Religion as a Cost/Benefit to Humanity

ruserious

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If one were to conduct a cost benefit analysis of Relgion and its contribution to humanity, how would it be reported?

Certainly, I feel that it did bring many benefits throughout history in the development of civil society but today, I feel it is mostly negative in its influence. Conversely, scientific advancement was negatively impacted by religion throughout history but it's decline today has seen an increase in individualism which can have negative impacts on society.

So I open the question to the house.

 


'orebel

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silverharp

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How much did Islam play a part in the gap? for hundreds of years Europe didn't have free access to the Med and the trade routes were out of their control?

I'd be sceptical that Christianity caused a dark age, there are too many other factors to consider. At the individual level if religion generated more cooperation with the rules of the societies it was probably on balance a good thing

One interesting thing to consider is that if Christianity had been a pantheistic religion, history would have been more peaceful as it would have been easier to integrate more gods instead of having an all or nothing approach
 

Hunter-Gatherer

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Religion is a virus. It mutates and bends to fit in with local conditions. But religion's ultimate purpose is its own survival and proliferation.

a minority religion is often meek, mild and obsequious. The same religion, when dominant, is intolerant and despotic.

the Catholicism in France after the French revolution was unrecognisable from the Catholicism in Ireland during the 20th Century.

give us this day our daily bread - christian
give us this day our daily maize - aztec, maya, inca

change the food, change the chant.

christianity as a force for good ? ask the black slaves who were brainwashed to work on the cotton plantations.

islam as a force for good ? sorry, i cannot comment as i am afraid to do so.

television, print media, journalism and Massive sports spectacles are the modern religions in the West. Just as prone to corruption and abuses as the old religions.
 
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Drogheda445

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IMO it's a bit simplistic (and rather Europe-centred) to see the Middle Ages as some kind of interruption in the advancement of mankind. For one thing, the sheer chaos created by the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the migrations/wars/depopulation it brought in its wake devastated much of Europe.

There were some advancements, some of the first modern universities were founded in the Middle Ages for example (Bologna, Oxford etc.) Meanwhile the medieval Arab world was just as advanced and innovative as the pre-Christian world.

And bear in mind the growth of knowledge during the Renaissance had only a small bit to do with diminishing church influence and more to do with the fall of Constantinople (and the exodus of Byzantine scholars to Europe)/interactions generally with the Islamic world and the rediscovery of classical sources.

It's a tad simplified to view religious influence as either helping or hindering the development of mankind, it's more complicated than that. I'm saying that as an atheist btw.
 

Trainwreck

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Religion in the liberal western world had been (had been) largely put in its place and was mostly a benign cohort of less rational types with strange personal habits and superstitions. They harmed nobody.


Islam, and the accommodating response of our political and media class, has changed that.


So where religion generally was a benign anachronism of the origins of our society. It is now a threat to us. I believe we now have to throw it all out. It all has to go, even the benign, the harmless and the possibly beneficial. Because only that way can we now cut out this far from benign imported cancer that has been allowed to take root in our societies to the point it is now a viable threat to liberal democracy.

Christopher Hitchens, as usual, was well ahead of the curve. His conclusions then are now more urgent today:

[video=youtube;mQMNNjzo2s4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQMNNjzo2s4[/video]
 

Toland

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IMO it's a bit simplistic (and rather Europe-centred) to see the Middle Ages as some kind of interruption in the advancement of mankind. For one thing, the sheer chaos created by the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and the migrations/wars/depopulation it brought in its wake devastated much of Europe.

There were some advancements, some of the first modern universities were founded in the Middle Ages for example (Bologna, Oxford etc.) Meanwhile the medieval Arab world was just as advanced and innovative as the pre-Christian world.

And bear in mind the growth of knowledge during the Renaissance had only a small bit to do with diminishing church influence and more to do with the fall of Constantinople (and the exodus of Byzantine scholars to Europe)/interactions generally with the Islamic world and the rediscovery of classical sources.

It's a tad simplified to view religious influence as either helping or hindering the development of mankind, it's more complicated than that. I'm saying that as an atheist btw.
Yet the growth European Christianity coincided with a collapse in scientific activity in both sides of the Roman Empire, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the timing of that collapse is no coincidence.
 

Patrick Ronayne

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...So where religion generally was a benign anachronism of the origins of our society. It is now a threat to us. I believe we now have to throw it all out. It all has to go, even the benign, the harmless and the possibly beneficial. Because only that way can we now cut out this far from this far from benign imported cancer that has been allowed to take root in our societies to the point it is now a viable threat to liberal democracy...
ISIS are looking for lads like you to help with the destruction of religious shrines, statues, icons etc.

Are you any good with explosives, or even a lump hammer?
 

Hunter-Gatherer

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if people use the koran to justify atrocities, where does that leave the book of Leviticus in the Bible ? both books condone the murder of blasphemers.

why has one group forgotten the murderous parts of their holy book when others didnt ?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Leviticus
 
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Toland

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if people use the koran to justify atrocities, where does that leave the book of Leviticus in the Bible ? both books condone the murder of blasphemers.

why has one group forgotten the murderous parts of their holy book when others didnt ?
Because of convenience, mostly. And a good bit of ignorance too.
 

Roisin3

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Yet the growth European Christianity coincided with a collapse in scientific activity in both sides of the Roman Empire, and there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the timing of that collapse is no coincidence.
The Vandals wreaked havoc in the west, the Mohammedans in the east?
 

edg

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If one were to conduct a cost benefit analysis of Relgion and its contribution to humanity, how would it be reported?

Certainly, I feel that it did bring many benefits throughout history in the development of civil society but today, I feel it is mostly negative in its influence. Conversely, scientific advancement was negatively impacted by religion throughout history but it's decline today has seen an increase in individualism which can have negative impacts on society.

So I open the question to the house.

The church didn't create the dark ages! The dark ages were created by hordes of armies destroying multiple civilizations and leaving Europe in a state of constant warfare. Remember the Romans? The fall of the Roman empire heralded in the dark ages. If anything the Church held the light of scholarship throughout those barbaric times and maintained historical accounts which are still used today help understand the dark ages better. The church was one of the only lights throughout the dark ages. Cluney Abbey and other such places are good examples of this. While the world was falling to crap all around them, the church was one of (if not the only) places of refuge for the crapped upon peasants of the day. This doesn't just apply to the Christian church either.

With all due respect, refer to any history book on the subject of the dark ages before writing any more of these kinds of OPs :)
 

ruserious

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The church didn't create the dark ages! The dark ages were created by hordes of armies destroying multiple civilizations and leaving Europe in a state of constant warfare. Remember the Romans? The fall of the Roman empire heralded in the dark ages. If anything the Church held the light of scholarship throughout those barbaric times and maintained historical accounts which are still used today help understand the dark ages better. The church was one of the only lights throughout the dark ages. Cluney Abbey and other such places are good examples of this. While the world was falling to crap all around them, the church was one of (if not the only) places of refuge for the crapped upon peasants of the day. This doesn't just apply to the Christian church either.

With all due respect, refer to any history book on the subject of the dark ages before writing any more of these kinds of OPs :)
I never actually said the Church created the dark ages. Just an image designed to provoke debate.
 


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