Author Topic: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing  (Read 34279 times)

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Offline Hierophant

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #522 on: April 24, 2013, 04:57:40 AM »
Junebug, how can belief in God not be a bad thing in any way whatsoever? Surely people who do bad things in the name of God do so as a result of a belief in God. Or are you going to pull a No True Scotsman on that and try to vainly argue that no one who "really" believes in God can do bad things?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #523 on: April 24, 2013, 05:02:43 AM »
Oh this is so childish. It's just another desperate attempt to rattle my cage. I see this for what it is. You know I have no prejudice against mental illness.

No Junebug, I DON'T know that.  Someone asked if you had a mental illness.  You responded with by saying the question was insulting.  By using the word "crazy" (itself a predjudicial term).  Calling someone a jerk for even venturing to ask the question.

Much as you hate to admit it, you ARE displaying all the signs of predjudice.  Ask yourself what your reaction would have been if you had been asked "are you in a wheelchair?" or "do you have problems with your vision"? 

Are you expecting us to believe that if Pony had asked you "do you have any problems with your vision?", you would have responded with:

"First of all I do not have vision problems. I have perfect vision. Insulting comments make you look like a jerk no matter who the recipient is; it's just worse when it is directed at someone who is ill, which I am not. .....Oh yea don't call me blind again!!! Name calling is for CHILDREN!!!"

You have massively overreacted to a legitimate question made with your interests at heart.  Such a colossal reaction usually only comes when someone is accused of being or having something that they have a very deep-seated predjudice against.

So no: I don't believe you have no predjudice against mental illness.  Merely using the term "crazy" means you are prejudiced, let alone all the other stuff.  People with mental illness AREN'T crazy, Junebug.  I'd have thought that someone so touchy-feely and in tune with not wanting to insult other people as yourself would have known that.
The only thing I'm prejudice against is prejudice and greed. If you knew me you would know this. It doesn't even make sense to say I'm touchy-feely and prejudice at the same time. You should get that checked out.

Super dodge, Junebug.  You seem to make a habit of avoiding the questions and trying to brush them off with a simple "no it isn't" or "no I'm not".

The point is that you CLAIM to be extremely touchy-feely and in tune with things and not wanting to hurt anyone - but when we hit the right triggers you reveal that you are NOT as lovesy-dovesy as you claim.  Its just another example of how you switch roles at the drop of a hat.

But go ahead, Junebug - please explain how someone as unpredjudiced and unwilling to cause offence as yourself would use such terms as you did? 
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #524 on: April 24, 2013, 05:05:11 AM »
Some food for thought:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddessig/2012/02/28/research-shows-wealth-greed-link-but-kindness-helps/

Research Shows Wealth-Greed Link, But Kindness Helps

Cover of Wall Street (20th Anniversary Edition)

Greed diminishes the greedy. Sure, you might end up with more and better stuff. But “flourishing,” that deep satisfaction that comes from a genuinely well-lived life, can become so difficult as to be nearly impossible. Those caught by sticky tendrils of greed spend their lives fruitlessly seeking more, and then more more, a Sisyphean struggle to attain something always out of reach. As a result the greed-infected can never get where they want to go; satisfaction is impossible. And new research, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows wealthy people tend to value greed more than others do. Conclusion: Wealth is psychologically more risky than people might imagine.

That’s right, wealth is risky however much one wants it. Elizabeth Lopatto at Bloomberg wrote an excellent piece about this research titled “Wealthy More Likely to Lie, Cheat: Researchers.” What I found in the original research was an interesting report of 7 different studies with the less inflammatory title of “Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior.” Overall, the research found that “upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals” and “upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.” [quotes from the PNAS research paper]

The studies, both experimental and naturalistic, included:

Observations of Driving Habits: The researchers observed that drivers of lower-status cars were far more likely to yield to pedestrians in a cross-walk than those driving high-status cars.

Cheating at Games: In a computer dice-throwing game in which participants reported their own score, upper-class individuals were more likely than lower-class individuals to lie about their scores so as to win a $50 gift certificate, even though they had far less need for the money.

Lies of Omission: In an employee-interview role-play the subjects were the interviewers. They were told various features of  job, including that the job itself was soon to be eliminated. During interviews with applicants, upper-class individuals where more likely than lower-class individuals not to mention that the successful applicant would soon be laid-off if they took the job.

Effects of Induced Greed: In the seventh study they looked at “whether encouraging positive attitudes toward greed increases the unethical tendencies of lower-class individuals to match those of their upper-class counterparts.” They “primed” people by having them list three positive benefits of greed before measuring “their propensity to engage in unethical behaviors at work, such as stealing cash, receiving bribes, and overcharging customers.” What they found was that “lower-class individuals were as unethical as upper-class individuals when instructed to think of greed’s benefits.”

When they put it all together, along with a review of the literature, the researchers concluded  “relative to lower-class individuals, individuals from upper-class backgrounds behaved more unethically in both naturalistic and laboratory settings.”

Of course, there are so many people who act counter to this trend across the entire income distribution as to not need comment. This is a trend, a group average that points to something going on, something that might be worth some attention. It does not say any one individual is or is not greedy because of where they fall in the distribution of resources. And while the article speculates about many reasons why the wealthy have elevated levels of unethical greed, they do not discuss either the suffering greed brings to the wealthy nor, and what really interests me, what can be done about it.

Over and over in my practice I’ve learned that wealth, both newly acquired and passed down across generations, can be psychologically risky in many ways, the sticky tendrils of greed being just one risk. I’ve seen it breed entitlement, alienation, and depression; cross-generational combat in which the younger generation found self-esteem and control only by insuring their own failure; substance-abuse and more substance-abuse: relationship failures when the challenges of love get replaced by the certainties of purchasing power; and, of course, the perennial dissatisfaction of greed.

Research Shows Wealth-Greed Link, But Kindness Helps
PAGE 2 OF 2

And in terms of the wealth-greed link, if you have wealth of any size you might want to take steps to inoculate yourself against the risks of greed by looking towards kindness: practicing it, noticing it in others, and appreciating the kindness you receive.

Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Nothing brightens a day and protects agains greed better than practicing random acts of kindness; doing something just because you know it will make someone else feel better or give them some help they need. Random acts of kindness can take many, many forms from those requiring minimal effort to truly heroic acts. Here are some examples (and these are just some illustrations, kindness is infinite): text an old friend or relative an expression of affection; do a chore, like walk the dog or clean the dishes, typically done by someone else; when you notice a tax payment, make a point to also notice all the good your money does; however small, contribute something to a group doing what you consider to be good work; say good morning and smile when you buy the newspaper. You see, you really don’t have to donate a kidney to a stranger to practice kindness.

Notice the Kindness of Strangers

When you start to pay attention you will notice a tremendous amount of kindness floating around, so much so that kindness is kind of a “dog bites man” story. As a result, routine kindness rarely makes it into a news cycle, unless it’s a dramatic inspirational feel-good story, like, for example, anonymous kidney donors. But if you go looking you’ll find kindness all over the place. There is even a foundation with a helpful website, Random Acts of Kindness Foundation with a mission of “Inspiring people to practice kindness and pass it on to others.”

Appreciate the Kindness You Receive

From a simple thank you for a kind word from a stranger or shopkeeper to the deeper recognition that you would not have the wealth you do have without others’ kindess, cultivating an appreciation for the kindness you receive will protect you from a risky slide into greedy dissatisfaction greased by having some wealth. Plus, if you take a moment for gratitude for the kindnesses you have received, you will probably brighten your mood as well as protect yourself against greed.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline Hierophant

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #525 on: April 24, 2013, 05:08:14 AM »
So... since people of faith are in general more wealthy, and your study shows that wealth is correlated with being "more bad," are you conceding the debate?

Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #526 on: April 24, 2013, 05:12:25 AM »
Junebug, how can belief in God not be a bad thing in any way whatsoever? Surely people who do bad things in the name of God do so as a result of a belief in God. Or are you going to pull a No True Scotsman on that and try to vainly argue that no one who "really" believes in God can do bad things?

People are doing bad things in the name of religion. Religion is not God. Bad religion is the spawn of Greed.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #527 on: April 24, 2013, 05:13:21 AM »

Right.  ALL those statements you have just made tally with the two up there that you made in red.  Belief doesn't make you good or bad, belief doesn't make you do anything, belief doesn't change you.  Belief does nothing to alter a person,   I can see why, because if belief DID change people, then you would have to accept that belief MAKES people do bad things.  But you are clear that belief doesn't make people do things, neither bad nor good.

And if that is the case, then the statement "Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing" is indeed true.  But equally, so is "Believing in God is Not a GOOD Thing".  In fact, it is an irrelevant thing, if it makes no changes, is responsible for nothing.

I would be happy to change my opinion.  Just explain to me how the assertion that belief never affects people, means that belief has any relevance at all?

Either belief changes people Junebug, or it does not.  Can you be clear which one you are asserting?

It is not that cut and dry and you know it.  We are all different. We process thoughts and information in billions of different ways.

Exactly.  So belief CAN change people and make them act differently.  Not always, but it CAN.

Which means your statements that
"Believing doesn't make you good or bad."
"Some people chose to do good, some bad."
are false.  Believing CAN make you good and bad, it CAN affect your actions and change you as a person.

And if belief CAN change a person, if it sometimes IS resposible for making people do things, then your statement "Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing" is NOT universally true.  Sometimes Believing In God Is A Bad Thing, as we have been trying to explain all along.

This is why we have so much trouble following your "argument", Junebug.  You chop and change your view every time you are pushed in a particular direction, to try to hold your worldview together.  What I find most amusing is that all through this thread you have been speaking in absolutes:

Believing doesn't make you good or bad
Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing

And you now have the audacity to tick me off with "its not that cut and dried"?  Exactly.  It isn't.

Sometimes belief is good, sometimes it is bad.  Can we agree on that, or are you now going to go back to your absolute that belief is never a bad thing?

The only thing "bad" about belief is how it is used by greed. Greed takes advantage of belief. That's my belief and I'm sticking to it. Greed is the enemy not belief. Belief is like breathing or your heartbeat, your brain just has to think about it, even when we were little baby humans just starting out, the brain thought God. Thank you God for this beautiful existence, this HONOR.  Then religion comes along, they needed a  way to control the populating species. Without religion, or shall we say rules, Belief is no more than your thoughts on how we come to be, religion my friends can be very bad, but belief is not a bad thing.

If you know this why do you keep trying to make it so? Why does it "tick" you off? You asked me for a yes or no and you admit here you know it's not possible. You're just playing games.

No, I'm not.  What I am, is getting increasingly frustrated at the way that you make blanket statements that change from one moment to the next.  NOW, you are back with "belief doesn't change you, it's greed and religion and everything else" - once again, you are back trying to make the point that belief is never a bad thing, because belief never changes you as a person.

Okay.  Fine.  BUT IF BELIEF NEVER CHANGES YOU, THEN THE STATEMENT "BELIEF IS NOT A BAD THING" is meaningless.  If belief never changes you, then the statement "Belief is not a GOOD thing" is equally valid.

Let me try to phrase it as a pair of questions.

If belief does not change a person in any way, how can it be described as either good or bad?
If belief DOES change a person, how can it be described as always a good thing?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Hierophant

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #528 on: April 24, 2013, 05:19:20 AM »
People are doing bad things in the name of religion. Religion is not God. Bad religion is the spawn of Greed.

So you are doing a No True Scotsman. What the hell is a "bad religion"? A religion that doesn't agree with you?

All religions are bad.

Offline Seppuku

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #529 on: April 24, 2013, 05:28:22 AM »
MM, I'm not sure I would agree that believing in God in general is a good thing. Whilst in many cases I would say it's not a bad thing, I don't think it offers anything special, I don't think it offers anything people couldn't seek elsewhere, but in instances where it's not a bad thing, I am happy to accept that's what people believe and what makes them happy.

In modern society I would say religions like Christianity are better than they used to be. However, I still think there's a lot of bad things that come from it. I agree that Christians would more likely seek medical help than help from a priest, my main concern, medically, would be specific to Jehovah's Witnesses, who believe blood transfusions are sinful and therefore they have been able to deny them, even when it would have saved their life or their child's life. There are other instances, I mean I would say the religious right in the US is large negative force of people believing in God, there's a lot that's wrong with the religious right over there. Whilst they may not necessarily be killing people or denying them medical help, they are denying people rights based on their religious beliefs and are generally prejudiced towards unbelievers, be they of a different religion or are non-religious. Then of course we can move away from Christianity and look at Militant Islam and see in other countries where belief in God has been a bad thing. I would argue there are many cases where belief in God has shown itself to be a bad thing and to have a significant enough of an impact. Now, of course, I am not going to list everything, but examples can include exorcisms gone wrong, acts of terror, mental illness, oppression, discrimination, attempts at genocide, mass murder, killing witches (not just in the middle ages), repression & self loathing, fear, torture (some of the worst torture methods in history were created in the name of Christianity), innocents being convicted, spreading of STDs, unsafe abortions, stone victims, disownment from family, child molestation[1] and more.

But I don't see this as an excuse to consider religion as something horrible and cruel or as an excuse to warrant the eradication of religion. Rather what I would like to see is for the religious to recognise these faults and see how people might come to the conclusions they've come to, rather than hide behind excuses like, "they're not  true believers" or "they've been corrupted" or some other excuse that removes responsibility from the beliefs of the religion, when clearly there are teachings that would lead people down that path. Also, I would like to see people avoid excusing people's actions because they're of the same religion and suggest, "well, that's just their beliefs". Instead I would like to see people address the problems head on, maybe it can help some people from going down that road and also, it means we can abhor the wrong doings of others on a much more equal level, so rather it being an argument against religion, it's an argument against fucked up shit and address the problem at its source.

Belief in God is quite frequently a bad thing, but I don't see why some religious folks need to deny that or attempt to place the 'blame' elsewhere. It doesn't necessarily mean their belief in God is a bad thing.
 1. Some might think this is a dig at Catholicism, I would say more a dig at groups of Muslims, because of Mohammad's relationship with Aisha.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #530 on: April 24, 2013, 05:30:04 AM »
Some food for thought:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddessig/2012/02/28/research-shows-wealth-greed-link-but-kindness-helps/

Research Shows Wealth-Greed Link, But Kindness Helps

Interesting article.  Shame it makes zero mention of beliefs.  Shame also that it is a second-hand article that sensationalises a study that doesn't mention any effects of kindness, or belief.  Nor does it look at any correlation between cause and effect - it assumes that you get rich, THEN you get greedy and mean, rather than considering the rather more obvious possibility that greedy and mean people get rich.

The second half is giving advice on how kindness will stop greed from making you mean - despite the fact that nowhere in the actual studies is this considered, or even mentioned.  So it is presumably just a pop-up in the head of someone with a particular view that they choose to shoehorn in, regardless of what the evidence shows.....which sounds to ME like a "bad thing" about a "belief".

It's also interesting that neither the article, nor the studies, present ANY evidence to suggest that these "greedy people" are in any way unhappy or dissatisfied with their lives.  Its an assumption made by the author of the piece, once again driven by his agenda.

Its sensationalist pap, so far as I can see, so I'm not entirely what you think it proves?

Also, one other question.  How far did you read?  Did you just read the Forbes article?  Did you read the abstract of the studies?  Did you read the full text of the studies, or the supporting evidence?

Or did you think "here's something that supports my belief, I'll link to it without bothering to see if there is any substance behind it"?  If so......that's a prime example again of how belief is a BAD thing.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #531 on: April 24, 2013, 05:44:05 AM »
So... since people of faith are in general more wealthy, and your study shows that wealth is correlated with being "more bad," are you conceding the debate?

Their greed distorts their judgement, their belief keeps them from making lives more impoverished. I don't get it. You all act like you care about starving children yet you refuse to admit that it is greed that causes poverty. Greed that causes violence. Greed that cost so many lives, it's greed.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline Hierophant

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #532 on: April 24, 2013, 05:47:26 AM »
So... since people of faith are in general more wealthy, and your study shows that wealth is correlated with being "more bad," are you conceding the debate?

Their greed distorts their judgement, their belief keeps them from making lives more impoverished. I don't get it. You all act like you care about starving children yet you refuse to admit that it is greed that causes poverty. Greed that causes violence. Greed that cost so many lives, it's greed.

So... do you speak English or... ? You didn't answer my question at all...

 :o


Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #533 on: April 24, 2013, 05:49:29 AM »
You guys will like this one!

http://public.wsu.edu/~taflinge/socgreed.html

Taking ADvantage
The Sociological Basis of Greed

by

Richard F. Taflinger

This page has been accessed since 28 May 1996.

For further readings, I suggest going to the Media and Communications Studies website.

Greed has a strong biological basis. However, it has an even stronger social basis. This sets it somewhat apart from self-preservation and reproduction. To examine greed and how it fits into human sociology, we need to start from the beginning.
The definition of greed is an extreme or excessive desire for resources, especially for property such as money, real estate, or other symbols of wealth. Here we run into two problems: defining excessive, and defining wealth, especially in terms of human psychology.

In basic terms, "excessive" is possessing something to such a degree it's harmful. For example, excessive drinking leads to falling down a lot and hating yourself in the morning. Excessive eating leads to bellyaches and obesity. Excessive speed leads to cliff edges and telephone poles. These are aspects that most people would agree are harmful.

However, all these things are harmful only to the individual. How could a desire for wealth be harmful? Every person needs a degree of wealth to survive: you need to buy food, pay the rent, get clothing, transportation, haircuts, cable TV. Without money (a symbol of wealth, or rather a transportable symbol of resources necessary to survival) you could starve or freeze to death, something that is definitely harmful. In addition, the more wealth you have, the better the quantity and/or quality of the things it brings you can get. Again, how could a desire for wealth, and thus the things it gets you, be harmful?

The answer lies in the fact that humans are social and cultural animals, not just individuals. Although for the individual greed (a strong desire for wealth) is good, the social group that individual belongs to may think greed is bad for rher. Note I say "bad for rher" -- not necessarily bad for the society or the culture or the group, but for rher, which is as good an opening as I can think of for going into the history of greed.

#

Once upon a time there was a little single-cell organism. We'll call it Herman. Herman spent its life wandering aimlessly around its waterdrop, dreaming little one-cell dreams and searching for even littler one-cell food. One day Herman, who had been getting rather fat, suddenly felt itself torn asunder and became two Hermettes (meaning "little Hermans"). The Hermettes thought this was a good idea, and realized that getting fat would result in even more Hermettes. Thus the Hermettes strove to get more food and become fat Hermans, and become Hermettes, who also strove to get more food, and become fat Hermans, etc., etc., etc..

Soon the water drop, and surrounding water drops, and large chunks of ocean, were filled with Hermans and Hermettes, all gulping down (metaphorically speaking, since they didn't have throats) every piece of food they could find. In other words, they were greedy, ensuring their own survival and ability to reproduce by devouring everything they could find that would result in more Hermettes.

Herman, and its descendants, and their descendants, kept this up for a couple of billion years, greedily grasping for those resources that ensured personal and genetic survival.

Eventually, some of Herman's descendants discovered that they could cope with conditions better is they found a way to evolve faster and weed out mutations that got in the way of survival. They developed sex.

Finally, Herman's descendants were greedily gulping fruits, nuts, berries, and anything else that came to a paw that was becoming a hand. Several of them had banded together to form a mutual nonaggression pact. Among them were Oog and Ugh, who were hoping to have a little Ugly of their own. Reaching for another apple, Oog suddenly had her protohand slapped. Popping the offended member in her mouth, she looked askance at her attacker. Aagh pointed to her own little Yugh, who was looking thin and hungry. Oog looked, then back-protohanded Aagh off the branch, took the apple, and scarfed it down. The rest of the band, observing this subtle interplay of diplomatic reasoning, decided that such selfishness required discussion. However, since they hadn't yet evolved language, they simply beat up Oog, and for good measure Ugh, with a few swipes at Aagh for having started the whole mess. Then they sent Oog and Ugh forth to go and sin with some other group but leave us alone.

Such discouragement discouraged Oog and Ugh, but they knew deep down that the more resources they collected and kept for themselves, they better off they, and when Ugly came along, all three of them would be. They competed for resources better than others, passed on more of their own genes, and in general became human beings.

However, human beings are gregarious creatures, wishing to band into mutual admiration societies and avoid inbreeding. We get together for protection, for support, to share the work necessary for survival, and to have someone to talk to.

In addition, the resources important to humans changed. No longer was it simply food in order to get and keep the strength to procreate. Now there were other things, like land to grow food, and money to buy food, and pottery to store food, and methods such as ships and caravans and trading and military conquest to get food. Eventually, the food was not the end result desired -- the means to the end became the end itself.

The real problem arose when the population increased and the possible wealth became limited. There was only so much land and money and other resources to go around. Thus, for one person to amass a lot of wealth, rhe had to reduce what somebody else could get. This created conflict in the society between the haves and have-nots, the go-getters and the no-getters.

The purpose of a society is to reduce conflict between the members of that society. The society creates laws, religions, government, whatever will allow people to get along without fighting each other in response to their biological urges. Thus, there are laws and religious proscriptions against murder to keep people from killing each other and thus weakening the society's ability to support itself and the people in it. There are laws and religious proscriptions against infidelity to keep men from killing each other and enslaving women so men can be sure of their paternity (a biological imperative -- a male doesn't want to waste his resources and care on genes that aren't his (Daly, 1983), and men are male).

To reduce the conflict greed could create, societies, through their laws and religions, said that an extreme desire for wealth was harmful to the society since it concentrated too many resources in too few hands. Thus greed was decreed and decried as excessive and harmful, and proscribed.

The ancient proscriptions were to avoid societal conflicts. The proscriptions were also often easy to follow when people were nomadic. They had to carry everything they owned around with them, and thus there was little desire to accumulate things that would simply increase the burden. For example, the !Kung people of Africa have lived this nomadic life for centuries and have few material possessions. (Leakey, 1978)

#

The desire for wealth is especially apparent in those cultures descended from or adhering to the Western European tradition of "progress" and "growth", a legacy of the eras of scientific discovery and world exploration. The former led people to believe that they could know everything, the latter increased what they knew and opened the world to trade.

Trade became a major factor in European life after the Black Death, a plague that killed three-fourths of Europe's population in the 14th Century. This massive decrease in the work force had three results. First, the end of the feudal system, since the serfs, their numbers now low and thus their value as a workforce now high, could now demand wages for their labor. Second, a surplus of goods and food since the number of consumers was so low. And third, a sudden increase in personal wealth as people inherited the belongings of all their relatives that had died. These three factors led to a greater sense of individualism and a decline in spiritual and intellectual interests in favor of material interests. (Burke, 1985)

With the new high-demand products, such as spices, tea and silk, made available by world exploration, trade and exploitation of markets became the goals of European societies and individuals in those societies. This continues to this day. The standard of living for the members of societies practicing such materialism gives them a major advantage over those people and societies that don't. They can gather more resources, live longer, raise more children in better conditions that can pass on their parents' and ancestors' genes, and generally outstrip any competition that doesn't practice greed.

Today, because of the standard of living materialism provides those who follow the idea that some is good, more is better, too much is just right, much of the world "goes for the gold". Thus, although legal and religious proscriptions against greed have been in effect and given at least lip service for millennia, the fact remains that, as it was for Oog and Ugh, deep down inside people believe "greed is good". It might be disguised as capitalism, expanding the range of possibilities, or enlightened self-interest, but deep down inside it's greed.(1)

#

Why then, if greed is not only biologically desirable but socially and societally desirable as well, does greed have such a bad name? It goes back to the fact that humans are social and cultural animals, not just individuals.

Remember that greed is a valuable trait for the individual. It makes rher fight for a larger piece of the pie, a good idea from a biological point of view. However, since humans are social creatures, and greed says that an individual should take more than rher own share, greed creates social conflict, as those who lose out resent those who win more than an even share. Those that are particularly greedy (read, particularly good at getting larger pieces of pies) are particularly resented. Recall Donald Trump and Leona Helmsley: many people cheered their downfalls. After all, who did they think they were? Besides successful, rich, competent, and capable. They were also manipulative, vain, egotistical and arrogant. However, how many people would, if they were honest, have changed places with them in a second, at least while the Donald and Leona were at their peak? Why are lotteries and sweepstakes so successful? Why do Reno and Las Vegas attract millions of people to their casinos? Because, no matter how much it is decried, people are greedy: they all want more than they have, the more more the better.

The thing to bear in mind is that "greed is good." That is, it's good for the individual, but perhaps not for the society in which that individual lives. Unrestrained greed in an individual can lead to callousness, arrogance, and even megalomania. A person dominated by greed will often ignore the harm their actions can cause others. Sweat shops, unsafe working conditions and destruction of livelihoods are all consequences of people whose personal greed overcame their social consciences.

However, even a society that bans individual greed can suffer. It is greed that makes people want to do things, since they will be rewarded for their efforts. Remove that reward, and you remove the incentive to work. The former Soviet Union provides an example of this: the collective farms provided no individual incentive to strive, and thus produced an insufficient supply of food. The individually owned and run truck farms, however, with the possibility of selling the produce and keeping the proceeds, grew a far greater harvest per acre than the collective farms. The "greed" of American farmers has allowed them to grow food for the world, since the more they produce the more money they make.

Nonetheless, however you regard it, unrestrained greed is detrimental to society; unrestrained disapproval of greed is detrimental to society. People attempt to find a balance between biological imperative and social necessity.

SUMMARY

Although there is a strong biological basis for human behavior, humans are the most social creatures on earth. The societies and cultures we create have a major effect on our behavior, mollifying and modifying our biological reactions.

Self-preservation extends beyond the personal to the public, involving family, friends, and even strangers. What may help our personal survival may help others, who may help us in turn.

Humans, reproducing sexually, have all the biological urges that other animals have. However, our complex societies and cultures have altered our reproductive strategies. Social factors, in particular women's, have become so important that they are a guiding rather than an ancillary consideration in mate selection. Strength and fighting skill in men have taken second place to power, money, and status. Although the former may be necessary to success in the biological world, the latter are necessary to success in human society. And in the last several thousand years, society rather than biology has become the driving force of human life.

Equally, human social life has radically altered the need to gather resources to live and reproduce. The need for food, water or shelter is biological -- a lack results in death. However, human society has changed how and why resources are gathered. The biological necessity is the same: humans need to eat, drink, sleep, stay out of the rain. But society has developed a way to transport current resources into the future for use in that future -- money. Thus, humans seek money.

Appeals to the human psyche must take not only biology but society into account. Society is the driving force behind much of human behavior.

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline Hierophant

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #534 on: April 24, 2013, 05:50:09 AM »
Is this thread just a compendium of the copypasta of a lunatic...??

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #535 on: April 24, 2013, 05:50:26 AM »
So... do you speak English or... ? You didn't answer my question at all...

Welcome to my world, Hierophant.  You think you and I had crossed wires in the other thread?  It is crossed transatlantic cables here.  Good luck getting Junebug to answer any direct question.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Hierophant

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #536 on: April 24, 2013, 05:52:11 AM »
Yea, I think I'm going to leave this one to the veterans...

Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #537 on: April 24, 2013, 05:56:28 AM »
So... since people of faith are in general more wealthy, and your study shows that wealth is correlated with being "more bad," are you conceding the debate?

Their greed distorts their judgement, their belief keeps them from making lives more impoverished. I don't get it. You all act like you care about starving children yet you refuse to admit that it is greed that causes poverty. Greed that causes violence. Greed that cost so many lives, it's greed.

So... do you speak English or... ? You didn't answer my question at all...

 :o

If you knew English you would know an answer when you saw one. :) But here's you one less complicated; NO.  There is no where in the article where it says belief causes anything. I'm trying to get you to realize Greed is the problem. Here's you a question; How do you think Greed affects society?
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #538 on: April 24, 2013, 05:59:23 AM »
So... do you speak English or... ? You didn't answer my question at all...

Welcome to my world, Hierophant.  You think you and I had crossed wires in the other thread?  It is crossed transatlantic cables here.  Good luck getting Junebug to answer any direct question.

Unfounded accusation. I declare quite the opposite. I have answered all your questions! Let's see how you do. How do you think Greed affects society?
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #539 on: April 24, 2013, 06:14:29 AM »
Is this thread just a compendium of the copypasta of a lunatic...??

Careful they may call you prejudice for using the word lunatic.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #540 on: April 24, 2013, 06:29:44 AM »
So... since people of faith are in general more wealthy, and your study shows that wealth is correlated with being "more bad," are you conceding the debate?

Their greed distorts their judgement, their belief keeps them from making lives more impoverished. I don't get it. You all act like you care about starving children yet you refuse to admit that it is greed that causes poverty. Greed that causes violence. Greed that cost so many lives, it's greed.

Greed isn't always the source of poverty and greed isn't always the cause of violence. Lets consider 2 religious sects in a country or perhaps 2 different religions in a country, lets say one considers the other one heathens or infidels because each one considers their teachings to be the true teachings of God. Lets say there's war between them and the two sides persecute each other and go out an kill one and another. Attempting to destroy towns, villages and even cities, destroying crops, killing innocents with some innocents having to seek refuge without the ability to properly feed themselves, without a safe place to work because they are caught up in a war over creeds. Instead, if they're not being murdered, they're dying from disease or starvation.

Consider that this type of thing still happens today and in different countries around the world and for different religions. I am trying to figure out where the greed is. I can find quotes in texts like the Bible that would support such actions and I bet I could find some in the Koran as well, but I can't see the greed. There's no intention of taking over land, there's no intention of seizing wealth, merely seeking to wipe out those who aren't true believers. In some cases, like with King Henry VIII you could argue greed, because he stole from the Catholic Church, but I don't think you could make a case for greed in every circumstance, I would argue there are many cases where greed isn't the problem.

For consideration, what if passages like the below were all the inspiration somebody needed?

Quote from: Deuteronomy 13:1
Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles,  and the predicted signs or miracles take place.  If the prophets then say, 'Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,' do not listen to them.  The LORD your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul.  Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone.  Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.  The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt.  Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you.

Quote from: Deuteronomy 18:20
But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.'  You may wonder, 'How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?'  If the prophet predicts something in the LORD's name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message.  That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared.

Quote from: Deuteronomy 13:13
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods.  In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully.  If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock.  Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it.  Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God.  That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt.  Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction.  Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you.  He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors.  "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #541 on: April 24, 2013, 06:31:47 AM »
I have answered all your questions! Let's see how you do. How do you think Greed affects society?

So, you've made your first post in the "evidence" debate room, then?

And you've answered the two questions:
If belief does not change a person in any way, how can it be described as either good or bad?
If belief DOES change a person, how can it be described as always a good thing?

Regarding this latest piece....are you aware the author's spcialist field is Drama and Theatre?  What makes you think that he is a valid authority on the subjects in that paper?  Or was this another instance when you saw an article that matched your beliefs, and decided to post it without any research into whether the author was qualified to make his assertions, or if there was one single shred of evidence to back it all up?

Here is an example of a direct answer to a question, to give you an example to follow.

How do you think Greed affects society?
Greed drives the entreuprenerial spirit.  Using Taflinger's definition that "greed is more than you need", then almost every person who strives to build up their own business is doing so out of greed.  If they had been satisfied with "enough", then they could have got that from a dull 9 to 5 job.  Would civilisation have acheived a single advance without greed, the desire for more than one has?  I sincerely doubt it.  Even gods are greedy, desiring that more and more people worship them.  A god with no greed would be satisfied with whoever chose to come to them, there would be no need for more followers....but I digress.

Without greed, we would HAVE no society - something Taflinger appears to agree with.  Without the greed for more, each person would do what they had to do, and no more.  Greed makes a person strive for more.  If you aspire to ANYTHING more than you have, you are greedy, save perhaps for the very lowest in society who do not even have the bare minimum of food and clothing.

So greed build societies.  It can also harm societies, as we have seen in many third world countries, as we are now seeing in Western countries - but (again, if we agree with Taflinger), the problem has arisen not as the fault of greed per se, but as the result of there becoming too many people for the resources available.  With infinite resources, greed would not be a problem in the slightest.  There is therefore an argument to say that it is uncotrolled childbirth that is causing the problem, since greed has been established as a necessary driving force for civilisation.  If one believed in a god, it would be reasonable to question whether god is at fault, for one of the following reasons:
1) God keeps plugging souls into too many babies, and/or allowing too many conceptions to happen.
2) God is at fault for not providing us with unlimited resources.
3) God is at fault for creating "greed" as a biological imperative in the first place.

But that's straying into the religious sphere, and going off at a tangent, so I'll try to summarise with a more direct and specific answer.

"Greed" can be good, and it can be bad - it depends on the circumstances.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #542 on: April 24, 2013, 06:48:34 AM »
I think it proves that it's not belief that is at the root of human suffering, so your time might be better spent fighting GREED, the real enemy.  We don't have to agree on beliefs to work together to fight Greed!

Do you think that people will be less inclined to fight greed if they believe that everyone will get what's coming to them in the end via the "judgement"?

No I think people will fight Greed because it causes this:

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #543 on: April 24, 2013, 06:57:55 AM »
I have answered all your questions! Let's see how you do. How do you think Greed affects society?

So, you've made your first post in the "evidence" debate room, then?

And you've answered the two questions:
If belief does not change a person in any way, how can it be described as either good or bad?
If belief DOES change a person, how can it be described as always a good thing?

Regarding this latest piece....are you aware the author's spcialist field is Drama and Theatre?  What makes you think that he is a valid authority on the subjects in that paper?  Or was this another instance when you saw an article that matched your beliefs, and decided to post it without any research into whether the author was qualified to make his assertions, or if there was one single shred of evidence to back it all up?

Here is an example of a direct answer to a question, to give you an example to follow.

How do you think Greed affects society?
Greed drives the entreuprenerial spirit.  Using Taflinger's definition that "greed is more than you need", then almost every person who strives to build up their own business is doing so out of greed.  If they had been satisfied with "enough", then they could have got that from a dull 9 to 5 job.  Would civilisation have acheived a single advance without greed, the desire for more than one has?  I sincerely doubt it.  Even gods are greedy, desiring that more and more people worship them.  A god with no greed would be satisfied with whoever chose to come to them, there would be no need for more followers....but I digress.

Without greed, we would HAVE no society - something Taflinger appears to agree with.  Without the greed for more, each person would do what they had to do, and no more.  Greed makes a person strive for more.  If you aspire to ANYTHING more than you have, you are greedy, save perhaps for the very lowest in society who do not even have the bare minimum of food and clothing.

So greed build societies.  It can also harm societies, as we have seen in many third world countries, as we are now seeing in Western countries - but (again, if we agree with Taflinger), the problem has arisen not as the fault of greed per se, but as the result of there becoming too many people for the resources available.  With infinite resources, greed would not be a problem in the slightest.  There is therefore an argument to say that it is uncotrolled childbirth that is causing the problem, since greed has been established as a necessary driving force for civilisation.  If one believed in a god, it would be reasonable to question whether god is at fault, for one of the following reasons:
1) God keeps plugging souls into too many babies, and/or allowing too many conceptions to happen.
2) God is at fault for not providing us with unlimited resources.
3) God is at fault for creating "greed" as a biological imperative in the first place.

But that's straying into the religious sphere, and going off at a tangent, so I'll try to summarise with a more direct and specific answer.

"Greed" can be good, and it can be bad - it depends on the circumstances.

Just so you know I'm motivated by Love not Greed. I don't buy lottery tickets either.

If wealth was more evenly distributed we just simply would not have starvation. True or false anf.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline Mrjason

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #544 on: April 24, 2013, 06:59:55 AM »
I think it proves that it's not belief that is at the root of human suffering, so your time might be better spent fighting GREED, the real enemy.  We don't have to agree on beliefs to work together to fight Greed!

Do you think that people will be less inclined to fight greed if they believe that everyone will get what's coming to them in the end via the "judgement"?

No I think people will fight Greed because it causes this:

Greed has been around for quite a while and doesn't seem to be abating.

So, what does a belief in god have to do with fighting greed?

Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #545 on: April 24, 2013, 07:21:12 AM »

Greed isn't always the source of poverty and greed isn't always the cause of violence. Lets consider 2 religious sects in a country or perhaps 2 different religions in a country, lets say one considers the other one heathens or infidels because each one considers their teachings to be the true teachings of God. Lets say there's war between them and the two sides persecute each other and go out an kill one and another. Attempting to destroy towns, villages and even cities, destroying crops, killing innocents with some innocents having to seek refuge without the ability to properly feed themselves, without a safe place to work because they are caught up in a war over creeds. Instead, if they're not being murdered, they're dying from disease or starvation.

Consider that this type of thing still happens today and in different countries around the world and for different religions. I am trying to figure out where the greed is. I can find quotes in texts like the Bible that would support such actions and I bet I could find some in the Koran as well, but I can't see the greed. There's no intention of taking over land, there's no intention of seizing wealth, merely seeking to wipe out those who aren't true believers. In some cases, like with King Henry VIII you could argue greed, because he stole from the Catholic Church, but I don't think you could make a case for greed in every circumstance, I would argue there are many cases where greed isn't the problem.

For consideration, what if passages like the below were all the inspiration somebody needed?

Quote from: Deuteronomy 13:1
Suppose there are prophets among you, or those who have dreams about the future, and they promise you signs or miracles,  and the predicted signs or miracles take place.  If the prophets then say, 'Come, let us worship the gods of foreign nations,' do not listen to them.  The LORD your God is testing you to see if you love him with all your heart and soul.  Serve only the LORD your God and fear him alone.  Obey his commands, listen to his voice, and cling to him.  The false prophets or dreamers who try to lead you astray must be put to death, for they encourage rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of slavery in the land of Egypt.  Since they try to keep you from following the LORD your God, you must execute them to remove the evil from among you.

Quote from: Deuteronomy 18:20
But any prophet who claims to give a message from another god or who falsely claims to speak for me must die.'  You may wonder, 'How will we know whether the prophecy is from the LORD or not?'  If the prophet predicts something in the LORD's name and it does not happen, the LORD did not give the message.  That prophet has spoken on his own and need not be feared.

Quote from: Deuteronomy 13:13
Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods.  In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully.  If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock.  Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it.  Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God.  That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt.  Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction.  Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you.  He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors.  "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him.

I made the Greed bold so you could see it good.  All those commands were given because they wanted to be a "great nation."  They manipulated belief to get the people to go along, which wasn't difficult because the people wanted to be a "great nation" as well. So much so they were willing to take the lives of others to achieve it. And why did they want to be a "great nation", because of greed. If you were not a "great nation" you were an enslaved, impoverished nation.

Do you not think that societal preservation is just as important as self preservation? 
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline junebug72

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #546 on: April 24, 2013, 07:23:35 AM »
I think it proves that it's not belief that is at the root of human suffering, so your time might be better spent fighting GREED, the real enemy.  We don't have to agree on beliefs to work together to fight Greed!

Do you think that people will be less inclined to fight greed if they believe that everyone will get what's coming to them in the end via the "judgement"?

No I think people will fight Greed because it causes this:

Greed has been around for quite a while and doesn't seem to be abating.

So, what does a belief in god have to do with fighting greed?

Well it has a lot to do with it. You're wasting valuable energy fighting belief, when you should be fighting greed!
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
Thomas Paine

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Offline The Gawd

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #547 on: April 24, 2013, 07:27:59 AM »
the worst thing democracy has done is to make people think their OPINIONS are actually worth something. It makes people think their ignorance on a topic is equal to someone elses KNOWLEDGE, because theyre entitled to their opinion. JB,  the statement in red Anfauglir is referring to is not a statement of opinion any more than 2+2 = 4 is a statement of opinion. You have to understand that if we are going to get anywhere here.
That has nothing to do with democracy, it has to do with freedom of speech.  Given the choice of having to deal with uninformed opinions, and having to deal with a government which punishes people if they say the wrong thing, I'll take the former any time.

I didnt elaborate on how democracy has lead to it... The idea of equal votes. Your vote is equal to my vote regardless of how much investigation and studying I do on the topics and regardless of how much you dont investigate the issues (and vice versa). Your vote is equal to mine, because its your opinion on who is the best candidate. I am not even suggesting we have a different system, rather that I think democracy has allowed such thinking that I described previously to flourish. There's nothing wrong with freedom of speech, I defend it even in the harshest of scenarios, however, the idea that each opinion is equal and deserving of respect is not something I subscribe to.

As for JB specifically, I have no issues with her describing her POV. I do not, however,  respect that she feels her opinion ON MATTERS OF FACT are on equal footing with ACTUAL FACTS. And that goes for me as well if I have an opinion that goes against fact. I dont know if I have any, because as soon as fact and reason is presented I accept facts and lose faulty opinions.

Offline Mrjason

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #548 on: April 24, 2013, 07:34:47 AM »
Well it has a lot to do with it. You're wasting valuable energy fighting belief, when you should be fighting greed!

Why expend energy on something that doesn't exist when you could be using it to fight greed?

Again, what has belief in god got do fighting greed?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #549 on: April 24, 2013, 07:43:23 AM »
"Greed" can be good, and it can be bad - it depends on the circumstances.

If wealth was more evenly distributed we just simply would not have starvation. True or false anf.

Is that your sole rebuttal to my detailed answer to your question?  "Do you still beat your wife?"
I think you will find that if you refer to the bolded part of my answer, it should be clear what my answer is. 

False

I will happily expand on that answer - but first, a question right back atcha, Junebug.  Remember, by YOUR rules, you have to answer true or false.

If we killed four billion people tomorrow, we just simply would not have starvation. True or false

Not to mention the several that you have still not answered.

So, you've made your first post in the "evidence" debate room, then?
If belief does not change a person in any way, how can it be described as either good or bad?
If belief DOES change a person, how can it be described as always a good thing?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Believing in God is Not a Bad Thing
« Reply #550 on: April 24, 2013, 07:48:23 AM »
Well it has a lot to do with it. You're wasting valuable energy fighting belief, when you should be fighting greed!

Junebug, did you become a better person as a result of your belief, or would you be doing what you do now, be the person you are now, if you had NO belief in your god?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?