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Amish Suspected of Massacre?
Cynic
Well, no, my argument has been that their religion causes the good to commit horrible acts, and that the Muslim religion causes more people to commit worse acts. While you might call that the demonization of Islam, I call it a realistic assessment of the current situation.

Religion isn't the product of a book, or a set of books, even. It's a hugely complicated manifestation of all sorts of things, and what a religion is and what influence it might have and how easily it might be used to justify or inspire acts, and how easily it is to set aside changes over time. The difference between a cult and a religion is an arbitrary one, designed to separate religion why size, destructiveness, and in some respects sincerity. But it's not entirely arbitrary. Not all religions are equal in all respects. Not most of them. There are always differences in how they interact with cultures and local and global situations and even humans themselves on a biological level.

This must be the case. It would be extraordinarily odd if it weren't, right? We don't raise our children expecting that it doesn't matter what we teach our children or what attitudes are helpful or destructive. What we internalize matters, and religion is part of that. Nothing else matters in equal measure, so why would religion? It wouldn't.

In the previous discussion about honor killings, I was going to say, when I got back to it, that slightly over half of them are done in reaction to violations of Islamic (read: from the Koran) laws. Over half. Are we to believe that it's influence from the West that's causing them to perceive the female half of their own populations are inferior and expendable? Are gays put to death because America wants oil?

Seriously?

Over the last millenium, religion in the West has changed enormously, has been largely cast off and effectively neutered by comparison to pervious incarnations. The religion of "Christianity" isn't the same as it was. People who even approach the ways it used to be are branded dangerous and irrational, even by some of our most religious. Over that same time span, I don't think we've seen half the progress in Islam. Whatever the reason, are we really going to pretend that we have, out of some misplaced sense of fairness?

The bottom line is, not all religions are the same. They can't be. It isn't just the West that needs to change.
 
catman
Great post, Cynic. I think you nailed it.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
seeker
You entirely missed the point though Cynic. Your evaluation completely ignores the kinds of behaviors Christians engaged in when they lived under similar conditions during the Middle Ages. In fact that is a large part of the entire problem here, you are all to ready to look at symptoms while ignoring underlying causes.

Consider your own statement; "Religion isn't the product of a book, or a set of books, even. It's a hugely complicated manifestation of all sorts of things...". I think even you realize that religion and religiosity are as much products of socio-economic and political reality as they are of theology. Obama said as much when he said that people who are afraid tend to cling to God and guns. There is in fact one way in which all religions are the same, people tend to rely on them less when they are better educated and have good quality of life.

Honor killings are actually a good example of this. They are such a strong product of the whole 'us versus them' mentality in which the loss of identity becomes equated with extinction.

Ultimately the problem is in finding a way to get people to depend less on religion. That doesn't happen by attacking people, the attack just makes them more defensive. The only way you are going to get results is by dropping the 'us versus them' pose and realizing that you can't force them to do anything but that you may be able to persuade them.


 
seeker
Now that i think of it this whole line of debate reminds me of the old discussions about black people and crime. Serious minded people used to point to the increased crime statistics in black communities to make the pont that the numbers showed black people were inherently more prone to criminal behavior than whites. In fact just before atheists.com shut down we had a guy trying to make the same point about minorities.

Maybe its too good an argument to abandon just because it was proven untrue.
 
JohnH
I love sports (go Niners, not easy currently but I have obviously had my fun). I have been to games or watched on TV where one team dominated but the score was close. I have also seen games where one team was barely competing but in the end won by a big score. Then I have read in media how blank barely held on or how blank dominated, both statements wrong.

It was this and other observations of events that led me to understand that I should be careful about what I read and believe in the media.

The mainstream press makes it easy to believe that islam is more violent than other religions. I think that there are currently activities that may lay credence to this thought. But, I will be careful.
Edited by JohnH on 11/30/2008 21:49
 
Cynic
Is it even possible to dwell upon the reasons behind the symptoms without acknowledging that the symptoms are real? I mean, reason for what, right? I'm not comfortable with the idea that we're supposed to shield our eyes from objective truth for fear of what that might perpetuate. I'm a lot more afraid of what hiding from the truth perpetuates, and whatever might be worse in reality, the principles are clear.

In another, related thread it has been determined that members of groups aren't reponsible for the actions of others (or even for their own in a "non-legal" sense) and yet here we are declaring that it's bad, even racist to make an objective comparison between one current religion versus another for fear that it will continue the cycle that perpetuates them. Which one of those propositions is flawed? It's hard to accept an accusation that I've missed the point while my own point has been circumvented entirely: religions are not all the same.

What frustrates me is that despite all this back and forth ad nausium over the years this topic creates, we all know what we're hoping for in the end: that the people in the middle east will calm the fuck down and start treating each other -- all of them, and not just the ones their holy books say qualify -- like human beings. That's what we all want, regardless of the reasons for it, or the flaws of our own parts of the world, in which we aren't doing that either.

Why is that frustrating? Because despite the fact that we're both thinking it, only one "side" of this discussion is thinking it while simultaneously trying to convince the others that the very problem we all hope will go away doesn't even exist.
Edited by Cynic on 11/30/2008 01:42
 
Hypatia
neilmarr wrote:
Sorry folks, I've been giving this kind of exchange a lot of thought lately, and have decided that Willie and his ilk win.

Just count the bodies so far and it's patently obvious that bleeding-heart religious tolerance and politically correct pussyfooting is the future of mankind and that it's downright dangerous to speak out when there's nothing but 2,000 years of bloody fact to back you up and the mounting horrors of our 21st Century.

From here on in, I will oppose all religion -- in all its forms from 'moderate' to extreme -- privately to save causing offence to other supposed atheists on boards such as this, and so that I no longer have to face lines like this: there are enough ignorant bigots on the internet and this: reinforces your prejudice ... meant to apply to me of all folks. You should be bloody ashamed of yourself, young feller.

OK, call me thin-skinned. I am. My skin has been worn thin over six decades of meeting life eyeball-to-eyeball and becoming softer rather than harder as the years roll on.

My email address is by no means a secret and any personal messages (but not through this board) will be more than welcome.

But I won't be back here because I don't think AtheistsToday membership has lived up to our original promise of becoming worthwhile.

Any response to this particular post should be addressed to remaining members becaue I cerainly will not be around to read it.

Very best wishes to you all. I'll miss some of you.

Over and out.

Neil Marr


Willie wrote:
You know what? Fuck it.

Neil, I imagine this site is very important to you, I have no desire to ruin it for you or anyone else with pointless bickering over the same issue. I also have no desire to waste my time with people who put their damaged pride above all else. I'm also not the type to join 'clubs'. I'm atheist by default, nothing else. You, Neil, make it seem like a crusade. God knows there are enough ignorant bigots on the internet, including some who would like to be the voice of Atheism. I can do nothing about my lack of belief, but I can choose who I am associated with.

To be so patently correct about the lack of the supernatural does not give atheists universal intellectual and moral superiority over all others.

Best of luck with your site Skeeve. It's a fine thing you are doing. smiley


Agghhhhhh. This is horrible. I'm so fucking sad.

I haven't been reading this thread. I caught the link from another thread in another forum.

No matter what it's about, to lose not one, but two of our beloved members - over anything - but especially something like this - is devastating.

I hope they'll be able to put this behind them and come back. These kinds of things can be important to people, but in the scheme of things, and in communities such as ours, are small when weighed against friendships.
 
cheshiredragon
...and religion destroys another friendship
That's right, I said it...
 
seeker
Cynic wrote:
Is it even possible to dwell upon the reasons behind the symptoms without acknowledging that the symptoms are real? I mean, reason for what, right? I'm not comfortable with the idea that we're supposed to shield our eyes from objective truth for fear of what that might perpetuate. I'm a lot more afraid of what hiding from the truth perpetuates, and whatever might be worse in reality, the principles are clear.

In another, related thread it has been determined that members of groups aren't reponsible for the actions of others (or even for their own in a "non-legal" sense) and yet here we are declaring that it's bad, even racist to make an objective comparison between one current religion versus another for fear that it will continue the cycle that perpetuates them. Which one of those propositions is flawed? It's hard to accept an accusation that I've missed the point while my own point has been circumvented entirely: religions are not all the same.

What frustrates me is that despite all this back and forth ad nausium over the years this topic creates, we all know what we're hoping for in the end: that the people in the middle east will calm the fuck down and start treating each other -- all of them, and not just the ones their holy books say qualify -- like human beings. That's what we all want, regardless of the reasons for it, or the flaws of our own parts of the world, in which we aren't doing that either.

Why is that frustrating? Because despite the fact that we're both thinking it, only one "side" of this discussion is thinking it while simultaneously trying to convince the others that the very problem we all hope will go away doesn't even exist.


Cynic, you know me better than that. I don't propose hiding our heads in the sand, in fact I think we need to look at the problem openly and honestly. This has never been a one sided affair. The big problem here is that when you look at individual events its too easy to ignore the things that led to those events. If you are going to look at the truth then look at the whole truth, not just the convenient part that ognores our responsibility.

One the other thread no one ever said people have no responsibility but that responsibility is not absolute. You and I are in a group but I have no control over your actions nor would I, if you were to commit some act I disagreed with, automatically attribute that act to the group. When you get to such broad grouping as religion that responsibility is even more abstract.

Finally let's address this incredible characterization you have made, the bizarre notion that some people here deny there is a problem. No one here has denied that the terrorism problem exists, our disagreement is in how to deal with it. Your notion that Muslims can or should 'just calm the fuck down' is the absurd part because you never acknowledge that we need to calm down as well. Both sides need to calm the fuck down and stop acting like a bunch of spoiled children
 
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