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Is religion good for anything?
Posted: 09 February 2013 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 106 ]
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The Sermon on the Mount and the Golden Rule predate Biblical mythology by hundreds of years, if not thousands. As I said a few posts back, the good parts of the Bible are not original and the original parts are not good. And yes, even though you deny, religion, especially Judeo/Christian/Islamic religion, justified slavery and its followers used its teaching to perpetuate slavery. The early KKK members were almost exclusively Protestant.

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Posted: 10 February 2013 02:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 107 ]
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RevLGKing - 09 February 2013 04:41 PM
asanta - 29 November 2012 06:31 PM

Religion had a LOT to do with the continuation and justification of slavery.

What kind of religion are you talking about?  Are you saying that all religion is evil, Asanta?

I’m saying the south used the bible to justify slavery. They also suckered many slaves into believing that their trials and travails would end once they died and went to heaven. They chose black ministers who would teach the gospel as the owner wanted it taught, and the emphasis was on being a good slave. This mind set continued during Jim Crow, and when the black population was treated so horrendously by the whites of both the south (mostly) and the north. The bible was used to justify maltreatment and the black community prayed for heaven to release them from their trials. Many of the abolitionists such as Fredrick Douglass were in fact non-theists. And there were also Civil Rights activists, such as Randolph who were non-theists as well.

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Posted: 10 February 2013 06:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 108 ]
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I’m saying the south used the bible to justify slavery. They also suckered many slaves into believing that their trials and travails would end once they died and went to heaven. They chose black ministers who would teach the gospel as the owner wanted it taught, and the emphasis was on being a good slave. This mind set continued during Jim Crow, and when the black population was treated so horrendously by the whites of both the south (mostly) and the north. The bible was used to justify maltreatment and the black community prayed for heaven to release them from their trials. Many of the abolitionists such as Fredrick Douglass were in fact non-theists. And there were also Civil Rights activists, such as Randolph who were non-theists as well.


I totally agree with everything in your post Asanta and there are thousands of documents and books to back this up. The irony here is that abolitionists, especially African-American abolitionists also used their xtian backgrounds to draw from when fighting slavery, likening their trials to Moses and the captivity. Douglass, not so much as he was a pragmatist and had little use for religion or patriotism but Dr. King and his predecessor A. Phillip Randolph whose father was a minister, drew on biblical allusions to support the cause. Digressing here but there should be a memorial to Randolph in DC also as he paved the way for the civil rights movement, dedicating his whole life to racial equality. So, biblical allusions did have a somewhat positive impact on the progressive movement as well as a make weight for racial segregation. Unfortunately in some areas in the South, the fight still continues, e.g. Mississippi, one of the most conservative, religious states in the South.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 10 February 2013 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 109 ]
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Digressing here but there should be a memorial to Randolph in DC also as he paved the way for the civil rights movement, dedicating his whole life to racial equality

I agree with building a memorial in Washington DC honoring this great American.  Among his accomplishments was the fact that he organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly Black labor union. So perhaps what is left of the union movement in the US could get behind it.

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Posted: 10 February 2013 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 110 ]
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I believe that anything that moves us away from reality lowers our ability to deal successfully with our internal and external world.  There’s nothing wrong with fiction as long as we recognize it as that. Unfortunately, all religions deal in fiction, but they present it as reality thus damaging the functionality of their believers. 

So, RevLG, even if Asanta didn’t say it, I’ll declare that all religion and all religions are evil or at least destructive to all who believe, and often, by second hand acts, destructive to non-believers.

Occam

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Posted: 10 February 2013 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 111 ]
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RevLGKing - 09 February 2013 04:41 PM
asanta - 29 November 2012 06:31 PM
VYAZMA - 28 November 2012 01:37 PM

Apparently religion was good for something.  I could begin to enumerate the many positive effects it had on the formation of the United States and the abolition of slavery to start.

Religion had a LOT to do with the continuation and justification of slavery.

What kind of religion are you talking about?  Are you saying that all religion is evil, Asanta?

If so, this is simply not true. Don’t you see that negative generalizations are so destructive of communication? Beware of those who love to play the divide-and-conquer game.

May I point out that good and moral religionists are like good and moral atheists?—the kind of people we all need.

This is why Jesus, in his SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Matthew 5 and following), focussed his attention on the rejection of evil and the doing of good works, good deeds. This is why he was a great advocate of the Golden Rule. And he made no claim that he was the first to speak about it.

I don’t think that anyone is proposing that all religion is evil per se. I believe that religion is based on false assumption and therefore misleading, which can lead to great evil being done in the name of religion.

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Posted: 10 February 2013 03:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 112 ]
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garythehuman - 10 February 2013 08:34 AM

Digressing here but there should be a memorial to Randolph in DC also as he paved the way for the civil rights movement, dedicating his whole life to racial equality

I agree with building a memorial in Washington DC honoring this great American.  Among his accomplishments was the fact that he organized and led the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly Black labor union. So perhaps what is left of the union movement in the US could get behind it.

Yes, I visited the train museum in Sacto, CA (fabulous museum), and talked to the ‘porter’ in the dining car. I think it is practically impossible to find a black family who didn’t have a family member working for the railroad. Usually as a porter (like my granddad).

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Posted: 10 February 2013 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 113 ]
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Occam. - 10 February 2013 01:31 PM

I believe that anything that moves us away from reality lowers our ability to deal successfully with our internal and external world.  There’s nothing wrong with fiction as long as we recognize it as that. Unfortunately, all religions deal in fiction, but they present it as reality thus damaging the functionality of their believers. 

So, RevLG, even if Asanta didn’t say it, I’ll declare that all religion and all religions are evil or at least destructive to all who believe, and often, by second hand acts, destructive to non-believers.

Occam

Does the “MODERATOR” actually AGREE that the following.  BY HIM, is TRUE? ” I’ll declare that all religion and all religions are evil or at least destructive to all who believe, and often, by second hand acts, destructive to non-believers.”
It sounds like prejudice, to me! SAD! Very SAD! Do you want to change this forum into a bad COP—Centre Of Prejudice?  red face  or shock

I certainly agree that the following, by me is NOT TRUE If I said it, it would be a prejudicial statement: All atheism is evil ... etc.”

By the way, as a unitheist, I do not need a god, because this to me is an idol created in the minds of some people—those who need a god with dimensions. Sure, I can understand the child-like need.

Interestingly, the great inventor Nicola Tesla wrote of “god” without dimensions.
BTW, see http://www.unitheist.org  All about that which Generates, Organizes and Delivers (G.O.D); that which is GOODness Order and Design (G.O.D) = Total BEING, REALITY—that which is unavoidable. Can a fish avoid water?
I do not pray to a god; I connect with, and tune in to, Reality….Something I find very, very helpful—physically, mentally and spiritually. It makes me feel full of grin  &  LOL —a great therapy for depression. My doctor is amazed at how, so far and with his help, at 83, that I have handled colon and prostate cancer—no invasive treatments needed, so far.

[ Edited: 10 February 2013 11:02 PM by RevLGKing ]
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Posted: 11 February 2013 07:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 114 ]
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Does the “MODERATOR” actually AGREE that the following.

What difference does it make? Moderators are supposed to enforce the rules of the board without any regard as to whether or not they agree with a given statement or claim.

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Posted: 11 February 2013 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 115 ]
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Equal Opportunity Curmudgeon - 11 February 2013 07:47 AM

What difference does it make? Moderators are supposed to enforce the rules of the board without any regard as to whether or not they agree with a given statement or claim.

Oh? In response to me, will you, or anyone, please quote the rule to me, or show me where to find it—where the “Board” specifically rules:

1. Generalizations are welcome in this CFI forum. There is no need for anyone to be concerned about having the facts or the evidence to back up any statement made. Just shoot from the lip, any time you feel like it.

2. It is also OK to publish your personal prejudices, any time.  No need to have the facts.
====================================
As a wise philosopher once said, “... generalizations are apt to be as dangerous as they are tempting.”  Yes, if anyone wants the name of the author, I have it, and I am sure he felt the same way about prejudices.

BTW,  from 1953 to 1994, when I retired, I was a minister of the UCC. In 1994 I went on to do several other things, like writing. About the church I served then and now—the United of Canada (UCC)—here is a link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_Canada

Yes, the UCC, like all denominations, has it share of less-than-perfect ministers—male, female and gay—and individual congregations that need help.

But,  generally speaking, most of us are doing our best to live within the laws of the land and of the church. Interestingly, the current moderator—chair of our General Council, is well respected, so far,  and happens to be openly gay—the first one to be openly gay. The UCC also welcomes strangers, drop-inners, sceptics, agnostics, atheists—you name it, as long as they abide by the laws of the land. Over the years, I have even had to put up with my share of hypocrites, free loaders and fools. I won’t pretend that I did so, gladly.

THE UNITED CHURCH IS RUN AS A DEMOCRATIC BUSINESS CORPORATION
Yes, like all churches and charities, the UCC needs and uses money. Without using threat, we ask people to give their financial support. While the UCC does not charge specific fees to members, it does expect people to pay their way so that the Board that leads the congregation is able to pay the bills—otherwise, it goes out of business. Registered as a public charity, the books are open.

THE UNITED CHURCH OBSERVER
It is not a mouth-piece of the UCC. Our national magazine is operated by trained journalists—clergy and lay. It will give you the on-going story of who we are:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_Observer It has won many awards for its service to the churches and for its service of the public good.
Much of the Observer is on line and there have been articles loss of faith, agnosticism, atheism and so on .
===============
HERE IS AN IDEA: I invite any sincere agnostic or atheist at CFI to write a civil letter to the editor of the Observer. Honestly and briefly, make a controversial point or two, or three, Tell the editor why you never had, or why gave up having, any kind of religion, or belief in a ‘god’. I would be interested in seeing if they would publish your letter. Keep in mind that I would not have any objection to you telling where you got the idea.

To assure you that I am not out to do some self-promotion, you do not need to mention my name. Only if you wish, you could say that you got the idea from a minister-poster here at CFI. It could be good for CFI.
[NEXT: I will say something about the way I, a UCC minister, used the Bible—not as dogma, but as literature.]

[ Edited: 11 February 2013 11:52 AM by RevLGKing ]
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Posted: 11 February 2013 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 116 ]
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In response to RevLG:

1.  Moderators are also regular members.  Only when you see a response in moderator blue is s/he acting as a moderator or administrator.  You should not expect them to behave differently from the other members of the board in their standard posts.

2 & 3.  This is a discussion board which means that various members will have different views.  One person’s facts are often another member’s fairytales.  While the theists here are certain they are stating indisputable facts when they quote the religious books of their particular faith, the non-believers see this as only opinions, unproven, and quite likely to be fairytales. 

And unlike the theists who write their posts as absolute, if you’ll go back, you’ll see that I started mine off with “I believe” and ended with “I declare”.  So Rev, you have a point, however you directed it at the non-theists when you should have been directing it at yourself and the other theists here.  smile

Occam

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Posted: 11 February 2013 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 117 ]
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JackRyan - 09 October 2012 06:19 AM

Religion likely served the purpose of creating communities in the ancient world.

 

And sending them off to fight each other.

But we don’r need it any more. Its a relic.

It is, but it won’t disappear so easily.

The human desire for both religion and war may be in our genes. They go hand in hand.  You will never see one without the other.

[ Edited: 11 February 2013 12:49 PM by Lois ]
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Posted: 11 February 2013 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 118 ]
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Well, if there are some people who think they would be murderers, rapists, et al. if they didn’t believe some being was watching over them. Definitely! wink However, there are (I’d hazard) plenty of murderers, rapists, et al. who didn’t have a problem committing those crimes even though they believed some being was watching over them. (I’m not ‘counting’ cases where the person thought the crime was in god’s name or whatever.) But that’s more about the individual rather than religion.

By ‘religion’ I presume you mean like-minded groups, i.e. Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, etc. I can see how a personal belief in a deity would be of comfort to some folks in times of great stress, but the organized groups claiming tax exempt status and (mostly IMO) only helping their own members? No, I don’t view that as ‘good’. (Although if you are a member and benefiting from such ‘charity’, I’m sure you’d consider them ‘doing good’.  smile ) If they are indeed helping others without any conditions of membership (no proselytizing, requirement to join prayers, et al.) then I’d say, yes IMO, they are ‘good’ for something.

However, I’d still rather see folks helping others because it’s the ‘right thing to do’ rather than because they think they are earning cosmic brownie points for their next life. cool smile *

Take care

Derek

* And no, I don’t think ALL theists who help others are doing it just for themselves.

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Posted: 11 February 2013 02:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 119 ]
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DarronS - 09 February 2013 04:47 PM

The Sermon on the Mount and the Golden Rule predate Biblical mythology by hundreds of years, if not thousands. As I said a few posts back, the good parts of the Bible are not original and the original parts are not good. And yes, even though you deny, religion, especially Judeo/Christian/Islamic religion, justified slavery and its followers used its teaching to perpetuate slavery. The early KKK members were almost exclusively Protestant.

The KKK was a reactionary group that grew large after the Civil War.(key word-reactionary, lot’s of protestant sects didn’t see eye to eye.)
The religious “awakening” that happened in the US between the first colonists and the Civil war(perhaps it started in the UK and migrated here.) was a definite force for contextual liberalization of society.(mainly in the North-especially in the Northeast.)
This was why literacy was on average at least double in the North as it was in the South. Schools.
Organized religion in the North definitely had a hand in the agitation for the abolition of slavery.
Slavery.  Now prejudice and ideas of racial inferiority are another matter.  But on that point, I don’t think religion was the main force.  Ingrained social ideas, customs, religious agitation, geo-political/economical forces, labor politics, politics, Nativism in general and just plain human behavior all contributed to the continuing inequality of blacks in America.
To say nothing of the fact that there were millions of blacks being emancipated into a society where they were previously slaves.
This carries heavy baggage.

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Posted: 11 February 2013 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 120 ]
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Occam. - 11 February 2013 11:26 AM

In response to RevLG:....... if you’ll go back, you’ll see that I started mine off with “I believe” and ended with “I declare”.
So Rev, you have a point, [ And, may I, LGK, ask: What point was that?] however you directed it at the non-theists when you should have been directing it at yourself and the other theists here.  smile  Occam

Occam, as a unitheist I actually do not think of myself as a classical theist—the Our-Father-up-there-in-Heaven ... -kind-of theist”, at all. This is too childlike a theology for me.

Therefore, I have no objection to being called a “non-theist” (NT).

As a NT—and one whose mind is not closed but open to new ways of thinking about theology—which I believe was the same term the late Christopher Hitchens (CH) applied to himself. I really miss his rich personality and his thought-full writings.

Without going into details here—and writing as an experienced hypnotist—I have the feeling that hypnotism could have helped CH stop smoking and stop drinking too much, which I believe helped make him as ill as he became. It sure helped me (in my 40’s) to get away from the dangers of tobacco smoke. I was addicted to cigar and pipe-smoking. Tobacco smoke smelled so temptingly nice.

But I noticed that it did not make me—and especially my young daughter—FEEL good. So I chose—i.e., I used my WILLpower—long before I had ever heard of the BOOK WILLPOWER, by Roy Baumeister—to quit, if I could.

Self-hypnosis—using what I now call, pneumatherapy (not found in any dictionary that I have explored)—did the trick. Thank G.O.D!
=====
BTW, for a mature and grown-up approach to open philosophy/theology, check out the link to THE UC OBSERVER—NOT an official publication of the UCC.

Via the Observer, nobody is told: Here is how we want you to think!

For its feature-writing, theological reflections grounded in the challenges of everyday living, biographical profiles and in-depth news reporting, The Observer has won international acclaim for journalistic excellence and garnered more awards than any other denominational publication in Canada, and is one of the most decorated denominational publications in North America. In 2008, this included 13 prizes at the Canadian Church Press awards.

http://www.ucobserver.org/
=================
THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE CHURCH, PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE AND/OR RELIGION? BEWARE!
Is there such a thing? Not in my opinion, anyway. My intention here is to have a BIG-tent approach, where no one is told: “Because there is strength in unity, we must all think alike ...” I suspect that in such a fascist kind of society, nobody thinks at all!

About the Bible: For me, it is not an infallible guide; it is a book of literature—much of it, for me, is the rather dull and boring kind.

Whenever I preached and/or gave lectures on the Bible: I used to have fun quoting passages that contradicted one another.

For example, I told people: Check out the story in Genesis 2: verses 15 & 16.
Now, check out Genesis 3: verses 1 to 7—where a talking snake is one of the protagonists in the “drama”.

Now compare this with what is said in the book of Proverbs. The book is about the CALL to wisdom (chapter 1) the REWARDS of wisdom (chapter 3) and the BENEFITS (chapter 4) of having WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING. The following is interesting, to me: Chapter 8 is a poem, IN PRAISE OF WISDOM.

Are you a POOR atheist? One without a Bible?  downer  Sorry about that. Here: Use this general link

http://www.biblegateway.com
=======================
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/
Now I will see if I can bring up Proverbs 8, OK?
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs 8&version=NLT

[ Edited: 11 February 2013 04:42 PM by RevLGKing ]
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