Mike the Infidel www

More peaceful? Yes. Totally peaceful? No.

Removing anything that artificially divides people can only lead to greater unity.

Posted: July 10th 2011

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Paula Kirby www

Of course the world would be more peaceful without religion. Who can seriously deny that entrenched religious beliefs have been, and continue to be, a factor in a significant number of conflicts – whether as a direct cause or simply as something which has the effect of perpetuating the conflict and making it harder to resolve? Would the ongoing and apparently intractable conflict in the Middle East really not have been easier to resolve if neither side followed a religion which told it it had a god-given right to the land?

So yes, without religion the world would be more peaceful. But 'more peaceful’ does not mean 'totally peaceful’. As others have pointed out, there are other causes of violent conflict too, and any form of fanaticism is dangerous. But one of those forms is religion.

Posted: June 27th 2011

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Blaise www

That would depend on your definition of 'religion’.

If you define religion as 'a set of beliefs and/or devotion to one or more supernatural entities’, then no, religion’s absence would have no effect on man’s inhumanity to man.

If you define religion as 'an organized group who band together because of their beliefs in order to promote the dogmas of their faith’, then yes, the world would be a much more peaceful place without religion.

Wars are fought because leaders manipulate people into them. Dogma makes people susceptible to manipulation by leaders. Religion isn’t the only kind of dogma available (there are political ones like nationalism, environmentalism, racism, etc.), but it is the one that seems to hold the largest sway in the world, at the moment.

Posted: June 27th 2011

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donsevers www

It depends on your values. Most modern civilizations value science education. Science gives us facts about nature that are accessible and verifiable to others. On this score alone, it would be a good thing if parents stopped telling kids that scientifically unverifiable things were true.

Religion also encourages acceptance of impossible and contradictory ideas (e.g., there’s a loving God who could reduce suffering but doesn’t). When we embrace contradiction, our own claims cease to have meaning. The reason this is so widespread is that religion provides a niche for ideas that otherwise would die out quickly. Churches are (among other things) safe places for weak ideas. They’re like shelters for ideas that can’t defend themselves. In churches, terrible ideas are nurtured and cradled in a non-challenging environment. Churches are museums for bad ideas.

According to my values, the world would be a better place without faith. I attend a Unitarian church because there is much good in religion. But if we value intellectual honesty, a world without religion’s defining feature, faith, would be vastly better.

Posted: June 27th 2011

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Daniel Midgley www

It’s almost certain that if there were no religion, people would find something else to fight about. The human tendency toward tribalism (which religion does much to exacerbate) is the cause of (or at least a front for) much conflict.

However, religion is a very pernicious form of tribalism, and lends itself readily to conflict. Religious belief systems often posit that their beliefs come from an all-knowing god who will mete out punishments for deviating from the religious system. For this reason, religious conflicts are notoriously intractable. They are not amenable to compromise, since compromise is equivalent to heresy.

Abrahamic religions, in particular, partake in an end-of-the-world narrative, in which horrific warfare and bloodshed is necessary (and in fact, desirable) as a step to ushering in a mythical time of great peace. In such an environment, there are strong disincentives to peacemaking.

So, while conflict may be inevitable, other forms of conflict are far more amenable to negotiation and compromise than religious conflict.

Posted: June 27th 2011

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brian thomson www

My opinion: religion didn’t grow from the ground like a weed, and neither was it imposed on people from outside: we did this to ourselves. If it just went away in its current form, we’d invent something else to take its place. Forcing the issue doesn’t work – we saw how Stalinism became a religion in itself, with Stalin as its god.

So the challenge is to understand and manage our human nature, so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of our ancestors. Religion is only one form of dogmatism, which is only one of those primitive behaviours that we need to fix. I could go on about tribalism, war, overpopulation, and so on. It wouldn’t surprise me if our lives are eventually ruled by computer programs, since we seem to be unable to handle the basic logic necessary to ensure our continued existence on this planet.

Posted: June 27th 2011

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bitbutter www

No, the world would not necessarily be more peaceful without religious belief—which is not necessarily violent. Other widespread and false beliefs are very capable of causing great violence directly or indirectly. For instance mistaken views on economics which often manifest themselves as support of interventionist policies both foreign and domestic.

Posted: June 27th 2011

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