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    Awww I feel so bad for the religious who have to put up with the haters. :nopity:
    Gee shucks, life must be so much harder for them because of it.
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    (Original post by StrangeBanana)
    Why?
    Because it gives people hope, strength, faith helps people get through grief, it gives people the fortitude to go on, it provides support for them and can give a sense of purpose and community. And im not talking religion here, I mean faith.

    (Original post by Good bloke)
    He meant Adam Faith, I think. I can't believe he would think it good to believe outlandish claims without credible evidence that they are true.
    The world is full of belief in the intangible. For the most part its harmless and certainly doesnt hurt you.
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    (Original post by driftawaay)
    That's the equivalent of 'Guns don't kill people, it's people who kill people'. Religion is fundamentally wrong because there no evidence that any of it is true.
    The scientific method is an extremely good way of understanding some things but it can not provide you with the answers to everything. You might not be able to prove that religion is true through evidence and reason but I ask you, so what? If I'm building a bridge that needs to support people or if I'm trying to send a person to the moon then my process most certainly needs to be backed up by vigorous evidence and the scientific method but if believing in something that can't be proved gives me happiness, what's "wrong" about that? If someone's a bit happier because they believe there's life after death, that happiness isn't fake or inferior to happiness derived from something that can be rigorously proved, no matter how stupid you might think it is. As long as someone isn't trying to impose those beliefs on others or using those beliefs as an excuse to do something bad, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    And it isn't the equivalent of the gun argument. Guns are killing machines, that's their intrinsic purpose and function. Religion doesn't have any such malign fundamental purpose. But if we're going to be really

    (Original post by driftawaay)
    Living your life according to an ancient, outdated book of rules when you have no evidence that any of it is true is wrong, indoctrinating children to do the same is wrong
    Of course indoctrinating children is wrong, but for the reasons above, there's nothing wrong with the rest of it if it makes people happy.

    (Original post by driftawaay)
    There is no such thing as 'as long as they don't do that to the detriment of others', these indoctrinated people end up in politics and form political parties based on 'Christian values' and then force religion on the entire society and then ban gay marriage because 'God said it is wrong a few thousands years ago'. Religion is the cancer of the human race and needs to be wiped out.
    These people claim that they're basing their parties on Christian values but there are many, many Christians who would vigorously deny that. Scripture can be interpreted in many different ways - sure, some people use it as an excuse to back up their misdoings but many other people get a lot of happiness from it and do many positive things. With all due respect - and I say this as an atheist - I don't really think you properly understand what religion is. You're viewing it as something extremely concrete that you either fully conform to or you don't, but it's much more fluid and complex than that. You're blaming religion for the faults of some fundamentalist idiots who, according to many other followers of the same religion, are contradicting the values of their faith.
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    (Original post by Longshot700)
    Nope. You respect the respectful and disrespect the disrespectful regardless of their race or what god they believe i. That goes for the other way around as well.
    I don't really understand what you're saying. Criticism is an integral part of free speech, the claim that those who do it do it because they're secretly unhappy is blatantly false, else provide evidence for this claim.
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    I don't really understand what you're saying. Criticism is an integral part of free speech, the claim that those who do it do it because they're secretly unhappy is blatantly false, else provide evidence for this claim.
    "unhappy is blatantly false" That is your opinion. There is alot of other problems in the world, rapists, kidnappings, murderers. And yet somebody who prays to god is the bad one. Ridiculous.

    Respect the respectful, disrespect the disrespectful, regardless of their race or religion.

    It's mainly the same childish hate tactics that the religious extremists use "you iz stoopid so u dezerve stoopid treetment" it's just a excuse bullies make to justify themselves instead of learning something called respect.
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    (Original post by Longshot700)
    "unhappy is blatantly false" That is your opinion. There is alot of other problems in the world, rapists, kidnappings, murderers. And yet somebody who prays to god is the bad one. Ridiculous.

    Respect the respectful, disrespect the disrespectful, regardless of their race or religion.
    I'm not saying that whoever prays to God is the bad one, how absurd!

    Bad people are bad, regardless of whether or not they believe in God.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    The scientific method is an extremely good way of understanding some things but it can not provide you with the answers to everything. You might not be able to prove that religion is true through evidence and reason but I ask you, so what? If I'm building a bridge that needs to support people or if I'm trying to send a person to the moon then my process most certainly needs to be backed up by vigorous evidence and the scientific method but if believing in something that can't be proved gives me happiness, what's "wrong" about that? If someone's a bit happier because they believe there's life after death, that happiness isn't fake or inferior to happiness derived from something that can be rigorously proved, no matter how stupid you might think it is. As long as someone isn't trying to impose those beliefs on others or using those beliefs as an excuse to do something bad, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
    The problem isn't with people praying to some God or believing that there is an afterlife. The problem isn't with people believing that a God created the universe, it's religion that is the problem, organized religion. And as I said, there is no such thing as 'as long as someone isn't trying to impose their beliefs on others', religious teachings influence people's morals and people act according to what they think is morally right and people's actions have consequences on society, as I have previously pointed out with the example about politics.

    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    And it isn't the equivalent of the gun argument. Guns are killing machines, that's their intrinsic purpose and function. Religion doesn't have any such malign fundamental purpose. But if we're going to be really
    My point was that you cannot separate religion from people's actions, just like you cannot separate guns from the actions of people who use them. Religion influences religious people's beliefs and therefore their actions. That is what religion is there for. Now, religion's fundamental purpose is to live according to a book that is filled with barbaric teachings and tells you you are allowed to keep slaves and stone people etc.


    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    Of course indoctrinating children is wrong, but for the reasons above, there's nothing wrong with the rest of it if it makes people happy.
    Indoctrinating children is what religious people do and yes, they are wrong to do it.



    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    These people claim that they're basing their parties on Christian values but there are many, many Christians who would vigorously deny that. Scripture can be interpreted in many different ways - sure, some people use it as an excuse to back up their misdoings but many other people get a lot of happiness from it and do many positive things. With all due respect - and I say this as an atheist - I don't really think you properly understand what religion is. You're viewing it as something extremely concrete that you either fully conform to or you don't, but it's much more fluid and complex than that. You're blaming religion for the faults of some fundamentalist idiots who, according to many other followers of the same religion, are contradicting the values of their faith.
    I don't care about the many Christians who would deny that. For example, the Catholic Church is still a sexist and homophobic organization which protects pedophiles and they have millions of supporters around the world, the fact that there are many Christians who don't like the Catholic Church doesn't change the fact that that Church has influenced human history in an extremely negative way and we are still suffering the consequences of their doctrine.

    I don't know what 'positive things' people do with religion, good people don't need religion to do good things. Good peole do good things because they believe that is the right thing to do and they came to that conclusion by way of using their brain, not by reading a book that threatened them that they have to be a 'good' person otherwise they will burn in hell for eternity.

    I am not talking about 'a few fundamentalist idiots', I am talking about your average Pope Francis fan or the average Muslim in the UK, the majority of whom have the following views

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pa...nion-polls.htm



    I love it when people pull the 'you cannot blame Muslims for the wrongdoings of the few suicide bombers', the truth of the matter is nobody thinks Muslims are all suicide bombers, it's just the fact that the majority of Muslims, even in the UK, have extremely problematic religious beliefs which are incompatible with our society, you don't have to be a terrorist to be a fundamentalist idiot.

    Religion has only brought negativity and oppresionto society throughout history and I am just glad that Christianity is declining in Europe but of course now we have to tackle the current evil, Islam.


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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    As long as someone isn't trying to impose those beliefs on others or using those beliefs as an excuse to do something bad, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.
    If that was all there was to it, there wouldn't be anything wrong with it. But it's not, hence the vigorous opposition. Having lost most of their political power, a lot of religious people have now turned to the only other mode they possess: victimhood. To say that religious people are being persecuted in any way when they're told that their views will no longer hold sway over others, that they will not have the right to indoctrinate children (although they still do, at least in the United States and the UK, sadly), that their views, frankly, mean f*ck-all to most people these days is to fool oneself.

    The 'it's only a few bad apples' argument has been overused to within an inch of its life. The bad apples (i.e. the fundamentalists) aren't the only thing that is wrong with religion. Include those who oppose civil liberties, vaccination for children, secular government, freedom of speech and the rule of law, and you're almost certainly looking at more than a few bad apples. Likely a majority, I'd think, although no comprehensive polling has been done on this so I'll have to refrain from making definite statements about it.

    I also think that separating the actions of religious people from their religion's teachings is, in most cases, a mistake. The reason for these crazy interpretations lies directly at the root of religion as an ideology that requires blind faith and not reason. Subscribe to the idea that anything is unquestionable or unchallengeable, and you've taken the first steps towards the poisoned minds of those few bad apples. As Christopher Hitchens rightly pointed out, the problem of religion isn't that it gives bad people an excuse to do bad things, but that it makes otherwise decent people do disgusting things. That is the consequence of blind faith, and the reason why blind faith of any kind, organised religion or not, is dangerous and contemptible and ought to be sidelined into oblivion.
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    (Original post by the bear)
    Actually the love of money is the root of all evil.
    Actually \sqrt {all\   evil} is the root of all evil.
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    (Original post by driftawaay)
    The problem isn't with people praying to some God or believing that there is an afterlife. The problem isn't with people believing that a God created the universe, it's religion that is the problem, organized religion. And as I said, there is no such thing as 'as long as someone isn't trying to impose their beliefs on others', religious teachings influence people's morals and people act according to what they think is morally right and people's actions have consequences on society, as I have previously pointed out with the example about politics.

    My point was that you cannot separate religion from people's actions, just like you cannot separate guns from the actions of people who use them. Religion influences religious people's beliefs and therefore their actions. That is what religion is there for. Now, religion's fundamental purpose is to live according to a book that is filled with barbaric teachings and tells you you are allowed to keep slaves and stone people etc.
    Well then according to that logic we should abolish every piece of media ever produced that has any kind of political, ethical, social or moral message because those also run the risk of changing people's views of what is morally right and thus also have consequences on society, I don't understand why you're drawing this arbitrary boundary between organised religion and all other philosophies. Humans are not robots, if everyone was 100% logical then everybody would reach the exact same conclusions so every single person's personal morals and actions are based on belief, be it organised religion or some other philosophy. And that's making the assumption that you can just group all of organised religion into one entity which is also silly, because there is an absolutely massive difference between, say, Christian fundamentalism and reform Judaism. It's just ignorant to make vast sweeping statements across all organised religion when there's such vast variety within it.

    Indoctrinating children is what religious people do and yes, they are wrong to do it.
    That's just as ridiculous a statement as saying "All Muslims want death to the Jews" or "The entire political left wing wants modern society to collapse in a violent revolution of the proletariat". Some religious nutcases indoctrinate their children, many others don't. Stop making these sweeping statements that are just wrong.

    I don't care about the many Christians who would deny that. For example, the Catholic Church is still a sexist and homophobic organization which protects pedophiles and they have millions of supporters around the world, the fact that there are many Christians who don't like the Catholic Church doesn't change the fact that that Church has influenced human history in an extremely negative way and we are still suffering the consequences of their doctrine.

    I don't know what 'positive things' people do with religion, good people don't need religion to do good things. Good peole do good things because they believe that is the right thing to do and they came to that conclusion by way of using their brain, not by reading a book that threatened them that they have to be a 'good' person otherwise they will burn in hell for eternity.

    And there are many Catholic Christians who are absolutely appalled by some of the things the Catholic Church has done. You do realise that there is more to religion than a central governing body (where it exists) or scripture? To think that the embodiment of Christianity is the work of a single institution in the Vatican is incredibly simplistic (and incorrect).

    You don't know what positive things people do with religion? You might want to visit your local Church, Synagogue or Mosque and look at the incredible array of activities they do. My local Synagogue has drop-in centres for refugees, has a huge social work program working with mentally disabled and elderly people, they have many charity schemes working with vulnerable communities across the world and possibly most critically, it's a friendly community where people feel safe and can come together on a regular basis to do things together. That's a huge amount of good and a perfect example of religion done right. Of course there are plenty of non-religious charities but the fact of the matter is that all of these social work programmes I've described are run and organised by a religious institution and they do a huge amount of good for others, and it brings a lot of happiness to its members.

    And once again, another simplification. Most religious people are not mindless drones who follow their scripture literally and to the word. If you ask somebody from this synagogue why they don't steal or why they help others, they will not point you to a line in the Torah. They will give you an answer along the lines of "because that's what a good human being should do". Religion gives people a very helpful framework to live their life by, a philosophy to think about and explore and a community - this is the reality of religion for most people in developed countries.

    I love it when people pull the 'you cannot blame Muslims for the wrongdoings of the few suicide bombers', the truth of the matter is nobody thinks Muslims are all suicide bombers, it's just the fact that the majority of Muslims, even in the UK, have extremely problematic religious beliefs which are incompatible with our society, you don't have to be a terrorist to be a fundamentalist idiot.
    I read an interesting article recently about how a lot of the conflicts arising between Islam and the West in the 21st Century is because Islam is a (comparatively) modern religion and has not had the time to reform in the way that Christianity and Judaism (for instance) have. Is Islamic fundamentalism a problem? Of course. Does it mean that all religion is fundamentally wrong? Of course not.

    I also haven't heard you mentioning anything about Buddhism or Taoism or Shinto - all of those are religions, yet I don't see you getting upset about that. Once again, you're making blanket statements about religion based on your negative experiences with a few specific types and interpretations.

    Religion has only brought negativity and oppresionto society throughout history and I am just glad that Christianity is declining in Europe but of course now we have to tackle the current evil, Islam.

    On top of what I've already said about modern religion, it's just plain wrong to say that religion has only brought negativity to society. Most anthropologists believe that complex human societies were only able to develop in the first place because of religion and it gave the necessary structure to society throughout most of human history to allow the world to develop to the point it has done. So from a historical perspective, whilst it's true that people have done horrific things in the name of religion to claim that it has only brought negativity is completely incorrect.
    (Original post by Hydeman)
    If that was all there was to it, there wouldn't be anything wrong with it. But it's not, hence the vigorous opposition. Having lost most of their political power, a lot of religious people have now turned to the only other mode they possess: victimhood. To say that religious people are being persecuted in any way when they're told that their views will no longer hold sway over others, that they will not have the right to indoctrinate children (although they still do, at least in the United States and the UK, sadly), that their views, frankly, mean f*ck-all to most people these days is to fool oneself.The 'it's only a few bad apples' argument has been overused to within an inch of its life. The bad apples (i.e. the fundamentalists) aren't the only thing that is wrong with religion. Include those who oppose civil liberties, vaccination for children, secular government, freedom of speech and the rule of law, and you're almost certainly looking at more than a few bad apples. Likely a majority, I'd think, although no comprehensive polling has been done on this so I'll have to refrain from making definite statements about it.I also think that separating the actions of religious people from their religion's teachings is, in most cases, a mistake. The reason for these crazy interpretations lies directly at the root of religion as an ideology that requires blind faith and not reason. Subscribe to the idea that anything is unquestionable or unchallengeable, and you've taken the first steps towards the poisoned minds of those few bad apples. As Christopher Hitchens rightly pointed out, the problem of religion isn't that it gives bad people an excuse to do bad things, but that it makes otherwise decent people do disgusting things. That is the consequence of blind faith, and the reason why blind faith of any kind, organised religion or not, is dangerous and contemptible and ought to be sidelined into oblivion.
    Please read the above because I think it addresses a lot of what you've said. Every single criticism you've made of religion is specific to certain strands, types or interpretations. Even if it were true that the majority of religious people are backwards nutjobs who want everyone to convert back to puritan values (which is nonsense because for starters, you are only addressing abrahamic religions and disregarding many of the other religions that exist in the world), that still wouldn't prove that there's anything fundamentally wrong with religion because there are so many religions and subgroups of religions that don't do any of these things.

    All of the problems you're describing are attributed to religious movements that have not adapted to 21st Century values, i.e. they are living in the past. This does not mean that religion is suddenly intrinsically evil when society's values change, it means that religions need to adapt to these new values - which many, such as reform and liberal strands of Judaism and Christianity, as well as many other religions like Shinto and Taoism, have.

    (Original post by Hydeman)
    As Christopher Hitchens rightly pointed out, the problem of religion isn't that it gives bad people an excuse to do bad things, but that it makes otherwise decent people do disgusting things. That is the consequence of blind faith, and the reason why blind faith of any kind, organised religion or not, is dangerous and contemptible and ought to be sidelined into oblivion
    No, it's the consequence of religious fundamentalism. If you stick to the word of a 2000 year old text, it's no wonder that you're not going to fit in to 21st Century Society. If you accept that your scripture probably shouldn't be taken literally and use some common sense and reason, you will be absolutely fine.
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    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    I'm not saying that whoever prays to God is the bad one, how absurd!

    Bad people are bad, regardless of whether or not they believe in God.
    Exactly so take it out on the bad person himself/ herself, truth is they use their religion as a shield.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    Well then according to that logic we should abolish every piece of media ever produced that has any kind of political, ethical, social or moral message because those also run the risk of changing people's views of what is morally right and thus also have consequences on society.


    Well that made no sense...


    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    I don't understand why you're drawing this arbitrary boundary between organised religion and all other philosophies.

    As I have said before, most people who live according to whatever philosophy they do because they came to the conclusion that that is a right way of looking at things and they reached that conclusion by using their brain. Religion tells you you aren't allowed to use your brain, you just have to do what's written in an ancient book because God told you it's mandatory.

    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    And that's making the assumption that you can just group all of organised religion into one entity which is also silly, because there is an absolutely massive difference between, say, Christian fundamentalism and reform Judaism. It's just ignorant to make vast sweeping statements across all organised religion when there's such vast variety within it.

    Yes, organized religion is one entity. It is a collection of ancient books. Nobody knows who the authors of these books were or whether any of it is true. It is insane to base your morality on a book and live your whole life in the belief that it is a 100% true when you don't even know who wrote it. Blind faith equals stupidity and that is against all rational thinking and science.



    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    That's just as ridiculous a statement as saying "All Muslims want death to the Jews" or "The entire political left wing wants modern society to collapse in a violent revolution of the proletariat". Some religious nutcases indoctrinate their children, many others don't. Stop making these sweeping statements that are just wrong.

    Religious people teach their children from the day they are born that God exists and teach that that God created the Earth etc. That's why half of America still believes in creationism instead of evolution, because they were indoctrinated. It is not just 'religious nutcases' that indoctrinate children.



    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    You don't know what positive things people do with religion? You might want to visit your local Church, Synagogue or Mosque and look at the incredible array of activities they do. My local Synagogue has drop-in centres for refugees, has a huge social work program working with mentally disabled and elderly people, they have many charity schemes working with vulnerable communities across the world and possibly most critically, it's a friendly community where people feel safe and can come together on a regular basis to do things together. That's a huge amount of good and a perfect example of religion done right. Of course there are plenty of non-religious charities but the fact of the matter is that all of these social work programmes I've described are run and organised by a religious institution and they do a huge amount of good for others, and it brings a lot of happiness to its members.

    As I have said before, some people are genuinly good and want to help people because they think it is the right thing to do, not because they have been threatened with hell. Mentally disabled and elderly people would still be supported if religion did not exist, I don't see how some church helping people is relevant to this discussion at all.


    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    I read an interesting article recently about how a lot of the conflicts arising between Islam and the West in the 21st Century is because Islam is a (comparatively) modern religion and has not had the time to reform in the way that Christianity and Judaism (for instance) have. Is Islamic fundamentalism a problem? Of course. Does it mean that all religion is fundamentally wrong? Of course not.
    Yes, it does. Believing that some random book was written by a fairy above without any evidence is wrong, any belief that is based on superstition or not based on rational thinking, is wrong. It is the root of all evil and wrongdoing.


    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    I also haven't heard you mentioning anything about Buddhism or Taoism or Shinto - all of those are religions, yet I don't see you getting upset about that. Once again, you're making blanket statements about religion based on your negative experiences with a few specific types and interpretations.
    Oh sorry that I'm not going to sit here for hours and hours on end and list every single religion, especially ones which have no relevancy on my side of the world.

    Don't quote me, I will not read it. I am done here.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    And it isn't the equivalent of the gun argument. Guns are killing machines, that's their intrinsic purpose and function. Religion doesn't have any such malign fundamental purpose. But if we're going to be really .
    On the contrary, religions were invented to allow ruling elites to control (or at least strongly influence) the behaviour and loyalty of the masses, under the guise of being a divine revelation. I'd say that was malevolent and underhand, wouldn't you?
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    (Original post by driftawaay)
    Don't quote me, I will not read it. I am done here.
    How mature. Just on the off chance you do read this, I'd like to pick up on this:

    As I have said before, most people who live according to whatever philosophy they do because they came to the conclusion that that is a right way of looking at things and they reached that conclusion by using their brain. Religion tells you you aren't allowed to use your brain, you just have to do what's written in an ancient book because God told you it's mandatory.
    You have just clearly demonstrated that you do not understand what religion is. It is absolutely, completely wrong to claim that "Religion tells you you aren't allowed to use your brain, you just have to do what's written in an ancient book". You are literally making stuff up. I do not understand why you are so angry but for heaven's sake, if you care the slightest bit about what you're saying, at least stop fabricating things and talking about things you genuinely do not know anything about.

    (Original post by Good bloke)
    On the contrary, religions were invented to allow ruling elites to control (or at least strongly influence) the behaviour and loyalty of the masses, under the guise of being a divine revelation. I'd say that was malevolent and underhand, wouldn't you?
    People love repeating this but there's no evidence that it's the case. Religion certainly has been exploited by people to control others but there's no evidence that it was founded to do so and regardless, the people I see in my local religious communities aren't being exploited or controlled by their Rabbis. They're happy people who enjoy being part of a constructive and friendly community.
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    Atheists are vile.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    Please read the above because I think it addresses a lot of what you've said. Every single criticism you've made of religion is specific to certain strands, types or interpretations. Even if it were true that the majority of religious people are backwards nutjobs who want everyone to convert back to puritan values (which is nonsense because for starters, you are only addressing abrahamic religions and disregarding many of the other religions that exist in the world), that still wouldn't prove that there's anything fundamentally wrong with religion because there are so many religions and subgroups of religions that don't do any of these things.
    You normally make a lot of sense, Plagioclase, which is why I'm somewhat surprised to read the kind of stuff you're coming out with on this thread.

    Bold bit: So blind, unchallengeable belief is peculiar to only certain strands, types or interpretations? I don't think so. Religion is, by definition, faith without evidence or reason. Just because some people cherry-pick and are nicer people as a result doesn't mean that the religion itself is benign.

    I also don't see what's nonsense about addressing primarily Abrahamic religions, given that they account for more than half the world's population among themselves. Their smaller rivals, including a lot of the Eastern religions, aren't that much better because they, too, suffer the failing of demanding blind faith from their followers because the strength of their faith is peddled as a measure of the strength of their relationship with their god(s). My central criticism is directed at faith without evidence, and, of that, every religion is guilty (note: religion, not religious people). That is what is fundamentally wrong with religion in my view, and it applies to all religions, not just Abrahamic ones.

    All of the problems you're describing are attributed to religious movements that have not adapted to 21st Century values, i.e. they are living in the past. This does not mean that religion is suddenly intrinsically evil when society's values change, it means that religions need to adapt to these new values - which many, such as reform and liberal strands of Judaism and Christianity, as well as many other religions like Shinto and Taoism, have.
    You've misunderstood my point: I have rightly blamed religion for being responsible for a lot of evil, but I've never said that it's intrinsically evil. It's intrinsically flawed in that it requires its followers to surrender their critical faculties with respect to their religions, sure, but not all religion is intrinsically evil, and I don't see how I've implied otherwise, if at all.

    For somebody who insists on people not making sweeping generalisations, you seem to make quite a few of your own when you say that 'all of the problems you're describing' or 'all of your criticisms' are only applicable to certain kinds of religion. They're not. I suggest you re-read my previous post if this one doesn't make that clear.

    No, it's the consequence of religious fundamentalism. If you stick to the word of a 2000 year old text, it's no wonder that you're not going to fit in to 21st Century Society. If you accept that your scripture probably shouldn't be taken literally and use some common sense and reason, you will be absolutely fine.
    What nonsense. Of course it's the consequence of blind faith. If you hold anything as unquestionable truth -- that's what blind faith is, don't try to deny it -- you can justify just about anything. An example of this would be the cartoons of Muhammad that, when drawn, never fail to incite riots. Why do the people who partake in these riots do so? Because they have it in their heads that Muhammad cannot be drawn, even in a flattering light. You cannot change this view of theirs and, for this, they're willing to riot in the streets and kill people -- it's all justified in their minds because they're defending what is unquestionable truth to them. When people are beyond reason on any matter, all sorts of ugly things are possible. Rationalise it any way you like, but that is just the way it is.

    Your proposed solution of retaining religion in the hope that people will use some common sense (I won't even mention reason -- that's contrary to what faith is about) is no solution at all. The solution is to call out religion for what it is: unprovable nonsense. If that offends someone, so be it. I would rather somebody be offended than somebody be killed.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    there's no evidence that it was founded to do so
    Is the near universal veneration of the founder of every religion by its followers not some kind of hint to you? Muhammad, Jesus, the Buddha -- they're all venerated quite highly in their respective religions. It's strange how cults of personality just seem to grow around these people, isn't it? Granted, that may not stand up in court but, as you said in a previous post, common sense ought to be used in a few cases.

    and regardless, the people I see in my local religious communities aren't being exploited or controlled by their Rabbis. They're happy people who enjoy being part of a constructive and friendly community.
    Reasoning by anecdote. You can hardly take religion as it operates in 21st century Britain and use that as proof that it definitely wasn't created to control people. Religion is a lot more tame these days than in the past and you're making the fundamental mistake of judging the average follower of a religion by looking at them when they've lost all their power. Look at what the average follower of a religion did/believed when they had some political power and you should be able to see a trend emerge, I think.
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    Bold bit: So blind, unchallengeable belief is peculiar to only certain strands, types or interpretations? I don't think so. Religion is, by definition, faith without evidence or reason. Just because some people cherry-pick and are nicer people as a result doesn't mean that the religion itself is benign.

    I also don't see what's nonsense about addressing primarily Abrahamic religions, given that they account for more than half the world's population among themselves. Their smaller rivals, including a lot of the Eastern religions, aren't that much better because they, too, suffer the failing of demanding blind faith from their followers because the strength of their faith is peddled as a measure of the strength of their relationship with their god(s). My central criticism is directed at faith without evidence, and, of that, every religion is guilty (note: religion, not religious people). That is what is fundamentally wrong with religion in my view, and it applies to all religions, not just Abrahamic ones.
    My computer crashed whilst I was replying so I'll try and rewrite most of it.

    A serious question: have you ever actually been part of a religious community? Because with all due respect, just like driftawaay, you are writing things that you would know are wrong if you had ever actually been in a religious community. There is a massive difference between having faith in a set a values and a higher being, and having faith that a certain scripture is the literal word of God. Modern progressive religious communities that in your words "Cherry-pick" are not "cheating", nor are they some inferior form of religion. They are simply using the brains, realising that some 2000 year old traditions contradict modern values since we know better now, and disregard some of those traditions as a consequence. They are still very much religious, the difference is that they have adapted with the times, something that major religions have done many times throughout history. Faith is not a black and white thing - you can have faith whilst not believing the word of your scripture literally.

    Similarly, modern religious progressives do are more than capable of thinking rationally and indeed many excellent scientists and engineers are religious - because they are able to realise that there are certain questions that science can answer, and certain questions that religion can provide a more satisfactory answer to. There isn't any contradiction here. Religion is not the abolishment of all reason and common sense, that is an incredibly simplistic and wrong view of religion.

    The reason why it's wrong to simply address abrahamic religion is because you can't make grand sweeping statements about religion as a whole simply by talking about a few types. Even if the majority were exploiting it for negative reasons (which isn't true), the simple fact that some people can make a lot of good of it shows that it's not fundamentally bad. I don't see why this is so difficult to understand.

    It's intrinsically flawed in that it requires its followers to surrender their critical faculties with respect to their religions, sure, but not all religion is intrinsically evil, and I don't see how I've implied otherwise, if at all.

    No, it doesn't. If you actually went into my local synagogue, for instance, you'd see many sessions where people examine their scriptures very critically and evaluate it with respect to their lives and things that are going on in the world. If you like, you can view that as literature analysis - and it is extremely meaningful to these people. There are some extremely intelligent people in the field of theology. And as I've already stated, simply having faith is not the same thing as the abandonment of reason. Believing something does not mean you're incapable of using reason where it's necessary.

    For somebody who insists on people not making sweeping generalisations, you seem to make quite a few of your own when you say that 'all of the problems you're describing' or 'all of your criticisms' are only applicable to certain kinds of religion. They're not. I suggest you re-read my previous post if this one doesn't make that clear.
    The only thing you've written about that applies to all religions is the existence of faith. And as I hope I've made very clear, having faith in some things is absolutely not the same thing as the abandonment of reason. I have plenty of beliefs that I can't prove and that doesn't stop me from making rational decisions for matters that require reason and logic.

    Is the near universal veneration of the founder of every religion by its followers not some kind of hint to you? Muhammad, Jesus, the Buddha -- they're all venerated quite highly in their respective religions. It's strange how cults of personality just seem to grow around these people, isn't it? Granted, that may not stand up in court but, as you said in a previous post, common sense ought to be used in a few cases.
    Firstly, this feature is not common to all religions. Granted, it's common to most of the most popular religions but again, this isn't something intrinsic to religion. And I don't agree that this is a very good argument anyway. Why does a central figure mean that the religion was founded to control people? All big ideas or sociopolitical movements have symbols that people can relate to, having a human at the centre of a religion is something completely natural and expected.

    Religion is a lot more tame these days than in the past and you're making the fundamental mistake of judging the average follower of a religion by looking at them when they've lost all their power
    Again, this really irritating idea that liberal forms of religion are cheating! They're not! Adapting your faith to modern society is a strength, not a weakness. You attack religions when they don't adapt to modern values and you conveniently act as if they're no longer real religions when they do. There's nothing less real about liberal religions, they're just as true as any other religious interpretation. You are making that judgement because you're convinced that religion is evil.
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    (Original post by Plagioclase)
    My computer crashed whilst I was replying so I'll try and rewrite most of it.

    A serious question: have you ever actually been part of a religious community? Because with all due respect, just like driftawaay, you are writing things that you would know are wrong if you had ever actually been in a religious community. There is a massive difference between having faith in a set a values and a higher being, and having faith that a certain scripture is the literal word of God. Modern progressive religious communities that in your words "Cherry-pick" are not "cheating", nor are they some inferior form of religion. They are simply using the brains, realising that some 2000 year old traditions contradict modern values since we know better now, and disregard some of those traditions as a consequence. They are still very much religious, the difference is that they have adapted with the times, something that major religions have done many times throughout history. Faith is not a black and white thing - you can have faith whilst not believing the word of your scripture literally.

    Similarly, modern religious progressives do are more than capable of thinking rationally and indeed many excellent scientists and engineers are religious - because they are able to realise that there are certain questions that science can answer, and certain questions that religion can provide a more satisfactory answer to. There isn't any contradiction here. Religion is not the abolishment of all reason and common sense, that is an incredibly simplistic and wrong view of religion.

    The reason why it's wrong to simply address abrahamic religion is because you can't make grand sweeping statements about religion as a whole simply by talking about a few types. Even if the majority were exploiting it for negative reasons (which isn't true), the simple fact that some people can make a lot of good of it shows that it's not fundamentally bad. I don't see why this is so difficult to understand.




    No, it doesn't. If you actually went into my local synagogue, for instance, you'd see many sessions where people examine their scriptures very critically and evaluate it with respect to their lives and things that are going on in the world. If you like, you can view that as literature analysis - and it is extremely meaningful to these people. There are some extremely intelligent people in the field of theology. And as I've already stated, simply having faith is not the same thing as the abandonment of reason. Believing something does not mean you're incapable of using reason where it's necessary.



    The only thing you've written about that applies to all religions is the existence of faith. And as I hope I've made very clear, having faith in some things is absolutely not the same thing as the abandonment of reason. I have plenty of beliefs that I can't prove and that doesn't stop me from making rational decisions for matters that require reason and logic.



    Firstly, this feature is not common to all religions. Granted, it's common to most of the most popular religions but again, this isn't something intrinsic to religion. And I don't agree that this is a very good argument anyway. Why does a central figure mean that the religion was founded to control people? All big ideas or sociopolitical movements have symbols that people can relate to, having a human at the centre of a religion is something completely natural and expected.



    Again, this really irritating idea that liberal forms of religion are cheating! They're not! Adapting your faith to modern society is a strength, not a weakness.

    omg what is this essay, i've already said i am not reading you. stop quoting/mentioning me and clogging up my notifications, thanks
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    (Original post by 010197)
    Actually money is the root of all evil
    No wonder The Roman Catholic Church has loads of them and God always asks for more.

    They want to suck away all the evil from us.
 
 
 
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