For example, it may be manifestly untrue that there is an all-knowing supernatural being, such as a god, spirit, or ancestor that is concerned with everyday moral behavior and monitors the thoughts and actions of group members. But believing this to be the case might very well encourage cooperation and suppress free-riding, behaviors that help to solve collective action problems that attend to living in large, unrelated groups. If increased cooperation and decreased social strife is deemed to be a public good, then religion may be seen as a force for good irrespective of the truth-value of its propositions.
Whether the content of religious belief is true or justified is another matter entirely. So in theory both Hitchens and Wilson could be correct, and hence the question sets up a false dichotomy.
In many countries, spiritual teachings are the dominating powers, with politics and government following where the teachings lead. This can be good and bad. It can be good if the fate is peaceful and teaches about harmony and betterment of human standards of living through fellowship and charity. It can be bad when the teachings state that the world should be eradicated of all people not of its spiritual affiliation and this has been the case many times in history.
Religion - Good or Bad? Essay - 1440 Words - StudyMode
There are thousands of different religions, and I do not propose to discuss all of them here. What I have to say can be adequately expounded by reference to Judaism, Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism. In general, these comprise the major religions of the world, and will serve as good examples for the messages I want to make. I am sure there are many other religions of the world which avoid the errors of these four, but I am not attempting a complete survey of the history of religion here I just want to make some points in an evolutionary context.