I thought that I should try something new, so here's my first attempt at a thread in Politics Discussion. I feel that religion belongs here because it had a lot of influence on politics for millenia. I won't even bother to be as correct as possible in the things that I am going to say, because on a subject like this there will be disagreement anyway. Most of what I'll talk about will be Christianity, and more specifically, it's catholic branch, because that's what I know best. Okay, let's go.
The thread title should have caught your attention, so I'll get straight to the point: Religion has done so much harm and brought so much sorrow to humanity on many different levels that it's hard to hand out a positive verdict for its whole body of work.
Many wars were fought because of religion. People tried to force other peoples to convert to their belief, otherwise they would kill them. The Roman Empire used to go after Christians (the Roman beliefs were derived from the Greek, so their religion was one that had many different gods), but at some point one of their Emporers decided that Christianity is the right belief, so suddenly the people who weren't Christians became outlaws. Sometime during the Middle Ages, Europe decided to go to the Middle East. There's a movie with Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman which touches on that in the beginning. The point is that in this planet's history millions of people were killed for the sole reason that they believed in the wrong god(s).
The next thing I want to address is that religion enabled and still enables people to execute the most gruesome crimes, because it serves as justification to perform such acts. A normal human being can be turned into a merciless murder machine if they believe that they are doing what they are doing not only for a greater cause, but for a being that is greater than humanity itself. People let themselves be turned into suicide bombers because they are told about a paradise in the afterlife. If somebody serves you such a story, wouldn't it be a good idea to ask that person why he isn't doing the bombing job himself?
Another issue is that religion has regularly held science back. For centuries doctors and astronoms had to do their stuff secretly, because otherwise they might have been punished for heresy. Then there's the whole thing about even raped women being forbidden to abort a baby, or the refusal to greenlight condoms as an acceptable thing. Women seem to be dirt in the eyes of catholics anyway. They are pictured as seductive beasts who want to ruin men's lives; well, that is true in some ways, but not in those that the Church preaches.
Homosexuality is considered a sin and many parents have disowned their children because they put the teachings of the Church over the well-being of their own flesh and blood. This topic is doubly messed up when you take into account that the catholic Church is ruled by a group of men who all live in the same house and wear dresses. It can't get any more hypocritical than that. Related, a good amount of priests has been exposed as pedophiles. Parents have been sending their children to the church with the best intentions, but it led to abuse of the worst kind.
Nowadays the number of Christians is sharply declining in most regions of the world (only counting countries where Christianity is widespread). The Church has lost its iron grip on society due to the growing amount of freely available information. It's not possible anymore to control people like in centuries past. What must be most discomforting for the Church is that a lot of people are too lazy to leave, otherwise the number of Christians would have dropped by even bigger margins. It's human nature to seek groups of like-minded people because humans want the feeling of belonging to a community, but nowadays there are so many options that religion is losing its relevance. Heck, even video game companies work as replacement.
Even the good things that come from religion do not necessitate religion. You can be a morally correct person without the teachings of the Bible. Religion is more or less another way to say legalized scam, because in the end virtually every religion is after the money of its believers. The USA handles it really bad, but they insist on their amendments. Let me add a note about questionable gun laws here, so you have one more thing to complain about in this thread.
I am not telling people that they shouldn't believe in god(s). The message here is that you don't need to belong to a religion in order to believe. Honestly though, as long as you are critical enough to question your own religion and don't live by all of its teachings no matter how questionable they might be, then you don't put too much stock in religion anyway.