[ExI] Religions and violence.

Sabrina Ballard sabrina.ballard at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 10 17:51:09 UTC 2010

On 8/10/10, Jebadiah Moore <jebdm at jebdm.net> wrote:
> While I agree that you can interpret them metaphorically, I don't see any
> evidence that they were written that way.  Indeed, it seems rather unlikely
> that all of the things modern people say are metaphorical were actually
> written that way.  (Obviously some of the language was figurative, though.)

I can consede this point. However if interpretation was to become more
figurative, it would lead to a more liberal interpretation.

> Some specific falsehoods that I feel are dangerous include:
>  - the belief in a personal, benevolent, omniscient/omnipotent god, as the
> whole notion is full of contradictions and causes people to not take action
> or take action no better than placebo when they could actually do something
> positive to help themselves;

Again, I cannot speak specifically about anything other than
Christianity, but I believe the bible mentions somewhere that god
helps those who help themselves. And the "predetermination" notion is
one that I think is beginning to wane as science becomes more

>  - the belief in a single, universal code of morality, usually including
> ideas of purity/sexuality/slavery/etc. that serve to oppress large swaths of
> people when applied


>  - the belief in heaven for certain people, which I see the "good" purpose
> of (comforting people as they die or go into a fatal situation), but I also
> see the "bad" purpose of (being able to get people to do things that are bad
> for them here by telling them it will help others later--for example, cash
> for indulgences)

I don't think that indulgences are used anymore, but I'm not sure. And
Islam, Judism and Catholisim (don't know about Christianity as a
whole) all say you must be truely sorry and be working to rid yourself
of the particular sin in order to be forgiven.

>  - the belief in hell, used to scare people into acting right (despite
> dubious values of right, see above), especially children

Fear of jail is used to scare people, especially children into doing
what is legal/"right"

>  - the belief in a saviour, which leads some people to expect an actual
> saviour (of the mortal variety), which rarely comes

Yes, this one leads to many unfortunate incidents.

>  - the belief in prophets, which enables people to claim authority from
> nothing, manipulate people, and lead a cult of personality

Also a sad one.

But I believe a religion could exist without some of the negative
framework that you have specified. But I'm nor sure if one actually

> > This is only with orthodox interpretations. More liberal
> > interpretations of religions allow more freedom. And, supposing we all
> > had the freedom to choose, we could choose a religion that fit us
> > better. I think the issue here is being forced to follow a certain
> > religion.
> Like I mentioned, I am a big fan of more liberal interpretations, but the
> liberalization of a religion seems to happen rather slowly.  And when they
> are sufficiently liberal, perhaps religions are mostly harmless.

Yes, liberalization of religions is at times painfully slow. And I
feel that the more liberal that a religion, the more "harmless" it is.

> But I don't think "freedom to choose" is entirely the issue.  In some
> places, yes.  But the thing is, most people will stick with the religion
> they grew up with even if they are given a choice; it is far more likely
> that they will just practice their religion weakly (Christmas and Easter
> Christians) rather than change it.  And they'll probably feel a bit guilty
> about it.

And a weaker version lends to/ is liberalization.

> > This is one of the major purposes of religion, to build communities.
> > This again is part of the orthodoxy argument. Strict interpretation is
> > often detrimental.
> Major purposes according to you.  Functions is a better word, because it
> doesn't imply a purpose-giver.  Some religions seem to consider their
> community-building functions as secondary

I agree with that. Perhaps even most view it as secondary.

> > It's the belief in something bigger. For many athiests, the power
> > bigger than them is Science, and I do not mean this in an insulting
> > way. Have you ever met an athiest who doesn't believe in science?
> > Science is part of the "greater good", it can be reliev on, and it is
> > dependable if you treat it the way that is is supposed to be treated.
> > The faith mechanism (which I do not propoose as a literal thing, but a
> > metaphorical one) works in the same fashion, though this (science) is
> > inherently more logical.
> >
> I don't know.  If this was the case, we'd have something like a scientific
> church.  Perhaps you could say this is what a university is, but surely
> there would be something less temporary/exclusive.

I mean that people put faith in is, not belief in a religious way. And
I think most "Western Style" schools could be seen as the place where
people learn about science.

> But perhaps it is about the "something bigger", and we just don't have

By something bigger, I mean an overarching goal or purpose to life.
For many, it is to learn. For others, to make money.

> As for atheists who don't believe in science--you've obviously not taken
> many high-level humanities classes.  Those guys hate science, but they're

So they would discount gravity, evolution, and swear off cell phones
and electricity? This is what I mean when I say "believing in
science". I am not nessicarily refering to the scientific method, but
I realize I should have been more clear.

> I'm the same thing in theory, but I am opposed to a lot of the actual
> practices of most religions.

Agreed, it's the specific that I'm against, but in general I don't
have an issue with it. That is, I am okay with the idea of religion,
but rarely am I pleased with the way it is practiced.

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