This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Would The World Be Better Off Without Religion?

Would The World Be Better Off Without Religion? - Comments

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 1 by Chris Roberts

i think I will listen to this tomorrow, getting a bit late now.

The result is pleasing, but we need to seriously improve our education if we are to ever acheive such a reduction in superstitious nonsense.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 21:33:39 UTC | #892111

RW Millam's Avatar Comment 2 by RW Millam

Here's another way to ask the very same question: Would The World Be Better Off Without Organized Superstition"

IMO, the answer is obvious.

There is no "good" thought or deed that would not still be "good" if there were no religions.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 21:39:47 UTC | #892112

Rich Wiltshir's Avatar Comment 3 by Rich Wiltshir

Yes

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 21:43:59 UTC | #892114

zengardener's Avatar Comment 4 by zengardener

YES!!!

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 22:22:33 UTC | #892124

Mamba24's Avatar Comment 5 by Mamba24

I can't stand Dinesh D'souza.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 22:30:35 UTC | #892125

Tier Instinct's Avatar Comment 6 by Tier Instinct

I am in favor of a secular society but one that promotes positive mental health too. Religions that encourage criminal activity, faith or even proselytizing push the boundaries of tolerance and have worn out their welcome. These violent religions should be monitored in the way that alcohol and tobacco are sold. If one had to be an educated and legal adult before being allowed to view these dated religions then I doubt the same religions would continue to grow in numbers.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 22:33:19 UTC | #892128

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 7 by hemidemisemigod

I'd certainly hope so.

It would be terrible to think that a world without religious bigotry, control, persecution, superstition, rivalry, immutable dogma, exploitation, etc., might be worse than the one we have today.

Imagine if natural selection favoured a genetic predisposition to religions because it's good for human society.

Beam me up Scotty...

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 22:36:16 UTC | #892130

Kurt75's Avatar Comment 8 by Kurt75

Ok.. I'll finish the joke.

A rabbi, a descendant of Charles Darwin, a philosopher and a scholar walk into an auditorium. The moderator says, "Hey last guy, who are you and where the hell is Dinesh D'souza? He's supposed to be here!"

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 23:17:59 UTC | #892142

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 9 by Red Dog

Comment 8 by Kurt75 :

Ok.. I'll finish the joke.

A rabbi, a descendant of Charles Darwin, a philosopher and a scholar walk into an auditorium. The moderator says, "Hey last guy, who are you and where the hell is Dinesh D'souza? He's supposed to be here!"

LOL. I always try to remain civil and polite especially with people that I disagree with but there is something so condescending and smug about Mr. D'souza that all I can think of when I listen to him is a swift kick to the nether regions.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 23:29:28 UTC | #892143

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 10 by Neodarwinian

D'souza seems to be getting more shrill as these debates come along. I assume he knows his position is untenable and that the dike of delusion he has his thumb in is about to burst.

He needs to rework that whole atheism has been a greater force for evil argument. For a start the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch trials do not even represent the radius of a lithium atom, the tip, on the iceberg of religions transgressions through all of recorded history.

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 23:45:24 UTC | #892147

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 11 by Alternative Carpark

Suzy D? No thanks.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 00:29:16 UTC | #892152

BillyWarhol's Avatar Comment 12 by BillyWarhol

Frankly I think those Brainwashed Religious Morons of all stripes need something to Occupy their non-existant Minds. Just Sad n Pathetic. I just wish they would keep their goddam Religious Laws based on their Phony Religion the heck off us.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 00:48:47 UTC | #892155

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 13 by Schrodinger's Cat

If religion was suddenly banned tomorrow.......imagine all the countless millions who would demand their share of the pie NOW and not in some compensational afterlife. All those people taking their opiate may well be a cause of a great many world problems, but taking the opiate away would cause just as many.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 01:18:49 UTC | #892160

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 14 by Border Collie

Could it be much worse?

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 01:50:46 UTC | #892166

Universeman's Avatar Comment 15 by Universeman

While it is impossible to ignore the evil which has been perpetrated against humanity, which continues to be manifest all to frequently even today, yet it is simultaneously difficult to imagine a world without religion. I was indoctrinated from day one so I am quite certain that this has a lot to do with it for me, but even as an atheist who still attends LDS services for the sake of my wife, I honestly still love to sing and listen to the hymns, however this past Sunday in Elders Quorum I was sitting there listening to a group of very well educated, very intelligent men talking about the second coming and the Millennial Kingdom ruled by Jesus Christ as though it were a part of normal reality. It was surreal to think that not all that long ago I at least tried to believe in all of that hogwash, but these gentleman really believe in that shit. My question is, where it not for people who truly and sincerely worshiped God and did so through music, art and architecture, wouldn't the world be poorer with out the culture of religion and the arts? My question is, why couldn't nature and science combined with logic and reason be the catalyst for such reverence and worship as can be felt listening to MoTab only without all of the religious nonsense. Obviously there is lots of very beautiful nonreligious art and architecture but there is something soul stirring about singing Amazing Grace for example even if I don't believe it.

One other thought, while it is just plain weird singing hymns with people who really believe in them now, I sing louder and with more passion as an atheist then I ever did as a believer, however strange that is. So how about an all atheist coir? It would be so much fun, singing but not believing, we would be in on the joke as it were, but could sing every bit as beautifully, it could be called the Atheist Tabernacle Coir, lol. Its not like God has anything to do with how beautiful they sound.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 02:21:54 UTC | #892173

creator's Avatar Comment 16 by creator

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 02:31:19 UTC | #892178

Frankus1122's Avatar Comment 17 by Frankus1122

Would The World Be Better Off Without Religion?

Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssssss!

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 04:42:15 UTC | #892192

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 18 by drumdaddy

Gargoyles were carved "for the eyes of god". So what? The religionists are grasping woefully.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 06:25:42 UTC | #892206

Functional Atheist's Avatar Comment 19 by Functional Atheist

D'Souza? No. No, thank you. D'Souza is unbearably condescending. Similar to John Edwards, there's something about his puppy dog eyes and bleating tone that makes me want to punch him, and I'm a very peaceable person as a rule.

@15 Tim Minchin addresses the hymn issue rather nicely (he appreciates some of the chords, 'but the lyrics are dodgy.') in this song, which is really quite sweet:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCNvZqpa-7Q&list=FLlUBg9nRAV09AX4FW4HE92Q&index=16&feature=plpp_video

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 06:42:30 UTC | #892209

Cabrave's Avatar Comment 20 by Cabrave

There are pros and cons to the end of religion.

Pros:

  1. People would be more open (hopefully) to seeking answers and solving problems without the interference of their religious doctrine. Issues such as stem cell research wouldn't be snagged.

  2. There would be fewer barriers (hopefully) to people cooperating because of opposing religious views. No more idiotic people crying "Jihad!" if I called mohammed bitch. etc.

  3. We woulden't have waste time, energy, and resources to debting intelligent design and all the creationist museums would close.

Cons:

  1. There is a human need for spirituality and a basic understanding of existence. So if there were no religion, something would need to fill that void or yes there would be massive psychological problems. I don't think science would do the job for most people. Science is filled with uncertainty and its lacking in the emotion people seek.

  2. It would be harder to control the masses without brimstone and fire consequences. Scary thought.

  3. It woulden't really solve our problems. People are people and they would find something else on which to be devisive. Just look at the meeting of the minds on this site!

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 08:47:47 UTC | #892217

chris 116's Avatar Comment 21 by chris 116

Comment 20 by Cabrave.

So if there were no religion, something would need to need to fill that void or yes there would be massive psychological problems. It would be harder to control the masses without brimstone and fire consequences.

Do you have any evidence for these claims, such as psychological problems being more common among atheists, or crime being less in Bible belts, or is this just a hunch?

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 09:53:44 UTC | #892226

mmurray's Avatar Comment 22 by mmurray

Comment 20 by Cabrave :

There are pros and cons to the end of religion.

Cons:

There is a human need for spirituality and a basic understanding of existence. So if there were no religion, something would need to fill that void or yes there would be massive psychological problems. I don't think science would do the job for most people. Science is filled with uncertainty and its lacking in the emotion people seek.

It would be harder to control the masses without brimstone and fire consequences. Scary thought.

It woulden't really solve our problems. People are people and they would find something else on which to be devisive. Just look at the meeting of the minds on this site!

Your cons seem to forget that the majority of people in western countries outside the USA already lead lives in which religion as an emotional support is effectively dead. Can we do it ? We already are.

Michael.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 10:08:29 UTC | #892228

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 23 by Tyler Durden

Comment 22 by mmurray :

Can we do it ?

Yes we can :)

Humanity survived for long enough before organised religion existed, we can do it again, regardless of what the popes, preachers, pastors, imams, and witch doctors say.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 10:21:08 UTC | #892231

Graxan's Avatar Comment 24 by Graxan

Comment 5 by Mamba24 :

I can't stand Dinesh D'souza.

I couldn't agree with you more. He's a toad who has a master's in obfuscation.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 10:29:55 UTC | #892235

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 25 by Tyler Durden

Comment 20 by Cabrave :

There is a human need for spirituality and a basic understanding of existence.

One does not need religion in order to be spiritual, and religion does not explain our existence, it merely peddles myths - big difference.

So if there were no religion, something would need to fill that void or yes there would be massive psychological problems.

And you know this, how? What about filling this "void" with the truth? Can you handle the truth?

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 10:43:24 UTC | #892237

Ted Foureagles's Avatar Comment 26 by Ted Foureagles

I suppose that if one answers the question of the debate in the affirmative, as I would, a follow-on question might be: Is our species, in whole and at this moment, matured such that we can escape the irrationality of religious faith and flourish in face of the consequenses? Some individuals surely can, while others presumably would not. And on balance, are our various societies as they are now configured both robust and adaptable enough to function well with such a large influence on social control eliminated?

}}}}

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 10:56:10 UTC | #892242

mmurray's Avatar Comment 27 by mmurray

Comment 26 by Ted Foureagles :

I suppose that if one answers the question of the debate in the affirmative, as I would, a follow-on question might be: Is our species, in whole and at this moment, matured such that we can escape the irrationality of religious faith and flourish in face of the consequenses? Some individuals surely can, while others presumably would not. And on balance, are our various societies as they are now configured both robust and adaptable enough to function well with such a large influence on social control eliminated?

}}}}

But they do already: Canada, Europe, UK, Australia, ... these countries are not being held together by fear of gods. They are being held together by the rule of law. There may be some fear of hell but it's fear of the hell of a maximum security prison.

We've done the experiment. Society hasn't disintegrated. Come on in USA the waters fine.

Michael

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 11:00:38 UTC | #892244

achromat666's Avatar Comment 28 by achromat666

Pros:

People would be more open (hopefully) to seeking answers and solving problems without the interference of their religious doctrine. Issues such as stem cell research wouldn't be snagged.

There would be fewer barriers (hopefully) to people cooperating because of opposing religious views. No more idiotic people crying "Jihad!" if I called mohammed bitch. etc.

woulden't have waste time, energy, and resources to debting intelligent design and all the creationist museums would close.

These are all fair and accurate assessments. However when we move to the cons...

Cons:

There is a human need for spirituality and a basic understanding of existence. So if there were no religion, something would need to fill that void or yes there would be massive psychological problems. I don't think science would do the job for most people. Science is filled with uncertainty and its lacking in the emotion people seek.

It would be harder to control the masses without brimstone and fire consequences. Scary thought.

It woulden't really solve our problems. People are people and they would find something else on which to be devisive. Just look at the meeting of the minds on this site!

Spirituality and a basic need for existence are not the same thing, and neither are automatically tied to organized religion. Are you arguing that religion is a moderating behavior on psychological problems? Have you already forgotten the justifications many of the extremists use to justify their actions?

And science deals with what we know, religion has been at best a really bad placebo throughout its existence for that. Most of what you're referring to in the cons are issues with or without religion.

But more to the point, there are many things you bring up that we don't need or in the last example actually help us. Please explain how fear of hell is a good thing. Has it actually stopped the horrors that man are willing to inflict upon others? Where is the evidence that it helps in any way?

As for the divisive nature of this site, you realize that every person thinks differently. EVERY ONE. Religions don't have people that think alike, just people that are indoctrinated into the same way of seeing the world in their religion of choice. And even then they still only see it from their perspective. It's why religions splinter into other faiths. Atheists can argue tooth and nail on the issues just like anyone else will. And our responses to religious issues won't all be for the same reasons. But we actually learn from what is said (I know I do at least) and no one has the authority to harm someone else simply because they think differently.

Divisiveness is an aspect of our individual perspectives, which are a boon rather than a bane. If everyone had the same opinion as Hitchens, Harris, or Dawkins what would be the point of a site at all? We'd all just be regurgitating whatever was said by them. Individuality is something to be embraced, and its something religion hinders.

So while the Pros are in many ways obvious and I'm glad you see them, the Cons are not something religions does better or even handles well. It is a divisive influence in a way that turns everyone against each other in the name of a faith. That is dangerous, and we are routinely subjected to the result.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 11:09:42 UTC | #892245

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 29 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 14:55:23 UTC | #892305

SomersetJohn's Avatar Comment 30 by SomersetJohn

Pretty much everyone is saying yes to the question; I'm going to say no.

Before you jump all over me I'll just say that is because if you removed religion from the world it would be mere moments before some equivalent sprang up to replace it. People will still be gullible, and other people will find a way to prophet, sorry profit from that gullibility.

Tue, 22 Nov 2011 15:12:00 UTC | #892309