Why bother with Religion?


#1

I have a serious question relating to the utility of religion. I was baptized as a Catholic but ever since I can remember I have doubted all of the stories I was told about Christianity. When I asked for evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, he was born of a virgin, and all of the other unbelievable myths, I was told to have “faith.” When I was old enough to do as I chose, I rejected the mythology of Catholicism, much in the way the ancient Greeks eventually tossed aside their beliefs in Zues, Poseidon, etc.

Religion strikes me as a waste of time and the source of much of the conflict in the world. It’s also clearly an impediment to the advancement of our civilization. In this modern era, things like stem-cell research are actually being blocked because religious fanatics don’t want to “kill” a small group of cells.

While Catholics are sitting around debating thing like whether Mary ever sinned, atheists are thinking about how to save the planet.


#2

Ummm … hate to disappoint, but the Greeks didn’t abandon their old Gods for atheism and agnosticism. They replaced it with Christianity. As for religion impeding the progress of civilisation - Christianity gave the world the university system which did a brilliant job of organising, supporting, preserving and spreading learning in the Middle Ages and continues to do so today.

All significant hospitals and schools of the Middle Ages and for centuries afterwards, were religious institutes. No one but priests, monks and nuns had the necessary time or energy to devote to the arts of learning and healing.

Who but these same monks and nuns had the patience and dedication to spend the hours (months in fact) that were needed to laboriously make even one single good copy of a book? Their secular neighbours were struggling to survive off the land or fighting for their lives against barbarian invasion.

Monks did all these things as well, but ALSO cared enough about learning and knowledge to preserve it for posterity. And I’m not just talking about the Bible either. Where do you think the great medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas got his incredible knowledge of Aristotle from if not for the religious scribes who preserved the best SECULAR learning of the Greeks and Romans as well as the religious.

How do you think culture, philosophy and ideas spread so easily from end to end of the Christian world if not for the fact that the Church, which was in every corner of it, had one common language - Latin - which funnily enough also became the language in which scientific and other works came to be transmitted as well. The two pretty much went hand in hand.

I know you’re going to spout Gallileo at me. And you’re right, that was a major stuffup. Is any organisation going to go through 2000 years without a single mistake? But the Catholic Church was also one of the earliest supporters of Darwin’s evolutionary theory. Never had a real problem with his explanation of how humans physically came to be. Darwin’s theory of evolution, by the way, with its ideas of ‘survival of the fittest’ and so on, has caused more trouble in regard to relations between the different races and nations than most religious theories.

Funnily enough, in at least one particular area (race relations) most of the great reformers and agitators against African-American slavery, particularly in Britain, were inspired by strong religious faith and a belief that, as the Bible teaches, there is no distinction in God’s eyes between the races and no such thing as slave or freeman.

As for conflict - World War I and World War II were fights between good modern ‘scientific’ nations in the name of progress (ie control of colonies, natural resources and a position as industrial top dog). Nominally most of the participating nations on both sides were of the same Protestant (or at least Christian) faith, in reality they were then, as they are now, incredibly secular.

These two conflicts by themselves, let alone similar non-religious wars such as Vietnam, way outstrip any killing or violence ever done in the name of religion in scale and ferocity. Who ever in the name of religion obliterated cities in the way London, Dresden and Tokyo (not to mention Hiroshima and Nagasaki) were destroyed in WWII? So much for your ‘civilisation’.


#3

What was your question and why are you drawn to this forum? To argue? Certainly you as an atheist, have more important things to do.:rolleyes:


#4

This is the age old arguement. Theres very little that can be discussed if somone thinks Catholicism is a myth.

How are Catholics supposed to change your mind? Cite sources from more collections of hogwash and falsehood?

If you dont have faith you should go back and examine why you dont have faith. You are in my prayers.

However, concerning the athiests saving the planet?
Well God Bless them.

Their charity in that field gives us the time we need to debate the Immaculate Conception.


#5

LilyM,
That’s a very good short point that you bring up. It would have taken me 3 pages to say all that.


#6

Imagine,

your question is a bit like asking “Why bother to breate”.

What you call unbelievable myths are to me real truths.

I think the world has become so cynical and hard-hearted, that people find it hard to believe that God could be so good or that God could love us so much.

Why is it so hard to believe that Jesus rose from the dead or that Mary is forever a virgin? Don’t you believe that Jesus died to pay the price of our sins? Is it too good to be true? If you think so, then you are guilty of judging God by human standards. Are you afraid that people will mock you for believing in something you can’t see? Faith is vital!

I’ll pray that you faith be increased.

God bless,
Noel.


#7

Haha, almost took me 3 pages anyway :slight_smile:


#8

Human Nature.

War is in us. People will fight wars and use all kinds of things as an “excuse” to justify why they are fighting. Very rarely is religion the real cause of the fight, it is just something convenient to rally around.

People are a social species, with certain inherent tendencies. most are followers and do better when there is a leader, cultural mores and traditions which give them guidance and a sense of belonging. Religion provides this. People are thinkers, analyzers, asking questions that beg for answers, religion attends to these needs.

Many people who say “why bother with religion” simply have another outlet in their lives which fills the same roles.

I’m a scientist, a pantheist, married to a scientist with lots of atheist scientist friends. Many of them use environmentalism or their scientific community in nearly the exact same way that others use religion. They have rituals, disciplines, cultural mores, etc etc.

Practicing my religion is good for me. It gives comfort, shape and a sense of purpose to my life. You may find those things in areas not recognized by most as religion, but I sure hope you find those things in your life.

A good religion provides both roots and wings for it’s participants. It grounds us and gives us the foundation from which we feel secure enough to face our lives bravely and with honor. Like all cultural institutions, sometimes religion fails us, becomes a crutch, a dictator, or an excuse for our antisocial behavior. But even those who claim no religion have crutches, addictions and excuses in their lives.

cheddar


#9

Save the planet then.


#10

When I asked for evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, he was born of a virgin, and all of the other unbelievable myths, I was told to have “faith.”

Everyone picked on the easy portions of his post, but I think it is the above portion of his question that still hasn’t been adequately addressed.

There are many cradle Catholics who are oriented towards the scientific, the logical arguments, and the empirical evidence, and don’t subjectively just “feel” God in the way that others do. They don’t just accept something because their families did. They need more practical evidence. I am one of these, and I am continually searching for these more complicated answers.

Instead of just turning him away with subjectivity, how about point him in the direction of the objective, logical arguments for Catholicism. I’d be interested in these things as well.


#11

Virgin Birth is clear in the Bible!!! Resurection is too!!!

Are you guys kidding me here? I am amazed. I am not going to answer this until I get you to see that these 2 things are not denied by any Christian!
Its not a Catholic “thing” only.

Its too much to believe somethimes here the things I see. I will be back with your “evidence”

The problem is does the OP even believe that the Bible is something he can have faith in or not?


#12

Exactly. You need to point him in the direction of reasons why the Bible can be authentically trusted. You have it right there. That IS the very problem, and not that he doesn’t have enough faith. The answer to him should not be this: “People who have faith, in something that cannot be proved empirically, are virtuous, and if you don’t, then sorry” but instead, this: “Here is some real evidence that the Bible is the book to trust”.

Something along the lines of the Case for Christ might be relevant.


#13

There is actually plenty of evidence out there of these things.

Religion strikes me as a waste of time and the source of much of the conflict in the world. It’s also clearly an impediment to the advancement of our civilization. In this modern era, things like stem-cell research are actually being blocked because religious fanatics don’t want to “kill” a small group of cells.

It’s interesting that you point to religion as being the source of so much conflict in the world when atheists have blown away religious in terms of sheer body count in the 20th century.

Stem Cell research is simply another way that a person like you decides that someone is not “human” and therefore can be used for your own designs. The same argument was used by slave-owners and Nazis. In fact, the central argument of ANY oppressor is that the oppressed aren’t human and are therefore not deserving of rights.

While Catholics are sitting around debating thing like whether Mary ever sinned, atheists are thinking about how to save the planet.

Not really. Atheism won’t save the planet – it’s already caused incredible amounts of destruction and will surely cause more. Why? Because Atheism is an empty philosophy, and it’s adherents know that it is – which is why they hate religion so much. It’s why you are here as well.


#14

I would suggest our OP read The Everlasting Man by G. K. Chesterton. It was influential in the conversion of C. S. Lewis from atheism.

Unlike the characters of Greek mythology (which I greatly enjoy reading about to this day, btw) Jesus and Mary and Peter, at al were historical persons who actually lived and died on this planet. Their story converted entire civilizations that were weary of gods and goddesses that cared no more for them than a bull in a meadow. Christianity brought the reality of God close to man–in all of his fullness of love, mercy, and true justice.

I think those who rejected their faith at a young age ought to remember that when they were a child they thought like a child and understood like a child. It’s time to put aside childish limitations and think and believe like an adult.


#15

I think those who rejected their faith at a young age ought to remember that when they were a child they thought like a child and understood like a child. It’s time to put aside childish limitations and think and believe like an adult.

Not that it is the case with the OP, but I would guess that often it is the opposite of that that occurs; when one is a child they more easily believe what they are told, and when they become an adult, they begin to question.


#16

So, you call killing each others, wars, abortion, etc civilization?
Don’t try to play God yourself.

Without religion, there is no Love.
With faith and love for God and human beings, we are better - and we believe that.

God bless you!


#17

For most people that’s in their late teens–a time in which they see themselves as invincible and everything in terms of black and white (except for their own behavior, oddly enough :wink: ). The teens are the very time when we must make the best effort to guide children into an adult faith life instead of just telling them to “believe because we say so,” yes?


#18

Thank you Mortal, that is precisely what I was seeking and have yet to hear. I’m all ears though if anyone can provide the type of arguments Mortal and I are looking for.

Mortal’s point about people “feeling” God is important. The mind is a very powerful thing. When we really want to believe something we are sometimes able to convince ourselves that it is true in spite of a lack of evidence to support it and a wealth of evidence against it.

I believe this is the phenomenon at work with believers of religious myth. Most people are frightened by the concept of death (I don’t exclude myself from this group) and the eternal finality of our existence. For this reason humans conjured up religious myths. Some people feel better believing that they will end up in some eternal paradise upon death.

Religious myths helped more primative civilizations explain other things which were beyond explanation at the time which is why people once believed in a “Sun God”. Hopefully we can someday get beyond the need to believe in an imaginary superpower.


#19

I do understand your point… you’re looking for scientific, concrete evidence. As an engineer myself, I too find this aspect of creation very intriguing.
There are many different aspects of faith… but I think the root of your questions and intrigue are at the basis of creation.
WHY do we exist?
WHO or WHAT created us?
HOW did the world come into being?
Logically and scientifically these things are still being discovered, but none of the scientific evidence discludes the opportunity for God to have been the initial “creator”…

Can you give a specific example of the “wealth of evidence against it”?

True, before science came as far as it has now, many of these things were unexplained, so “myths” were used to make sense out of the unexplained.
But again, as science has improved, nothing has discluded the opportunity for God to be at work in the world. And a more complete “answer” to the age old question of “creation” has not been found with science alone.
So yes, maybe we’re still trying to understand the unexplained… but even as we learn more through science, NOTHING will EVER disclude God from the equation. EVER.


#20

Point one. If I don’t breathe, I will immediately die and my family will be without a provider. For this reason I continue to intake air. Not believing in religious myths has absolutely no consequence on my life in the same way as not believing in Allah has no consequence on your life.

If God is “so good” why does he allow little children to be abused and killed daily by other humans? By loving “us” do you include said children within the “us?” If so, that’s a strange way of showing love.

I find it hard to believe that someone living 2000 years ago was able to become pregnant without having sex because in-vitro fertilization has only been around for about 30 years. They simply did not have the technology for that back then.

“Judging God by human standards.” That phrase has never made sense to me. You judge God by human standards all the time. When you say that “God is good”, what standard are you using to determine the meaning of “good?”


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