Religion causes good
Can same or better outcomes be achieved without making unsubstantiated claims/ straight out lying?
If the answer is YES, then stop lying.
Consider the issue of Santa Claus.
1) Sure, you could lie and tell your kid Santa is real, and then make him feel like a moron when he finds out the truth.
2) Or you could give your kid the gift and tell him you love him.
Either way, your kid gets to have fun with his gift and there’s an explanation, except that with option 2, you aren’t lying. Except with option 2, you kid isn’t some retard who thinks some fat white guy is going to squeeze through your chimney to deliver gifts to all the billions of children in the world over the course of 1 day riding a floating reindeer. Except with option 2, your kid thanks you.
Religion is often thought of as a deterrent. The problem with religion as a deterrent, is that once someone figures out its fake, the deterrent loses its effect.
You know what deterrent isn’t fake? The police. Self preservation. People’s survival instinct. The amount of effort that goes into evading justice. Empathy.
Crime is unsustainable. Crime harms society, and even criminals depend on society. When you commit a crime, you are going against your social instincts.
More than often, the crime is not worth it – fact. Reason is a better deterrent for crime than religion would ever be.
In the name of religion
The reason religious zealots are often more dangerous than any conventional criminal, is that religion teaches people to be blind to the facts. Religion and most strong ideologies teach people to abandon self preservation in favor of the cause. Religion teaches you to distrust the outside signals. In order to be religious, you MUST resist the lies and temptations of the material world, the enemy.
Religion is a powerful motivator for crime, but a weak motivator for good. Killing is bad, right? But what if you kill in the name of the LORD? eh? What if you can go to heaven for enslaving and raping the enemy? It’s like having your cake and eating it too! How many of these murderers in the LRA and the ISIS and Al Qaeda would have acted differently if they didn’t have religion as an excuse to murder? Quite a few I would imagine, because
When someone kills for god, he can proudly proclaim, “I did it for god! I struck down those filthy infidels!”
When someone kills for his country, he must show restraint: “It was unfortunately necessary.”
When someone kills for profit, there is no glory, only cash.
Only psychopaths applaud mercenaries. Military veterans are respected, but to be a religious war hero is to receive the highest praise and honor.
What about the Charity
The reason religion supposedly does good is because their god commands it, and by obeying you are building up good karma or favorability in god’s eyes.
Unfortunately, because I said so is a poor reason for anything. Off the top of my head:
1) An actual reason for charity is to prevent the disadvantaged from becoming desperate. Desperate people are a danger to society and themselves.
2) Creating a culture of charity is to install a social safety net, because one day you could be in their place and when that day comes, you’d also want people to help you.
3) Another reason for charity is empathy. If you’re a normal person, chances are making someone else happy will make you happy in return.
4) Praise and publicity. Gaining reputation.
5) Sense of accomplishment. Knowing that you were instrumental in someone’s survival.
6) Maximizing the effectiveness of your resources. This is your hard earned money, you’ve got enough left over. Don’t let it sit in a bank with its pitiful interest rate, make your hard work meaningful.
These reasons alone create a stronger case for charity than religion ever could. “Donate or else my unproven invisible sky god will smite you via avoidable natural phenomena”, pfft.
Plus, religious charities often have BAD strings attached. A Coca Cola charity may come with a delicious serving of sugar soda. A Christian charity might just come with Leviticus, as well as sound medical advices such as “contraception bad”.
Religion is fake
And also unnecessary. It is a powerful motivator for evil and a shitty motivator for good. Without religion, terrorists would have to face the fact that they are murderous psychopaths. Without religion, the good done would be focused less on pleasing god, and more about y’know, actually improving society, and the lives of the people in it.