Is Religion a Net Positive or Negative?

Discussion in 'Quackenbush's' started by Bevo Incognito, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. Coelacanth

    Coelacanth Guest


     
  2. mia1994

    mia1994 1,000+ Posts


     
  3. CrazyFoo'

    CrazyFoo' 250+ Posts

    Hello Coel,

    Yes. I am serious. It seems it all boils down to that (if you take out the bias of American media). The cold war was over before I was old enough to appreciate it, but I can tell by your question I am missing a lot of history on the subject. I won’t bother you to explain, but I will investigate the causes for my own sake.
     
  4. TaylorTRoom

    TaylorTRoom 1,000+ Posts

    Sideways at this- My observation is that there are many, many more people of faith than will admit it. I would argue that Humanism (the idea that humans can, absent a deity, develop sound and binding moral and ethical strictures) is a faith with less evidence to support it than any religion. There have been societies organized along Humanist principles- Communist societies for one. Theologians like John Calvin would laugh at the idea that any humans are capable of equitably distributing resources, selflessly foregoing personal gain or vindictiveness- and he would have been right.

    On West Mall posts, I've noted that a lot of people treat AGW theory like a religious faith- with leaders who aren't held to adhere to what they espouse (Gore's personal carbon footprint), payments for sins (carbon offsets), an apocalyptic future unless we all repent, and a belief that persists regardless of what evidence is produced to the contrary.

    One last curmudgeonly observation. Religions work to order societies, and support the preferred moral and ethical values. I notice that the religions, and social institutions that operate on the assumption that people are selfish and greedy produce the best societies. Examples are Reformed Christianity, conservative catholicism, and (secularly) American government. Those systems that are based on an assumption of innate human wisdom and goodness generally end up producing death camps.
     
  5. Coelacanth

    Coelacanth Guest

    Groverat:

     
  6. groverat

    groverat 2,500+ Posts

    mia1994:


     
  7. Monahorns

    Monahorns 2,500+ Posts

    We get it, we get it. The OP and his defenders hate religion and the gods of those religions. We understand.

    Now you must understand that by posing these kinds of questions you are attacking each person here who identifies with any religion. It is like if I asked "Is Bevo Incognito's existence a net positive or negative"? The whole tone implies that the world would be better without you or those like you. It is very insulting even though there is an attempt at subtlety.

    It shows that intolerance is not a trait possessed only by the religious but by all humanity. I think that was mia1994's point. Oppression and destruction are not produced by religion but by human nature. And humans will use any excuse be it religion or lack of religion to oppress and destroy others.
     
  8. GT WT

    GT WT 1,000+ Posts


     
  9. Bevo Incognito

    Bevo Incognito 5,000+ Posts


     
  10. mia1994

    mia1994 1,000+ Posts


     
  11. Coelacanth

    Coelacanth Guest


     
  12. mia1994

    mia1994 1,000+ Posts


     
  13. kgp

    kgp 1,000+ Posts

    Positive.

    If one thinks loving God and trying to follow His commandments is an exercise in cost-benefit analysis, I hope that he someday knows this greatest of loves. It is the most exhilarating and liberating thing-- better than can be imagined in its absence. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, not its culmination.

    Communism-- not religion.
    Nazism-- not religion.
    etc.

    People do bad things. Powerful people's bad behavior has wider effects. Some powerful people are religious figures. Their bad behavior has wider effects than that of the powerless. It in no way links religion to misbehavior. The mistake of confusing this relationship is, while rather illustrative of rudimentary reasoning, quite common and understandable.
     
  14. groverat

    groverat 2,500+ Posts

    Coelacanth:


     
  15. mia1994

    mia1994 1,000+ Posts


     
  16. Bob in Houston

    Bob in Houston 2,500+ Posts


     
  17. Coelacanth

    Coelacanth Guest


     
  18. Theo Huxtable

    Theo Huxtable 250+ Posts

    Didn't read the whole thread, but I'll say it's a negative times a million.
     
  19. groverat

    groverat 2,500+ Posts

    Coelacanth:


     
  20. Coelacanth

    Coelacanth Guest

    Weak.

    Is that a simple enough word for you?

    Weak as Hell.

    You can try to pretend you haven't contradicted yourself if you want. Don't expect me to join in that pretension.
     
  21. groverat

    groverat 2,500+ Posts


     
  22. mia1994

    mia1994 1,000+ Posts

    In reply to:


     
  23. groverat

    groverat 2,500+ Posts

    mia1994:


     
  24. Coelacanth

    Coelacanth Guest


     
  25. mia1994

    mia1994 1,000+ Posts

    Grove, my religiosity is subject to question (I've argued here for and against). My participation in this thread is largely cerebral, in as much as I appreciate the mental exercise. That said, your last post went from making an argument to rhetoric and insult. The insults didn't land, because I'm generally not too far from you on much of what you wrote... but your frustration is showing, and you should be aware of that.

    My main argument is that you are proclaiming with certainty something which is unknowable. My objection is not religious in nature at all. It is just that your argument, when you use those terms, lacks internal consistency. I agree that there isn't a religion in the world (past or present) which isn't guilty of the same crime... it is just that their arguments are faith based, which means that the deny rational convention. Your argument professes to be rooted in logic, and as such is subject to that standard. You've laid out the argument, you should play by your own rules. It is only fair.

    Personally, I believe in an invested creator, but I don't really subscribe to any specific dogma. You ask about the difference between 99.99% and 100%. Statically, speaking the difference is about the size of the universe. I believe in a creator because it feels right and it works for me. I'm prepared to accept that there are things which are just unknowable and in those margins a great deal is possible.
     
  26. Coelacanth

    Coelacanth Guest

    Concerning this sentence:

     
  27. groverat

    groverat 2,500+ Posts

    Coelacanth:


     
  28. Coelacanth

    Coelacanth Guest


     
  29. groverat

    groverat 2,500+ Posts

    Coelacanth:


     
  30. CrazyFoo'

    CrazyFoo' 250+ Posts

    You guys may be tired of this by now, but I’d like to get grove’s and coel’s thoughts on the Christian ideal of “turning the other cheek”.

    It seems to add to the discussion about Christianity’s CBA. The Bible tells us that only belief in Christ is required for salvation, so from a CBA standpoint, the rest of the lessons are moot. I will disagree with one point grove makes (although many are very solid). Christianity teaches followers to “turn the other cheek, so that he may strike you again”,(paraphrased) “love your enemy”, and “if he steals your shirt, give him your jacket too”. This teaches unconditional love of your fellow man, to the point of self sacrifice. Doing this will not get you to Heaven or get you a "nicer" house in heaven (some Christain sects do believe this - they are the ones with rewritten Bibles). Christ just says do it.
     

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