TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Is it time to step away from Religion?

There has been a great many debates on whether religion exists or doesn't, whether religion as a whole has inhibited humanity or not. With recent events it got me thinking how far would people go for their religion, especially since we now have the capabilities to destroy our planet. No one can argue the fact that religion has no doubt had a positive, though obviously some bad, effect for the advancement of mankind in the past. That said, is the negatives of it now outweighing the postivie effects it once had? And is it even possibly leading to the end of life as we know it? Would it be more benficial for humanity, on just arguements sake, to turn away from what has guided humanity for thousands of years? Please bear in mind this is purely theoretical.

(Excuse my poor grammar, fairly new to this)

Share:
  • thumb

    Gail . 50+

    • +3
    Sep 14 2012: Religions have their ebbs and flows. The change to meet the needs of the religious leaders at the time. Fear is profitable and it was "reasonably" thought for thousands of years that when something bad happened, it was because there was sin in their midst.

    It has only been a little over 50 years out of all of recorded human history that we had satellites that showed us what hurricanes are. It's been only about 20 years since quantum mechanics has provided abundant evidence that if there is a god, it is nothing like "God", in that it does not involve itself in the workings of its creations, and it is more likely a self-aware energy field from which we come and of which we remain a part, and which we use as we manifest our realities. It has been about 10 years since researchers are studying "mind" and are discovering some amazing things that (Pagan) sages have been saying for thousands of years.

    Perhaps that's why there has been such a shift in christianity as it becomes more and more cruel in the name of one who said to love one another. It is probably the reason why Christian Evangelical commissioned polls show that of those aged 18--24, LESS THAN ONE PERCENT have a Biblical worldview - which is why so many churches today are calling New Age ideas and Spirituality the workings of the Devil.

    We'll get there, but for as long as places like TX have on their 2012 platform that they are opposed to all higher level and critical thinking skills that will cause a student to question instilled beliefs, it will take longer than I hope. But I am convinced that when the economy fails (as it cannot fail to given spiraling population growth alongside spiraling automation - taking consumers out of the picture) religions will no longer be profitable ventures, and those who profit from them will have to find another way to support themselves.
  • thumb
    Sep 16 2012: There are 24 hours in a day, each day reinforcing the next. I suggest how we spend our time each day is our religion and who we choose to spend it with is our congregation. The virtues of most religions evoke compassion. Living each day compassionately would seem to full fill most requirements. In my mind, just as cronyism is not capitalism, dogma is not religion. I suggest that by acting with compassion in all things, God, and the gods, would be satisfied.
  • thumb
    Sep 14 2012: It depends what you mean by "religion"?
    I take Christianity to be literally true. ie Jesus Christ literally made the universe & literally invites us to spend eternity with Him. he gave us two commands. 1) Love God. 2) Love one another.
    That, to me, is my whole reality. You can take away all the other trappings & see if that helps. I don't think it will, humanity is the problem. Me; I'll stick with my two commands. You'd think folks would be cool with that, but that's exactly what they killed Jesus for. It's a funny old world !

    :-)
    • thumb
      Sep 14 2012: Pete,

      I think you are doing quite a disservice to the story of Jesus. Promoting those loves was not the reason to crucify the guy. It was a much better plot. Perhaps you should read it.

      Best!
      • thumb
        Sep 15 2012: Hi Gabo.
        My understanding was that He did nothing deserving death. That is the whole point; He is innocent, We are guilty, otherwise it wouldn't work.
        Maybe you have a different interpretation ?

        :-)
    • thumb
      Sep 15 2012: Hey Pete,

      Agreed that the story does not show anything deserving death, but promoting love for "God" and others was not the problem. Again, it was much more interesting and revealing of human nature than that. (Why would I be guilty for something someone did eons before I was born? Oh! Right! Then you know that love was not the issue.)

      :-)
      • thumb
        Sep 16 2012: For the record, and just to be sure we are all on the same page I offer a quick look at the official book about Jesus Christ. Here we discover the true plot behind his arrest, trial, conviction, and execution. SPOILER ALERT!--- In Adam, the first Man, all sinned. Like it or not the official book says we are all guilty because of something someone did eons before we were born. The official book also says the penalty for the crime (sin) is death. And that is why all living things die. Now the good part . . . the book says the gift of God is eternal life and that is why Jesus died on the cross outside Jerusalem. Whoever believes in him (Jesus Christ) will not perish, but have eternal life. No one has to believe any of this, most people don't. I offer it as a reminder of what the official book says believers are to believe. It's a good idea to allow for faith.
        • thumb
          Sep 16 2012: Edward you seem to ignore much of the book. God drowning nearly everyone. God sending people to Hell. God requiring blood sacrifice etc. Killing homosexuals and adulterers. Endorsing slavery etc. Its not all bad, but it is not all rosy either unless you cherry pick.

          Stars died so that we live.
        • thumb
          Sep 16 2012: Obey you sound like an insurance broker, calling things that happen to us "an act of God" :)

          It is easy to see things that way, if you choose to base your un-belief on the literal text of the Bible, but that is how people wrote it, not how things happened.

          E.g. there was no flood of water.
        • thumb
          Sep 17 2012: Hi Adriaan, some people take it literally. Some people take what fits with our modern understanding of the universe. Some pick and choose. Even believers who see god through the lens of the bible in some manner can not agree.

          Then you have Jews who disagree that Jesus was a prophet let alone a messiah. And then the Muslims with their own revelations. Then thousands of other different religious traditions.

          Anyway whether you take the bible literally or not it does say god had a dumby spit first time Adam disobeyed. It does say God drowned everyone except Noahs family. It does say god sent plagues. It does say god destroyed cities. It does talk threaten hell. It does say homosexuals and adulterers and people working on the Sabbath should be killed. It does provide guidelines for slavery rather than saying owning another person is immoral. It does talk about a god that required blood sacrifice. It does talk about a god that was a tribal wargod that picked one tribe of humans and took sides.

          Even if this is not taken literally, the message is pretty dark and damning.

          I don't base my unbelief on conflicting literal interpretations of various religious texts. They certainly don't help the theist cause. In fact they reinforce my view that all religious belief systems and god concepts are man made, subjective, and often unverifiable and unsubstantiated.

          My starting point is a lack of evidence for any gods and associated supernatural belief systems.
      • thumb
        Sep 16 2012: Hi Gabo,
        Seems to me that Jesus at the time was saying 'It is time to step away from your religion!! or at least away from the religious leaders.
        The Pharisees and leaders of that time were only promoting self-interest and nothing for the common good. It was all about them, which is wrong in any religion.
  • thumb
    Sep 14 2012: Religions are business ventures acquainted to insurance schemes with the difference that you expect the insurance company to pay out during your lifetime. As more explanations of natural phenomena become available and readily accessible via the internet and other channels thus demystifying nature most religions become redundant. Some might just be seen as a sort of back insurance that doesn't hurt, but that has no real function.
  • thumb
    Sep 25 2012: A good place to start in this debate is what we mean when we say "religion." A social scientist might construe religion as "a set of beliefs and practices that are grounded in a particular iteration of morality." I think this definition is insufficient. We need to explore and be clear on what religious people mean by religion, otherwise, no fruitful conversation will ever occur among the participants of one such debate! To aggravate the issue, it is absolutely true that there are many who refer to themselves as "religious," when they are unaware of the basic premises and arguments of religious philosophy - this doesn't add to the debate either.

    There is a call for an intelligent discussion between religion and common culture!

    Would anyone like to take a stab at defining religion?
  • thumb
    Sep 20 2012: It is definitely time to step well away from the commercially and politically corrupted versions of religion.

    I still maintain however, that there is an evolved need in us for spiritual satisfaction. In the light of scientific knowledge, I'm not sure any organised religion can do that. For that reason I believe that 'religion', if it can be called that, should be personal and autonomous.

    Furthermore, there is no one truth. Truth is as multi-faceted as our thought capacities will allow.
  • Sep 17 2012: Yes.
  • thumb
    Sep 16 2012: Yes. I believe it's time for humanity to grow up and abandon the old, ignorant ways of thinking and transcend to a more scientific society. Religion no longer serves a purpose. Religion was once used to explain natural events, but now that our knowledge has expanded and our ability to obtain knowledge has improved, theist beliefs are becoming foolish things of the past. Any modern theist will tell you that their religion is truth, but science proves religion wrong more and more every century and it would be foolish to believe that there is nothing more to learn. Belief in knowledge will do you more good than belief in a deity. Religion has caused nothing but war over the centuries. Here's an example: al qaeda, which is a savage terrorist group that has claimed thousands of of soldiers all because they were brainwashed by their religious leaders. Luckily, the atheist percentage of the population is growing in the western world. It's nice to see people embracing truth.
  • Sep 16 2012: Yes why it would end religious war and brainwashing.
  • thumb
    Sep 15 2012: I would think that the time to step away from religion will come by itself as people get better education. Education is the key factor.

    I do not think that religions have had a beneficial role to play. They are mostly an accident. A by product of our capacities combined with our ignorance in times immemorial. They played all kinds of roles because they were there. Not because they are intently beneficial. They have been tools to unite people's, but other cultural aspects could have played that role.
  • Sep 15 2012: "Is it time to step away from Religion?"

    As an atheist I say "yes", but I can understand how some people would go crazy if they didn't have some kind of story to believe in that gives them comfort (afterlife, deity that rewards good deeds, etc...), however those desires can be staisfied by personal spiriituality without organized religion.
  • thumb
    Sep 13 2012: I suggest another way to look at this is whether all the different religious beliefs have sufficient evidence to support their claims. Are they true.

    The question on the utility or how to reduce the negative sides of religion is secondary.

    Whether it is useful or a hinderence should follow whether any of them are true.

    If there is god and it supports violence in some situations and will punish those who disobey, then we have a clear choice whether to follow or suffer eternity in hell for example.

    Maybe one group of religious fundamentalists have it right and violence is supported or a directive from god.

    If it is not true then they have no right to harm others for no good reason.

    I suggest seeking the truth in regards to the core claims is key.

    If there is no evidence to support a particular religious view, then perhaps religious belief in general should not get so much respect. People should have the right to their private beliefs but we should more openly and peacefully and more often point out that at best only one belief system can be literally true. As far as I know there is no compelling evidence to indicate one belief system is completely correct and the others are false. So it is likely they are all false.

    We need to educate people so more realise their particular beliefs are subjective, faith based and most likely not the absolute truth. Get some more reason out there to counter negatives that result from thinking you have the absolute truth.

    We should not try forcing people to quit religion. Freedom of and from religion has more Positives than negatives, within limits of not harming others. But no issue with starting to talk about religion appropriate with its low levels of veracity. The process of desensitisation might be painful but believing a donkey talked or a virgin had a baby should be treated the same as believing Elvis is still alive. Perhaps there should be more of a social cost to unreasonable beliefs.

    Just an idea anyway.
    • thumb
      Sep 16 2012: RE: "cherry picking". I realize it looks to you like another effort at deception to trick folks into becoming mindless religious zealots, but actually I was speaking to a very specific issue and thought it best to just give the time rather than explain how to build a watch . Trust me, if the post asks my opinion about God's wrath I will cite some of the many graphic descriptions of God's swift, sure justice. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God! Thank you, Obey, for introducing this aspect of Biblical truth, even though it is unrelated to the context. Be well!
  • thumb
    Sep 13 2012: Absolutely! It is a good time to avoid every form of religion and begin an honest, diligent search for God, who can still be be found.
    • thumb
      Sep 14 2012: Ar you sure Edward that it wil be a male figure?
      As we were all born from a female it could as well be the great mother.
      If we look at the first artefacts humans produced it is obvious that they thought this way.
      • thumb
        Sep 14 2012: I have edited my response to exclude the temptation to divert the subject from the greater to the lesser. God's gender identity is what it is. Of much greater importance is whether individual people fulfill their reason for being by seeking to know God apart from religious dogma, tradition, and error. By religion I mean all human constructs. By God I mean the infinite, eternal, unchangeable, and uncaused cause of Everything. Thank you!
    • thumb
      Sep 15 2012: Ed,
      Thanks for posting about Bill Moggridge. It was quite a revelation for me.
      • thumb
        Sep 16 2012: You're welcome friend. He made a mark on the design engineering world and left many disciples around the globe. I hope they honor his memory by sharing any honors won by saying "Willie taught me that!" Vaya con Dios Amigo!