GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

The Root of all Evil : The God Delusion

POSTED BY: CALHOUN
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 20:12
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Tuesday, May 22, 2007 7:44 PM

CALHOUN


The subject title is the title of an excellent documentary I recently watched on TV made by a professor of Oxford university. It is available in torrent form with a little looking.

Anyone else see this? Opinions?


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Tuesday, May 22, 2007 8:00 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


I’ve not read his book or seen the documentary. I’m aware of what it is about, but I don’t know what particular theory Dawkins takes on the issue.

I will say this on the general idea, as I understand it. Some people within secularist circles have long held the theory that religion is the cause of much or most violence in the world. This is, I think, a misguided assertion. Blaming religion is simply a convenient witch to burn for secularists. In reality, the whole idea makes no sense. If religion was really the cause of violence, it is almost hard to imagine that any of us are alive today or could function in society at all, given the prevalence of religion in our culture. Yet the vast majority of religious individuals are not only not violence but good and decent people. And many very religious communities, such as the Amish, live in far greater peace then modern secular society. Furthermore, it ignores the violence perpetrated in the name of atheistic philosophies, such as Communism and Fascism, which far exceeds the violence perpetrated in the name of religion. Once again I would point out that I’m not familiar with Dawkins’s particular theories on this matter, but as per the general idea, I think it’s ludicrous.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007 8:18 PM

RIVER6213


As buffy 'versed as it may sound. It comes down to...it's all about power, and nothing more.

-River



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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:27 AM

MEG1448


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
I’ve not read his book or seen the documentary. I’m aware of what it is about, but I don’t know what particular theory Dawkins takes on the issue.

I will say this on the general idea, as I understand it. Some people within secularist circles have long held the theory that religion is the cause of much or most violence in the world. This is, I think, a misguided assertion. Blaming religion is simply a convenient witch to burn for secularists. In reality, the whole idea makes no sense. If religion was really the cause of violence, it is almost hard to imagine that any of us are alive today or could function in society at all, given the prevalence of religion in our culture. Yet the vast majority of religious individuals are not only not violence but good and decent people. And many very religious communities, such as the Amish, live in far greater peace then modern secular society. Furthermore, it ignores the violence perpetrated in the name of atheistic philosophies, such as Communism and Fascism, which far exceeds the violence perpetrated in the name of religion. Once again I would point out that I’m not familiar with Dawkins’s particular theories on this matter, but as per the general idea, I think it’s ludicrous.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero



Ludicrous? Really? It's been said before but I'll say it again....more people have died in the name of god than any other. Hundreds of millions have been the victims of religious persecution. The reason why we're still around is because we keep repopulating and because there are, thankfully, many rational people around. Religious extremists are really the problem. Not only do they believe whole-heartedly that what they preach is the only right way, some of them also wield enormous power. Unfortunately, they tend to give most religious people a bad name. To say that the violence perpetrated by atheists outweighs the violence perpetrated by people of faith is completely false and, well, fairly ridiculous. Atheists make up the vast minority of most cultures.

"Give me religion and a lobotomy."
Beulah Land-Tori Amos

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:56 AM

LEADB


I have to agree with River; the violence is about power. Religion can be used by the power hungery to get folks to do things they might not otherwise. That does not prove religion is wrong, per se. It proves that folks will take routes to power, then use the tools available to them.

To some extent this is difference between religion and -organized- religion. It is the organization of religion which makes it vulnerable to being abused. On the other hand, it is natural for folks who follow a similar mindset to organize. So, chicken egg puzzle anyone?

I should add I'm a firm believer in the seperation of church and state; it's bad enough for folks to be able to seize power on one side, they shouldn't get the other side "for free."

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:03 AM

CLJOHNSTON108


"Sadistic crap legitimized by florid prose. Tell me you're not a fan."
--Simon to Book, War Stories

Love that!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:23 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
Ludicrous? Really? It's been said before but I'll say it again....more people have died in the name of god than any other. Hundreds of millions have been the victims of religious persecution. The reason why we're still around is because we keep repopulating and because there are, thankfully, many rational people around. Religious extremists are really the problem. Not only do they believe whole-heartedly that what they preach is the only right way, some of them also wield enormous power. Unfortunately, they tend to give most religious people a bad name. To say that the violence perpetrated by atheists outweighs the violence perpetrated by people of faith is completely false and, well, fairly ridiculous. Atheists make up the vast minority of most cultures.



But three of the most vicious dictators of the 20ths century--Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot--slaughtered millions, and not in the name of religion. Hitler even based his genocide on pseudo-scientific eugenics theories. So religion doesn't have a monopoly on violence.

I think the previous posters are right: humans want power and they'll use whatever means they have at their disposal, including religion. Doesn't make religion bad as such, it just means that religion (like nationalism or science) can be twisted into a rationale for violence.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 3:45 AM

TINADOLL


*sigh*

Is every topic relating to Christianity on this site going to be a bating tactic for a fight?

I must say- If you guys don't believe in God or Christ why keep talking about it?

Scorpion:

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:02 AM

CAUSAL


Because it's an interesting subject? Besides, if you think there've been fights in these last few religion threads, you should check our RWED sometime. We're positively tame by comparison. And I hope you weren't accusing me of baiting anybody for a fight. The person I responded to asserted that religion is the primary source of violence. I merely pointed out three instances of massive violence that were not undertaken in the name of religion. That's hardly baiting anyone for a fight.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:07 AM

TINADOLL


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Because it's an interesting subject? Besides, if you think there've been fights in these last few religion threads, you should check our RWED sometime. We're positively tame by comparison. And I hope you weren't accusing me of baiting anybody for a fight. The person I responded to asserted that religion is the primary source of violence. I merely pointed out three instances of massive violence that were not undertaken in the name of religion. That's hardly baiting anyone for a fight.



I meant the title of this topic.. God Delusion?

Also the tone you just took when i mentioned the possible baiting- hostile? Why?

I agree that Religion is used to do lots of terrible things and the examples in your post against that were great. I agree with your post,my post wasn't in repsonse to your post it was responding to the original poster.

But as a practising Christian i sense a general hostility toward me and mine. And thats not kosher.All religions have thier bad eggs. Don't call me delusional just because i choose to believe in something that you don't.

Not all religious people are bad. Not all non religious people are good.



Scorpion:

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:19 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


The title of this thread was not invented by the author of the thread. The author of this thread should have posted a link or cited some source. It is the name of a documentary, which seeks (to my understanding) to justify in some way the position that religion is root of all evil. It seems to have become somewhat of a fad these days to make documentaries that are unnecessarily or inappropriately critical of religion, and in my opinion is indicative of a very religious intolerant attitude sweeping through our culture right now.

I’m sure both Causal and I share your frustration in this matter. Causal is not a poster who has ever demonstrated a desire to generalize or ridicule people for their religion or anything else really and typically has some very well thought out and informed posts that are worth reading and taking seriously.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:26 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
Ludicrous? Really? It's been said before but I'll say it again....more people have died in the name of god than any other. Hundreds of millions have been the victims of religious persecution. The reason why we're still around is because we keep repopulating and because there are, thankfully, many rational people around. Religious extremists are really the problem. Not only do they believe whole-heartedly that what they preach is the only right way, some of them also wield enormous power. Unfortunately, they tend to give most religious people a bad name. To say that the violence perpetrated by atheists outweighs the violence perpetrated by people of faith is completely false and, well, fairly ridiculous. Atheists make up the vast minority of most cultures.



I'd like to see your sources on the "hundreds of millions" statistic.

I'd also like to see your sources on the notion that atheists are in the majority. Most cultural studies I've seen assert just the opposite. For instance, the CIA World Factbook ( https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html) lists the percentage of Americans claiming no religion at all as 10%. And according to a 2002 Pew Research Poll ( http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html), only 1% of respondents claimed to be atheists! Hardly the majority you claim.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:27 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Tinadoll:
I meant the title of this topic.. God Delusion?



The God Delusion is the title of a book by Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins. Dawkins' central assertion is that religion is a destructive force in the world that ought to be rooted out (he has, I believe, suggested, among other things that religious educators should be removed from the classroom and that the state ought to remove children from religious homes).

http://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618680004/ref=p
d_bbs_sr_1/103-7753046-6183800?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179929644&sr=8-1


Quote:

Also the tone you just took when i mentioned the possible baiting- hostile? Why?



With all due respect, I think you may be slightly oversensitive. There is no "tone" in white words on a black background--there is only the text and what the text says. "Tone" comes from interpretation. I wasn't being hostile at all, just trying to answer the question of why we would want to discuss this topic.

Quote:

But as a practising Christian i sense a general hostility toward me and mine. And thats not kosher.All religions have thier bad eggs.



Well, as a practicing Christian myself, I have to agree that I have, at various times, felt the same sort of hostility you describe. But again, with reference to tone, I can't be sure how much is me being overly sensitive and how much is genuine antipathy. But then again, when you hear someone say they'd enjoy watching Christians being burned at the stake (which was said on these boards, if you can believe it), it's pretty clear that there's some hostility.

Quote:

Don't call me delusional just because i choose to believe in something that you don't.



I'm not calling you delusional, and I don't think that anyone else here is. That's just the title of the documentary that Calhoun saw.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:46 AM

TINADOLL


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
The title of this thread was not invented by the author of the thread. The author of this thread should have posted a link or cited some source. It is the name of a documentary, which seeks (to my understanding) to justify in some way the position that religion is root of all evil. It seems to have become somewhat of a fad these days to make documentaries that are unnecessarily or inappropriately critical of religion, and in my opinion is indicative of a very religious intolerant attitude sweeping through out culture right now.

I’m sure both Causal and I share your frustration in this matter. Causal is not a poster who has ever demonstrated a desire to generalize or ridicule people for their religion or anything else really and typically has some very well thought out and informed posts that are worth reading and taking seriously.



Its rather unsettling to think that a nation of free people,with free thinkers who choose to practice whatever religion they want would support a movement like this is just perhaps preposturous. But then again- i have seen bigotry and closemindedness in the name of religion.

And that last thought- I am not here to bash anyone and this is only the second "religion" thread i have been a part of-so i'll take your word for it.

Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Quote:

Originally posted by Tinadoll:
Quote:

... I meant the title of this topic.. God Delusion?


The God Delusion is the title of a book by Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins. Dawkins' central assertion is that religion is a destructive force in the world that ought to be rooted out (he has, I believe, suggested, among other things that religious educators should be removed from the classroom and that the state ought to remove children from religious homes).

http://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618680004/ref=p
d_bbs_sr_1/103-7753046-6183800?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179929644&sr=8-1
]

I saw that. I have no interest in reading it.Sounds like hostility in the highest form

Quote:

Quote:

Also the tone you just took when i mentioned the possible baiting- hostile? Why?



With all due respect, I think you may be slightly oversensitive. There is no "tone" in white words on a black background--there is only the text and what the text says. "Tone" comes from interpretation. I wasn't being hostile at all, just trying to answer the question of why we would want to discuss this topic. I could well level the accusation of hostility at you given the fight-baiting remark that you made, but I didn't want to do that--that's why I made the comments that I did.



I,of course, was not refering to you as i said before- but to the original post.You can sense a tone from reading anything-and it would be different to anyone. I still have bad feelings from the last "religion" thread i was in.
It was said:
Quote:

asking questions like this and saying only devout believers should answer is going to get you a scewed opinion


makes me wanna GRRR ARRR
Quote:

...
Quote:

But as a practising Christian i sense a general hostility toward me and mine. And thats not kosher.All religions have thier bad eggs.



Well, as a practicing Christian myself, I have to agree that I have, at various times, felt the same sort of hostility you describe. But again, with reference to tone, I can't be sure how much is me being overly sensitive and how much is genuine antipathy. But then again, when you hear someone say they'd enjoy watching Christians being burned at the stake (which was said on these boards, if you can believe it), it's pretty clear that there's some hostility.



I have seen its pretty much one sided too. People are just looking for an agrument
Quote:

...
Quote:

.
Quote:

Don't call me delusional just because i choose to believe in something that you don't.



I'm not calling you delusional, and I don't think that anyone else here is. That's just the title of the documentary that Calhoun saw.

..




Which is what i was refering to.

Scorpion:

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:49 AM

KHYRON


I propose the admins move this thread to RWED. How can we discuss this topic meaningfully if we aren't allowed to throw personal abuse at each other!?

Seriously though, I'm an atheist and for the most part I like Dawkins, but I agree with everything Finn and Causal have said in this thread so far. While it's good that people like Dawkins are making people ask questions about the role of religion in general and their personal faith in particular, something that many of them may not have done before, he does take it a bit too far sometimes. Saying that religion is the root of all evil is just silly.



Questions are a burden to others. Answers are prison for oneself.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:05 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Khyron:
I propose the admins move this thread to RWED. How can we discuss this topic meaningfully if we aren't allowed to throw personal abuse at each other!?



Yeah! I hardly know what to do with myself without the vitriol and ad hominems that I've become so accustomed to.

Quote:

Seriously though, I'm an atheist and for the most part I like Dawkins, but I agree with everything Finn and Causal have said in this thread so far. While it's good that people like Dawkins are making people ask questions about the role of religion in general and their personal faith in particular, something that many of them may not have done before, he does take it a bit too far sometimes. Saying that religion is the root of all evil is just silly.



You should check out Marilynne Robinson's review of The God Delusion in the December 2006 Harper's (available here: http://darwiniana.com/2006/10/23/marilynne-robinson-on-dawkins/). It's a long read, but quite good. She takes him to task on any number of issues.

I agree that raising questions and prompting thinking and discussion is a good thing--I've been really stimulated by many of the discussions we've had on the boards lately (and I for one hope we continue to do these in General Discussions, as they seem slightly more civil).

I'd be curious to know, Khyron, what you make of the recent spate of books by folks like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens. I don't mind going toe-to-toe (intellectually) with atheists over issues concerning the philosophy of religion, because at the end of the day I find that most atheists have thought out their position well and are able to argue it coherently. In addition, many atheists have enough respect for argumentation that even if they disagree with the theistic perspective, they can at least respect that good, solid arguments can be advanced for theistic positions. So while atheists and I may not agree on the question of the existence of a deity, we can, at least, shake hands at the end of an argument and order a round of beers. Not so Dawkins and his crew. They seem to be arguing that religious belief is not only factually incorrect, but dangerous, and that religion should not be afforded tolerance from "progressive" cultures (which I find curious, because one of Dawkins' main criticisms of religion is its intolerance). As an atheist, what do you make of Dawkins and his fellows?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 5:51 AM

FOLLOWMAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
Atheists make up the vast minority of most cultures.





I'd also like to see your sources on the notion that atheists are in the majority.



And I'd like to gently point out that minority was the word used.

To join us go here: http://www.serenitymovie.org/browncoats/forums/index.php?showtopic=870
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:22 AM

CAUSAL


Aw, crap! Thanks for the catch, FM! That makes the post make more sense.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:26 AM

FOLLOWMAL

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:31 AM

COZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:
And I'd like to gently point out that minority was the word used.



I've no clue as to the statistical representation of minorities relative to disbelief in some God or other. Count me amongst that minority, with the common caveat that I hold no disrespect toward those who are certain that there is God, and that God has a plan that mayhaps only incidentally involves all of us.

I've met a lot of people who were leading troubled lives, running the gamut of childhood abuses to mere lack of self-confidence, yet have changed their approaches to living this life. I think it's reasonable to assume that we all have met and/or have been such people. A lot of people who have, um, re-invented themselves, or improved themselves via religious belief. In most cases, and I think this is largely due to where I live (Western Hemishpere, northwards), it is through the acceptance of "God" through Jesus Christ as their saviour, ergo Christianity. A minority of others have saved themselves from eternal hoplessness via Buddha and the sublime acceptance of reincarnation inherent with that. And a very few of my friends and acquaintances have found workable redemptions via pagan and Wiccan methodologies, and I luvs those nutters too. In the end, all I can say for myself is that I, too, have experienced horrific troubles, just like anyone else has, and come through them to become a rather happy person, without the knowing assistance of a higher power such as God. Faith in my ownself, eh?

My opinion is that if God is a delusion, then that's alright by me, so long as it (It?), the concept, works as a tool to help people to improve their circumstances. Sorta in the same way that Newtonian physics is provably wrong at quantum levels, but works well enough as a tool to build modern conveniences and spaceships.

I don't believe in God, which, if I'm wrong, makes me delusional, eh? And how ironic would that be? Neither do I believe that religions are inherently resposible for all of humankind's ills, beyond the fact that religions have been used as tools for motivitaing large numbers of people toward accepting warfare (as a for instance), or dulling them to the realities of greedy behaviour by a select powerful few (Marx's opiate of the masses, as it were). I do, however, believe in myself, and that's a gorram good start.

Which begs the question: why am I drawn to these religiosity threads, eh? Am I looking for some form of salvation? Answer: beats the hell oughta me!





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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:33 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Tinadoll:
I have seen its pretty much one sided too. People are just looking for an agrument.



Well, I think that's true of some people on the boards (and maybe even some people in this very discussion). But I'm not sure that this is completely true. Take Khyron and I, for instance. I'm a theist, he's an atheist. But if he and I were to talk about the question of God's existence, it would be to have a fight, but to have a discussion (a philosophical argument, not an emotional one). I've only really seen one post on here that I would consider hostile--we seem to be behaving ourselves fairly well to this point. Perhaps we just want to talk about it.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:34 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by FollowMal:

Y/W

*bows respectfully*



Oh, stop that, cutey pants. How can I keep my game face on with you being all adorable?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 6:40 AM

FOLLOWMAL

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:27 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Hitler even based his genocide on pseudo-scientific eugenics theories.

The Nazis were supported by the Catholics. The Nazi war-machine could not have functioned without them.

Hitler in his speeches spoke about removing the 'Jew' so a 'Christian' empire could flourish.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:41 AM

RIVERISMYGODDESS


I am not reading any of the posts, I just had this pop into my mind when I saw the title of the thread and thought I would share it with y'all.

Firstly, as we all know, time is money. Also, women are evil. Thirdly, we know that women take time and money to keep happy. Substituting in and simplifying yields:

Time = Money

Women = Evil

Women = Time * Money = Money^2 = Evil

Taking the square root of both sides, we get

Money = sqrt(Evil). :)

~jimi

any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with

It was Sassy-induced bulemia, gagging herself for no other reason than to look just like a Sassy cover girl.
It was Sassy-induced bulemia, she would GAG and SPIT and PUKE and BLEED her way into a perfect little world.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:44 AM

DEEPGIRL187


Religion isn't to blame for most of the world's violence; humans are to blame for most of the world's violence.

See how I summed that up there?

*************************************************

"If you want to win a war, you must serve no master but your ambition."


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 7:45 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Hitler even based his genocide on pseudo-scientific eugenics theories.

The Nazis were supported by the Catholics. The Nazi war-machine could not have functioned without them.

Hitler in his speeches spoke about removing the 'Jew' so a 'Christian' empire could flourish.



Ah, the RWE gang rolls in to disrupt our nice civil discussion.

Hitler killed Jews because of his understanding of nationalism and Social Darwinism, with a little eugenics thrown in to boot. He didn't kill them because as a "Christian" it was his duty to kill Jews. He killed them because he didn't want to see his precious "Aryan" race mongrelized by a nation with no roots and no home. Look at the Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda. They cast the struggle as Aryan vs. Jew, not Christian vs. Jew. Hitler really believed that killing off the Jews would be his service to all mankind, because on his view, the Aryans represented light and the Jews evil. As well, I know that the Catholic church was silent, but complicit? Hitler "couldn't have done it without them?" Those are claims in need of justification.

And if you're fond of pinning the blame for evil on religion, then why did Stalin, an atheist, slaughter (by some estimates) 10 million of his own countrymen? Or why did Pol Pot kill so many Cambodians? Or why were the Tutsis and Hutus killing each other? Respectively: power, power, power. Sometimes religion makes a great cover for a power grab, but I'd submit that most of what is commonly taken as purely religious violence is really just a power grab dressed up pretty (which is what I think Hitler was after: popularizing his Anti-Semitism by dressing it up, rather than it being genuine religious conviction).

That, of course, isn't to say there hasn't been much evil perpetrated on religious grounds, but people have been slaughtering each other far longer than there have been institutional religions, and should institutional religion ever vanish, people will still slaughter each other.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:01 AM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Yes, Hitler did often use Christianity to appeal to the popular mass. After all, Germany was a Christian state, but Hitler also said this:

Quote:

Amongst the accusations which are directed against Germany in the so called democracies, is the charge that the National Socialist State is hostile to religion. In answer to that charge I should like to make before the German people the following solemn declaration:
1. No one in Germany has in the past been persecuted because of his religious views, nor will anyone in the future be so persecuted. [[]Emphasis mine.[]]

-- Adolf Hitler in a speech at the Reichstag 30JAN1939.



So Hitler was not using Christianity as a tool of violence but rather as a tool to dishonestly assuage the fears of a Christian nation that would never have willing accepted Hitler’s atrocities. While Hitler himself was clearly not a supporter of Christianity, unless he was using it to tell the Germans of his religiously tolerant policies.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:14 AM

CRUITHNE3753


When I saw this originally broadcast on Channel 4 (UK) I couldn't help but notice that Pastor Ted Haggard (who Dawkins confronts in the programme) bears an uncanny resemblance to Patrick Swayze's character in Donnie Darko... it was a laugh when he hit the news with his "indiscretion" involving a male masseur. Two-faced git.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:41 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Ah, the RWE gang rolls in to disrupt our nice civil discussion.

I'm afraid, Casual, considering I didn't attack you, nor conduct myself in anything but a civil manner you don't get to blame me for any 'uncivil discourse' here. Especially when it is you who attacked me, I ask you, was this attack on me necessary? Or am I forbidden from having an opinion here?
Quote:

Hitler killed Jews because of his understanding of nationalism and Social Darwinism, with a little eugenics thrown in to boot.
Hitler killed the Jews because he was psychotic and lusted for power. He justified it with some psuedo-science, nationalism AND Catholicism.
Quote:

He didn't kill them because as a "Christian" it was his duty to kill Jews.
I never said he did. You said that Hitler, and the Nazis had nothing to do with religion, that is obviously not the case. They had tanks being blessed, Hitler played to the popular support of Catholics, the reasons for this (the fact they were the dominate group) are obvious, but the fact that HE didn't believe in Christianity, that HE didn't believe what they were doing was for the Christian god, does not remove the fact that many of his followers did.

I was merely pointing out that where you claim Hitler and Nazis 'had nothing to do with religion' isn't entirely the whole story.
Quote:

They cast the struggle as Aryan vs. Jew, not Christian vs. Jew.
They also cast it as building a Christian empire, that was what got a great deal of the population 'on side'.
Quote:

As well, I know that the Catholic church was silent, but complicit?
The Catholic church is known to have helped Nazis escape the Allies, the Pope used to be a member of the Hitler youth, the Catholic church holds more complicity than merely silence, but I was more thinking of the Catholics of Germany. Having said that, if Rome had not been so silent it's possible that Hitler wouldn't have gained that popular Catholic support.
Quote:

Hitler "couldn't have done it without them?" Those are claims in need of justification.
Really? You think saying "without the support of the largest group in Germany Hitler couldn't have done what he did" needs clarification?
Quote:

And if you're fond of pinning the blame for evil on religion, then why did Stalin, an atheist, slaughter (by some estimates) 10 million of his own countrymen? Or why did Pol Pot kill so many Cambodians?
You're making sweeping statements. Some evil acts being non-religious doesn't indicate there are no evil acts that are.

Furthermore, you're dragging me into a debate that I didn't comment on. I commented on one specific, that you seem to want to shoe horn into a generalisation I did not make.
Quote:

Sometimes religion makes a great cover for a power grab, but I'd submit that most of what is commonly taken as purely religious violence is really just a power grab dressed up pretty (which is what I think Hitler was after: popularizing his Anti-Semitism by dressing it up, rather than it being genuine religious conviction).
So Hitler not believing in Religion, not using that as his motivation, means his followers didn't? Does a cult leader not believing what he preaches mean cults aren't to blame for kool-aid incidents?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 8:45 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
So Hitler was not using Christianity as a tool of violence but rather as a tool to dishonestly assuage the fears of a Christian nation that would never have willing accepted Hitler’s atrocities. While Hitler himself was clearly not a supporter of Christianity, unless he was using it to tell the Germans of his religiously tolerant policies.

I totally agree, however my original comment was toward the assertion that Religion played no part in Hitlers plans or those of the Nazis, when plainly it did.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 10:17 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Ah, the RWE gang rolls in to disrupt our nice civil discussion.

I'm afraid, Casual, considering I didn't attack you, nor conduct myself in anything but a civil manner you don't get to blame me for any 'uncivil discourse' here. Especially when it is you who attacked me, I ask you, was this attack on me necessary? Or am I forbidden from having an opinion here?



Did you not see the big smiley face I put next to that comment? Or perhaps you began your reply before I had time to edit mine. In any event, that was meant as a bit of fun at your expense. Sorry that didn't quite come across.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 10:22 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Ah, the RWE gang rolls in to disrupt our nice civil discussion.

I'm afraid, Casual, considering I didn't attack you, nor conduct myself in anything but a civil manner you don't get to blame me for any 'uncivil discourse' here. Especially when it is you who attacked me, I ask you, was this attack on me necessary? Or am I forbidden from having an opinion here?
Quote:

Hitler killed Jews because of his understanding of nationalism and Social Darwinism, with a little eugenics thrown in to boot.
Hitler killed the Jews because he was psychotic and lusted for power. He justified it with some psuedo-science, nationalism AND Catholicism.
Quote:

He didn't kill them because as a "Christian" it was his duty to kill Jews.
I never said he did. You said that Hitler, and the Nazis had nothing to do with religion, that is obviously not the case. They had tanks being blessed, Hitler played to the popular support of Catholics, the reasons for this (the fact they were the dominate group) are obvious, but the fact that HE didn't believe in Christianity, that HE didn't believe what they were doing was for the Christian god, does not remove the fact that many of his followers did.

I was merely pointing out that where you claim Hitler and Nazis 'had nothing to do with religion' isn't entirely the whole story.
Quote:

They cast the struggle as Aryan vs. Jew, not Christian vs. Jew.
They also cast it as building a Christian empire, that was what got a great deal of the population 'on side'.
Quote:

As well, I know that the Catholic church was silent, but complicit?
The Catholic church is known to have helped Nazis escape the Allies, the Pope used to be a member of the Hitler youth, the Catholic church holds more complicity than merely silence, but I was more thinking of the Catholics of Germany. Having said that, if Rome had not been so silent it's possible that Hitler wouldn't have gained that popular Catholic support.
Quote:

Hitler "couldn't have done it without them?" Those are claims in need of justification.
Really? You think saying "without the support of the largest group in Germany Hitler couldn't have done what he did" needs clarification?
Quote:

And if you're fond of pinning the blame for evil on religion, then why did Stalin, an atheist, slaughter (by some estimates) 10 million of his own countrymen? Or why did Pol Pot kill so many Cambodians?
You're making sweeping statements. Some evil acts being non-religious doesn't indicate there are no evil acts that are.

Furthermore, you're dragging me into a debate that I didn't comment on. I commented on one specific, that you seem to want to shoe horn into a generalisation I did not make.
Quote:

Sometimes religion makes a great cover for a power grab, but I'd submit that most of what is commonly taken as purely religious violence is really just a power grab dressed up pretty (which is what I think Hitler was after: popularizing his Anti-Semitism by dressing it up, rather than it being genuine religious conviction).
So Hitler not believing in Religion, not using that as his motivation, means his followers didn't? Does a cult leader not believing what he preaches mean cults aren't to blame for kool-aid incidents?



See? And this is why I don't like RWE discussions. My point with Hitler: religion wasn't the cause of the Holocaust. That's all. I just plain disagree with you, that's all.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 10:36 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
So Hitler was not using Christianity as a tool of violence but rather as a tool to dishonestly assuage the fears of a Christian nation that would never have willing accepted Hitler’s atrocities. While Hitler himself was clearly not a supporter of Christianity, unless he was using it to tell the Germans of his religiously tolerant policies.



Yes, I think that’s about right. I’ve just gotten done with a history course at university during which we spent some time studying the Holocaust. The professor spent lots of time working with the ideas of fascism and nationalism and eugenics, and didn’t mention any religious motivations on Hitler’s part. Hitler was, though, masterful at manipulating people to get them to do what he wanted. Manipulating their religious affections must certainly have been part of that, but that does not mean that religion was what was motivating the man.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 10:36 AM

CAUSAL


Mmm...double-post-y goodness...

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:32 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Did you not see the big smiley face I put next to that comment? Or perhaps you began your reply before I had time to edit mine. In any event, that was meant as a bit of fun at your expense. Sorry that didn't quite come across.

I don't remember it being there when I replied.
Quote:

See? And this is why I don't like RWE discussions. My point with Hitler: religion wasn't the cause of the Holocaust. That's all. I just plain disagree with you, that's all.
Since I didn't say Religion was responcible for Hitlers thinking I'm not sure how you're 'disagreeing' with me .



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:33 AM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
Since I didn't say Religion was responcible for Hitlers thinking I'm not sure how you're 'disagreeing' with me .



See? See? You're bringing out my RWED instincts!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:54 AM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Furthermore, it ignores the violence perpetrated in the name of atheistic philosophies, such as Communism and Fascism, which far exceeds the violence perpetrated in the name of religion.



The mistake you are making here is that you are equating violence done in the name of a philosophy that includes atheism with violence done in the name of atheism. By this same logic all violence done in the name of theistic philosophies (which have outnumbered atheistic philosophies since the dawn of time) would be done in the name of theism. I'll grant the first point if you will grant the second since that still means that religion gets the higher body count.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 11:58 AM

MEG1448


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
Ludicrous? Really? It's been said before but I'll say it again....more people have died in the name of god than any other. Hundreds of millions have been the victims of religious persecution. The reason why we're still around is because we keep repopulating and because there are, thankfully, many rational people around. Religious extremists are really the problem. Not only do they believe whole-heartedly that what they preach is the only right way, some of them also wield enormous power. Unfortunately, they tend to give most religious people a bad name. To say that the violence perpetrated by atheists outweighs the violence perpetrated by people of faith is completely false and, well, fairly ridiculous. Atheists make up the vast minority of most cultures.



I'd like to see your sources on the "hundreds of millions" statistic.

I'd also like to see your sources on the notion that atheists are in the majority. Most cultural studies I've seen assert just the opposite. For instance, the CIA World Factbook ( https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html) lists the percentage of Americans claiming no religion at all as 10%. And according to a 2002 Pew Research Poll ( http://www.adherents.com/rel_USA.html), only 1% of respondents claimed to be atheists! Hardly the majority you claim.

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Ummm, actually, I said that atheists were the vast MINORITY not majority.

Hundreds of millions isn't that big of a number when you consider the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Protestant Inquisition, the Thirty Years War, etc....not to mention human sacrifices and the like.

"Give me religion and a lobotomy."
Beulah Land-Tori Amos

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:00 PM

CALHOUN


Quote:

Finn mac Cumhal wrote:
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 04:19
The title of this thread was not invented by the author of the thread. The author of this thread should have posted a link or cited some source. It is the name of a documentary, which seeks (to my understanding) to justify in some way the position that religion is root of all evil.



I thought the opening post made it quite clear that the title was from a documentary......

One of the main points of the documentary was that to believe in god one must cease all rational thought processes. Disregard all empiric and scientific evidence regarding the world and universe and just accept some words written in an old book to be the way of things.

It was quoted that surveys show around 45% of all americans believe the universe to be only 10,000 yrs old..


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:09 PM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Calhoun:
One of the main points of the documentary was that to believe in god one must cease all rational thought processes. Disregard all empiric and scientific evidence regarding the world and universe and just accept some words written in an old book to be the way of things.



I don't think Dawkins does atheists much justice when he goes all rhetoric on us like that. The reality is that belief in religion requires the suspension of rational thought, but only where said religion is involved. That in itself is a bad thing but not nearly as bad as Dawkins would have people believe.

Quote:

It was quoted that surveys show around 45% of all americans believe the universe to be only 10,000 yrs old..


I think that's a touch high, but not by much. This is a result of Young Earth Creationism and one of the reasons why Intelligent Design shouldn't be taught in schools.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:22 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
Hundreds of millions isn't that big of a number when you consider the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Protestant Inquisition, the Thirty Years War, etc....not to mention human sacrifices and the like.



Hundreds of millions is still a huge number. What's your source on it?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:24 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
The reality is that belief in religion requires the suspension of rational thought, but only where said religion is involved.



That's a bold claim. How would you go about backing it up?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:38 PM

CALHOUN


Maybe people should watch the documentary in order to make informed comment.

The initial post asked if anyone had seen the documentary and what their opinion of it was. It doesnt seem like anyone commenting actually watched the show.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:41 PM

CAUSAL


Quote:

Originally posted by Calhoun:
Maybe people should watch the documentary in order to make informed comment.

The initial post asked if anyone had seen the documentary and what their opinion of it was. It doesnt seem like anyone commenting actually watched the show.



Well, you made the claim that religious belief is irrational. How do you justify that claim? Or is that claim itself beyond rational proof?

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:50 PM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Causal:
Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
The reality is that belief in religion requires the suspension of rational thought, but only where said religion is involved.



That's a bold claim. How would you go about backing it up?



Now that I look at it again I'd like to clarify, I wasn't trying to say that suspending rational thought was necessary for religion in general, what I meant was that situations come up where religious beliefs force irrationality. The same can be said for many other beliefs (political, economic etc.) but few people cling to those as strongly as religion.

I'll give an example, in the Bible there is the story of Noah's flood, there is no physical evidence that the flood ever happened and much that shows that it couldn't have happened given the world we have today. Yet there are many people who, when confronted with the evidence, simply deny it or go through a series of mental gymnastics to get around the evidence. The rational thing to do is to simply say that the story wasn't meant to be taken literally (which it most likely wasn't) and move on, or accept that it isn't literally true and re-evaluate your beliefs, yet their absolute faith in their religion makes them take the irrational route.

These same people are probably perfectly capable of rational thought, but when confronted with the irrationality of their beliefs they take positions of irrationality in order to justify their beliefs.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:56 PM

CALHOUN


Quote:

Causal wrote:
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 13:41

Well, you made the claim that religious belief is irrational. How do you justify that claim? Or is that claim itself beyond rational proof?



I actually didnt.. I said the documentary made these assertions. I do however tend to agree with those assertions.

How can anyone claim to be "free thinking" if they deny all the evidence of evolution?


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 1:56 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by fredgiblet:
Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
Furthermore, it ignores the violence perpetrated in the name of atheistic philosophies, such as Communism and Fascism, which far exceeds the violence perpetrated in the name of religion.



The mistake you are making here is that you are equating violence done in the name of a philosophy that includes atheism with violence done in the name of atheism. By this same logic all violence done in the name of theistic philosophies (which have outnumbered atheistic philosophies since the dawn of time) would be done in the name of theism. I'll grant the first point if you will grant the second since that still means that religion gets the higher body count.

I don’t believe that is a mistake I’m making and I don’t think that kind of hair splitting makes sense, which was my whole point to begin with. First of all, I’m not sure what the difference is between violence done in the “name of theistic philosophies” and violence done in the “name of theism.” That’s a degree of hairsplitting that doesn’t make any sense, since both of them seem likely to be defined as religion.

Were the Crusades fought in the name of theism or in the name of “theistic philosophies” or something else? The correct answer would be something else, because the actual Christian casus belli of the Crusades had nothing to do with religion. The Crusades were fought for defense of the Eastern Roman Empire or some Christian held territory against Muslim expansionism or simply Christian expansionism into the Middle East. But people who insist upon blaming the world’s violence on religion will always attempt to simplify it down to religion, just as the Christian leaders during the Crusades always simplified it, but this is just rhetoric. The actual motivations of both sides (Christian and Muslim) always boiled down to political, not religions, motivations. Hitler often used Christianity as a rallying cry to unite the German people just as the Popes during the Crusades did, but his motivations had nothing to do with Christianity either; he wasn’t even a Christian. He was operating on purely political, albeit twisted, rationale. Wars are not fought for religious reasons. They are fought for political reasons.

So I’m not willing to make the concession that you ask, because I don’t even believe in the concept.

And although, it is somewhat of a moot point, given that I don’t accept how the argument is qualified, I also don’t accept how the argument is typically quantified. If you add up all the deaths that have been the result of purely secular and political wars and genocide during the 20th century alone you will likely come to a number so large that you only have to go back a thousand years before you come to a time in history when there weren’t that many people on the entire planet. And that’s just the 20th century. So I’m not even sure that it is even possible for there to have been more deaths as a result of all the wars fought up to the 20th century then there were in just the 20th century. Much less to attempt to quantify this along religious lines.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 2:11 PM

FINN MAC CUMHAL


Quote:

Originally posted by meg1448:
Hundreds of millions isn't that big of a number when you consider the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the Protestant Inquisition, the Thirty Years War, etc....not to mention human sacrifices and the like.

All of the casualties of all of the Crusades are probably not more then 10 million. The Thirty Years War is probably not more then a million. The Inquisitions: a few thousand a piece.



Nihil est incertius vulgo, nihil obscurius voluntate hominum, nihil fallacius ratione tota comitiorum.

Nothing is more unpredictable than the mob, nothing more obscure than public opinion, nothing more deceptive than the whole political system.

-- Cicero

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007 2:15 PM

FREDGIBLET


Quote:

Originally posted by Finn mac Cumhal:
If you add up all the deaths that have been the result of purely secular and political wars and genocide during the 20th century alone you will likely come to a number so large that you only have to go back a thousand years before you come to a time in history when there weren’t that many people on the entire planet.



But that's just it, most of those either were not fought for atheism or it was only a side issue. You are saying that Stalin was an atheist thus the millions of people he killed were killed in the name of atheism which simply isn't true, it's a non sequitur. The argument you were making sounded like you were saying that every conflict between groups that were not explicitly religious was somehow caused by atheism which is absurd.

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