2 of 7
2
Religion doesn’t hurt anything . . .
Posted: 21 January 2014 09:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2698
Joined  2011-04-24
Fuzzy Logic - 21 January 2014 01:18 PM

If religions were actually mainly focused on the spiritual life of the their followers then possibly they would live up to the ideal of being peaceful, but in most cases religions are just one more tool used by a few to exert force over other people. What may start out as an attempt to find spiritual enlightenment often ends up being twisted into organizations that use any means to further their extent and control of society.

Everything is used as a tool to control society.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3198
Joined  2011-08-15

The Musculoskeletal, Endocrine, Cardiovascular, Neurological systems all combined to produce the destroyed clinics.

Granted, but religion was the catalyst. I posess those same systems but pass abortion clinics by without a second thought. Same with churches. My non-theistic neurological systems don’t compell me to throw a bomb in the door or shoot a fundie for Dawkins.


Cap’t Jack

 Signature 

One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

Thomas Paine

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1395
Joined  2009-10-21
mid atlantic - 21 January 2014 09:25 PM
citizenschallenge.pm - 20 January 2014 09:22 PM

Most “serious” religions make people absolutist and self-righteous and blind to all self-skepticism -
willing to accept faith above real world experiences and learning.  IMHO all bad traits to be avoided.

 

Eh, it’s temping to agree, but there is no evidence religion makes people that way; self righteousness and inability to use analytical thinking are heritable traits in many people.

Alright, trying not to sound too self-righteous here, but what about the evidence of the creeds and teachings of major theologians of the major religions? They flat out tell you to not use reason. They call philosophers and education false gods. Are people born not thinking, or do their elders tell them that NOT questioning is wise?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1765
Joined  2007-10-22

Religion is a tool invented by humans to create and organize human societies.  Like any other human tool it can be used for many different purposes depending upon who is using it.  IMO, if it promotes unnecessary violence or promotes human selfishness it is being put to bad purposes and those particular actions should be fought.  If it is being used to promote and advance the welfare of all humans those actions should be supported regardless of the imaginary beings being called upon to create a common bond.. 

As far as the abortion debate goes, I strongly support a woman’s right to control her own body and a woman’s decision on whether she can support another child, particularly when the decision ism based upon the welfare of her already existing children, which is often the case.  But I am also glad that there is a strong debate about this as destroying a potential human life is a serious matter.  I find more than a little strange and ethically disturbing that many of the same people who are against a women’s right to determine her own ability to raise a child also are against any public programs to assist a mother in these situations.

 Signature 

Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1395
Joined  2009-10-21
garythehuman - 22 January 2014 08:10 AM

Religion is a tool invented by humans to create and organize human societies.  Like any other human tool it can be used for many different purposes depending upon who is using it.  IMO, if it promotes unnecessary violence or promotes human selfishness it is being put to bad purposes and those particular actions should be fought.  If it is being used to promote and advance the welfare of all humans those actions should be supported regardless of the imaginary beings being called upon to create a common bond.. 

And how often in history have we seen religion being used to advance the welfare of all? MLK would be an example, but there are few examples where religion wasn’t being used by both sides. Not just “My god is mightier”, but theologically based philosophy like slavery is good or bad or homosexuality is/isn’t a sin.

It can be hard to say which comes first, although if you look at the First Crusade, it appears that the Bishop that offered salvation to any idiot who would grab a sickle and ran off to Jerusalem was quite surprised by the massive response. Since then, his model has been followed, but I’m always leery of a theory that claims some person had a desire to control, so they invented religion.

I think most pre-science believers did truly believe and it actually did work that if you got others to believe, you could accomplish great things. But like the military industrial complex, once you create that belief system it becomes a force of its own, hard to control. We now know much better ways to advance civilization, so I don’t think the idea that “if religion does some good we should let it be” holds anymore.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1765
Joined  2007-10-22
Lausten - 22 January 2014 08:47 AM
garythehuman - 22 January 2014 08:10 AM

Religion is a tool invented by humans to create and organize human societies.  Like any other human tool it can be used for many different purposes depending upon who is using it.  IMO, if it promotes unnecessary violence or promotes human selfishness it is being put to bad purposes and those particular actions should be fought.  If it is being used to promote and advance the welfare of all humans those actions should be supported regardless of the imaginary beings being called upon to create a common bond.. 

And how often in history have we seen religion being used to advance the welfare of all? MLK would be an example, but there are few examples where religion wasn’t being used by both sides. Not just “My god is mightier”, but theologically based philosophy like slavery is good or bad or homosexuality is/isn’t a sin.

It can be hard to say which comes first, although if you look at the First Crusade, it appears that the Bishop that offered salvation to any idiot who would grab a sickle and ran off to Jerusalem was quite surprised by the massive response. Since then, his model has been followed, but I’m always leery of a theory that claims some person had a desire to control, so they invented religion.

I think most pre-science believers did truly believe and it actually did work that if you got others to believe, you could accomplish great things. But like the military industrial complex, once you create that belief system it becomes a force of its own, hard to control. We now know much better ways to advance civilization, so I don’t think the idea that “if religion does some good we should let it be” holds anymore.

I think that we need to study religion scientifically; the same as any other subject.  Just denouncing it and claiming that it works only to the detriment of human society is as much a prejudice as any the religious holds towards us non-believers.  I see to many people who are non-believers treating science the same as the religious treat their gods, as I posted some time ago.  But to me science is objective investigation not merely faith in scientists.  This is one of the Dennettionian blind spots that many in the scientific community share.

“One of the surprising discoveries of modern psychology is how easy it is to be ignorant of your own ignorance.  You are normally oblivious of your own blind spot . . . . ”  Breaking the Spell Daniel Dennett Breaking the Spell Pg. 31

The nation-state, even when democratic,  the scientific community are no better than religion and sometimes worse when it comes to promoting myths.  Religion is a tool nothing more nothing less it is how it is used that can be the problem.

And although I sincerely believe that the belief in non-existent supernatural beings cannot be the basis for a valid long term social organization in todays world IMO we still have a long way to go before we establish a viable and just alternative.

 Signature 

Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 12:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1395
Joined  2009-10-21

Funny that you say we should study religion, then quote a book that does just that. I see studies about religion all the time. What makes you say that it hasn’t been studied enough? Not that we should stop studying, but why do you think we aren’t doing enough?

The realization that we are ignorant of our own ignorance is what drives us to improve the scientific method. It’s what drove us to begin experimenting with nature rather than waiting for gods to guide us.

You commit the Nirvana fallacy, that because we haven’t established an alternative, we shouldn’t jettison the parts of religion that we have ample evidence to do so. This OP didn’t say all of religion is hurtful, it was a counter to the statement that religion is not hurtful at all.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27
mid atlantic - 21 January 2014 09:01 PM
Lausten - 20 January 2014 08:20 PM
mid atlantic - 20 January 2014 07:15 PM

Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the “hats” worn.

Religion contains actual philosophies of how to live your life and specific directions for what to do and why. It is specifically taught and people are given rewards and punishments for doing or not doing it.

This is partially accurate, but not always applicable. The fact that the majority of religious people are not causing death and destruction is proof that religious “indoctrination” is not the trigger which causes these behaviors. Something else is going on.


That may be true and there certainly are many other factors and combinations of factors that drive people to do such things.  But it would be interesting to know if religion is a common thread in aggressive antisocial acts. It could be a determining force without every religious person (or even most) engaging in such acts.

Lois

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1395
Joined  2009-10-21
Lois - 22 January 2014 01:12 PM
mid atlantic - 21 January 2014 09:01 PM
Lausten - 20 January 2014 08:20 PM
mid atlantic - 20 January 2014 07:15 PM

Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the “hats” worn.

Religion contains actual philosophies of how to live your life and specific directions for what to do and why. It is specifically taught and people are given rewards and punishments for doing or not doing it.

This is partially accurate, but not always applicable. The fact that the majority of religious people are not causing death and destruction is proof that religious “indoctrination” is not the trigger which causes these behaviors. Something else is going on.


That may be true and there certainly are many other factors and combinations of factors that drive people to do such things.  But it would be interesting to know if religion is a common thread in aggressive antisocial acts. It could be a determining force without every religious person (or even most) engaging in such acts.

Lois

I missed that comment by mid atlantic somehow. First, my comment wasn’t just about death and destruction, it was about using reasoning or not. But let’s go with the “partially accurate” thing and focus on death and destruction. The actions of the majority are not entirely applicable here and do not constitute proof. The majority of Americans are not participating in the war in Afghanistan and many are against it, but still, we are all culpable to some degree. Non-action allowed racism to continue in the South for decades.

Non-action is a cornerstone of religion; don’t question authority, don’t trust your feelings if they contradict the clergy, don’t think for yourself. Pray for peace, but don’t speak out against those who cause war. Wait for the better time to come, don’t take action now. Don’t listen to those people who talk about the Inquisition, that wasn’t “real” Christianity, besides that’s in the past.

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist.” That’s Bishop Helder Camara, saying that just a few decades ago, and he’s talking about his own Catholic leaders, not just politicians. You can find these exceptions, but they are exceptions, not the rule.

We are in the middle of an experiment right now. Liberal Christians are teaching things in church that used to be confined to seminary. Pastors are encouraging people to question the Bible. And, people are leaving churches in droves. Correlation? Could be.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 03:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1395
Joined  2009-10-21

It can be difficult to not come across as high and mighty in forums, especially when you are pretty sure you are right. There was a time when I was on the opposite side of this argument, and although a lot of data went into changing my mind, it is difficult to present that data in any manner that leads to my conclusion. It’s as difficult as making the case that because there is a Constitution guaranteeing rights in the US, people in the US actually enjoy those rights. Certainly many don’t. If you know both history and law, you can show that church and state are separated, but if you live in many of the isolated communities in America, you would have no idea what that really means.

Similarly, I went to a liberal church for a while and thought that there was a revolution going on to transform Christianity. Then I figured out that a protective bubble had been built around me that kept me and my Jesus freak friends in and mainstream Protestants out. Throughout history, bubbles like this occasionally get broken and real change occurs, but most of the time, they do their job of maintaining the status quo.

So, when I challenge anyone to say why they think religion is not, on balance, bad, I’m asking, what data am I missing, and does what I’m saying make sense.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  623
Joined  2013-06-01

Of the 10,000 gods in mankind’s existence the key catalyst of the surviving religions has proven to be the ones with some sort of afterlife. Take away heaven or any form of afterlife and the religion will die.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 07:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  464
Joined  2013-12-20

People are fallible, it’s an inherent trait in all of us, no one has perfect conception of reality or can be truly objective.

But religion takes common metaphorical experiences gained over time and tries to present and express them in terms of perfection and then reacts often with extreme measures when the inevitable occurs…they don’t live up to billing.

Wanting the human world to operate in strict observance of a literal bible or following precisely the teaching of a certain prophet may meet the interests of the powerful religious organizations that grow out of received inner experiences, but they inevitably don’t meet the demands of the real world we exist in. Hence this inherent conflict lays the ground for inevitable violence and oppression based on religious beliefs.

The pursuit of verifiable knowledge through developments like the modern scientific method may not be as commonly accessible as the codification of inner received “wisdom” as with religions, but it offers a means to check facts and consistently adjust to a constantly evolving world.

It’s the difference between comfort(religions) and safety(science) at a time when we need to be able to understand and react in a very dynamic environment without blowing up those we don’t understand and may not like because of that.

[ Edited: 22 January 2014 07:50 PM by Fuzzy Logic ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2014 10:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2602
Joined  2012-10-27

As an atheist I feel something satisying about blaming religion for bad human actions. But I also have to be reasonable and fair. Religion is so much a part of the vast majority of the human population that it’s far too easy to blame it for a lot of things it shouldn’t be blamed for.  And because it’s so ubiquitous, it’s hard to know whether it has any real influence or how much.

Only a few religious people are driven by any religion to engage in bad acts in its name.  The majority of religious people—even very religious people—do not engage in such acts. i suspect that, more often than not, it is merely a handy attributiion for things people want to do for other reasons. Humans are human no matter what their belief system.  They tend to act in certain ways for many reasons, most of which they don’t know and can’t identify.  It’s too easy to attribute bad acts to religion because it’s here, there and everywhere and so easy to blame. As we’ve pointed out here before, morality doesn’t come from religion. It comes from human interaction and survival.  Peope attribute to religion many things, good and bad, that have no real connection to religion. We should all think twice before we fall into the trap of blaming religion for nearly every bad act. Yes,it should be blamed for some, but I think it is very rarely a driving force. There are so many other factors to be considered. It’s a lazy way of assigning blame, and a self satisfying one. Blaming religion also tends to stop us from thinking things through and finding the actual sources of bad acts. Religion is a too handy scapegoat.

Lois

[ Edited: 23 January 2014 09:13 AM by Lois ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 January 2014 02:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2698
Joined  2011-04-24
Lausten - 22 January 2014 07:14 AM
mid atlantic - 21 January 2014 09:25 PM
citizenschallenge.pm - 20 January 2014 09:22 PM

Most “serious” religions make people absolutist and self-righteous and blind to all self-skepticism -
willing to accept faith above real world experiences and learning.  IMHO all bad traits to be avoided.

 

Eh, it’s temping to agree, but there is no evidence religion makes people that way; self righteousness and inability to use analytical thinking are heritable traits in many people.

Alright, trying not to sound too self-righteous here, but what about the evidence of the creeds and teachings of major theologians of the major religions? They flat out tell you to not use reason. They call philosophers and education false gods. Are people born not thinking, or do their elders tell them that NOT questioning is wise?

To my layperson’s knowledge, there is no evidence that people are born “not thinking” - except maybe severely brain damaged people. There is evidence that the capacity for critical thinking, magical thinking, and curiosity are “nature” rather then “nurture”, so there’s going to be a wide array.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 January 2014 02:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2698
Joined  2011-04-24
Lois - 22 January 2014 01:12 PM
mid atlantic - 21 January 2014 09:01 PM
Lausten - 20 January 2014 08:20 PM
mid atlantic - 20 January 2014 07:15 PM

Maher is wrong, though. Biology made all those nasty things happen, religion is just one of the “hats” worn.

Religion contains actual philosophies of how to live your life and specific directions for what to do and why. It is specifically taught and people are given rewards and punishments for doing or not doing it.

This is partially accurate, but not always applicable. The fact that the majority of religious people are not causing death and destruction is proof that religious “indoctrination” is not the trigger which causes these behaviors. Something else is going on.


That may be true and there certainly are many other factors and combinations of factors that drive people to do such things.  But it would be interesting to know if religion is a common thread in aggressive antisocial acts. It could be a determining force without every religious person (or even most) engaging in such acts.

Lois

From what I’ve gathered it’s not, but I haven’t gathered that much.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 7
2