What about all the good things religion has given us?

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What are the good things?
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  Religion feeds the poor, treats the sick, educates children, consoles the weary, etc.
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Religious [[apologist]]s often argue that [[religion]] does good; that religious people and institutions help the needy, or created great works of art or science; therefore, religion is a good thing.
  
Are there any good things that secular elements of society do not also give?
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== Examples ==
  None.  There is not one good thing that religion does that is special in any way.
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William Donohue, head of the Catholic League, [http://www.catholicleague.org/release.php?id=1879 writes]:
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{{Quote|It was the Catholic Church that created the first universities, and it was the Catholic Church that played a central role in the Scientific Revolution}}
  
Who is us?
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Arthur C. Brooks, at Stanford's Hoover Institution, [http://www.hoover.org/publications/policyreview/3447051.html writes]:
  Anyone near a church, but presumably people with a good standard of living to be thankful for.
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{{Quote|The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions.}}
  
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== Counter-apologetics ==
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=== What is the argument? ===
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Assuming for the sake of argument that religious beliefs cause people to be better, this does not imply that those beliefs are true.
  
What is wrong with this:
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In other words, "religion gives us good things, therefore religion is good" is an argument for the usefulness of religion, not its truth.
  
What are the good things? --- Those good things have bad side effects.
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=== What is the causality? ===
  Religion feeds the poor but why are the poor so poor?  And why is the Vatican covered in gold leaf?  Could it be that the church offers an avenue for leaching resources out of the developing world in return for a share of those resources?  A telling fact is that the colonizing powers received charters from the church and/or turned to the church for mediation over disputed colonies.
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Is there something about religion that causes people to do good things? Or are the good things attributed to religion due to some other cause?
  Religion treats the sick, unless you are gay, or use condoms, or want an abortion.
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  Religion educates children, without any modern teachings from biology, astronomy, philosophy, etc.
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  The intangible services that religion provides like grief counseling are usually second rate to a real professional and sometimes dangerously inaccurate: Is battery a cause for divorce?  The church would say no sometimes.  Should I mourn my suicided spouse? The church would say no sometimes.
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Are there any good things that secular elements of society do not also give? --- Why aren't there any?  Why isn't the church dirt poor as the world's largest not for profit charity organizer?
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For instance, in a community that is 75% Catholic, one would expect about 75% of all good deeds to be done by Catholics, all else being equal.
  
Who is us?  --- Is it anyone poor?
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=== Is religion, on balance, a good thing? ===
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Religious institutions also often do bad things, such as opposing the teaching of [[evolution]] in schools or promoting the spread of AIDS by denigrating the use of condoms. Therefore, we must ask ourselves whether, on balance, religion is a good thing or not.
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[[Category:Arguments]]
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[[Category:Arguments for belief]]
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[[Category:Non-arguments for the existence of God]]

Revision as of 13:00, 12 June 2010

Religious apologists often argue that religion does good; that religious people and institutions help the needy, or created great works of art or science; therefore, religion is a good thing.

Contents

Examples

William Donohue, head of the Catholic League, writes:

"It was the Catholic Church that created the first universities, and it was the Catholic Church that played a central role in the Scientific Revolution"

Arthur C. Brooks, at Stanford's Hoover Institution, writes:

"The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions."

Counter-apologetics

What is the argument?

Assuming for the sake of argument that religious beliefs cause people to be better, this does not imply that those beliefs are true.

In other words, "religion gives us good things, therefore religion is good" is an argument for the usefulness of religion, not its truth.

What is the causality?

Is there something about religion that causes people to do good things? Or are the good things attributed to religion due to some other cause?

For instance, in a community that is 75% Catholic, one would expect about 75% of all good deeds to be done by Catholics, all else being equal.

Is religion, on balance, a good thing?

Religious institutions also often do bad things, such as opposing the teaching of evolution in schools or promoting the spread of AIDS by denigrating the use of condoms. Therefore, we must ask ourselves whether, on balance, religion is a good thing or not.

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