Author Topic: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]  (Read 5481 times)

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #58 on: July 20, 2011, 12:27:30 PM »
P.S. Did Hatter really just dis Mother Theresa!?

Mother Theresa is a perfect example of the perversion of ones empathy that religion creates.

Yes, he did, and I don't blame him one bit.  Mother Theresa was a pretty nasty piece of work.

And that she did these vile deeds with a clear concious, thinking what she was doing was good, shows us clearly that impossible to prove absolutes lead to false conclusions, and these false conclusions can increase actual and real suffering in the world.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #59 on: July 20, 2011, 01:10:39 PM »
Great and direct question. If we're children of the same God, then our common sense of right and wrong could be traced to Him. If He exists external to either of us, then he could judge between us. So, when a theist says that we should seek to minimize suffering, he means that an external authority, God, has determined that to be right. We may disagree about what God has or has not said or about what right and wrong are, but at least we have a reason to assume there is a right and a wrong that neither of us created.
nope, not at all.  There is also empathy, and no god needed.  I’m also wondering just how you know it’s *your* god.  Of course, you’ve already run away from showing any evidence that any gods exist. 
Quote
P.S. Did Hatter really just dis Mother Theresa!?
And I will too.  She was a nasty old woman who didn’t believe but still went through the motions and those motions were to increase suffering in her imaginary god’s name. This is one of the many problems with religion. It is unfortunately equated with “good” which is rarely does. 
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Offline fizixgeek

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #60 on: July 20, 2011, 01:15:13 PM »
Great and direct question. If we're children of the same God, then our common sense of right and wrong could be traced to Him. If He exists external to either of us, then he could judge between us. So, when a theist says that we should seek to minimize suffering, he means that an external authority, God, has determined that to be right. We may disagree about what God has or has not said or about what right and wrong are, but at least we have a reason to assume there is a right and a wrong that neither of us created.
nope, not at all.  There is also empathy, and no god needed.  I’m also wondering just how you know it’s *your* god.  Of course, you’ve already run away from showing any evidence that any gods exist. 
Well, but the fact that we do feel empathy does not imply that we should. Like I said, you're moral, you just don't know why that's better than being immoral.

Offline Azdgari

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #61 on: July 20, 2011, 01:20:30 PM »
Neither do you, unless you have an answer to the questions I've been posing to you.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline Omen

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #62 on: July 20, 2011, 01:30:16 PM »
does not imply that we should

You've had it pointed out to you repeatedly that 'should' or 'why' inserts arbitrary qualifications without explanation as per a special pleading.  You offered no response to this fallacy, repeating the fallacy still doesn't tell us anything.
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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #63 on: July 20, 2011, 01:35:29 PM »
I certainly concede that the brain is magnificent and the product of evolution. But, you missed where the "should" comes in. Because the "seat of their cognitive behavior is the same as mine" then we should...

1. Act the same?
2. Love one another?
3. Strive to perpetuate the species?

Should is a function of structure.

"if his ventro-medial hypothalamus is functioning, as a human, like me, he should reach satiation at some point when eating".

Empathy has ties to a few structures, as does planning ahead. Same with procreative behaviour. But you already know this. Want to pile on an unecessary axiom? If so, why?

You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline Omen

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #64 on: July 20, 2011, 01:38:15 PM »
What is it with religious apologist and narcissistic delusions of their own grandeur?
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Offline albeto

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #65 on: July 20, 2011, 01:46:03 PM »
Well, but the fact that we do feel empathy does not imply that we should. Like I said, you're moral, you just don't know why that's better than being immoral.

Your ignorance regarding neurology and the mechanics of behavior does nothing to support the claims you're trying to make in this thread.  Morality is a function of social behavior, it's relatively and communally determined,  that's why you see morality evolve.  That's why most Mormons no longer advocate polygamous marriages and have backed off the whole racism garbage.  Saying that God changed his mind and spoke to the president one day doesn't make any more sense than saying he read it in his tea-leaves or Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer himself came and told him. 

Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #66 on: July 20, 2011, 01:46:50 PM »
Well, but the fact that we do feel empathy does not imply that we should. Like I said, you're moral, you just don't know why that's better than being immoral.
You are quite deceitful little thing aren’t you? Sigh.  We do feel empathy, unless we are psychopathic.  We have no choice.  And FG, I do know why it’s better than being immoral.  One more lie from a Christian, in desperate hopes that no one will call him on his ridiculous baseless claims.  If I were immoral, I get punished either by laws or the actions of my fellow empathic beings who would think I’m an ass.  I am moral because I am a functioning human being.  I do not need your vile god to be some arbiter.  I know already I’m far more moral than it.

Oh and please do show us it’s your god. 
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Offline albeto

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #67 on: July 20, 2011, 02:13:24 PM »
Well, but the fact that we do feel empathy does not imply that we should. Like I said, you're moral, you just don't know why that's better than being immoral.
You are quite deceitful little thing aren’t you? Sigh.  We do feel empathy, unless we are psychopathic.  We have no choice.  And FG, I do know why it’s better than being immoral.  One more lie from a Christian, in desperate hopes that no one will call him on his ridiculous baseless claims.  If I were immoral, I get punished either by laws or the actions of my fellow empathic beings who would think I’m an ass.  I am moral because I am a functioning human being.  I do not need your vile god to be some arbiter.  I know already I’m far more moral than it.

Oh and please do show us it’s your god.

If by "moral" fiz is suggesting empathic behavior, does that mean animals are the children of God?  What about animals that don't? Are they not children of God?  So my dog is my brother by my bearded dragon is not?  But, my dog would have no moral conflict catching and eating a smaller animal alive.  Does that mean the empathy he shows me is false or is he like a half-brother to me?  And does that mean sociopaths and psychopaths who have not the neurological development necessary for empathy are not children of God?   What about autistics who can't show empathy?  What about infants who have not developed those social skills that illustrate empathy?  Good grief, this house of cards just blew right over didn't it? 

Online nogodsforme

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #68 on: July 20, 2011, 03:13:54 PM »
Children raised in Romanian institutions where they got no individual attention due to overcrowding, etc, did not develop what we would consider normal empathy and attachment. Such children walked off with random strangers instead of the people who adopted them. Some apparently felt no connection to their adoptive siblings and even attacked and harmed them.

These kids were made into sociopaths by problems with their early upbringing. I would imagine that there were differences in their brain chemistry as a result of early neglect and abuse.[1]

If empathy, morality, sense of right and wrong, etc were planted in all humans by a supernatural being, then early upbringing, culture, nationality, etc would not matter. But we know all that does matter. Your environment determines what you accept as right and wrong, and those lessons begin with infancy.

And incidentally, dogs have been shown to have a sense of fairness. Does that mean that god gave this sense to dogs?
 1. Although there are probably people born with that messed up chemistry for whatever reason as well.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline Brakeman

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #69 on: July 21, 2011, 06:21:25 AM »
If god is the morals giver then christian couples should cheat and divorce at a markedly lower rate than atheist couples. But they don't.

If god gave us the morals we cherish today, then those morals would be perfectly reflected in god's book, the bible, but it isn't. With our morals of today, we don't believe that innocent children should be slaughtered or daughters killed for a sacrifice, or given to rapists as a decoy.

Major Fail there.. :o
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #70 on: July 21, 2011, 08:35:30 AM »
Would someone care to elaborate further on these bad things Mother Teresa supposedly did (preferably with sources to back up any assertions)?  I read the wiki article on her (and some other stuff, such as the Nobel website's biography of her), and it doesn't jive much with the things that people have written here about here.  At the very least, those other sources certainly contradict the question that Omen asked, "What exactly did she do that was good?"

It's one thing to point out things that people don't know or that are glossed over for the sake of presenting an accurate picture.  It's quite another to vilify someone and belittle things they actually did do, no matter what the reason was.  Especially when talking about someone received multiple public honors for those activities.

Offline screwtape

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #71 on: July 21, 2011, 08:41:48 AM »
She was a sadist.  She believed suffering brought one closer to god.  Despite not really believeing in god herself, she denied painkillers to many people who were suffering.  It is thought that she was looking for god through their pain.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #72 on: July 21, 2011, 08:50:19 AM »
Would someone care to elaborate further on these bad things Mother Teresa supposedly did (preferably with sources to back up any assertions)?

Amazon's review of "The Missionary Position", by Christopher Hitchens:

Quote
What's next--The Girl Scouts: The Untold Story? How could anybody write a debunking book about Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity order? Well, in this little cruise missile of a book, Hitchens quickly establishes that the idea is not without point. After all, what is Mother Teresa doing hanging out with a dictator's wife in Haiti and accepting over a million dollars from Charles Keating? The most riveting material in the book is contained in two letters: one from Mother Teresa to Judge Lance Ito--then weighing what sentence to dole out to the convicted Keating--which cited all the work Keating has done "to help the poor," and another from a Los Angeles deputy D.A., Paul Turley, back to Mother Teresa that eloquently stated that rather than working to reduce Keating's sentence, she should return the money he gave her to its rightful owners, the defrauded bond-holders. (Significantly, Mother Teresa never replied.) And why do former missionary workers and visiting doctors consistently observe that the order's medical practices seem so inadequate, especially given all the money that comes in? (Hitchens acidly observes that on the other hand, Mother Teresa herself always manages to receive world-class medical care.) Hitchens's answer is that Mother Teresa is first and foremost interested not in providing medical treatment, but in furthering Catholic doctrine and--quite literally--becoming a saint.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #73 on: July 21, 2011, 09:09:56 AM »
She was a sadist.  She believed suffering brought one closer to god.  Despite not really believeing in god herself, she denied painkillers to many people who were suffering.  It is thought that she was looking for god through their pain.
Source?

Amazon's review of "The Missionary Position", by Christopher Hitchens: (snip)
Not much I can say without actually reading the book, but this is the kind of source that I was talking about - someone who has presumably reviewed and presented the evidence.

Here's another source I found:  http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1655720,00.html

Even with those sources, it's a little much to say that she did no good at all.  But they help balance the picture.

Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #74 on: July 21, 2011, 09:57:08 AM »
does any "good" make up for intentionally causing pain for no reason than the delusional belief in a magical being?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #75 on: July 21, 2011, 10:47:30 AM »
http://www.newstatesman.com/200508220019
Quote
Susan Shields, formerly a senior nun with the order, recalled that one year there was roughly $50m in the bank account held by the New York office alone. Much of the money, she complained, sat in banks while workers in the homes were obliged to reuse blunt needles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Missionary_Position
Quote
"I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people."

http://www.daylightatheism.org/2007/08/mother-teresas-loss-of-faith.html
quoting teresa's letters:
Quote
I call, I cling, I want — and there is no One to answer — no One on Whom I can cling — no, No One. — Alone ... Where is my Faith — even deep down right in there is nothing, but emptiness & darkness — My God — how painful is this unknown pain — I have no Faith — I dare not utter the words & thoughts that crowd in my heart — & make me suffer untold agony.

http://thinkexist.com/quotes/mother_teresa/3.html
Quote
Without out suffering, our work would just be social work, very good and helpful, but it would not be the work of Jesus Christ, not part of the Redemption. All the desolation of the poor people, not only their material poverty, but their spiritual destitution, must be redeemed. And we must share it, for only by being one with them can we redeem them by bringing God into their lives and bringing them to God.

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/216250
Quote
Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus - a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa
Quote
The quality of care offered to terminally ill patients in the Homes for the Dying has been criticised in the medical press. The Lancet and the British Medical Journal reported the reuse of hypodermic needles, poor living conditions, including the use of cold baths for all patients, and an approach to illness and suffering that precluded the use of many elements of modern medical care, such as systematic diagnosis.[45] Dr. Robin Fox, editor of The Lancet, described the medical care as "haphazard", as volunteers without medical knowledge had to take decisions about patient care, because of the lack of doctors. He observed that her order did not distinguish between curable and incurable patients, so that people who could otherwise survive would be at risk of dying from infections and lack of treatment.

She was not interested in curing anyone.  She just wanted to be surrounded by the suffering because she believed that was the way to find god.  I think her goal of canonization was also tied to her lack of belief. 


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Offline RNS

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #76 on: July 21, 2011, 01:22:19 PM »
fizix you seem to take comfort in that there is some kind of absolute good and bad, which "god" has told us. but who told him these absolutes? or if he created them, then how did he decide on what things are good and what things are bad?

"Is the pious (?? ?????) loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?"
i.e.
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(credit: Plato, Euthyphro's dilemma)
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Offline albeto

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #77 on: July 21, 2011, 01:46:48 PM »

She was not interested in curing anyone. 

  I always thought her goal was to offer a hospice for the forgotten people of society, thereby inviting the rest of society to take notice of those the culture deemed unworthy of notice. 

She just wanted to be surrounded by the suffering because she believed that was the way to find god.  I think her goal of canonization was also tied to her lack of belief.

Without a doubt.  Catholic theology is founded on the idea of suffering as a means of sharing in the redemptive work of Christ and the more suffering one takes on, the less another would (imagine stubbing your toe and your other leg picking up the extra weight so the injured toe can take the time it needs to heal).  In a "mystical body of Christ" kind of way, all suffering is united.  The Dark Night of the Soul (lack of the "consolation of God" or faith) would be understood to encourage someone to carry on *in spite of* the reasonable doubts that inevitably creep into one's thoughts.  As a Catholic, I never thought of her work as primarily self-gratifying but now I can see it in no other way. 

Thanks for supplying the links.  The money stored in banks and not used to actually provide health care is stunning to me.  I had no idea.  :(


Offline screwtape

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #78 on: July 21, 2011, 02:43:09 PM »
It is tough to find criticism of Mo T that does not come from Hitchens, even indirectly.  She seems to have sufficiently snowed enough people that no one questioned her motives or really examined what was going on.  Even my father in law claims she was perfect, and he's not even catholic.

I always thought her goal was to offer a hospice for the forgotten people of society, thereby inviting the rest of society to take notice of those the culture deemed unworthy of notice. 

Maybe it was?  Maybe she did not realize she was doing harm?  Maybe she intended to do good things and actually thought she was? I think that was probably the case.  But I also think the dogma of suffering along with her loss of belief combined to a terrible effect for others. 

Quote
The Dark Night of the Soul

That was mentioned in at least one of the articles
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #79 on: July 21, 2011, 03:19:06 PM »
does any "good" make up for intentionally causing pain for no reason than the delusional belief in a magical being?
Good and evil aren't something you can add together like a math equation and come up with an overall positive or negative result, or put in scales to determine which has more weight.  Good and evil have to be considered on their own terms, rather than artificially combined - and you shouldn't ignore good things a person did merely because you detest other things about them.

Also, "intentionally causing pain"?  If I were to punch someone in the face, that would be intentionally causing pain; but if I see someone hurt and don't help them, I'm not making their pain any worse than it already was.  I'm just not making it better, either.

I'm not saying the argument has no merit.  If the purpose of her ministry was to help those who were suffering, but she was sitting on funds that could have been used to buy medicine that would have significantly eased their suffering, then it isn't what I'd call a good thing.  But it also isn't anything like some of the truly vile things that have been done in the name of religion, like torturing heretics to "save their souls".

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #80 on: July 21, 2011, 09:32:47 PM »
Probably, if you put a whole bunch of dirty, sick people in one room, they will spread diseases to each other and finish each other off. If she had no medical staff, and was battling Indian Ayurvedic bullshit mentality, then it's quite likely her hospice was fatal.

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Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #81 on: July 22, 2011, 09:54:00 AM »
Good and evil aren't something you can add together like a math equation and come up with an overall positive or negative result, or put in scales to determine which has more weight.  Good and evil have to be considered on their own terms, rather than artificially combined - and you shouldn't ignore good things a person did merely because you detest other things about them.
  I asked you the question.  What do *you* think?  And I’m not saying Mo T did nothing, I am asking does it make up for what harm she did?
Quote
Also, "intentionally causing pain"?  If I were to punch someone in the face, that would be intentionally causing pain; but if I see someone hurt and don't help them, I'm not making their pain any worse than it already was.  I'm just not making it better, either.
And I find that intentionally causing pain since you have *chosen* not to make it better. 
Quote
I'm not saying the argument has no merit.  If the purpose of her ministry was to help those who were suffering, but she was sitting on funds that could have been used to buy medicine that would have significantly eased their suffering, then it isn't what I'd call a good thing.  But it also isn't anything like some of the truly vile things that have been done in the name of religion, like torturing heretics to "save their souls".
  I find it little different.  There is a person using religious reasons to harm people intentionally.
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Offline albeto

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #82 on: July 22, 2011, 01:28:49 PM »
Good and evil aren't something you can add together like a math equation and come up with an overall positive or negative result, or put in scales to determine which has more weight.  Good and evil have to be considered on their own terms, rather than artificially combined - and you shouldn't ignore good things a person did merely because you detest other things about them.

Also, "intentionally causing pain"?  If I were to punch someone in the face, that would be intentionally causing pain; but if I see someone hurt and don't help them, I'm not making their pain any worse than it already was.  I'm just not making it better, either.

I'm not saying the argument has no merit.  If the purpose of her ministry was to help those who were suffering, but she was sitting on funds that could have been used to buy medicine that would have significantly eased their suffering, then it isn't what I'd call a good thing.  But it also isn't anything like some of the truly vile things that have been done in the name of religion, like torturing heretics to "save their souls".

I was a faithful Catholic for many years.  Mother Theresa was a great hero of mine, as was  St Thérèse of Lisieux, after whom she took her name,  and Teresa of Ávila, in honor of whom both nuns chose their names.  To suggest Mother Theresa of Calcutta was less than a positive influence in Calcutta and the world was like blasphemy to me.  After all, this woman gave up everything to tend to the poorest of the poor - millions of people who were not recognized as being worthy of attention in any detail, left to die on the streets alone and in pain.  But the more I read about the condition of her homes, the more I read about the money she had access to, the more I think there was precious little good done other than to put the spotlight on poverty.  It seems likely she maintained the cruelest conditions of poverty even when she had the means to provide great and noble contributions to the cause she was illuminating.  Why would one sit on millions of dollars and not build a teaching hospital?  Why would one continue to clean the dying and not fund research to cure what ails them most?  In the Catholic faith there's a concept of sinning through omission.  Being in the trenches for decades, she had the opportunity to improve conditions, even if she wasn't willing to defy her faith (by encouraging birth control as one example).  The good she did seems to pale in comparison to the good she could have done but refused.  Why?  To what end?  Granted, my searches are very limited and mostly turn up Hitchens' testimony, but it seems to be worth exploring the idea that she wasn't really fulfilling the image she portrayed. 

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #83 on: July 22, 2011, 02:55:52 PM »
I asked you the question.  What do *you* think?  And I’m not saying Mo T did nothing, I am asking does it make up for what harm she did?
And I answered the question, by pointing out that you[1] can't simply make up for something stupid or bad by doing good things.

And I find that intentionally causing pain since you have *chosen* not to make it better.
On its face, that argument is pure semantics.  If I walk past someone begging for food (or money to buy food), I am not causing their suffering to be even worse by not giving them food or money.  If I drive past someone who is in a stalled car, I'm not making their problems worse by not stopping to help them.  If I ignore someone who's hurting, I'm not making their pain worse by not helping them.  Those are certainly very callous actions, but I am not causing pain or suffering or whatever to the person by not helping them.

However, it's one thing to not help some stranger on the side of the road or to give food to a beggar or something like that.  It's quite another when one is running a ministry which is intended to alleviate suffering and purposefully withholding treatments or medicine, especially if one isn't up front about it.[2]

I find it little different.  There is a person using religious reasons to harm people intentionally.
I beg to differ, but there is a large difference between the kind of deliberate murder or torture done by religious fanatics who "kill them all and let God sort it out", and the actions of Mother Teresa. I don't accept that the two are morally equivalent because you find them little different.  I have no objection to your judging what she did (or didn't do, in this case), I just don't think it does any good to say that the two might as well be the same thing.
 1. Maybe I should use 'one' instead of 'you' when a comment isn't directed at a specific person.
 2. I'm pretty sure this is what you were trying to get at before.

Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #84 on: July 22, 2011, 03:10:25 PM »
And I find that intentionally causing pain since you have *chosen* not to make it better.
On its face, that argument is pure semantics.  If I walk past someone begging for food (or money to buy food), I am not causing their suffering to be even worse by not giving them food or money.  If I drive past someone who is in a stalled car, I'm not making their problems worse by not stopping to help them.  If I ignore someone who's hurting, I'm not making their pain worse by not helping them.  Those are certainly very callous actions, but I am not causing pain or suffering or whatever to the person by not helping them. However, it's one thing to not help some stranger on the side of the road or to give food to a beggar or something like that.  It's quite another when one is running a ministry which is intended to alleviate suffering and purposefully withholding treatments or medicine, especially if one isn't up front about it.[nb]I'm pretty sure this is what you were trying to get at before
I don’t see it as just semantics at all.  If you choose to not help, you choose to allow pain to continue. You become part of the problem.   
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I beg to differ, but there is a large difference between the kind of deliberate murder or torture done by religious fanatics who "kill them all and let God sort it out", and the actions of Mother Teresa. I don't accept that the two are morally equivalent because you find them little different.  I have no objection to your judging what she did (or didn't do, in this case), I just don't think it does any good to say that the two might as well be the same thing.
  There may be a difference in scope but there is no difference in intent.  The intent is “my religion is right and I have the right to do what I want to someone because of it”. 
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #85 on: July 22, 2011, 07:22:12 PM »
I don’t see it as just semantics at all.  If you choose to not help, you choose to allow pain to continue. You become part of the problem.
Oh, so it's no different than walking up to someone begging for money and kicking them in the head to rob them of what little money they managed to accumulate?[1]

Callous indifference is not the same thing as intentionally causing harm.  You have a point that it can contribute (often seriously) to a problem, and it is something that needs to be addressed, but I don't think it helps to try to lump the two together.  You can't deal with callous indifference by using the same methods you use to deal with intentional harm.  So it's not just a semantic difference, it's the fact that the two are dissimilar and shouldn't be treated the same way.

There may be a difference in scope but there is no difference in intent.  The intent is “my religion is right and I have the right to do what I want to someone because of it”.
There is both a difference in scope and a difference in intent, which I'll explain by analogy.

Let's take bullying[2].  Someone who suffers from this has to deal with active harassment - frequently by a few individuals, and infrequently by others - as well as a form of callous indifference - people who say "just ignore them" and other platitudes.  Both of these are harmful to the person being bullied, but there's no question that the former is far harder to deal with.  The main problem with the latter is that it can contribute to the overall problem despite whatever the person might actually intend[3].

Now, it's not the same thing with religion, but it's close enough to count.  People who think they're doing something helpful because of their religion may be misguided or simply wrong, and may actually be doing more harm than good with their efforts.  But it is generally not an issue of them intentionally and deliberately trying to do harm to the people they're trying to help, it is an issue of not understanding that their attempts to help are actually not very helpful or even possibly harmful.  And I don't think it helps to reinterpret someone's actions in the worst possible light, anymore than it would to do so in the best possible light.  The best thing to do is to simply be accurate - to explain why something thought to be helpful was actually harmful, without unduly castigating the person doing it.

Railing about Mother Teresa being sadistic and manipulative isn't going to get through to people convinced that she was saintly and beatific any more than my railing at well-meaning people who give seriously bad advice to those being bullied would show them that their advice was harmful and why.
 1. Yes, this is rhetorical.
 2. abusive ostracization of an individual, to clarify
 3. the saying about good intentions would apply here

Offline velkyn

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Re: "Four questions for atheists" blog post [#2578]
« Reply #86 on: July 24, 2011, 05:04:03 PM »
Oh, so it's no different than walking up to someone begging for money and kicking them in the head to rob them of what little money they managed to accumulate?[1]
 1. Yes, this is rhetorical.
nice strawman.  &)
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Callous indifference is not the same thing as intentionally causing harm.  You have a point that it can contribute (often seriously) to a problem, and it is something that needs to be addressed, but I don't think it helps to try to lump the two together.  You can't deal with callous indifference by using the same methods you use to deal with intentional harm.  So it's not just a semantic difference, it's the fact that the two are dissimilar and shouldn't be treated the same way.
  If I have a point that it can make things worse, then I have a point in that it intentionally causing harm.   If harm was a one point and then raises, then you are intentionally causing harm.  And why not use the same methods?  You make a claim and then don’t support it.   
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There is both a difference in scope and a difference in intent, which I'll explain by analogy.
Let's take bullying[2].  Someone who suffers from this has to deal with active harassment - frequently by a few individuals, and infrequently by others - as well as a form of callous indifference - people who say "just ignore them" and other platitudes.  Both of these are harmful to the person being bullied, but there's no question that the former is far harder to deal with.  The main problem with the latter is that it can contribute to the overall problem despite whatever the person might actually intend[3] Now, it's not the same thing with religion, but it's close enough to count.  People who think they're doing something helpful because of their religion may be misguided or simply wrong, and may actually be doing more harm than good with their efforts.  But it is generally not an issue of them intentionally and deliberately trying to do harm to the people they're trying to help, it is an issue of not understanding that their attempts to help are actually not very helpful or even possibly harmful.  And I don't think it helps to reinterpret someone's actions in the worst possible light, anymore than it would to do so in the best possible light.  The best thing to do is to simply be accurate - to explain why something thought to be helpful was actually harmful, without unduly castigating the person doing it.
 2. abusive ostracization of an individual, to clarify
 3. the saying about good intentions would apply here
  There is no different in intent when someone says “by my religion, I have the right to do ‘x’.”   I might agree in a difference in scope,  but again we’ve seen that from your own admission, that callous indifference causes harm in addition to what is already there.  And good intentions.  I don’t buy that from any theist.  They want to be right, nothing more.  So they do what they want, not in good intentions, but to demosnrate how “right” they are.   I’m sure you don’t agree in “interpreting” someone’s actions in the “worst possible light”.  Unfortuantely for you, the facts are the worst possible light. 
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Railing about Mother Teresa being sadistic and manipulative isn't going to get through to people convinced that she was saintly and beatific any more than my railing at well-meaning people who give seriously bad advice to those being bullied would show them that their advice was harmful and why.
Ah, there we go, the usual claim by a theist, and you are one yes? That one shuld not bother in point out what a jackass another theist is, that doing anything just isn’t worth it.  Sorry, I don’t have your conveniently defeatist attitude.  Speaking out against the ignorance and harm of theists always helps.  It may not do much, but it is better than nothing and those who would insist that the boat should not be rocked. 
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