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Would the world be a better place without religion?


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#461 dimreepr

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 11:09 AM

Read my posts.


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#462 Dissily Mordentroge

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 11:10 AM

Read my posts.

A very odd conclusion. 


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#463 dimreepr

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 11:15 AM

A very odd conclusion. 

 

I've invested a lot of time and effort posting in this thread, why should I invest even more time and effort to bring you up to speed?

 

What's in it for me?  :unsure:


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#464 Itoero

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 02:20 PM

That's not how it works. The onus is yours to prove causation, not ours to disprove it.

If I claim there's an invisible dragon beneath my chair, the correct approach is to rightly treat the claim as bullshit until I support it, not to ask you to disprove it.

So then when religious people do good things then it's also not because of religion?
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#465 iNow

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 02:28 PM

So then when religious people do good things then it's also not because of religion?


Pretty much
Or, more specifically... could be, but it would be wrong to assume religion is the "cause" when the two are sometimes merely correlated
Your current position is untenable.
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#466 dimreepr

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 02:28 PM

So then when religious people do good things then it's also not because of religion?

 

That's not only fallacious but it doesn't even come close to addressing his point; not so much a 'fly-by' more a 'didn't even get of the ground-by'.


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#467 Itoero

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 04:00 PM

Quite right, saying correlation does not equal causation doesn't prove lack of causation. But it doesn't prove causation either. It is evidence of causation, as you cannot have causation without correlation. But we know of many phenomena which are correlated with no causation, so it is incumbent upon us to check more rigorously. As iNow points out usually the person making a claim should be doing this rigorous checking. 
 
Checking more rigorously might involve having some expert knowledge in the area and so you can reasonably speculate what other variables might be having an effect, or it may require some data mining techniques. So for instance, religiosity might be correlated with poverty (for whatever reason), and poverty correlated with violence. Lack of education is another variable that might influence violence. A sociologist should be able to come up with loads more potential variables.
 
Once we have chosen some variables we need to collect data such that we know the religiosity of a country (or whatever unit of measurement you choose, which is not a trivial choice) as well as a measure of violence, poverty and education (in the minimum scenario). This is why your repetitions of citing Islamic violence have been waved away - no one is denying they happened, but they are just one of the four variables we need.
 
Is this all agreeable?

More or less.
Criminality and religion are not really correlated(I'm sorry if I said so), religion (Islam) increases the probability of someone becomes a criminal (mostly because of education). There are of course many factors that influence this process...most Muslims are not criminal.

I still don't understand how you can deny causation.
-Muslims killed people in Paris because Charlie Hebdo made cartoons of Muhammed.
-In islam countries, apostates are often punished and can even be killed.
-In Saudi Arabia there is a law that states that all atheists are terrorists.
How can you deny that religion causers those things?
I've said those things before but I never got an answer.
 

First, i didn't try to disprove you, i tried to disprove the proposition put forward by you that dogs eat grass when unwell to make themselves feel better. It's a subtle but important distinction.
 
So in that study 68% of dogs eat plants on a regular basis, of those 91% ate plants when well and 79% ate grass, meaning about 5% of all dogs eat grass are unwell. We don't know if they happened to be unwell and were just eating grass because they would have anyway, or because they thought it would make them better.  Therefore, what little data we have does not support the notion. It was a small study and far from perfect, but it is the only study on the subject in existence - you are free to conduct a more rigorous study.
 
Open a new thread on the matter if you want to chat further about dogs eating grass, its way off topic here (again). 
 
 
But to the point, i'm not sure why you feel providing some peer reviewed articles in not proving anything. If you could reference such studies religiosity is causative of violence then you might have a case to feel aggrieved. 
 
Do you agree such articles would be helpful?

I agree it's helpful.
I did not say that dogs eat grass when they feel sick.
My dog does it but that's because he doesn't like green stuff. It doesn't say anything about the behavior of other dogs.

This is what I said: "My dog eats grass when he has a problem with shitting. Dogs don't have bacteria to digest cellulose so when they eat grass, it enlargens the poo and makes things to go more smooth...he self medicates :-) (medical science)
"

Pretty much
Or, more specifically... could be, but it would be wrong to assume religion is the "cause" when the two are sometimes merely correlated
Your current position is untenable.

I never said religion is 'the' cause.
It (Islam) forms a breeding ground which makes it more likely for people to become criminal.

Apostates (people that no longer believe in Allah) risk punishment and can even be killed.

You deny that's because of religion?
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#468 DrP

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 04:04 PM

Quick 2 cents - I think you are right on both sides of this - some people only do good because of religion and some will do good anyway and some will in spite of. I think it is complicated.  It is an interesting conversation and I have enjoyed watching it play out from both sides of the discussion. After my fairly recent conversion to atheism I find these types of debate very interesting and understand viewpoints from both camps.


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#469 dimreepr

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 05:34 PM

Quick 2 cents - I think you are right on both sides of this - some people only do good because of religion and some will do good anyway and some will in spite of. I think it is complicated.  It is an interesting conversation and I have enjoyed watching it play out from both sides of the discussion. After my fairly recent conversion to atheism I find these types of debate very interesting and understand viewpoints from both camps.

 

 

The only common denominator is kindness - to which both sides are privy, as it's an innate moral. The problem I see with this is what I see from most atheist arguments; god can't be real, so the bible can't be real, not a balanced argument...


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#470 Dissily Mordentroge

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:23 PM

 

I've invested a lot of time and effort posting in this thread, why should I invest even more time and effort to bring you up to speed?

 

What's in it for me?  :unsure:

 

A simple yes or no would have sufficed.


Edited by Dissily Mordentroge, 12 January 2017 - 04:17 AM.

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#471 Prometheus

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 11:45 PM

I still don't understand how you can deny causation.
-Muslims killed people in Paris because Charlie Hebdo made cartoons of Muhammed.
-In islam countries, apostates are often punished and can even be killed.
-In Saudi Arabia there is a law that states that all atheists are terrorists.
How can you deny that religion causers those things?
I've said those things before but I never got an answer.

 

The question you are failing to address is whether all these things would occur without Islam, or without religion at all.

 

A few Muslims murdered people because of a perceived insult to Muhammad. Without Islam that particular event would not have happened. But without Islam, or religion, would a group with some identity still exist that would be quick to take offence and kill. Human history suggests emphatically yes: our tribalistic behaviours are deeply ingrained. 

 

I hypothesise that it is these evolved group behaviours that are the cause of such violence and oppression - not any particular group (if there could be said to be one cause for quite complex behaviours).

 

Now, it is perfectly reasonable to ask whether the beliefs of a group make them more prone to violence. As you point out, if someone says they are killing in the name of god you should believe them. But the Koran is no more violent than the Bible, yet there are currently different levels of violence in adherents. So what is the difference? Well, the socio-political landscape is entirely different. I would suggest it has something to do with that. Simply saying 'Muslims did it', is an appeal to tribalism. Do you want to get rid of religion, or do you want to get rid of the violence and oppression inherent in being human? If by satisfying the trying the latter we also do the former so be it, but the focus should be squarely on reducing hatred at the root (the hearts of people). Focusing on particular manifestations is like playing an awful pop-up game - we smack one on the head, just for another to pop up.

 

 

I think it is complicated. 

 

I would settle with that for a conclusion to this thread.


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#472 Dissily Mordentroge

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:08 AM

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Do you want to get rid of religion, or do you want to get rid of the violence and oppression inherent in being human? If by satisfying the trying the latter we also do the former so be it, but the focus should be squarely on reducing hatred at the root (the hearts of people). _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

 

Why can't we admit that religion, violence and appression are all the result of the dark side of our species evolution and admit religion is both cause and effect?


Edited by Dissily Mordentroge, 12 January 2017 - 04:17 AM.

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#473 dimreepr

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:12 PM

Why can't we admit that religion, violence and appression are all the result of the dark side of our species evolution and admit religion is both cause and effect?

 

Because it's not true.


I think this very good debate is pertinent. Well argued, for the most part, from both sides. Includes Richard Dawkins and Rowan Williams among others. Bit long though.

 

 

Dissily if you don't want to read the thread, then please, at least, watch this from 1:22. 


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#474 Dissily Mordentroge

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 12:31 AM

 

Because it's not true.


 

Dissily if you don't want to read the thread, then please, at least, watch this from 1:22. 

I'll view that this evening. Always enjoy a Cambridge or Oxford debate.

Maybe if I'd expressed myself more clearly by asserting "Why can't we admit that religion, violence and oppression are often the result of the dark side of our species evolution and admit religion can be both cause and effect?" I hope you're not going to claim there's nothing dark about our species religious urges? Anyhow, more after I've digested the erudite Cambridge approach.

A cursory viewing of the first speaker impresses apart from his confused approach to the origins of, and need for morality.


 

 

The only common denominator is kindness - to which both sides are privy, as it's an innate moral. The problem I see with this is what I see from most atheist arguments; god can't be real, so the bible can't be real, not a balanced argument...

The problem I see with 'God can't be real' is in order to convince others something doesn't exist one requires an agreed definition of that something.

(Aquinas, if he was with us, might assert  the All Being must exist,  that is 'God', otherwise nothing can exist)

As the religious keep telling us 'God' is beyond definition and atheists tell us 'God' is a meaningless concept upon what basis can the discussion continue?


 

The question you are failing to address is whether all these things would occur without Islam, or without religion at all.

 

A few Muslims murdered people because of a perceived insult to Muhammad. Without Islam that particular event would not have happened. But without Islam, or religion, would a group with some identity still exist that would be quick to take offence and kill. Human history suggests emphatically yes: our tribalistic behaviours are deeply ingrained. 

 

I hypothesise that it is these evolved group behaviours that are the cause of such violence and oppression - not any particular group (if there could be said to be one cause for quite complex behaviours).

 

Now, it is perfectly reasonable to ask whether the beliefs of a group make them more prone to violence. As you point out, if someone says they are killing in the name of god you should believe them. But the Koran is no more violent than the Bible, yet there are currently different levels of violence in adherents. So what is the difference? Well, the socio-political landscape is entirely different. I would suggest it has something to do with that. Simply saying 'Muslims did it', is an appeal to tribalism. Do you want to get rid of religion, or do you want to get rid of the violence and oppression inherent in being human? If by satisfying the trying the latter we also do the former so be it, but the focus should be squarely on reducing hatred at the root (the hearts of people). Focusing on particular manifestations is like playing an awful pop-up game - we smack one on the head, just for another to pop up.

 

 

 

I would settle with that for a conclusion to this thread.

On the surface a cogent argument until you consider the evidence of evolutionary psychology which appears to tell us the urge to tribalism and to organised religion come from identical aspects of our species nature. Religion though adds a layer of 'God's on our side' as the central justification for more slaughter and cruelty than I care to think about. Granted secular ideologies can unleash similar forces but they mostly fade as entities far faster than organised religion which holds onto power with a demonstrated ruthlessness over many centuries. The highbred of religious authority with the power to govern, as in medieval christianity and today's Saudi Arabia and Iran tells us something of the dangers of unleashing that ruthlessness 'in the name of God". 

Having now viewed all of the Cambridge debate previously recommended I find one aspect of religion not given enough attention, the urge to political power at the core of so many religious movements. Any priesthood that claims it's role to be a necessary intermediary between the divine ( substitute whatever term you want) and this realm grants itself unjustified power to rule our lives. Any acceptance by the general community to such cosmic elitism is to put our heads on the chopping block of whatever arbitrary whim said priesthood wishes to pursue from burning at the stake, stoning to death, amputation of limbs, all the way up to genocide.

"The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall be thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his annointed." 1St Samuel.Ch:2.V:10. 


Edited by Dissily Mordentroge, 13 January 2017 - 04:08 AM.

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#475 Prometheus

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 09:37 AM

On the surface a cogent argument until you consider the evidence of evolutionary psychology which appears to tell us the urge to tribalism and to organised religion come from identical aspects of our species nature. Religion though adds a layer of 'God's on our side' as the central justification for more slaughter and cruelty than I care to think about. Granted secular ideologies can unleash similar forces but they mostly fade as entities far faster than organised religion which holds onto power with a demonstrated ruthlessness over many centuries. The highbred of religious authority with the power to govern, as in medieval christianity and today's Saudi Arabia and Iran tells us something of the dangers of unleashing that ruthlessness 'in the name of God". 

 

If there is evidence then you should be able to provide some references. Identical is a strong word.

 

But i generally agree in removing religion from nationhood. This is part of the reason i use the word spiritual instead of religious. As soon as someone says they are religious the question which one naturally follows. If someone says they are spiritual it is much harder for others, and themselves, to associate a label with it.

 

 

Having now viewed all of the Cambridge debate previously recommended I find one aspect of religion not given enough attention, the urge to political power at the core of so many religious movements. Any priesthood that claims it's role to be a necessary intermediary between the divine ( substitute whatever term you want) and this realm grants itself unjustified power to rule our lives. 

 

As i understand it Catholicism is the only religion that asserts the clergy is a necessary intermediary to the divine. Part of the Reformation was about removing this necessity - yet the UK does not officially (or in practice, where are the 26 scientists given seats in the House of Lords?) have separation of church and state. 

 

The will to power is a human trait and religion, nationalism and identity politics have always been prone to it. For instance, the socialist agenda was entirely subsumed by dictators in soviet Russia. Take away religion and politicians will just subvert some other identity of a target population. Religion is a tempting one though, given its power to cross borders. By targeting religion specifically we are treating the symptom not the cause while alienating some of our religious brethren.


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To retain their image.

 

 

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www.senseaboutscience.org/

 


#476 Dissily Mordentroge

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 11:12 AM

 

If there is evidence then you should be able to provide some references. Identical is a strong word.

 

But i generally agree in removing religion from nationhood. This is part of the reason i use the word spiritual instead of religious. As soon as someone says they are religious the question which one naturally follows. If someone says they are spiritual it is much harder for others, and themselves, to associate a label with it.

 

 

 

As i understand it Catholicism is the only religion that asserts the clergy is a necessary intermediary to the divine. Part of the Reformation was about removing this necessity - yet the UK does not officially (or in practice, where are the 26 scientists given seats in the House of Lords?) have separation of church and state. 

 

The will to power is a human trait and religion, nationalism and identity politics have always been prone to it. For instance, the socialist agenda was entirely subsumed by dictators in soviet Russia. Take away religion and politicians will just subvert some other identity of a target population. Religion is a tempting one though, given its power to cross borders. By targeting religion specifically we are treating the symptom not the cause while alienating some of our religious brethren.

I agree the will to power is a human trait but I'm not too worried about alienating our religious brethren considering they're none to worried about alienating my kind.

 

http://tinyurl.com/z2jt5p5

Far from a complete bibliography ( my library is packed prior to moving house next week)
I do however recommend an unfashionable tome ( yet to have it’s central thesis disproven)
in relation to this issue, if not fully focused on it. Arthur Koestler’s “The Ghost in The Machine"

Edited by Dissily Mordentroge, 13 January 2017 - 11:13 AM.

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#477 Prometheus

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 02:17 PM

... I'm not too worried about alienating our religious brethren considering they're none to worried about alienating my kind.

 

I find it strange you acknowledge the tribalistic 'us vs them' mentality is the cause of many problems yet quickly engage in it yourself under the banner of 'they did it first'. Many religious people at least have the excuse of ignorance (though that becomes less compelling when it is wilful) but i expect better of someone as erudite as yourself.

 

 

 

I agree the will to power is a human trait but I'm not too worried about alienating our religious brethren considering they're none to worried about alienating my kind.

 

http://tinyurl.com/z2jt5p5

Far from a complete bibliography ( my library is packed prior to moving house next week)
I do however recommend an unfashionable tome ( yet to have it’s central thesis disproven)
in relation to this issue, if not fully focused on it. Arthur Koestler’s “The Ghost in The Machine"

 

 

Thanks for the links.

 

The first one links to google books and the relevant pages are hidden.

 

The second one is titled Is Religion an Evolutionary Adaptation? I'm not disputing that it is: although i am very weary of the 'just so' evolutionary argument for anything which has no actual predictive power. Also, the author claims the 'central unifying feature of religion [is] a belief in an unverifiable world'. I don't think that applies to Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism - not that these faiths don't contain beliefs in various unverifiable (and sometimes just plain silly) things, but that they are not central to the religion. This problem arises (on this thread) because we have not defined religion, i'm not sure why the author of this paper hasn't though. Maybe it's just agreed to such an extent in sociology that it is deemed unnecessary to say? In short, i'm not sure how this paper verifies that religion is identical to 'us/them' tribalism. 

 

The third barely touches the subject: it's only reference to religion in 80 pages is this quote: 'Recent work suggests that religion and rites that galvanize group solidarity and deepen commitment spread by cultural group selection (Henrich 2009).' OK, some religions are under some kind of group selection. So what? And what about religions that don't galvanise group solidarity and deepen commitment spread?


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The wild geese do not intend

To cast their reflection

The water has no mind

To retain their image.

 

 

To naively frown upon split infinitives.

 

www.senseaboutscience.org/

 


#478 dimreepr

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 04:37 PM

The problem I see with 'God can't be real' is in order to convince others something doesn't exist one requires an agreed definition of that something.

(Aquinas, if he was with us, might assert  the All Being must exist,  that is 'God', otherwise nothing can exist)

As the religious keep telling us 'God' is beyond definition and atheists tell us 'God' is a meaningless concept upon what basis can the discussion continue?

 

 

I don't think the semantics are important because I contend the concept of god is or became a teaching aid. Which is why I urged you to read my posts. Like DrP said, "it's complicated".


Edited by dimreepr, 13 January 2017 - 04:38 PM.

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#479 Dissily Mordentroge

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 03:37 AM

 

I find it strange you acknowledge the tribalistic 'us vs them' mentality is the cause of many problems yet quickly engage in it yourself under the banner of 'they did it first'. Many religious people at least have the excuse of ignorance (though that becomes less compelling when it is wilful) but i expect better of someone as erudite as yourself.

 

Erudition doen't remove one from the tribe homo sapiens. 

I'm up to my ears packing up house so will be scarse around these parts for a while.


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#480 MonDie

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 03:46 PM

I did have an interesting thought after reading the free publication "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens" https://scholar.prin...olitics.doc.pdf
 
Basically there are two things that run society: money (elite status), and organized groups (interest groups).
 
[edit] in my opinion...[/edit] behaving ethically or morally has two components: determining the right decision, and following through with it. I realized the paradox that these organized groups may be very good at getting what they want, and yet they may be very bad at determining what is for the best because of groupthink. One powerful interest group is the Christian Coalition of America, but this would by no means be exclusive to religious, organized groups. The NRA is a good example of a powerful interest group that sees everything in black and white. The NRA seems to want zero gun regulations no matter how well-informed some particular regulation may be, and that's probably the product of groupthink.
 
Overview of powerful interest groups: http://www.cnn.com/A....25/index1.html
 
Regarding the tendency toward secondary psychopathy in the non-religious (which I discussed on page 12), it occurred to me that women and gay men are more likely to suffer from borderline personality disorder. It is thought that the primary psychopath is more similar to a narcissist, whereas the secondary psychopath is more similar to a borderline. Incidentally, women and gay men are some other disadvantaged people whose rights are being attacked by these organized groups, for example by the National Right to Life Committee and the Christian Coalition.
 
Alas, if the problem is that organized groups tend to be both powerful and stupid, then this may very well be a problem that goes beyond religion and, furthermore, would not include all modes of religiousness.

On the surface a cogent argument until you consider the evidence of evolutionary psychology which appears to tell us the urge to tribalism and to organised religion come from identical aspects of our species nature. Religion though adds a layer of 'God's on our side' as the central justification for more slaughter and cruelty than I care to think about. Granted secular ideologies can unleash similar forces but they mostly fade as entities far faster than organised religion which holds onto power with a demonstrated ruthlessness over many centuries. The highbred of religious authority with the power to govern, as in medieval christianity and today's Saudi Arabia and Iran tells us something of the dangers of unleashing that ruthlessness 'in the name of God".
Having now viewed all of the Cambridge debate previously recommended I find one aspect of religion not given enough attention, the urge to political power at the core of so many religious movements. Any priesthood that claims it's role to be a necessary intermediary between the divine ( substitute whatever term you want) and this realm grants itself unjustified power to rule our lives. Any acceptance by the general community to such cosmic elitism is to put our heads on the chopping block of whatever arbitrary whim said priesthood wishes to pursue from burning at the stake, stoning to death, amputation of limbs, all the way up to genocide.
"The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall be thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his annointed." 1St Samuel.Ch:2.V:10.


It arguably wouldn't be a problem if everybody was allowed to talk to, or receive communication from, the god and to come to their own conclusions about what the god wants. Alas I dislike how a lot of Christianity divides the divine into good spirits and evil spirits. If someone actually demonstrated a divine connection, many Christians would dismiss it as the work of Satan if they don't hear what they want to hear. From what I've gathered, superficially perhaps, there seems to be a history of Christians lumping the gods of other religions togethor under the label of Satan.

Edited by MonDie, 14 January 2017 - 07:34 PM.

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