Fathers’ Rights

A Chicago Blog

Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil?

Posted by madcap on February 16, 2008

This is the most respectful debate I have seen on this issue. It’s like a breath of fresh air!

In this debate on what are arguably two of the most important questions in the culture wars today[most important questions in life!] — Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil? [man is the force for good or evil. Religion is only a tool] and Can you be Good without God? — the conservative Christian author and cultural scholar Dinesh D’Souza and the libertarian skeptic writer and social scientist Michael Shermer, square off to resolve these and related issues, such as the relationship between science and religion and the nature and existence of God. This event was one of the liveliest ever hosted by the Skeptics Society at Caltech, mixing science, religion, politics, and culture.

Also see:

Holons and The Four Ways of Being

Unlocking the Mysteries of Life.

Nietzsche’s Warning:Madman in The Marketplace

A Thought From Alexis De Tocqueville

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:


3 Responses to “Is Religion a Force for Good or Evil?”

  1. MJ "revoltingpawn" said

    I have always said myself that man causes evil and religion is just one the tools he uses. Religion becomes a problem because you have a group of men saying they know the will of God and worse, when you really look at it all religions are man made.

    Now individual faith and spirituality can be good for a person but let’s just stop pushing personal beliefs onto other people.

    We recently ended a series of articles related to this entitled “Does God Have a Future?” for those who are interested…


  2. mjdcrx said

    Very good on both accounts and both are very cordial and polite. One of the best debates I have ever witnessed and viewed, and I’m glad you decided to share it over your blog. Nice find ;).


  3. parallelsidewalk said

    Religion is not so much good or bad as just a perennial part of human existence that often simply serves as a Rorschach blot for the individuals and societies that profess them. If people are charitable and kind by disposition they will emphasize those teachings and if they are inclined towards a nationalistic us verses them mentality they will see their religion that way (and this is an oversimplification as some would see BOTH). I think Steve Hagen, a Zen priest and writer, is onto something when he says that religion has a role in human existence but should not involve belief. This seems paradoxical but as Hagen explains, religion can be about direct perception of reality and seeking truth rather than belief. Belief does cause some crazy stuff to happen; it causes the Osamas of the world to fly planes into buildings, the Pat Robertsons to say we need Israel as a landing pad for Jesus in a few years, and as an example specific to this blog, caused Thomas Aquinas to advocate the death penalty for ‘heresy’. On the other hand, scientific materialism offers people nothing either, and people like Dawkins are nihilists and bigots themselves whose dogma is just as destructive as any based on religion. There has to be a better way.

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