philoreaderguy wrote:He said that it's good because it brings people together and teaches morality.
We all need a base for morality. One easy way of creating this is by saying "its GODs will" or turning to the old "you must act good to go to heaven"-argument. But I think that basing morality on logical and emotional ground would be much better, since we then would not have to bring in unknown factors, such as the existance of a God, or for that matter, several Gods...
Also, I would still argue that Religion also create rifts between people. People of different outspoken religions often think in terms of being wrong/right, true believer/infidel etc. Creating powerful and neatly defined social In- and Out-groups.
Stoan wrote:I think the debate is that some religions inhibit any thought that does not correlate with their own belief
I agree. Adaption to a religion often means leaving doubts and critical thinking behind and accepting the words of someone else as personal truth. This is dangerous, to let others think for us. Remember, Jesus, Mohammad, George Bush, Osama bin Laden and 15th century french monarchs all claimed to be obeying Gods will. If we leave critical thinking behind and follow religious leaders, we might become so blinded by faith that we do not judge the characters nor intentions of our leaders.
Religion does not fully control its practicers, it influences them. Therefore, a violent man might still be violent, but direct it towards an accepted target, such as the "followers of Satan" or just the common "infidel".
I would turn it around and argue that good people can stay good even without religion, likewise "bad" people. But that kind of distinction is a little black&white.
My take is that if religion is false, then it might still be good for motivational purposes and such. As an activity, it can also bring people together, but so can many activites. But it can become dangerous too, especially if practiced collectively.