Is Religion Good?

One of the most frequent responses I get when I tell someone that I’m a Christian is, “Good. I’m happy for you.” In other words, they’re glad I have a religion because religion is good. It doesn’t matter what religion you have, but religion itself is good. I want to speak to that very briefly. There’s no question that, characteristically, religions advance ethical teaching that are valuable to follow. People who are adherents to religion, on balance, live more moral lives than people who don’t care about those concerns at all. 

First of all, all religions can’t be right because they have contradictory ideas. Some teach you go to heaven or hell, some teach you get reincarnated, and some teach there is no afterlife at all. They can’t all be right. They can all be wrong, but they can’t all be right. Also, looking at the individual behaviors of people in this life without taking into consideration the eternal consequences seems to me to be focusing on the symptom and not the disease. When it comes to spiritual things, you have to get your foundational issues correct because mistakes have eternal consequences. False religion, even if it makes you a nice person for a while, is dangerous. To paraphrase Marx, false religion is the opiate of the people. It soothes, but it does not cure. 

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Greg Koukl

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