Watched a few Richard Dawkins's videos. The man is brilliant.
Holy Christ this post is too long. Okay I'll divide it between Coneman, Free and Pilz somehow. All sources are at the bottom of the second post (and so are most of the referenced stuff too...)
Well I hope everyone can forgive my tardiness. I can see that the discussion has developed from where I last responded, but I don't think anyone will mind, since this hasn't had a reply in the last couple days and yet was still one the top of the 1st page. (I wonder if there is a correlation between summer and the internet?) Anyways:
My point being that everything's been used for evil. To put it extremely bluntly, you don't get rid of evil people by getting rid of the tools they use.
Anyways I think we need to differentiate between Christendom of several centuries ago, and Christendom of today. Because no shit no one likes the crusades or the inquisition. But your point is limited in scope. You give religion an unfair judgment compared to other social institutions. Religion has been used for evil, but what hasn't? Science? I mean I could go on an anti-science rant with all the craziness that it has caused. However it'd only be half-hearted and more work than I'd want to do to prove a point I already stated.
Anyways I'm going to quote a passage:
Originally Posted by KM
(This little 1 was meant to denote a reference after the quote. Now it's got its own line. It's just a reference for the quote though)
Religion as science is not why people are religious. The word of God is not why people go to church. People go to church for the comfort of believing in a higher being. To cope with tragedy, death, or whatever needs coping with.
Oh and on a side point, opiates at the time this was printed were pain-killers. This means that Karl Marx was equating religion to a pain-killer. Not a highly addictive drug.
The idea that people go to church to hear how God created the world, or that a chair is not really a chair, is irrelevant to this. If I could take your line of thinking, I'd use this analogy
"I don't understand why anyone likes Twilight, vampires don't sparkle and there isn't enough action, but I understood everything about it."
You missed the most important part my friend.
Ah but when you say that, you narrow down your point to not religion, but to 'certain heads of religions and certain fanatics have abused religion for a negative agenda.' Which really turns your point to a non-issue...?Originally Posted by Conester
Yeah but the same is true of currency and to a lesser extent passion, love, and ambition. Although I don't think you've ever truly considered the good sides of religion. That religion has been used as a blanket term to justify bad actions is not unique to religion at all. In fact people have used currency (and without deception) to justify rather horrible things too. However you don't seem too keen on removing currency?Originally Posted by Conester
I think also quite simply you overestimate the influence of religion. 'Religious differences has caused war all the time'. Nice. That's an awesome analysis of conflicts. Because they only happen for singular reasons. It's totally not used as an excuse to rile people up, the same way nationality, or ethnicity has been. Generally however conflicts happen due to a culmination of an amazing amount of different circumstances, historical, societal, economic, imperialistic (or whatever the term is for a nation who wants to expand its borders, there is a good term but I just forgot it).
You're placing a causal relationship between religion and the atrocities that have happened in its name. That's simplistic, extremely so. And simply has more to do with perception (faith?) than it has to do with reason.
Fair enough. I thought something was fishy about me telling an Irishman something I half remembered from a boring James Joyce novel (that was in actuality, the only interesting part.)Originally Posted by Conester
And not really replying to anything or anyone, I'm just going to link tol two posts I made in the last large religion thread out of context. If you're interested, feel free to read.
On religion vs. science I'd recommend you ignore the paragraph aimed at NGMN85, and the paragraph about anarchists.
Religion as the root of evil in the world (specifically religious wars) Although with regards to religious wars it's pretty amazing how I almost repeated myself verbatim.
Anyways I hope I haven't repeated myself too much, and I hope that I'm as clear as I think I am.
This took so long I need another cigarette.
Last edited by wheelchairman; 08-06-2010 at 05:54 PM.
I'm certain there are plenty of people who are homophobic without religion. But I feel there would be a lot less if people weren't told by their religion that they needed to be homophobic. Either way, I was more so trying to express that if people would sideline their beliefs, we'd have a lot of change a lot more quickly.
Like Harley said, I think it's a chicken or egg type thing. In some cases, people have ulterior motives and they use religion to further their influence and meet their goals. In other cases, people have their prejudices, motives, and goals solely because they were raised religious. Just because some things happen because bad people use religion as a ruse, doesn't mean good people don't do bad things because of what the bible tells them.
I'll read your previous posts soon. But again, I have to recommend the video series I posted. I think you'd enjoy it more than most.
Oh yeah, I'm not one to say that the Crusades are a direct result of Jesus. I think it could have happened a lot differently without religion, but I understand that it was more of a land thing. I hate when atheists make arguments like 'well, if God was real, why would he let earthquakes happen, etc' too.
Last edited by WebDudette; 08-06-2010 at 06:18 PM.
I wrote a four word letter.
That's about 7 min. 50 seconds into it (I was just skipping through to see what he was intending to bring up.)Originally Posted by Dawkins in the TED video
Now granted this is entirely out of context, however I feel that this is pretty straightforward. If there is a context I missed, I might get it later.
But wow... the guy is a pompous douche.
He's talking about lobbyism (sort of, from what I can tell). This is his tactic. It's pretty much half of what I hate about the religion-discourse in the US. This isn't nuanced, this isn't science, and this isn't particularly rational.
It's everything I pretty much loathe in modern day atheism. It's promoting his own 'pat yourself on the back for being smarter' atheism.
I honestly don't know why you think I'd enjoy this more than most. I know what Dawkin's is about, and while I'm no creationist, I think he has more prejudice than observation. That and a lot of what he says seems to boil down to 'well in the bible it says this, and if you are Christian that must mean you take it completely literally.'
Anyways enough of that. I doubt I'll watch the rest of the video anyhow.
Would their be a lot less homophobes if religion changed its tune? Say the Catholic church announced that sodomy was not a sin and homosexuality is perfectly okay and awesome. (This is a hypothetical, naturally.)
I can imagine a few reactions:
1. Disgusted homophobe leaving the church to find a more like-minded community. I could also imagine protests I guess.
2. The homophobe accepts that the church changes its mind, however retains his homophobia.
3. The homophobe changes his opinion.
I would imagine the smallest group of those 3 would be number 3. Now it's very late at night, and I might have missed something. Anyways...
I have to disagree sort of, that its like the chicken and the egg. For any conflict there are myriad of interests at play, whether we can see them or not.* To lay ultimate blame on one factor is stupid. It really is. It's a pitiful justification of militant atheism, and it's not rationale. If you attempted such a paper in Cultural Studies, or whatever relevant studies, you'd probably fail.
*By 'see them', I don't mean God and Angels, I mean economic and foreign interests, historical and societal.
As Per the usual I am in complete agreement. Especially on the complexities surrounding struggles.
Thibault's New Music Site!
Originally Posted by wheelchairman
Err... that's nice and all, but I meant the video series dealing more with what we were talking about.
I forgot I even posted the Dawkins video in this thread. The one I was talking about is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kuzY...eature=related
I don't believe the Church changing it's mind would have a huge immediate effect on the current generation, but I do think it would significantly effect following generations. I also you think underestimate religious devotion. There are millions of creationists and millions of people who would not vote for a non-Christian politician. Something like one half of America believe God created humans the way they are now, while something around 25% believe in the Theory of Evolution. In any case, what I took from Dawkins videos is that atheists aren't out to just rock the boat. We aren't just religious anarchists, it's not just come kind of childish rebellion. Atheists are militant because there is no other way to change things, if all atheists were just apathetic, nothing would ever happen. The thing he says about the intelligent being atheist holds some weight. I don't know if you saw the part where he talks about the percentage of scientist and intellectual leaders who are atheist, but it's a pretty large majority. But none of these people will ever been in a political position to create change because no one will vote for someone who isn't theist and even then, they're not at all likely to get elected unless they are Christian.
Obviously, every decision ever has multiple influences, but I find it hard to believe that religion doesn't make up a huge majority of the influence in plenty of cases. It can certainly make or break a decision.
Last edited by WebDudette; 08-06-2010 at 11:04 PM.
I wrote a four word letter.
Strangely enough, I think part of this argument may be due to different foci. Pilz-E and coneman approach from religiously tinged backgrounds affected specifically by the Christian faith. For that reason, their entire argument seems to be predicated on an attack on the relevant Church.
Aside from actually studying the beliefs and structures of religions, my major exposure to religion in recent years has been through research papers on the Middle East. Religious fundamentalism is the dead horse of the Middle East in that it is usually painted as the primary cause of anti-American sentiment. The sort of struggles which usually happen are - as Per pointed out - usually economically or politically motivated and eventually become touched by some religious structure. As soon as that happens, you end up with the image of the terrorist fundamentalist. Interestingly, the same kinds of struggles in the 70s and 80s were generally referred to as guerrilla movements and subject to all sorts of solidarity. Terrorism (aside from being the same thing) isn't. Only during the 90s did the perception shift to that of the exiled monster. I actually wrote a (pretty damn good) paper on female terrorists not fitting the stereotypical media image of Muslim fundamentalists and being downplayed and brushed aside in coverage because of it.
I'm just saying, there's a big gap where we're coming from different places. I still think you're both wrong in your militant atheism, but it's not exactly surprising. You've encountered instances of an ethical and social structure (churches, congregations, etc) being subsumed into a moral judgment which has made its way into public forums such as politics. That you would object to that makes perfect sense. On the other hand, I (and I'm going out on a limb and assuming Per as well) have done research in behaviors and histories commonly ascribed to religion due either to poor journalism or downright stereotyping. That I would defend someone's right to not be sidelined and judged by beliefs which quite frequently intersect very little with their actions isn't surprising.
This is kind of exactly my point. I'm sure you find it "hard to believe," and that's fine. But that belief seems to be predicated far more on personal experience than ascertained fact.Obviously, every decision ever has multiple influences, but I find it hard to believe that religion doesn't make up a huge majority of the influence in plenty of cases. It can certainly make or break a decision.
Thibault's New Music Site!
Originally Posted by wheelchairman
You're right, Christianity has changed since the time of inquisition and crusades. But tell me, can you think about any other religion, that promotes war in the name of God (by that i mean certain individuals, who use the religion as the only excuse for doing so)? Holds a belief that it's right to stone a woman to death if she has been raped? I think you know where i'm going to.
Christianity has changed. But why? Because of the pressure that came from the outside. It changed when they could no longer deny (some of) their views are wrong. Imagine what would happen if those outside pressures wouldn't exist.
People find inner peace in religion. True. But why couldn't they find it without religion? It's not that hard, really - when i do something good (to another person, for example) i feel happy, because i've done something right, and i find my solace in it. It's just one example. And when something good happens to me, i don't immediately thank God for his kindness, because there is no God. I may say "Thank God!", but not actually mean it, since this is just a commonly used phrase. People could find their inner peace by doing what's right. It's not that religion is the only thing that could guide them into doing good deeds, you know?
And by the way, why would it make you an open minded person if you defend religion, if you yourself aren't religious? Defending Santa's existance wouldn't make me an open minded person, would it? Religions were created by men, thousands of years ago. Once a belief was held that the sky is painted on the ceiling of a cave. Why? Drops of water fall from the cave ceilings, and sometimes rocks also fall. Same as in nature - meteorites and rain. Rocks and water drops. My point is, religion was created, because people couldn't find any other explanation for natural events. God didn't exist until the first person thought all of it could be caused my some supernatural being (or a few of them). Is it possible? Well, you can't disprove there's no God. But you can't prove there is one, either. And just because a few thousand year old book (written by men) tells me so, it doesn't mean it's the right thing to believe in. I don't find it rational, especially knowing God is just a man man-made concept in the first place.
But you know i'm wrong. Because i'm a douchebag, all-knowing atheist. Right?
edit: And just another thought that i forgot to write before. The crusades (probably every religious wars so far, or at least those major ones that we know of) were very likely caused by political interests (land, wealth,...). This is true, i have no doubt. However (and i stated it so before), the outcome could very well be different if there were no religion. Tell people they'll burn in hell if they don't listen to God's (your) orders, and they are far more likely to obey, because of fear. If there were no religion perhaps the leaders could use patriotism as an excuse, and it could also work very well, though patriotism wouldn't apply to such a huge mass of people, especially considering that the same religion is spread across different countries, while patriotism doesn't hold them together. And this is a point that can be used as a strong deffence for religion. However, deniying religion had no influence on wars whatsoever is blindly denying how much power it really holds (or held) over masses.
Also, discussing religion and politics and their influence on wars serves as a pretty good defence for religion, since you can say that evil people would still be evil without religion. It's probably true, but it's all hypothetical. Besides, religious organisations can be pretty powerfull and have a huge influence on politics itself. But somehow i feel all this is a distraction, and we should really be debating the essence of religion instead, existance or nonexistance of God, since that's the main conflict between theists and atheists in the first place. God is something that didn't exist until humans created the concept (it's hard do argue this, if not impossible). And thus i find it pretty irrational to believe anymore.
Last edited by Rooster; 08-07-2010 at 06:14 AM.