Author Topic: Some of the problems with religion (for those new to the forum or on the fence)  (Read 1373 times)

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Offline kaziglu bey

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Ok, so I am bored and depressed, so guess what!! Time for another rant. A rant in the form of some of the obvious problems with religion. If I focus on Christianity, it's because it has been the dominant religious influence on the western culture of which I am a part for over a thousand years, and remains this way.

As many of you are already well aware, religion, in addition to not being true, can be the source of very many problems, and in itself has some problematic tendencies. Let's examine a few of them shall we?

1. It simply isn't true. -This is the most obvious for me. The claims made by any religion are beyond our ability to know. It's not possible to know that there is a life after death. It is not possible that a man dead for three does rose from the grave and ascended into heaven. Even other religious people do not take claims such as these seriously from people not of the same faith. These sorts of beliefs are only allowed to the individual religious person, and the religious person does not extend that to others. This seems transparent to me that religion is man made, considering that given the same types of beliefs and scripture, thousands of different religions can be made, each one conspicuously favoring the beliefs of the adherents themselves! And they all insist that only their form of belief is the correct one. Some (Catholic Church) go as far as to say that if you do not follow exactly their doctrine, too bad for you, you're gonna burn. This seems like a obvious way for the powerful to subdue the weak and ignorant and credulous through fear and force, which is pretty much what the middle ages was all about. Religion is false.

2. Religion does not make any difference- How often is it said that some or other ill of society, whether it is gun violence, or an increase in teen pregnancy, or the spread of AIDS, or a even a natural disaster like a hurricane, is because we have allowed ourselves to become a Godless society. The implied inverse of this is that Godly people are better behaved and build better societies. Can anyone actually believe that this is true? Does religion really make people better? No, it does not. People certainly do good things and say that it is because they are motivated by their faith. What this really is is an admission that without faith, they could not be good people. Or at the very least, they don't believe that they could. This seems quite self degrading to me, as well as ignoring the whole Bible story about the origins of good and evil, in that humans possess sch knowledge because two ignorant people were convinced by a talking snake to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In other words, according to the Bible, people certainly are capable of doing good. There is no faith required. In fact, it is only to the extent that humanity did NOT have faith in God's word that we have this knowledge at all (at least, according to the Bible).

Now let us take the case of a devoutly religion person. John Winthrope and his puritan buddies in the Massachusetts bay colony had a beef with the Pequot Indians. Apparently the Pequot had killed an Englishman by accident, thinking he was a Dutchman who had killed their chief. Native Americans at the time did not exactly have a wide knowledge base of Europeans to necessarily know the difference. Anyways, like the good Christians that they were, they decided to sneak up on the Pequot village in the middle of the night and shoot everyone to death. When the sneaking part failed, because the Pequot's dogs alerted them to intruders, the Puritans decided instead to torch the place. 700 Native American men, women, and children were roasted alive in the middle of the night in their homes. Some of the Englishmen involved recounted how the cries of the dying were terrible, and the dreadful wail of children being scorched by flames, and their hearts were moved to consider compassion for them, but instead, remained steadfast in their Godly duty to exterminate these "savages". Tell me, did the Puritans religion make them better people?

3. Religious charity is a scam- This is one of the go to arguments for the Christian who has nothing. "But what about all of the charity that religion does?" What about it? Look at the places where missionaries often go to proselytize and occasionally help out too. The biggest case would be Africa. A continent that is rife with poverty, starvation, disease, war, slavery, and exploitation. Why is it this way? Because European Christians exploited the people of Africa for centuries, turning local disputes into atrocities, fanning the flames of war and racism, setting up extensive slavery operations that would rob people not only of their freedom but of their homeland, extensive imperialism that relegated whole societies to third class citizens, the entire nature balance of the continent overthrown by people seeking to make converts to Christianity and enslave or destroy those who don't (especially if they can profit from doing so). So when missionaries go to Kenya or Uganda to hand out loaves of bread with bibles tied to them, and spread the "Good News" they are there to alleviate problems that exist largely because of the influence of religion. Keep in mind that this is the same 'Good News" Africans were told about hundreds of years ago, when they were being kidnapped from their families, packed into ships like cattle, and shipped off to a foreign land.

4. "But religion makes people feel good!" So what? So does dilaudid. It's the super duper good stuff you get in the hospital when you are in serious pain. It may be as close to heaven as it is possible to get. Does this mean that people should be allowed to have dilaudid whenever they want? Obviously not, because there would be a lot of drooling, senseless people (like a Justin Bieber concert) walking around, and nothing would get done, and LOTS of people would die, or suffer terrible injury, or lose their jobs, or their families. Plus there would be tons of people who just couldn't get enough of it, and would even be willing to kill for it. And religion is exactly the same as a world in which people could have dilaudid because it made them feel good. People are killed by those who think they have a god given right to do so, people are bullied and coerced into believing nonsense to give sinister old virgins a paycheck, children die because their religious parents either beat them to death or refuse to give them medical treatment on religious grounds, all of this happens BECAUSE we tolerate religion due to sorry excuses like "It makes people feel good".

And here comes the rant. Why is it not possible to have a discussion about religion in most situations without being labeled a complete anti-social asshole for criticizing religion in any way? Why is it not possible for me to say "Well maybe a story that has a talking snake in the first chapter is not the most reliable source of information" without some religious person being offended? I think that this is a HUGE barrier for the progress of civilization. If we have the ability to criticize the President, we should have the ability to criticize religion. Indeed, we have a RIGHT to, but society generally seems fit to deny us that right, so as to not hurt the fragile feelings of adults with imaginary friends.

This probably pisses me off more than anything about religion. It's like having to be careful not to mention around toddlers that Santa isn't real. Why do we have to treat religion with the special sacred sort of respect? No one seems to feel entitled to accord us a similar respect, even though our worldview is based on reality. How often do you see Christians condemning statements made against atheists (with the exception of OldChurchGuy)? It is considered entirely fair game to question a non-believers values, morals, and belief system, and to do so in threatening and discriminatory ways, yet the religious people think that THEY are the ones being persecuted! WTF?

This "sacred respect" for religion has gone on for far too long. Now that there is the internet, and so much information is available to so many people, the cat is out of the bag. People are catching onto this stuff, and they are not happy with the harm religion has caused, and continues to cause, and the self righteous snobbery that comes along with it.  It's time to have an honest discussion about the shortcomings of religion, but we still can't because we can't offend religious people. You can't say that the focus of Christianity is human sacrifice, even though it's transparently obvious, because you will hurt the poor tender feelings of some believer, who somehow doesn't think that a PERSON being SACRIFICED to save their sins is a HUMAN SACRIFICE!

But instead, we have to capitulate to ignorant and aggressive mobs (like Fox News) who in spite of thinking that they have the all powerful master of the universe (not He-man) on their side, can not possibly be subjected to even a moment of criticism.

Look, I don't care for football. I think it is pretty pointless, and it's pathetic that grown men get paid millions of dollars to play with a goddamned ball. It contributes nothing to society. It is a money pit that benefits only a few people, making them wealthy and famous at the expense of the fans. People are willing to overlook dog murderers and rapist because they are good at football. But you know what? I am allowed to criticize football. No one says "Oh don't say that you hurt my feelings! How dare you criticize the NFL?". You won't be ostracized for criticizing football. You're not likely to be shot or have your house burnt down for criticizing football. States won't refuse to allow you to hold office because you criticize football. Why can't we have the same level of discourse for religion as we can for football.

Same thing with science. Science encourages debate and dissension and open discussion and criticism. It's these very things that make it so strong. It is put through the ringers until it can be shown to be accurate. Religious people are always demanding further evidence of evolution, or to demonstrate how the universe can come from nothing, or how could we possibly be related to apes, yet when we demand this same type of evidenced based proof from them, the standards are suddenly (and most conveniently for them) completely different! No one says you can't criticize evolution because it might hurt Richard Dawkins' feelings. I don't even think Richard Dawkins would take such a suggestion seriously.

But no, we HAVE to respect people of faith BECAUSE they are people of faith. In other words, people just don't want their illusions shattered by a firm dose of reality.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline kaziglu bey

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Here is a prime example of what is wrong with religion. (The letter in question is the second one). This letter to the editor writer, who frequently contributes brainwashed drivel such as this, says, in regards to the Newtown shooting,  "Go ahead, America, keep taking Christ out of our schools, government, books, college campuses and Judeo-Christian holidays and see what you get, which will be a lot more of this." Oh BOO HOO! Those terrible secularists keeping religion out of government exactly the way the founding fathers intended! How dare they? I can GUARANTEE that this letter writer could not point to even ONE official US document that says that this is a Christian nation.

Again, this is why religion sickens me. The fact that someone who believes in a book that says that he should kill everyone who does not believe as he does thinks that he is being persecuted because we don't allow his imaginary friend to have a say in our society. So he writes a letter to the editor claiming that the Newtown shooting are a result of pushing away God. I have a feel that I will be responding to this in not a very kind way. Never mind that one can not criticize religion without fear of retaliation. The doublethink necessary to maintain this level of stupidity is astounding.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline colin040

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Long post you've got there.

A muslim guy in my class said that ''every religion should deserve respect'' which I think is absolute nonsense. Weeks earlier another muslim said that all atheists deserve hell when this teacher asked what would happend with us. That would mean that WE have to give respect to a religion that doesn't even has respect in the first place? That's not how shit works. I didn't say this out loud however but I still found it quite bizare.


Offline Leviathan

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A muslim guy in my class said that ''every religion should deserve respect''..


Sounds likes he needs to embrace The Church of Euthanasia...

Offline kaziglu bey

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Long post you've got there.
Considering that the subject of this thread is problems with religion, I would say it's rather terse.

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A muslim guy in my class said that ''every religion should deserve respect'' which I think is absolute nonsense. Weeks earlier another muslim said that all atheists deserve hell when this teacher asked what would happend with us. That would mean that WE have to give respect to a religion that doesn't even has respect in the first place? That's not how shit works. I didn't say this out loud however but I still found it quite bizare.
That's pretty much how it works. Religious people DEMAND respect for their nonsense, all while their religion encourages them to disrespect, harass, intimidate, and murder anyone who doesn't agree with them. This is one of the things that I hate most about religion. How can people say stuff like that and expect a thinking person to take them seriously??

EDIT: Fixed improper quote formatting.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline colin040

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It's indeed silly. I'm sure that, had I said something I'd get a response along the lines of ''Oh but you're not religion so why bother?'' I may be not, but people who are get influenced by it in dare I say, a negative way.

PS: Soon some classmates and I have to give a presentation about religion. The most obvious ''now'' religious thing that affectecs society negative I could come up with to show were the westboro baptist church. Does anyone else have suggestions?

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The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline kaziglu bey

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It's indeed silly. I'm sure that, had I said something I'd get a response along the lines of ''Oh but you're not religion so why bother?'' I may be not, but people who are get influenced by it in dare I say, a negative way.
One thing that religious people of all types seem to generally agree on is that they hate non-believers, so it's not surprising that none of them think that non-believers should be given the some respect as other believers.

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PS: Soon some classmates and I have to give a presentation about religion. The most obvious ''now'' religious thing that affectecs society negative I could come up with to show were the westboro baptist church. Does anyone else have suggestions?
They are certainly a nuisance and pimple on the ass of humanity, but the Catholic Church is, was and always will be the single greatest purveyor of evil. Within the last few decades, the Catholic Church has opposed abortion, contraception, and homosexuality, the Pope (Darth Ratzinger) told people in Africa, where something like 20 MILLION people have AIDS, that condoms increase the risk of AIDS/HIV, has abolished Limbo (which is where the Catholic Church told parents, for centuries, that their dead, unbaptized children would go to await the second coming), has called atheists Nazis (in spite of having been a member of the Hitler Youth and the Vatican still having a treaty with the Third Reich to this very day), moved "Mother" Teresa on the fast track to sainthood (she was a disgustingly sadistic and evil human being, like most saints actually), aided, encouraged, and oversaw some of the horrible slaughter in Rwanda, covered up numerous child sexual assaults, told people in Haiti that their 250,000 dead from an earthquake was a message from God, their teachings on abortion and sexuality have literally caused people to die, some Catholic groups assert that they have a RIGHT to encourage harassment and bullying of homosexual children and children of homosexuals...... is that a good start?

EDIT: spelling/grammar
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline kaziglu bey

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Oh, plus the Catholic church endorsed Romney. Perhaps that's all that is required to say.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline Dominic

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kb

Would you agree that you are deliberately being one-eyed in your rant ?

For example you say that we can't know about life after death so apparently you are leaving open the possibility.  I assume that you might also leave open the possibility of God albeit what you consider to be a very unlikely possibility.

You describe some of the bad aspects of religion and I agree with some of what you mention but your overall rant implies that religious belief is all bad and yet (I think?) you still leave open a slim possibility of God existing (although you'd probably say we could never be certain in this life).

Regarding the bad things done by religious people, I assume that you would not want to stop atheism because of the bad things done by some atheists.

So I suppose my overall question is, do you accept the right of people to believe in God and to have other religious beliefs as long as they do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of non believers (or even on the rights and freedoms of other believers) ?

« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 06:50:14 AM by Dominic »

Offline kcrady

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Quote from: Mark B. Morrow/McKean (numbskull from Kaziglu's link)
We now live in a country where you shouldn't say "Merry Christmas" because someone might be offended. Go ahead, America, keep taking Christ out of our schools, government, books, college campuses and Judeo-Christian holidays and see what you get, which will be a lot more of this.

You wanna say shit like this, fine: stick your neck out and make a prediction--and be willing to dump your claim if it doesn't work out.  Let's say the Alabama legislature passes a resolution saying that Alabama is a Christian State, and they pass a law saying they will hang a banner across the statehouse that says "Merry CHRISTmas, Bitches!" next November 26th.  How much of a reduction in Alabama's murder rate can we expect?  Five percent?  Ten percent?  Can we look forward to an increase in crop yields?  How much?

"But, but, but, God's not a genie!  He doesn't work like that!"

OK, you're his bestest little buddy.  You're the one with the Personal Relationshiptm with him.  How does he work?  I mean, he does work--i.e., actually do stuff, right?  Right?

"Well, we didn't have these school shootings back in the 1950's when the women and darkies knew their place now, did we, smart guy?!"

I don't actually know that for a fact, but I'll grant it.  We did have lynchings and polio and smallpox and the real, legitimate fear of being annihilated by honest-to-FSM, no-shit COMMIE FREAKING NUKES.  People knew--actually knew--that Yahweh wouldn't erect any miracle forcefields over the U.S. to protect us from them, even though we did add "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance.  Otherwise, we could have saved all those TAXES (OMG!  ScaryscaryscaryGovernmentGovernmentSpendingSpending!) we spent building nukes of our own as a deterrent, right?  We'd have never needed the air raid sirens or the "Duck and Cover" exercises, and we wouldn't have needed to vote for Reagan and more TAXES and DEFICIT SPENDING (*scream of terror*) to fund SDI.  Right?  On the other hand, if Yahweh isn't gonna protect us from NUCLEAR ANNIHILATION if all our store clerks say "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays," what makes you think he'll stop the occasional school shooting?  Also, isn't it even a little sacrilegious of you to proclaim that God is like some Mafia don saying, "Cute kids ya got there.  Be a shame if somethin' happened to 'em"--over such trivialities as people mouthing (or not mouthing) "Merry Christmas?"  Really?  Really?!  Blasphemy aside, it also exhibits a profound lack of imagination.  Yahweh can create a Cosmos of at least a hundred billion galaxies with a thought, and he's omni-omni infinitely awesome in every conceivable way--and "Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays" is up there near the top of his list of concerns?

By the way Mr. McKean, what kind of sick bastard do you gotta be to actually gloat over the murder of a bunch of little kids?  "See?  I told ya so!  This happened because everybody doesn't do everything my way!  Those kids wouldn't be dead if this country smelled like my urine![1]  Remind me again why the rest of us are supposed to look to you and your ilk for moral guidance?

/rant
 1. That's really what all this sturm und drang about "Merry Christmas" and "God in government and schools" is all about--the White Protestant Fundamentalist Tribe demanding that their markings be sprayed all over the nation so that everybody else knows they're the alpha.
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Offline William

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So I suppose my overall question is, do you accept the right of people to believe in God and to have other religious beliefs as long as they do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of non believers (or even on the rights and freedoms of other believers) ?
My bold

Absolutely yes under the conditions in bold.  People can believe in whatever god they like as long as they keep any wider implications of their beliefs to themselves.  It almost never is like that though :)




And that should include not infecting their children with religious shit.  I think no religion for kids until they reach voting age.

Git mit uns

Offline kcrady

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Religion is like a penis.  There's nothing wrong with having one.  It's even OK to be proud of it.  Just don't go waving it around in public or trying to shove it down the throats of children.
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline kcrady

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kb

Would you agree that you are deliberately being one-eyed in your rant ?

For example you say that we can't know about life after death so apparently you are leaving open the possibility.

KB is being exceedingly generous.  There's a vast body of evidence against the idea of life after death, which consists of: every single thing we actually know about the brain-body system and how it works.  Consider Alzheimer's Disease.  If it destroys (let's say) 50% of somebody's brain and leaves them an invalid who doesn't even remember their own name, much less their life and loved ones, how is the destruction of 100% of their brain (death) going to improve matters?

I assume that you might also leave open the possibility of God albeit what you consider to be a very unlikely possibility.

Can you provide any evidence that indicates that [your particular version of] "God" is any more likely to exist than leprechauns, faeries, or anybody else's god/gods/goddesses?

You describe some of the bad aspects of religion and I agree with some of what you mention but your overall rant implies that religious belief is all bad and yet (I think?) you still leave open a slim possibility of God existing (although you'd probably say we could never be certain in this life).

Regarding the bad things done by religious people, I assume that you would not want to stop atheism because of the bad things done by some atheists.[/quote]

What about a-leprechaunists?  Stalin, Genghis Khan, Hitler, and Torquemada all didn't believe in leprechauns.

So I suppose my overall question is, do you accept the right of people to believe in God and to have other religious beliefs as long as they do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of non believers (or even on the rights and freedoms of other believers) ?

Of course.  People have a right to believe whatever they like.  People also have the right to subject beliefs to critical scrutiny, and to reject, or even mock said beliefs.  That's all we're doing here. 
"The question of whether atheists are, you know, right, typically gets sidestepped in favor of what is apparently the much more compelling question of whether atheists are jerks."

--Greta Christina

Offline Jontom10

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Religion is like a penis.  There's nothing wrong with having one.  It's even OK to be proud of it.  Just don't go waving it around in public or trying to shove it down the throats of children.

Starstuff going to add this as quote of the day ?  ;D
Hasa Diga Eebowai

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do you accept the right of people to believe in God and to have other religious beliefs as long as they do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of non believers (or even on the rights and freedoms of other believers) ?

Don't know if that's possible. If people are allowed to go around saying things that they can't substantiate, and some of it is a threat, then that constitutes "impinging".

Typical example is an astrologer. I accept the right of an idiot to go to an astrologer, but someone who has not been pre-educated in what they do to you, comes out of the session dependent on the trash of someone who gained power over them. They spend half their life looking for a tall dark stranger, and believing mystical shit, because they were fooled by some cold reading.

The only way you can not impinge is to shut up. Then, religion falls on its arse, because nobody in their right mind would make it up, without a few generations of mythology and lies, to convince them of the prerequisite rubbish.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline kaziglu bey

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kb

Would you agree that you are deliberately being one-eyed in your rant ?
No. I started a thread about problems with religion, and proceeded to demonstrate problems with religion.

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For example you say that we can't know about life after death so apparently you are leaving open the possibility.  I assume that you might also leave open the possibility of God albeit what you consider to be a very unlikely possibility.
Yes, those are possibilities. There is not yet even one jot or tittle of evidence to suggest that such possibilities correspond to reality in any meaningful way. Death is by definition the cessation of life, so the "possibility"  of life after death seems infinitesimally small. And even if there were a life after death, it wouldn't have to be the one that you believe in. You could end up in Valhalla for all you know. Maybe you will find yourself in Valinor. The afterlife could be entirely different from anyone has ever conceived it to be. You just don't, and can't, know.

But the thing is, the theist, in spite of the dilemma described above, does claim to know that there is an afterlife, and what you have to do to get there, and naturally this afterlife is the one that they believe in. The atheist instead says that until convincing evidence comes along to demonstrate conclusively that there is life after death, the default position that no such thing exists is the most parsimonious one.

If you think there is an afterlife, but that it is definitely not Valhalla, then I want to know what evidence you have of this. If you can't give any, then there is no reason for me to take your position seriously.

Near death experiences are often cited by believers as iron clad proof of an afterlife, ignoring the whole "near"  part and assuming that almost dying is the same thing as actually being dead. If this is the level of evidence needed to say that such a belief is real, then you would also have to accept that Valhalla is real, if someone had a NDE  of Valhalla. The problem with the type of "evidence"  offered to us by believers is that it can be used to justify belief in absolutely anything, with no means of falsifiability.


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You describe some of the bad aspects of religion
Because that is the explicit purpose of this thread
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and I agree with some of what you mention but your overall rant implies that religious belief is all bad and yet (I think?) you still leave open a slim possibility of God existing (although you'd probably say we could never be certain in this life).
A god could exist and religious belief could still be all bad. It's not like if God exists that religion is then automatically good. We should judge it based on its merits and flaws, just as we would anything else. Note also that, in the case of the Bible God, if He were real, then it would only demonstrate even more that religion is bad, because this God can only solve problems through violence and death, which most morally normal people would not consider to be good. Sure religion occasionally does some good, provides some services to the needy, brings grieving people comfort, etc, but this is true of many, many religious beliefs, and obviously they can't all be right, so it is irrelevant as to whether or not it is true.

Of course it also can't be ignored that a lot of evil and wickedness has been largely done away with precisely by moving away from religion, and instead embracing the scientific method and secular humanism. Thomas Paine, a deist but definitely NOT a theist or Christian in any way, was aggressively opposed to slavery, in a time when all of the Good True Christians were slave owners! It took Abraham Lincoln and the secular United States Government to abolish slavery in the US while the religious Confederacy, whose motto was "Deo Vindice" (God will Vindicate), seceded from the Union precisely because they wanted to be able to continue to exploit other human beings according to God's Great Plan.

It's really only in the fairly recent past of Christianity that a majority of Christians have become oriented towards trying to be civilized, tolerant, moral people. Many modern Christians definitely have a Jesus as John Lennon, themselves as hippie followers kind of vision, with peace, love and charity, and community being primary values. Note that this was not the case for most of the history of Christianity, and it's only because Christians have been living under secular humanist values long enough to be comfortable with it and realize that its not OK to stone women to death for adultery. It's only because they have been taught a better way, and they attribute that to a very narrow reading of only the best possible things in the Bible, while conveniently dismissing the fact that most of it is murder, slavery, misogyny, genocide, foreskins,  cannibalism, and feces eating. It is only to the extent that believers DO NOT believe in their religion that they are decent people.

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Regarding the bad things done by religious people, I assume that you would not want to stop atheism because of the bad things done by some atheists.
No I wouldn't but its not at all an equal comparison. If someone who is an atheist does something wicked, it has nothing to do with their being an atheist. There is no part of " I don't believe in God", which is all that atheism is, that necessitates or motivates people to do evil. However, religion commands people to murder, genocide, slavery, child abuse, taking other people's land and possessions, war and so much more. Religious people do these things precisely because they feel they have a divine right to do so. Just look at God's followers in the Bible. They behave in a way that only someone who had no sense of morality or acknowledged the rights of anyone but their own would behave. It is their destiny, their mission from God himself, to destroy all the other people in the region, take their land, their cattle, their virgins, this is God's gift to them! This is obviously different from someone who doesn't believe in God doing something wicked. The non-believer is not entitled and commanded to do this stuff.

So what about Josef Stalin you may well ask? Well, its only to the extent that he granted and bestowed upon himself the virtual status of God that he did these things. HE was the absolute authority in Soviet Russia, and if you didn't bow before him you were gone. This is indistinguishable from religion.


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So I suppose my overall question is, do you accept the right of people to believe in God and to have other religious beliefs as long as they do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of non believers (or even on the rights and freedoms of other believers) ?
I accept that people have that right, the problem is that a very large number of religious people do not recognize this right at all, precisely because it goes against their scriptural commands and doctrines that say that they are the only true believers. This is why Zionists want to reclaim all of Israel for themselves. This is why why World Trade Center is gone. This is why Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head for trying to go to school. Religious people can't recognize this right because it is against the Boss's orders.

EDIT: Removed a misplaced word.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 10:37:25 AM by kaziglu bey »
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline ParkingPlaces

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From what I can see, religion is an effort to organize and structure the unknowns of life via hopes and lies. There is much in this world that we do not know, that we cannot know, that we will never know. But people, via religion, are taught otherwise. They are told that a) we are here for a specific reason, b) that life has specific expectations via a god and c) that we know what happens after death (at least a little bit).

None of those things are true. Yet they make up the bulk of "truth" for billions, and via these inconsistent and variable untruths, much harm is done. Well, more than much. Gobs. Sh*tloads. Tons and tons.

When person A's religion gets in the way of person B's religion, something bad happens. When the lack of religion gets in the way of Person C's religion, something bad happens. Of course bad things can happen between person D and person E when they disagree about non-religious stuff too. But the artificial construct that is religion, sans flexibility and rational discourse, tends to amplify those human flaws that are already hard to deal.

Add to all of this the ability to, when it is incredibly convenient, to customize a religion to fit ones social desires, and it starts getting just plain old icky. Other than flat-out endorsing slave labor, I am not aware of any place in the bible that instructs us to go out and profit, no matter what the cost is to society or individuals. Yet the Tea Partiers seem to think that all the the pursuit of money over all other tasks is a god-given right, and apparently, if asked, would say that all who disagree should be peacefully shot.

People who get comfort from religion do so because they were told it is there. They are religious so that they don't have to mature emotionally. Or the religion they have been told to accept keeps them from maturing emotionally. And hence they feel better. Because they get to think dead children are better off in heaven instead of using such deaths to inspire us to find ways to prevent premature death, whatever the cause. The same mentality that causes the anti-vaccination crowd to connect autism and shots causes the religious to connect pretty flowers and god, suicide bombs and god, HIV and no condoms and god, getting to beat your wife and god, hiding from science and god.

Humans have little intrinsic ability to be perfect. We have lots of ability to be kind, caring, generous, hard-working, dedicated, warm and caring. Unless you start taking away some of those skills via ignorance or religion (but I repeat myself). In any case, there are those talents and aptitudes that we do have, and then there are the incompetencies that we choose to live by, and unsurprisingly, they conflict. Religion, as a highly structured incompetence-inducing force in this world, has nothing worthwhile to offer.

If, as a believer, you disagree, it is because your religion insists that you blunder through life. Excuses are required in such situations. Post yours now.

Edit: added missing word
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Offline Seppuku

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So I suppose my overall question is, do you accept the right of people to believe in God and to have other religious beliefs as long as they do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of non believers (or even on the rights and freedoms of other believers) ?

People are free to believe what they like.

I am happy to tolerate that people can believe whatever they like so long as they aren't hurting anybody.

But I'd say my main issue is...they are. Most folks wouldn't consider indoctrinating a child to be harmful and would thusly consider themselves as a believer who's harming nobody. The problem is, by raising your child Christian, Muslim or whatever is impinging on their freedoms. When I was a kid my dad was Catholic, my mum protestant and my family had the same split. I didn't actually have them indoctrinate me with religion or treat me as a Christian child. They pretty much went for the, "it's up to you" approach. The rest of my family? Never forced religion on us, sure my Catholic grandmother pretty much had her house decorated with Jesus (it's her own home, it's up to her), I don't remember her ever pushing anything religious onto us and she still doesn't. My mum's no longer a protestant, but an agnostic atheist and my dad isn't very big on organised religion but remains a theist. I am an atheist by my own definition...heck, I've never even read Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens and I'm not even a humanist. It works, to my mind, this works as an ideal level of tolerance between believers and non-believers. I was also a believer for a period of time too, it's hard not to when it's a part of your society. If I ever have kids, I'd let them have the choice.

But that's not the way it is in general. People fear their kids will go to hell, they'll believe you'll go to hell, the best way to save you is to force their religion. But maybe you're a sinner and you deserve hell, heck, maybe even deserve death and it's not just the Muslims who have the murderous swing. Christianity, may have toned down, but it is not completely innocent in the modern world and there's still blood on Christian hands...and I don't mean "Christians who murder" but "Christians who murder because of their religious beliefs", I feel the need to make the distinction. Christians sometimes pull out the Hitler/Stalin argument by suggesting atheism's responsible for their crimes (though Hitler was a Christian and it was his Nazi ideology that was responsible, not religious belief). Then you do get the religious folks who'll pass laws based on faith regardless of how they'll affect the rights of others, or how government funding and tax payer money ends up backing a particular religion. Yet when people try to knock them off the pedestal to bring them to fair ground, they protest their religious freedom is under attack, or simply, we are heathens, infidels...it really depends on your country and time period...heck, by being a heathen or an infidel could get you killed...whilst I do not fear my life as an atheist in England, but there was a time when it would have been dangerous. In some parts of the world it is, heck, even in parts of America you might not want to admit to be one (whilst I am sure it's highly unlikely you'd be murdered for it, but discrimination is still likely). People are always seemingly defending God, when really he needs no defending.

Then when people are exercising their freedoms they've managed to claw their way to get, you see the religious trying to find a way to tear you down, be it as simple as an attempt to take away your freedom of speech by taking down or destroying your billboards expressing it or as extreme as threatening you with violence (or even acting on it).

Unfortunately, religion brings about this level of elitism. Yes, there are those who do not share it, there are those who are good and maybe feel influenced to do right because of religion. But religious texts do tell people to do horrific things in the name of religion. And it gives out so many mixed messages, particularly with Abrahamic religion. On one hand you have wrath and intolerance and kill non-believers and the next you have love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek and thou shalt not kill. It often comes down to how you end up reading it.

And yet, what good it can bring is nothing religion owns exclusivity to. It does what we do not need religion for. Whilst I would not take away a person's rights to believe and I am willing to be tolerant so long as it brings no harm, but I would not miss religion if it were to go away and I believe mankind in the long run would benefit. I would not say it'd bring a utopia and I am sure wars will be fought for other reasons, but I think it would improve the world nonetheless and would be a step forward.

I feel it is better to abhor all that is wrong with the world with those who also abhor it without any barriers - so it's not science vs religion or even atheism vs theism. I feel, if a Christian thinks homophobia sucks balls, then they can stand beside me as I chant "I had sex with Fred Phelps", or a Muslim who thinks it's wrong to force Sharia Law into a legal system to join me in saying "Anjem Choudary is a fascist twat". If a Christian wants to high five me about evolution, I won't leave them hanging. I think when there's something wrong in society, then unity is better and we shouldn't discriminate because of our differences. However, I do have a strong distaste for religious dogma and I believe that even in today's supposedly 'progressive' world it does more harm than good.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 07:31:20 PM by Seppuku »
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Offline screwtape

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A muslim guy in my class said that ''every religion should deserve respect'' which I think is absolute nonsense. Weeks earlier another muslim said that all atheists deserve hell when this teacher asked what would happend with us. That would mean that WE have to give respect to a religion that doesn't even has respect in the first place? That's not how shit works. I didn't say this out loud however but I still found it quite bizare.

You should have asked what he thinks apostate muslims deserve. 
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Offline wheels5894

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kb


For example you say that we can't know about life after death so apparently you are leaving open the possibility.  I assume that you might also leave open the possibility of God albeit what you consider to be a very unlikely possibility.

You describe some of the bad aspects of religion and I agree with some of what you mention but your overall rant implies that religious belief is all bad and yet (I think?) you still leave open a slim possibility of God existing (although you'd probably say we could never be certain in this life).


Atheists in general do leave open the possibility for there being a god in the sense that if some evidence comes up suggesting such it would need to be examined. however, I doubt anyone is going to hold their breathe waiting for such evidence.  Life after death - well its down to one thing - evidence - and I don't know where that would come from. Until then one sensibly assumes it not ot be the case.

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Regarding the bad things done by religious people, I assume that you would not want to stop atheism because of the bad things done by some atheists.

Atheists are all individuals. The only thing they have in common in not believing in a god. They are not a group. Religions, on the other hand. are groups with leaders. These groups proclaim that they have the moral high ground, that they are better behaved than the non-religious yet look at the records of the US Prison Service and you find that religious people are the vast majority - even when looking at it from the point of view of the proportions of religious and non-religious in the population. Yet, because of all the benefits religions bring in the way of all they moral teaching, they get tax concessions worth millions. This is simply not right. Oh and while you are at it, you know from another thread that the activities of religions are not so great from Popes and the Crusades to Mother Theresa salting money she collected from the dying in India and using it to build monasteries.

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So I suppose my overall question is, do you accept the right of people to believe in God and to have other religious beliefs as long as they do not impinge on the rights and freedoms of non believers (or even on the rights and freedoms of other believers) ?

Certainly - why not? What I am not so keen on is the idea that children can be indoctrinated in early loife to make them good, paying church members. They can join when they are old enough.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline kaziglu bey

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Here is a short but sweet rebuttal of the ridiculous claims made by Mark Morrow in a previous letter to the editor that I had mentioned previously in this thread. Boy, someone is going to have a bruised ego after this.
Seriously though... What would happen if the Great Green Arkleseizure didn't fram up the rammastam before the hermite curve achieved maximum nurdfurdle velocity? Now THAT would be something. AmIrite?

Offline Jag

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A muslim guy in my class said that ''every religion should deserve respect'' which I think is absolute nonsense.

I just noticed the flaw here. The classmate said "every religion should deserve respect". The best answer to that is to agree. He's right, they all should deserve respect if they're going to dictate how people live. As soon as they ARE deserving of respect, I'll be happy to be respectful of them. Until then, I'll stick to mockery.

Yes, I'm a b**** in person about semantics too - I probably would have gotten tossed out of class that day, or been a hero to any closeted non-believer in the room for speaking up. Maybe both, I suppose they're not mutually exclusive, are they?  :P

I guess we'll see if I really "put my money where my mouth is" - I start my next semester in less than a week with classes in both politics and sociology, which should provide lots of opportunities to discuss religion and respect. I'm holding off on a comparative religions class until I transfer to a bigger school in the fall. I'd prefer to share the wisdom I've gained here with a much larger audience!
"It's hard to, but I'm starting to believe some of you actually believe these things.  That is completely beyond my ability to understand if that is really the case, but things never cease to amaze me."

Offline colin040

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Now that I think of it, the guy literally said ''respect each religion.'' Sorry for not comming up with this earlier.

Some of the muslims had no trouble saying that atheists will burn in hell according to the qur'an which I think could already be the root of evil here. For me it doesn't matter because I don't believe in it but I'm sure it will already give muslims the idea atheists are bad/evil whatever because of this claim the qur'an makes.

Also, I found this on islam.org

If you think that existence as a whole has no purpose and achieves nothing, then it follows that whatever you do in life achieves exactly nothing as well - your life would contribute no value to existence.

You can't be serious about this shit.  ;D

Offline screwtape

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Some of the muslims had no trouble saying that atheists will burn in hell

while I'm not wild about this belief, I prefer it to the one where they think they are entitled to send us there themselves at their earliest convenience.  At least the former belief, while engendering prejudice, leaves it up to god.

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