It Depends

Whether “organized religion” is good or bad depends on many different factors. If one is asking whether organized religion is intrinsically good or intrinsically bad, the answer is a resounding “neither”. Something is intrinsically good if and only if it is essentially good by its very nature, and likewise intrinsically bad if it is bad by its very nature. I believe that organized religions are neither of those things. Rather, consider intrinsic value versus “instrumental” value, where something is instrumentally good or bad when it is productive of results that are essentially good or bad. No informed individual can reasonably deny that organized religions have had responsibility for both sorts of results. They’ve been vitally important in promoting good things such as social values, and instrumental in promoting some of history’s greatest atrocities. Christians had their Crusades and Inquisitions. Islam has had its terrorism. So, in the end, “it depends”.

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