Is religion an obstacle to progress?

Michael Schmidt Salomon makes an interesting observation.

Ethics is a timeless, cross-cultural principle. Ethical action usually means to think ahead of the consequences of one's actions on the well-being of subsequently affected, sentient individuals - and to decide on options for action that generate less unnecessary suffering for those subsequently affected.

I mean, practically all ethical advances made by mankind are based on implementing this principle more and more consistently.

Religions work like "time machines" here. They freeze the ethical level of development at the time they were created (in the form of dogmas) - and transport them to later ages.

Thus, in real life, they often form a significant obstacle to the implementation of ethical principles.

Mankind has made considerable ethical developments. Slavery is now outlawed. Violence against children has become widely unacceptable. Racist thinking has declined socially. Discrimination against homosexuals is correctly perceived as an injustice. Women have finally had the right to vote for 100 years and are experiencing a strengthening of their equal interests in many areas. A tribalistic preference for one's own side is increasingly viewed as problematic. (There is growing ethical reasoning that all human beings have, in principle, equal interests.) We are beginning to consider the legitimate interests of non-human animals (animal protection laws).

All of this is the result of an ever more consistent implementation of a basic ethical principle. (To choose options for action that generate less unnecessary suffering for those subsequently affected and ensure their equal well-being).

Practically all of these ethical advances have had to be fought for against the time-bound ethical ideas of the religions. Religions pour the ethical level of development of their time of origin into dogmas - and thus often defend ancient injustice against a more consistent implementation of ethical principles.

I mean, it is no surprise that even today religious forces are fighting most vigorously against an even more consistent implementation of ethical principles. (Religions are currently fighting against the protection of children from genital mutilation, against the protection of animals against religiously motivated slaughter rituals that cause unnecessarily great suffering, against the equality of women and homosexuals, against the right to reduce suffering at the end of life through active euthanasia, etc.)

For irrational reasons, religions often defend ancient unethics against more consistent ethics.

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