What about all the good things people have done because they were religious?

Dave_G
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What about all the good things people have done because they were religious?

What do you think of them?


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Why is being religious a

Why is being religious a reason to do good? Shouldn't a person do good because they are human and want to help fellow humans? Good should not be done in the "name" of anything, rather it should be done because it is helpful.


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Dave_G wrote: What do you

Dave_G wrote:
What do you think of them?

I find it disappointing as a fellow human, that they needed a promise of reward or the threat of punishment to do "good things".

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
George Orwell


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"With or without religion,

"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion." - Steven Weinberg


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Does it matter that they

Does it matter that they are religious to do good things? I'm just glad almost all religions have a eternal punishment for bad things, because if they didn't the people would not be so "good". I find it sad it takes a reason such as punishment to make someone be a good person. I don't need that, I like to be good for... No reason really, just simply I do not like having these bad acts happen to me, so why should I do it to them.

 

Look at the religions. People use them to justify many many evil acts by picking apart what they think it means, and in most cases it does mean that. So imagine if there was no punishment, these people believing in these religion would be horrible people.

 

They are good people, just guilable people. Thats what I think about religious people. 

"When I die I shall be content to vanish into nothingness.... No show, however good, could conceivably be good forever.... I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it." ~H.L. Mencken

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Dave_G wrote: What do you

Dave_G wrote:
What do you think of them?
What about all the good things nonreligious people have done only because they wanted to?

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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I'd suggest they did it

I'd suggest they did it regardless of their religion. As Stephen Weinberg (Nobel prize winner in physics) said "With or without religion you would have good men do good things, and evil men do evil things. But for good men to do evil things, that requires religion."

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I think being a good person

I think being a good person has little to do with religion.  You are good or you aren't.  There are good people who aren't religious.  There are bad people who are religious.  People do bad things in the name of religion, but not all bad things are done for religion. Someone can do good things just because they need to be done.

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I have a problem with good

I have a problem with good people who do mediocre things or smart people who do stupid things....good and bad are really just relative.

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It depends on how one

It depends on how one percieves good and evil. To a radical Muslim walking into a crowded marketplace and performing a suicide bombing would be considered good. To a radical Christian picketing the funerals of dead soldiers is considered good. To me, the removal of all religions so that we can finally make uninhibited scientific progress is good.

 Of course if you are simply referring to good things as donating to charity, feeding the homeless, helping a lost child find his mother, etc. then religion shouldn't come into play. The Christian often wants to say that atheists have no morals because he gets his morality from the Bible and the 10 Commandments. I say that if that person would be willing to go out and murder, rape, pillage, lie, etc. if the Bible didn't exist then it's a damn good thing it DOES exist. Anyone who needs a magical sky daddy or an ancient text to guide them towards being kind to their fellow man needs mental help. Plain and simple.


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Dave_G wrote: What do you

Dave_G wrote:
What do you think of them?

 

Who?

When?

What?

What is meant by 'all the good things'?

Which religion?

This is pointless to answer. This earns the broad brush of irrational behaviour alone.  

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Dave_G wrote: What about

Dave_G wrote:
What about all the good things people have done because they were religious?

1: What things? I made an effort to think of something good that was only done because of religion, and I came up blank.

2: Even assuming there are good things done, this is still easy to deflate. If someone goes and shoots someone else in the head; and then donates 5 million to a charity, saves a kid from a fire, and helps an old lady crossing the street with her groceries, are you really going to ignore the fact that this person killed someone?

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See the signature.

See the signature.


Wishkah311
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I agree that needing a

I agree that needing a religion to tell you not to kill people is bad.  Personally, I don't need God for that particular lesson.  I don't kill the guy that cuts me off because it is wrong - not to mention messy : P- not because God says it is a sin.  I think people who say they are good people strictly because God will punish them if they aren't are sad and weak.  Of course, I also think God is a lot more forgiving then the fire and brimstone people seem to think.  I try to be a good person because it is what I want to do.  Why piss all over other people's lives for no reason... ?  That's just not cool. 

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 Good people do good

 Good people do good things, bad people do bad. Someone else posted this, as a quote, but I think there needs to be something added. Religion can make good people do bad things, and bad people do good things.  I wonder how it is a good thing for bad people to do good things.  How many times have you seen, "He seemed like a nice guy", or something like that and ends up having human heads in his basement.  Religion hides the truth about people, and truth is what I seek.  Risk and rewards allow people to set outside of their normal self.

 

 

This isn't something I believe, I am just wondering.  If murderous intent and other malicious acts might be related to the genetic makeup.This would mean religion might be causing genetically violent people to not do bad things, but still infect the gene pool. Eventually it might become a society that has violent genes and then, they will be the ones determining what is right and what is wrong.

Sounds made up...
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RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: Risk and rewards

Quote:
Risk and rewards allow people to set outside of their normal self.

Isn't our legal system based in such a way as to discourage "bad" people from doing "bad" things and rewarding "good" people with doing "good things" (tax code. Sticking out tongue).

Anycase...

 

Quote:
This isn't something I believe, I am just wondering.  If murderous intent and other malicious acts might be related to the genetic makeup.This would mean religion might be causing genetically violent people to not do bad things, but still infect the gene pool. Eventually it might become a society that has violent genes and then, they will be the ones determining what is right and what is wrong.

Tis possible.  Would definitely be a strange thing.

With regards to morality (whether religious based or secularly based) I do not believe that it is, necessarily, naturally existent--

A common phrase is:

"I do good because it is good."

Yet.. (Tod I believe was the one that explained this to me-- although I make be expanding liberally) that morality is, possibly, always "taught".

Whether your parents or "society" as a whole socializes you to say "do X because God wants you" or "do X because thats just what you should do"-- the internalization, and maturation, of the morality is still dependent upon the individual in later life.

For instance, as difficult as it is for an individual to seperate from his birthrighted religion.. so, I would contend, is it difficult to discard any sort of social conditioning (whether based upon religion or secularism) which internalizes "good feelings" for doing "good things".

For instance:

"Ring a bell, bring out food, create salivation."

"Ring a bell, bring out food, create salivation."

"Ring a bell, bring out food, create salivation."

"Ring a bell, create salivation."

Now.. just switch every "ring a bell" with "do something [good]"-- everything "bring out food" with "some sort of positive affirmation"-- and every "create salivation" with "create good feeling".

We are all pavlov's dogs. :P  I'm hopped up on an energy drink.. I'm definitely writing to much without much point at the moment.

Yet, to give an example:

Whether or not I was brought up a religious household does not change the fact that now I get "good feelings" from doing "good things".

(The secular counterpart of a religious person who doesn't do bad things because of "God punishment" and does good things for "God rewards" is a person who doesn't do bad things because of "legal punishment" and does good things for "tax breaks".) Sticking out tongue  


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: (The

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

(The secular counterpart of a religious person who doesn't do bad things because of "God punishment" and does good things for "God rewards" is a person who doesn't do bad things because of "legal punishment" and does good things for "tax breaks".) Sticking out tongue  

I don't really care about the legal system, it is not something I use to guide my morality, it is only there for those who cannot or will not govern themselves.  What rewards are there for doing good things?  If I give money away, sure I get a tax break, but is that tax break greater than the money I give away?  What about doing good things without the tax break?  Anonymous donations?  How is it that people would do such a thing?  The only reward is the act itself.

Sounds made up...
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RhadTheGizmo
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Quote:

Quote:
The only reward is the act itself.

Or the admiration of others. I would not be so quick to presume that an atheist does good things just because they are good. Perhaps many, perhaps the majority, yet this is something not easily judged..

Who would say:

I do good things because people will like me better.

Yet.. it's a plausible motive.


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
The only reward is the act itself.

Or the admiration of others. I would not be so quick to presume that an atheist does good things just because they are good. Perhaps many, perhaps the majority, yet this is something not easily judged..

Who would say:

I do good things because people will like me better.

Yet.. it's a plausible motive.

You have a very dim view of humanity and why secular people engage in charity. I have been charitable more than a few times in my life and EVERY time it has been anonymous. I want no reward, no recognition... I just like helping people. 


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RhadTheGizmo

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

Quote:
The only reward is the act itself.

Or the admiration of others.

 Do you not know what Anonymous means?

Sounds made up...
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Dave_G wrote: What do you

Dave_G wrote:
What do you think of them?

If I had to guess I would say that they did those good things despite being religious, not because they were religious. But even if I'm wrong they still could have done those things without being religious so the religion doesn't deserve any credit. And if they wouldn't have done those good things without being religious then I still have to weigh those things against all the bad things that people do because of religion. So I think religion loses no matter where we go with this.

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H.P. Lovecraft


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Dave_G wrote: What do you

Dave_G wrote:
What do you think of them?

I'm going to respond different than most other people here.  I'm perfectly happy to accept that many people endeavor to do good things that at least they believe it is from their religious conviction such motivation springs.  And, I don't really think its my place to say they are wrong.  If they do genuinely good things, and they think it is based on God, who am I to say otherwise?

That said, many believers do things that they consider good, but are actually quite bad.  For example, lots of people support that jackass Bush because he's "a good Christian".  On the other hand, there are Christians that hate Bush, and find him not "a good Christian" at all.  Unfortunatly, there's a lot more of the former, at least among "fundamentalists" than of the later.

So, in my view, if you do good, and you say it is because of God, then great, more power to you.  If you do bad, I don't give a shit if it was because of God or not, its still bad.

 


RhadTheGizmo
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Quote: You have a very dim

Quote:
You have a very dim view of humanity and why secular people engage in charity. I have been charitable more than a few times in my life and EVERY time it has been anonymous. I want no reward, no recognition... I just like helping people.

Heh.. BGH.. I didn't mean for the posit to be taken personally.. it was just a position that the motive plausibly exists.. not that you necessarily do things for that reason.

This creates a catch 22 situation since.. technically your "anonymous giving" is no longer "anonymous" since you've told me you have given it.

I do not know to whom specifically you have given it too.. nonetheless, your giving is no longer anonymous.

I'm not saying you stated it in order that others might admire you for "giving anonymously" yet.. it can be inferred.

The only "giving" which can be completely separated from any notion of "external benefit" (e.g. admiration or other), is that giving which only one person knows about.. yourself.

In anycase.. let me reiterate.. I am not making a judgment of your character-- I know nothing (relatively) of it.. so why would I? I'm just making a point that its possible that atheist and theist are not so different when it comes to doing "good".

On both sides people can do "good" for no other reason then the "external rewards", even as people on both sides can do "good" for no other reason the internal ones.

Quote:
Do you not know what Anonymous means?

Yes.


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RhadTheGizmo wrote: The

RhadTheGizmo wrote:

The only "giving" which can be completely separated from any notion of "external benefit" (e.g. admiration or other), is that giving which only one person knows about.. yourself.

That's not true. What if you don't give a shit about the admiration of others?

There are twists of time and space, of vision and reality, which only a dreamer can divine
H.P. Lovecraft


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I do good things because

I do good things because they are good? I don't know many atheists, or many people who live by this rule. Most live by the rule of empathy. You know you would not like this action done to you, so why should you do it to another. This could also be seen as, you try to make a contract with everything "You agree not to do X to me, and I agree not to do X to you." Replace X with stealing, killing, etc.

 

Doing good for goods sake does not work, simply because there is no definition of good. No morals are set in stone to be true, it depends on the situation. If you have to kill 1 million babies to kill 1 million and 1 babies, logically and reasonablly you would pick the lower, and that would be the right good choice. 

Life decides what is good for life. It does not mean it is actually good. If I could go back in time, I would murder every religious profeit before they could get their message out. You might think thats wrong right? What is the better choice? 1 asshole dying, or millions, even billions who would of died for his crooked teachings, and die against him? 

"When I die I shall be content to vanish into nothingness.... No show, however good, could conceivably be good forever.... I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it." ~H.L. Mencken

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It's hard to extricate the

It's hard to extricate the secular elements of society from the religious, in America at least, so this isn't a straightforward question. Some theists would begin with the assumption that all people are inherently flawed, and that it's some sort of supernatural influence that guides them away from their baser instincts. But, because the existence of supernatural things like “god” hasn't been substantiated, and there are many who argue it doesn't need to be, I start with the justified premise that all actions undertaken by humans are within human capacity and don't require a supernatural agent for explanation. There are virtues practiced by some religions that I find value in (I've been very impressed and surprised by what selflessness and intelligence I've seen in the Mormons -- arguably one of the stupider-sounding religions), but to attribute moral values solely to the influence of a religious ideas (the ones people choose to recognize anyway) -- rather than society, culture or biological imperative -- hasn't been justified. In many cases, it's been contradicted by the actions of still other believers, weakening the correlation. But the way the argument of the believers works is by robbing humanity of all its virtues, giving them wholesale to an invisible third party, and claiming only for ourselves what's harmful, selfish, compulsive: a premise that's been refuted in biology, both in humans and in chimpanzees.

Unless you believe humans are utterly worthless save for their capacity to kowtow to a dissociated personality fragment or ethnically incorrect depiction of a mythical figure, human capacity for good and bad is innate.


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Or the admiration of

Or the admiration of others. I would not be so quick to presume that an atheist does good things just because they are good. Perhaps many, perhaps the majority, yet this is something not easily judged..

Is ingratiating oneself to one's peers baser than ingratiating oneself to an omniscient authority? Unless you don't believe “god” cares what you do, in which case forgot I mentioned it.