation - and so, perforce, to undermine the secularist, pro-intellectual position.

Secularism is not a substitute for religion or an antonym of it; much like democracy and humanism, it is an independent principle that can stand alone and justify its own moral grounds with internal coherence. A tit-for-tat between so called atheists and deists is not only intellectual masturbation, but debases secularism to level of just another doctrine in a smorgasbord of competing ideologies, when the reality is that there is no equivalence between it and any religious dogma, even the least deist and most tolerant.

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