For the below, I’m using “Good” and “Bad” in simplistic terms. Most religions will fall in the “Good” category for some of these and “Bad” for others. If a church etc lands in the “Good” category by a decent percentage it’s probably a pretty respectable church. Some of these cover similar points in slightly different manners. This is meant to be stream of consciousness to a point. I may add, modify, or delete items from this list in the future. Okay to disagree with anything below but please no snark. Be the better person and be intelligent and thoughtful in your comments.
Note: I’m not letting atheists off the hook. Good vs bad atheism will be the subject of another post.
Good Religion: Offers their beliefs as an ideal that people can choose to live by, particularly its followers.
Bad Religion: Attempts to impose its beliefs on the public.
Good Religion: Recognizes the need for separation of church and state, particularly in a society with multiple belief systems.
Bad Religion: Actively tries to blend state with their church via legislation.
Good Religion: Promotes love including to those of other belief systems.
Bad Religion: Promotes hate towards those of different values.
Good Religion: When it helps other, even if it promotes religion, makes helping others the primary goal.
Bad Religion: Treats helping others as a means to expand its size and scope.
Good Religion: Recognizes that even if some events are historically accurate, there are likely some parables mixed in.
Bad Religion: Treats every story as historical fact.
Good Religion: While recognizing people’s flaws, sees and encourages the human potential for good.
Bad Religion: Is hyper-focussed on human flaws.
Good Religion: While not necessarily agreeing to every cultural shift, does recognize the need to speak to generations thousands of years apart and is able to adapt and, when appropriate, incorporate newer ideas.
Bad Religion: Is overly rigid to the point where it alienates people coming from a newer perspective.
Good Religion: Shows respect to a range of belief systems.
Bad Religion: Shows humility to their deity or deities (or comparable concept) but is smug towards those of different belief systems.
Good Religion: Is willing to debate with people coming from a different perspective.
Bad Religion: Is only willing to teach people coming from a different perspective.
Good Religion: Recognizes that different people may interpret the texts in different ways and disagrees respectfully with other factions.
Bad Religion: Is easily distracted by rivalries within factions of the religion.
Good Religion: Likewise plays well with other religions.
Bad Religion: Does not play well with other religions.
Good Religion: Works with science and tries to incorporate it into religion where possible.
Bad Religion: Wages war with science.
Good Religion: Welcomes people asking tough questions that challenges beliefs.
Bad Religion: Stays clear of any challenges to the belief system.
Good Religion: Accepts that its followers may choose to cultivate friendships with people whose values don’t match the church’s.
Bad Religion: Encourages followers to end friendships with people whose values conflict with the church.
Good Religion: Recognizes that works of fiction (and comparable works of non-fiction such as those with a narrative) must be examined separately both by how well they fit the church’s values and by the work’s artistic merit.
Bad Religion: Makes no distinction between how well a work fits the church’s values and its artistic merits.
Good Religion: Recognizes that people can repent and accepts reformed criminals into their church, so long as they are genuinely trying to change and pose no threat to the churchgoers.
Bad Religion: Refuses entry to the church based on past convictions.
Good Religion: Conversely, will force people in a position of power in the church to step down if they abuse that power and alert the authorities if applicable.
Bad Religion: Will attempt to cover up the offense and allow the person to maintain their position.
Good Religion: Allows people to incorporate their spiritual beliefs into their individual personalities.
Bad Religion: Encourages people to sublimate their personality into their religion.
Good Religion: Is fine with lengthy debates on religious matters.
Bad Religion: Tries to get to “That settles it” as quickly as possible.
Good Religion: Uses the texts to be the best person they can be.
Bad Religion: Tries to use the text to rationalize discriminatory or other inappropriate behaviour.
Good Religion: Raises money to aid the less fortunate.
Bad Religion: Raises money for church luxuries or for personal gain on the part of the higher ups.
Good Religion: Recognizes the possibility of contamination due to humans writing on behalf of the deity or deities (or equivalent) and/or errors in translations.
Bad Religion: Does not accept the possibility of error in holy books.
Good Religion: Makes a sincere attempt to find historical evidence for material in their main holy book.
Bad Religion: Only looks at evidence from sources with an obvious bias towards the holy book.
Good Religion: Treats everyone equally.
Bad Religion: Either overtly puts some people types in a position of power or more subtly takes a “some are more equal than others approach”.
Good Religion: Recognizes that merely having to witness the existence of something they disagree with is not discrimination, so long as they are not being forced to engage in the same activity.
Bad Religion: Believes that even having to see people who engage in activities they disapprove of is discrimination.
Good Religion: May refuse to perform certain work duties on religious basis (and be up front with this at time of hiring) but won’t interfere with others performing those duties in their stead.
Bad Religion: Will actively interfere with functions they disapprove of in their work place and/or fail to tell their employer at time of hiring what they cannot do.
Good Religion: Will permit followers who engage in “life or death” jobs to perform their duties on holy days off in matters of emergency.
Bad Religion: Will refuse to assist in emergencies on holy days off, even at the cost of someone’s life.
Good Religion: May promote a particular viewpoint but believes everyone should have the necessary information to make up their own mind on the topic.
Bad Religion: Tries to withhold information that someone might need to make up their mind on a topic.
Good Religion: Tries to cultivate followers by being a joyful welcoming place.
Bad Religion: Tries to cultivate followers by creating fear and then promoting themselves as the only answer to the fear.
Good Religion: Discusses other religions or other subjects it disagrees with as it is defined by the source material, i.e. makes an effort to be knowledgeable on the topic of disagreement.
Bad Religion: Resorts to stereotyping or other inaccurate information when critiquing a source of disagreement.
Good Religion: Generally accepts and even encourages critical thinking.
Bad Religion: Discourages critical thinking.