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The Pros and Cons of Religion

At its best, religion can bring a sense of purpose and belonging to people's lives, as well as provide them with moral guidance.  At its worst, religion can bring irrational restrictions, war and persecution. .
At its best, religion can bring a sense of purpose and belonging to people's lives, as well as provide them with moral guidance. At its worst, religion can bring irrational restrictions, war and persecution. . | Source

Religion has both brought mankind together and divided them over the centuries. Generally speaking, religious faith is generally on the decline in Western countries, but growing in other places around the world.

Opinion is divided over the pros and cons of religion.

  • People who are for religion often portraying it as something that gives humanity meaning and purpose, as well as providing a moral compass for people to navigate by.
  • Those who are against religion, however, portray it as an irrational and restrictive force that historically has brought about wars, prejudice, and oppression.

I hope than you enjoy reading my pro and cons of religion and find it interesting. All comments are welcome.

Did You Know?

The word Islam means “submission,” it comes from the Arab word for peace, salaam.

Hinduism is the oldest organized religion and currently the world’s third largest religion.

The word "agnostic" was first used by Thomas Henry Huxley in 1860, although the concept of agnosticism is much older.

James, written around 45 AD, is the oldest book in the Christian New Testament.

A Buddhist should eat whatever food is presented to him, but never request that an animal be slaughtered for his meal.

Statue of the Hindu god, Ganesha.  Unlike Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, which believe in one god, Hinduism is polytheistic, which means that there are many gods.
Statue of the Hindu god, Ganesha. Unlike Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, which believe in one god, Hinduism is polytheistic, which means that there are many gods. | Source

Pros of Religion

  • Religion brings meaning to people’s lives. Without a sense of meaning, people’s lives can seem empty, causing depression, angst, or anxiety. Human beings need some form of motivating force. As Jesus said: “Man cannot live by bread alone.”
  • Religion can bring a sense of hope and inspiration to people, who otherwise might feel despondent, or desperate.
  • Many charities are run by religious organizations, providing essential help to some of the most needy people on the planet.
  • Religion can provide social coherence, with people sharing common aims, values, and moral systems.
  • Holy teachings and books, such as the bible, koran, or Hindu Vedas, contain great wisdom which is beneficial to all mankind and provide useful points of reference.
  • Religion has inspired some of the world’s greatest art, architecture, writing, and sculpture.
  • In a changing world, religion provides a sense of continuity and a reliable foundation stone. Rites and rituals provide comfort and structure for people as they ride the rollercoaster of life.
  • Religion can act to curb the worst excesses of man’s instinctive, animal nature.
  • Churches, temples, synagogues etc provide places for the community to meet, organize and socialize together.

Interior of an Islamic mosque.  Rather than showing depictions of prophets and people, Islam tends to use patterns and quotes from the Koran for decorating its religious sites.
Interior of an Islamic mosque. Rather than showing depictions of prophets and people, Islam tends to use patterns and quotes from the Koran for decorating its religious sites. | Source

Quotes About Religion

" Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life." Buddha

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich." Napoleon Bonaparte

"A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education." Theodore Roosevelt

"There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness." Dalai Lama

Statue of Buddha.  Buddhists do not usually worship gods, rather they believe that spiritual enlightenment lies within.
Statue of Buddha. Buddhists do not usually worship gods, rather they believe that spiritual enlightenment lies within. | Source

Cons of Religion

  • Religion has historically been a source of war on conflict between people ever since people started believing in it. Religious people tend to believe that their particular religion is the only correct one and all the others are false.
  • Religion is based on a fallacy that the universe operates according to “supernatural” rules and forces, rather than scientific ones. Stories of miracles and people rising from dead etc. remain unproven.
  • Religions can cause or encourage bigotry against minority groups, such as gay people, women, and racial groups.
  • Religion discourages free inquiry and restricts freedom of thought, by encouraging the idea that fundamental answers can only be found in a fixed and specific book or belief system. Preachers and religious leaders can also encourage a culture of unquestioning loyalty amongst their followers.
  • Religion holds back humanity from progressing. When the Christian Church dominated Western Europe in medieval times, scientific inventions and discoveries almost ground to a standstill and it wasn’t until the arrival of secularism that things began moving again.
  • Religion often uses fear to gain itself power, such as threatening people with Hell.
  • Some religions discourage people from living their life on Earth to the full, with the promise that they will get another, superior life after they’ve died.
  • Religion encourages an unachievable idealism and in the process creates hypocrisy, frustration, and disappointment.
  • Unscrupulous leaders use religion to enrich themselves.
  • Religion absolves people from personal responsibility, because they can say that God told them to do it.
  • Religions are essentially man-made, rather than divinely inspired. People are encouraged to live an illusion, essentially a form of escapism.

The Golden Temple in India, a sacred place for people of the Sikh religion.  Sikhs believe in a single god, and that the way to live a good life has been revealed through the teachings of a series of gurus.
The Golden Temple in India, a sacred place for people of the Sikh religion. Sikhs believe in a single god, and that the way to live a good life has been revealed through the teachings of a series of gurus. | Source

More Quotes About Religion

"When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land." Desmond Tutu

"The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." Thomas Paine

"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow." Anais Nin

The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a sacred place for religious Jewish people.  The wall is thought to be the last remaining part of the Jewish Temple, which was destroyed 2000 years ago by the Romans.
The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, a sacred place for religious Jewish people. The wall is thought to be the last remaining part of the Jewish Temple, which was destroyed 2000 years ago by the Romans. | Source

Did You Know?

Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world, with around 23 million adherents. About 19 million Sikhs live in India, mainly in the state of Punjab.

Judaism has 613 commandments, with the 10 commandments forming only a part of them.

Out of all the religions in the world, Christianity has the largest number of followers.

The word Algebra comes from the Arabic "al-jabr", meaning: "reunion of broken parts" and came from in the Islamic world.

Your Opinion

Do you think religion is a good or a bad thing?

  • Good - Religion benefits society and individuals.
  • Bad - Religion causes more problems than it solves.
See results without voting

© 2014 Paul Goodman

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    GoodBrains profile image

    Paul Goodman (GoodBrains)8 Followers
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    Since completing university, Paul has worked as a bookseller; librarian; and freelance writer. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida.



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