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Is religion useful, useless, or harmful?

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As an adaptation, if it is even that, here:

But, some theorists argue, religion is actually a bad adaptation. Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne attributes Americans’ doubt about Darwinian evolution theories to religious faith, which, he claims, correlates highly with social dysfunction. He goes on to claim that the United States is “one of the most socially dysfunctional First World countries.” That’s a tough contest to judge, considering the cutbacks riots and secularist-Islamist clashes that are increasingly common in secular post-modern Europe. And it is, in any event, difficult to discuss social dysfunction if societies do not even share basic values.

These theories about religion (useful, useless, harmful) have two things in common: First, they typically spill forth with no real engagement with religion. For example, one recent study claimed that believers subconsciously endow God with their own beliefs on controversial issues. That would be news to the many people whose religion urges them to do things they quite sincerely don’t want to do (fast) or give up things they really like (smoking). Another claimed that people reject evolution (Darwinism) and support ID because they are afraid to die.

If one’s research is in a hole that deep, why not stop digging? Well, in the case of evolutionary naturalists, it’s because the hole is the enterprise. They just didn’t think it would go down so far as to bury them too. More.

If religion is (as monotheists insist), a revelation, it is not necessarily an adaptation at all. Or not in the sense that Darwin’s followers mean. More on that later

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News Your personal story is interesting and glad they helped you. Yet the Jewish nurse has nothing to do with religion and goodness. Jews are a people group and not a religious group. I deeply resent muslim doctors coming into canada to get the best jobs and money ahead of Canadians. If we have room for doc jobs then open up med schools! He should stay in his country and heal the people there. Why should their rich gain my country and leave their own people in trouble. Thats why those muslim countries are in trouble. Lack of justice and kindness. Its not christian or religious as I see it. Robert Byers
Isn't Coyne Jewish? Why isn't a attack on religion REALLY a attack on Christianity? It is. Thats okay if one can attack others also. however we don't need to attack others religion. Religion makes little difference in most people. Christianity created the modern world, by way of puritan protestant influence in the english world especially, . Always being christian raises people up relative to their otherwise demographic status. Coyne's investigation is faulty for sure. Robert Byers
as to:
"Is religion useful, useless, or harmful?"
Contrary to what the Atheistic Materialists would presuppose beforehand, belief in God not only provides incalculable benefits for eternal life in the hereafter,,,
1 Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
,,, but belief in God also provides, across the board, tangible benefits in this present, temporal, life.
Are Religious People Happier Than Atheists? - 2000 Excerpt: there does indeed appear to be a link between religion and happiness. Several studies have been done, but to give an example, one study found that the more frequently people attended religious events, the happier they were; 47% of people who attended several types a week reported that they were ‘very happy’, as opposed to 28% who attended less than monthly. In practical terms, religious people have the upper hand on atheists in several other areas. They drink and smoke less, are less likely to abuse drugs, and they stay married longer. After a stressful event like bereavement, unemployment, or illness, those who worship don’t take it as hard and recover faster. All of the above are likely to be beneficial to a person’s happiness. Additionally, religious people, as a result of their beliefs, have a greater sense of meaning, purpose and hope in their lives. http://generallythinking.com/are-religious-people-happier-than-atheists/ Christians respond better to psychiatric treatment than atheists: - July 21, 2013 Excerpt: “Our work suggests that people with a moderate to high level of belief in a higher power do significantly better in short-term psychiatric treatment than those without, regardless of their religious affiliation. Belief was associated with not only improved psychological well-being, but decreases in depression and intention to self-harm,” explained Rosmarin. The study looked at 159 patients, recruited over a one-year period. Each participant was asked to gauge their belief in God as well as their expectations for treatment outcome and emotion regulation, each on a five-point scale. Levels of depression, well being, and self-harm were assessed at the beginning and end of their treatment program. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/religion/if-religious-believers-are-crazy/ Atheism and health A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5] http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health Is Christianity Evil? -overall statistical meta-analysis says Christianity is good for society and Individuals - 2014 video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgESPmh-TxY Why Don't Psychopaths Believe in Dualism? The Role of Opposing Brain Networks Anthony Jack (Case Western Reserve University, Cognitive Science, Cleveland, OH In a theoretical paper linking the attribution of phenomenal consciousness to moral cognition, Robbins and Jack (Philosophical Studies, 2006) predicted that psychopaths would not perceive the problem of consciousness. New experimental evidence is presented which supports this claim: in a group of undergraduates it was found that support for a naturalistic view of the mind is positively correlated with the primary psychopathic trait of callousness. http://www.sonoran-sunsets.com/goinggreen.html Anthony Jack, Why Don’t Psychopaths Believe in Dualism? – video (14 minute 20 seconds mark) http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUmmObUi8Fq9g1Zcuzqbt0_g&feature=player_detailpage&v=XRGWe-61zOk#t=862s Of snakebites and suicide - February 18, 2014 RESULTS: Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. per uncommon descent Study Finds Religion Helps Us Gain Self-Control - January 2012 Excerpt: Thinking about religion gives people more self-control on later, unrelated tasks; according to results from a series of recent Queen's University study. "After unscrambling sentences containing religiously oriented words, participants in our studies exercised significantly more self-control," says psychology graduate student and lead researcher on the study, Kevin Rounding. Study participants were given a sentence containing five words to unscramble. Some contained religious themes and others did not. After unscrambling the sentences, participants were asked to complete a number of tasks that required self-control - enduring discomfort, delaying gratification, exerting patience, and refraining from impulsive responses. Participants who had unscrambled the sentences containing religious themes had more self-control in completing their tasks. per medical news today Gallup Poll of 676,000 shows the most religious Americans have highest well-being - February 2012 per Uncommon Descent Devout Catholics Have Better Sex, Study Says - Group presents data showing those who go to church weekly have most frequent, enjoyable sex - By Elizabeth Flock - July 17, 2013 http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/07/17/devout-catholics-have-better-sex Church Divorce Rate Way Lower Than Anyone Thought - 6/23/2014 Excerpt: It's long been believed that half of America's marriages end in divorce and the problem is just as bad in the Church as the rest of the country. But when Harvard-trained researcher Shaunti Feldhahn tried to find the actual research to prove those points, she couldn't. It started her on an eight-year odyssey to find the actual facts.,,, In her book, The Good News About Marriage, Feldhahn lays out what she found during her eight years of investigating the complicated, complex divorce statistics. First, the divorce rate is way below 50 percent and much lower for those who attend church. Feldhahn estimates the overall divorce rate for the country is around 31 percent. The studies of people who regularly go to church all show a much lower divorce rate for them.,,, Feldhahn cited one example where a pastor tracked 143 couples who he had married. "It was 25, 27 years later. Less than 10 percent had been divorced," she stated.,,, For religious believers, if they'll be attentive to practice their faith with their spouse, they can almost double their odds of avoiding divorce. http://www.charismanews.com/us/44398-church-divorce-rate-way-lower-than-anyone-thought
Thus, just to be practical, you atheists ought to believe in God, or at least make a small effort to believe in God, just to have a better life in this world. You might just be surprised what happens once that willingness to believe appears:
Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
Sara Groves - Something Changed - slideshow http://www.vimeo.com/28076423
Religion is unavoidable. It's part of the human psyche's need to believe in things (or not). Our minds do not tolerate ambiguities. Those who claim to be non-religious are the most religious and self-righteous ones of them all. Mapou
Is religion useful, useless, or harmful?
Yes, religions are useful, useless and harmful. Hammers are useful, useless and harmful. Pesticides are useful, useless and harmful. Darwinism is useful, useless and harmful. Neo-darwinism is useful, useless and harmful. It all depends on the context. Joe
"Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne attributes Americans’ doubt about Darwinian evolution theories to religious faith." A bit of a shallow fellow. Au contraire, it is the religious commitment of the scientific establishment -- the determination to avoid the God hypothesis -- that allows the ridiculous theory to continue in the face of the stacks of contrary evidence. bFast
Not ambiguous: Two people in medicine who helped save my sometimes fragile life were a probably Jewish nurse whose wrist had a Nazi death camp tattoo and a surgeon who fled a war torn Muslim country and had to take his medical training all over again in Canada. Third, a doctor whose religious affiliations I know nothing about, treating an elderly relative recently, said he believed in "evidence-based medicine." Yes! I believe in evidence-based everything. I also believe the Christian religion can stand the test: Conquering kings their titles take From the foes they captive make; Jesus, by a nobler deed, From the thousands he hath freed. http://www.hymnary.org/text/conquering_kings_their_titles_take News
PS: As the obvious primary target is the Christian faith, and there is a tendency to try to portray its ethics in lurid colours [usually not realising that what is actually being targetted is Judaism . . . pause and ask yourself if you would say that to an elderly Rabbi wearing a tattoo from a death camp before hitting send, please . . . ] let me cite the core Christian moral teaching as has been on record for 2,000 years. Yes, the most famoussermon of all: _______________ >>Matthew 5-7New English Translation (NET Bible) The Beatitudes 5 When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. After he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to teach them by saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things about you falsely on account of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad because your reward is great in heaven, for they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way. Salt and Light 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled on by people. 14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good deeds and give honor to your Father in heaven. Fulfillment of the Law and Prophets 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place. 19 So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Anger and Murder 21 “You have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not murder,’ and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says ‘Fool’ will be sent to fiery hell. 23 So then, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and present your gift. 25 Reach agreement quickly with your accuser while on the way to court, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge hand you over to the warden, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last penny! Adultery 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away! It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell. Divorce 31 “It was said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a legal document.’ 32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Oaths 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not break an oath, but fulfill your vows to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not take oaths at all—not by heaven, because it is the throne of God, 35 not by earth, because it is his footstool, and not by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. 36 Do not take an oath by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. 37 Let your word be ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no.’ More than this is from the evil one. Retaliation 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, do not resist the evildoer. But whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him as well. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and to take your tunic, give him your coat also. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who wants to borrow from you. Love for Enemies 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? 47 And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? 48 So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Pure-hearted Giving 6 “Be careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. 2 Thus whenever you do charitable giving, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. 3 But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. Private Prayer 5 “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. 7 When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles, because they think that by their many words they will be heard. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored, 10 may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. 14 “For if you forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you your sins. Proper Fasting 16 “When you fast, do not look sullen like the hypocrites, for they make their faces unattractive so that people will see them fasting. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. 17 When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others when you are fasting, but only to your Father who is in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. Lasting Treasure 19 “Do not accumulate for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But accumulate for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Do Not Worry 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t there more to life than food and more to the body than clothing? 26 Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are? 27 And which of you by worrying can add even one hour to his life? 28 Why do you worry about clothing? Think about how the flowers of the field grow; they do not work or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these! 30 And if this is how God clothes the wild grass, which is here today and tomorrow is tossed into the fire to heat the oven, won’t he clothe you even more, you people of little faith? 31 So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own. Do Not Judge 7 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive. 3 Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while there is a beam in your own? 5 You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 Do not give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs; otherwise they will trample them under their feet and turn around and tear you to pieces. Ask, Seek, Knock 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you then, although you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets. The Narrow Gate 13 “Enter through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the way is spacious that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it! A Tree and Its Fruit 15 “Watch out for false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are voracious wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruit. Grapes are not gathered from thorns or figs from thistles, are they? 17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree is not able to bear bad fruit, nor a bad tree to bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will recognize them by their fruit. Judgment of Pretenders 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’ Hearing and Doing 24 “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed!” 28 When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed by his teaching, 29 because he taught them like one who had authority, not like their experts in the law.>> _______________ If your notion of Christian morality does not align with this, you have a strawman caricature, not the real thing. Period. KF kairosfocus
News, Too vague and ambiguous to be meaningful. The term serves as a grab bag of things that are incompatible and only linked by our tendency to seek a transcendent explanation of reality informed by our utter contingency. Too often, it becomes a rhetorical tool to transfer to Jews and Christians fears occasioned by terrorists adhering to a significantly different religious scheme that "must not be named" -- at least in this context, setting up a handy whipping boy that it is culturally permissible to be nasty to in a bigoted way, at least so it seems. Namely, the Christian faith. The Christian faith and underlying Judaeo-Christian worldview have done much good in our world, but as with any movement that has been around enough to have a track record, a lot of evil has been done under banners of Christianity; though a safer, sounder assignment would be to the truism that power tends to corrupt and when accountability is evaded, such naturally proceeds to utter extremes . . . a good part of why we have accountants, auditors and Courts of law. Compounded, by our own struggle with being finite, fallible, morally struggling, intellectually struggling and too often ill-willed. So, we need to move on to a more balanced, less angry or cynical, better informed view. Along the way, it would help to drop the frankly silly notion that ethical theism is irrational, lacks serious grounding and amounts to emotional reliance on an imaginary crutch. KF kairosfocus

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