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Originally posted by budski
I think that one of the main aspects of religion is that people impose some control (at least to a degree) on themselves.
It is for this reason that I believe that government imposed control is doomed to failure - people have to want to be controlled, and religion fulfills this need, through a reward system, albeit a subtler one than perhaps governments could manage.
Originally posted by Perfect Fifth
The fact that people in many different organized religions throughout history have done bad things is not proof that organized religion is flawed, it's proof that people are flawed.
There always seems to be a minority of people, like you mention, who make for dramatic stories and headlines because they abuse organized religion and/or do things exactly opposed to their beliefs.
“In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.”
"Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption,all of which facilitate the execution of mischeivious projects"
"Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause." George Washington
“Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, ‘this would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.’”
Those beliefs created codes of morals and behavior that keep human kind from plunging into total barbary.
"When the churches literally ruled society, the human drama encompassed: (a) slavery;(b) the cruel subjection of women;[c] the most savage forms of legal punishment; (d) the absurd belief that kings ruled by divine right; (e) the daily imposition of physical abuse; (f) cold heartlessness for the sufferings of the poor; as well as (g) assorted pogroms ('ethnic cleansing' wars) between rival religions, capital punishment for literally hundreds of offenses, and countless other daily imposed moral outrages. . . . It was the free-thinking, challenging work by people of conscience, who almost invariably had to defy the religious and political status quo of their times, that brought us out of such darkness." Steve Allen
Religion is not the problem. Some certain people are the problem.
"There is in every village a torch-the teacher:and an extinguisher-the clergyman"
"You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world."
When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. -Anais Nin
“All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise....During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.”
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration--courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth."
H. L. Mencken
originally posted by: budski
but you forgot to mention one of the most important factors: Peoples desire to be controlled (which also gives a vicarious feeling of being in control)
I submit that this is the single biggest reason for the existence of any belif system, whether that be religion, conspiracy, whatever.
This very human need to feel control, through being controlled, is what has lead us to the point we are at today.