QUOTE (angrezi @ Oct 20 2008, 02:52 PM)
there are millions and millions of quietly 'religious' people out there, all around the world, who are not inhumane sociopaths.
It is easy to say this, until you see vast hordes of 'genteel' people blow up all over the world when a Danish newspaper publishes 'offensive' cartoons, to cite just one example. Or, if Muslims are something of an easy target, try Jews. Question the basis for the State of Israel and see what happens. I suppose these are mostly friendly and likeable people in their normal lives.
One problem with modern media is the most grotesque forms of human behaviour are publicized and generalized into the 'other', very quickly without much discussion.
But isn't it the job of the media to report all
angles of stories, or even all stories? I would personally object as much to a court ruling allowing the wearing of hijab in school or a Hindu girl who wins the right to wear a nose-stud in school as I might object to the beheading of an 'infidel' by a fanatical guy who used to be your friendly postman. I also object to faith schools, which are becoming somewhat popular in the UK. The former two examples are not grotesque and the last one is, and all of them have their basis in ideas that have absolutely no meaning at all. Perhaps to the religionists they do, and I agree that they're much better placed to explain to the courts and the public why it is so
important to maintain their religious beliefs by wearing a nose-stud and how shattered and abused they would feel if their human rights were 'violated'. There is much more to religious idiocy than the blame-game of massacres. The most disturbing, to me, are those that take place in the medical arena.
Do you not think, for example, communists killing Buddhists in Asia, in various locales, is not motivated at least in part, by Athiesm or more fittingly, antagonism toward religion? This is a questionable, and subjective point brainiac and doesn't help your argument.
I agree that there many shades of grey to problems like this, and I don't suggest that religion (or anti-religion) is the sole
cause of them. Of course there could be things like tribal rivalries and the like that are likelier causes behind the conflicts. I think it is unfortunate that such complex matters are labelled as being due to religion. But what I'm talking about here is when massacres are touted as being somehow "equal" to those pursued through religious reason. They aren't. I think there is much more historical meaning and lessons to be learned from the Nazi Holocaust, for example, than there is in any story about the Crusades for the sole reason that religion is supposed
to be a force for good in this world. One might then argue that while religion is
"good" and that it's followers pervert the true and beautiful meanings, well that just underlines my point about how hordes of genteel people can become maniacs when you push the right (or wrong) buttons. I don't think very much in religion is beautiful anyway. The few beautiful passages seem to be drowned out by the horrors that lie hidden in plain sight. The Hindu (or GV) scriptures may be something of an exception, but not much.
It seems your version of 'athiesm' is as fervently anti-religious, as religion is anti-athiest. Two sides of the same coin. Rush Limbaugh athiesm: pull out some sensational examples, generalize, then criticize.
Well this is another oft-used philosophical faux pas. "Your antireligion is about as fundamentalist as you claim religion to be". It is false because it is mainly untrue, and because it is easy to confuse fundamentalism with passion.
Let's have a look some less sensational and much more 'normal' examples as one's eyes must be opened to what is going on around you: Female Muslim students at Harvard are demanding female-only hours at the campus gym to segregate from any male students who may look at them lustfully; a Hindu schoolgirl fights for the right to wear her nose-stud in school as part of her religious beliefs; ISKCON opens a faith school and demands that the entire families of pupils must attend the temple and be vegetarians; Muslim doctors are happy to be fired after objecting to wearing short-sleeved Operating Room uniforms as it's against their beliefs to show 'excessive' flesh; Creationism/Intelligent Design is taught in schools alongside evolution as an 'alternative' scientific theory; Muslim doctors (and visitors to hospitals) refuse to help stop the spread of vicious superbugs like MRSA because washing their hands with the easily available alcohol-based gel contradicts their 'beliefs'; dozens of Indians go blind after hoping to see a vision of Mary in the sun; pilgrimages are made to houses where some old woman burns her toast and the burn resembles Jesus or Mary, or when some Muslim housewife cuts an aubergine and the seeds form an 'Allah'; £100,000 ($200,000) of taxpayer's money is wasted in the search for a police helmet that can accomodate a Sikh officer's turban; the Anglican Church is on the brink of a schism in protest at homosexual clergy... Need I go on? And I wouldn't want to get started on honour killings.
I haven't yet decided if I have a problem with religion as yet, but I certainly have a problem with religious idiocy.
If I am passionate about it, it is because religious people and their beliefs affect the lives of the rest of us. Would you want to argue evolution with someone who looks for evidence of a worldwide geological flood? Would you want a criminal caught by a Sikh officer who has trouble donning their helmeturban? Would you like to go into hospital and be at risk of catching MRSA because some
people think washing your hands with alcohol-based gel is as bad as drinking it? These are small things, agreed. At the international level, how does one expect to solve long-running political problems like the Middle-East Crisis when the Jews are waiting for the Messiah and the Muslims are eagerly awaiting the Mahdi so that both these Deliverers can clash in some wacked-out Battle of the Dumbasses
I am not an atheist, by the way, and don't have a 'version' of atheism to abide by. But I have discovered in my readings that there are as many shades of grey to atheism as there are to anything else.
It isn't the one-size-fits-all it is popularly thought to be. It might be helpful if one takes the time to research on this matter.
I just get suspicious when people try to point out to everyone else how things really are...when there is so much unknown about human and Earthly phenomenon, from both the scientific as well as psychological perspectives.
what I was just thinking today while travelling to work. There is so much in this world that remains unknown
but which is tantalisingly within reach, and the discovery of new 'knowns' very often leads to ever-expanding vistas of unknowns just waiting to be discovered, and with science (not just psychology but all
areas of science) growing at an exponential rate with new findings being published on practically a minute-by-minute basis, that theoretical physicists like Dr. Michio Kaku (co-founder of String Theory) are confident enough to state that the human race is in a transition from the 'age of discovery' to the 'age of mastery'. Didn't anyone notice the launch of the Large Hadron Collider? This is the single most important development in recent years.
Yet some people insist on having 'faith' and 'beliefs' about some airy-fairy figure along with the associated fluff about 'higher dimensions' and 'states of being' that, funnily enough, there is not even a micron of proof for. Micron? Surely I mean nano. You are astoundingly right that the sheer depth and breadth of the 'material plane' hasn't been fully understood or even cognised yet and the sheer wonder of it lies in when we ask: can we ever know it completely?
But some people are already ready to talk of 'higher' dimensions and 'higher' planes? Wow. Such arrogance, is all I can say.
(I'm sure you're fully aware of how 'transcendent' religions regularly and notoriously denigrate the material plane and all it stands for in favour of 'higher' things.)
But people are content to pray
for things like the very big ('Oh God, please let the right person be the next President of America') to the very small ('Oh God, please make sure there is enough bread left over at the store'). Who cares about this, though? This is benign religion. Let them have their heads in the clouds kissing the feet of some sky-god, I will only object when they get together and form organisations that protest against stem-cell research and other vanguards of scientific development that represent more of a progression for the human race than religion has ever been. They become a menace to society when they do that, in my opinion.
Take this as an example: There are very serious discussions going on about when exactly foetuses are capable of feeling pain while growing in the womb. This is important because anti-abortionists protest about, well, abortion, and scientists are also interested in harvesting stem cells from foetuses so that they can do really important things like growing new organs from scratch
for people who need transplants and stuff. The current consensus about when the beginnings of a nervous system is formed (that allows the feeling of pain) is that it remains unknown, while research is of course always going on. Can you trust religionists with this information? Of course not, which is why you now hear the ridiculously untrue 'Life Begins At Conception' slogan bandied about and made a prominent feature of almost every political campaign there is and used as an emotional device to guilt-trip people into oblivion.
And while we're talking of psychology, Angrezi, do you recall when I started a topic about the neuropsychology of spiritual experience on GD? Gosh that was fun wasn't it?
Dont get me wrong, I think Christianity (and resultant unbridled capitalism), indirectly, has done more to destroy the Earth and human dignity than anything, until (athiestic, materialistic) Communism came along, which has likely killed more innocent people than all religions put together.
I doubt that there are any form of statistics to support this, especially since religion has been a dominant force throughout much of human history, but it would be interesting to see if this was true. But this is where we must repectfully disagree because the fact still remains that atrocities perpetrated by the non-religious can be much more easily attributed to the megalomania of military dictators and their whims. You also seem to be equating atheism/materialism with the propensity to commit acts of evil which could be offensive to millions of people. There are plenty of friendly neighbourhood atheists you know.
Indeed, why should religion even be a factor? Because as a supposed force for good in the world it has done plenty of bad. And the few sophisticated theologians who recognise things going awry are rendered almost irrelevant when they are outnumbered by the vast hordes of religious idiots. (OK, that last line was a paraphrase of Richard Dawkins, hehe.)
It's all very well blaming it on "isms". These lofty philosophical observations and similar platitudes haven't helped one bit, though.
Sorry to make this such a long post Angrezi. You and everyone else must be snoring by now.
I originally had a few lines to reply with and then just padded it all out I guess, sorry...