I don't know about purpose, but religion certainly has various functions. If bad people will be bad people even with religion and good people will be good people even without religion, which remaining functions do you believe satisfy actual needs that cannot be satisfied in some other way?
- Ryan, January 9, 2013
Religion gives people a comfort that they are not the final answer. Additionally, it gives them the believe that immortality is possible, which they need. Additionally, it gives them a friend when no other friends are found. Additionally, it can inspire a sense of awe that cannot easily be found elsewhere.
If you think all of these things either are not needed or that they can be found without religion, it would do nothing to remove the worth religion has for providing them.
In reality, religion fulfills needs that are typically not fulfilled without it.
I think you realize this already. You seem somewhat hostile to religion and seem to be looking for a reason to deny its value. It's like saying: people don't have to go to college. Plenty of very successful people never finished college." That is true, and that fact in no way devalues college. Education, well-used, is good. Religion, well-used, is good.
Perhaps you have an imperative that tells you that religion is wrong, thus bad. I do not have imperatives, nor do I generally believe they are reasonable. Additionally, I see no reason to think something is bad merely because Ryan thinks it is wrong.
John Myste often helps us out, taking time from a busy schedule which includes contributions to discussions across the internet.
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Nor does anyone expect it of you, but thanks for the needless jab anyway.
"If you think all of these things either are not needed or that they can be found without religion, it would do nothing to remove the worth religion has for providing them."
Ah, but I asked you specifically about needs, not desires that we call needs to make them seem more important. Of course religion has value to someone if he derives value from it, but does it satisfy any actual needs?
I would argue that religion often creates its own set of "needs" that it claims to be solely able to satisfy. For example: you are a wretched sinner, therefore you need God's forgiveness. That is a need that would disappear in the absence of a philosophy that preaches it. You do no damage to my argument by pointing out that people have these "needs" when they live in a world that raises people to have them.
"You seem somewhat hostile to religion and seem to be looking for a reason to deny its value."
I am hostile toward religion (not so much bare theism), but the hostility did not come first. The value of religion in my life vanished over time as I came to see how unreasonable the arguments for specific religions are and the motivations behind those arguments. It turned out that I never needed it, but don't take that to mean that I suddenly concluded that everyone else is just like me and therefore able to be content without religion.
"Perhaps you have an imperative that tells you that religion is wrong, thus bad."
I do not claim that falsehoods never do any good, but I don't need to claim that to reject the need for religion.
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