User Tag List

12 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 14

  1. #1
    Permabanned
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    2,152

    Default A critique of religion.

    Religion..first and foremost..is a system. It has helped many people live sane and happy lives.

    However, I assert that religion is ultimately doing more harm than good. For me to assert this I have to set up a couple parameters.

    1) People live life to maximize happiness while waiting for death. If you don't agree with this then I don't think you will ever agree with the conclusion I want to make. I, personally, perceive this to be true..although I'd love to be proven wrong.

    So, assuming that the above is in fact true, (which as of right now it is for me...which doesn't mean anything)..then, I assert that religion doesn't do a good job of this anymore. I think it did at one point, but as of right now, it causes more people to be unhappy.

    But it's not up to other people to stop religion..it's up to people to individually know what affect religion has on their life and what possible effects it can have later on. Then they can make a decision that maximizes their happiness.

    So..why even mention this? Well..I assert that religion (modern day religion especially) has a built in resistance to this self analysis. It discourages this type of thought..

    So..what to do? Sadly, nothing. Perhaps education..but you can't really force that on people. All you can do is be open to the idea of letting them perceive your reality (as much as that is possible..inform them don't convince them.) Then trust they are able to make decisions that maximize their own personal happiness.

    Thoughts? Comments? Critiques?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    MBTI
    INTP
    Posts
    2,739

    Default

    One would think that, if the religion is causing more harm than good, would the individual not simply reject the tenets and seek new validation?

  3. #3
    Permabanned
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    hmm..
    In other words, if religion exists, and it does have this built in factor, then how can anyone say this factor is good or bad? Basically the problem (I perceive) takes care of itself if in fact it is a problem...

    why? how?

    I don't know. In my experience it seems probable that I'll never know.

    Very interesting.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    MBTI
    INFP
    Enneagram
    5
    Posts
    1,672

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mkenya View Post
    Thoughts? Comments? Critiques?
    I think you need a more specific term than religion.

    Religion is far too broad a concept to have such specific flaws ascribed to it.

    Don't get me wrong, I see past the semantics, get what you are saying and essentially agree. I just think using "religion" is unfairly criticising certain belief systems that bare no resemblance to Abrahamic, Pagan, Shintoic, or theistic religions in general.

    But let me give to more substantial criticism to think about:-

    "People live life to maximize happiness while waiting for death"

    First, let's assume this premise is true. Consider Buddhism, a religion, which is almost a dedication to achieving long-term happiness. Can you truly say it is not doing a good job helping people be happy? Speak to people who have practised Buddhism for a long time, or look at the studies related to typical Buddhist behaviour (meditation, developing compassion, developing humility, letting go of the ego, etc.) and I think you'll see it is very effective at promoting happiness. Taoism, Jainism, certain schools of Hinduism and such I think follow similar routes (as well as many other minor religions).

    Second, let me attack the premise itself. Happiness is only one motivator. Instincts, reflexes and compulsions are three others. Desire, and satisfying it, is not necessarily conductive to happiness either. People tend to strive for things that provide happiness, rather than happiness itself (e.g. wanting money rather than happiness). Also, even when people actively strive for happiness itself, they rarely maximise it.

    To put it simply, to strive for maximum happiness goes against human nature. That nature can be changed, but there's a lot of inertia to get past.

    However, I think your premise is close to a great truth, it's just too simplistic to say people live for happiness.

  5. #5
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    4w5
    Posts
    8,828

    Default

    There is one thing about religion, though. It still brings a lot of happiness to very poor people who have no hope for a better life. It also helps people form communities and charitable organizations. Yes, it's theoretically possible to have people involved in their community without the influence of a church, but religious influence is what drives most people who do such things, to do them.

    I say all of this while not believing in God myself, ironically. I can see why it's beneficial for some people to believe in him,

  6. #6
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    MBTI
    INTP
    Posts
    2,739

    Default

    Practice humanism. No need for god, but with all the benefits and feely-good parts usually associated with religion.

  7. #7

    Default

    Yeah, religion is completely irrelevent to most people as they live their lives with the inevitability of death, the secular world has marginalised religion completely and sort of keeps it around to occasionally bring out as a grotesque to critique and compare unfavourably to itself.

    My short answer to a condemnation of religion on the basis of unhappiness would be "why?", most of the time it would have nothing to do with divinity, fate, metaphysical speculation or spirituality, it would have to do with sin, ethics and morality, which exist divorced from religion anyway, so people are liable to be unhappy anyway.

    The longer answer would involve questioning why you believe that religion is a psychological construct which was invented or dreamt up to serve the purpose of making people happy anyway as opposed to generations of observation and thinking about natural phenomenon. I understand it as the later. So to suppose that it could be critiqued on the basis of whether or not it makes people happy would be a little like supposing that you could critique gravity because people are unhappy they cant fly when walking off a cliff or are upset by the fact that water is wet.

    I can understand why a lot of people are opposed to the conception of religion that the OP has, it is pretty lousy and pathetic and I'd dispense with it too if it were what I believed or a conclusion I reached through honestly searching.

  8. #8
    Senor Membrane
    Join Date
    May 2008
    MBTI
    INFP
    Posts
    3,190

    Default

    Interesting way to look at the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mkenya View Post
    1) People live life to maximize happiness while waiting for death.
    To me it seems that the mainstream way of maximizing happiness is not working nearly as well as the religious way. Ok, I admit, this is only my feeling about it and I am making huge generalizations here, but that's the way I am.

    First of all, what I mean by the mainstream is the type of pursuit that has evolved into the force sustaining market economy. You can see quite easily that for an individual it is not leading anywhere. You can't get on the top of it. The obvious problem is the constant creation of new desires, the underlying issue being human psychology. We can say that if there wasn't this mainstream, world as a whole would at the moment sustain less happy people, because there would be no motivation to keep it running that fast. Or we could say that human race wouldn't even exist, since this has always been the source of our motivation. So, I'm not arguing against this. I just say that this pursuit of happiness is a cycle that will not lead to individual long-term happiness due to the psychological principle it is based on.

    If you see that the cycle isn't even meant to make you happy, what do you do? It seems to me that the options are quite limited. Well, you are supposed to do incredible psychological acrobatics, so, it's no wonder it seems almost impossible. You are supposed to go against your more or less instinctual motivations! I think that even today the best tools for this can be found among the religions. This is maybe because these tools are somewhat illogical. Faith, for example. All is well. Even if, when you look at the news, there's nothing good in the world. It seems insane to believe that the world is a perfect creation of some benevolent being. How does "every moment is perfect" make sense? The logic of faith is, as far as I can tell, in the transformation of motivation. It takes away fear and future. If you think that the world is perfect and that everything is at the moment just as god intended it, then what is there to do? Enjoy it all. Just be there.

    Or, think about grace as a philosophical concept. The idea is that you are unable to be good. That's true, if you see that you are not actually conscious of your decisions, not even the ones that you think for a week before you make them. This is because you can never get to the root of the decision. You only know it on the surface level of your mind. So, how could YOU make a good choice? That's why they say you need grace in order to make good decision. How do you get that? You don't. There's nothing you can do. If you take it seriously, you will be paralyzed. This is when you get the grace, because it is your ego that is paralyzed. Now you are not making the decision, you are just going along with the ride.

    These tools make sense, but only if you look at them from the point of view that sees the process, and not the goal. I guess that would make your question a little different too.

  9. #9
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    4,805

    Default

    The OP is so anthropocentric it makes me sick. Nonetheless, I think Christianity has for a long time underemphasized human happiness and overemphasized moralism.

    I like CS Lewis's thoughts on happiness and why people give up on the pleasures of God.

    Quote Originally Posted by CS Lewis
    If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and to earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I suggest that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beefeater View Post
    The OP is so anthropocentric it makes me sick. Nonetheless, I think Christianity has for a long time underemphasized human happiness and overemphasized moralism.

    I like CS Lewis's thoughts on happiness and why people give up on the pleasures of God.
    I dont know, the reputation for persecuting zeal, while its positively indulged by some, I think is more to do with the propaganda of the enlightenment and liberal/libertarian revolutions which followed in its aftermath, they wanted to create a comparison which would favour them and give their ideas appeal and therefore cause them to become more popular.

    Its worked. The idea that religion is moralising in a negative sense denies the brevity or diversity of religions and human spirituality, I'm reading a book at the minute called wired for God, its got lots of chapters on sex and drugs and their relationship to spirituality and the neuro-psychology of God and religion, not something that the "its moralistic" idea would continence.

Similar Threads

  1. Problem of religion
    By SolitaryWalker in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 01-10-2013, 02:52 PM
  2. Role of Religion
    By gromit in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 80
    Last Post: 04-26-2010, 01:40 AM
  3. Cults! - Fear of the 'dark sides' of religion
    By Ming in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 04-14-2010, 09:56 AM
  4. Critique of employment system.
    By Athenian200 in forum Academics and Careers
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: 08-04-2009, 08:08 AM
  5. Role of Religion in Personal Development
    By Totenkindly in forum Philosophy and Spirituality
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 07-06-2008, 05:11 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO