Jump to content
IGNORED

6 Ways Religion Does More Bad Than Good


doggie

Recommended Posts

this isa really good article and really highlights what we see so much of. I will only post a couple of them.

http://www.alternet.org/belief/6-ways-r ... 1#bookmark

4.Religion diverts generous impulses and good intentions.Feeling sad about Haiti? Give to our mega-church. Crass financial appeals during times of crisis thankfully are not the norm, but religion does routinely redirect generosity in order to perpetuate religion itself. Generous people are encouraged to give till it hurts to promote the church itself rather than the general welfare. Each year, thousands of missionaries throw themselves into the hard work of saving souls rather than saving lives or saving our planetary life support system. Their work, tax free, gobbles up financial and human capital.

Besides exploiting positive moral energy like kindness or generosity, religion often redirects moral disgust and indignation, attaching these emotions to arbitrary religious rules rather than questions of real harm. Orthodox Jews spend money on wigs for women and double dishwashers. Evangelical parents, forced to choose between righteousness and love, kick queer teens out onto the street. Catholic bishops impose righteous rules on operating rooms.

5. Religion teaches helplessness. Que sera, sera—what will be will be. Let go and let God.We’ve all heard these phrases, but sometimes we don’t recognize the deep relationship between religiosity and resignation. In the most conservative sects of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, women are seen as more virtuous if they let God manage their family planning. Droughts, poverty and cancer get attributed to the will of God rather than bad decisions or bad systems; believers wait for God to solve problems they could solve themselves.

This attitude harms society at large as well as individuals. When today’s largest religions came into existence, ordinary people had little power to change social structures either through technological innovation or advocacy. Living well and doing good were largely personal matters. When this mentality persists, religion inspires personal piety without social responsibility. Structural problems can be ignored as long as the believer is kind to friends and family and generous to the tribal community of believers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 54
  • Created
  • Last Reply

4.Religion diverts generous impulses and good intentions.Feeling sad about Haiti? Give to our mega-church. Crass financial appeals during times of crisis thankfully are not the norm, but religion does routinely redirect generosity in order to perpetuate religion itself. Generous people are encouraged to give till it hurts to promote the church itself rather than the general welfare. Each year, thousands of missionaries throw themselves into the hard work of saving souls rather than saving lives or saving our planetary life support system. Their work, tax free, gobbles up financial and human capital.

I saw this article this morning and while all of points were good, no. 4 was the one that really jumped out at me. John Shrader came to mind as I think of him as the most worthless missionary evah.

Bear in mind that I have no problem with missionary work if it's being done strictly for humanitarian reasons and soul winning / conversion is left out of the mix.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Meh. I'm a big believer in the idea that any group or ideology (political, religious, or whatever) has the potential to do any of these things.

Of these, only half (2, 3, and 4) can even be argued to be applicable only to religion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

anymore there is a huge flood of missionaries that really don't accomplish anything. all the money spent sending them there would serve the communities far more then have so many people come and just suck up resources and hand out bibles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

anymore there is a huge flood of missionaries that really don't accomplish anything. all the money spent sending them there would serve the communities far more then have so many people come and just suck up resources and hand out bibles.

From what I have seen, most don't accomplish anything. I went to college with a lot of MKs and that's the picture I got from them. It was soul winning for Jebus but never heard much about what their parents accomplished as far as helping the communities. Perhaps it was the case with some of them but more was made of spreading the word versus how they served that community.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even the real missionaries that live over there don't really like the swarms of temp missionaries. Some of the people make a living on getting saved. Really it is a seagull run fly in squawk a lot poop on everything and fly off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I have seen, most don't accomplish anything. I went to college with a lot of MKs and that's the picture I got from them. It was soul winning for Jebus but never heard much about what their parents accomplished as far as helping the communities. Perhaps it was the case with some of them but more was made of spreading the word versus how they served that community.

The missionaries I know help transport doctors to hard-to-reach places, transport sick people to the hospital, and deliver needed food and supplies to small villages. They also help set up essential communications and help with logistical planning when natural disasters occur near their bases.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The missionaries I know help transport doctors to hard-to-reach places, transport sick people to the hospital, and deliver needed food and supplies to small villages. They also help set up essential communications and help with logistical planning when natural disasters occur near their bases.

I remember one being a doctor administering to the community but so many didn't really describe what it was that their parents were doing, it was so much Jesus speak. I am hoping that perhaps I got the wrong impression but there were so many of them that didn't mention anything that, to me at least, seem substantive as far as helping the people they were with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember one being a doctor administering to the community but so many didn't really describe what it was that their parents were doing, it was so much Jesus speak. I am hoping that perhaps I got the wrong impression but there were so many of them that didn't mention anything that, to me at least, seem substantive as far as helping the people they were with.

So... I'm going to say something that is based on personal experience and hasn't been studied extensively. Take it with a grain of salt and be aware that I know it only applies to the experience I have, which isn't all-encompassing.

I think missionary organizations often over-represent the "Jesus" stuff they do as opposed to the practical stuff. I work for a missionary organization, and a lot of the advertising/fund-raising they do really emphasizes Jesus Jesus Jesus. And that is a part of what they do. They partner with established missionary organizations and the local church. But they also do really practical stuff, like what I said above. I've entered in the statistics of what is actually done, and in most locations, they non-Jesus stuff vastly outweighs the Jesus stuff. And even then, a lot of the Jesus stuff is empowering local churches as opposed to just sending people with Bibles.

I think that they need to have this Jesus Jesus Jesus focus to appeal to American Christians, but I'm not sure the reality of what they do reflects that. Heck, one of our locations almost exclusively works with getting AIDS patients the medical help that they need. Of course, the only organization I can actually make this argument for is the one I work for, but I suspect that other major mission organizations might function the same way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dislike any argument that takes a few bad examples and extrapolates to apply it in a really broad way.

There are examples of religious organizations exploiting tragedies for their own institutional purposes.

There are ALSO examples of specific religious charities which have an established track record of real expertise in responding to disasters. They may have existing contacts with an affected area, they may be able to mobilize supporters quickly, and some of the people who do good, tireless work are influenced to do it for religious reasons.

It's far more useful to identify which organizations are known for doing genuinely good work, and which fall into the "exploiting disaster" category.

In terms of the "learned helplessness" argument - this varies hugely between different religions and denominations.

I would agree that a fatalistic viewpoint is harmful to society. I'd also argue that the attitude of some atheists that nature is not equal and that they have no responsibility to help those weaker than themselves is also harmful.

Again, SOME religious groups are also strongly oriented toward social action. Google "tikkun olam". Look up Mennonite Central Committee. Look up Baha'i policies on social action. Look up any faith that's oriented toward social action.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So... I'm going to say something that is based on personal experience and hasn't been studied extensively. Take it with a grain of salt and be aware that I know it only applies to the experience I have, which isn't all-encompassing.

I think missionary organizations often over-represent the "Jesus" stuff they do as opposed to the practical stuff. I work for a missionary organization, and a lot of the advertising/fund-raising they do really emphasizes Jesus Jesus Jesus. And that is a part of what they do. They partner with established missionary organizations and the local church. But they also do really practical stuff, like what I said above. I've entered in the statistics of what is actually done, and in most locations, they non-Jesus stuff vastly outweighs the Jesus stuff. And even then, a lot of the Jesus stuff is empowering local churches as opposed to just sending people with Bibles.

I think that they need to have this Jesus Jesus Jesus focus to appeal to American Christians, but I'm not sure the reality of what they do reflects that. Heck, one of our locations almost exclusively works with getting AIDS patients the medical help that they need. Of course, the only organization I can actually make this argument for is the one I work for, but I suspect that other major mission organizations might function the same way.

Thanks for clarifying based on your work. I can see why the Jesus focus is necessary for support, especially here in the US but it can create the impression to folks not familiar (like me) that it's mostly that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't thing this describes everyone but it does the hard core religious people. We see here in the US conservative Christians hate the poor and hate anyone but them helping them when and if they help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't thing this describes everyone but it does the hard core religious people. We see here in the US conservative Christians hate the poor and hate anyone but them helping them when and if they help.

That is still a sweepingly huge generalization. There are two big mega churches in my area. I'm not sure of their exact theology - but they seem to be of the conservative, evangelical type.

They also offer the following services/ supports / resources to ANYONE who asks :

-- food banks

---rotating shelter

-- car repair by volunteers

-- gathering and delivering furniture for families who have been homeless

---meals

--- shelter beds on a rotating basis.

And these two are far less active than many other faith based institutions in my community. The Catholic Churches are EXTREMELY involved in not only provision of food and shelter-- but also promoting social justice issues and, more importantly, providing training and opportunities for typically disempowered people to become their own advocates.

There is a local Evangelical church whose entire emphasis is on recovery from substance abuse. They run a shelter, provide recovery services ( from accredited counselors) , plus provide food, space for meetings, etc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't thing this describes everyone but it does the hard core religious people. We see here in the US conservative Christians hate the poor and hate anyone but them helping them when and if they help.

SOME hard-core religious people from SOME specific religious denominations.

Certain denominations of predominantly white protestant conservative Christians in the Bible Belt of the United States do not represent all Christians, and Christians don't represent all religions in the world.

I think it's possible that some of the folks in the Salvation Army, for example, are die-hard believers and arguably hard-core. They just happen to believe that helping the poor is part of their mission.

If you want to talk about specific beliefs of specific groups, like discussing the impact of "faith vs. works" or predestination theology, I'd be happy to join in.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************

Do we need an explanation of logical arguments or Venn diagrams here?

Here's how this argument sounds:

A - "Dogs are bad because they tend to be brown, and brown is the color of shit".

B - "Actually, dogs come in many colors. Some are brown. Some are black. Some are white. Besides, lots of things are brown, so why pick on dogs?"

C - "Here's a picture of a brown dog. That proves my point that dogs are brown!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

SOME hard-core religious people from SOME specific religious denominations.

Certain denominations of predominantly white protestant conservative Christians in the Bible Belt of the United States do not represent all Christians, and Christians don't represent all religions in the world.

I think it's possible that some of the folks in the Salvation Army, for example, are die-hard believers and arguably hard-core. They just happen to believe that helping the poor is part of their mission.

If you want to talk about specific beliefs of specific groups, like discussing the impact of "faith vs. works" or predestination theology, I'd be happy to join in.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************

Do we need an explanation of logical arguments or Venn diagrams here?

Here's how this argument sounds:

A - "Dogs are bad because they tend to be brown, and brown is the color of shit".

B - "Actually, dogs come in many colors. Some are brown. Some are black. Some are white. Besides, lots of things are brown, so why pick on dogs?"

C - "Here's a picture of a brown dog. That proves my point that dogs are brown!"

Yeah, my dad is a hard-core Christian who is a conservative voter. I don't necessarily agree with a lot of his politics or theology.

But he volunteers with a really good organization as a budget counselor and helps families get out of debt and become self-sufficient. And he works for a religious organization that gets medical supplies to people who need it (they've actually sent a few shipments of stuff to West Africa to help with the Ebola epidemic). He's done more to help folks in need than many people I know who are more liberal or less religious.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So... I'm going to say something that is based on personal experience and hasn't been studied extensively. Take it with a grain of salt and be aware that I know it only applies to the experience I have, which isn't all-encompassing.

I think missionary organizations often over-represent the "Jesus" stuff they do as opposed to the practical stuff. I work for a missionary organization, and a lot of the advertising/fund-raising they do really emphasizes Jesus Jesus Jesus. And that is a part of what they do. They partner with established missionary organizations and the local church. But they also do really practical stuff, like what I said above. I've entered in the statistics of what is actually done, and in most locations, they non-Jesus stuff vastly outweighs the Jesus stuff. And even then, a lot of the Jesus stuff is empowering local churches as opposed to just sending people with Bibles.

I think that they need to have this Jesus Jesus Jesus focus to appeal to American Christians, but I'm not sure the reality of what they do reflects that. Heck, one of our locations almost exclusively works with getting AIDS patients the medical help that they need. Of course, the only organization I can actually make this argument for is the one I work for, but I suspect that other major mission organizations might function the same way.

...idk, like, why do they need to talk about Jesus at all? Can't they just do they stuff that they do?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...idk, like, why do they need to talk about Jesus at all? Can't they just do they stuff that they do?

Because they genuinely believe in their religion, including the parts of the the Bible that talk about the power of Jesus to change lives and give people new life. I suspect many of them have such a strong belief because Christianity and Christ (or the idea of Christ, depending on your POV) have been transformative in their own lives and has been something that propels them to be a better person.* I know that there are inherently problematic aspects to that, and I'm honestly not sure quite where I stand on the issue of "witnessing," but I think for a lot of people it comes from a genuine (though arguable misguided) desire to see others find the peace and fulfillment they've found.

*This is in reference to those emotionally healthy Christians that really do sacrifice a lot to help the people who need it, not megachurch narcissists or abusive patriarchs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What bugs me about that article is that the author seems to be under the impression that without religion the vast majority of people would be inherently giving, moral, empathetic, compassionate, searching for knowledge, logical, color-blind, charitable and intellectually advanced. And that individuals would be alternating their time between curing cancer, rescuing kittens from trees and digging wells for orphans in Africa.

The article seems to take a lot of the problems with people in general and blame it on faith. I don't see how that's any different than assuming that belief in a particular religion will solve everything that's wrong with people in general.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What bugs me about that article is that the author seems to be under the impression that without religion the vast majority of people would be inherently giving, moral, empathetic, compassionate, searching for knowledge, logical, color-blind, charitable and intellectually advanced. And that individuals would be alternating their time between curing cancer, rescuing kittens from trees and digging wells for orphans in Africa.

The article seems to take a lot of the problems with people in general and blame it on faith. I don't see how that's any different than assuming that belief in a particular religion will solve everything that's wrong with people in general.

I find alternet.org distasteful in general because a lot of their articles have that general attitude. Like, if everyone were just educated atheists, all the world's problems would be solved. And like no one who is uneducated or believes in anything supernatural can be a decent human being.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because they genuinely believe in their religion, including the parts of the the Bible that talk about the power of Jesus to change lives and give people new life. I suspect many of them have such a strong belief because Christianity and Christ (or the idea of Christ, depending on your POV) have been transformative in their own lives and has been something that propels them to be a better person.* I know that there are inherently problematic aspects to that, and I'm honestly not sure quite where I stand on the issue of "witnessing," but I think for a lot of people it comes from a genuine (though arguable misguided) desire to see others find the peace and fulfillment they've found.

*This is in reference to those emotionally healthy Christians that really do sacrifice a lot to help the people who need it, not megachurch narcissists or abusive patriarchs.

Honestly, I find that idea to be really, really offensive. Just because one person finds happiness through something doesn't mean that everyone will.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What bugs me about that article is that the author seems to be under the impression that without religion the vast majority of people would be inherently giving, moral, empathetic, compassionate, searching for knowledge, logical, color-blind, charitable and intellectually advanced. And that individuals would be alternating their time between curing cancer, rescuing kittens from trees and digging wells for orphans in Africa.

The article seems to take a lot of the problems with people in general and blame it on faith. I don't see how that's any different than assuming that belief in a particular religion will solve everything that's wrong with people in general.

Maybe if people just, idk, all became a little agnostic and realized that their religion is not the be-all, end-all of truth, and could possibly be wrong, the world would be a better place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, I find that idea to be really, really offensive. Just because one person finds happiness through something doesn't mean that everyone will.

I'm not saying it's not offensive. Like I said, I'm still trying to figure out where I stand on that aspect of Christianity. But it's not a problem that is found only in religion, and even less, in a single religion. People share things that have worked for them, and often believe in those things. I have been very empowered by feminism. I will encourage women to embrace feminism because I have found empowerment through it. Other women do not feel empowered by it, and I genuinely believe they are missing out.

Aid work in general is problematic (not wrong-- but problematic) from a post-colonial perspective. We would generally agree that it is good for fairly isolated communities to have medicine and access to clean water. However, introducing a community to medicine will inevitably force Western culture on them in some way. There can be a struggle between Western medicine and their own beliefs and customs. One is saving lives, one is indigenous culture. Which one should trump the other? Does it depend on the circumstances? How can we tell?

We (VERY rightly, IMO) take a stand against female genital mutilation, despite the fact that it is a long-standing tradition for some non-Western cultures. We (VERY rightly, IMO) are moving away from forcing indigenous cultures to speak the languages of the West (generally English) and are instead taking steps to actively preserve their linguistic history. Those answers seem pretty "easy," but what about the more difficult ones? Is creating a written language for a dying language positive (because it helps retain their culture) or negative (because it destroys the orality of their culture)? I know none of this is directly related to mission work, but I do think it is somewhat pertinent because it kind of shows that NONE of this is easy navigating or black-and-white. Or I think it's pertinent. Maybe I'm just rambling now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not saying it's not offensive. Like I said, I'm still trying to figure out where I stand on that aspect of Christianity. But it's not a problem that is found only in religion, and even less, in a single religion. People share things that have worked for them, and often believe in those things. I have been very empowered by feminism. I will encourage women to embrace feminism because I have found empowerment through it. Other women do not feel empowered by it, and I genuinely believe they are missing out.

Aid work in general is problematic (not wrong-- but problematic) from a post-colonial perspective. We would generally agree that it is good for fairly isolated communities to have medicine and access to clean water. However, introducing a community to medicine will inevitably force Western culture on them in some way. There can be a struggle between Western medicine and their own beliefs and customs. One is saving lives, one is indigenous culture. Which one should trump the other? Does it depend on the circumstances? How can we tell?

We (VERY rightly, IMO) take a stand against female genital mutilation, despite the fact that it is a long-standing tradition for some non-Western cultures. We (VERY rightly, IMO) are moving away from forcing indigenous cultures to speak the languages of the West (generally English) and are instead taking steps to actively preserve their linguistic history. Those answers seem pretty "easy," but what about the more difficult ones? Is creating a written language for a dying language positive (because it helps retain their culture) or negative (because it destroys the orality of their culture)? I know none of this is directly related to mission work, but I do think it is somewhat pertinent because it kind of shows that NONE of this is easy navigating or black-and-white. Or I think it's pertinent. Maybe I'm just rambling now.

The bolded is really super-duper offensive. You seem to be comparing a world view which encourages equality between the sexes to religion. It makes it sound like you think non-Christians are "missing out." Which isn't true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The bolded is really super-duper offensive. You seem to be comparing a world view which encourages equality between the sexes to religion. It makes it sound like you think non-Christians are "missing out." Which isn't true.

I'm sorry-- that wasn't the way I intended it to come across. What I meant was that my belief that feminism is a good and empowering movement is as strong as people's belief that Christianity (or Islam or vegetarianism or secularism or gluten-free[ism] or existentialism or going to therapy) is a good and empowering movement. People, religious or not, share the things that have worked for them. It's not that it's not problematic-- it's that it's not limited to religion. That's what I was trying to communicate when I said, "But it's not a problem that is found only in religion, and even less, in a single religion." I hope this explanation clears up the intent of my post.

I'm curious what you think about the rest of the post. I'm (personally) really interested in the balance of humanitarian work and colonialism, and I would love to hear input from others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, I find that idea to be really, really offensive. Just because one person finds happiness through something doesn't mean that everyone will.

Snipped the main quote because it's just too huge. But the point was that some people share their belief in Christianity because they feel it has made their lives better.

I really don't understand why that would be offensive. Let alone really, really offensive. There a metric ton of things that make some people happy that wouldn't make me, personally, happy. Should I tell them to Shut up if they talk about them? People talk about all sorts of things that not everyone they talk to will agree with - what's wrong with that? Someone might mention to 20 people that cutting out gluten improved their health. Only one of the 20 might say, " hey, maybe I'll give that no gluten thing a try" , that doesn't mean the other 19 will be offended.

Religion, philosophy, politics, nutrition, lifestyle, exercise.....there's just an endless array of personal beliefs-- sharing that practicing x, y and z has made ME happy, doesn't need to mean that I think you won't be perfectly happy practicing a, b and c.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.




  • Recent Status Updates

    • Bluebirdbluebell

      Bluebirdbluebell

      I highly recommend Not the Good Girl's Youtube channel. She is making great documentaries about cults.
      · 0 replies
    • BlackberryGirl

      BlackberryGirl

      Ohh jeeze, GrandBerry6 just came to me, snuggled his face in my neck and barfed, all over me. In my neck, in my hair, on my face, down inside my nightie all over the front of my nightie. Ohh FUCK! Bath, washed hair, cleaned sofa. Good times, good times.
      · 2 replies
    • Scrabblemaster

      Scrabblemaster

      I danced through my living room feeling awesome. From time to time I do this. Maybe wine is involved. Good music is definitely involved. It is awesome. I recommend it to you. With or without wine.
      · 2 replies
    • Hazelbunny

      Hazelbunny

      After a few months of trying to decide what kind of new computer to get and my brother telling me a Mac would be the best decision I could ever make and my sister telling me that would be the worst and I ought to stick to Windows.... I now have a used Mac. I am trying to get used to it. Not easy, but the Magnifying program is a lot better than the Windows one (that was the ultimate reason for my decision) and FJ works a lot better than on my 10-year old Laptop, too!!  
      · 0 replies
    • WannabeHistorian

      WannabeHistorian

      Y'all, holter monitors suck. And naturally the palpitations that caused this test to be ordered are remarkably absent today. 
      I'm off to go work out in the hopes that triggers it. T minus 10 hours till I get this thing off. 
      · 4 replies
    • 47of74

      47of74

      Fuck Fornicate.  Glad I got in to see this place before the world went to shit.
       
      · 0 replies
    • PreciousPantsofDoom

      PreciousPantsofDoom

      I frigging hate the toilets at this worksite. Specifically the door locks. Stupid little knoblet that isn't clear if it is locked or not. Door opens right off the main hallway and the toilet is just far enough from the door that I can't just hold the door shut in case I've got the lock wrong. I mean really people, how hard is it to design this? I just want to pee in private with no anxiety. Apparently that is too much to ask for. 
      · 1 reply
    • 47of74

      47of74

      First thing I'm doing when I get to the hereafter is finding the ancestors who moved to the US in the first place and asking them what the fuck they were thinking moving here in the first place.  Along with giving them an epic the reason you suck speech hopefully in the presence of God and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself to all of them for condemning their descendants to living in a shithole.
      · 0 replies
    • feministxtian

      feministxtian

      Its STILL snowing. Its not like I don't have a million things to do and need to take crap to the dumpster. 
      · 2 replies
    • Chocolate Lover

      Chocolate Lover

      Do any of you play Dyson Sphere Program?   For those who don't know what it is I'd suggest Googling it, because there's no way I could do it justice. 
      There's always just one more thing to do before I turn off.  Blink!  And it's 2 hours later.  
      · 0 replies
  • Recent Blog Entries

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.