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Religion when it had real power!


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I did not say the people who committed 9/11 were insane, although the argument could be made for.

I said they were evil.,

And I also wouldn't say they were particularly religious as they enjoyed porn, prostitutes and booze.

 

And then iNow brings pedophilia into the discussion, while John introduces Satan worshipping cats.

 

 

Jimmy isn't pushing his religion on anyone. He came on here, but didn't try to convert anyone. His beliefs are simply HIS beliefs, and facts are not the basis for beliefs.

He is certainly entitled to them.

And if those beliefs help him through a difficult time in his life, so much the better.

 

From reading this thread I get the impression that you guys are trying to convert him.

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Yes; they were. Because none of them did anything to stop the cruelty of those barbaric beliefs.   How could anyone be in a position to say "actually folks- let's stop persecuting people for no goo

Hard for me to agree with your last point. Christianity is often cultural more than theistic. Same with Judaism, and likely a number of others.   That's why there are cultural Christians and cultur

Not sure what you are referring to. Personally, I never disagreed that it would still be the case that there would still be conflict in the world if religion disappeared, but merely emphasized as my o

His beliefs are simply HIS beliefs, and facts are not the basis for beliefs.

 

This IMO gets squarely to the heart of why so many here choose to challenge them.

 

People are free to believe whatever they want. When people openly share those beliefs, however, others are equally free to point out their obvious gaps, logical inconsistencies, and all too frequent remedial and nonsensical nature.

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You're always too darn reasonable, iNow.

You're right, he did 'open the door'.

 

However, if those beliefs help him cope with tragedy, whether they have basis in fact or not, why would we feel the need to challenge them.

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However, if those beliefs help him cope with tragedy, whether they have basis in fact or not, why would we feel the need to challenge them.

As it is probably an extremely touchy subject, they they may cling to ideas about an afterlife or a just god and I doubt I would challenge them on that with such poor timing.

 

If, however, to cope with tragedy they wish to go on some murderous campaign against those they perceive to be the ones behind the tragedy and do so because they believe it is what god has told them I will not only challenge such a belief with reasoning but probably try to get law enforcement involved.

 

It depends, at least in part, on the beliefs used by the individual to cope.

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Jimmy isn't pushing his religion on anyone. He came on here, but didn't try to convert anyone. His beliefs are simply HIS beliefs, and facts are not the basis for beliefs.

He is certainly entitled to them.

 

Granted, I don't care what he believes. I'm just trying to make people admit that there is, not just a link, but a direct link between the doctrines and the actions we see happen in society. The religious mind does not arrive at their conclusions through a skeptical investigation of the evidence of reality. Most religious beliefs are, as Sam Harris says, "drummed into us on mother's knee". When I see the bigotry and ignorance of the southern society I live in, I can attribute almost all of it to religious influence. Jesus said it was right, so therefore its right. I would not mind religion so much if people would just drop the violent, racist, bigoted, and ignorant parts of it. The parts that get people to believe stupid things and to commit atrocious acts. I don't mind people wanting to have a spiritual center or wanting to feel that they are more than just "star dust" (even thought they aren't), but there is no need for the tribalism and ignorant mindsets anymore. We are a 21st century human race trying to build a cooperative global society that works and promotes the continued flourishing of our species. Religion is becoming increasingly antithetical to that pursuit.

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For now let me not get involved in all of the aspects of this discussion apart from highlighting this specific part of the previous post. For me it makes sense to replace God with Nature or to equate God to Nature...but to seriously consider any one of the Abrahamic God versions (which one?) as a contender for the ultimate divine power who created and who still manages nature, as well as getting personally involved with a particular species on one small planet at a specific time in (evolution) history to a point of conjuring up this strange sequence of events in order for them to worship God (and hope it is the right one) so as to qualify for eternal life in heaven opposed to eternal damnation in hell as a result of same intervention...seems all very nonsensical.

Hi,Memammal, I needed a break from the intense atmosphere here for a couple of days. However, I was not trying to ignore you. I think I will end up repeating what I have been saying all along which is a personal belief, based on my limited understanding and reasoning and also following my education. I have doubts, I have asked myself questions which I cannot answer. As far as I can ascertain, the Abrahamic God Yahweh, Ela/Allah are the same. It was the God that called Moses to duty. I am not going to argue that one religion gave rise to the later two. Let people believe what they want to, as a fundamental human right. IMO, I disagree with the idea of an interfering God. However, I do believe in the illusion of freewill which provides a sufficient condition for a choice which then has consequences which are specific to the choice (this sounds more and more like Harry Potter, I know). IMO, God made the Universe as a single act in which everything was predetermined. My prayers which get answered or not, all predetermined. The creation of evil people to show others what is good, predetermined. This is my personal opinion.

If I'm being too personal, Jimmy, just tell me so.

But were you religious before the tragic events happened in your life ?

 

MigL, I am OK to talk about it now. I was religious before the event. After it I started to doubt everything and became reflective and inward looking. But, I am only human after all.

 

I was raised R. C. but decided I have no need for it .

You, on the other hand, may have been looking for answers, the 'why' if you will, of the tragedy which put your life in turmoil.

We don't have answers for such tragedies, and I believe most of us here would be searching for some spiritual comfort if something similar happened in our lives.

Even as people get sick or older, and become concerned with death, they often seek spiritual comfort. I don't think it's my place ( or anyone else's ) to deny people in need, that comfort. Even if some might call it a 'crutch'.

 

I agree that we are looking for answers to "why?" questions anyway. I have tried to rationalise my faith as a scientist. You may disagree on my methods but I found it to be mentally satisfying. I have never used my beliefs as a crutch but as a tool for understanding the evil that exists in the world, and for rationalising or understanding why there is evil anyway. It is a tough argument, I will not repeat it here but atheists reject it. However, I have also found much good and much love from unexpected sources and it fills e with hope.

 

As to your point concerning the effect of religion ( any kind ) in helping to establish an ordered society...

We are basically animals. Natural instincts tell us to take advantage of those with less power than us. We see it in a pride of lions with a dominant male. We see the wildebeest sacrifice the young, old and sick/weak to the lion so that the others may survive.

But religion has always taught us to take care of our fellow human beings, and the message was strong enough to overcome our natural instincts. So I would agree, it has helped to shape our civilization.

 

Wow. You have given me some more hope for religion then. Remember, respect for the old and love for your neighbour. I cannot see anything wrong with those actions, regardless of belief systems.

 

A few of us, however, are still ruled by those base instincts, and will take advantage of our fellow humans. Structured groups, like governments, religions, cults, etc. make this easy for unscrupulous people, and the structured group ( religion ) gets tarnished as a result.

 

A central point, dismissed by some others, is that a priesthood is unnecessary for someone who wants to "link" to a higher form of life. Yet ae a High ll religions have priests. Even neo-pagans have a High Priest and High Priestess, I believe.

 

Most of these guys trying to 'sway' you will argue that its not Islam's fault that a few idiots are misinterpreting a religion of peace to spread terror through the Middle East and the world ( and they'd be right ), but in the same breath, will tell you that the fault of Christianity lies in the religion, not the unscrupulous people who use it to their own ends.

But that's OK, I still like them. :)

 

As an old guy, I still remember the bombings and fear created by the IRA in the UK mainland - horrible inhumane actions - shall we blame Roman Catholicism? Or was it a political action, because terror seems to be an effective political action in this screwed up world of ours? I don't know the answer mate, but I do have an opinion.

 

In my view, and I am repeating myself so I apologise, I have met people of other faiths who are truly religious and call themselves as such. I find some common features in them and myself:

1. a moderate nature,

2. tolerance to all other people,

3. a thirst for knowledge,

4. compassion to people and animals

5. care for the environment

6. easily emotional (not in anger) in kindness and empathy to others

 

Why is it that I find these to be typical features of religious people and others don't see them?

Because you are forgetting that those "few demented individuals" are not "demented" at all. Most of them are perfectly sane, even well educated individuals with professional degrees (as in the case of 9/11). The only difference is that these people are so convinced of the validity of their religion that they are following its prescriptions to the letter.

 

You also grossly misunderstood what I was saying. I was not blaming 9/11 fully on all of Islam. I was saying that I could engage in the same type of obscurantism to excuse the acts of the hijackers by forgetting everything they did. That is what Jimmy Dasaint is doing with religion in general.

 

I am a pretty calm guy, but this is really insulting and condemns me to justifying the acts of madmen. Where the hell did I gloss over their actions? Nowhere? Where have I said that terrorism and Torquemada and killings by the Catholic Church were OK? Nowhere? At least base your opinions on facts man.

 

Every time you try to link religion to years of blood shed and death, you get these people saying "well, you can't blame it on religion, its more just politics and a few bad apples who did it." You can have crusades, inquisitions, and all sorts of other barbarism that fully aligns with what the holy book teaches, and people will fully dismiss all the brutal things religion influences and claim that religion is still positive and good. I'm saying, yes, its good when fully take away all the crap that it has influenced and just focus on the small amounts of positive things it has influenced. This is classic obscurantism and flat out denial that there is any link between the doctrines and the acts. My point was to show that I could do that with the 9/11 hijackers if I just forgot about all the stuff they did. Nothing I said had anything to do with blaming anything on Islam, so your argument IN ITS ENTIRETY did not even remotely address what I said in the slightest. You're addressing an argument I did not make.

 

This is nonsensical and if you want to justify this position, prove to me that all three religions teach people to kill anyone who opposes them in a peaceful situation i.e. when peace prevails. I just looked up a passage quickly to see where Islam justifies the actions of terrorists and found this quotation. I did not have time to thoroughly peruse the website so all I have is preliminary opinions at present:

 

Islam is portrayed as a religion of “terror” and “killing”, yet this is just one of the most widely held misconceptions about Islam. Allah Almighty states unambiguously in the Quran (what means): "Nor take life -- which Allah has made sacred -- except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand retaliation or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life, for he is helped (by the Law)."[Quran 17:33]

 

Based on this verse, it is Islamically unlawful to murder anyone who is innocent of any crime. At this point, we would do well to remember the distinction between the Quran and Sunnah, and the Muslims. Only the Quran and Sunnah are guaranteed to be in accordance with what the Creator desires, whereas the Muslims may possibly deviate. Hence, if any Muslim kills an innocent person, that Muslim has committed a grave sin, and the action cannot be claimed to have been committed "in the name of Islam."

 

It should be clear, then, that the oft-used term "Muslim terrorist" is almost an oxymoron: by killing innocent people, a Muslim is committing a grave sin, and Allah is Just. This phrase is offensive and demeaning of Islam, and it should be avoided. It is hoped that as the general level of public awareness and understanding of Islam increases, people will keep "terrorism" and "Islam" separate from each other, and not use them in the same phrase.

 

Jihaad or Holy War?

 

Another misunderstood Islamic concept is that the Creator has imposed `Jihaad' on us. The term "holy war" has come from the time of the Crusades, and originated in Europe as a rallying cry against the Muslims in

Jerusalem. Jihaad is an Arabic word, meaning struggle, but in the context of many verses in the Quran, it carries the meaning of military struggle or war. Allah gradually introduced the obligation of military struggle to the Muslim community at the time of the Messenger icon--1.gif. The first verse ever revealed in that connection is as follows, (which means): "Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them." [Quran 22: 39]

 

http://www.islamweb.net/en/article/113432/

 

 

Besides, even if most of these things weren't due to religion, religion still does not help things. They are debunked beliefs, based on debunked books, with debunked principles. You have to split hairs to find any teachings in them that are even useful or positive to modern civilization. Even the good parts are nothing special and don't offer any teachings that we don't already know or couldn't have derived from some other source or just through living and learning.

Let's say you inherit a desert island which has a small population, like Diego Garcia and you are the boss. What are you as a human, showing human behaviour (which preceded religious behaviour) going to do on that island to sustain peace and order. Then, if you have a revelation from a higher, more perfect authority, what would you do? You would put the equivalent of the ten commandments in place, right? Now if there was a war between your island and a neighbouring island, which laws would you put in place to allow humane behaviour? Of course you see the point. You seem angry at religion but it is a human right to have a belief - even in a same-religion group of people there will be a whole spectrum of beliefs. Please don't blame all for the actions of a few.

 

 

 

Jimmy isn't pushing his religion on anyone. He came on here, but didn't try to convert anyone. His beliefs are simply HIS beliefs, and facts are not the basis for beliefs.

He is certainly entitled to them.

And if those beliefs help him through a difficult time in his life, so much the better.

 

From reading this thread I get the impression that you guys are trying to convert him.

MigL, thank you man. I am isolated in having to be a spokesman for religion, when even I believe that priesthood/rabbihood and imamhood are totally unnecessary when a human needs to commune with God by himself/herself. I am deeply concerned how religious institutions become so easily corruptible and responsible for misguided beliefs in my opinion.

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Jimmy, I want you to read this aloud to yourself. You are a stupid person. Get that? A STUPID PERSON. You should be ashamed for the nonsense you just spewed in your last post. I know this post will likely get me banned, but I'm personally offended by your idiotic Islamic apologetics. You're basically saying that the victims of Islamic intolerance and atrocity have no reason or right to tie the oppression they face back to Islam. That if they do so, they would be committing an "oxy moron". How dare you do that? How dare you?

 

You said in one breath that I offended you by suggesting you are covering for madmen and violence, then you and start doing just that... Quran apologetics, splitting hairs trying to find verses that suggest the Quran and Islam is peaceful, and that it is indecent of me to suggest that it is violent. You find one measly verse, them claim that it is absurd to think the Islamic doctrine as a whole is violent and intolerant. NONSENSE! You are 100% wrong about the Quran not promoting violence and murder. It is replete with instructions to kill the infidel. You say that it forbids killing "innocent people". You should do more research into what is considered "innocent" in Islam. Killing apostates is not considered killing "innocence". Why do so many Muslims, when polled, agree with suicide bombing, and agree that cartoonists should be put to death for depicting the prophet? Why is there such a strong culture of honor killing? Why is it a capital crime to be gay in 10 muslim countries? Why do little girls get hunted down and slaughtered for wanting to get educated in muslim countries? Why is it that, in muslim countries, women are beaten or have battery acid thrown in their face wanting to learn how to read, or for not wanting to wear the cloth bags? I know why, because Islam teaches this stuff ad nauseam.

 

I don't care if this offends you. If you really want to make the asinine argument you are making, then go find the victims of these pious atrocities and tell them that Islam is peaceful and that their concerns are unfounded. You should be ashamed for what you're saying, very ashamed. You are too oblivious of reality to talk to on these subjects, and I'm not going to sit here and allow you to keep moving the goalposts and spewing nonsense anymore.

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Jimmy, I want you to read this aloud to yourself. You are a stupid person. Get that? A STUPID PERSON.

Attacking ideas is one thing, but Jimmy has yet to insult any of us and to insult him back if he had wouldn't be productive. You could just as easily have pointed out any inconsistencies in his argument without resorting to insults. We'll probably get somewhere if we all play nice, even if that somewhere happens to be boring like "agree to disagree."

Why do little girls get hunted down and slaughtered for wanting to get educated in muslim countries?

In which countries? In Saudi Arabia, a Muslim theocratic state, women make up the majority of the college students.

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Attacking ideas is one thing, but Jimmy has yet to insult any of us and to insult him back if he had wouldn't be productive. You could just as easily have pointed out any inconsistencies in his argument without resorting to insults. We'll probably get somewhere if we all play nice, even if that somewhere happens to be boring like "agree to disagree."

You're right. I apologize to Jimmy. While I found his statements indefensible and completely wrongheaded, I should not have insulted him by calling him stupid. I think he is wholly mislead and engaging in extreme obscurantism. I do think he should think about what he said and reconsider. But nonetheless, I am sorry, and I don't want the people here to think I'm a jerk. There are just some modes of thought and arguments that I have a very short fuse for, and I cannot imagine any smart person consciously making them. It is a slap in the face to victims of Islamic intolerance to call Islamic terrorism an "oxymoron". This statement immediately sends a message to the victims that they cannot criticize the belief sets that influenced their oppression and cruel treatment, and if they do it would be an "oxymoron". It is a terrible thing to suggest.

In which countries? In Saudi Arabia, a Muslim theocratic state, women make up the majority of the college students.

You're right, my mistake. The doctrine of Islam never caused a woman to be oppressed, or an apostate to be beheaded, or a homosexual to be thrown from a rooftop. What was I thinking? These things are definitely the result of geopolitics, poverty, and depravity in 3rd world countries. Islam is fully a religion of peace and does not encourage actions of this sort. I honestly can't believe I'm reading the words of a smart individual who is making these statements. You do realize there is more than one muslim country don't you? You do realize that they all enforce Islamic law to varying degrees don't you? Quit with the obscurantism. "Oh look, this one muslim country does x, therefore Islam is a religion of peace." That is not scientific thinking my friend. There is a big confirmation bias going on there, and I can point to numerous reductio ad absurdums that can easily refute them.

 

I never made the argument that all muslims commit these atrocities. Rather, I'm saying that the worst atrocities coming from the Islamic world right now have clear ties to the doctrine, and the laws laid out by the religion wreak of intolerance, bigotry, oppression, and violence. I'm all about criticizing ideas instead of people. But Jimmy should know better than this. He should know better.

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"You do realize there is more than one muslim country don't you? You do realize that they all enforce Islamic law to varying degrees don't you?"

 

That was my point in bringing up Saudi Arabia. Relax.

 


 

"Islam is fully a religion of peace and does not encourage actions of this sort."

 

I've never argued this, and it's evidenced in this thread. Stop putting words in my mouth and learn to use the quote function.


"I never made the argument that all muslims commit these atrocities. Rather, I'm saying that the worst atrocities coming from the Islamic world right now have clear ties to the doctrine"

 

As do the worst atrocities coming from Christianity, right now.

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I've never argued this, and it's evidenced in this thread. Stop putting words in my mouth and learn to use the quote function.

Then what argument are you making? I know I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I can't see how you're not being trying to excuse religion of its fair share of influence in these matters. The only thing I'm trying to point out is that people have to deny many things in order to make themselves believe that religion is innocent in these matters. Trust me, I don't want to put words in your mouth. I'd rather steel-man your argument than straw-man it. So please correct me where I'm wrong. What is your argument?

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Then what argument are you making?

It would probably be appropriate to read this quote in its proper context as a response to Mig.

 

Which ones? What you presented does not characterize my view of Islam at all. There are passages in both the Bible and Quran which moderate Christians and Muslims do not adhere to, and their lack of adherence may have no biblical or quranic justification such as their treatment of apostates. That is to say there isn't a contradictory passage which corresponds to their actions. I would never say that Islam is a religion of peace or inherently evil, and I would likewise not characterize Christianity in such a way; they contain all sorts of beliefs consistent or otherwise with their respective sacred texts which may or may not be "peaceful."

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As do the worst atrocities coming from Christianity, right now.

I couldn't agree more. You probably thought I would deny that. In fact, I mentioned that in one of my first posts on this thread by relating religious belief with the southern, christian culture I live in. The amount of hateful beliefs many of these people harbor about people of other sexual orientations, other religions, and even other races are indefensible, and I know many of these people personally. I know they are not deliberately mean, hateful, or irrational people. They are religious people. Their religion influences their thinking on these matters. If you ask them, its not their fault that homosexuality is forbidden, its just what God says in the Bible. And when someone like myself wants to point out that these ancient, outdated concepts are perhaps influencing people's thinking in bad ways, the conversation immediately gets boycotted because we have to preserve people's feelings by not bringing their religious beliefs into question. This is a big problem. This is the exact same type of belief protection that allows Islamic fundamentalism to commit such atrocities, and have people completely deny that Islam had anything to do with it. It renders the victims of these ideologies helpless because the beliefs cannot be brought into question. It is totally absurd if you think about it, because this line of thought advocates attacking the individuals committing the crimes, instead of attacking the ideas that influenced them. My position is more reasonable, and less demeaning by virtue of this fact. I'm attacking the doctrines and ideas, not the people themselves. I even explained that the 9/11 hijackers were not particularly deranged or evil people. They were simply acting on their true convictions. I just don't see any way you can have suicidal and destructive tendencies of this sort in such staggering amounts, and think that there is not an underlying belief behind it.

 

Of course there are millions and millions of wonderful religious people in the world, and I'm sure Jimmy is one of them. I understand that not everyone takes the barbaric parts of the religion to heart, and only see them for the good things these doctrines deliver to their lives. But we have to stop denying the link between religion and many of these atrocities and hateful actions.

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Attacking ideas is one thing, but Jimmy has yet to insult any of us and to insult him back if he had wouldn't be productive. You could just as easily have pointed out any inconsistencies in his argument without resorting to insults. We'll probably get somewhere if we all play nice, even if that somewhere happens to be boring like "agree to disagree."

You're right. I apologize to Jimmy. While I found his statements indefensible and completely wrongheaded, I should not have insulted him by calling him stupid. I think he is wholly mislead and engaging in extreme obscurantism. I do think he should think about what he said and reconsider. But nonetheless, I am sorry, and I don't want the people here to think I'm a jerk. There are just some modes of thought and arguments that I have a very short fuse for, and I cannot imagine any smart person consciously making them. It is a slap in the face to victims of Islamic intolerance to call Islamic terrorism an "oxymoron". This statement immediately sends a message to the victims that they cannot criticize the belief sets that influenced their oppression and cruel treatment, and if they do it would be an "oxymoron". It is a terrible thing to suggest.

 

Apology accepted. We disagree on many things but we can agree to disagree in a civil manner. I felt that I was misunderstood and I was not an apologist for Muslims, Christians or anyone else. I say it like I see it, like it or not. You can criticise whomever you like and any religion if you wish, but please take care to use citations. If you have opinions, state them as opinions. As I wrote earlier, I did a Google search, found a website and quoted it after a perfunctory read. I should have been more analytical. However I gave a quote and a citation- right or wrong. If you do the same, it allows critical analysis in a scientific manner.

In which countries? In Saudi Arabia, a Muslim theocratic state, women make up the majority of the college students.

You're right, my mistake. The doctrine of Islam never caused a woman to be oppressed, or an apostate to be beheaded, or a homosexual to be thrown from a rooftop. What was I thinking? These things are definitely the result of geopolitics, poverty, and depravity in 3rd world countries. Islam is fully a religion of peace and does not encourage actions of this sort. I honestly can't believe I'm reading the words of a smart individual who is making these statements. You do realize there is more than one muslim country don't you? You do realize that they all enforce Islamic law to varying degrees don't you? Quit with the obscurantism. "Oh look, this one muslim country does x, therefore Islam is a religion of peace." That is not scientific thinking my friend. There is a big confirmation bias going on there, and I can point to numerous reductio ad absurdums that can easily refute them.

 

If these events are common practice, a citation would help to show that oppression, beheadings etc... are religious demands.

 

I never made the argument that all muslims commit these atrocities. Rather, I'm saying that the worst atrocities coming from the Islamic world right now have clear ties to the doctrine, and the laws laid out by the religion wreak of intolerance, bigotry, oppression, and violence. I'm all about criticizing ideas instead of people. But Jimmy should know better than this. He should know better.

I have stated my thoughts several times. If you read them Tampitump, come back and let's continue in a civil and friendly way. If you find my views incomprehensible then fine! They are what they are.

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I have stated my thoughts several times. If you read them Tampitump, come back and let's continue in a civil and friendly way. If you find my views incomprehensible then fine! They are what they are.

Not all of them. But I at least consider the "oxymoron" statement to be very wrong. I can be civil. I'm not a very smart person, so you can attribute many of my outbursts to lower intelligence. But you are witnessing me at my worst right now.

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I couldn't agree more. You probably thought I would deny that.

 

Nope, I +1ed several of your posts in this thread which had content I thought was reasonable and happened to be in line with my view. I only have contention with vague notions such as "Muslim countries do ___" because it offers no perspective on how many, which etc., and one can easily find a handful to the contrary and make the naive conclusion that "hey they can't all be bad". It would just be nice if you dealt out some stats along with what you write as your summary. My response was more to cajole you to do so than me exhibiting confirmation bias.

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Nope, I +1ed several of your posts in this thread which had content I thought was reasonable and happened to be in line with my view. I only have contention with vague notions such as "Muslim countries do ___" because it offers no perspective on how many, which etc., and one can easily find a handful to the contrary and make the naive conclusion that "hey they can't all be bad". It would just be nice if you dealt out some stats along with what you write as your summary. My response was more to cajole you to do so than me exhibiting confirmation bias.

The only confirmation bias you seem to hold is a reluctance to link doctrine to action. I don't have the statistics, but I'm at least aware of numerous reports of certain actions of violence and oppression happening in the muslim world. I'm also aware of several of these atrocities occurring on my own country's soil that I don't feel other religions would have had a rationale to commit.These people regularly cite Islam as their influence, and these actions are supported by the doctrines. Actions such as beheading people, throwing gays from roofs, subjugating women, genital mutilation, etc. etc. etc. One need only make a surface evaluation of Islamic culture to see just how oppressive and illiberal it most often is. It does not require statistics or a genius to see that women having to cover their entire body so that the male is not provoked to rape them, and that homosexuality is a sin worthy of death by Islamic text, is not a society that is conducive to human flourishing. I'm not making the claim that all muslims believe this, but I do at least recognize that there is most likely a manifestly strong connection between the religion and the actions some of these people commit. At the very least, the religious beliefs are a hindrance to people actually learning the ways of secularism and cannot possibly be a positive tool to turning a deranged individual into a less deranged individual. At least not without disregarding a large portion of the text.

 

Now, I tend to hold all religions in similar contempt, but I think that in this current era, there is definitely a much more alarming problem coming from the Islamic world in the form of ISIS and global jihad etc. than there is from, say, Christianity or Judaism. Sure, both of these religions have had their moments of pure heinousness, but secular progress and modernity have continued to tranquilize these religions into shadows of their former selves. The muslim world has not had a Newtonian Enlightenment or a Renaissance, they are still living with the baggage of their medieval religious practices. There are some very good muslim spokespersons out there like Ayaan, Maajid, and Salman, who have advocated for a major reform. That's because they understand that a literal or fundamentalist view of the doctrines almost necessarily lead to violence and destruction. They are muslims who have actually experienced first-hand the horrors of living under Islamic theocracy, and are doing the right thing by encouraging these people to reform the faith. While I think that an alarming percentage of Christians in this country are delusional and hold some very wrongheaded beliefs,they are in no way the type of threat that global jihad poses. The Christian philosophy in the US (for the most part) has essentially been relegated to "Jesus was all about loving your neighbor, so that's what we believe". Most Christians at least have a decent rationale for dismissing the Old Testament in all its bloodiness. They think Jesus committed the ultimate sacrifice which rendered Moses' laws obsolete. They're wrong on many accounts, as Jesus explicitly said you can't get rid of the old laws, but nonetheless Christians tend to use Jesus as the ultimate Euphemism to excuse and dismiss 99% of the Bible. The same cannot really be said about Islam. The further you read into it, the stronger the rationale for killing in the name of the faith gets.

 

I also feel I would be remiss if I didn't point out the fact that I'm not a scholar on these issues, nor am I a scientist or theologian of any stripe. I'm just a lonely little man sitting in his room typing this stuff. I've probably spent more time studying this stuff than the average person on the street, but my arguments should be seen as nonacademic, and prone to being misinformed. I'm not stating these things as truisms, but merely how I perceive things to be.

If these events are common practice, a citation would help to show that oppression, beheadings etc... are religious demands.

 

Give me a rationale outside of religion for systematically beheading people, throwing homosexuals from rooftops, committing suicide bombings, and mutilating the genitals of little girls. It really is troubling for you be this obscurantist. When you have a religious text that spells out ad nauseam instructions for killing people, and other hadiths to encourage even more wicked behavior, it is obscene for someone to be like "please cite your sources for believing these religious texts influence this behavior", when it is so painfully obvious. These people are so afraid of offending their religion, and are so sexually and morally repressed that they follow it to the letter. It couldn't be more obvious that these people truly believe in their religion, and their actions are based on the religion. You don't get Christians hijacking planes and flying them into buildings. You don't get Christians beheading gays or throwing them off 30-story buildings while forcing children to watch. You don't get Christians covering their women in cloth, fearing that the men might be provoked to rape them if they take them off, then claiming she is responsible for the rape as she provoked the man to rape her. It is an asinine set of beliefs that I have absolutely ZERO respect for and am ready to see the death of. Christians don't do these things because its not heavily enforced in their belief set (at least as it is imagined by modern Christians). Christians do engage in other forms of religious nonsense, but it is much less problematic than Islamic fundamentalism.

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I won't make any universal claims, but when it comes to most if not all major monotheistic religions, there is little question that superstition, violence, and prejudice are part of the woof and weave of their (historically/culturally) common fabric, so there is no need to take political and/or religious sides in this regard.

 

As Weber points out, religion consecrates and validates social norms. If the social norm is to castigate ones enemies in order to take their women and land, then religion helps justify such efforts. As most if not all societies were and are patriarchal, religion also helps justify controlling women, e.g., isolating during menstrual cycle, stoning women or otherwise castigating or punishing women who engage in pre/extramarital sex, even, in some circumstances, if they are raped, and generally upholding the double standard.

 

Similarly, religion helps justify the excessive punishment of those whose sexual or other practices did not (in keeping with the norm that was connected with group survival) help increase the population of the tribe/group, e.g., abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, etc.

 

Religion also helps validate and give a face/persona to superstition, e.g., fear of death and consequent ostracism, punishment, or killing of heretics/nonbelievers; fear of insanity and illness in general and consequent punishment and ostracism of individuals presumed (even in modern churches today) to be inhabited by evil spirits; and fear of ones enemies who (even in perhaps most "modern" countries today) routinely assume and announce that their enemies are evil or filled with evil, thereby making it easier to hate and, as the need arises, summarily wipe out millions of people with little, if any, remorse.

 

In short, despite its potential for doing good, religion has historically and perhaps inherently the potential for acting as a catalyst for acting out negative feelings and normative attitudes.

 

That some progressive non-fundamentalistic Christians, perhaps influenced by the rise of Western science/egalitarianism/rationalism have become less violent, superstitious, and prejudiced and violent than Christians a mere half century ago (let's not forget Ku Klux Klan, Spanish Inquisition, Crusades, etc.) is hardly a pat on the back for religion in general or Christianity in particular. Indeed, given the level historical playing ground of say 6th -7th c AD Europe, Muslims were arguably less vicious than Christians. Indeed, even today, the majority of Christians still believe in the existence of a literal hell and I suspect, given the current political climate, are not averse or above torturing ones enemies. (One can routinely read comments about sending everyone from an opposing religion, be they Muslims or Christians, to hell just for the heck of it and not for any pressing national security reason, on social media such as facebook and twitter).

 

So please, let's not assume that there is some substantial, intrinsic difference between Islam and Christianity.... I suspect that to do so merely underscores residual prejudice and ethnocentrism, again, fueled by the need to think that ones own religion is superior.

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So please, let's not assume that there is some substantial, intrinsic difference between Islam and Christianity.... I suspect that to do so merely underscores residual prejudice and ethnocentrism, again, fueled by the need to think that ones own religion is superior.

 

That's a very good point. You did a good job articulating information. I just don't have that ability. I usually come off as rude or abrasive. I don't consider Islam or Christianity to be highly different from each other. For every barbaric teaching that is in the Quran, it can also be found in the Christian Bible somewhere, sometimes even worse. Its just the level that someone wants to follow the religious text. This, I suppose, does grant some credence to the claim that culture has something to do with it. I don't deny that, but without the religions, where do some of the traditions come from? Why are the traditions different among cultures? It seems to me you can almost always trace the traditions back to the doctrines, or at least back to something that was derived from the doctrines.

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without the religions, where do some of the traditions come from? Why are the traditions different among cultures? It seems to me you can almost always trace the traditions back to the doctrines, or at least back to something that was derived from the doctrines.

 

Very interesting hair to split, or should I refer to the metaphor of whether the chicken or the egg came first.

 

That doctrine came first, e.g., God's alleged self-revelation to Moses or Allah is the view base on religion, namely that doctrine is divinely inspired and thus has a divine origin, with culture, e.g., the nature of Jewish communities developing in accordance with such doctrine.

 

Science, e.g., anthropology, tends to take the flip side view, which is that culture develops, largely in accordance with the bio-physical environment (e.g., nomadic, agricultural, hunter-gatherer), and that the doctrine/attribute of community religions follows from the culture, largely, as I discussed above, in an effort to solidify and validate social norms on a grander scale than just human opinion. Thus, when it comes to the traditions you mention, one might point out the arguably instinctive need to offer sacrifices. In particular, though, some argue that even traditions revolving around what foods one should or should not eat are an attempt to keep people from mingling with tribes with different culinary choices. Courting and marital traditions easily take on religious formalities and rituals.

 

But again, environment has a lot to do with doctrine and rituals. For example, it has pointed out that the climate of Germany and England were fertile ground for austere forms of Christianity (e.g., Calvinism/puritanism) while Mediterranean countries such as Italy held fast to more flamboyant and colorful Catholicism, as well as Islam in the case of Spain. A generalization, of course, but I think that even a cursory glance at world cultures will show that the religious rituals, traditions, and often even doctrines of each harmoniously dovetail into all the other traditions, such as dress, dance, music, art, architecture, etc.

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Very interesting hair to split, or should I refer to the metaphor of whether the chicken or the egg came first.

 

That doctrine came first, e.g., God's alleged self-revelation to Moses or Allah is the view base on religion, namely that doctrine is divinely inspired and thus has a divine origin, with culture, e.g., the nature of Jewish communities developing in accordance with such doctrine.

 

Science, e.g., anthropology, tends to take the flip side view, which is that culture develops, largely in accordance with the bio-physical environment (e.g., nomadic, agricultural, hunter-gatherer), and that the doctrine/attribute of community religions follows from the culture, largely, as I discussed above, in an effort to solidify and validate social norms on a grander scale than just human opinion. Thus, when it comes to the traditions you mention, one might point out the arguably instinctive need to offer sacrifices. In particular, though, some argue that even traditions revolving around what foods one should or should not eat are an attempt to keep people from mingling with tribes with different culinary choices. Courting and marital traditions easily take on religious formalities and rituals.

 

But again, environment has a lot to do with doctrine and rituals. For example, it has pointed out that the climate of Germany and England were fertile ground for austere forms of Christianity (e.g., Calvinism/puritanism) while Mediterranean countries such as Italy held fast to more flamboyant and colorful Catholicism, as well as Islam in the case of Spain. A generalization, of course, but I think that even a cursory glance at world cultures will show that the religious rituals, traditions, and often even doctrines of each harmoniously dovetail into all the other traditions, such as dress, dance, music, art, architecture, etc.

 

No, but you are arguing for the origins of these beliefs. I'm arguing about the history since these beliefs have existed, specifically how they are observed today. Given all we know today, we are no longer ignorant people with no understanding of the universe. So for someone to choose religion over science in today's world is absurd, yet people still do it in staggering numbers. Where it may have once been true that the culture preceded the religion, or better that the religion was pieced together by the societal values of the time it was written, it is not true today because christians today did not write their religion and neither did any of the others. So it should be reasonable to say that in today's world, religion influences culture and not the other way around.

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No, but you are arguing for the origins of these beliefs. I'm arguing about the history since these beliefs have existed, specifically how they are observed today. Given all we know today, we are no longer ignorant people with no understanding of the universe. So for someone to choose religion over science in today's world is absurd, yet people still do it in staggering numbers. Where it may have once been true that the culture preceded the religion, or better that the religion was pieced together by the societal values of the time it was written, it is not true today because christians today did not write their religion and neither did any of the others. So it should be reasonable to say that in today's world, religion influences culture and not the other way around.

 

Yes, I see what you mean, though in some countries I think that one can find a greater disparity between they average citizen's culture and his/her religious beliefs and/or rituals and/or practices.

 

In the U.S., for example, we say that many people just put on their Sunday hat or clothes on Sunday morning and then forget about church the rest of the week (and, in many cases, cheat customers and have affairs the rest of the week without batting an eye).

 

Indeed, part of the reason that religion is said to be struggling in the U.S., and perhaps one of the reasons it has largely disappeared from many European communities, is that it has not kept up with changes in culture, changes brought about by industrialism, commercialism, democracy, feminism, technology, as well as the direct influence of science. So yes, in many cases the doctrine comes first, or rather, people are exposed as they enter the world and grow up to doctrines that do not match what they see actually happenening in everyday society....which tends to lead to a degree of cynicism and often hypocrisy.

 

This is another example of the way in which the rise of reason and the demise of traditional religion has been a double-edged sword, so to speak. As Jung and Einstein and numerous other thinkers have noted, our moral progress has not kept up with technological progress, (or morality is perhaps regressing in many ways rather than progressing, though it is a mixed bag since there does seem to be a lot of progress in the West being made in terms of treating people of different gender(s) and ethnicities equally.

 

What is needed is for religion to adopt a more contemporary approach without losing its core values, and for communities to find ways to encourage empathy, reciprocation, and bonding in a world where fraternities and sororities and other community organizations are gradually becoming a thing of the past.

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The only confirmation bias you seem to hold is a reluctance to link doctrine to action.

It's not clear how

 

a) that is confirmation bias

 

b) you think I don't notice the link between doctrine and action.

 

I even talked earlier in this thread about the actions of pope's such as the one in the OP and how those actions have biblical justification.

I don't have the statistics

Then how can you make generalizations about what Muslim nations do?

 

A handful of reports going one way can be easily met with a handful going the other. These reports on their own, or even having a few are about as useful to this discussion as anecdotes. I am not saying I disagree with the point you trying to get across, I am simply critiquing the way that you are trying to do it.

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It's not clear how

 

a) that is confirmation bias

 

b) you think I don't notice the link between doctrine and action.

 

I even talked earlier in this thread about the actions of pope's such as the one in the OP and how those actions have biblical justification.

 

Then how can you make generalizations about what Muslim nations do?

 

A handful of reports going one way can be easily met with a handful going the other. These reports on their own, or even having a few are about as useful to this discussion as anecdotes. I am not saying I disagree with the point you trying to get across, I am simply critiquing the way that you are trying to do it.

there has been Pew polling of muslim countries that show immense support for sharia law. 70-80% in many south Asian and Northeast African countries. The ones further East tend to show less support. They also show support for varying degrees of sharia law. But for the most part, the doctrines that support the denigration of women, the subjugation of homosexuals and apostates, the chopping off of the hands of thieves etc., and all sorts of other barbarism is plentiful in most adaptations of sharia. A large number of muslims living in western countries support sharia law, but many think it should only be enforced in their owm community and not law of the land. The only thing that is missing for terrorism to exist is for someone who is devoutly convinced of the barbaric teachings of the Hadith and the doctrines of martyrdom.

 

I understand that you are forcing me to recognize what you perceive as an empirical double standard on my part, but I don't think the barbarism of the Islamic world should even be brought into question anymore. Even if it was shown that religion has far less influence than I think it does (which it doesn't), I would still advocate for its demise because it is a manifestly unhelpful and untenable belief at the very least. The instructions to kill amd to believe you've done the just work of God is there to be found throughout Islamic doctrine. It is disheartening for someone to keep up with this type of obscurantism when they know full well what I'm saying is true. If you ask these people why they donthe things they do, the answer will always be that its in their faith. Ask muslim women why they wear the veil, its their faith. Why do little girls like Malala Yousafzai get shot in the head for wanting to get educated? Why do cartoonists have to fear for their lives if they draw a picture of Mohammed? Why do people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali have to travel with body guards because they fear they will he killed for speaking out against the faith? Why does Salman Rushdie have to fear for his life because a fatwa was issued for his death for writing a book?

 

My point is that there is very good empirical data outside of poll results that demonstrate the Link between Islam and very backwards societal practices. The poll results that have been done are not exactly good news either. Most muslims are quite okay with most of the barbarism. You may or may not have a confirmation bias. But it certainly seems like you do. I find that most people who want to obfuscate religion and intent like many here are doing have never considered the true horrors of what these ideologies can do. If they did, I don't think they would be going through such mental gymnastics to excuse it and suggest other motives for these atrocities. Noam Chomsky, to my mind, is not a very goid person to listen to on matters related to Islam. Not saying you are though.

 

Besides, as I pointed out before, I'm not a very bright person, and am certainly not someone who should be considered to be well-read or well-educated. I have my opinions, and some of them are ones I'm more convinced of than others. I take no pause in blaming Islam for much of barbarism in the muslim world.

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My point is that there is very good empirical data outside of poll results that demonstrate the Link between Islam and very backwards societal practices...

 

You've mentioned empiricism a few times: it would be good to see the actual evidence from which you've formed your opinion. At a cursory glance I could only find this.

 

 

Besides, as I pointed out before, I'm not a very bright person, and am certainly not someone who should be considered to be well-read or well-educated. I have my opinions, and some of them are ones I'm more convinced of than others. I take no pause in blaming Islam for much of barbarism in the muslim world.

 

Then you've allowed the terrorists to win.

 

They want people in the west to abandon reason and freedom and to fear and hate Islam so that Holy War can erupt and engulf the world in the end of all times.

 

Don't get me wrong, hatred itself is not wrong - it is a reasonable response if you've had friends or family involved in these atrocities. But an enlightened society needs to consider a myriad other details too, and not turn it into a simple us vs them war as our animalistic bronze-age ancestors might have.

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