What categorical critiques can we justifiably offer against theistic religion?
Posted: 27 February 2013 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve expressed the view on other topics that statements are being made here that are not supported by the facts. Most of them are unjustifiably categorical. So the question proposed is an important one.

Please note first that I think it’s important to qualify the scope of the critique, thus the phrase “theistic religion.” I would also include any religion that proposes an external source for human values and ethics.

Let’s focus on what seems to be main concern here, among our members: the many abuses fostered by such things as belief in a god and reliance on “scripture.” We can make a categorical statement about that: to the extent that people draw their values or their ethical practices from either of those sources, or any other external source, they set up an inherent conflict between their religion and meaningful human values. The reason is simple: they’ve severed values and ethics from their roots in human concerns.

However, just because they’ve set up a conflict doesn’t mean that they haven’t found ways to address that conflict in ways that put human interests first. As Thornton Wilder observed, wherever human beings are concerned, there are layers and layers of nonsense. People resolve conflicts every day, picking and choosing what matters most to them, often intuitively or on the fly, occasionally on the basis of a carefully constructed and lived philosophy. The problem with theism in this regard is that it sets up an unnecessary and self-created conflict. That is the categorical statement we can support against theistic religion. Perhaps there are others that fall outside those parameters. I can’t think of any at the moment.

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Posted: 27 February 2013 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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One categorical critique that comes to mind is that theism is factually erroneous, and that therefore theistic religion is based upon an illusion.

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Doug

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Posted: 27 February 2013 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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One categorical critique that comes to mind is that theism is factually erroneous, and that therefore theistic religion is based upon an illusion.


that plus the theist’s desire to regain the political control they once had in the past. Their agenda has and remains a desire to dominate the moral and ethical philosophies and civil laws of the Western World by tying them to their “sacred” scriptures.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 27 February 2013 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Theistic religions also teach people that believing things without evidence is a virtue. Faith is not a virtue: it is a moral and intellectual weakness. If you can believe things without evidence you are free to believe anything you want.

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Posted: 27 February 2013 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I agree with Doug and Darron, as both those things are inherent in theology. The other point about power may be widespread but it is not inherent in theism.

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Posted: 28 February 2013 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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PLaClair - 27 February 2013 06:27 PM

The other point about power may be widespread but it is not inherent in theism.

Exactly. Communism comes to my mind. That could be very dogmatic to, referring to Mao’s red book, or the writings of Marx and Engels and so. There are many similarities between historical-materialism and religion, both in the way how people live with it, and even in their contents.

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Posted: 28 February 2013 01:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 27 February 2013 06:47 AM

that plus the theist’s desire to regain the political control they once had in the past. Their agenda has and remains a desire to dominate the moral and ethical philosophies and civil laws of the Western World by tying them to their “sacred” scriptures.


Cap’t Jack

I’d have to disagree with this via the phrase “they once had in the past.” There are plenty of examples of theistic religions which pursue political control right out of the gate, before they have a chance to have a history.

Also, while the theistic religions we love to hate are all politically active, I don’t think that all theistic religions (cults) are.

Edit:

Also, I assume that ‘theistic religions’ includes monotheistic and polytheistic religions. Are there others kinds?

[ Edited: 28 February 2013 01:46 AM by TromboneAndrew ]
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Posted: 28 February 2013 05:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’m with Darron.  The teaching that there is virtue in belief without evidence seems central to theistic religion.  When you couple that idea with a dogma of exclusivity, that there is only one God, and that God demands obeisance, such a belief is inherently the basis for a dangerous, often violent mindset

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Posted: 28 February 2013 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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What categorical critiques can we justifiably offer against theistic religion?

I don’t even need to go that far. Theistic religions have zero quanitifiable testable evidence to support the central pillar of any of their claims.

That lack of evidence is all I need to dismiss the lot.

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Posted: 28 February 2013 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I would go one further. Even IF there’s a god, I guarantee she’s up there agreeing with this thread. Like this “Jesus Christ these Christians annoy me. I gave them this beautiful reasoning machine on their shoulders and all they want to do is NOT use it. I even gave them the little spark up there to create science, and all they want to do is pray and have faith. Christ what I mess I created.”

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Posted: 28 February 2013 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’d have to disagree with this via the phrase “they once had in the past.” There are plenty of examples of theistic religions which pursue political control right out of the gate, before they have a chance to have a history.

Also, while the theistic religions we love to hate are all politically active, I don’t think that all theistic religions (cults) are.

Edit:

Also, I assume that ‘theistic religions’ includes monotheistic and polytheistic religions. Are there others kinds?

Maybe I should have qualified the statement Andrew. I was aiming my statement at the RC and split off xtian religions of the West and the concept of rule by “divine right”. Also, if you go all the way back to Sumer, theocracy and politics were entwined from the beginning of Western Civilization to the Enlighenment. Islam was one of those “right out of the gate” religions you mentioned and has happily carried the anachronistic theocratic ideal into the 21st Cetury. As to cults, they only control their members and have very little political power if any. Most are limited to their compounds or the small towns they dominate. As to the types of religion, I suppose you could count Shinto as a separate belief beyond the scope of monotheism or polytheism, or maybe Jainism but outside of Emperor worship ending after World War II, I can’t think of another reference. I was also referencing the fundamentalist movement here with the continued involvement of xtian power brokers like Graham, Falwell and their ilk.

 

Cap’t Jack

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