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What is reasonable to blame on religion, and what isn't?

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GuessTheAltAccount
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What is reasonable to blame on religion, and what isn't?

Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Tue May 11, 2021 2:55 am

I look at the Skeptics' Annotated Bible, and its list of hundreds of contradictions, and I am just taken aback by how people can so easily believe these authors who can't keep their own story straight on what "God" wants of us. I guess the offer of eternal bliss, and threat of eternal torture, coupled with the insinuation that we're all born sinners and they're the only way out, has a way of making people a little reluctant to do their due diligence. But I suspect that this encouragement of willful ignorance has set the groundwork for similar mistakes on other issues. I'll go through these one by one.

Criminalization of abortion: People often attribute abortion-criminalization to envy at not getting laid. Nah. Nuns are notorious for interrogating teenage mothers about whether or not they enjoyed their sin, but it's pretty obvious nuns were chaste either of their own accord or because religion brainwashed them. Males aren't known for being picky. People often attribute it to wanting to deter extramarital sex, but plenty of monogamous couples resort to abortion, and plenty of women who actually want children; whether because the unwed father can easily afford those child support bills or because she doesn't mind going into poverty for it; do not. Individual politicians might be pandering to donors who want single mothers to be poor and desperate enough to work for their companies, but they wouldn't have millions of voters backing them up if religion didn't convince them that insentient fetus has a soul, or that life "beginning at conception" didn't matter more than sentience. Theoretically an atheist could believe that, but most of the people who believe that are religious, and most of the voters voting for abortion-criminalizing candidates are from the deeply-religious rural districts.

Gun culture: When you think of places whose solution to crime is "bring your guns to the restaurant so that you can scare would-be criminals out of breaking the law in the first place," what comes to mind is Waco, Texas, where that theory failed miserably, yet other nearby towns continue to legitimize open carry. Texas is known for its religiosity as well; it's where Kenneth Copeland preaches, after all. His proposed cure for coronavirus failed miserably yet people continue to believe in him too. I know Christians who are otherwise progressive will say Jesus said to be good to those who hurt you, and this goes against relying on deterrence. But when that comes from the same book where people were stoned to death for working on the Sabbath, that tends to muddy the waters. In practice, the places that actually come closer to practicing compassion over deterrence are Denmark, Norway, Holland and Sweden... places that are less religious than the USA in general, let alone Texas in particular.

The war on drugs: When you hear of politicians who propose executing people over drugs, (Trump comes to mind) they're usually elected by people from religious districts. When you hear of countries that actually go through with it, they're typically highly religious countries, if democracies. Secular states like China are ones where the public never had much of a way in the matter so it's not clear what if anything religion could have done to solve that anyway.

Homophobia: I'm not by any stretch of the imagination calling religion the ONLY source of homophobia. Gender roles, as exemplified by homophobia in China, are probably a far more fundamental factor. But when you aren't some dictatorship who can impose gender roles and/or homophobia on your subjects, you have to find a way to sell it to your audience. Religion appears to have found the most effective way.

Otherwise-less-homophobic opponents of gay marriage and gay adoptions: I hate whenever either of these things are conflated with homophobia. There are countries where "faggot" is used as an insult all the time and they legalized both of these things. Homophobia wouldn't explain it on its own, nor should it be treated as the only explanation. Gay marriage opponents say marriage is about procreation. "Be fruitful and multiply" comes to mind. Gay adoption opponents invoke gender roles; so does the Bible.

Opposition to welfare: The Bible said "he who does not work, neither shall he eat." Regardless of its initial context, this phrase has taken off as a means to turn people against welfare who would otherwise have seen through the case against it. Places like Denmark keep welfare use to a reasonable minimum by paying the working class a living wage. But in the 'States, "he who does not work, neither shall he eat" goes hand in hand with policies that leave the genuinely charitable strapped for resources, while still pretending to be all about charity. But they're right about one thing; the Bible didn't say it was through welfare in particular we should care for the poor.

Opposition to stem cell research: Last, but not least, this one stands out to me. I think it's the main reason I hate religion so much, as I don't recall caring half as much about religion before hearing of it. People who neither smuggled drugs in Indonesia nor had the extramarital sex religion supposedly condemns (except when Trump does it) or even so much as willingly set foot in Texas, let alone its restaurants, are DYING in hospital beds, waiting for cures from embryonic stem cell research. When people said they believed life begins at conception, either they weren't bluffing, or they are terrible at coming up with alternative excuses to oppose abortion that wouldn't apply to stem cell research at all. (Unless they get it mixed up with fetal tissue research, which is hard to prove they do.) People care more about insentient zygotes in a lab than sentient people already born, because of their warped version of what constitutes "life." Would a secular person give that much of a shit about the fertilization over the chemical changes actually relevant to sentience? Maybe a person who's allergic to nuance, but I would think letting religion's bribes and threats scare you out of critical thinking would make you more allergic to nuance, not less. And at the end of the day, it was the more-religious districts that re-elected Dubya after his grandstanding against stem cell research, not the less-religious ones.

I hope these things aren't religion's fault, I really do. (It hurts like hell to picture those charmingly quaint cathedrals as responsible for people's deathbed suffering.) But in case they are, shouldn't we seek alternatives to religion for whatever benefits people think they derive from it?

. . .

EDIT: I forgot one...

Market-worship more generally: Sanders, one of the most famously vocal senators in speaking out against the ills of market-worship, is from New York and represents Vermont... both two places below average as far as religiosity goes in the USA. He invokes the achievements of Scandinavia, a place less religious than even New York or Vermont. He was voted for in 2016 primaries by the northern states; which on average are less religious than the southern states. In 2020 it was mainly Cali, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah backing him up. States condemned by religion over Hollywood, legalized prostitution, cannabis and Mormonism, respectively. (Whereas your average anti-theist couldn't care less which version of the fairy tales someone believes in; they're all comparably absurd.)
Last edited by GuessTheAltAccount on Tue May 11, 2021 2:20 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby Cereskia » Tue May 11, 2021 2:58 am

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Postby Greater Cosmicium » Tue May 11, 2021 3:00 am

Okay, these things are mostly the fault of three certain religions that all originated in the Middle East and by some extraordinary way (perhaps there was divine intervention involved) managed to be followed by half of the world's population. Their reactionary views on so many things are great... when you're in among the driest and most lifeless locations on Earth (even Atacama has vibrant plant life!), but everywhere else they're an unneeded restriction.
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Cereskia
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Postby Cereskia » Tue May 11, 2021 3:06 am

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:I look at the Skeptics' Annotated Bible, and its list of hundreds of contradictions, and I am just taken aback by how people can so easily believe these authors who can't keep their own story straight on what "God" wants of us. I guess the offer of eternal bliss, and threat of eternal torture, coupled with the insinuation that we're all born sinners and they're the only way out, has a way of making people a little reluctant to do their due diligence. But I suspect that this encouragement of willful ignorance has set the groundwork for similar mistakes on other issues. I'll go through these one by one.

Criminalization of abortion: People often attribute abortion-criminalization to envy at not getting laid. Nah. Nuns are notorious for interrogating teenage mothers about whether or not they enjoyed their sin, but it's pretty obvious nuns were chaste either of their own accord or because religion brainwashed them. Males aren't known for being picky. People often attribute it to wanting to deter extramarital sex, but plenty of monogamous couples resort to abortion, and plenty of women who actually want children; whether because the unwed father can easily afford those child support bills or because she doesn't mind going into poverty for it; do not. Individual politicians might be pandering to donors who want single mothers to be poor and desperate enough to work for their companies, but they wouldn't have millions of voters backing them up if religion didn't convince them that insentient fetus has a soul, or that life "beginning at conception" didn't matter more than sentience. Theoretically an atheist could believe that, but most of the people who believe that are religious, and most of the voters voting for abortion-criminalizing candidates are from the deeply-religious rural districts.

Gun culture: When you think of places whose solution to crime is "bring your guns to the restaurant so that you can scare would-be criminals out of breaking the law in the first place," what comes to mind is Waco, Texas, where that theory failed miserably, yet other nearby towns continue to legitimize open carry. Texas is known for its religiosity as well; it's where Kenneth Copeland preaches, after all. His proposed cure for coronavirus failed miserably yet people continue to believe in him too. I know Christians who are otherwise progressive will say Jesus said to be good to those who hurt you, and this goes against relying on deterrence. But when that comes from the same book where people were stoned to death for working on the Sabbath, that tends to muddy the waters. In practice, the places that actually come closer to practicing compassion over deterrence are Denmark, Norway, Holland and Sweden... places that are less religious than the USA in general, let alone Texas in particular.

The war on drugs: When you hear of politicians who propose executing people over drugs, (Trump comes to mind) they're usually elected by people from religious districts. When you hear of countries that actually go through with it, they're typically highly religious countries, if democracies. Secular states like China are ones where the public never had much of a way in the matter so it's not clear what if anything religion could have done to solve that anyway.

Homophobia: I'm not by any stretch of the imagination calling religion the ONLY source of homophobia. Gender roles, as exemplified by homophobia in China, are probably a far more fundamental factor. But when you aren't some dictatorship who can impose gender roles and/or homophobia on your subjects, you have to find a way to sell it to your audience. Religion appears to have found the most effective way.

Otherwise-less-homophobic opponents of gay marriage and gay adoptions: I hate whenever either of these things are conflated with homophobia. There are countries where "faggot" is used as an insult all the time and they legalized both of these things. Homophobia wouldn't explain it on its own, nor should it be treated as the only explanation. Gay marriage opponents say marriage is about procreation. "Be fruitful and multiply" comes to mind. Gay adoption opponents invoke gender roles; so does the Bible.

Opposition to welfare: The Bible said "he who does not work, neither shall he eat." Regardless of its initial context, this phrase has taken off as a means to turn people against welfare who would otherwise have seen through the case against it. Places like Denmark keep welfare use to a reasonable minimum by paying the working class a living wage. But in the 'States, "he who does not work, neither shall he eat" goes hand in hand with policies that leave the genuinely charitable strapped for resources, while still pretending to be all about charity. But they're right about one thing; the Bible didn't say it was through welfare in particular we should care for the poor.

Opposition to stem cell research: Last, but not least, this one stands out to me. I think it's the main reason I hate religion so much, as I don't recall caring half as much about religion before hearing of it. People who neither smuggled drugs in Indonesia nor had the extramarital sex religion supposedly condemns (except when Trump does it) or even so much as willingly set foot in Texas, let alone its restaurants, are DYING in hospital beds, waiting for cures from embryonic stem cell research. When people said they believed life begins at conception, either they weren't bluffing, or they are terrible at coming up with alternative excuses to oppose abortion that wouldn't apply to stem cell research at all. (Unless they get it mixed up with fetal tissue research, which is hard to prove they do.) People care more about insentient zygotes in a lab than sentient people already born, because of their warped version of what constitutes "life." Would a secular person give that much of a shit about the fertilization over the chemical changes actually relevant to sentience? Maybe a person who's allergic to nuance, but I would think letting religion's bribes and threats scare you out of critical thinking would make you more allergic to nuance, not less. And at the end of the day, it was the more-religious districts that re-elected Dubya after his grandstanding against stem cell research, not the less-religious ones.

I hope these things aren't religion's fault, I really do. (It hurts like hell to picture those charmingly quaint cathedrals as responsible for people's deathbed suffering.) But in case they are, shouldn't we seek alternatives to religion for whatever benefits people think they derive from it?

Ok.
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Northern Socialist Council Republics
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Postby Northern Socialist Council Republics » Tue May 11, 2021 3:16 am

There are certain things that used to be fashionable but no longer are. The Abrahamic religions have thousands of years of history and have shown a remarkable reluctance to change, largely being frog-marched into absorbing the bare minimum of liberal-democratic values kicking and screaming all the way (and not even that, in many places). Consequently when you look at Abrahamic religions through the lens of modern morality, they just look like a bunch of violent, reactionary nonsense.

This is not necessarily a fault of these faiths - in order to truly judge them fairly one has to examine them from the historical perspective of the time periods in which they originated and over which they held the greatest social sway - but I am more or less convinced that it does mean that humanity needs to leave these obsolete shackles of agrarian morality behind.
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Chan Island
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Postby Chan Island » Tue May 11, 2021 3:18 am

To me really there are 4 main crimes that religions universally promote (or at least every major one I've ever encountered [including eastern ones]).

1) Faith-based thinking. To religions, faith is always, in one form or another, promoted as a virtue. But in every other application faith would be called blindly steaming forwards without any rational thought. This kind of dogmatic approach is toxic both on an individual and societal level, and creates many many problems, and can be safely blamed on religion.

2) Curtailing curiosity. I don't deny that many scientists, writers, philosophers and other great creators and discoverers were/are religious. But the correlation tends towards people who don't have a religion being the most eager to push those boundaries, to boldly go discover something new and not simply be satisfied by existing explanations. OP lists stem cell research, but in fact in just about every major battle against some kind of scientific advancement you will find a prominent religious component to the opposition.

3) Provides a cover for evil. From child-molesting clergy to supporting oppression to suicide-bombing terrorists to dishonest politicians wearing faith on a sleeve, religions always seem to rush to excuse or divert attention away from horrible actions just because they are 'on their side' or 'of faith'. Assuming that the faith isn't outright promoting the wicked behaviour. A large part of these sorts of evil actions become harder (though not impossible) to tolerate or cover for without a religious framework.

4) Falsely monopoly of goodness. Every major religion in some form or another sets itself as the only possible definition of goodness in one way or another. To be fair, in the past 10 years there has been a lot of positive progress on this front, but I don't think that it is capable of getting to the heart of this issue. OP talks about various social controls and unjust laws that stem from that conviction, but forgets that it also needlessly feeds into tribalism, ineffective charity methods, superiority complexes, conflict and so much more.
Last edited by Chan Island on Tue May 11, 2021 3:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Tue May 11, 2021 2:15 pm

Greater Cosmicium wrote:Okay, these things are mostly the fault of three certain religions that all originated in the Middle East and by some extraordinary way (perhaps there was divine intervention involved) managed to be followed by half of the world's population.

If these aren't the best religion has to offer, it doesn't reflect well on the judgment of the religious that they gravitated to these particular religions, does it?
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Postby The Rich Port » Tue May 11, 2021 2:19 pm

Religion itself is not an issue. Religion is about believing in things you can't possibly prove anyway and you don't have to. Religion is a choice, and it always should be.

The problems come when faith is not a choice, when evidence and logic are abandoned in favor of blind faith (so, anti-intellectualism, which aren't problems specific to religion, as China and Russia will attest to), and when faith becomes a blunt instrument of the government.
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Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Tue May 11, 2021 2:21 pm

The Rich Port wrote:Religion itself is not an issue. Religion is about believing in things you can't possibly prove anyway and you don't have to. Religion is a choice, and it always should be.

The problems come when faith is not a choice, when evidence and logic are abandoned in favor of blind faith (so, anti-intellectualism, which aren't problems specific to religion, as China and Russia will attest to), and when faith becomes a blunt instrument of the government.

Russia and China are awful, but how if at all would religion have done anything to make them less awful?
Lady Victory wrote:There is no such thing as "Left-wing views" and "Right-wing views" because the "Left" and "Right" are arbitrary designators that really don't apply to anyone who isn't a fanatic extremist. The Left-Center-Right spectrum is virtually useless in gauging political "alignment" and frankly the very concept of a "political alignment" is inanely restrictive and unrealistically purist. Most people simply do not fall into this absurd 'white-grey-black' categorization that the Left-Center-Right spectrum utilizes and the only ones that do neatly fit into these categories are almost always ideologues and radicals of some kind.

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Postby The Rich Port » Tue May 11, 2021 2:26 pm

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:
The Rich Port wrote:Religion itself is not an issue. Religion is about believing in things you can't possibly prove anyway and you don't have to. Religion is a choice, and it always should be.

The problems come when faith is not a choice, when evidence and logic are abandoned in favor of blind faith (so, anti-intellectualism, which aren't problems specific to religion, as China and Russia will attest to), and when faith becomes a blunt instrument of the government.

Russia and China are awful, but how if at all would religion have done anything to make them less awful?


Well, that's the thing... You didn't have a choice in believing or not. And again, religion by itself isn't uniquely anti-intellectual and hierarchically fascist.

They can have those features, but they can also not have those features, in much the same way China and Russia are somehow both corporatist shitholes while also still being accused of being Communist even though they have few hallmarks of being Communist and never really did.

Hierarchical conservatism and fascism are very much like religions, which is how market-worship can be just as bad if not worse than just... Worshipping a private god.

While I am against proselytization, especially when there's a disparity involved between the preacher and the person being preached to, and I am against organized religion, forcing people to stop believing in something is just as bad.

The hope of humanity is education and parity... And CHOICE.
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Postby Lady Victory » Tue May 11, 2021 2:28 pm

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick is it really so hard for you to just let people believe in a force greater than everything else in the universe without feeling the need to "own" them?

Religion, like virtually everything else in the world, is merely a scapegoat for evil-doers to justify their villainous behavior. Take it away and they'll just find a new smokescreen to hide behind. Removing religion from society won't make everything magically better; it'll be the same shit it's always been, just a different excuse used to justify doing whatever they feel needs to be justified. If you believe otherwise then you are sorely unfamiliar with human nature.
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GuessTheAltAccount
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Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Tue May 11, 2021 2:31 pm

The Rich Port wrote:Well, that's the thing... You didn't have a choice in believing or not. And again, religion by itself isn't uniquely anti-intellectual and hierarchically fascist.

They can have those features, but they can also not have those features, in much the same way China and Russia are somehow both corporatist shitholes while also still being accused of being Communist even though they have few hallmarks of being Communist and never really did.

And on that point I agree with you.

However, Russia and China, being dictatorships, never had to "sell" fascism to the public. They just imposed it on them. Trump had to "sell" fascism to the public and most of the people buying happened to be religious.


The Rich Port wrote:Hierarchical conservatism and fascism are very much like religions, which is how market-worship can be just as bad if not worse than just... Worshipping a private god.

They correlate anyway, so the point is moot.


The Rich Port wrote:While I am against proselytization, especially when there's a disparity involved between the preacher and the person being preached to, and I am against organized religion, forcing people to stop believing in something is just as bad.

Depends on what you mean by proselytizing. Street preachers I couldn't care less about, but proselytizing in your capacity as a public servant erodes the separation of church and state and is as such a slippery slope to the kinds of theocratic policies like withholding funding from stem cell research. People always ask "well, just let them put the ten commandments in the courthouse, what could go wrong?" People dying on a hospital bed because a cure from stem cell research didn't come fast enough. That's what could go wrong.


The Rich Port wrote:The hope of humanity is education and parity... And CHOICE.

They also say it's their choice as a taxpayer not to fund stem cell research. But when you consider the other things they fund (education, firefighting services, etc... only the most fervent of libertarians object to those) you realize there's more than just libertarianism to withholding stem cell research funding.
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Loeje
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Postby Loeje » Tue May 11, 2021 2:32 pm

People should stop blaming religion for everything wrong in the world. It won't change anything, because religion isn't actually responsible for those things, and it makes things worse for a lot of people. Like Christians who are gay and also accused of homophobia only because they're Christian, for one.
Last edited by Loeje on Tue May 11, 2021 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Bob bobberson
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Postby Bob bobberson » Tue May 11, 2021 2:34 pm

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Nilokeras
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Postby Nilokeras » Tue May 11, 2021 2:34 pm

As is so typical for people that have been enveloped and coddled by 'new atheism', the OP makes the mistake of identifying one particular part of the ideological matrix our society is built on and blaming all of our ills on it, rather than stepping back and considering the ways it interacts with other forces to produce social problems.

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GuessTheAltAccount
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Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Tue May 11, 2021 2:35 pm

Lady Victory wrote:Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick is it really so hard for you to just let people believe in a force greater than everything else in the universe without feeling the need to "own" them?

Religion, like virtually everything else in the world, is merely a scapegoat for evil-doers to justify their villainous behavior. Take it away and they'll just find a new smokescreen to hide behind. Removing religion from society won't make everything magically better; it'll be the same shit it's always been, just a different excuse used to justify doing whatever they feel needs to be justified. If you believe otherwise then you are sorely unfamiliar with human nature.

Let's take it one excuse at a time, then.

I know people always cite China as an example, but Xi Jinping probably has more in common with Trump than EITHER would like to admit. And his flaws are mostly a more extreme version of the American right's flaws; saving face instead of saving lives, legitimizing unsafe working conditions that lead to industrial accidents that get people killed, etc... but Xi Jinping needed the powers of a dictator to impose that on the public, whereas Trump managed to corral religious voters into supporting that.

Could another excuse be found? Perhaps.

But one less excuse is one step in the right direction, and a precedent set that when you misuse it, you lose it, telling people to be careful what else they misuse.

Let's take these excuses on, one at a time.
Lady Victory wrote:There is no such thing as "Left-wing views" and "Right-wing views" because the "Left" and "Right" are arbitrary designators that really don't apply to anyone who isn't a fanatic extremist. The Left-Center-Right spectrum is virtually useless in gauging political "alignment" and frankly the very concept of a "political alignment" is inanely restrictive and unrealistically purist. Most people simply do not fall into this absurd 'white-grey-black' categorization that the Left-Center-Right spectrum utilizes and the only ones that do neatly fit into these categories are almost always ideologues and radicals of some kind.

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The Rich Port
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Postby The Rich Port » Tue May 11, 2021 2:41 pm

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:
The Rich Port wrote:Well, that's the thing... You didn't have a choice in believing or not. And again, religion by itself isn't uniquely anti-intellectual and hierarchically fascist.

They can have those features, but they can also not have those features, in much the same way China and Russia are somehow both corporatist shitholes while also still being accused of being Communist even though they have few hallmarks of being Communist and never really did.

And on that point I agree with you.

However, Russia and China, being dictatorships, never had to "sell" fascism to the public. They just imposed it on them. Trump had to "sell" fascism to the public and most of the people buying happened to be religious.


The Rich Port wrote:Hierarchical conservatism and fascism are very much like religions, which is how market-worship can be just as bad if not worse than just... Worshipping a private god.

They correlate anyway, so the point is moot.


The Rich Port wrote:While I am against proselytization, especially when there's a disparity involved between the preacher and the person being preached to, and I am against organized religion, forcing people to stop believing in something is just as bad.

Depends on what you mean by proselytizing. Street preachers I couldn't care less about, but proselytizing in your capacity as a public servant erodes the separation of church and state and is as such a slippery slope to the kinds of theocratic policies like withholding funding from stem cell research. People always ask "well, just let them put the ten commandments in the courthouse, what could go wrong?" People dying on a hospital bed because a cure from stem cell research didn't come fast enough. That's what could go wrong.


The Rich Port wrote:The hope of humanity is education and parity... And CHOICE.

They also say it's their choice as a taxpayer not to fund stem cell research. But when you consider the other things they fund (education, firefighting services, etc... only the most fervent of libertarians object to those) you realize there's more than just libertarianism to withholding stem cell research funding.


You're blaming the citizenry for being oppressed. Might does not make right... For someone who accepts criticisms against China and Russia you're very quick to dismiss a lot of it in favor of blaming religion, especially considering that an anti-theist is not comparable to an atheist and that Russia is now a borderline theocracy.

Yes, religion can be used as a weapon of tyranny, but it has also been used as an agent of liberation... And even if you figure it can't be properly used to liberate, restricting it is not the answer either, however accurate your arguments against it might seem to you.

Germany doesn't restrict fascism or Nazism actively, and even if it technically does, it uses education and social work to PREVENT it.

Granted, yeah, I think dogma is problematic, but religion isn't the only ideological framework subject to dogma and zealotry.

Correlation does not equal causation. Statistics 101.

Yeah, libertarianism is dumb and just conservatism with some minor concessions that don't make up for the fact it's still a form of conservatism.

The only thing that kills a bad idea is a better idea proposed well.
Last edited by The Rich Port on Tue May 11, 2021 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Insaanistan
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Insaanistan » Tue May 11, 2021 2:43 pm

Chan Island wrote:To me really there are 4 main crimes that religions universally promote (or at least every major one I've ever encountered [including eastern ones]).

1) Faith-based thinking. To religions, faith is always, in one form or another, promoted as a virtue. But in every other application faith would be called blindly steaming forwards without any rational thought. This kind of dogmatic approach is toxic both on an individual and societal level, and creates many many problems, and can be safely blamed on religion.

2) Curtailing curiosity. I don't deny that many scientists, writers, philosophers and other great creators and discoverers were/are religious. But the correlation tends towards people who don't have a religion being the most eager to push those boundaries, to boldly go discover something new and not simply be satisfied by existing explanations. OP lists stem cell research, but in fact in just about every major battle against some kind of scientific advancement you will find a prominent religious component to the opposition.

3) Provides a cover for evil. From child-molesting clergy to supporting oppression to suicide-bombing terrorists to dishonest politicians wearing faith on a sleeve, religions always seem to rush to excuse or divert attention away from horrible actions just because they are 'on their side' or 'of faith'. Assuming that the faith isn't outright promoting the wicked behaviour. A large part of these sorts of evil actions become harder (though not impossible) to tolerate or cover for without a religious framework.

4) Falsely monopoly of goodness. Every major religion in some form or another sets itself as the only possible definition of goodness in one way or another. To be fair, in the past 10 years there has been a lot of positive progress on this front, but I don't think that it is capable of getting to the heart of this issue. OP talks about various social controls and unjust laws that stem from that conviction, but forgets that it also needlessly feeds into tribalism, ineffective charity methods, superiority complexes, conflict and so much more.

1) Islam encourages Muslims to not blindly follow things. While it asserts there are aspects of God and his orders humans will never completely understand it still encourages people to think for themselves.

2) Islam is adamant in encouraging education. Muhammad (S) himself said “Seek knowledge even unto China” and “The ink of a scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr.” Islam was often the reason why scholars in the Islamic Golden Age were so motivated, and many supported their assertions of human evolution from monkeys, heliocentrism, and natural selection using the Qur’ân.

3) Child molestation, terrorism, and dishonest politicians claiming to be religious all are not seen as justifiable in an Islamic point of view. Whether it was the forced “period checks” of Malaysian girls or the killing of Samuel Paty, you’ll see top Muslim organizations and groups make a point of unequivocally condemning them. The problem is that’s often underreported if reported on at all because the media gets more viewers by stories of fear, rather than those of coming together.

4) Islam doesn’t believe it’s the only faith of goodness. As it is believed by Muslims in general Christianity and Judaism are corrupted versions of God’s original message (many believe and over the centuries have believed this also applies to Zoroastrianism, Hinduism and Buddhism), the Qur’ân and Hadiths assert good people of any faith (or lack thereof) who had never heard of Islam, has no way to learn about it the right way or was unwillingly been misinformed can go to heaven as long as they are a good person. There are stories such as that of a non-Muslim prostitute who went to heaven for giving a dog water she herself would have drank in the hadiths and the story of Christians persecuted and burned alive for believing in God who went to heaven in the Qur’ân to support this.

The problem has never been the religion, the problem has been certain practitioners of it who twist it to fit their cultural or personal beliefs.
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GuessTheAltAccount
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Democratic Socialists

Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Tue May 11, 2021 2:48 pm

The Rich Port wrote:
GuessTheAltAccount wrote:And on that point I agree with you.

However, Russia and China, being dictatorships, never had to "sell" fascism to the public. They just imposed it on them. Trump had to "sell" fascism to the public and most of the people buying happened to be religious.



They correlate anyway, so the point is moot.



Depends on what you mean by proselytizing. Street preachers I couldn't care less about, but proselytizing in your capacity as a public servant erodes the separation of church and state and is as such a slippery slope to the kinds of theocratic policies like withholding funding from stem cell research. People always ask "well, just let them put the ten commandments in the courthouse, what could go wrong?" People dying on a hospital bed because a cure from stem cell research didn't come fast enough. That's what could go wrong.



They also say it's their choice as a taxpayer not to fund stem cell research. But when you consider the other things they fund (education, firefighting services, etc... only the most fervent of libertarians object to those) you realize there's more than just libertarianism to withholding stem cell research funding.


You're blaming the citizenry for being oppressed. Might does not make right... For someone who accepts criticisms against China and Russia you're very quick to dismiss a lot of it in favor of blaming religion, especially considering that an anti-theist is not comparable to an atheist and that Russia is now a borderline theocracy.

Yes, religion can be used as a weapon of tyranny, but it has also been used as an agent of liberation... And even if you figure it can't be properly used to liberate, restricting it is not the answer either, however accurate your arguments against it might seem to you.

Germany doesn't restrict fascism or Nazism actively, and even if it technically does, it uses education and social work to PREVENT it.

Granted, yeah, I think dogma is problematic, but religion isn't the only ideological framework subject to dogma and zealotry.

Correlation does not equal causation. Statistics 101.

Yeah, libertarianism is dumb and just conservatism with some minor concessions that don't make up for the fact it's still a form of conservatism.

The only thing that kills a bad idea is a better idea proposed well.

Show me where I advocated resorting to censorship.
Lady Victory wrote:There is no such thing as "Left-wing views" and "Right-wing views" because the "Left" and "Right" are arbitrary designators that really don't apply to anyone who isn't a fanatic extremist. The Left-Center-Right spectrum is virtually useless in gauging political "alignment" and frankly the very concept of a "political alignment" is inanely restrictive and unrealistically purist. Most people simply do not fall into this absurd 'white-grey-black' categorization that the Left-Center-Right spectrum utilizes and the only ones that do neatly fit into these categories are almost always ideologues and radicals of some kind.

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The Rich Port
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Postby The Rich Port » Tue May 11, 2021 2:52 pm

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:
The Rich Port wrote:
You're blaming the citizenry for being oppressed. Might does not make right... For someone who accepts criticisms against China and Russia you're very quick to dismiss a lot of it in favor of blaming religion, especially considering that an anti-theist is not comparable to an atheist and that Russia is now a borderline theocracy.

Yes, religion can be used as a weapon of tyranny, but it has also been used as an agent of liberation... And even if you figure it can't be properly used to liberate, restricting it is not the answer either, however accurate your arguments against it might seem to you.

Germany doesn't restrict fascism or Nazism actively, and even if it technically does, it uses education and social work to PREVENT it.

Granted, yeah, I think dogma is problematic, but religion isn't the only ideological framework subject to dogma and zealotry.

Correlation does not equal causation. Statistics 101.

Yeah, libertarianism is dumb and just conservatism with some minor concessions that don't make up for the fact it's still a form of conservatism.

The only thing that kills a bad idea is a better idea proposed well.

Show me where I advocated resorting to censorship.


So... What's you answer to religion somehow promoting hierarchical fascism?

There IS a way to kill an idea... Systematic slaughter of the people who hold the ideas and widespread censorship. The Romans called it damnatio memoriae: they kill you, they carve you out of murals, they burn all your papers, they bury your corpse in an unmarked hole. Most of the time it definitely worked. We don't know how many people this was done to.

And if you're not advocating for systematic slaughter and/or censorship then this thread is kind of pointless.
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Lady Victory
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Postby Lady Victory » Tue May 11, 2021 2:56 pm

GuessTheAltAccount wrote:
Lady Victory wrote:Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick is it really so hard for you to just let people believe in a force greater than everything else in the universe without feeling the need to "own" them?

Religion, like virtually everything else in the world, is merely a scapegoat for evil-doers to justify their villainous behavior. Take it away and they'll just find a new smokescreen to hide behind. Removing religion from society won't make everything magically better; it'll be the same shit it's always been, just a different excuse used to justify doing whatever they feel needs to be justified. If you believe otherwise then you are sorely unfamiliar with human nature.

Let's take it one excuse at a time, then.

I know people always cite China as an example, but Xi Jinping probably has more in common with Trump than EITHER would like to admit. And his flaws are mostly a more extreme version of the American right's flaws; saving face instead of saving lives, legitimizing unsafe working conditions that lead to industrial accidents that get people killed, etc... but Xi Jinping needed the powers of a dictator to impose that on the public, whereas Trump managed to corral religious voters into supporting that.

Could another excuse be found? Perhaps.

But one less excuse is one step in the right direction, and a precedent set that when you misuse it, you lose it, telling people to be careful what else they misuse.

Let's take these excuses on, one at a time.


That's all very fascinating.

Except none of what you just said has anything to do with religion.
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Nakena
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Postby Nakena » Tue May 11, 2021 3:01 pm

The Rich Port wrote:Germany doesn't restrict fascism or Nazism actively, and even if it technically does, it uses education and social work to PREVENT it.


Wrong. Nazism as ideology is explicitly banned in Germany.

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GuessTheAltAccount
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Democratic Socialists

Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Tue May 11, 2021 3:02 pm

The Rich Port wrote:So... What's you answer to religion somehow promoting hierarchical fascism?

Why on Earth didn't you ask that follow-up question the first time?

Anyway...

A. Stop sugar-coating religion. You sugar-coat something, you encourage it. Christians who are otherwise progressive wouldn't sugar-coat Trump, they'd put honesty about him ahead of politeness. Now let's take that same lesson and apply it to religion.

B. Stop with the special pleading about how [insert pet cause here] is more compatible with religion than it actually is. A guy who wants to smoke a reefer without going to jail over it, or a gay person who wants to marry the love of their life and adopt kids together... apart from being less severely harmed by religion than a person waiting for stem cell cures on their deathbed, have more in common with that individual AND with each other than the one who try to pretend it isn't religion that's holding them back seem to realize, and if they all saw in each other the shared common ground in being harmed by religion, they could all unite and join together in shared opposition to it.


The Rich Port wrote:And if you're not advocating for systematic slaughter and/or censorship then this thread is kind of pointless.

That's a false dichotomy fit to rival "God of the gaps."
Lady Victory wrote:There is no such thing as "Left-wing views" and "Right-wing views" because the "Left" and "Right" are arbitrary designators that really don't apply to anyone who isn't a fanatic extremist. The Left-Center-Right spectrum is virtually useless in gauging political "alignment" and frankly the very concept of a "political alignment" is inanely restrictive and unrealistically purist. Most people simply do not fall into this absurd 'white-grey-black' categorization that the Left-Center-Right spectrum utilizes and the only ones that do neatly fit into these categories are almost always ideologues and radicals of some kind.

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GuessTheAltAccount
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Founded: Apr 27, 2021
Democratic Socialists

Postby GuessTheAltAccount » Tue May 11, 2021 3:02 pm

Lady Victory wrote:
GuessTheAltAccount wrote:Let's take it one excuse at a time, then.

I know people always cite China as an example, but Xi Jinping probably has more in common with Trump than EITHER would like to admit. And his flaws are mostly a more extreme version of the American right's flaws; saving face instead of saving lives, legitimizing unsafe working conditions that lead to industrial accidents that get people killed, etc... but Xi Jinping needed the powers of a dictator to impose that on the public, whereas Trump managed to corral religious voters into supporting that.

Could another excuse be found? Perhaps.

But one less excuse is one step in the right direction, and a precedent set that when you misuse it, you lose it, telling people to be careful what else they misuse.

Let's take these excuses on, one at a time.


That's all very fascinating.

Except none of what you just said has anything to do with religion.

Care to address the last paragraph recently edited into the OP, then?
Last edited by GuessTheAltAccount on Tue May 11, 2021 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Lady Victory wrote:There is no such thing as "Left-wing views" and "Right-wing views" because the "Left" and "Right" are arbitrary designators that really don't apply to anyone who isn't a fanatic extremist. The Left-Center-Right spectrum is virtually useless in gauging political "alignment" and frankly the very concept of a "political alignment" is inanely restrictive and unrealistically purist. Most people simply do not fall into this absurd 'white-grey-black' categorization that the Left-Center-Right spectrum utilizes and the only ones that do neatly fit into these categories are almost always ideologues and radicals of some kind.

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Alien Overlord
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Posts: 331
Founded: Feb 10, 2019
Ex-Nation

Postby Alien Overlord » Tue May 11, 2021 3:03 pm

You talk about gun culture and mention Waco as though Waco is somehow an example of why we shouldn't have gun ownership-If anything Waco should serve as a perfect example of why it's so important to maintain a strong policy for firearms. The whole Waco ordeal was a mess for the agencies involved in it, it was handled so poorly that it is a dark stain on the history of the ATF and FBI even today. While i digress since this isn't the main point of your post, but I do feel it is all worth mentioning.

I disagree with your assessment that religion is somehow mostly to blame for homophobia. Looking at modern cultural attitudes across the world it's apparent that homophobia is rampant not in nations where religion has been most active in the last hundred years, but in the former Soviet Union and Warsaw pact nations, as well as more conservative nations such as South Korea, Indonesia, India and modern Greece. Religion was actively fought in many of these nations, yet homophobia still remains a rampant issue. Alongside that, since basically all nations and cultures have had a religious presence at one point or another, religion becomes an easy but unfair scapegoat. Correlation does not imply causation.

For another very good example, you have the NSDAP in Germany during the second world war. The party was fascist and atheist in nature. It was the catholic church which actively worked to help fleeing jews escape the brutal regime, which developed a severe homophobia despite rejecting religion.

I also strongly reject your opinion that religion is somehow anti-charity. Christian churches have been active in charity towards the poorest of society for hundreds of years and were active even in times where strict societal hierarchy was enforced (the Middle Ages). Some of the earliest proponents of the idea of welfare were Christians themselves and today Christian churches and Christians continue to donate and support charities and organizations aimed at helping the poor across the world-even though many of them are suffering due to the rise of atheism.

If we're going to blame religion for something, we should probably blame the fanaticism that originates in many Islamic nations, or possibly stem cell research. However is it truly fair to blame those opposing stem cell research? Especially since that opposition is born from a strong desire to maintain the sanctity of life and to help prevent inhumane practices? When do people go from being nothing to being a person and what makes you more qualified to answer that question than a Christian?

Just because religious thinking holds back some scientific research doesn't make religion responsible for people "suffering in deathbeds." While I'm not apt to share details about my own life, I will say that I have more reason than most to desire advancements in medical technology which might have saved lost loved ones-however to blame religion for those losses is indicative of someone seeking out a scapegoat, as though we shouldn't have religion to at least put our worst excesses into check.

There are also atheists which oppose stem-cell research based off of ethical concerns, so again it's not quite fair to blame religion for holding back unbridled technological progress.
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