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Religion doesn’t hurt anything . . .
Posted: 25 January 2014 06:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Interesting, I finished that book recently, and my impression was that Lankford was claiming the 9-11 people were not religiously motivated. Maybe I misread.


No, you didn’t, but my point as George mentions in his post is that religious dogma can be and has been used as a catalyst to commit heinous deeds. If you read that chapter carefully, even though the author focuses on the terrorist’s mental condition, i.e. suicidal and antisocial tendencies, it was their devotion to an extremist form of Islam that enabled them to Focus their anger on a strawman enemy and seek the reward of martyrdom. He presents many examples of this in the appendix. As I stated before, there are many instances where religion was used as a tool to commit these antisocial acts. . There are many other triggers, e.g.the Newtown massacre, definitely not religiously motivated.


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Posted: 25 January 2014 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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Would be nice if there really was an Afterlife, and those religious maniacs were faced with having to explain to God why they did what they did.

...... although I can imagine some of the more extreme fundamentalists arguing theology with God and pointing out where He went wrong…... “But no, no, look, here in Deuteronomy where it says to kill all unbelievers…..”

TFS

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Posted: 25 January 2014 10:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 25 January 2014 06:43 AM

Interesting, I finished that book recently, and my impression was that Lankford was claiming the 9-11 people were not religiously motivated. Maybe I misread.


No, you didn’t, but my point as George mentions in his post is that religious dogma can be and has been used as a catalyst to commit heinous deeds. If you read that chapter carefully, even though the author focuses on the terrorist’s mental condition, i.e. suicidal and antisocial tendencies, it was their devotion to an extremist form of Islam that enabled them to Focus their anger on a strawman enemy and seek the reward of martyrdom. He presents many examples of this in the appendix. As I stated before, there are many instances where religion was used as a tool to commit these antisocial acts. . There are many other triggers, e.g.the Newtown massacre, definitely not religiously motivated.


Cap’t Jack

Posts like this make me long for a thumbs up button on comments… but instead I’ll just repeat it.

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Posted: 25 January 2014 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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mid atlantic - 25 January 2014 01:13 AM

That these things can happen without religion seems irrelevant to me. We agree their bad, so any motivating factor for them needs to be analyzed. There are times when I could agree that a war is a rational decision, but human sacrifice has never accomplished anything. It’s only explanation was supernatural and thankfully we’ve figured out it was wrong. And why look to religion to inform me about the justification for war?

I have no argument that religion has positive aspects, but until an actual religion steps forward and truly cleanses itself of these bad elements, I don’t see much point in discussing them. The problem is they don’t have a way to sanction others who use their same book to justify evil. In this country, they could do it fairly easily. Change the designation of religion to include rules about what they can do. A 501c3 can’t talk about politics and educational institutions have standards. If there is such a thing as “true” Christianity, let’s hear what it is.

If it’s irrelevant to you that those acts can occur without religion, then I would say you’re simply anti-religion.

I don’t get your conclusion. The argument that I’m countering is that people can do bad things without the motivation of religion. That argument says nothing about the quality or quantity of motivation religion is providing. This argument is usually coupled with a statement about the good things religion provides with very little analysis of how it provides them.

When you do analyze that, you find things like group cohesion and common sense teaching of basic morals. You also find that there are problems with the structures, like ministers required to be celibate or all that real estate going unused most of the time, not to mention bad health care advice. Once you strip away all that, down to the good parts, you’re left with something not recognizable as a religion.

As one old friend of mine said, when he threw out the bathwater, he realized there was no baby in there. I don’t go quite that far, but I’m pretty close. I don’t think that makes me anti-religion. It makes me anti-things that are wrong. If religion happens to support something wrong, yeah, I’m against that.

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Posted: 25 January 2014 06:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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mid atlantic - 25 January 2014 01:28 AM
Thevillageatheist - 23 January 2014 09:46 AM

Mike, just because a person might have biologically what it takes to behave a certain way, it doesn’t mean that environment doesn’t play a role. I don’t know if religious fanaticism causes people to bomb abortion clinics but I think it is possible. We do know, however, that religion was not the trigger behind 9/11 nor the bombing of Atocha train station in Madrid. All one needs to do is read Scott Atran’s book; not to be “convinced” as Darron said, but to be to informed. The evidence on this topic seems pretty clear to me.

You might also read Adam Lankford’s book TheMyth of Martyrdom: what really drives Suicide Bombers . His contention is, after studying the backgrounds of the most lethal terrorists, that radical groups actively seek out and use those who are mentally ill to do their dirty work but as I stated, in many cases (clearly not the Unibomber) the catalyst was religion. He included, for instance the bios of each one of the 911 terrorists and in every case they were societal pariahs with suicidal tendencies and drawn to extreme religious beliefs that promised them relief and reward from their extreme mental anguish. IOW, religion gave them the focus needed to perform this extreme act. Would they have hijacked a plane and flown it into a building knowingly killing thousands of innocent victims without a religious motive? If they wanted to committ suicide then why not just pick up a gun or jump out of a window?


Cap’t Jack

Interesting, I finished that book recently, and my impression was that Lankford was claiming the 9-11 people were not religiously motivated. Maybe I misread.

This looks interesting, but you might want to consider the points made in the 1 star review on amazon and this more scholarly source

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hojo.12022/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

. It just seems too easy to pass suicide bombing off as something crazy people do. (I realize that lacks subtlety, I did read your full posts).

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Posted: 26 January 2014 01:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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George - 25 January 2014 06:14 AM

I haven’t read that book, but I don’t think Jack is saying they were motivated by religion; he said it “gave them the focus.” I can see how that’s possible. You need some form of ideology (be it religion, patriotism, belief in “democracy,” etc.) to help a group of people behave like one body. It probably also helps to fight the fear of death. But none of this means that religion was the reason behind 9/11. And the same probably goes for the people who bomb abortion clinics. It’s their inborn sense of extreme conservatism that makes them fear change and act upon it, and they merely use religion to justify their actions. And since we all know how easy it is to cherry-pick from any religious writing, we can see how people with totally different ideas, say, MLK, can use the same tool to support their goal. It’s a tool just like any other. Use a knife to cut a slice of bread or use it to kill the baker to steal the slice of bread from him.

Well said.

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Posted: 26 January 2014 05:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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I scanned through all the posts, and I’m not too sure if anyone brought up this point, but one of the biggest problems with religions (that I’ve seen) is that it gives people an extremist foundation on how to see the world. If you take the view point of what the majority of churches preach, they’ll say that the world is either good, or evil. You have eternal happiness, or eternal suffering. Not to mention that there is a spiritual war of angels, and demons who are struggling to save/damn your soul. Then when you think about people who are raised with this mindset, they think everything in the world is based on these extremes. Seriously, the list goes on about how everything is either left, or right. Probably one of the sickest things I’ve heard is that God hates luke warm people, so he’d prefer us evil Atheist to be axe wielding, crazed monsters, than rational thinking non-believers. So yes, religions really do a wonderful job of fking up the mind.

It’s 4:36 AM right now, and I’ve been up all night, sorry if this comes off as rambling

[ Edited: 26 January 2014 05:52 AM by ExMachina ]
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Posted: 26 January 2014 05:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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That’s funny, Mike.  grin

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Posted: 26 January 2014 05:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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I’m up too EM, but it’s 7:30 AM here. You made some excellent points thru that drowsy haze though. How can an individual who assumes that supernatural forces control the environment make rational decisions concerning it? The only positive I have discerned from xtianity is that believers should be good “stewards” of the land but then one comes to the other side of the coin to read that the World and everything in it was made for the benefit of man. So we have carte blanche to screw it up whenever and wherever we want. Add a dash of Laissez Faire capitalism and you have our present problem. I fear for example that we’re going see potable water worth it’s weight in gold in the future if we don’t reverse the trend which will be difficult as those legislators who hold the reigns of power are themselves conservative climate change deniers.

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Posted: 26 January 2014 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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I can assure you, Jack, that in Czech Republic where almost everyone is an atheist, the percentage of people who don’t believe in global warming or are oblivious to other matters concerning our environment is about the same as what I see in North America. Or look at Russia: they don’t go around quoting the Bible to show how homosexuality is wrong, but they still hate them. And you seem to be undecided as to what the impact of religion on our society is. Make up your mind, buddy.  grin

[ Edited: 26 January 2014 06:14 AM by George ]
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Posted: 26 January 2014 07:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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George - 25 January 2014 06:14 AM

It’s their inborn sense of extreme conservatism that makes them fear change and act upon it, and they merely use religion to justify their actions.

Hmmm, so it’s a genetics thing?
The very few really extremist kids I’ve known, you just have to look at their parents to understand why the little shitts are off the wall.

I’ve always thought a life time of ideology together with bad experiences leads some to an extremist perception of the world,
having absolutely zero change of any sort of advancement or decent life style adds fuel to the fire.

I think it’s this comment that deserves a hand

ExMachina - 26 January 2014 05:38 AM

I scanned through all the posts, and I’m not too sure if anyone brought up this point, but one of the biggest problems with religions (that I’ve seen) is that it gives people an extremist foundation on how to see the world. If you take the view point of what the majority of churches preach, they’ll say that the world is either good, or evil. You have eternal happiness, or eternal suffering. Not to mention that there is a spiritual war of angels, and demons who are struggling to save/damn your soul. Then when you think about people who are raised with this mindset, they think everything in the world is based on these extremes. Seriously, the list goes on about how everything is either left, or right. Probably one of the sickest things I’ve heard is that God hates luke warm people, so he’d prefer us evil Atheist to be axe wielding, crazed monsters, than rational thinking non-believers. So yes, religions really do a wonderful job of fking up the mind.

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Posted: 26 January 2014 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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George - 26 January 2014 06:12 AM

I can assure you, Jack, that in Czech Republic where almost everyone is an atheist, the percentage of people who don’t believe in global warming or are oblivious to other matters concerning our environment is about the same as what I see in North America.

How much exposure to such information do they have over there?

There’s a big difference between rationalizing a rejection of the evidence and not being aware of the evidence.

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Posted: 26 January 2014 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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I can assure you, Jack, that in Czech Republic where almost everyone is an atheist, the percentage of people who don’t believe in global warming or are oblivious to other matters concerning our environment is about the same as what I see in North America. Or look at Russia: they don’t go around quoting the Bible to show how homosexuality is wrong, but they still hate them. And you seem to be undecided as to what the impact of religion on our society is. Make up your mind, buddy. 


You’re being too general here George. In reference to Russia, the Orthdox faith is on the rise and has been since Comminism collapsed and it does have an impact on Russia’s political policies. In fact, The Stalinists didn’t stamp it out and used it to great effect during the War. As to the Czechs, well you’re the expert there. So what is your explanation for climate change denial in your home country? And since we’re using anecdotal evidence I’ll throw in that I’m a native here and religion is the primary cause for the deniers and homophobes in my neck of the woods. Ok, you forced me, it’s religion’s fault pure and simple!  rolleyes


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Posted: 26 January 2014 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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CC, if your read my other comments you could see that I don’t in fact think that it’s all genetics, although I believe it is the primary trigger. Of course kids will usually behave similarly to their parents since that’s where they got their genes from. And as I already said about a zillion times on these forums, as per evidence, parents do not shape their kids’ personalities.

And I am not going to try to disprove your assumption that many people in Czech deny GW because they don’t have access to the necessary information. They do. I don’t obviously need to back it up with evidence since you didn’t offer any evidence to the contrary either.

It’s actually very interesting when I see the New Atheists (say, Jerry Coyne) pointing to the prosperity of places like Sweden and implying it is their atheism that is largely responsible for the well being of their society. But when I mention that Czech Republic has even more atheists than Sweden and their situation is nowhere close to being as admirable as that of Sweden, nobody (including Jerry Coyne) seems to want to hear it. You all sound as blind and fanatical to me as the religious.

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Posted: 26 January 2014 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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Good, Jack. Although I obviously disagree with you at least I now know where you stand. You are now my enemy.  cheese

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