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Why Religion



(tip to Chris)

 

Comments

This video is piss-poor for several reasons:

A. This should be a study in how not to engage in comparative religious study. I can’t tell if he is arguing for atheism or against Islam.

B. Blaming religion for violent activity is like blaming television. Large groups of people engage in similar activity, yet only a handful, comparatively speaking, actually harm others. I don’t see religion as the common denominator; it must be something else as violent activity extends to those without religion as well.

C. He has already revealed how he wants the results of his survey to turn out by putting forth his ridiculous hypothesis (threat level vs. religious activity). This will undoubtedly affect the outcome.

D. By visiting one small town in America he has already dramatically skewed the results of his survey. To get appropriate results, he needs an airplane and a time machine.

E. He kind of looks like a Simpsons character.

I agree. Happy Hands. that the video is piss-poor. I didn't get past 1:08, at which point he says "undoubtably" at Yikes!

Imagine no religion, and you still have a world with all the same problems blamed on religion in this video. The characteristics of the problems change, but neither the violence nor the strategies of conflict and struggle change necessarily.

When under stress, people tend to band together in tribes based on family identity, neighborhood identity, nationality, ethnicity, social class, political party affiliations, political causes (e.g. bolshevik "The League of the Militant Godless"), "race", and yes religion too.

While it's true that people tend to band together when afraid, your examples are good. I would argue that religion is a special case, it has a dogma that is less amenable to reason, because it comes from an unquestionable source.

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.&mash;Steven Weinberg

The claim made by Steven Weinberg is wrong.

For example, have you read about Timothy McVai? By most all accounts, he was a conscientious, caring and thoughtful guy – good person. In his mind, the bombing of the Oklahma Federal building was a heroic act; the act of a patriot defending the constitution against corruption. He thought he was doing good as certainly as the 9/11 bombers thought they were doing good (as far as we can tell).

Similarly, is there any doubt that there were not good people among the Nazis, the Stalinists, and the League of the Militant Godless (to name three examples) who did bad things in the service of those groups?

I'd modify Weinberg's statement that religion makes it more likely for good people to do bad things.

I don't know enough about McVey's background to know if religion played a role. There are obviously multiple factors at work, but the lack of reason inherent in religion I believe contributes more than its fair share of trouble.

I'd modify Weinberg's statement that religion makes it more likely for good people to do bad things.

On what basis can you make even that claim?

I'm sorry, there is simply no saving Weinberg's statement. It is an entirely false claim, unfortunately parroted by a lot of otherwise smart people.

"Good people" can do bad things with or without religion.

The Nazi were religious and listing the Stalinists and the league as separate groups is somewhat disingenuous. They were both part of the soviet campaign against religion.

No doubt that people can do evil without religion and no doubt that evil has been done by those fighting against what they thought was religions hold on people.

The argument is not that any of those things aren't true. It's that our best weapon against the terrible things we are capable of is reason and truth, not fairy tales and self deception. God may have been the creation of intelligent minds seeking to create an understanding of how the world around them operated, but Religion is a creation of powerful people who fear their fellow man around them, and seek to control them rather than educate them.

The Nazi were religious and listing the Stalinists and the league as separate groups is somewhat disingenuous. They were both part of the soviet campaign against religion.

The Nazi political movement did not rely on a belief in the supernatural. Calling it a religion is not justified.

I highlight the League of the Militant Godless seperately from Stalinism simply for the sake of emphasizing a broader point, which you took. That said, the Stalinists had enough economic/political motivation to attack religious institutions without the need for the League or an ideology that religion was a cancer, also an anti-religion group (like the League) could have found justification to commit violence against religious people based on their ideology alone, without need to appeal to the authority from Stalinism or Communism in general.

The Nazi political movement did not rely on a belief in the supernatural. Calling it a religion is not justified.

Nor where they an organization of Atheists

I never said the Nazis were atheists, nor did any of my comments or arguments rely on such a claim.

I thought you were trying to list secular acts that are terrible. I was just trying to point out that religion had something to do with the Nazi.

please excuse my misspelling of Timothy McVeigh above.

Did this guy really just equate Martin Luther King with 9/11?

Religion is just one special case of tribalism and tribalism is one of dogma. Dogma should be fought in general, but religion is just the most pernicious case, and the one that carries the strongest misconception of it being "good for you" when it might as well be (for some), but it's not good for truth.

It's this huge fallacy that faith and religion are virtues that I despise the most. Never mind the idiotic lie that people who lack it have no basis for morality.

You can criticize all those other forms of tribalism you want, even very strongly (like racism and nationalism) and you won't have much trouble. Try that on religion, and suddenly you're going to be "intolerant" and "mean". And that's coming from the wishy washy atheists/agnostics. From religious people you'll probably get a much worse response.

Dammit, this was a reply to Riley's first post above.

Based on what I see in the mainstream media, I would say that there is just as little (and maybe even less) public tolerance for the criticism of a person defending his country as there is for criticism of a person defending his religion.

But otherwise I agree. The ideology that faith should be regarded as a virtue is a problem.

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