[ExI] Religions and violence.

Jebadiah Moore jebdm at jebdm.net
Mon Aug 9 02:03:50 UTC 2010

2010/8/8 John Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net>

> I too think there are times when it may not be a very good idea to
> criticize something (such as denouncing Naziism in the middle of a Nazi
> rally), but I also think that, although I may not like it, people should be
> free to criticize what I just said.


> I don't mean that *all* possible communities should be built and protected,
> just as I don't think that all possible humans or all possible machines or
> all possible anythings, really, should be built or protected.  Obviously.
> I can only respond to what you say not what you meant.

I thought it was obvious.  If I said people ought to be protected, you
wouldn't say "but what about Hitler", unless perhaps I was saying that all
peoples' lives should be protected no matter what by law.  Which I wasn't.

That is not true, not if natural ethics means things most people feel are
>> right.
> That's not what "natural ethics" means.  The term for the things people
> feel are right is "moral intuition".
> You're beating a dead horse. Perhaps at one time the distinction between
> natural ethics and moral intuition was a big deal but not anymore, certainly
> not with "self-avowed atheists, rationalists, and general non-believers" you
> talk about. Nobody on this list expects the scientists at CERN to discover
> with their accelerator the fundamental quantum particle of morality, the
> Moron.

That's exactly my point.  These people don't believe in natural law
philosophically, but they act like they do, and thus reap the negative
effects.  It's like people who don't believe in God, but still go to church
because their families have for forever.  Except worse, because this stuff
seeps pretty thickly into the law.

Slow down with the anti-religious zealotry for a minute
> Why? It's not like the other side hasn't had their say! Nobody seems to be
> able to make the case that what I'm saying is untrue, they only can say it's
> bad public relations.

Because you're preaching to the choir here and because half of your
preaching is changing the conversation.  If you have a new point, that's
fine, but you're just spewing the typical atheist lines.

People are right when they say that the United States is an inherently
> Christian nation, since the idea of unalienable rights ("endowed by their
> Creator") is built directly into the source.
> The source is the Constitution, you're quoting from the Declaration of
> Independence.

The quote is from the Declaration, but the ideas are clearly used in the
Constitution the interpretation thereof.

> I found some interesting quotations from some of the founding fathers of
> the USA on the subject,
*THOMAS JEFFERSON *(author of the Declaration of Independence)*:*
> *
> *
> *Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.

I think he meant that the proscriptions of the Bible were never enforced as
law in the United States because they were in the Bible, which is roughly
true (although there are some obvious inspirations).   But if you think that
legislators and judges haven't made laws and rulings tinted by their
religions, you're insane.

*History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people
> maintaining a free civil government.

Perhaps, but history doesn't really provide many examples of free civil
governments at all.  And the terms are debatable.  But arguably the US is
"priest-ridden" and has a free civil government.

But I think his point is that religion and "free civil governments" are in
conflict, which I agree with.

*In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.
> He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for
> protection to his own.

Sure, if you're willing to overgeneralize a bit.  The same could be said of
politicians and lawyers and the rich.  Most people with power want to keep
and expand it; doing so is by definition hostile to liberty.

**The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme
> Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable
> of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.*

Sure, but not relevant.

> *Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.

Depends on the lighthouse and the church.  I think that *religion* in
general is a bad idea, but there are times when religious *groups* (such as
churches) have done some pretty significant good.  I'd like to see an
organization that fulfilled the same sort of role (social gathering place,
strong community, with charity and goodwill) without a religious bent.

Again, not really relevant.

> *I have found Christian dogma unintelligible.

Sure, but not relevant.

> *Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.

Me too.  Not relevant.

> *The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason

Yes, and not relevant.

> *
> *
> *The Cross, consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!

Sure, but not more so than any body with power, and again not relevant.

> **Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has
> raged and triumphed for 1,500 years.*

Not relevant.

> **
> *What havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian
> era.

Not relevant, and an exaggeration.

> *
> *
> *Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind.

Not relevant

*What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society?
> In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the
> ruins of the civil authority; in many instances they have been seen
> upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been
> the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the
> public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient allies.

"No instance" is a great exaggeration.  The very early Christian church did
a fair amount of good.  Some missionaries do a great deal of good, and
sometimes don't even push their wares.  Religious groups play a major role
in disaster relief.  Religious groups under persecution have fought for
expanded liberties.  Indeed, they played a large role in the creation of the
US.  The underground railroad and the abolition movement were mostly run by
religious groups.

I'm still not pro-religion; I'm just pointing out the great exaggerations of
anti-religious zealots.

*The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total
> separation of the Church from the State.

Perhaps a necessary but certainly not a sufficient condition.

Not a founding father but still interesting,
> *
> *
> *The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.

Not relevant

> *My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation
> and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger
> with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change
> them.

Not relevant.  I wonder how widespread the knowledge of this was, though?
 Certainly wouldn't fly now, at least according to polls where most
Americans have said they wouldn't vote for an atheist and usually not a

Jebadiah Moore
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