DPChallenge: A Digital Photography Contest You are not logged in. (log in or register
 

DPChallenge Forums >> Rant >> Religion - the root of all evil?
Pages:  
Showing posts 1 - 25 of 235, (reverse)
AuthorThread
02/03/2006 09:26:28 AM · #1
Richard Dawkins posed this interesting question in a documentary recently, focussing on the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. His argument was quite persuasive.

Faith, by definition, defies evidence. In this, it directly contrasts with rational, scientific truth, which is based on scepticism, investigation and evidence.

However, faith appears to be gaining ground on science. This is worrying because, while religions preach morality, peace and hope, in fact religion often appears to result in intolerance, violence and destruction.

Dawkins visited Jerusalem and interviewed representatives from each of the faiths, each unswervingly committed to expanding their influence and reducing that of the others in the area (often by force). In an attempt to find a more balanced view, he interviewed a man who had taken the unusual step of converting from being a Jewish West Bank settler to Islam. This man seemed the least balanced of all, launching into a tirade against atheists for their lack of belief before going on to damn Judaism and Christianity.

Similarly worrying was the interview with Ted Haggard, leader of the National Association of Evangelicals. His silver-tongued, rallying style approach to the masses (a cross between a rock concert and a Nuremburg rally) quickly changed when the topic of evolution was brought up in interview, when Dawkins was ejected from the church for having "called his children monkeys".

The experience of religion appears to be one of seduction, based around the comfort to be gained from group solidarity. But based in myths and questionable stories, rather than observation of the world we see around us.

The mechanism for the spread of religion appears principally to be the imposition of belief systems by parents at a time when the children are too young to make up their own minds. This is often compounded by isolation between communities within which dubious ancient scriptures are taught as fact (or near fact).

There is an increasing proportion of religious schools (certainly in the UK). One such, the ACE, has developed "Christian" science books where god and/or Jesus are mentioned on every page. The creation myth relevant to the school in question is taught as being an equivalent to the scientific explanation in some of these secular schools.

In the US, church groups are releasing their own Hell house movies with the deliberate intention of terrifying children into believing. One of the proponents (and products?) of this tactic was a man who was a loyal supporter and defender of a murderer. The murderer had killed an abortion doctor: the religious mindset (in any religion) can lead to the justification of murder.

From Nobel winning physicist Steven Weinberg:

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”

Morality is older than religion. Kindness and generosity are innate in social animals and in humans. Surely it is better to do good things for their own sake, rather than out of fear for religions consequences?

Is it not better to live in wonder at the majesty and complexity of the universe, and be pleased with what we have got, rather than close our eyes and accept the closed and compromised answer provided by religion?

02/03/2006 09:37:39 AM · #2
i never before been to a website where the non-religious do so much preaching
02/03/2006 10:13:38 AM · #3
Matthew,
I believe that Christianity, at least, is based on evidence. I don't agree that faith defies evidence--an author who originally tried to disprove Christianity by looking at the evidence (Josh McDowell) ended up changing his beliefs when the evidence he found ended up supporting what the Bible claims. (See //www.amazon.com/gp/product/0785243631/102-8063061-5890539?v=glance&n=283155 )
When "intolerance, violence and destruction" happen, it is often due to those who are poor representatives of Christianity.
My 2 cents.

Edited typo.

Message edited by author 2006-02-03 10:51:51.
02/03/2006 10:28:13 AM · #4
Originally posted by dahved:

Matthew,
I believe that Christianity, at least, is based on evidence. I don't agree that faith defies evidence--an author who originally tried to disprove Christianity by looking at the evidence (Josh Mcowell) ended up changing his beliefs when the evidence he found ended up supporting what the Bible claims. (See //www.amazon.com/gp/product/0785243631/102-8063061-5890539?v=glance&n=283155 )
When "intolerance, violence and destruction" happen, it is often due to those who are poor representatives of Christianity.
My 2 cents.


One of many of the reviews:

I read this book several years ago and at the time I was quite convinced that McDowell's arguments were valid. However, if one has time for a little research in conjunction with reading this book, it will be apparent to them that the arguments are far from having any solid evidential foundation, as I later found out.

Most easily refuted is the infamous "proof" for the divinity of Jesus. It goes that Jesus was "Lord, Liar or Lunatic." (We must apparently choose one of these possibilities according to McDowell in order to get to our verdict.) It is apparent immediately that this "proof" does not encompass the full realm of possibilities if one puts forth any thought toward the subject. What if the stories of Jesus where embellished by future generations of writers? This embellishment happens so frequently in the evolution of mythologies that it is a wonder how McDowell neglected to include it as a possibility. It is also possible, however unlikely it may be, that the man Jesus never existed. Therefore, we have the choice between at least five possibilities, not just the three that McDowell puts forth.

Any person on a quest for truth needs to start with a set of facts from an epistemologically responsible source and compare them to the biased "research" in question in order to dismiss false premises. A little thinking with a small amount of unbiased research will most likely leave the reader with the opposite conclusion of what the book implies. For instance, Tom Clancy books correspond nicely to structures around today, such as the pentagon and White House etc. Although the novels describe buildings that exist in reality, is no reason to believe the storyline is true. Archeological evidence for the Bible is therefore not valid for proving its truth; it only means that the writers knew of the existence of buildings and cities of their time.
02/03/2006 10:36:00 AM · #5
Try reading: "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis

A peculiar read but has some valid points.

just my .02 :)

02/03/2006 10:50:55 AM · #6
Originally posted by Gordon:


One of many of the reviews:

I read this book several years ago and at the time I was quite convinced that McDowell's arguments were valid. However, if one has time for a little research in conjunction with reading this book, it will be apparent to them that the arguments are far from having any solid evidential foundation, as I later found out.

Most easily refuted is the infamous "proof" for the divinity of Jesus. It goes that Jesus was "Lord, Liar or Lunatic." (We must apparently choose one of these possibilities according to McDowell in order to get to our verdict.) It is apparent immediately that this "proof" does not encompass the full realm of possibilities if one puts forth any thought toward the subject. What if the stories of Jesus where embellished by future generations of writers? This embellishment happens so frequently in the evolution of mythologies that it is a wonder how McDowell neglected to include it as a possibility. It is also possible, however unlikely it may be, that the man Jesus never existed. Therefore, we have the choice between at least five possibilities, not just the three that McDowell puts forth.

Any person on a quest for truth needs to start with a set of facts from an epistemologically responsible source and compare them to the biased "research" in question in order to dismiss false premises. A little thinking with a small amount of unbiased research will most likely leave the reader with the opposite conclusion of what the book implies. For instance, Tom Clancy books correspond nicely to structures around today, such as the pentagon and White House etc. Although the novels describe buildings that exist in reality, is no reason to believe the storyline is true. Archeological evidence for the Bible is therefore not valid for proving its truth; it only means that the writers knew of the existence of buildings and cities of their time.

I believe other parts of McDowell's research notes how many copies exist of manuscripts and how close they are in time to the time the events happened, as compared to other historical documents. (I don't have all those numbers and information here with me now.)

But, of course, even after being presented with evidence, in any forum, each individual has to make their own decision to either accept it as true or not. I happen to choose to believe, and not only due to evidence as presented by McDowell, but because I believe that Christianity is the best way to live, even if it were to not be true.
02/03/2006 10:59:23 AM · #7
Originally posted by dahved:


But, of course, even after being presented with evidence, in any forum, each individual has to make their own decision to either accept it as true or not. I happen to choose to believe, and not only due to evidence as presented by McDowell, but because I believe that Christianity is the best way to live, even if it were to not be true.


You sum up quite susinctly why I don't understand the point of any of this 'evidence' for Christianity. It isn't about evidential proof. It is about faith. If it was proveable, it wouldn't be a religion and wouldn't require faith.

If Jesus lived or not isn't really the point.
02/03/2006 11:03:49 AM · #8
Originally posted by legalbeagle:

However, faith appears to be gaining ground on science. This is worrying because, while religions preach morality, peace and hope, in fact religion often appears to result in intolerance, violence and destruction.


It is not religion itself that results in intolerance, violence and destruction, it is PEOPLE. It is an unfortunate part of human nature. You can find examples of all three anywhere you look , even in science and especially in politics. Sure there is corruption in religion, as there is corruption in almost everything, but THAT is what breeds these things, not religion.
02/03/2006 11:06:34 AM · #9
Originally posted by legalbeagle:

...
From Nobel winning physicist Steven Weinberg:

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”

Morality is older than religion. Kindness and generosity are innate in social animals and in humans. Surely it is better to do good things for their own sake, rather than out of fear for religions consequences?

Is it not better to live in wonder at the majesty and complexity of the universe, and be pleased with what we have got, rather than close our eyes and accept the closed and compromised answer provided by religion?

As has probably been stated before, I also hesitate to lump Christianity together with religion. Also, again, a lot has been said and done in the past (and in the present) in the name of religion, God and Christianity, of which some probably isn't what God would like to see happen. Nobody likes it when someone who claims to have the same beliefs as you starts to say and/or do crazy stuff and then have that reflect poorly on you as well.

I also wonder how there could be innate kindness and generosity in humans...what would that morality be based on? I still struggle with my own goodness as I daily face my great selfishness, despite the good people and things in my life.
Additional 2 cents.

Message edited by author 2006-02-03 11:07:04.
02/03/2006 11:07:23 AM · #10
I'm not any kind of advocate for religion but science can be used as a form of religion as well and does have its "evil" sides. When bad people, in whatever endeavor, have as an agenda to control others and hoard power/money, that freedoms are constrained and that nature suffers. This is true in science as well as relgion, especially the applied sciences.

I also find the kind of hypocracy in which religion uses science to its gain to be reprehensible, such as in the Schiavo case.
02/03/2006 11:08:00 AM · #11
Each (organized) religion preaches tolerance, acceptance, etc, but none actually practice it. Most preach that you believe what they believe to get into heaven, or else you don't get into heaven. With so many religions all preaching the same thing, not all can be right, so all must be wrong.

The boarn agains are amongst the worst. Accept JC as your savior and go to heaven, you don't and well, guess where you go. SO you can live a pious life and not accept and be damned for all erternity. A mobster, serial killer, child molester can accept JC on their death bed and go to heaven? I don't think it works like that either.

I am spritual, but have to ask - did god in vent man, or man invent god? Man certainly invented organized religion, and that is what I have a problem with.
02/03/2006 11:11:13 AM · #12
Originally posted by dahved:


As has probably been stated before, I also hesitate to lump Christianity together with religion.


Really ? I doubt many people before have said that.

What would you lump it with, if not religion ?
02/03/2006 11:18:45 AM · #13
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Each (organized) religion preaches tolerance, acceptance, etc, but none actually practice it.


I disagree. In regard to most religious texts, tolerance of other religious beliefs or even tolerance of doctrinal deviation are not major tenants and have historically been the basis for state and religious sponsored torture and execution.
02/03/2006 11:19:53 AM · #14
CS Lewis would find it interesting that Dawkins points to religion as a cause of intolerance, hate, etc. It appears Dawkins feels "this ought not be as it is". Only religion has an answer as to "how it ought to be". Science only answers "it is as it is". If Dawkins, at his root, truly believed in the chaos of the universe, he would merely point out the behavior rather than point it out and say "it's bad".

Look at your mobster dilemma this way Fate, and it may make more sense. On a relative scale to God, you and I are undifferentiated from the mobster, serial killer, etc. We all fall short of the goal. We all fall short of the goal by a long way. Christianity would say that it isn't about reaching the goal, it's about letting someone else run the race. With that in mind, it's understandable how someone who runs their hardest will not get as far as someone who hands off the baton.

Anyway, I am far from blind at the injustice of the world; be it Christian or otherwise.

I'm happy to talk about faith and even address the "tough questions" as long as things remain civil. I've been around athiests my whole life and seem to be able to "speaky the language". ;)
02/03/2006 11:23:17 AM · #15
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

With so many religions all preaching the same thing, not all can be right, so all must be wrong.


That is a very odd argument.
02/03/2006 11:23:42 AM · #16
Here we go again...

"Faith, by definition, defies evidence. In this, it directly contrasts with rational, scientific truth, which is based on scepticism, investigation and evidence."

Actually, faith does not directly contrast with rational, scientific truth. In fact, many of our scientific discoveries were made in part based on faith combined with rational thought and scientific method. Many discoveries were based on the belief that God had an order and design to the universe. And thus, many scientists based in part on their faith in said concept search where order would point toward existance and made discoveries as a result.

"However, faith appears to be gaining ground on science. This is worrying because, while religions preach morality, peace and hope, in fact religion often appears to result in intolerance, violence and destruction."

Oh gee, so we've got human nature and it's easy to blame it on religion. Yes, the world would be perfect without religion. Well, I'm sorry....but I've seen enough harm, violence and destruction on the part of atheists. Religion doesn't have a sole claim on such events. Sure, many people use religion to harm their neighbors. But most of these people who do such use any excuse they can too. Whether it be religion "they're already damned and deserving of hell" or it be science "they are lesser evolved sub-humans".

Naw...this is, if anything, inherent in the general nature of mankind.

"His silver-tongued, rallying style approach to the masses (a cross between a rock concert and a Nuremburg rally)"

Subjective opinion and slander, not a valid argument.

"The experience of religion appears to be one of seduction, based around the comfort to be gained from group solidarity. But based in myths and questionable stories, rather than observation of the world we see around us."

Funny, the same is true about most scientific beliefs from a few hundred years ago. And most of what we currently believe will likely be looked on similarly in another 1,000 yrs.

"The mechanism for the spread of religion appears principally to be the imposition of belief systems by parents at a time when the children are too young to make up their own minds."

Wow...intriguing, as I've known many who do not fit that mold. In my own case, I was the child who became a christian. My mother was if anything closest to a feminist moving to wiccan. My father was a coke addict.

"In the US, church groups are releasing their own Hell house movies with the deliberate intention of terrifying children into believing."

Wow, is that any different the the enviro-eco-religious activists and their scare tactics of "the coming ice age" in the 60's/70's and now the whole "Global Warming Doom". And we can crap talk about science all the time. But, you know what...it's just that CRAP TALK. Because when I mention the fact that for the last 3 1/2 yrs the satellite around Mars has recorded shrinkage of the polar caps and possible evidence of global warming on Mars. I get no response. If other celestrial bodies may be suffering global warming at sudden and similar pace to earth. Such evidence needs to also be addressed. But people who claim dismissals of science often dismiss scienitific evidence in opposition to their own agendas as well.

"One of the proponents (and products?) of this tactic was a man who was a loyal supporter and defender of a murderer. The murderer had killed an abortion doctor: the religious mindset (in any religion) can lead to the justification of murder."

a) first off, most all religious people have condemned the act of killing abortion doctors. Yes, a rare few do support it.

b) those few who don't essentially view abortion akin to the slaughter of the Jews during the holocaust. You may not see it that way...but they do. In which case, it's akin to them as man who stood up and killed a NAZI soldier to prevent them from killing Jews.

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”

He should really stick to physics, this philosophy sucks - big time.

a) people who do bad things are bad people

b) there are plenty of things besides religion that has driven people who might seemingly be called good to do bad things.

"Morality is older than religion. Kindness and generosity are innate in social animals and in humans. Surely it is better to do good things for their own sake, rather than out of fear for religions consequences?"

You also, have no clue about most religious people or what faith means to people. For most people, it is not an issue of "fear" but rather, one of "gratitude". Religious people who found soup kitchens, homeless shelters, orphanages, etc. They don't do these things out of "fear" but out of "gratitude" and "love". They do it because they believe it is good to do. Many believe "perfect love" casts away "fear".

"Is it not better to live in wonder at the majesty and complexity of the universe, and be pleased with what we have got, rather than close our eyes and accept the closed and compromised answer provided by religion?"

Wow...um...majesty and complexity? Funny, both of those are rather interesting descriptors to use.

Complexity, is very interesting and the order of the universe in an environment that tends to show an inherent tendency toward disorder. Such is one of the scientific observational arguments that many Intelligent Design adherents point to as a support for evidence of an ordered design.

As for majesty, well...here's the definition of majesty.

maj·es·ty
1.
1. The greatness and dignity of a sovereign.
2. The sovereignty and power of God.
2. Supreme authority or power: the majesty of the law.
3.
1. A royal personage.
2. Majesty Used with His, Her, or Your as a title and form of address for a sovereign.
4.
1. Royal dignity of bearing or aspect; grandeur.
2. Stately splendor; magnificence, as of style or character: the Parthenon in all its majesty.

[NOTE: I removed comments that were of a personal nature. I have personal issue with LegalBeagle on such matters as I feel he and a few others constantly post inflammatory posts to wage attack against religion and faith. And do not do so for the purpose of discussion. Nor do I feel their posts are of a factual or even intellectually rational manner. Most of the points are easily addressed or expanded to the commonality of mankind. I am most bothered by the fact that there is a numerous quantity of these type of posts. And they garner little redress from the SC (as they are rather trendy and politically correct) while at the same time politically incorrect posts of a similar nature made by myself and others has often received the retort of bigotry or incitement to hatred and drawn the redress of the SC. I find there to be a great duality in this regard.]

Message edited by author 2006-02-03 13:29:01.
02/03/2006 11:25:20 AM · #17
"Each (organized) religion preaches tolerance, acceptance, etc, but none actually practice it. "

Funny, I feel exactly that way about extremist atheists & leftists, they preach tolerance and acceptant but seldom do.

02/03/2006 11:29:36 AM · #18
Originally posted by Gordon:

Originally posted by dahved:


As has probably been stated before, I also hesitate to lump Christianity together with religion.


Really ? I doubt many people before have said that.

What would you lump it with, if not religion ?


I said it poorly. I assumed that other Christians may have made that point before in these forums. I mean that "religion" is not the same as Christianity. For me, Christianity is a personal relationship with God made possible through the substitutionary death of Christ for my sin. Religion is a much more broad term.
I also intended to communicate that I would be a Christian even if the resurrection of Christ were to be proven to be a hoax, as I believe the teachings of the Bible, if understood correctly, are the best way to interact with others.

In your other post, you wrote,
"You sum up quite susinctly why I don't understand the point of any of this 'evidence' for Christianity. It isn't about evidential proof. It is about faith. If it was proveable, it wouldn't be a religion and wouldn't require faith.

If Jesus lived or not isn't really the point."

Everyone lives with faith in their life every day, to some degree. I have to have faith that the other drivers won't try to hit me as I drive to work. I have to have faith that engineers did a good job on that overpass I go under. The evidence is past observations, laws, the trustworthiness of others, but I need to believe (have faith) or I would stay at home fearing for my life.

Message edited by author 2006-02-03 11:33:17.
02/03/2006 11:30:08 AM · #19
Mr. Dawkins, like many, if not most, investigators / documentalists, seems to be unable to separate in his mind, and in his writings, the concepts of faith and religion.

As a perfect example, note how he automatically implies a direct correlation between faith and religion, if not an implied equality, in this statement:

"However, faith appears to be gaining ground on science. This is worrying because, while religions preach morality, peace and hope, in fact religion often appears to result in intolerance, violence and destruction. "

The fact that "FAITH" is gaining ground is worrying because "RELIGION" ...
02/03/2006 11:31:30 AM · #20
wow saj, that was pretty harsh, and VERY personal. All of your points are moot in my opinion because of your immature personal attacks.

drake
02/03/2006 11:32:13 AM · #21
Originally posted by HighwayFlower:

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

With so many religions all preaching the same thing, not all can be right, so all must be wrong.


That is a very odd argument.


I agree--if three people each describe me, but A says I'm green (false), B says I'm purple (also false), and C says I'm Caucasian (true), then C must be wrong?
02/03/2006 11:36:52 AM · #22
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

...
The boarn agains are amongst the worst. Accept JC as your savior and go to heaven, you don't and well, guess where you go. ...


I believe there are other organized belief systems also state that only their believers will go to an afterlife.
02/03/2006 11:37:14 AM · #23
[removed personal attack quote]

For those interested (since it wouldnt air in the US), you can download the 2 episodes of The Root of all Evil? with Bittorrent, if you know what that means.. towards the bottom of the page

Message edited by frisca - removed quote.
02/03/2006 11:53:39 AM · #24
Jason (theSaj),

I appreciate the passion you have for what you believe, and it seems you have done research on some of the issues that come up in discussions as in this thread. However, I do think that personal attacks are not the best way to try and explain your point of view to others.

My experience has been that, sometimes, those who are opposed to religion and/or Christianity have already had a negative experience with those who believe in God. Calling someone a hatemonger or bigot is only going to have a negative effect on any discussion.

I propose we try to address issues in a calm, rational manner without ad hominem attacks. How about it?
02/03/2006 11:54:22 AM · #25
Originally posted by MadMordegon:


Is this the kind of tolerance they teach you? Thats quite a hateful post coming from someone morally superior theSaj.


I dont think theSaj claimed to be morally superior. His response was definitely passionate, but he has a lot of very valid arguments.
Pages:  
Current Server Time: 12/05/2020 11:02:47 AM

Please log in or register to post to the forums.


Home - Challenges - Community - League - Photos - Cameras - Lenses - Learn - Prints! - Help - Terms of Use - Privacy - Top ^
DPChallenge, and website content and design, Copyright © 2001-2020 Challenging Technologies, LLC.
All digital photo copyrights belong to the photographers and may not be used without permission.
Proudly hosted by Sargasso Networks. Current Server Time: 12/05/2020 11:02:47 AM EST.