Running Head: DOES RELIGION BRING HARM OR GOOD 1
Does Religion Bring Harm or Good?
Columbia Southern University
DOES RELIGION BRING HARM OR GOOD 2
Does Religion Bring Harm or Good?
At the least, an overwhelming majority of people believe that the subject of religion is a
complex one; and that faith may unify or divide depending on how an individual or a group of
people interprets it. On the one side, religion never prompted adherents to be at the forefront in
the fight against discrimination and other forms of injustices. Religious people are usually the
last to accommodate divergent opinions, and yet their views may only be taken on faith and
never on the basis of facts and reason. Conversely, there are those who perceive and have
actually recommended religion as an effective means of resolving conflicts. While some
historical disputes could have been resolved on the basis of religious teachings, however, faith
has never been proved to be a reliable basis for enduring integration amongst warring parties.
Besides, religious people are still discriminating against such groups as immigrants and those
with different sexual orientation, with the latter category being deemed as misfits.
Had the harm that religions cause been confined to the lives of the moral agents and
hence not affecting anyone else in their vicinity and beyond, that would make it a purely
personal matter. Nevertheless, this is not the case; and because the detriment extends to the
society at large, the rest of the citizens are justified to cast doubt about the value of faith-based
doctrines. As opposed to the lessons from the parable of the Good Samaritan, for instance, a
significant number of White Evangelicals opted to remain indifferent to the federal government’s
family separation policy. The fact that they do not question some of these harsh measures against
fellow human beings makes it apparent that religion is, and as it has always been the case,
promoting tribalism. Contrary to this view is that religious people have embraced the civil rights
for women and Black people. Though this is progress, religion is particularly harmful since it
DOES RELIGION BRING HARM OR GOOD 3
prompts intolerance; and there are many historical episodes when it actually caused all-out wars
and, therefore, religion is bad for the society.
Literature Review Preface
According to Denton (2019), there are numerous problems which directly result from
people’s beliefs about God. The information is actually in the public domain. At times, half of
the stories in such major newspapers as The New York Times relate to how religious convictions
have caused people to hurt others. One popular case in point is that Seung-Hui who shot and
killed 32 people at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia, in 2007. His
mother to was a devout Christian who schlepped the young Seung-Hui from one church to
another in search of exorcism (Schwadel & Garneau, 2019). While the people’s attention is
currently bound up in the competing ideas about the nature of God, religious-based intolerance
and violence continues. Curtis & Johnson (2019) note that certain kinds of religious infatuation
certainly lead to serious problems, and the public is slow to acknowledge religion’s causal role in
conflicts due to the respect accorded to faith.
Discussion of the Controversy
Throughout history, societies have allowed for the sphere of protection to exist around
religions. Traditionally, it has been taboo to criticize the religious views of others. Denton (2019)
argues that this is dangerous since it allowed the propagation of unexplored views from
generation to generation. Curtis & Johnson (2019) agree, and add that had there been open
debate right from the start, some of these ideas would have been debunked in time. According to
Puckett et al. (2018), it is surprising that someone can be a neurosurgeon, and hence be one of
the most educated people on Earth, and still believe in the promise of the 72 Virgins in Paradise.
The perpetrators of the shocking crimes are usually willing to die for what they believe. They
DOES RELIGION BRING HARM OR GOOD 4
focus on the rewards which may only be attained after the Earthily life is over. Brauer (2018)
disagrees with the argument that religion is uninvestigated, and insists that doubts about faith
have been expressed since the beginning of belief itself.
At a personal level, region harms people since it is impacted on someone’s mind through
indoctrination. This means that individuals are rarely taught critical thinking skills. With lack of
critical thinking skills, someone can believe in anything. Denton (2019) argues that most of the
parents who refuse vaccines for their children identify as religious; and they mostly do so since
their religious leaders has said that vaccines are bad. According to Puckett et al. (2018), religion
teaches the virtue of being satisfied with little or no knowledge. Indeed, children who doubt what
they are being taught are shamed, even by their own parents. In addition to the shame, the
children are made to endure long-lasting fear of the hell-fire. That fear linger way into the
adulthood. Curtis & Johnson (2019) indicate that religious people participate in sexual shame,
and they particularly disgrace people for their sexual inclination. This makes life difficult for the
LGBTQ community who are compelled to keep on explaining themselves rather than living and
enjoying their lives. The LGBTQ community is besides itself since these individuals are made to
think that they will never be good enough for God, at least until they renounce their immorality
(Sherkat & Lehman, 2018).
Religion facilitates many things for the adherents; and Ngamaba & Soni (2018) argue
that these include a sense of community, hope, and support. Nonetheless, such benefits can still
be drawn from the real world. Schwadel & Garneau (2019) insist this should actually be the goal
since supposing one based their actions and beliefs on incorrect myths, at least some of the
actions they take will be irrational. This underscores the urgent need for people to work towards
ensuring that their beliefs conform to the evident of reality. Religion, unfortunately, is based on
DOES RELIGION BRING HARM OR GOOD 5
the assumptions of the questions people might ask and not even the questions they have really
asked. Consequently, the exploration of certain aspects of the world and life is curtailed right
from the onset (Puckett et al., 2018). The nature of religion is that adherents will certainly end up
with exclusionary communities, as opposed to creating a global society. If societies across the
world based their decisions and collective actions on the realities shared by everyone, most of the
problems triggered by religion would disappear.
Literature Review Conclusion
The challenge in debating the pros and cons of religion is the people’s reluctance to admit
that faith drives people to commit atrocities. Indeed, even the secular and nonreligious people do
not admit that someone’s belief can, for instance, compel them to engage in suicide bombings or
to shoot at young and innocent children. According to Ngamaba & Soni (2018), such actions are
perceived as having been brought about by psychological aberration. Brauer (2018) blames
political policies as well as economic desperation as the causes. Nonetheless, Curtis & Johnson
(2019) has concluded that metaphysical beliefs are the predominant catalysts. A significant
number of the perpetrators come from economically stable backgrounds, and tend to have
attained advanced education. Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan came from a stable
background and had a rewarding career, yet he went ahead to hurt 43 innocent people, and 13 of
them lost their lives (Denton, 2019). These problems are precipitated by metaphysical beliefs,
and hence religion is dangerous for the society.
DOES RELIGION BRING HARM OR GOOD 6
Brauer, S. (2018). The surprising predictable decline of religion in the United States. Journal for
the Scientific Study of Religion, 57(4), 654–675. https://doi.org/10.1111/jssr.12551
Curtis, E.E., & Johnson, S.A. (2019). Transnational and diasporic future of African American
religions in the United States. Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 87(2), 333–
Denton, B.K. (2019). Is this America? Unfinished business with the U.S. national imaginary,
religion and violence. Dialog: A Journal of Theology, 58(1), 30–38.
Ngamaba, K.H., & Soni, D. (2018). Are happiness and life satisfaction different across religious
groups? Exploring determinants of happiness and life satisfaction. Journal of Religion &
Health, 57(6), 2118–2139. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-017-0481-2
Puckett, J.A., Wolff, J.R., Gunn, H.A., Woodward, E.N., & Pantalone, D.W. (2018). An
investigation of religion and spirituality of sexual minorities in the United States:
Exploring perceptions, intrinsic religiosity, and out-ness to religious communities.
International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 28(3), 145–161.
Schwadel, P., & Garneau, C.R.H. (2019). Sectarian religion and political tolerance in the United
States. Sociology of Religion, 80(2), 168–193. https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/sry032
Sherkat, D.E., & Lehman, D. (2018). Bad Samaritans: Religion and anti‐immigrant and Anti‐
Muslim sentiment in the United States. Social Science Quarterly (Wiley-Blackwell),
99(5), 1791–1804. https://doi.org/10.1111/ssqu.12535