Book of Mormonisms

Did they really say THAT?

Religion Impedes Moral and Human Advancement

Posted by coventryrm on Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I introduced a friend of mine to an LDS blog I had been posting to, this was his observation:

“I’ve been looking through some of these blogs. There are some people who will believe the church is true no matter what preponderance of evidence shows that it is not true. They will always interpret the facts in a way that makes perfect sense to them. These folks claim they know the truth, and there is no amount of outside stimuli that will change their minds. There must be some part of human nature that drives people to want uniformity. Everybody should be, look, and act and believe in the same thing. If you don’t believe, there must be something wrong with you. That makes no sense to me. The only thing that does make sense is that is how humans evolved. The ones that gathered into groups and worked as a team were the ones who survived and killed off the groups who couldn’t organize as well. And religion seems to be an artifact of something that evolved with us over the millions of years…”

I agree with this and believe a study of the origin of man and ancient religions there does seem to be substantial evidence to support this. We can see how Religion has evolved. Overly simplified and just one of many examples, you start with humans that feared much because they did not understand much about their natural world and while in the infancy of discovery used myths to explain natural phenomena , storms, lightening, thunder, were perhaps a God’s anger; There were many ideas on how to keep the Gods happy, one example would be human sacrifice. Many of these earlier God myths clearly were incorporated into all three of the current monotheist religions that dominate our world. As we have discovered more and more about our natural world and no longer use God myths to explain so much we have also started to discard many of the things contained in our ancient sacred texts, slowly we are becoming much more moral not because we believe in some ancient writing but because our social conscience and morals continuously evolve as we as a human race discard these old and outdated beliefs, for real morals and as we put these moral principles into practice and we see the benefit to society we move even further ahead. Unfortunately it seems with every step forward, some religious fundamentalist group comes along and moves us back again. In my opinion religion is and has held back real moral and intellectual growth as a species. From current issues such as stem cell research, global warming, intelligent design and so and so on, and in the past the way it was used and still is used as a method for control and power over the masses etc.

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7 Responses to “Religion Impedes Moral and Human Advancement”

  1. blazeheliski said

    Personally, I have no arguments with your posting. I just think that you are taking too narrow of a view. I think there are more sides to the story of religion and its effects on society.

    I will start by suggesting that you might want to use some different “examples” of how religion has held society back. I think there are some better examples.

    Lets start with stem cell research. Embryonic stem cell research is done every day in this country, and around the world. There is nothing really that new about embryonic stem cell research. The only difference between embryonic stem cell research and adult stem cell research is that the federal government does not currently fund embryonic stem cell research. Many universities and private companies in this country do embryonic research every day. Just because it does not have some federal dollars behind it doesn/t mean that it is not getting the attention it deserves. Currently – it really does not make any sense to put a ton of dollars into embryonic stem cell research because to date – adult stem cell research has produced 72 cures, and therapies and embryonic stem cell research has produced 0.
    http://www.stemcellresearchfacts.com/
    The media tends to play up religious blockades to embryonic stem cell research, but in reality, the scientific data and the clinical results are driving companies and universities away from embryonic stem cell research. I don’t think companies want to be associated with disastrous outcomes like they have had in China. China is not a very religious country and I think even they are steering away from embryonic stem cell research.

    “Researchers in China met with a disastrous result. Fetal tissue injected into a patient’s brain produced temporary improvement, but within two years the patient developed a brain tumor and died. An autopsy revealed that the fetal cells had taken root, but had then metamorphed into other types of human tissue – hair, skin and bone. These grew into the tumor, which killed the patient.”
    http://www.lifeissues.org/cloningstemcell/bradsarticle.html

    I think that just general human moral ethics come more into play when it comes to cloning and other embryonic issues. There is a natural human sucspicion towards creating life and/or playing God. That is why Hollywood will come up with movies like “Frankenstein” or “The Island.” These are not religious movies, but they show what things might be like at the extremes. Growing humans just for their body parts does not sit right with most people – religious or not.

    I just don’t think you want to fall into the “trap” of throwing around the term “stem cell research,” because it does not do justice to a very complex topic.

    This post is already too long. I will break up my other points in separate posts. Global warming next! yay! 🙂

  2. coventryrm said

    I agree with you completely and appreciate what you are saying. My main point on all these issues is that they should be discussed and debated and talked about in the terms of the real impact on our society from a humanist standpoint and not strictly because some book of stories says it is wrong, lets throw in Abortion or Parents freaking out about the idea of giving their daughters the HPV vaccine but would rather risk their future. None of my examples are meant to just stand on their own, my point is in the way we discuss and argue such things. Using arguments like you have above regarding stem cell research makes perfect sense. I try not to be guilty of the same knee jerk reaction of the religious and simply be in favor of something just because the religious right is against it. Obviously today there is much less religious dogma holding us back than let’s say when Galileo was put under house arrest.

    When talking with people of religious faith claim that we would most likely be some sort of lawless barbaric civilization without Christianity, I have to look back through history and scratch my head and wonder. Humans seem to be able to evolve and develop morals and values and learn and grow and develop a good code of ethics void of religious dogma.

    “any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, the parental and filial affections being here included, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well, or nearly as well developed, as in man.” Charles Darwin

  3. blazeheliski said

    Global warming. First of all, explain how religion is impeding research on global warming? Most of the news I have read shows large numbers of religious groups supporting “global warming” initiatives as described in this article……..”86 evangelical Christian leaders have decided to back a major initiative to fight global warming, saying “millions of people could die in this century because of climate change, most of them our poorest global neighbors.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/08/national/08warm.html

    It is funny that you pick “global warming” as a scientific topic that is being impeded by religion when “global warming” dialogue is proving to be more religion than science every day. First of all – you need to keep up to date. The term is no longer “global warming” – it is now “climate change.” Why the change? The term started cropping up about 2 years ago when mountains of hard scientific data seem to refute the hyped warming climate models. Where did all this data come from? In 2003 about 3,000 Argos ocean buoys were finally deployed to give us tons of info on our oceans. The data so far – the oceans have cooled slighty since 2003. The newer weather sattelites that take over 100,000 temperature measurements a day show a slight cooling since 1998.

    In recent news, a UN organization came out with a contrary report to Al Gore. This is the UN – not some “right-wing” group. Here are a few clips from the article…………
    “The United Nations World Meteorological Organization is reporting that global temperatures have not risen since 1998. That would be the same temperatures that models from the U.N.’s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change said would be scorching the earth into an unlivable wasteland – except for those coastal areas flooded by seas gorged with water from melting ice sheets.”

    or
    “This is not some gas-guzzler’s fantasy but the finding of a credible study published last year in the International Journal of Climatology. Looking at the data, four researchers concluded “the weight of the current evidence. supports the conclusion” there is no agreement between the models and the observation temperatures.”

    or
    “It also proves that Howard Hayden, physics professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut, was correct in describing the machinery of the climate model-hysteria industrial complex as one that takes “garbage in” and spits “gospel out.” The global warming debate is not over. Indeed, the debate is beginning to favor the skeptics. ”

    I could go on forever about “global warming” – I mean “climate change.” I have been debating this topic on another message board for over 3 years.

    Whatever side of the debate you are on – “global waarming’ may not be the best example of religious impedance.

  4. blazeheliski said

    Religion definitely plays a role in moral discussions about abortion or HPV vaccines. It also plays a role in discussions about intelligent disign, or better yet it probably impedes discussions on evolution. Personally, I would say that impeding discussions on evolution is where religion still has the most impact on any kind of scientific discussions. The problem is that in today’s age with the age of the internet. Religion cannot really “squash” any kind of discussion. Even the most oppressive governments are having trouble “controlling” discussions because of the internet. China is sure trying – they have over 30,000 government internet “cops.”

    Back in the days when the world powers were more controlled by religion – there are plenty of examples of religion holding back progress. That is not really true anymore with most of the world powers. Religion and scientific progress can coexist side by side. America is about 80% religious and Japan is fairly religious also. Over the last 20 years – 57% of all world patents have come from these 2 countries.

    Some shinning examples of religion holding back scientific progress is starkly displayed in the Middle East – where fundamental Islam is the state sponsered religion. Many of these countries would still be living with 8th century technology if it were not for their oil money and there ability to purchase stuff from more advanced countries.

    So basically what I am saying is that religion by itself does not hold back science, but under the right political conditions it can. That is more due to the failings of man rather than the religion.

  5. coventryrm said

    I picked Global Warming/Climate change as I felt certain types of worldviews such as believing that within a short time Christ would return and the world would be destroyed anyway ran counter to actually taking serious or looking into such things as climate change. Regardless of what we actually find out to be the case through science it takes scientific thinking to even care about or notice these changes. Certainly once enough evidence or data is collected and becomes impossible to hide from, some within the religious community will jump on a bandwagon for the GOOD of mankind. Some will still oppose based on strong fundamental views you find a broad group of people that call themselves “Christian” some believe the Bible to be taken literally others have basically diluted it down to be the “Language of Spirituality” or the simple lesson of the “Golden Rule” But religion by itself rarely or at all initiates such progress, that is my point Religion does not teach to question or seek answers about our world outside of Faith and Obedience, but yes some religious people will take action and respond once certain information becomes to overwhelming to deny.

    My point is that Humans would have figured out certain things much sooner had it not been for religion.

    “So basically what I am saying is that religion by itself does not hold back science, but under the right political conditions it can. That is more due to the failings of man rather than the religion.”

    I would have to disagree with this statement; I was not specifically talking about science either but human advancement as well in terms of the treatment and the rights of people. I think our social conscience tends to be the driving force and that religion follows eventually but much of the time dragging its feet and that I feel slows down the process of Human advancement. I would agree that religion by itself does not hold us back but religion doesn’t exist by itself, so yes used under certain political or cultural conditions it does have a negative impact on our growth and potential as a species and that in my opinion has been the nature of religion in our history.

  6. coventryrm said

    I am also wondering if maybe you are in denial about climate change because of your fear that there will be no snow left for heli skiing!

  7. blazeheliski said

    Tru dat! 😉

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