[ExI] Religions and violence.

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Sun Aug 1 21:37:46 UTC 2010

On Sun, 1 Aug 2010, John Clark wrote:

> On Jul 31, 2010, at 7:33 PM, Tomasz Rola wrote:
> >> Let me ask you one question, do you condemn the whole Nazi group?
> > No, because condemning groups was - I believe - exactly what Nazi did. 
> Did the entire Nazi group do exactly that?  

This was part of their official philosophy. It promoted nobilitation of 
one group (called Aryan race) while enslaving and eradicating  other 
groups seen as inferior (Jews, Gypsies, Black people, and a little later, 
Slavic peoples). This was ideology, i.e. theory. In practice, they didn't 
object much against giving "subhumans" guns and SS uniforms, especially 
closer to their end. They also had no problem with enlisting criminals, 
who could hardly be regarded as members of superior race of any kind.
Again, this was more visible as war neared it's end, but I think they 
started from companies and platoons first (maybe in late 30-ties), ended 
with brigades and divisions in 1945. So they were far from being 
consistent, yet I can agree that at least big parts of their ideology 
should be rejected.

 [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirlewanger_Brigade ]

On the other hand, one could hardly disagree with these Hitler's words:

"I want everyone to keep what he has earned, subject to the principle that 
the good of the community takes priority over that of the individual. But 
the State should retain control; every owner should feel himself to be an 
agent of the State ..."

Sounds like good presidential candidate, isn't he?

 [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazism ]

Now, the problem is, every Nazi individual could implement this ideology 
in slightly different way. Even in some cases, he could only pay lip 
service to it. While this is not freeing him from guilt, such cases must 
be treated differently from cases of active supporters of Nazism. And I 
see nothing unusual in this approach.

> Mr. Rola, if your philosophy is so nambe-pambe that you're too squeamish 
> to even condemn the Nazis then something is seriously wrong! 

Mr Clark, my philosophy is, everybody should get what he deserves. But 
before I tell what he deserves, his case should be examined. Otherwise I 
am no better than a mob.

It is nothing like being weak minded. Quite the contrary, I think it is 
weak thing to go by, flow with the current, without questioning things and 
agree with everybody around without objection, just because "everybody 
does so". To be a good man, good human, means to me actively researching 
and making decisions. I mean, to be good, one has to be active, not 
passive. To make decisions is to actually do some mental work, not simply 
accepting being told (or suggested, like the news do) what to think.

There is nothing wrong with it. I can be either right or wrong or between. 
If I am right, I am right. In other cases, I should learn and understand, 
so I can correct myself.

> >>  writer Naguib Mahfouz who's novel is banned in most of the Islamic 
> >> world for 
> >> blasphemy.
> > 
> > Well, Nobel Prize wouldn't be worth much if it wasn't controversial.
> I'm not talking about being controversial, I'm talking about using force 
> to prevent someone from reading a novel from a Nobel Prize winner. Are 
> you really sure you want to defend this?

No. I am sure that I am for allowing people to choose by themselves. I 
consider this to be an error on the part of Islamic authorities. As I have 
mentioned in one earlier post, such overreaction is a sign of weakness or 
lack of confidence. This might be connected with possible cultural shock, 
that Islamic world experienced after WW2. While I have never heard of this 
problem being shown as cultural shock, I have heard about our own, small 
scale, shock between 1950 and 1970. By "our" I mean western culture. A lot 
of things happened in those years. Nowadays, the biggest shock I can think 
of is iPhone premiere, which is not a shock at all (well, maybe in 
marketing brochures). I am also constantly shocked by facebook success.

> > the very fact that Islam is dysfunctional shouldn't stop me from 
> > analysing it.
> But it should stop you from defending it.

I am not defending it. I refuse to attack it before I find good reason for 
this. That's a big difference. But it does not prevent me from condemning 
terrorists (of all kinds), for example.

> >> This last part is aimed at the apologists for all religions not just 
> >> Islam, when they preach about the wonderful things these organizations 
> >> have done they always ignore one little fact, it's all based on a 
> >> colossal lie. Doesn't the truth count for something?
> > 
> > If you mean lie about God's existence, this had not been proved yet. Truth 
> > would count much more if you could prove it. Before that, "lie" is true in 
> > 50%... or more.
> Mr. Rola, regarding Christian or Islamic philosophy, did you really find 
> it necessary to put the word lie into weasel quotation marks, and is 
> this really a direction you want this debate to move in?

I have no intention of moving this debate anywhere. Mr Clark, if you want 
to escape from belief, you cannot use belief-based arguments. So, if you 
would like to prove that God does not exist, you should use rational 
arguments. So, like in math books, we start with A, B, C, and go on using 
logic until we arrive to Z which states "God does not exist". And after 
that, "quod erat demonstrandum" (which was to be proved), but this last 
sentence is optional. For a good example of how they do this, I remember 
group theory from my algebra course. This is what would satisfy me.

AFAIK nobody has given such proof, so we have to stick to probability. In 
case when there are different events possible but we cannot tell anything 
about their nature, we should give them equal probabilities. I don't 
recall whose idea this was. However with it we have 50% chances that God 
actually does exist. Or maybe more. So, if I am expected to give a chance 
to a criminal or lying polititian, I should also give a chance to God. Not 
that He really needs anything from me, but I want to be fair.

This has nothing to do with religion or going to church or anything. Based 
on reason alone I am unable to reject God's existence (or prove it). 
Since I don't want to invent another atheism (which from my point of view 
bears many, if not all, signs of religion - but there are many flavours of 
atheism and not all should be judged like this), so I have to stick to 
uncertainty which is the only certain thing.

I reckon this is unacceptable to all those people who "want to know". The 
problem that they are unable to perceive is, they cannot "know" this one 
thing (maybe some other things, too, but I don't feel qualified to find 
them). So instead they believe in whatever they decide and call this 
a knowledge. I am not that desperate, not yet.

At least this is how I see it.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list