People do good because they are human, not because they are religious!
Do not give God any credit for the good they do, they did it!
A bad form of religion or religious faith deserves to be deserted and indeed should be.
The notion that if a religion is false or true, it is useful is extremely common and a variation of it is voiced in every pulpit at some point. You need to think about it to see that it is in fact a conjuring trick. If a religion is great even if it is rubbish and nonsense, and it does not care then that religion is saying that truth does not matter. A religion that does not care about truth is corrupt and its good effects are cosmetic and toxic in the long term.
If religion is useful, then useful for what? If it is a tool it can be used to do harm. It is only luck if nothing bad has happened yet. It is luck that is doing the good not the religion.
Original sin includes the notion of sin but also the notion that humanity prefers to form a goodness that suits them rather than real goodness. The good is intended to be the enemy of the best. For the sake of the community, a religion may cover up how its clerics are preying on children for sex. If a religion claims to treat original sin and nothing seems to work that cannot be explained by a placebo effect or the illness being hidden better then the religion is to blame for any terrible things that its members do.
If we are damaged by having badly evolved brains or by original sin or by Satan’s interference, it makes our logic suspect. Religion likes to tell people who realise that it is wrong or man-made nonsense that they are being misled by their own minds. This destroys your confidence. In principle, even if our reasoning is under suspicion, we should still reason. It would be better to do that than not to bother or to think that any nonsense should be celebrated and tolerated in case it happens to be true. We still have to search for evidence and respect evidence. A religion that is not helping you think is not a good religion. No religion helps you.
If a religion is a faith community it follows that it has to take responsibility as a whole for whatever evil the minority do for it claims to be the people as well as a set of doctrines. A school claims to be the teachers and the pupils. You wouldn’t argue that if one teacher is bad that it is a great school. You have to take the good with the bad and the school is to blame if the teacher is no good. Only religion claims that it should be supported for all the members are not all bad. Nothing else does that. You do not join the golf club if there are a minority of bullies in it and if the club uses the excuse, “Its nothing to do with us. It is their choice.” The excuse is a reason to keep clear not to join it! The not all bad excuse in relation to a religion or faiths members is just an excuse for you cannot ignore the bad even if they are just a few. Ignoring and being encouraged to by the religion shows the religion is not good.
A community entity or political entity that has some bad people involved is one thing. But it is not the same for a religion to have this problem when the religion claims to be in touch with and a channel for a supernatural power that helps and enables people to rise above the flaws of humanity. When you might not dismiss a community group that has problem people, you should if that group is a religious one.
If original sin exists, then the worship of a God and a Jesus who issued violent scriptures and caused bloodshed and violence is unsurprising. That religion would try to excuse them shows that it is a bad religion. You cannot argue that all scriptures must be interpreted in the light of human reason for that assumes:
One, that the book is really agreeable with reason or intended to be. That is a ridiculous idea. It shows you are unwilling to see if the book is irrational.
Two, that the book agrees with human reason. But God who knows and sees all will have reasons for doing things we may never think of. And human reason is no guarantee against violence and injustice. Life calls for complicated decisions and looking to do the necessary evils that this is inevitable.
Three, to take a violent book non-literally in the name of reason is just a smokescreen. People are going to see through it and it will do no good. If the book really is violent, those who are lying and trying to cover up are still programming others to see the divine authority of the book as unquestionable. That is dangerous.
A religion may command evil and corrupt its people to one degree or another. An example is how Jesus Christ himself sought to die in the name of faith.
A religion may command good but in such a vague and controversial way that the goodness that comes from it can be explained by chance and it may be no better than any other religion. An example is how a Scientologist may do a lot of good.
A religion may command good but teach doctrines and techniques that promise to help make you a better person but fail to deliver. It usually does not really care that its placebos fail or do worse damage for if you really want to help people you will continually test and question your methods and scrap them if you see they are not helping. A religion that does not help may not be harming. But it is always harming in the sense that if you expect help and don’t get it that is harming by itself. The religion refuses to take responsibility for the evil done by its members and that is harm in itself.
A religion may do good and preach goodness but be okay with lying. The trouble is that if it causes a war, it will lie that it is not to blame. It will lie about how good and beneficial it is as a faith.
A religion may preach good or be okay in its outlook and teaching but if too many of its followers are violent or give a nod to violence or do not battle the violence within the religion then in some unknown or unclear way, the religion is fully or partly making it possible for members to become bad or to become an attraction for bad people who convert because they are bad. The tree will be known by its fruits.
A religion that encourages you to look at the good it does and the good people in it but not at the harm is not genuinely good and cares about appearances most. You cannot ignore the bad side.
The goodness that many religions encourage is in the form of altruism. Altruism however is dehumanising for it asks you to look at yourself merely as a means to make other people better off. By proxy, the altruist dehumanises others for others would be encouraged to be altruistic too. That is how a religion with no obviously mad or dangerous teachings could still be worse than a shamelessly bad religion. Altruism is dehumanising when it is directed at other people but more so when it is directed at a God who may not exist!
The notion that evil done by a religion is non-religious and is an example of religion being abused is totally stupid. It is messing around with words. If man makes religion then religion cannot be intrinsically good. And Buddhism which has no God cannot be as good or right as a religion that does.
People being in a faith or religion such as Islam that does so much harm shows you what human nature is like. Those believers show man’s real colours. They may not harm but they are part of something that leads some people to do harm. They are encouraged by those who exonerate them from what the violent members do and who call them civilised.
You could be in a better religion and still be the kind of person who would stay if it turned out as bad as or worse than Islam.
People call evil religions religions of peace. Perhaps they think that if they do that they are inspiring the religions to do better. Or they actually fear religion too much to call it what it is? Or they fear saying something that will make the state or other religions attack the religions perceived as evil or harmful or risky. Or they are just enabling liars.
Many people say a little religion can be a dangerous thing. Christianity warns that you must go to the authorities God has set in place such as ministers and scriptures to form your faith and its a lifelong process of learning. But suppose a person has a choice. He has to choose to believe a few doctrines: that God established the laws that people are to be stoned to death for adultery and revealed that those who die in sin deserve to burn in Hell forever. Or to believe that God has never spoken. The Church would tell him to believe the few doctrines. So violent nasty doctrines are preferred to functional atheism! The reason a little religion is a dangerous thing is because the whole thing is dangerous. We are talking about a principle here – it does not matter if the choice will never be offered.
If religion is risky you are supporting this risk by having anything to do with it. If Mormonism is risky, you help that risk by giving it any money even if you are not Mormon. Your giving sends a message.
If religion is bad, you are bad by having anything to do with it. Connecting to it is supporting it and helping it to exist.
The worse the religion, the worse your support is.
The statement made by some that religion never makes you hate and that religious people hate for reasons other than religion and can then try to use religion as a justification for their hate is nonsense. Man makes religion and like anything man-made it can produce hate. There is no excuse for hate and if religion is used as an excuse for hate that does not necessarily imply that religion is intrinsically good. Sometimes something can be used as an excuse for evil because it is not really as good as it is made out to be.