best arguments against religion (no theists)

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by cato, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    @wynn --

    It doesn't matter if they actually were told to do so by god, in fact given god's apparent nonexistence that would indeed be quite a feat. If a person is motivated to commit violence by their religious beliefs(the bible telling them to stone gays or burn witches, so on and so forth), then how can it not be religious violence.

    An example, when I was visiting a friend in Mississippi and a groups of people showed up at his house with guns and told me, and I'm quoting here, "Get the hell out of here you fucking atheist", was that or was not motivated by their religion?
     
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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Then your whole notion that there is violence committed in the name of religion rests on the conviction that there is no God.
    Whereby you have not even defined what God is.


    To believe this stoning etc. is religiously motivated violence, we would have to believe, as I posted earlier:


    1. The violence is perpetrated by people who claim to be religious.

    2. The claims of the perpetrators are to be taken at face value and to be held as a standard of religion.

    3. Religion is what any person who claims to be religious says religion is.

    4. Some religious scriptures instruct the persecution of non-believers. The people who claim to be the heirs of said scriptures, are indeed divinely ordained heirs of said scriptures. Whatever these people do, is sanctioned by the scriptures and God.

    5. A person who claims to be religious, has no political or economical interests.

    6. People make no mistakes.



    I do not subscribe to any of these.


    I myself could tell horrible stories about the things that people who claimed to be religious said and did to me.

    There is quite a bit we would need to believe (see italics above) in order to declare such expressions of verbal and physical violence to be religiously motivated violence.
     
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  5. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    If you look at the murder and violence statistics in the USA, most of it is secular, such as gang violence, crime, drunk driving and malpractice. The religious contribution is quite low. In first world countries. the nonreligious reasons dominate violence with many of these closer to atheism than religion. There is such thing as the irrational atheist, who is compulsive and not scientific.
     
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  7. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    @wynn --

    I still don't see how your conclusion follows from your premise.
     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Possibly because you believe the italics above.
     
  9. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    @wynn --

    I'm asking you to take me, step by step, through the logic from your premise to your conclusion.
     
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Do you believe these statements:


    1. The violence is perpetrated by people who claim to be religious.

    2. The claims of the perpetrators are to be taken at face value and to be held as a standard of religion.

    3. Religion is what any person who claims to be religious says religion is.

    4. Some religious scriptures instruct the persecution of non-believers. The people who claim to be the heirs of said scriptures, are indeed divinely ordained heirs of said scriptures. Whatever these people do, is sanctioned by the scriptures and God.

    5. A person who claims to be religious, has no political or economical interests.

    6. People make no mistakes.



    -?
     
  11. Arioch Valued Senior Member

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    @wynn --

    No, but those aren't the only conditions which lend for religious violence, unless you're saying that religion is simply politics wrapped up in a pretty package.
     
  12. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    How do you explain that as the defining aspect of conflict (in the sense that one could expect considerably less conflict in the world if was not present)?

    IOW fighting over land is the standard basis of conflict - comes as no surprise to find a (so-called) religious version of it.
     
  13. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    Just anyone is allowed to join a church with no test to faith, or socialbility.
     
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Because God Himself was said to promise them the land and to drive out or kill the people who originally lived there.


    Then we either have to demote the Bible and not consider it religious scripture anymore, or find another explanation for God's promises to His people as far as giving them land and driving out or killing other people are concerned.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I find those six points in 447 to be a good summary to show how violence in the name of religion can be construed as being due to religion.


    And if you don't believe the six points in 447, then you still need to explain why you believe that religion is the cause for violence.
     
  16. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    People are the cause of violence. Religion is the excuse.
     
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    By this logic, the solution would be to get rid of people, in order to ge rid of violence.

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  18. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Violence will always be... Unfortunately, it's even required sometimes.

    Honestly, IMHO, the world doesn't want to be saved. All we can do as individuals is try to be decent compassionate human beings.
     
  19. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    If person's wholesale aren't doing the driving out/killing I guess its more of the latter than the former
     
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    The context of those promises that God made to His people is that indeed, this covenant was made, and God kept to His part, but then the Israelites didn't keep to their part, and the original covenant was annulled, and the Israelites were prophesized to deteriorate. Which is also what happened.


    And then there is that verse I find strange:

    Exodus 33:1-3
    New International Version (NIV)

    1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ 2 I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3 Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.”

    They are stiff-necked and He might destroy them??

    - - -

    What do you think about my two sets of six points for intepreting violence as religiously motivated?
    I tried to sum up reasons for and against.
     
  21. lightgigantic Banned Banned

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    16,330
    1. Still waiting for you to provide some sort of detailed information about buddhist/hindu conflict in Sri Lanka - nothing forthcoming
    2. Still waiting for you to provide some sort of detailed information about Nazi critiques of Jewish Doctrine on the authority of Christian Doctrine (since apparently the holocaust is an example of Christians persecuting Jews .... nevermind that the concentration camps were liberated by -so-called - Christian forces) - nothing forthcoming
    3. Still waiting for you to explain your POV on the question "Would the removal of religion from cultural dialogue translate into less wars/conflict?" - nothing forthcoming

    :shrug:
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  22. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    I find the Bible hard to follow, as the emotions and instructions in it seem to go from one extreme to the other. And I am sure I am not the only one confused by it in this way.


    Consider, for example, Psalm 55:

    Psalm 55
    New International Version (NIV)


    1 Listen to my prayer, O God,
    do not ignore my plea;
    2 hear me and answer me.
    My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
    3 because of what my enemy is saying,
    because of the threats of the wicked;
    for they bring down suffering on me
    and assail me in their anger.

    4 My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen on me.
    5 Fear and trembling have beset me;
    horror has overwhelmed me.
    6 I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.
    7 I would flee far away
    and stay in the desert;[c]
    8 I would hurry to my place of shelter,
    far from the tempest and storm.”

    9 Lord, confuse the wicked, confound their words,
    for I see violence and strife in the city.
    10 Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
    malice and abuse are within it.
    11 Destructive forces are at work in the city;
    threats and lies never leave its streets.

    12 If an enemy were insulting me,
    I could endure it;
    if a foe were rising against me,
    I could hide.
    13 But it is you, a man like myself,
    my companion, my close friend,
    14 with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
    at the house of God,
    as we walked about
    among the worshipers.

    15 Let death take my enemies by surprise;
    let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,
    for evil finds lodging among them.

    16 As for me, I call to God,
    and the LORD saves me.
    17 Evening, morning and noon
    I cry out in distress,
    and he hears my voice.
    18 He rescues me unharmed
    from the battle waged against me,
    even though many oppose me.
    19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
    who does not change—
    he will hear them and humble them,
    because they have no fear of God.

    20 My companion attacks his friends;
    he violates his covenant.
    21 His talk is smooth as butter,
    yet war is in his heart;
    his words are more soothing than oil,
    yet they are drawn swords.

    22 Cast your cares on the LORD
    and he will sustain you;
    he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.
    23 But you, God, will bring down the wicked
    into the pit of decay;
    the bloodthirsty and deceitful
    will not live out half their days.

    But as for me, I trust in you.



    First there is a decided plea to God to be heard,
    then a request that God should "confuse the wicked, confound their words"
    and "Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the realm of the dead, for evil finds lodging among them"
    and concludes with the speaker's declaration of trust in God.


    Why would someone who trusts in God request God to confuse the wicked, to kill them and such?
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2011
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    A hypothetical invisible, illogical supernatural creature living in a hypothetical invisible, illogical supernatural universe, who at random intervals, using his hypothetical unlimited illogical supernatural powers, perturbs the operation of the natural universe, so that its behavior cannot be predicted by theories derived logically from empirical evidence of its past and present behavior, thereby making a mockery of science and returning humanity to the Stone Age.
    Religion is, if nothing else, a group phenomenon. Its fables, its rituals, its chants, all operate at the group level and in fact almost all religions demand frequent group meetings. So although some individuals may claim to define their own religion, from a sociological standpoint religion is what the group says it is, which in turn is usually what their leaders say it is.
    You're committing the common error of taking too narrow a snapshot. If you expand your view you'll see that every few generations, entire religious communities rise up in orgies of unspeakable violence. The death and destruction perpetrated by these religious people during those orgies, and even worse the damage done to civilization itself, far outweighs the good things they do during the lulls. Gang violence, crimes of passion and drunk driving are statistical footnotes compared to:
    • The religious persecutions of entire ethnic groups after Christianity was made the state religion of Rome
    • The spread of Islam by the sword
    • The Crusades
    • The obliteration of two entire New World "heathen" civilizations (Christians kill other Christians but they don't burn their libraries and melt down their art objects)
    • The Inquisition
    • The euphemistically named "Reformation" which was really a hundred years of non-stop war between various Christian sects
    • The thousand years of antisemitism which virtually defined European Christendom
    • The Holocaust in which it culminated
    • The persecution of the Palestinians which is Israel's way of thanking the world for rescuing half of the Jews from the Holocaust
    • Or today's impending Nuclear Holy War among all three major branches of Abrahamism. (So far the Rastafarians have managed to be models of peace and charity, but check back in on them in five hundred years.

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    Considering that religion dominates most human cultures, and considering that belief in the supernatural is an archetype (an instinct we are born with, programmed into our neurons by evolution, either the result of a random mutation passing through a genetic bottleneck or a survival trait from an era whose dangers we can't imagine), it requires tremendous conscious effort for most people to become atheists. (I am a rare exception, raised by atheist parents who never talked about religion.) For an "irrational, compulsive, unscientific" person to make the tremendous intellectual and emotional effort to override his instinct and to reject years of parental and cultural conditioning, in order to become a pariah who has to hide his beliefs from half the people in his life, is probably a rare phenomenon, I would expect that a person who can do that is probably a sociopath since in the absence of tremendous intellectual effort it aligns with other sociopathic behavior.
     

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