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Christianity &Islam Thomas on 04 Aug 2010 12:53 am

Scientific American takes on religion: “When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous”

The headline is stark: “When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous”. And it tells us the problem. People who believe in religion are, by definition, delusional. When you believe you can talk with an invisible, imaginary man in the sky, you have a big problem. The praying is just one symptom of much deeper problems, and their manifestations are dangerous:

Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous

I don’t know which is more dangerous, that religious beliefs force some people to choose between knowledge and myth or that pointing out how religion can purvey ignorance is taboo. To do so risks being branded as intolerant of religion. The kindly Dalai Lama, in a recent New York Times editorial, juxtaposed the statement that “radical atheists issue blanket condemnations of those who hold religious beliefs” with his censure of the extremist intolerance, murderous actions and religious hatred in the Middle East. Aside from the distinction between questioning beliefs and beheading or bombing people, the “radical atheists” in question rarely condemn individuals but rather actions and ideas that deserve to be challenged.

Surprisingly, the strongest reticence to speak out often comes from those who should be most worried about silence. Last May I attended a conference on science and public policy at which a representative of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences gave a keynote address. When I questioned how he reconciled his own reasonable views about science with the sometimes absurd and unjust activities of the Church—from false claims about condoms and AIDS in Africa to pedophilia among the clergy—I was denounced by one speaker after another for my intolerance.

Let’s just state the obvious. When you believe you can talk with an invisible, imaginary man in the sky, you have a big problem. You should seek professional help and heal yourself. This video may help you better understand the problem:

8 Responses to “Scientific American takes on religion: “When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous””

  1. on 04 Aug 2010 at 2:40 pm 1.Anonymous said …

    Amen. Why do they not seek treatment and heal themselves?

  2. on 10 Aug 2010 at 8:33 am 2.A Christian Guy said …

    Well i can’t argue for Muslims, or Mormons.

    But i’m a Christian, so, I will defend my faith.

    I’m gonna start out with how “Christians are ruining our species.”

    First off. Prayer has no BAD results. so, even if it WERE fake, it does nothing negative.
    If we told Soldiers there was no heaven, they wouldn’t die? not all Soldiers are Christians. and, you have no basis to prove there is no heaven. have you died and been there? have you died to see that it is not there?

    “Dangerous mythology.” sense when is telling people, to live the best they can, repent of the wrong they’ve done, and have faith in Jesus, DANGEROUS? Find a person who regrets living with Christian Morals. (their hard to come by.) most of the time, telling the truth, staying faithful to your spouse, and the rest of the morals in the bible are ENCOURAGED. And has scientific Progress really helped? Yes, we have Technology, but where has that gotten us? The divorce rate is through the roof, Suicide happens, Drugs exist, ALL OF THIS HURT is here. Science tells us we’re an accident, and that life is for pleasure. it offers no hope for the future, nor solution for a happy life. Christianity Offers both.

    Why is it that every scientific study shows prayer is a superstition? Prayer is hard to prove. It takes faith.

    Why do I believe in Heaven? why don’t you? you say its imaginary, have you died? have you seen its not there? when we’ve searched every inch of the universe, and found there is no heaven, and no God, then I will believe you.

  3. on 10 Aug 2010 at 10:35 am 3.Severin said …

    2 ACG
    “Prayer has no BAD results.”

    You are right! They just have NO rsults!

  4. on 10 Aug 2010 at 11:19 am 4.Severin said …

    2 ACG
    „…, to live the best they can, repent of the wrong they’ve done..“

    This is the MOST IMPORTANT issue!

    It is GOOD to live our lives the best way we can, and it is GOOD to repent the WRONG we’ve done.

    It would be, of course, much better if never DID anything wrong
    But HOW toRECOGNIZE wrong from right!
    By following Jesus’ techings? Let’s see:

    Your Jesus calls us to warship his „father god“, an evil, selfish, sick, lunatic criminal, who killed millions beacuse they worshiped idols and fucked sheep, AND killed their innocent children, but DID NOT punish Hitler, Mao…(or moved them from their positions) for their evil deeds.

    To call people to follow such a monster, to RECOGNIZE HIS MORAL RULES AS VALID, IS DANGEROUS!

    Children who read the Bible are in danger, with their undeveloped brains and undeveloped sense of morality, to take those stories FOR GRANTED.
    To teke them as THEIR MORAL COMPASSES!
    If “good Jesus” tells them to worship his “righteous father god”, and they read in the Bible what the lunatic did to people, they WILL understand he was right to flood innocent children and to rip pregnant women! They WILL!

    Didn’t I tell you some guys here posed me questions like: why is killing of children and ripping of pregnant women immoral?!

    They call themselves christians AND all of them, all the time, cite Jesus!!!

    Jesus’ teaching IS dangerous!

  5. on 10 Aug 2010 at 11:56 am 5.A real-ist said …

    “Why is it that every scientific study shows prayer is a superstition? Prayer is hard to prove. It takes faith.”

    Faith means believing in something that isn’t proven. Why do you believe in prayer if it isn’t proven? What makes you so certain it isn’t a superstition?

    ————————-

    “Why do I believe in Heaven? why don’t you? you say its imaginary, have you died? have you seen its not there?”

    Have you died? Have you seen it is there? Why do you think it is real if you haven’t died or been there?

    ——————————

    “when we’ve searched every inch of the universe, and found there is no heaven, and no God, then I will believe you.”

    Ah, so maybe he is hiding on the other side of the universe. So when we die our spirits can fly billions of light years like as if it were nothing. If God knows how to travel that far that fast, then maybe he should tell the scientists so that when our planet is doomed we can travel to another earth like planet somewhere else in the universe. Just a thought.

  6. on 10 Aug 2010 at 5:02 pm 6.A Christian Guy said …

    Severin- On the subject of Killing children and pregnant women, please, refer back to the comment i made on the previous post, where the subject was originally addressed. You are only re-iterating an irrelevant argument for which i already provided an answer. As for Hitlers punishment, i believe he ended up DYING. Where he ended up is punishment enough. If what you say is true, about Christians having screwed up moral compasses, then how come the news isn’t riddled of Stories of all the people Christians kill? You don’t think the media would like to have an open shot at Christians? The reason you don’t see “CHRISTIANS MURDER THOUSANDS.” as the top headline in the news, is that we don’t. Anyone who does, isn’t being a Christian.

    A real-ist- Why do you believe the universe was created by atoms crashing into each other on their own accord? or, that we evolved from Apes? yes science tells us its true, but science told us the world was flat. and people who didn’t agree with that, were told they were lunatics. We havn’t seen (macro) evolution, and we weren’t there to see the big bang. Yes, you can take guesses, and facts and make an educated guess, but thats all it remains. Your no different Than Christians in that aspect. There are reasons and facts to believe both sides, but when it comes down to it, not enough to prove the truthfulness, or non-truth of either. It may take less faith to believe in science, but it is faith non the less. So then why do i believe in Prayer? Because i believe in God, and I’ve seen him work in my life, and I’ve connected with him through prayer.

    As to the comment about God being far away in the universe, i was getting at its impossible to prove that God does not exist. If it was possible, there would be no Christianity today. but its stood 2000 years, and it’ll stand longer than that.

  7. on 11 Aug 2010 at 1:29 am 7.A real-ist said …

    “science told us the world was flat”

    The scientists during that time period that people listened to were of the religious and didn’t have the vast knowledge scientists of today have. The best scientists during that time period weren’t aloud to speak up because they spoke against what everyone else believed. Now things are different and that is why science has taken off to a whole new level. Your bible was written during the time period when education and science consisted of rubbing sticks together.

    And science does take the approach of observing things that could actually happen and using things that exist. Faith in religion doesn’t do that, so that is why religion cannot be considered equally when proving things. Take for example, one person points to a bird in the sky. Another person points out an invisible ghost flying in the sky. Which one is more believable? The object that is actually seen or the one that isn’t? This is the difference between science and religion. Science uses things that are actually proven to speculate on things. Religion doesn’t. You asked why I can believe the universe was created by atoms crashing into each other, well, that is because we know atoms exist and they have been observed on what they can do.

    “Because i believe in God, and I’ve seen him work in my life, and I’ve connected with him through prayer.”

    You sure the work in your life that happened wasn’t a product of random chance of events that fell in your favor and was partially the cause of your choices? And you’ve connected with him? You sure it wasn’t just your imaginary friend called your conscience that you were connecting with?

    “If it was possible, there would be no Christianity today. but its stood 2000 years, and it’ll stand longer than that.”

    Kind of hard to prove a claim isn’t true when the claim is so outlandish that it involves invisbility and another realm, but one can point out that other realms aren’t proven to be true either. I could say there is an invisible flying unicorn that lives on your roof, and you could not claim it isn’t there. But you could look at reason that nothing has even shown it to be true and there is no evidence of it being there other than my word. You could use your knowledge of what is actually out there in the world/universe to reason that it is impossible.

    The reason Christianity has lasted a long time is because of the lack of good education in the majority of the population. And science hasn’t really took off to modern science until recently during that time period. Religion is an “insert God here” when something isn’t understood. And it is kind of hard to pass up on wanting to believe there is an afterlife. I mean, come on, who doesn’t want a mansion in the sky when they die? I wish it were true, but wishing doesn’t make it true. I like to look at things with a realistic viewpoint. Not through an imaginary la la land.

  8. on 29 Nov 2010 at 10:25 pm 8.MYSELF said …

    To a real-ist I have a few things: first way back when science and religion were practically the same thing to these “scientists” you speak of. You…have heard of democritus and his mentor Leucippus correct? The ones that created the original atomic theory during the Greecian age? My apologies I’m getting a little too in depth into this. I’m sure you know of them since you seem to be well-educated.

    2. Looking at things through a realistic viewpoint is not a bad thing, but you don’t also have to step on other people’s views. Plus you’ve also got to add in to this whole “insert God here” thing that there are a great many things that we do not understand from science things that are NOT superstition. Humans are not perfect. Education keeps up with reform, and technology as best it can but being created by humans it is FAR from perfect as is religion.

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