Problem

Inadequacy of religion


Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Inadequacy of religious doctrine
Ossification of faith in rigid doctrine
Nature:
When religious doctrines lose credibility, chiefly because they do not seem relevant to current social conditions, there results a lack of moral guidance. Religious teaching may be seen as hypocritical, corrupt or intolerant and may lead to conflict and atrocities. One religion may therefore be rejected without another taking its place. Experimental and fragmented religious sects may attempt to fill a need without in fact doing so on a wide or lasting basis. Other non-theist ideologies may be adopted by individuals, or society as a whole may witness the ascent of nationalism combined with an evangelical but secular political creed of a new order. State dogmatism may replace multi-religious, pluralistic and liberal regimes, and racism may enter along with totalitarianism. Decadence, cynicism and apathy may eventuate in a culture still in search of coherent or persuasive statements concerning its goals.

Religious doctrine may be incompatible with trends in modern living, as exampled in birth control, agricultural development, alleviation of mass poverty and malnutrition. Religious pronouncements against war, intolerance, discrimination and exploitation appear to have little practical effect. Religious doctrine may conflict with national or international development programmes causing conflict, or regressive religious attitudes may be adopted by the national government.

Incidence:
The rise of the Third Reich, and the establishment of communism, for example, may be seen as the results of the failure of religion. Religion appears to be inadequate, particularly in the view of disadvantaged or intellectual people in highly industrialized and technically developed societies where conservatively interpreted religious doctrines may be in direct conflict with social progress. Newer or more liberal doctrines may be insufficient or lack credibility to replace them. In developing countries, religion may impede progress to an even greater extent by holding the allegiance of masses of poor and uneducated people whose main solace is in religious belief. Among indigenous populations, the influences of the large and unacculturated institutionalized religions may serve to hasten ethnic disintegration but not to fulfil the needs of such populations in transition to a different way of life.
Counter Claim:
The great world religions have become what they are partly because of their social contributions in ages past, and particularly because they look at longer time frames than the maximum one generation span of attention of society. That every living creature, and those still to come, has an inviolable right to life is a religious viewpoint, without which societies would be inhumane. That every human being has a moral conscience and a right to exercise it is also a religious point of view. And, finally, that all men are brothers, is not a fact of science, but is an inspiration of the human spirit.
Reduced By:
Scientism
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
08.02.1997 – 00:00 CET