One of the negative sides of organized religion comes from the idea of “charisma” and the charismatic leader who may not have the best intentions and could use the power that they gain over people with this charisma to push things that may not necessarily by what their religion is supposed to stand for (Fisher, 2005). An example of this would be the extremist Muslims in the Middle East, specifically al Qaida or the Taliban. Charismatic leaders, such as the recently killed Osama bin Laden, have used the charisma that they had with their followers to twist a peaceful religion into one that believes that their “Allah” wants them to punish and kill the infidel (non-Muslim) and that they will receive rewards in heaven for martyring themselves in order to kill. This has had an enormous impact on our society, such as the many lives that were lost in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and the many soldiers we have lost in the war that is still going on as a result. Many families, including mine, are impacted every day by the many deployments and deaths our soldiers are enduring. One of the positive sides of organized religion comes from the strength, both mentally and emotionally, that faith in God and having a church family that they can count on, can have on people. One example of this would be the “power of prayer” shown in a study that was done in San Francisco (Fisher, 2005). In this study heart patients were put into two groups and one group was prayed for while the other was not. The patients who were prayed for had a much better chance of not having complications than those that were not. Of those that were not prayed for they “were five times more likely to require antibiotics, three times more likely to develop pulmonary edema, and twelve times more likely to require a mechanical ventilator” (Fisher, 2005).
Fisher, M. (2005). Living Religions (6th ed.). Published by Prentice-Hall.