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Is religion detrimental to society? Show more Show less
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Looking at cultures across the world and throughout history, you'd be hard-pressed to find a single one that isn't characterized by religion. Even today, in our progressive, post-Enlightenment society, religion plays a major role in our social institutions and moral codes. Of course, its continued influence begs the question-at a societal level, is religion a force for harm or good?

No, religion is beneficial for society Show more Show less

Without the positive force of religion to bring people together and provide them with moral guidelines, society would not be as cohesive or productive as it is today.
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Religion encourages morality

On a personal level, religion provides people with moral codes to guide their actions. On a broader scale, it can promote compassion, kindness, and peace within entire cultures.
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The Argument

Most religions prescribe followers with a specific moral code, dictating an acceptable way to act and treat others. Though these definitions of morality vary from religion to religion, many have the same basic principles. For example, most promote ideals like compassion, kindness, altruism, faith, peace, and love. Needless to say, people who internalize and replicate these virtues will become model members of society, functioning well in the schoolroom, the workplace, and their personal lives. Thus, religion becomes a way to create morally upstanding-and thus, productive-members of society. On a broader scale, once religion becomes a key component in a given culture, its values will inculcate the social institutions of the society, from education to politics to the economy. In this way, even people who do not practice their culture’s dominant religion will likely internalize at least some of the moral code it promotes. This effect can be seen especially in America, where Christianity is the most common religion, and its unique conceptions of morality, sexuality, and the family have permeated the country as a whole, allowing it to work as a constituent whole following roughly the same moral guidelines. Evidently, religious morality, regardless of the faith it comes from, has a unifying effect on societies, allowing them to work together to improve.

Counter arguments

While a shared definition of morality could benefit society, this is only true if that definition is actually a good one. Since many religions have flawed, outdated positions on modern issues like women’s rights, LGBT equality, abortion, and the death penalty, accepting their views on a societal level could be extremely detrimental, especially for minorities.

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This page was last edited on Friday, 14 Aug 2020 at 02:36 UTC

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