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← 5 faulty arguments religious people use against atheists (debunked)

keymaker's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by keymaker

5 faulty arguments...

... atheists think that religion by its very nature, does significantly more harm than good.

No, I don't think that case is made out by the article... Greta explains her point in "The Armor of God..." when she says:

I'm realizing that everything I've ever written about religion's harm boils down to one thing... Religion is ultimately dependent on belief in invisible beings, inaudible voices, intangible entities, undetectable forces, and events and judgments that happen after we die. It therefore has no reality check.

At this point there's no harm per se but she goes on:

"Of course it has other elements -- community, charity, philosophy, inspiration for art, etc. But those things exist in the secular world, too".

Which is making an comparison between religious and secular benificence rather than one of harm although it could support her point if she quantified one against the other, which she doesn't.

The article then goes on to compare religious and political ideology and concedes that both can cause harm. Greta then suggests political ideology is less harmful because a bad ideology will eventually crumble, and she gives communism as an example. Some would hold that an endless sequence of mistakes in the name of politics is just as bad, or worse, as those inspired by religion, but in any event we know that religions also come and go. Greta then develops her point about the "reality check" as if to suggest that which can't be verified is inevitably wrong. She makes the point, for example, with reference to same-sex marriage being prohibited by the Church and claims to know that when it's been put to the vote, and rejected, the reason was:

largely because... churches have been willing to tell grotesque, shameless lies... and it has been defeated because the followers of these churches implicitly trust their leaders.

Since 'lies' were told on the pro side of the debate, rather than just on the other side as she claims, and since there are other rational objections to same-sex marriage, since not everyone is religious, and since those who are don't necessarily follow the advice of their leaders, we need to be satisfied as to the sources of information she's relying on in claiming to know why people voted in the way they did... otherwise it looks like bias.

Now, just because there's no reality check to a particular religious prohibition doesn't automatically make the conduct acceptable. For example there's no reality check to the advice that "thou shalt not steal" but that doesn't necessarily invalidate the belief that stealing is wrong. In England for example we have democratic endorsement of the belief that theft is wrong in the Theft Act 1968 just as the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 requires marriage to be between a man and a woman.

Nope, bias seems to be all about but one can search in vain in this article for any 'balance sheet' or convincing argument of any sort that religion does more harm than good.


Fri, 22 Jul 2011 10:20:46 UTC | #852541