Religion does more harm than good! Examine and comment on this view, with reference to a thinker/ discipline in the study of religion that you have investigated.
“The belief in and worship of, a personal God or Gods” Religion is present in every society. Whether this has negative connotations on behaviours that over shadow the good done, will be objectively evaluated. Religion understandably comes under scrutiny from scientists, and free-thinking scholars. This may be due to the lack of physical presence of God himself. Freedom of thought is right expressed in westernised parts of the world, despite this being a good thing; many Religious wars have scarred views on Religion. Religion can bring sanctuary for many in times of hardship but has also been seen to create hardship through division and tension.
New religious movements (NRM’S) fuel arguments for religion having a destructive undertone. In the late 1970s Jonestown scarred public perception of NRM’S through out the world. Within Jonestown, the informal names given to Peoples Temple agricultural project, 909 members committed a mass suicide. This act supports the idea that religion, does more harm than good, as this act was the largest such event in modern history to result in single loss of American civilian life in a deliberate act until the event of September 11, 2001. Psychiatrists such as Margret Thaler Singer worked closely with people who had left NRM’S becoming chairman of APA (American Psychological Association). Thaler was a leading thinker in theories of coercive persuasion, ‘Deprogramming’ members of NRM’S similar to The Church Of Scientology. In religion, every follower should be equal, but in elitist groups such as scientology many that have ‘defected’, speaking out about behaviours and unjust motives within elitist groups. Scientology has exhibited characteristics of a Cult and is known to use techniques such as ‘love bombing’, to recruit members. In retaining members Scientology has also been known to blackmail members through recording counselling sessions, obtaining information that could be used against persons, if they should choose to leave. Religion can be twisted and manipulated, in blackmail and brainwashing understandably such groups do more harm than good. In spite of this Scientology has been seen to be a source of aid in many humanitarian crisis’s. In obscuring scripture and idealisms, groups have manipulated members into mass suicide, religious war and acts of terror. Extremism has found itself in the news often in recent years and has shown the dark side of religion. Most recently, the killing of a soldier took place in Woolwich, the perpetrators when questioned expressed that his life was taken in the name of Islam. The Central African Republic has recently entered a state of genocide, due to rival religious militia’s, religion can lead people to cull one another with religion as reasoning. Ideological worship of God has the purpose of admiration of his holiness, in such acts it is apparent that the true reasoning for faith is lost. This it is apparent that such extremist destroy public perception of faith, further more religious terror does more harm than good.
The idea that religion is an organ for capitalism, was aired by Karl Marx who saw religion as a debilitating feature of life furthering ‘class division in society’. He felt that the presence of ideological worship destroys peoples perceptions of reality, serving the interest of the ruling class, as religion teaches great reward in the ‘after life’ for those who serve a hard working life on earth. Marx believed that the church, owned by the ruling class distributes ‘legitimising’ ideas that suffering is god-given and inevitable amongst the working classes. Religion can be seen to teach patriarchy, as orthodox Jewish, and catholic churches still prohibit women from becoming priests. In justification of inequality religion is seen to have a darker undertone of...
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