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London Atheist Activist Group (informal community) Message Board 1. MAIN FORUM - (non-Islam) › Can Organized Religion Be Unethical?

Can Organized Religion Be Unethical?

Guildford, GB
Post #: 341
Lifted from the interweb...
Organized religion does not claim to be perfect and is aware of certain hazards to its mission inherent in its very structures. Preoccupation with organizational machinery or spiritual compromise for the sake of institutional survival may defeat the goals it pursues. There is always a tension between the ideal and human efforts to attain it. Not imperfection in relation to proclaimed standards, but insincerity or cynicism regarding them merits the charge of "unethical." Organized religion acts unethically whenever it compromises its prophetic role for the sake of institutional self-preservation, prestige, or power. Its dilemma arises from the fact that it must interact with the power structures in society which, as well as its own adherents, often seek to use religion to support their own interests instead of responding to its insights. To teach and inspire while understanding the shortcomings of humanity, to generate power from within instead of manipulating power from without, and to co-operate with other agencies for the common good without exploiting them or becoming their instruments for compromising goals—these are some of the ethical problems of organized religion.
In other words in order to survive in our society organised religions may have to behave unethically - i.e. its our fault!

An implication from this is that if we lived in a completely religious society then the church could be entirely ethical.

Like it was with blasphemy.
...and the treatment of gays.
...and the priviliges given to priests.
...and the abuse of children.
...and the invocation of Holy Wars.
...and the denigration of women.
...and the suppression of scientific investigation.
...and the support of arranged marriages.
...and the lack of help from suffering from AIDS.
Barry R.
user 10723166
London, GB
Post #: 449

I would argue that organised religion is unethical, and I know that you would, too.

All religions fall at the first hurdle; they lie about the origins of the cosmos and life on earth.
They then proceed to 'support' their position with a book that purports to have it's origin with the 'creator'.
These books - all of them - are crammed from cover-to-cover with lies and absurdities.
All organised religions profess to know what happens after death. They don't know, nobody does.

I'd say that anything that starts with a falsehood, ends with a falsehood and has falsehood and ignorance as its staple, is unethical.
Guildford, GB
Post #: 345
You are right.

I would go one step further and state that religions are, by their own definition, evil.

I think a strong case could be made that the 'holy books' were in fact written by the devil - if I believed in that tosh.

<Thinks...> What is the equivalent secular word for 'evil'?
By 'evil' here I would mean: Actively destructive, corrupting, false, self-centered, exploitative, manipulative, etc.
A one word secular descriptive summary of, say, Jimmy Saville.

My feeling is that we stick with word 'evil'.
Alex D
London, GB
Post #: 176
(From a documentary I saw once but can't find a reference for - honest!)
The early christian church unsurprisingly had great difficulty trying to square the huge amount of evil in the old testament with the supposed benevolence of the god of the new. One cleric after years of careful study presented his thesis that the contradiction was because the entire old testament was the work of the devil, and that Jebus had been sent to correct this - so the whole old t should be dumped. The church gave his proposal much lengthy & serious consideration (he was quite senior), and his argument almost won the day - but in the end the church decided to plump for continuing to deal with the contradictions via the tried & true method of endless semantic wriggling instead... and I think burnt the cleric as a heretic! (I'm not 100% sure of the latter, but his honest labours certainly weren't met with the thanks & rewards he was expecting!)
Barry R.
user 10723166
London, GB
Post #: 450
I'd not heard the story that the OT '..was the work of the devil..' before, that's interesting.

The idea that Jesus had come 'to correct it' is often postulated by the JW's. They think - wrongly - that Jesus 'entered into a new covenant with man' and that much of the Mosaic Law had been abandoned. It hadn't. Even a cursory reading of the NT (Gospels) throws up countless (alleged) quotations in which Jesus makes it clear that he has not come to 'change the law'.

The Muslims. of course, think that Mohamed was sent to correct Jesus' mistakes! Wonderful!

I wouldn't mind betting that most of the modern, Christian world would love to be able to dump the OT. Luckily - for us atheists - they are stuck with it and all of its stupidity.
Guildford, GB
Post #: 351
That is so true. The OT is such an easy target its not worth bothering about. I like to think of it as a training ground for would-be atheists.
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