Good religion and bad religion

I want to introduce the notion of there being good parts of religion and bad parts of religion. So often I hear people, especially skeptics, saying stuff like, “Religion messes so much stuff up.” Or “religion is the source of so many problem with society.”

But that suggests that it is always a bad thing. But I’d like to remind, if I could, that religion has been the source of so many good things in society as well. It can be done well, or poorly. Just like not all muslims are extremists, so we cannot treat the lovely ones as if they are the dangerous ones.

Christianity can be done in the name of Christ. Or it can be practiced with ulterior motives. So we must distinguish between the two. Some really ugly things have been done in the name of religion but religion is the thing that compelled Christians to go where the black plague was rampant, to nurse the victims, when everyone else was fleeing. Religion is the vehicle which compelled Mother Theresa to devote her life to the poor. Religion is the system which equips and calls so many people to build wells in Africa or feed the hungry on the streets on Sunday afternoons.

There is a good way to do it and a bad way. So let’s be careful when we say “Religion messes everything up.” It is us humans and our flawed motivations, and sometimes just bad circumstances, that turn it bad.

Raw Spoon, 10-21-16

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