View Poll Results: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good

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  • YES! More Harm than Good

    22 38.60%
  • NO! More good than harm!

    21 36.84%
  • Other / I dont know

    11 19.30%
  • Shut up Noodle! I AM God!!!

    3 5.26%
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Thread: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

  1. #11
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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jucon View Post
    At least with the church my family attends, a lot of the money DOES go to those things. A group of about 40 christians a day goes to another church to serve meals to about 300 poverty stricken people. And the operation is funded by churches in the area as well as other donations from charitable people.

    Not to mention the money spent on churches is intended to bring in and support more members... not to "feed the ego" of the pastor. More members = more money donated.

    The money also supports students in going to college, funding operations to feed the hungry in other countries, and sends members to locations all over the world to donate their time to help the needy (among other things).
    That's good, but I suspect that if you looked at it on a percentage basis, it's probably 25% of tithes that go to charitable purposes, and the rest goes to pay for a building, pastoral staff, music director, secretary, etc.

    What would you think of a charitable organization where only 25% of contributions actually went to the cause, and 75% went to administrative costs?

    And what do those full-time people actually DO with their time when they aren't preaching?

    I mean, think about it. Matthew 25 suggests the kind of things that Christians should be doing, and yet, a lot of pastors are paid to do those things, and members aren't. Why is that?

    Really, the message of the Bible isn't that complicated:

    Micah 6:8: "What does the lord require of you but to do justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly before your God."

    Does someone REALLY need to spend their time, 40 hours a week, to help you figure out how to do those 3 things?

    Religion, to me, is like a sort of Amway scheme where you have an entire group of people who've figured out a way to get paid for finding new recruits to buy into their pyramid.
    Last edited by Catz Part Deux; 08-15-10 at 01:40 AM.

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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    IF that's the case, then the net effect of religion is zero. And when one takes into consideration the amount of money spent on the PRACTICE of religion (separate and apart from charitable activities), then the financial impact of money being spent on an religion purely for entertainment value is substantial.

    When I drive past the huge churches near my house, monuments to someone's huge ego, and empty about 90% of the time, I think about all of the poor people in our community who struggle, the senior citizens who can't afford their prescriptions, the children who never get new clothes, and I am rather disgusted by it all.
    and if governments met under a tarpaulin on top of a hill, they'd save money too, and if people didn't fix dents in their cars bumpers, they could give that money to charity, but appearance, to some, is just as important as their actions.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    That's not possible to quantify, because religious experience is too personal, fluid, and subjective, on both an individual and cultural level, and too integrated with other aspects of the human condition.

    Take 'motives' for example. How often, and in what cases, has religion been a primary motive for a good or bad action? How often a secondary motive? How often has it occupied a sort of in-between zone of these intentional states? For what people and civilizations and in what times? The answer is too subjective to uncover.

    In the case of integration, consider the following not implausible scenario: a secularist devises a method for saving/improving the lives of millions of people in developing nations, but is only able to implement it in tangent with the large network of developing nation focused religious organizations and their charitable backing, secularists in general being too few or too disinterested to actively engage in charitable enterprises on a regular basis.

    Or (also theoretically), to what extent was Galileo's interest in the cosmos, which set him down the path of science, inoculated by the biblical account of Creation? Even though relations between him and the Catholic Church became strained, without this initial stimulation, his analytical mind might have been attracted by a career like banking or accounting.

    Personal comparison - I am not a Platonist, but without Plato, I might not have become interested in the larger contexts of philosophy and the insights study of them offers.

    Even from the most hardcore atheist perspective, our 'superior' ethical and scientific knowledge would not be possible without first having an 'obstacle' like religion to overcome, in the same way the scientific method could not be refined without practitioners apprehending the strengths and limitations of empirical experimentation and making modifications to compensate.
    Last edited by Morality Games; 08-15-10 at 01:59 AM.
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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    and if governments met under a tarpaulin on top of a hill, they'd save money too, and if people didn't fix dents in their cars bumpers, they could give that money to charity, but appearance, to some, is just as important as their actions.
    Too true.

    Think about this one...

    Afghan claims explosion causes more damage to Buddha statue « RAWA News

    The net effects of religion are probably a wash in the civilized west. But what about the net effects in someplace like Afghanistan or Uganda? More negative than positive, I'd suggest.

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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    Really, the message of the Bible isn't that complicated:

    Micah 6:8: "What does the lord require of you but to do justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly before your God."

    Does someone REALLY need to spend their time, 40 hours a week, to help you figure out how to do those 3 things?
    I think so. "Doing justly" isn't such a simple concept, as the discussions in this forum show. There are many different ideas and many bitter disagreements over what it means. Clergy need to be educated in the teachings of Christianity in order to educate the people, and that means we have to support them in their vocation. The benefit is that religion, rightly understood, gives us a true understanding of justice and a weapon against the abuse of power. Expensive mega-churches are another issue. From what I know of them, they tend to preach a message of personal satisfaction rather than justice.

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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    That's good, but I suspect that if you looked at it on a percentage basis, it's probably 25% of tithes that go to charitable purposes, and the rest goes to pay for a building, pastoral staff, music director, secretary, etc.

    What would you think of a charitable organization where only 25% of contributions actually went to the cause, and 75% went to administrative costs?

    And what do those full-time people actually DO with their time when they aren't preaching?

    I mean, think about it. Matthew 25 suggests the kind of things that Christians should be doing, and yet, a lot of pastors are paid to do those things, and members aren't. Why is that?

    Really, the message of the Bible isn't that complicated:

    Micah 6:8: "What does the lord require of you but to do justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly before your God."

    Does someone REALLY need to spend their time, 40 hours a week, to help you figure out how to do those 3 things?

    Religion, to me, is like a sort of Amway scheme where you have an entire group of people who've figured out a way to get paid for finding new recruits to buy into their pyramid.
    As I'm guessing you're an atheist, this might be hard to understand... but I'll do my best...

    I don't know the exact % of donations that the church donates elsewhere, but I'm guessing you don't know either. Though you may believe funding a church with donations is a waste of time, MANY religious people would disagree. Last I checked being a pastor was a job... and most jobs pay money. Churches can sometimes be huge! And they require people in many different areas including accounting, marketing, secretaries, people planning the volunteer programs, people planning the kids programs, people planning visits to other cities/states/countries, people running the nursery,... You seem to be simplifying what a church really requires to properly function. You can disagree with funding a church all you want... but many people feel it's money well spent to donate to a place of worship.

    Pastors do MUCH more than preach on Sundays... baptisms, weddings, funerals, donating their time, visiting the dying, being a counselor for members,... Not to mention they often write long sermons at least once a week.

    Though you may find it silly to believe in a God and to praise a God for creating this planet, your family, your life, your kids, etc... many people wouldn't find that silly at all. Many people prey simply to thank God for all that he/she has done. And going to church can be a constant reminder to some people of how great and precious one's life is and that we should always make the most of it. To each his own I guess.
    "There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, it to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution." —John Adams

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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    secularists in general being too few or too disinterested to actively engage in charitable enterprises on a regular basis.
    INteresting claim, but is it factual? Was Doctors Without Borders, for example, started by religionists or secularists? THere are plenty of examples of charitable enterprises started by secular humanists.

    How about this one...would we have spent billions on the War on Drugs if not for religious groups pushing the war on alcohol, which led to the development of organized crime in the U.S.?

    our 'superior' ethical and scientific knowledge would not be possible without first having an 'obstacle' like religion to overcome.
    It took mankind around a thousand years to recover the medical knowledge, alone, that was lost during the religious dark ages after the fall of Rome.

    Do you know how much knowledge has been destroyed by religious morons in the past 2000 years?

    Read it and weep.

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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jucon View Post
    As I'm guessing you're an atheist, this might be hard to understand... .
    It's not hard to understand at all. And, I'm sure that religious people do disagree. Clearly, y'all need to spend a lot of time at church each week learning how to follow the golden rule, and for some of you, it never quite sticks.

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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
    I think so. "Doing justly" isn't such a simple concept, as the discussions in this forum show. There are many different ideas and many bitter disagreements over what it means. Clergy need to be educated in the teachings of Christianity in order to educate the people, and that means we have to support them in their vocation. The benefit is that religion, rightly understood, gives us a true understanding of justice and a weapon against the abuse of power. Expensive mega-churches are another issue. From what I know of them, they tend to preach a message of personal satisfaction rather than justice.
    I have very few problems with small groups of believers that meet in homes with unpaid clergy.

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    Re: Religion (not spirituality) has Done More Harm than Good?

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    That's good, but I suspect that if you looked at it on a percentage basis, it's probably 25% of tithes that go to charitable purposes, and the rest goes to pay for a building, pastoral staff, music director, secretary, etc.

    What would you think of a charitable organization where only 25% of contributions actually went to the cause, and 75% went to administrative costs?
    Do you have any evidence to support this or are you just making it up?

    Moreover, even if we're just talking about monetary donations, there are plenty of charitable donations that are made in part because of a person's religion that aren't specifically given to the church itself.

    edit: As an aside, you presume that money spent on pastors, music, the building, etc. is just wasted as administrative expenses. Why on earth would you assume that? One of the main purposes of a church is to provide religious services for its members, so it makes perfect sense that a substantial portion of donations would be spent on those things.

    If a homeless shelter spent 75% of its revenue on its building and staff, would you consider that to be "administrative costs"?
    If a suicide counseling hotline spent 75% of its revenue on its phone lines and operators, would you consider that to be "administrative costs"?
    Last edited by RightinNYC; 08-15-10 at 02:13 AM.
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