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< Back to question Is religion detrimental to society? Show more Show less

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?

Yes, religion is detrimental to society Show more Show less

The social institution critiqued by Karl Marx as "the opiate of the masses" is just as harmful as any literal drug, promoting tribalism and permitting atrocities in God's name.
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Religion encourages passivity

In the face of global warming, civil unrest, and a devastating pandemic, religion allows people to step back and do nothing, convinced that it's all in God's hands.
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Proponents


The Argument

Belief in an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator often comes with a certain level of helplessness. After all, to trust in such a deity is to acknowledge the fact that they are in control of whatever happens here on earth, including our lives. For many religionists, this is a great relief, allowing them to rest easy in the knowledge that their Creator will provide for them. Even if he appears not to, they simply have to trust that their misfortunes here on earth are part of a divine plan much larger than themselves. Though this belief can be a comfort to those who hold it, it can also promote passivity, removing people’s incentive to address the problems we are facing in our “mortal world.” In other words, people may use their faith to justify their inaction-and in some cases, apathy-about major societal problems, from global warming to social injustice to, most pressingly, the coronavirus pandemic. If it’s all in God’s hands, why should we humans try to do anything to improve the world in which we live? At best, to do so is a fruitless endeavor, and at worst, it’s an attempt to play God, a prideful way of letting him know we don’t trust his divine plans. Because religion can be used to justify passivity when action is needed the most, it does more harm than good to our society as a whole.

Counter arguments

Religion in and of itself does not encourage passivity. Rather, most faiths emphasize the need to help others and stop injustice. Religious apathy, then, is the fault of people misinterpreting their religious texts to justify their indifference about modern issues. Moreover, it is unfair to imply that religion always makes people passive, when actually, religious charities and outreach organizations abound.

Premises

Rejecting the premises


References


    This page was last edited on Friday, 14 Aug 2020 at 02:42 UTC

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