Mr. T. Campbell
Religions Effect on Society
For as long as humans have had the ability to reason, they have attributed the natural phenomenon of the world around them to deities, spirits, and supernatural forces. Religion has played a huge role in the development of societies and civilizations throughout history. It has been a guide for morals and principal. It has been a foundation of law for many cultures. The positive aspects of religion are recognized and cherished among its followers, however there are other effects, some well-known, and others ignored, that are not so positive. Just some examples of these effects are: wars, discrimination, control, the retardation of science, the ...view middle of the document...
Religious discrimination has been around as long as religion itself, and continues today in places all around the world. Directly after the terrorist attacks in 2001, religious discrimination complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission in the United States rose twenty percent. These complaints were mainly in the form of Muslims who felt they were being persecuted in the wake of the attacks. In Ireland during British rule the Catholic population was subjected to a great deal of discrimination. After the British relinquished control of the country the Catholics, who were the majority in the country, gained previously unavailable political control. The discriminatory roles reversed with Protestant Christians taking on a malignant position and for decades violence ensued between the two conflicting parties.
Stepping out of the Western world, the Chinese have long been guilty of persecuting the Buddhists in Tibet as a means to control them. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia in particular, migrant workers who are not Muslim must refrain from displaying any sort of religious symbols or openly participating in any religious practices. Other methods also include excluding members of particular religious groups, particularly Hindus, from job offerings.
Some religious discrimination is not as conspicuous as the state sanctioned examples above. In the United States, many atheists view the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance to be discriminatory. The perception of discrimination by atheists is supported by many studies and polls that find that most Americans view atheists in a negative light. A poll conducted in 1999 by Gallup asked Americans if they would consider voting for a political candidate that belonged to each of eight different minority and religious groups. Of the eight groups, the poll found that atheists were the most misaligned and discriminated against, with 48% of respondents saying they would not vote for an atheist candidate.
Aside from the obviously negative effects of discrimination and war, religion can also hinder scientific progress in a society. The most obvious and notorious impact currently is its prohibitive influence on stem cell research. Stem cells are cells in an embryo that can become any cell in a human body or can be a self-repair cell for existing cells. The methods of extracting embryonic stem cells involves fertilizing an egg in a laboratory. This creates issues because the religious argue that a human life is being created and then killed for experiments. While time has yet...