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The real dangers of religion.
Posted: 07 March 2012 06:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Your comment, George, made me smile and recall a conversation with a homosexual chemist I worked with many years ago where he said he found the female genetalia disgusting.  LOL

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Posted: 07 March 2012 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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George - 07 March 2012 01:28 PM

Well, yeah. If a large portion of a given population is wacko, then a wacko ideology will have an impact. That’s why it’s okay for people in Switzerland to own guns, but it’s probably not a good idea in the U.S.

You’re hitting pretty close to home there buddy. I’m getting ready to buy a handgun and start taking lessons to get my concealed carry permit.

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Posted: 07 March 2012 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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George - 06 March 2012 12:27 PM

But that’s medieval Europe. There is obviously a more recent problem in Africa. Again, it is easy to take advantage of the people’s innate tendency to be superstitious, although here I suspect it happens for different reasons. Witchcraft in Africa probably serves the purpose of keeping women subservient in their society. I believe the recent rise of murders due to witchcraft in Africa is related not to the introduction of Christianity, but to the rise of the (potential) women equality. As always, it is very easy to confuse correlation for causation.

The witch hunting in Africa that I have heard about mostly in the past 5 to 10 years has mostly children as the victims.  Parents are convinced that their child is a witch and pour gasoline on her or him and set the child on fire, or lately you hear mostly about acid being thrown on the child, or poured down the child’s throat as a means of exorcism.  These are not just female children.  Sometimes it is orphans or children with diseases and therefore considered less valuable.  This is not to keep women subservient.  These people believe that doing this will deliver them from poverty.  You may point out that it is has socioeconomic causes, but why are they turning to religious explanations instead of looking for rational explanations to their situations?

Tying this back to the original topic, a problem with introducing religious thinking, and making that the default way to look at things, is it provides an excuse to avoid tough analytic thinking, and an excuse for ignorance.  Not all superstition-based solutions are as harmful as the witch hunting that has been taking place in Nigeria these days, but at the very least, having a religious-based means of thinking as a base provides a nonsensical ineffective alternative to, well, reality.  For example, many Xtians don’t want to believe that the current size and activity of the human population can make our environment less habitable for our species, because “God will provide”, or they believe it’s good to “bring on the end of the world, because we will be sent to a better one”.

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Posted: 08 March 2012 05:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Just a few dangers off the top of my head early in the morning:

Parents who let their children die of curable diseases while they pray for God to heal them.
IDiots who try to get their mythology taught as science in public schools.
Muslim judge in the U.S. ruling that assaulting someone carrying a sign mocking Mohammed is free speech.
Abortion opponents* wanting to overturn Roe v Wade and make women carry fetuses to term no matter the consequences.

I’ll probably think of a dozen more when the caffeine kicks in. And *George, before you say it, I have debated many abortion opponents and the vast majority of them cited the Bible as their reason to oppose abortion.

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Posted: 08 March 2012 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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DarronS - 08 March 2012 05:44 AM

I have debated many abortion opponents and the vast majority of them cited the Bible as their reason to oppose abortion.

The odd thing is that anything like abortion only appears in one place in the Bible: Ex. 21:22-25, and it is not at all clear from this passage that a fetus is considered a full human being.

“22 If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely [Or she has a miscarriage] but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Given the first sentence, it is clear that “serious injury” in 23 means serious injury to the mother, not the fetus.

Some interpret 22 as meaning that there is only a fine if the fetus survives, but apparently this is not at all clear from the Hebrew, and indeed the Jewish tradition is to interpret it as “miscarriage”. E.g., the Jewish Bible of the Jewish Publication Society translates it that way.

If a miscarriage results in a fine, this shows that the fetus is not considered a full human being (for whom the punishment would be life for life) but rather something more akin to the health of the mother, or an asset of the family.

I think a believer has to be a bit concerned that—at the very least—God was very unclear about what he meant in this situation.

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Posted: 08 March 2012 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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The believers I have talked with and debated all invoke the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” commandment and argue a fetus is human at conception, so killing the fetus is murder. That is quite a stretch, but I think I mentioned early in this thread that religion teaches people to take things on faith, ignoring whatever conclusions evidence and rational thinking leads to.

[ Edited: 08 March 2012 05:59 AM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 08 March 2012 06:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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DarronS - 08 March 2012 05:57 AM

The believers I have talked with and debated all invoke the “Thou Shalt Not Kill” commandment and argue a fetus is human at conception, so killing the fetus is murder. That is quite a stretch, but I think I mentioned early in this thread that religion teaches people to take things on faith, ignoring whatever conclusions evidence and rational thinking leads to.

Yeah, I understand. But using “thou shalt not kill” in that context assumes the fetus is a full human, so it’s not necessarily relevant to the case of abortion. The passage I cited is plainly relevant in that case, since it’s about fetuses in particular. That is the only passage in the Bible that is actually relevant.

Problem is, many believers don’t actually know their Bible.

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Posted: 08 March 2012 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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So in Africa Christianity is responsible for parents pouring gasoline over their children’s heads and setting them on fire and in the U.S. Christianity wants to protect the children’s lives even before their birth. In Europe in the meantime, the only thing Christianity seems to provide these days is a cool place inside the church during hot summer days. But keep inquiring, guys.

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Posted: 08 March 2012 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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We never said religions are consistent.  wink

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Posted: 08 March 2012 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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George - 08 March 2012 06:34 AM

In Europe in the meantime, the only thing Christianity seems to provide these days is a cool place inside the church during hot summer days. But keep inquiring, guys.

I have never had so many days off since I am living in a Catholic Canton in Switzerland: Epihany, St Joseph’s day, Corpus Christi, Assumption, All Saint’s day, Immaculate Conception. All days I’ve never had days off before.

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Posted: 08 March 2012 07:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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DarronS - 08 March 2012 06:44 AM

We never said religions are consistent.  wink

Religions may not be consistent, but people are. An African will always be on average more violent than a European no matter what the religious fashion of the day may be.

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Posted: 08 March 2012 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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George - 07 March 2012 11:59 AM
ciceronianus - 07 March 2012 10:54 AM
George - 07 March 2012 10:44 AM
ciceronianus - 07 March 2012 10:12 AM

I think you’ll find that most atheists and agnostics were brought up as religious.

You have never been to Europe, have you?

Sigh.

Well, I have been, but it’s okay, I’ll play along.  It’s hard to be the straight man, though. 

Why do you ask?

Because the largest percentage of the atheist population is to be found in Europe and they were not brought up as religious. Not that I really believe that how we are brought up has an impact on how religious we turn out—but I don’t want to go there. My point is that your observation is factually incorrect. That’s all.

That’s interesting information, thank you.  I was generalizing from my own experience.

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Posted: 08 March 2012 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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George - 08 March 2012 07:00 AM
DarronS - 08 March 2012 06:44 AM

We never said religions are consistent.  wink

Religions may not be consistent, but people are. An African will always be on average more violent than a European no matter what the religious fashion of the day may be.

That is a strong claim.  Do you have data?

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Posted: 08 March 2012 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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TimB - 08 March 2012 11:10 AM
George - 08 March 2012 07:00 AM
DarronS - 08 March 2012 06:44 AM

We never said religions are consistent.  wink

Religions may not be consistent, but people are. An African will always be on average more violent than a European no matter what the religious fashion of the day may be.

That is a strong claim.  Do you have data?

And heeeeeere we go…  tongue wink

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Posted: 08 March 2012 11:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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TimB - 08 March 2012 11:10 AM
George - 08 March 2012 07:00 AM
DarronS - 08 March 2012 06:44 AM

We never said religions are consistent.  wink

Religions may not be consistent, but people are. An African will always be on average more violent than a European no matter what the religious fashion of the day may be.

That is a strong claim.  Do you have data?

Data for what? To show that Africans are more violent than Europeans?

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