Atheist, do you believe that religion has had a net positive or a net negative effect on humanity?

If the latter, how do you explain the prevalence of religion in evolutionary terms?

11 Answers

  • S
    Lv 5
    5 years ago

    The net effect religion has had on humanity is *probably* positive (we've been around for a while), although in recent times the net effect would definitely be negative. It's becoming increasingly obsolete with science providing explanations for many of the holes that religion filled. Religion helped society grow, but society (humanity) has reached a point where religion is more of a 'liability' than an 'asset', and is actually holding us back.

    It no longer has a place in society, and is living off childhood indoctrination. Nowadays it's more of an *I can't handle reality* tool, or an excuse to do bad things.

  • 5 years ago

    It has certainly helped the survival of groups that had religion, compared to groups that didn't have it.

    Whether that was a net positive or not is probably impossible to know, but considering the hundreds of religious wars and thousands of religion-inspired massacres that have occurred over the centuries, there's certainly a lot on the negative side of the equation.

    Source(s): Religious Wars Timeline:
  • 5 years ago

    Rape also has some evolutionary advantages, for the rapist. That doesn't mean that a society where the rights of all people are upheld equally should encourage rape.


    Third, according to the most recent compendium of history’s worst atrocities, Matthew White's Great Big Book of Horrible Things (Norton, 2011), religions have been responsible for 13 of the 100 worst mass killings in history, resulting in 47 million deaths. Communism has been responsible for 6 mass killings and 67 million deaths. If defenders of religion want to crow, “We were only responsible for 47 million murders—Communism was worse!”, they are welcome to do so, but it is not an impressive argument.

    Fourth, many religious massacres took place in centuries in which the world’s population was far smaller. Crusaders, for example, killed 1 million people in world of 400 million, for a genocide rate that exceeds that of the Nazi Holocaust. The death toll from the Thirty Years War was proportionally double that of World War I and in the range of World War II in Europe (p. 142).

  • Corey
    Lv 7
    5 years ago


    Evolution isn't some magical force that prevents negative things from happening. Religion is a side effect of other things that been beneficial (abstract though, paranoia, ). The negative side effects haven't yet caused our extinction. That doesn't mean their not negative.

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    It is an unfortunate side effect of evolving intelligence, which requires birth at an underdeveloped stage.

    Parental teaching is then vital to survival.

    The child that unquestioningly believes "don't go into the woods or you'll get eaten by a bear", survives to pass on the trait of unquestioning belief.

    Even if the thing the parent says it utter bullshitt, like "behave or you'll burn in hell for eternity".

    Once a meme like that has started, it's very hard to stop.

  • 5 years ago

    1. Negative.

    2. Religion only adopted evolutionary explanations in a religious sense after they realized they could not keep up the religion ignoring science completely.

  • Pavel
    Lv 6
    5 years ago

    I think evolution chose religious belief because they make more babies. But as far as net positive or negative....all my friends and family are deeply religious, they arent so bad.

    The problem for me is, is it true?

  • 5 years ago

    Negative. Religion has not evolved.

  • 5 years ago

    "prevalence of religion in evolutionary terms"

    Quite easy - military, force, and violence. Have you never picked up a history book? Hell, look at the Middle East right now.

  • Al
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    Clearly religion does some good, and has done (and continues to do) much, much more harm than good.

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