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Author Topic: religion the root of all evil?
machiavellian
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posted 16 September 2001 04:53 PM      Profile for machiavellian   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here's something distasteful for us to chew on:


quote:


Religion's misguided missiles

Promise a young man that death is not the end and he will willingly cause disaster

Special report: terrorism in the US

Richard Dawkins
Saturday September 15, 2001
The Guardian

A guided missile corrects its trajectory as it flies, homing in, say, on the heat of a jet plane's exhaust. A great improvement on a simple ballistic shell, it still cannot discriminate particular targets. It could not zero in on a designated New York skyscraper if launched from as far away as Boston.
That is precisely what a modern "smart missile" can do. Computer miniaturisation has advanced to the point where one of today's smart missiles could be programmed with an image of the Manhattan skyline together with instructions to home in on the north tower of the World Trade Centre. Smart missiles of this sophistication are possessed by the United States, as we learned in the Gulf war, but they are economically beyond ordinary terrorists and scientifically beyond theocratic governments. Might there be a cheaper and easier alternative?

In the second world war, before electronics became cheap and miniature, the psychologist BF Skinner did some research on pigeon-guided missiles. The pigeon was to sit in a tiny cockpit, having previously been trained to peck keys in such a way as to keep a designated target in the centre of a screen. In the missile, the target would be for real.

The principle worked, although it was never put into practice by the US authorities. Even factoring in the costs of training them, pigeons are cheaper and lighter than computers of comparable effectiveness. Their feats in Skinner's boxes suggest that a pigeon, after a regimen of training with colour slides, really could guide a missile to a distinctive landmark at the southern end of Manhattan island. The pigeon has no idea that it is guiding a missile. It just keeps on pecking at those two tall rectangles on the screen, from time to time a food reward drops out of the dispenser, and this goes on until... oblivion.

Pigeons may be cheap and disposable as on-board guidance systems, but there's no escaping the cost of the missile itself. And no such missile large enough to do much damage could penetrate US air space without being intercepted. What is needed is a missile that is not recognised for what it is until too late. Something like a large civilian airliner, carrying the innocuous markings of a well-known carrier and a great deal of fuel. That's the easy part. But how do you smuggle on board the necessary guidance system? You can hardly expect the pilots to surrender the left-hand seat to a pigeon or a computer.

How about using humans as on-board guidance systems, instead of pigeons? Humans are at least as numerous as pigeons, their brains are not significantly costlier than pigeon brains, and for many tasks they are actually superior. Humans have a proven track record in taking over planes by the use of threats, which work because the legitimate pilots value their own lives and those of their passengers.

The natural assumption that the hijacker ultimately values his own life too, and will act rationally to preserve it, leads air crews and ground staff to make calculated decisions that would not work with guidance modules lacking a sense of self-preservation. If your plane is being hijacked by an armed man who, though prepared to take risks, presumably wants to go on living, there is room for bargaining. A rational pilot complies with the hijacker's wishes, gets the plane down on the ground, has hot food sent in for the passengers and leaves the negotiations to people trained to negotiate.

The problem with the human guidance system is precisely this. Unlike the pigeon version, it knows that a successful mission culminates in its own destruction. Could we develop a biological guidance system with the compliance and dispensability of a pigeon but with a man's resourcefulness and ability to infiltrate plausibly? What we need, in a nutshell, is a human who doesn't mind being blown up. He'd make the perfect on-board guidance system. But suicide enthusiasts are hard to find. Even terminal cancer patients might lose their nerve when the crash was actually looming.

Could we get some otherwise normal humans and somehow persuade them that they are not going to die as a consequence of flying a plane smack into a skyscraper? If only! Nobody is that stupid, but how about this - it's a long shot, but it just might work. Given that they are certainly going to die, couldn't we sucker them into believing that they are going to come to life again afterwards? Don't be daft! No, listen, it might work. Offer them a fast track to a Great Oasis in the Sky, cooled by everlasting fountains. Harps and wings wouldn't appeal to the sort of young men we need, so tell them there's a special martyr's reward of 72 virgin brides, guaranteed eager and exclusive.

Would they fall for it? Yes, testosterone-sodden young men too unattractive to get a woman in this world might be desperate enough to go for 72 private virgins in the next.

It's a tall story, but worth a try. You'd have to get them young, though. Feed them a complete and self-consistent background mythology to make the big lie sound plausible when it comes. Give them a holy book and make them learn it by heart. Do you know, I really think it might work. As luck would have it, we have just the thing to hand: a ready-made system of mind-control which has been honed over centuries, handed down through generations. Millions of people have been brought up in it. It is called religion and, for reasons which one day we may understand, most people fall for it (nowhere more so than America itself, though the irony passes unnoticed). Now all we need is to round up a few of these faith-heads and give them flying lessons.

Facetious? Trivialising an unspeakable evil? That is the exact opposite of my intention, which is deadly serious and prompted by deep grief and fierce anger. I am trying to call attention to the elephant in the room that everybody is too polite - or too devout - to notice: religion, and specifically the devaluing effect that religion has on human life. I don't mean devaluing the life of others (though it can do that too), but devaluing one's own life. Religion teaches the dangerous nonsense that death is not the end.

If death is final, a rational agent can be expected to value his life highly and be reluctant to risk it. This makes the world a safer place, just as a plane is safer if its hijacker wants to survive. At the other extreme, if a significant number of people convince themselves, or are convinced by their priests, that a martyr's death is equivalent to pressing the hyperspace button and zooming through a wormhole to another universe, it can make the world a very dangerous place. Especially if they also believe that that other universe is a paradisical escape from the tribulations of the real world. Top it off with sincerely believed, if ludicrous and degrading to women, sexual promises, and is it any wonder that naive and frustrated young men are clamouring to be selected for suicide missions?

There is no doubt that the afterlife-obsessed suicidal brain really is a weapon of immense power and danger. It is comparable to a smart missile, and its guidance system is in many respects superior to the most sophisticated electronic brain that money can buy. Yet to a cynical government, organisation, or priesthood, it is very very cheap.

Our leaders have described the recent atrocity with the customary cliche: mindless cowardice. "Mindless" may be a suitable word for the vandalising of a telephone box. It is not helpful for understanding what hit New York on September 11. Those people were not mindless and they were certainly not cowards. On the contrary, they had sufficiently effective minds braced with an insane courage, and it would pay us mightily to understand where that courage came from.

It came from religion. Religion is also, of course, the underlying source of the divisiveness in the Middle East which motivated the use of this deadly weapon in the first place. But that is another story and not my concern here. My concern here is with the weapon itself. To fill a world with religion, or religions of the Abrahamic kind, is like littering the streets with loaded guns. Do not be surprised if they are used.

Richard Dawkins is professor of the public understanding of science, University of Oxford, and author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, and Unweaving the Rainbow.

comment@guardian.co.uk


From: Peace River (no, not actually in the river, silly) | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pimji
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posted 16 September 2001 05:41 PM      Profile for Pimji   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
When there are people who have given up on this life and are only concerned with bring on the next there needs to be a change in tact as opposed the conventional thinking.
It is more fun to think in military terms when war was fought over economics and boarders. This animal we are dealing with now, is one that we have not been acustomed to in the past 100 years.
Religion has nothing to do with morality and is to make us aware of a reality other than the one we presently take for granted.
If people found out that physical death was the ultimate nirvana and utopia everybody would be doing it. There are millions of humans who believe this already and have given up on this present life. This is a reality which many millions more fail to grasp on our persuit of self fulfilment in this life.

From: South of Ottawa | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marsin
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posted 16 September 2001 10:18 PM      Profile for Marsin   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
George Bush, being a right wing fundamentalist, should well understand the motivations of Islam fundamentalist, not to mention the Jewish fndamentalist. Will they start having at each other in a truly concerted effort to "hasten the end?"
From: Perth, Ontario | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
hibachi
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posted 16 September 2001 10:57 PM      Profile for hibachi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
George Bush may be a lot of things, including right wing, but fundamentalist is not one of them. The vicar at the service was a female bishop, only possible in the Episcopalian Church or American branch of the Church of England. The Bushes have been Episcopalian for some time.

The first sermon in the memorial service at the (Anglican) National Cathederal at Washington DC was led by a Moslem cleric who eloquently and compassionately spoke to the pain from what happened using his experience and the Koran.

The fundamentalist Christians on the other hand have displayed their similarity to the Taliban by saying that sinful Americans have caused God to open the door to their enemies.

George Bush seems to be determined to puruse this war. Given the nature of his ecumenical church service, and the contrast between the fundamentalists and his position on the matter, I think it is entirely inaccurate to portray George Bush as a fundamentalist.

John A. Matheson


From: Toronto, Ont. | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 17 September 2001 12:01 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As much as I am critical of religion, I think it boils down to ignorant, uncritical people that are the root of all evil.

Religion has no monopoly on them. Nationalism can spawn evil, too, as I observe the Empire State building bathed in red, white and blue.


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 17 September 2001 12:02 PM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
http://www.nationalpost.com/commentary/columnists/story.html?f=/stories/20010913/685271.html
From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
malacon
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posted 20 September 2001 01:43 PM      Profile for malacon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Its not religion that is the bad guy, but rather ideology.

OXFORD, England (CNS) -- Muslim theologians have vigorously rejected suggestions that terrorist attacks on the United States could be defended under Islamic teaching and insisted that Islam stresses ``peaceful coexistence'' among religions. ``Islam teaches that the sanctity of human life is paramount -- that human beings must cherish, protect and thank God for the gift of life,'' said Imam Abduljalil Sajid, Britain's best-known Muslim theologian. ``To kill not only yourself, but also innocent people going about the normal business of their lives, cannot be justified from any theological viewpoint. No scholar from any Islamic tradition could cite any text to claim such actions are permissible,'' he said. The Pakistan-born religious leader spoke in mid-September after attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon left more than 5,000 people presumed dead.


From: USA | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 20 September 2001 09:18 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've had it up to here with the people of the book saying how those who are violent are not the true believers, that Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all peace loving people.

If that's the case then the one place they regard most Holy, the place where the three religions meet, should be the most peacefull on earth should it not?

Peace, and Jerusalem are not two words often found together.

It's patently obvious that there is something intrisically wrong in the philosophy found in these religions.

They are designed to be able to allow religious leaders to push the xenophobia button inside us all. It's evil and a ticking time bomb for any demagogue that comes along.

Dawkins is for the most part correct. But like the best of us he looks to the events of September 11th to bolster his own pet hypothesis. But of all who are guilty of this of late, Dawkins is least offensive.

As Clockwork pointed out, this could have been carried out without the existance or use of religion.

......but it would have been much more difficult......


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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posted 20 September 2001 09:24 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
that Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all peace loving people.

No one tried to say that. They're trying to say that nuts just use those religions as excuses to oppress others. If there was no religion they'd probably fall back on language differences or racial differences. Like they do in countries where religion is not as prominent.


From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
ntrail
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posted 21 September 2001 01:52 AM      Profile for ntrail     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
just read apiece by Gail Sheehy in Vanity Fair Oct 2000, on the campaign with gwb.
She quotes him as considering the bible
"a pretty good political handbook"Compare and contast with with the taliban and give examples.
Neatnes counts

From: penticton | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 21 September 2001 02:28 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What scares me is that we all known that he is a devout Christian, but it never fully comes through in the news. One of the thing I immediately noticed on Sept 11 and afterwards, which I thought was very telling, was the difference between Bush’s “uncut” media comments and the “cut” ones rebroadcast later. In the edited ones, very few of the religious references made it to broadcast.
Bush’s last speech today had no religious references. I wonder if that was on purpose. I was half expecting to hear the Psalm 24 thing again.

Back on topic, literal religious theology breeds problems. It’s a command and control structure, a helpful system for dictators. My non-academic reading of religion leads me to believe it was a system of government. And as Dawkins points out, the whole heaven thing is fiendishly clever in this context. One of the things that bemuses me growing up through a church was the whole persecution complex. You’d never think Christianity was the dominant religion around here.


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
graemesharsel
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posted 21 September 2001 03:12 AM      Profile for graemesharsel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think everyone would agree that religion has had a hand in many atrocities throughout humankinds history. The crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, and September 11ths attack are but a few examples. However, to say that religion is the root of all evil is preposterous. Religion, in many ways, teaches us to be good people through rules like the ten commandments or telling us not to commit the seven deadly sins. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, these are not rules that lead to evil. Faith can be corrupted to serve ends which, while in the name of the Bible or the Koran, are not in the spirit of them.
From: Hamilton | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
JCL
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posted 21 September 2001 04:05 AM      Profile for JCL     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm a Christian. And comments by Falwell was nothing more than to gather more so called Christians, especially the ignorant ones to subscribe to his magazine or support his ministry. Do I think that God allowed this to happen? No, absolutely not.

Graememarshel - I concur. Religious doctrines, at the core, share the same values. I would also like to note that Bush said in his speech that there are millions of Americans who are muslim. And that their fight isn't against Islam.

Clockwork - I don't agree that religion is a form of government or controlling of people. But then again, if religion oppresses people, one could say that about any cause regardless where it comes from. Some see a right wing party in charge of a country or province as oppression of the masses but then again, so could a socialist government. I really do believe the political spectrum of Canada has shifted to the center. The Liberals are a mixture of both parties and perhaps for both sides of the spectrum should move closer to the center. I'm also right wing but I'm right leaning of center these days.

Markbo - Excellent post about ikf there was no religion, they'd start using language or race as an excuse.


As for religion teaching death as the ultimate sacrifice, well, talk about major misunderstanding. Fundamentalists of all religions see that as the ultimate glory for the cause. And if not religion, some other cause. It baffles me why people would risk their lives for a doctrine based on political or religious guidelines. A person living is far more effective for a cause than dying for it. Regardless of religion or social cause.


From: Winnipeg. 35 days to Christmas yet no snow here. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 21 September 2001 04:44 AM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If you note carefully, a) it’s my non-academic reading of religion, and b) I did mention that religion has no monopoly on the roots of evil. When I look at religion, I see thought control: it tells you what to think. People work their way up the religious organization telling other people what to think. I’ve watched enough 100 Huntley Street and 700 Club episodes and been to enough sermons to know that religious leaders don’t always stick to personal spiritual enlightenment. In fact, I get really pissed off seeing political issues slipped into a sermon or whatnot without context. It is manipulation, and it’s immoral.
But, I’ve seen it in leftist thought too. Left leaning leaders working their way up on organization telling us other lefties how evil corporations are. Happily, they’re mostly right, though.

From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 21 September 2001 10:29 AM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Happily, they’re mostly right, though.


How do you know you just aren't parroting their mind-control messages. I'm sure devotees of the 700 Club would also say, "Happily, they’re mostly right, though."


From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pankaj
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posted 21 September 2001 11:28 AM      Profile for Pankaj   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Among religions, are monotheists much more prone to create an "us and them" scenario? Do beliefs like the "the chosen people", "the one true god" contain a fatal flaw which easily becomes problematic? Has anybody ever heard of a Buddhist holy war or Buddhist efforts to convert others through its 2500 year history? Is the word "religion" too broad a brushstroke to use in this or any other argument?
From: London, ON | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 21 September 2001 11:50 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I was half expecting to hear the Psalm 24 thing again.

Psalm 23. But who's counting? (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Pankaj, great question, and something I've been trying to come to terms with for the past year or so. Monotheistic religions have a very, very strong dualistic tradition - good/evil, right/wrong, God/Satan (although the original conception of Satan was arguably not the way most Christians these days think of Satan, as the opposite of God - I read an amazing book by Elaine Pagels and got some amazing insight on that. Sorry, not trying to name drop - I'm not really that well read, it just came into my mind right now because I happened to read it in the past and found it fascinating).

Just by virtue of being monotheistic - and usually the idea that "only my religion's conception of God is valid" goes along with that - you get people who believe their way is the only way to God. After all, if there's only one God, and your religion defines It, then by definition anyone else's God cannot be true. Add to that the concept of a JEALOUS God who does not tolerate alternate conceptions of God (which Christians believe their God to be), and you've got some major dualistic thinking going on. There's a heaven/hell, you're in/you're out, you're right/wrong about God. People from other religions start to be seen as unsaved or unworthy.

And I just don't believe that anymore. So you can see where a Baptist like me might be having just a BIT of a religious crisis. It would be so much easier if I could just fall back on a pat faith right now during this time of horror. Sigh. Things were so much easier when I knew all the answers.

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
graemesharsel
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posted 21 September 2001 12:03 PM      Profile for graemesharsel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
[QUOTE] Do beliefs like the "the chosen people", "the one true god" contain a fatal flaw which easily becomes problematic? [QUOTE]
Good point Pankag. The problem with most religions as I see it is that your either with them or your going to hell. Jews, Muslims and Christians all believe in the same God, yet most Christians would agree that all Jews and Muslims are going to burn because they don't believe Jesus is the son of God. One would have to be pretty lucky to be born in a Christian country that worships the "true God", otherwise you'd be thrown in with the billions of people around the world who have never learned even the basics of Christianity.

From: Hamilton | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pankaj
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posted 21 September 2001 12:25 PM      Profile for Pankaj   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michelle, great to speak with you again. I've been laying low since the Vipassanna retreat.

To your last point: I myself have been walking somewhere in Between Shiva and Buddha, having started with Siva and moving towards Buddha. Then I heard Joseph Campbell say that Siva's final task is to help you kill Siva - and Boom!!! Next, a wise fried described his own process and he said that he has been between Taoism and Buddhism (he was born a Christian but began to reject much of it early on), and its coming a time to choose. His choice, he said, would be the Buddha. He then said - wait for it - "I'll choose one and admire the other." and BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!!!

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: Pankaj ]


From: London, ON | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 21 September 2001 12:33 PM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
yet most Christians would agree that all Jews and Muslims are going to burn because they don't believe Jesus is the son of God.


Got any evidence to back that statement up? Neither I, nor any of my Christian friends, automatically believe this.

You'd think that this week's events would teach people not to make statements based on prejudice. Sigh...

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: Kneel before MediaBoy ]


From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pankaj
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posted 21 September 2001 12:33 PM      Profile for Pankaj   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
graemesharsel, lucky indeed. What do you make of it all? Its just such a collosal mess, this mind of acquired ideas.
From: London, ON | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Markbo
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posted 21 September 2001 12:35 PM      Profile for Markbo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just hate when religions use words like "infidel", "heathen", "gentiles".
From: Windsor | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pankaj
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posted 21 September 2001 12:53 PM      Profile for Pankaj   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Got any evidence to back that statement up? Neither I, nor any of my Christian friends, automatically believe this.

Some Christians do doubtless believe this. I doubt that any Hindu or Buddhist would believe the converse of Christians. Why? not monotheistic and thus tolerant by virtue of doctrine. Hey, whatever is, just is. It elaborates everything from within itself, you, me, your thoughts as well as mine. Who can know why? There is nothing to defend, my friend.


From: London, ON | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 21 September 2001 12:57 PM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Some" is a far cry from "most".

http://www.ecauldron.com/opedfundies.php
http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-ENG/loy7.htm

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: Kneel before MediaBoy ]


From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 21 September 2001 01:09 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

yet most Christians would agree that all Jews and Muslims are going to burn because they don't believe Jesus is the son of God.

This is absurd.

I agree with Mediaboy. It's one thing to discuss critically the things that people do in the name of religion -- horrific and glorious, both or either. It's quite another to claim that such uninformed overgeneralizations even begin to touch religion itself or the profound nature of the religious impulse in human consciousness.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pankaj
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posted 21 September 2001 01:37 PM      Profile for Pankaj   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
profound nature of the religious impulse in human consciousness.

What I find totally wild is that this religious impulse "within" human consciousness, really resides within CONSCIOUSNESS (humans being one of its own countless elaborations/self-limitations). This thing which just is, does all these wild things within itself. Individuality, love, hate, peace, war, life, death, sex, birth etc. etc. etc. Any ism whatsoever, cannot in words and concepts portray its unfathomable nature. Yet, many will fight defending their favorite declarations of its nature. Too Funny, Too Tragic.


From: London, ON | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pankaj
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posted 21 September 2001 01:44 PM      Profile for Pankaj   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
sorry, reposted above by mistake. Please ignore.

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: Pankaj ]


From: London, ON | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
graemesharsel
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posted 21 September 2001 02:01 PM      Profile for graemesharsel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
media boy, the main reason for people adherring to the rules of religion, as I see it, is the belief that being a good, God-fearing, devote follower will get you into heaven. If one breaks the Ten Commandments and commits many sins then they will be barred from heaven. If you can't go to heaven, there's only one place left to go. So if a large portion of the people who say they are Christian are going to hell, even though they profess to believe in God and follow His will, then what about those who believe in a different God or a different set of rules? Whether or not you are a Christian who condemns the "heathans" and the "infidels" you cannot deny that according to your beliefs those people will not go to heaven.
From: Hamilton | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 21 September 2001 02:57 PM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
media boy, the main reason for people adherring to the rules of religion, as I see it, is the belief that being a good, God-fearing, devote follower will get you into heaven.

There are many, many, many Christian traditions and denominations that do not preach this. Many traditions are quite adamant that "good deeds and clean living" are not the path to salvation. These traditions proclaim that faith is more important than good deeds.

quote:
If one breaks the Ten Commandments and commits many sins then they will be barred from heaven.

Again, many traditions of Christianity disagree with this. In Galatians, for example, Paul writes that since we have Christ we do not need the Old Testament laws.

quote:
If you can't go to heaven, there's only one place left to go.

Few Christians agree on the existance of Hell, the nature of Heaven and Hell, or that Heaven and Hell are the only two places to go. Some traditions also believe in Purgatory and Limbo. Even still, there are many Christians who believe that Heaven, Hell, etc., are metaphors for something else entirely.


quote:
So if a large portion of the people who say they are Christian are going to hell, even though they profess to believe in God and follow His will, then what about those who believe in a different God or a different set of rules?

The Christians who do not agree with radical fundamentalists are only going to hell in the eyes of those radical fundamentalists.

quote:
Whether or not you are a Christian who condemns the "heathans" and the "infidels" you cannot deny that according to your beliefs those people will not go to heaven.

Yes I can. Christians have been arguing about the requirements for salvation, the nature of Heaven and Hell, and even the very nature of Christ for millenia. That's why there is such a huge amount of diversity within Christian belief, just like there is a huge amount of diversity within Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, etc., belief.

There are even those who claim to be Christian Buddhists, Jewish Christians, or Muslim Christians. They do not believe that these traditions must be mutually exclusive.


From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
rabble-rouser
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posted 21 September 2001 04:16 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Mediaboy… did you not see the smiley face away back when talking about evil corporations???
I figure you of all people would of understood what a smiley face means.

If I’m not mistaken, the Pope decided last year that there was no hell… overturning 2000 years of tradition.
This is why I can’t understand why anyone takes on a literal interpretation of anything: obvious religious thought morphs over time, and (pardon me, troll warning… but is a construction of human thought, so why be anal retentive and still demand a goat be killed on the altar.


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 21 September 2001 04:24 PM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
" " has a set, standardardized meaning? I was unaware that any symbol could have a rigid, unambiguous, standardized meaning.

Tell me, what does " " mean? Does is mean "happiness"? Does it mean "no offense intended"? Does it mean "silly"? Does it mean "please don't hurt me"?


From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
rabble-rouser
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posted 21 September 2001 04:39 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sorry…

I just meant that you would have saw the error of my statement, and the smiley was my acknowledgment of that error, hence, in this particular context I thought it was quite clear that it was understood to be a joke. So no, the smiley has no rigid unambiguous standardized meaning.

And again, I apologize for the tone. I didn’t mean to piss you off.
We all believe stuff. We all make the “leap of faith”.


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
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posted 21 September 2001 04:47 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Pope decided there is no hell? I've never heard that.

Time to do some googling...


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 21 September 2001 04:50 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Pretty sure, made a big announcement... he might not have said their is no hell, as opposed to saying their is no literal place called hell.
It was in the news and stuff, and not being Catholic, I didn't really pay attention to it.

From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 21 September 2001 04:57 PM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
And again, I apologize for the tone. I didn’t mean to piss you off.
We all believe stuff. We all make the “leap of faith”.


I did not use a smiley, so why do you think I was pissed off?


From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
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posted 21 September 2001 04:58 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

Michelle, I think this might be it.
Remember, I get my religious news through the media, the mainstream media, the media that manipulates and contains key omissions.
In other words, I'm trying to cover my butt.

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: clockwork ]


From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1064

posted 21 September 2001 05:05 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Pretty sure, made a big announcement... he might not have said their is no hell, as opposed to saying their is no literal place called hell. It was in the news and stuff, and not being Catholic, I didn't really pay attention to it.

I'm not Catholic either (to say the least), but I think this is right.

Don't know about a big announcement last year, but I remember a few years back a radio program (This Morning?) that had some Christian theologians discussing the idea of hell.

The Catholic guy said something to the effect that it was the church's position that hell wasn't a literal place, with fire and so on, but "the absence of God's love."


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Victor Von Mediaboy
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posted 21 September 2001 05:08 PM      Profile for Victor Von Mediaboy   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I really liked the way Azreal described Hell in Dogma.

"Originally, Hell was just separation from God which, if you'd ever actually met Him, is bad enough. But then you humans started showing up, and it became SO . . . MUCH . . . WORSE."


From: A thread has merit only if I post to it. So sayeth VVMB! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
clockwork
rabble-rouser
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posted 21 September 2001 05:20 PM      Profile for clockwork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But here is a assertion that hell is a place. Notice it's dated 1996, a couple years before the pope's big announcment.
Back to what I was originaly saying, religious concepts are not immutable. This why I think the pope's statements hit the news.

From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
meades
rabble-rouser
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posted 21 September 2001 05:26 PM      Profile for meades     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Okay, once again, I didn't read all the posts. There are too damn many of 'em, and I don't jump on these boards soon enough. So anyway, I'll just answer the question the title asks:

No, religion is not the root of all evil. There is no root to evil. For a second I though maybe selfishness, but the act done by the terrorists wasn't all that selfish, and there are probably plenty of altruistic tyrants out there.

I don't think religion is the root of any evil. It is the hate that results when you (as an individual) see someone/something as a threat, or as an enemy (for whatever reason), and you act on your perception (by act, I'm not refering to thoughts- I'm refering to actions that express the hate, or by preaching your hate - which is different from just voicing an opinion)

I am a Unitarian Universalist with strong leanings toward Reform Judaism. I've been trying to figure out what religion best reflects my views for the past four years. And I continue to look at, and examine the organized beliefs (and sometimes unorganized) of others so that I can better understand where they're coming from, and just for the sake of additional knowledge, as well. Would I have done all that if I thought religion were the root of all evil? NOT BLOODY LIKELY!

Religion, when you look at the whole big pot, is just a combination of beliefs, and practices (with some history thrown in for flavour). How is that evil?

Evil is found in hate. Hate comes from the individual, not religion (usually. I haven't yet found a truly hateful religion, but there might be one). Hate can be found in many, perhaps even countless things. Does that make them all 100% evil? IHOM, no.


From: Sault Ste. Marie | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 21 September 2001 07:25 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for that article, clockwork! I was looking all over for something like that, and do you think I could find it?

What I did find was a bunch of fundamentalist scaremongering about eternal torture and hell fires.

My idea of hell for many years has been pretty much like the one the Vatican describes in that document - separation from God, which, since God is the source of all life, means annihiliation. Well, that's my opinion, anyhow. I was just surprised to hear that was the Catholic standpoint too.

Edited to say, Mediaboy, Dogma was SO FUNNY. The best part, after that implication of how amazing God's presence was, is when we find out that God is...ah, but you'll have to watch the movie. No spoilers coming from ME.

[ September 21, 2001: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
rabble-rouser
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posted 21 September 2001 07:35 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've gotta see Dogma. I grew up Anglican, which is basically Catholic Lite, but my mother's Catholic, or was. She's, ah, separated from the church, you might say, with two or three slightly caustic views on the subject. So from what I've heard, I'm sure I'd like Dogma from several points of view.

I say this having absolutely hated the only other Kevin Smith movie I've seen, Chasing Amy.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged

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