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Would the world be a better place without religion?


Itoero
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11 hours ago, Shauno said:

I see the harm from atheist ideologies. The great murderous wars/campaigns/purges of the 20 Century were all driven by atheist ideologies (Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Mao Tse Tung's China, Pol Pot' Cambodia) or pure greed.

You're conflating politics with atheism, the other extreme conflates politics with theism. 

However, you're extreme is more ignorant.

10 hours ago, Shauno said:

Not true. Communism had Fascism have their own morality which by necessity excludes Christianity. Claiming Atheism wasn't a part of these philosophies is as disingenuous as claiming that Christianity had nothing to do with the Inquisition and Crusades since Christianity is only about love and forgiveness, although I actually think Christianity has a better claim at disassociation.

Nietzsche explored the consequences of "God is dead", and the destruction of morality. I doubt Hitler was intellectual sophisticated enough to be a devotee of Nietzsche but Nazism closely follows Nietzsche. If there is no God, then all sorts of horrors can happen and are OK if they further society. The Ubermensch is king. But in modern society, perhaps the encroachment of moral relativism is most terrifying. I have been following assisted suicides in Belgium - originally only for terminally ill, the bar has been lowered to depressed young adults!! Christianity has absolute standards - thou shalt not kill. The most terrifying thing is that without religion many observers cannot see anything wrong.

One of the points I've seen raised many times is that we would be fine without religion, and primitive tribal societies used as an example. By primitive tribal societies are not "noble savages", they are incredibly violent with perhaps 20% of males dying at the hands of others. That is our true nature - one that Christianity acknowledges, and I worry without the absolute foundations of religion, our future will allow that nature to surface.

I missed this post, never mind, it merely confirms my previous answer.

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10 hours ago, iNow said:

If religion is your source of morals, then how do you know enough to ignore the bits about stoning adulterers to death, 

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The Pharisees practiced those actions as well.

 

There is a story that's quite well known to Christians.

One day Jesus was upon the Mount of Olives, and came down to the temple. People gathered around him to hear him teach. While he was teaching them, a group of Pharisees showed up with an adulterous woman and placed her in front of Jesus. "Teacher", they say to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?" 

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

 

 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Raider5678 said:

The Pharisees practiced those actions as well.

 

There is a story that's quite well known to Christians.

One day Jesus was upon the Mount of Olives, and came down to the temple. People gathered around him to hear him teach. While he was teaching them, a group of Pharisees showed up with an adulterous woman and placed her in front of Jesus. "Teacher", they say to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?" 

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

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Now, do you see that God is not needed for a lesson to be learned? 

I'm not picking on you Raider (+1 for the inconvenience), your post is just a good springboard.

Edited by dimreepr
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On 11/13/2016 at 1:06 PM, Itoero said:

 

Religion creates groups, it forms boundaries between people...that causes many problems.

A lot of things do that, though. If it's not religion, it's money, politics, football, ethnicity, brands, neighbourhoods, social class... I don't think the problem is religion per se, but the divisive tendency that persists in people. The whole "us vs them" attitude. 

We're social animals who are hard-wired to associate with what we consider "our kind". Unfortunately, this often results in tribe mentality: we define ourselves in relation to who else belongs in our circle and who doesn't. 

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9 minutes ago, Hypsibius said:

A lot of things do that, though. If it's not religion, it's money, politics, football, ethnicity, brands, neighbourhoods, social class... I don't think the problem is religion per se, but the divisive tendency that persists in people. The whole "us vs them" attitude. 

We're social animals who are hard-wired to associate with what we consider "our kind". Unfortunately, this often results in tribe mentality: we define ourselves in relation to who else belongs in our circle and who doesn't. 

That's mostly correct but religion is not only about supernatural belief. It implies a cultural system. Your examples, politics, ethnicity, neighboorhoods and, social class are often intertwined with religion.

 

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On 13/11/2016 at 1:06 PM, Itoero said:

Religion creates groups, it forms boundaries between people...that causes many problems.

That happens anyway. It is a natural part of human nature. It happens due to language, politics, sin colour, football team, fashion, music ...

A good thing about religion is that it creates groups. Those groups can cross other boundaries. And they often come together to do good.

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10 minutes ago, Itoero said:

Your examples, politics, ethnicity, neighboorhoods and, social class are often intertwined with religion.

 

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I don't believe that.

More often then naught religion forms groups that CROSS the boundaries that you think are intertwined with religion, not create them.

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9 minutes ago, Itoero said:

That's mostly correct but religion is not only about supernatural belief. It implies a cultural system. Your examples, politics, ethnicity, neighboorhoods and, social class are often intertwined with religion.

It may be connected with those other things, but they don't define the religion. Religions often cross those other categories and exist across cultural systems.

Having done a [short] religious studies course, I know how hard it is to define religion, but I would certainly include supernatural belief as one of the defining factors. I would not include politics, ethnicity, neighbourhood or social class as playing any part in defining religion.

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24 minutes ago, Itoero said:

That's mostly correct but religion is not only about supernatural belief. It implies a cultural system. Your examples, politics, ethnicity, neighboorhoods and, social class are often intertwined with religion.

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Human nature is complicated:

Firstly, what is culture? Is it what your family taught you? What your village taught you? What your region taught you? What your country taught you? What your mate taught you? 

Secondly, how is culture re-written/over-written?

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33 minutes ago, Raider5678 said:

More often then naught religion forms groups that CROSS the boundaries that you think are intertwined with religion, not create them.

Indeed. Religions cross cultural boundaries, and there are cultures that contain many religions. 

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1 hour ago, Raider5678 said:

don't believe that.

More often then naught religion forms groups that CROSS the boundaries that you think are intertwined with religion, not create them.

But then  what is religion? Can you give an example of religion that crosses boundaries?

 

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1 minute ago, Itoero said:

But then  what is religion? Can you give an example of religion that crosses boundaries?

Well, duh. Let me think...

Oh yes. Christianity. It exists in Middle Eastern cultures, South American, European (which is multiple different cultures), South Asian, South East Asian, ...

And if that is not enough, Buddhism exists across Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, right through to the Far East.

And even Hinduism exists in India (not surprisingly) as well as several very different cultures such as Malaysia and China.

Of course, if you are going to say that the first are all "Christian cultures" etc then there isn't much scope for a rational discussion.

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8 minutes ago, Itoero said:

But then  what is religion? Can you give an example of religion that crosses boundaries?

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Christianity has crossed every racial boundary so far. 

Does that not count?

20 minutes ago, Itoero said:

But then  what is religion?

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Why does religion have to form boundaries for it to be considered a religion to you?

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3 minutes ago, Strange said:

Well, duh. Let me think...

Oh yes. Christianity. It exists in Middle Eastern cultures, South American, European (which is multiple different cultures), South Asian, South East Asian, ...

And if that is not enough, Buddhism exists across Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, right through to the Far East.

And even Hinduism exists in India (not surprisingly) as well as several very different cultures such as Malaysia and China.

Of course, if you are going to say that the first are all "Christian cultures" etc then there isn't much scope for a rational discussion.

Ok, but then 'crossing boundaries' is not necessary a positive thing. Your examples are about the spreading of religion...geographic. Religion doesn't cross boundaries in the sense that the boundary between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam remains...

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3 minutes ago, Itoero said:

Ok, but then 'crossing boundaries' is not necessary a positive thing. Your examples are about the spreading of religion...geographic. Religion doesn't cross boundaries in the sense that the boundary between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam remains...

You're overcomplicating this.

There are religious boundaries, nobody is arguing that. Christians/Muslims/Hindus

But the point is that most religions cross boundaries regardless of race/social status/location

I mean, sure, you can probably make the argument that crossing boundaries between groups are bad, but that will require some serious mental gymnastics.

 

And so many other things create boundaries as well, and DON"T cross any. Race, social status, money, location, etc.

Edited by Raider5678
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9 minutes ago, Itoero said:

Ok, but then 'crossing boundaries' is not necessary a positive thing.

Just now you were saying that religion was bad because it created/reinforced boundaries. Now it is a bad thing that it crosses boundaries. Seems like religion can't win with you anti-religion types.

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Your examples are about the spreading of religion...geographic.

No. I was talking about CULTURE not geography as that was the sense of boundary crossing we are talking about.

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Religion doesn't cross boundaries in the sense that the boundary between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam remains...

Well, no one said it crosses ALL boundaries. And you can't really expect two different religions (eg catholicism and Quakerism) to cross their own boundaries. They wouldn't be different religions in that case. 

Although, there are many people and religious groups who espouse ecumenicalism and  interdenominationalism and interreligionism. So the boundaries can be crossed.

Edited by Strange
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1 minute ago, Raider5678 said:

You're overcomplicating this.

There are religious boundaries, nobody is arguing that. Christians/Muslims/Hindus

But the point is that most religions cross boundaries regardless of race/social status/location

I mean, sure, you can probably make the argument that crossing boundaries between groups are bad, but that will require some serious mental gymnastics.

Crossing boundaries to spread religion is negative. Crossing boundaries to soften religious boundaries is positive but  this simply doesn't happen.

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Just now, Itoero said:

Crossing boundaries to spread religion is negative. Crossing boundaries to soften religious boundaries is positive but  this simply doesn't happen.

Why is it negative? Why do you get to choose if it's negative or not?

Are you seriously telling me that a white person running a soup kitchen in a poor black neighborhood in the name of Christ is a negative? Really?

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15 minutes ago, Raider5678 said:

You implied it. When I said religion crossed boundaries more then it makes them you responded with: 

 

I will never say religion has to form boundaries for it to be a religion.

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14 minutes ago, Itoero said:

Crossing boundaries to spread religion is negative.

Why?

Sounds to me like you are saying that just because it is what you believe. Which would be ironic.

(As you have provided no logic or evidence to support this claim then I can, with equal conviction, say: no it isn't.)

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Crossing boundaries to soften religious boundaries is positive but  this simply doesn't happen.

So you don't think it is easier for there to be inter-faith dialogue in a country like the UK where there are very many religions, rather than a country where there is only one dominant religion? Can you justify that stance?

 

Edited by Strange
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3 minutes ago, Raider5678 said:

Why is it negative? Why do you get to choose if it's negative or not?

Are you seriously telling me that a white person running a soup kitchen in a poor black neighborhood in the name of Christ is a negative? Really?

If Judaism did not spread to Europe (by crossing boundaries) then the Holocaust could not have happened. If islam did not cross all those boundaries then there would be no Islam terrorism. The spreading of religion caused the religious wars like Crusades.

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7 minutes ago, Itoero said:

If Judaism did not spread to Europe (by crossing boundaries) then the Holocaust could not have happened.

Wow. Victim blaming. Impressive.

Similarly, if the gypsies [not a religon] hadn't left India, then Hitler (and others) wouldn't have killed millions of them, either.

And if mankind had never left Africa in the first place ...

You are not making much sense here, you know.

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If islam did not cross all those boundaries then there would be no Islam terrorism.

Nearly all Islamic terrorism takes place in Islamic countries. (And the ultimate cause is the political and economic interference of other "western" countries; so perhaps it is more of a problem when political culture crosses boundaries.)

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The spreading of religion caused the religious wars like Crusades.

The spreading of religion created hospitals and universities. 

Why not drop the bigotry and try to think rationally.

Edited by Strange
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9 minutes ago, Strange said:

Why?

Sounds to me like you are saying that just because it is what you believe. Which would be ironic.

(As you have provided no logic or evidence to support this claim then I can, with equal conviction, say: no it isn't.)

If Judaism did not spread to Europe (by crossing boundaries) then the Holocaust could not have happened. If islam did not cross all those boundaries then there would be no Islam terrorism. The spreading of religion caused the religious wars like Crusades.

 

11 minutes ago, Strange said:

you don't think it is easier for there to be inter-faith dialogue in a country like the UK where there are very many religions, rather than a country where there is only one dominant religion? Can you justify that stance?

It depends on the country and religions involved but what does that matter?

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