Does religion stifle the maturation of the human race?

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CyberLN's picture
Does religion stifle the maturation of the human race?

From an historical perspective (hundreds and thousands of years) I think the human race is maturing, albeit very slowly. Education of children is more common, slavery is officially illegal everywhere, women are increasing their societal foothold, there are fewer primogeniture rulers, civil rights are considered more frequently, many nations have banned execution, many have anti-discrimination laws in place, the list goes on.
Are we, as a human race, fully mature? Oh heck no! Will we be so by tomorrow? Oh heck no! Why? I posit that religions are a major cause of the retardation of our maturation. Some more than others.
Do you think that a swing toward or away from religion impedes or aids our maturity?

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Ian Hall's picture
There is an open question as

There is an open question as to whether religion evolved to meet or to exploit an evolutionary need. It is certainly true that the success of human society, and thus our species, is built on our ability to rally behind charismatic leaders, develop shared value systems, and take decisive action in the face of extreme uncertainty. We could debate religion's part in this for a long time, but there is a case to be made that it was positive overall up to a point. It is also undeniable that at times the costs have far outweighed the benefits. The legacy of Hinduism in India, for example, is the caste system which today condemns some 800 million people to poverty and deprives us of their talent and capability. Islamic society turned in on itself completely somewhere in the 14th century and is now mired in dogma where they once lead the world in mathematics and science. Christianity brought us the inquisition, endless slaughter and bigotry, and has publicly tried to hold back the tide of knowledge, including insisting that the world was flat and denying evolution because it didn't fit with their beliefs. As an aside, the ascent of monotheism heralded a 1,000 year decline we call The Dark Ages because it is not as flexible as pantheism, and the only thing that saved us from it was the Enlightenment, which only happened because of growing schisms with in the Catholic Church. In short, while there is a possibility that religion had some role in allowing early man to form cooperative societies, it is undeniable that is has caused enormous harm. Even today, religious groups insist on publishing books such as the Koran and Bible, that in any other context would be treated as a hate crime. They call for people to be murdered on the basis of their sexuality, beliefs or the clothes they were. They insist that women are inferior and subordinate (the Vedas even claim that women seven times lustier and nine times dirtier than men). That kind of hatefulness, ignorance and stupidity has nothing positive to contribute to the development of society. Religion in that context is simply an instrument for codifying and normalising bigotry. It has to be stopped.

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