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Freedom From Religion

"The Founding Fathers of this country set out to end persecution not to license it."

On Boston Legal last week Alan Shore defended Jerry "Hands" Espenson for firing a Scientologist. I think you'll find the closing arguments entertaining.



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Comments

So did he win? I didn't get to see it :)

SO like.. who won the case?

The religion argument lost.

I will strive to be this entertaining in the courtroom, YUCK, YUCK! YUCK! LOL

Nice clip but a few inaccuracies. Hitler, according to Keegan and most historians, was an atheist. Hitler and Stalin were atheists and their policies had a lot to do with their interpretation of their atheist beliefs. Both saw no power higher than themselves so they were not accountable for their actions and justified their actions to their malleable logic. Both envisioned a type of utopia, not in the after life, but within the bounds of life here on Earth. Therefore, their utopia had to be created on this Earth - for Stalin it was Communism and for Hitler a large prosperous Germany free of Jews, Slavs, Communists, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Blacks. Since God would not be the author their utopias they felt they had to make them themselves. Hitler, Mao, and Stalin were radical atheists and do not reflect the beliefs of most atheists, just like Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, and Tojo are radicals in their religions and don't reflect the beliefs of most Islams, Christians, and Shintos.
Using extreme examples to make a conclusion about a subject is a Republican tactic that encourages prejudice rather than truth. I am saddened that many including this website use this tactic to voice their opinion about religion. One could use these tactics to deride atheists: Atheists were responsible for more than 50% of deaths and murders in the 20th century even though atheists at most comprise of 15% of the world's population. That is a fact that's hard to refute. If someone saw that fact about atheist murders and nothing else that person would have a negative view of atheists and a prejudice against learning about common, non-extreme, tolerant atheists. There are some things I don't like about many religions, but I can also count many great benefits many religions have given to society and to the individual. I prefer to focus on the positive aspects of each person's religion in hopes that we will see the common good most of us are striving for. Focusing on the negative aspects too much is what divides us more than anything.

Hilter wasn't an atheist, has beilieved and promoted the pagen belief of a superior aerian race that decended from the God's and had supernatural powers. It was only trough tainting their blood line through breeding with Jews that they lost their superpowers. This is historical fact. No historian in their right mind would label Hitler an atheist.

Jefferson13

Hitler's atheism did not prevent him from using religion as a tool of coercion. I don't beleive he was an athiest as far as the state-controlled German press was concerned. You have to consider the context here. This is an argument before a jury from whom are being solicited a specific decision about a concrete matter before them. It is up to the opposing counsel to provide the counter-argument. What was the decision, anyway?

Alright, let's do this. Let's Hitler up this discussion a little bit.

Stright Dope on Hitler's Christianity/Atheism/Paganism

Long story short: even if he was an atheist (which is inconclusive at best), he used god as a platform to gain more popular support. One thing is for sure: he didn't kill anyone in the name of atheism.

from http://ffrf.org/fttoday/back/hitler.html

by Anne Nicol Gaylor

'For some reason, Catholics are not eager to claim Hitler.'

"in Mein Kampf: 'Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's Work.'"

Nazi Christmas celebration in 1926: "Christ was the greatest early fighter in the battle against the world enemy, the Jews ... The work that Christ started but could not finish, I -- Adolf Hitler -- will conclude."

I doubt these people are what you would call spiritual, or exemplify self-transcendency, i would guess like any mad men who gain great power, they are savvy when it comes to rhetoric and pulling the right strings. And christians being the 'sheep' that David Kuo speaks of in the prior interview featured on this site, playing specifically with religious rhetoric pays the biggest dividend. Those are only my thoughts, though.

"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.."

--Hitler

One could use these tactics to deride atheists

Individual atheists may do evil things but they don't do evil things in the name of atheism. Why would anyone go to war for the sake of an absence of belief? Most religions (especially Judeo-Christian religions) not only honor violence but demands it. To not realize this indicates that you have no knowledge of the Torah, Bible or the Koran, much less the history of these religions. Religion has fought against science and reason, it has produced unbearable suffering in the world. It's "morality" has not only condoned war and violence, but priests have abused and raped children in both body and mind for centuries. And the horror continues.

Jeff, supporting a belief-system from a peaceful standpoint only gives credence and support to its violent producing side.

Be it a poster of stalin or a crucifix on your wall, - dogma, superstition, and irrationality are to blame.

Oh, and Hitler was not an atheist.

http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

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Thanks for showing this clip... it was a great episode (it's a great show anyhow.) And the character of Alan Shore is always defending some liberal viewpoint. Great show.

-->they don't do evil things in the name of atheism

Yes, they do. Why do you think the chinese Government has pilgrims being shot down like pigs in the thibetian mountains? Why do you think countries have jews, christians or muslims imprisoned? Yes, because they are atheists and they don't WANT a religion in their country. Because they know, that a huge percentage of knowledge [monks etc] and free thinking is developed by those with an open mind, those who think further than the tv-screen. And if our western atheist governments [I'm not in the US] don't prosecute chrisitans yet because of their faith - they will.

Why must people always prove Godwin's Law?

Hitler's beliefs aside, I can't help but comment on the terrible camera work in this clip. Camera work and editing to be precise. Endlessly moving, zooming, and tag-end splicing. Yeah, it's to give the fast pace of this, but christ almighty is it overboard.

On to the clip: Who cares if religion can't be measured by reasonableness? I for one.

Individual atheists may do evil things but they don't do evil things in the name of atheism.

What's the difference between a statement like this, and the following:

Individual non-Tamil Tigers may do evil things. Many mass murderers and rapists of days gone by have been non-Tamil Tigers. However, these people did not do these horrible things in the name of non-Tamil Tigerism.

Individual non-Communists may do evil things. Many mass murderers and rapists of days gone by have been non-Communists. However, these people did not do these horrible things in the name of non-Communism.

etc.

To me, these sound similar to when people say that at least when atheists do bad things, it's not in the name of atheism. Of course they don't do bad things in the name of atheism, because you've defined atheism in such a way that you wouldn't do anything in the name of atheism, good or bad, just like how it doesn't make sense for someone to do something in the name of non-Communism, non-Tamil Tigerism, etc.

Now, you might look at the collection of all statements of this form and conclude that for any existing or conceivable X-ism, it's better to be a non-X-ist than an X-ist, because people shouldn't adhere to rigid ideologies and so forth. But does it make sense for there to be a society which has no ideology whatsoever? I could pose a theory about how societies need ideologies which most people in the society mostly agree on in order to function, but I think it's just simpler to ask anyone who disagrees to provide an example. Has there ever, in the entirety of recorded history, been a human society which was mostly free from any ideology whatsoever?

@jtm:

The Chinese government is committing atrocities in their own name. They want the pilgrims to worship the government, not any other being. Atheists don't want anyone/anything to be worshipped.

jtm, man do you have your facts wrong. Where do you get your information? Bill O'riely?

China isn't putting a vice on Tibet because they don't belive that dieties exist, they do it because they are A-holes that feel they have the right to the land because they claim that they own it, even though declaired independance.

http://www.friends-of-tibet.org.nz/occu.html

Gee, I wonder where I heard that before? I swear there was a large cult of some sort who felt the need to "take back" some holy land, which was never thiers in the first place.

You also mention that Atheist countrys imprison Jews, Christians, and Muslims? I have no idea what country your talking about, but they sure ain't Athiest. Can you post a link to this information you are talking about?

JTM, religious wars really are fought in the name of religion, and they have been horribly frequent in history. I cannot think of any war that has been fought in the name of atheism. Religious persecution usually comes from an opposing belief system.

Although atheism could technically be a belief--the belief that God doesn't exist instead of simply rejecting the notion--it does not follow that atheism has tenents to adhere to. Any beliefs, I submit, are dangerous to own (be they political, religious, ideological, etc.) Religious belief, however, seems to produce the most problems.

Beliefs create more social problems than they solve and these beliefs, especially those elevated to faith, produce the most destructive potential to the future of humankind.

In general and historically, you will find that non-believers tend to have more tolerance toward others than any other group of people. The secular nature of the United States government, for example, allows the freedom for people to pursue happiness however they'd like, as long as they do not infringe on others from their pursuit of happiness.

Callandor,

Godwin's Rule does not describe a fallacy but rather a tongue-and-cheek observation that, "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

This doesn't mean that the analogy doesn't apply. If any Christian chides me with the Godwin's Rule, then I submit Erick's rule which states, "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving morality to God approaches one."

Wow, a lot of negative responses to my comment. The point of my comment was that using extreme examples to make a conclusion about a subject is a Republican tactic that encourages prejudice rather than truth. I was calling for more understanding of each other’s beliefs and having fair debates about religion instead of the mudrucking that divides us. Peace my brothers. I have some responses to some of you though: Here's Erick's scary response: Jeff, supporting a belief-system from a peaceful standpoint only gives credence and support to its violent producing side.

I support Muslim belief in giving to the poor and their rejection of materialism. According to your words my support for this aspect of the religion gives credence to the fanatic Jihads that lead to violent killings of non-Muslim people. Erick's response has been used in history. My good friend, Greg Louganis, donated to a local charity in New Orleans. Most of the papers failed to mention this charitable act. When a weekly newspaper finally did many editorials came in expressing disgust for the newspaper applauding Greg's charity. They claimed that applauding Greg's charity was applauding his homosexuality. One comment said pretty much that frowning upon all of Greg's actions even if they may appear to be good was the only way for Greg to get the message that his homosexuality was wrong. Luckily, the tide has turned and even most Christians appreciate what Greg gives back. They don't like his homosexuality but they have learned to like the person and appreciate what good he's given the world. Erick, finding the good in everybody and every people leads to greater peace and understanding. Focusing on the negative usually leads to polarization and division. Of course, nothing wrong with constructive criticism.

Okay other people who claim Hitler wasn't atheist: Keegan is a very well respected historian, and considered the expert on WWII and Hitler. My Struggle (Mein Kampf) was a book Hitler wrote for propaganda, and using the belief most Germans had was a vehicle for his agenda. Can we all agree that Hitler saw himself as a deity figure? I doubt someone who believes in God is going to put himself higher than God. Why do some of you get all defensive when I state Hitler was an atheist? Karl Rove is said by some to be an atheist. If and he and Hitler were atheists does that all of a sudden make all atheists as bad as him? Does that destroy atheism according to your interpretations of what it is? Heavens No. Read my comment again.

Another comment: If Osama Bin Laden adhered to the Koran he would not be a terrorist, but be a peaceful man. If Bush were a true Christian he wouldn't be greedy, a liar, stubborn, prideful person. He'd be more humble, charitable, understanding, and selfish man. The horrible atrocities in the name of religion have almost always been lead by people who contradict their religions and would be considered unfaithful to the tenets of their religions. If you are going to judge a religion it would be better to judge its doctrine instead of its people and its unfaithful followers.

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Erick, Please study History so you don't make yourself look foolish. Check out China's history and USSR's history and Communist Eastern Europe and you'll find many murders and repression took place in the name of atheism. They tried to take away religion from the people and the result was the death of millions. I, myself am an agnostic. I am very tolerant so my lack of relgious beliefs isn't going to hurt anyone. Erick, you are very intolerant which is a lovely attribute the bad atheist and bad religious leaders used to justify war and the slaughter of their enemies.

JTM. To say that the European governments are all atheists, is like saying that all arab governments are islamists. It just shows you yourself have extremist feelings and see only black and white, not into the greys. Most european countries have secularist constitutions, meaning there is a clear separation between church and state. We Europeans are always shocked when we hear US politicians (and specially Bush) speak "in the name of the Lord or God". With all due respect, we would expect our politicians to speak in their own name and not in the name of some imagined god. Mark

Didn't the Catholic Church in Germany during WWII give support to Hitler and the Third Reich?

9/11 was most likely not an act of religious extremism.

More likely it was the latest example of state sponsored false flag terrorism designed to increase worldly power and control.

The laws of physics, even with the only the evidence that was not destroyed, tell us that the official story is impossible.

What we are going to do about that will be a test of our collective spirit.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment on the messages that are being pushed out by the major media.

jtm, Umm... the Chinese, etc. didn't/don't do those things because of atheism. They didn't kill religious people BECAUSE they were doing it in the name of atheism. They were doing it for political power. Organized religions challenge that power and therefore were taken out. MOST things like this done in the name of religion have exactly the same motivation: Power. Not belief. Religion is mainly an excuse/justification/recruitment tool. Tool being the operative word here. As in "Hitler, Stalin, Chinese Communists, Pol Pot, and George W. Bush are tools." (Note: tool in this context meaning penis)

Sounds like somebody's been watching Loose Change.

Free Truth, care to enlighten us as to why you think the official story about 9/11 is impossible?

The best way to look at it, is that the argument against the government theory is, as David Ray Griffin puts it, a cumulative one. The government theory collapses under the cumulative weight of the available evidence. There are way too many pieces that do not fit.

To pick, for now, just one of the 100s of pieces that do not fit, I would say that the collapse of WTC building 7 in (8?) seconds to a tidy rubble pile is one of the more obvious clues.

http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/attack/wtc7.html

I have to go to work now - so for now I will leave this link to one of the best movies yet done on the subject: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6708190071483512003&q=911+mysteries

I will check in later and be able to answer questions in greater detail.

Thanks for the question.

The best way to look at it, is that the argument against the government theory is, as David Ray Griffin puts it, a cumulative one. The government theory collapses under the cumulative weight of the available evidence. There are way too many pieces that do not fit.

To pick, for now, just one of the 100s of pieces that do not fit, I would say that the collapse of WTC building 7 in (8?) seconds to a tidy rubble pile is one of the more obvious clues.

http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/attack/wtc7.html

I have to go to work now - so for now I will leave this link to one of the best movies yet done on the subject: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6708190071483512003&q=911+mysteries

I will check in later and be able to answer questions in greater detail.

Thanks for the question.

Hitler not a (self professed) Christian?!

A few quotes:

"Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people."

Also:

http://www.ronaldbrucemeyer.com/rantpix/gottmituns.jpg

"Why do you think countries have jews, christians or muslims imprisoned?"

typically because the ruling population is of one religious bent and it suppresses all others.

have we forgotten which is the very first commandment? thou shalt not worship other gods. (paraphrased from dim memory, i am not a native speaker). all religions have a clause like that, claiming monopoly on the ultimate santa claus.

even if religion is not the direct cause of such between groups of people, at least it certainly provides a way to artificially segregate the combating peoples. (one of dawkins' points) wouldn't those nations do better without that marker?

I'm too lazy to recompile so here's my - slightly modified - submission to my campus newspaper.

To the editor:

I would like to take the opportunity to leave readers with an extended compilation of less-than-pleasant facts and figures relating to 9/11. While I offer no implications or conjecture, it's fair to say that I'm both puzzled and cynical.

Depending on the polls – and the questions asked – anywhere from 20% to 38% of Americans believe 9/11 was an inside job. As many as 4 in 5 Americans reject the official story (contested ... personally, I think this is too high). 12% believe a cruise missile hit the Pentagon. Photographic evidence shows a sixteen-foot hole in the side of the Pentagon before the wall collapsed, leaving a sixty-foot gap.

The BBC verified as early as September 23rd, 2001 that the identities of four of the nineteen alleged hijackers were in question; there are websites floating around claiming there to be as many as eight. While the FBI has Osama bin Laden on their Top 10 Most Wanted List, they do not cite 9/11 as a reason.

In spite of multiple warnings that aircraft may have been hijacked, NORAD failed to issue orders to scramble fighters. Fingerprints were lifted from the dead at the Pentagon, while Flight 77 is alleged by the 9/11 Commission to have "vapourized".

The 9/11 Commission Report, the enacting of which was strongly opposed by the President, fails to make any mention of WTC 7. The volume of put options – bets the stock market will fall – soared in the week leading up to the attacks.

DNC research discovered that debris from Flight 93 was discovered as far as eight miles from the crash site.

American Airlines and Qualcomm tested technologies that would permit the use of cell-phones on aircraft; this technology was tested in 2004. Qualcomm's press release states that, without their technology, it is impossible to connect by cell-phone above 4,000 feet.

Finally, to go slightly off-topic, the only high-profile person to have been fired for 9/11 was Bill Maher: a comedian.

It might be said that there is nothing special about religious faith here. Patriotic love of country or ethnic group can also make the world safe for its own version of extremism, can't it? Yes it can, as with the kamikazes in Japan and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. But religious faith is an especially potent silencer of rational calculation, which usually seems to trump all others. This is mostly, I suspsect, because of the easy and beguiling promise that death is not the end, and that a martyr's heaven is especially glorious. But it is also partly because it discourages questioning, by its very nature—Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion p. 306

"Okay other people who claim Hitler wasn't atheist: Keegan is a very well respected historian"

which means squat when it comes to the refutations already posted. what hitler believed deep inside, is perhaps impossible to know with certainty -as it is with anyone else- but we can at least derive from observing his words and actions that he used the power of religion over his people to identify and vilify enemies and opponents, to claim a larger than life destiny for his people: a third reich to last 1000 years (does that sound familiar? from the book of revelations.)

" If Bush were a true Christian he wouldn't be greedy, a liar, stubborn, prideful person."

you mean like his god?

and what is this 'true christian?' let us leave aside the obvious reference to the 'true scotsman' fallacy. and actually try to understand what it means.

if it is someone who actually reads the laughably mislabelled 'good book', then
is it the one who takes it as the holy truth as it claims to be or the one who uses his innate faculties to selectively cuts out the nice, comforting slices from it?

I'd love to talk about Hitler and the Chinese government all day, but seriously...how did the episode end?

While the FBI has Osama bin Laden on their Top 10 Most Wanted List, they do not cite 9/11 as a reason.

That's because he already was on the top of the list BEFORE 9/11. And they are probably just lazy about updating the website.

JUST ABOUT EVERYONE WHO RESPONDED TO MY COMMENTS COMPLETELY MISSED THE POINT I WAS TRYING TO MAKE. PLEASE READ THEM AGAIN. I WAS HOPING FOR MORE TOLERANCE AND LESS PREJUDICE TOWARDS RELIGION AND ATHEISM. INSTEAD MOST THE RESPONSES I HAVE READ ARE BLANKET STATEMENTS, PREJUDICIAL SIMPLIFICATIONS, AND INTOLERANT REMARKS THAT CAN ONLY POLARIZED PEOPLE. PLEASE DON'T LIKE BECOME KARL ROVE. "THE ENDS ARE PREDETERMINED IN THE MEANS." MLK

All caps? Chill, dude.

I have heard blanket statements about religion pretty much linking all religion belief to violence. If I were a Quaker, Ammish, Jainaist, or Mormon I would be offended. These religions believe in peace and non violence. You'll have a very hard time linking one of these religions to religious-sponsered violence. I imagine though that some who read this comment instead of applauding these religions for advocating peace will try to find fault with these relgions and somehow show how awful they are. Perhaps some will try to distort truth in a feeble attempt to "prove" these religions in fact don't advocate peace. I don't expect anyone admitting their mistakes for making intolerant and prejudicial statements or unconstructive criticism just like I don't expect Bush to admit a mistake about anything.

Jeff,

Next time you're trying to make a point don't make up things to support your point. Just make the point.

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Didn't read all of these comments, but Hitler and the Nazis certainly were not athiests. Nazi soldiers were blessed by catholic priests before battle. Nazi belt buckles had the phrase Gott Mit Uns ("God With Us") on it.

Hitler started out as a fairly mainstream catholic, and ended up more obsessed with the occult and paganism. This is conjecture on my part, but I believe this was caused by Fascism's very heavy reliance on ancient symbolism to fuel nationalistic emotions. The word Fascism comes from some ancient roman symbol (an axe wrapped up in some wood) that signifies strength. For the Italian fascists, the symbols of ancient Rome and its pagans sparked nationalistic emotions. I believe that it was Hitler's fascism that led him away from traditional catholicism, and towards paganism and the occult in his search for ancient Germanic symbols.

Disclaimer: I'm just a diletante historian.

In washington dc there is the Jefferson Memorial.

Of all the words written by the founders of this nation, there was one sentence that was chosen to be chiseled in 24 " high letters in stone, in Jefferson's memorial.

Those words were taken from a letter from TJ to the leadership of the Anglican church..

"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny imposed upon the mind of man"

"In God We Trust" on the penny, is not evidence of america's christian roots, it is evidence of the Founding Father's DEIST roots, which trace back through Thomas Pain and John Wilkes all the way back to Cyrene, whose ideas were described by Cardinal Richelieu as "Being more dangerous than ten thosand soldiers" - so he was sent to the Bastille and the ideas continue back further to the writings of Giordano Bruno.

Who was burned at the stake by the Inquisition.

Sincerely Arnaldo Lerma and the Ex-members of Scientology at Lermanet.com Exposing the CON

These religions believe in peace and non violence.

Although the Bible, certainly, does not entirely consist of violence and contradictions, neither does its "best" parts present anything original or especially profound. On the contrary, most of the homilies and popular maxims beloved by its believers appear in earlier ancient texts and rarely work when put into practice. For example, the Golden Rule, (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) simply does not work for people who do not wish to be treated as yourself (I have suggested changing The Golden rule to a more accurate title: "The Selfish Rule").

If we allow the "bad" with the "good" while others attempt to extract the atrocities from the Bible, in effect, this leaves the Bible stories open to limitless variations. And indeed, there occurs a plethora of interpretations and hundreds of Bible versions. No wonder why history gives us examples of Christians fighting Christians over how to play the part of a "True Christian."

If we apply your argument to other belief-systems, we could then find virtues in Mein Kampf or in the Communist Manifesto. Should we then believe and support Nazism and Communism on the basis of its perceived "good" virtues? Of course not, and neither should we believe a religion on the basis of Bible stories which explicitly condone wars, slavery and intolerance.

(And YES, Godwin's Rule applies in the example above!)

Focusing on the negative usually leads to polarization and division.

Do you make the same argument against the priests in their bias? But what you consider a bias, I call a point of view, and of course I have a point of view. A bias excludes the arguments from the other side, but I have examined the propositions and claims of religion and have found them wanting. For one moment, do you think that I come even remotely close to equaling the centuries full of biased priests and rabbis who preach only what they see as the "good" parts?

The internet, finally, provides a way to present a few of the problems and dangers of religious belief to the public, but I can't come close to equaling the centuries of religious propaganda. Consider this a mental health warning.

Think of it this way: look at a Federal Aviation Administration crash investigation on the cause of an airliner disaster. You could claim bias on the FAA too. But of course you would not want them to spend time reporting on the reliable parts that did not fail. You want them to concentrate on the flaws. The entire point of honest investigation goes to this point! Imagine that I saw a friend about to drink a poisoned glass of milk, even if the poison represented only a small percentage of the whole. Should I include the nutritious aspects of the milk in my warning? Of course not. And although I might replace my friend's poisoned milk with a glass of pure milk, this cannot be done with the Bible without acting dishonestly or ignorantly to the alleged infallibility of its words. And mind you, the problems do not come from a small percentage of the whole, but the majority.

I hope you see the difference between the airliner analogy, poisoned milk analogy and the Bible. With aircraft, you can eventually fix the problems by understanding what went wrong and replacing the bad parts with working parts or redesigning them. You can't do that with an alleged infallible bible. You can't change its words without being dishonest to its ideas. The only way out amounts to avoiding its intransigence entirely. Besides, there occur much better ways, other wisdoms, and secular texts far superior to the Bible and without intractable flaws, and with the added ability to change it for the better as new situations arise.

A point of view works to help understand the situation and to find the flaws and dangers of any system. And the flaws appear plentiful in the system of religion, especially in the belief of Biblical scripture.

If you are going to judge a religion it would be better to judge its doctrine instead of its people and its unfaithful followers.

CLEARLY, you show little to no knowledge about the three major religions and the scriptures which condone the very violence we speak out against. Don't believe me? READ THE BIBLE! It speaks for itself. What people do in religion's name is not a different argument. People make up the religion, not the other way around!

On the contrary, most religions not only honor violence but demand it. To not realize this indicates that you have no knowledge of these religions, much less their history.

Yes many Christians act in good ways but they carry and spread the memes of religion to their children. It only takes a few Martin Luthers, or Hitlers to cause a lot of damage.

Nazi soldiers were blessed by catholic priests before battle. Nazi belt buckles had the phrase Gott Mit Uns ("God With Us") on it.

Can be seen here

Priest Nazi Salute

Hitler praying

Hitler attends church

I think it's good to make fun of Scientology. Good for everyone. I am intolerant of it, I would go so far as to say. I am always intolerant of dangerous and silly beliefs alike, belief in god (or L Ron Hubbard) being both. I choose the pole of reason. That was a great episode. Good writing on that show.

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Dar, You can not disprove that Hitler was an athiest. I don't agree with Jeff that most historians agree that Hitler was an atheist. A lot of well respected historians claim he was while many well respected historians claim he wasn't atheist or an adherent of any religion. My professors at UCLA say he was a nationalist who strongly believed in philosophies of Nietzsche. To give Jeff some credit, John Keegan does mentioned that Hitler was an atheist in his book on World War II, so Dar is way out of line blasting Jeff for supposively making things up. Jeff, nice tactic getting people defensive about atheism to make your point. What's with the CAPS though? I felt like I was being lectured by Daniel Quinn again. Yes, I get it Jeff - don't be a hater, be tolerant and fair in debate. I'm not sure but perhaps you were trying to make some of the atheists in this forum look like intolerant hypocrites, which worked.

When you take out all the dogma, all those symbols and stories, and get to the core of religion; I think you find something good. You find support for the ideas of introspection, empathy, fairness, charity, etc. I think of this as the philosophy portion of religion.

The other part of religion, dogmatic belief, is the one we have to watch. It's supposed to be the spoonful of sugar the helps the medicine go down, but when we're not careful, that sugar replaces the medicine entirely. This is the part of religion that causes intolerance and conflict.

I'm an atheist or at least an agnostic, but I'm worried about the vacuum left by the absence of religion. Without its good parts, there are few things to remind us to question our actions and our perceptions. There are few motivators for us to make good for our wrongs or try to understand or help others unless it directly serves us. In short, without something like religion or secular humanism or some other reminder to eat our vegetables, we become Bill O'Reilly... I think.

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Erikk and you atheists, I have a belief in God for you to destroy so you can proudly practice your religion. Good thing there is so many of us Christians or you athiests would get rusty with your "great" debate and reasoning skillz. Your logic is infallible and perfect - I will just stick to debate with Catholics so I can win once in a while.

It does not make sense that the Christian Hitler would admire an atheistic Nietzsche. Hitler loathed atheism. In his writings and speeches, he admonished atheists. For example:

We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out. -Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

The myth of connecting Hitler with Nietzsche probably derived from the pre-Nazi Thule society which began in the early 1900s. Rudolf von Serbottendorff became the driving force of this order which practiced occultism and Nietzchian philosophy. Many members of the Thule society later became Nazis and did influence Nazi literature. However, Hitler never showed any interest in the Thule cult or in its pagan practices. Anyone who uses such material to justify a Hitler-Nietzsche link simply lacks historical depth (laziness of research) and has no understanding of Hitler.

Let's face it; Hitler showed no philosophical sophistication. If any philosopher had an influence on him, it probably came from Schopenhuer (which he does briefly mention in Mein Kampf). Hans Frank, Hitler's personal lawyer, recalled that Hitler carried a copy of Schopenhauer's World as Will and Representation with him throughout World War I, but Hitler never revealed any appreciation of Friedrich Nietzsche or his philosophy.

Hey, good to see you here Arnaldo. :)

Keep up the good work!

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Ugh. The camera work on Boston Legal is nauseating. As is the thought that there really are lawyers giving closing arguments this lame (and lamer).

I agree with his assertion that you have the right to believe and pray to whoever, but not to impose your beliefs on others or claim foul when your at-work behavior not related to your religious commandments is unacceptable to the employer. (For example you should let your Muslim employee pray during prayer time, but when it starts to be a problem of course you can do something about it.)

What I disagree with is that religion should be frowned upon because of all the extremists in history. Christian extremists as well as Muslim extremists. Who cares if Hitler called himself Catholic? Christ's message was one of love for all your neighbors, and only by a misrepresentation of that core commandment do we get all of these people making a bad name for their religious group.

As humans, whether religious or atheist, we should love one another. We should follow the golden rule. We should value personal responsibility and growth over frivolty, materialism, and laziness.

Christians should love their gay neighbors, Democrats should love Republicans, and atheists should love evangelicals. When you love someone, you tolerate them, accept them, embrace them, and truly care for their wellbeing. You may not agree with them, and you may find what they do repulsive, but as fellow humans you should see yourselves as members of the same family, not enemies on the other side of the fence.

"You're wrong, no you're wrong" only does so much before it becomes an Israel/Palenstine or India/Pakistan. At some point one must swallow their pride and embrace the other as fellow humans despite their differences. That's the first step to being able to live together on this increasingly small planet of ours.

I have a religion. I don't call myself religious, but I'm definitely not agnostic or atheist. My girlfriend is an atheist. No matter how strongly I feel that there is a God, or how strongly she denies any proof of one, I still love her, respect her feelings, and rather than going head-to-head in arguments I try my best to truly see the world the way she sees it. If she does the same, then maybe I can learn more about her views of individualism and she can learn more about my views on morality. Either way, it's a positive fulfilling educational experience that I see painfully lacking in most of the rest of the world. Think about whether or not you're scared to find out that you might not be right. Would it destroy you to discover that your belief (or lack of one) is totally wrong? If so, you probably base your beliefs on cowardice, not freedom. Christians and atheists, liberals and conservatives, challenge your own beliefs. Don't be afraid to feel stupid. Only by questioning yourself can you really be at peace.

"Erikk and you atheists, I have a belief in God for you to destroy so you can proudly practice your religion. Good thing there is so many of us Christians or you athiests would get rusty with your 'great' debate and reasoning skillz. Your logic is infallible and perfect - I will just stick to debate with Catholics so I can win once in a while."

That's not really the intent... I can't tell if you're being serious or trying to make a funny point.

Moving on, to steal the punch line from a previous post:

"You can't really shout 'I believe in rational debate!' and then throw a hand grenade at someone."

It's more the principle of the thing. There comes a point, I feel, where religion simply becomes too irrational. There's a danger in that, no matter how much good might be perceived at the core.

Would a lack of religion leave just as dangerous of a "vacuum?"

That's hard to answer. I'd be inclined to say "no," simply because I think what's good at the heart of religion is really just a rational sense of morality that most any human will understand. Why tack on irrational religious beliefs? If somebody has trouble comprehending the consequences of murder, rape, genocide, or what have you, it hardly makes a difference if they are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist. Once again, there is a danger in the extreme irrationalities of religion, if for any reason because it just complicates the matter.

It's time we wake up from the crude and archaic justifications of reality that have been passed down by those less learned than us.

Why can't people see religion as just another set of ideas. To set it aside and apply seperate standards on it is rather shortighted.

Whether or not religion exists, it is differences in these sets of ideas that would always produce human conflict.

cheers

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