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Is religion detrimental to society?

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

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.

Religion divides people

By creating "in-groups" of saints and "out-groups" of sinners, religion causes divisions within societies that have historically threatened to tear them apart.

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.

Religion justifies cruelty

From the Crusades to the Salem Witch Trials to conversion therapy camps, religion has made people feel justified in committing moral atrocities.

No, religion is beneficial for society

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.

Religion unites people

By uniting people with the same beliefs, customs, and moral codes, religion can create tight-knit, caring communities that benefit society as a whole.

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.

This page was last edited on Friday, 14 Aug 2020 at 02:22 UTC

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