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BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?

The Shambles 09 Jan 06 - 05:26 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 09 Jan 06 - 05:35 PM
John O'L 09 Jan 06 - 05:40 PM
Wesley S 09 Jan 06 - 05:45 PM
wysiwyg 09 Jan 06 - 05:49 PM
CarolC 09 Jan 06 - 05:53 PM
Amos 09 Jan 06 - 05:59 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 09 Jan 06 - 06:05 PM
Burke 09 Jan 06 - 06:08 PM
Little Hawk 09 Jan 06 - 06:18 PM
Bunnahabhain 09 Jan 06 - 06:20 PM
Peace 09 Jan 06 - 06:24 PM
Amos 09 Jan 06 - 06:37 PM
Little Hawk 09 Jan 06 - 06:41 PM
Clinton Hammond 09 Jan 06 - 06:55 PM
Amos 09 Jan 06 - 07:01 PM
Little Hawk 09 Jan 06 - 07:04 PM
Clinton Hammond 09 Jan 06 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Mao Tse Tung 09 Jan 06 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,Josef Stalin 09 Jan 06 - 07:19 PM
GUEST,Zedong 09 Jan 06 - 07:37 PM
GUEST,wordy 09 Jan 06 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,Jesus, Joseph and Mary 09 Jan 06 - 07:44 PM
GUEST,Jesus, Joseph and Mary 09 Jan 06 - 07:45 PM
GUEST,JJM 09 Jan 06 - 07:45 PM
Little Hawk 09 Jan 06 - 07:47 PM
bobad 09 Jan 06 - 07:48 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 06 - 07:55 PM
bobad 09 Jan 06 - 08:04 PM
CarolC 09 Jan 06 - 08:07 PM
GUEST,wordy 09 Jan 06 - 08:12 PM
frogprince 09 Jan 06 - 08:14 PM
Joe Offer 09 Jan 06 - 08:27 PM
akenaton 09 Jan 06 - 08:38 PM
Little Hawk 09 Jan 06 - 08:46 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 09 Jan 06 - 08:50 PM
Peace 09 Jan 06 - 08:55 PM
Little Hawk 09 Jan 06 - 08:55 PM
Little Hawk 09 Jan 06 - 09:07 PM
Ebbie 09 Jan 06 - 09:41 PM
Bill D 09 Jan 06 - 09:47 PM
Don Firth 09 Jan 06 - 10:48 PM
number 6 09 Jan 06 - 11:02 PM
Amos 09 Jan 06 - 11:10 PM
Clinton Hammond 09 Jan 06 - 11:12 PM
Amos 09 Jan 06 - 11:34 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 12:56 AM
CarolC 10 Jan 06 - 02:49 AM
Paul Burke 10 Jan 06 - 04:07 AM
autolycus 10 Jan 06 - 05:12 AM
Hrothgar 10 Jan 06 - 06:25 AM
Gervase 10 Jan 06 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,wordy 10 Jan 06 - 07:33 AM
Stu 10 Jan 06 - 07:44 AM
Amos 10 Jan 06 - 09:58 AM
The Shambles 10 Jan 06 - 01:25 PM
Clinton Hammond 10 Jan 06 - 01:29 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 03:28 PM
Clinton Hammond 10 Jan 06 - 03:47 PM
Wesley S 10 Jan 06 - 04:23 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 Jan 06 - 04:31 PM
TheBigPinkLad 10 Jan 06 - 05:18 PM
Georgiansilver 10 Jan 06 - 05:23 PM
Peace 10 Jan 06 - 05:24 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 06:31 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 06:33 PM
TheBigPinkLad 10 Jan 06 - 06:36 PM
Peace 10 Jan 06 - 06:37 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 06:37 PM
GUEST 10 Jan 06 - 06:48 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 06:55 PM
Peace 10 Jan 06 - 07:00 PM
John O'L 10 Jan 06 - 07:11 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 07:23 PM
John O'L 10 Jan 06 - 07:27 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 Jan 06 - 07:47 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 07:49 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 08:10 PM
Amos 10 Jan 06 - 08:15 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 08:18 PM
akenaton 10 Jan 06 - 08:41 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 Jan 06 - 08:45 PM
Peace 10 Jan 06 - 09:02 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 09:09 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 Jan 06 - 09:10 PM
Peace 10 Jan 06 - 09:13 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 09:21 PM
Peace 10 Jan 06 - 09:24 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 Jan 06 - 09:36 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 10:23 PM
Bill D 10 Jan 06 - 10:25 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 11:01 PM
CarolC 10 Jan 06 - 11:05 PM
bobad 10 Jan 06 - 11:08 PM
CarolC 10 Jan 06 - 11:16 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 11:19 PM
Amos 10 Jan 06 - 11:30 PM
Little Hawk 10 Jan 06 - 11:43 PM
Amos 10 Jan 06 - 11:52 PM
SunnySister 10 Jan 06 - 11:54 PM
SunnySister 10 Jan 06 - 11:57 PM
Little Hawk 11 Jan 06 - 12:28 AM
Donuel 11 Jan 06 - 12:41 AM
John O'L 11 Jan 06 - 12:55 AM
Little Hawk 11 Jan 06 - 12:57 AM
Little Hawk 11 Jan 06 - 01:04 AM
Clinton Hammond 11 Jan 06 - 01:13 AM
CarolC 11 Jan 06 - 01:14 AM
CarolC 11 Jan 06 - 01:17 AM
Little Hawk 11 Jan 06 - 01:30 AM
Clinton Hammond 11 Jan 06 - 01:35 AM
John O'L 11 Jan 06 - 01:36 AM
The Shambles 11 Jan 06 - 02:25 AM
Paul Burke 11 Jan 06 - 04:04 AM
Amos 11 Jan 06 - 04:21 AM
The Shambles 11 Jan 06 - 06:30 AM
The Shambles 11 Jan 06 - 06:50 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Jan 06 - 10:31 AM
Amos 11 Jan 06 - 10:46 AM
Peace 11 Jan 06 - 11:10 AM
GUEST 11 Jan 06 - 11:35 AM
Amos 11 Jan 06 - 12:04 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 11 Jan 06 - 12:15 PM
Pied Piper 11 Jan 06 - 12:19 PM
GUEST 11 Jan 06 - 12:26 PM
Bill D 11 Jan 06 - 12:35 PM
The Shambles 11 Jan 06 - 12:39 PM
Lonesome EJ 11 Jan 06 - 01:37 PM
TheBigPinkLad 11 Jan 06 - 02:24 PM
Amos 11 Jan 06 - 03:30 PM
Little Hawk 11 Jan 06 - 04:53 PM
Amos 11 Jan 06 - 05:07 PM
Little Hawk 11 Jan 06 - 05:10 PM
The Shambles 11 Jan 06 - 05:45 PM
John O'L 11 Jan 06 - 05:47 PM
Amos 11 Jan 06 - 05:57 PM
The Shambles 11 Jan 06 - 05:59 PM
Peace 11 Jan 06 - 07:15 PM
Bill D 11 Jan 06 - 07:51 PM
Little Hawk 11 Jan 06 - 08:09 PM
Joe Offer 11 Jan 06 - 08:36 PM
Amos 11 Jan 06 - 08:47 PM
Tinker 11 Jan 06 - 09:00 PM
CarolC 11 Jan 06 - 10:19 PM
Joe Offer 12 Jan 06 - 01:39 AM
The Shambles 12 Jan 06 - 02:20 AM
The Shambles 12 Jan 06 - 03:37 AM
Bunnahabhain 12 Jan 06 - 09:35 AM
Pied Piper 12 Jan 06 - 12:17 PM
Little Hawk 12 Jan 06 - 12:29 PM
Wolfgang 12 Jan 06 - 12:34 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 12 Jan 06 - 12:45 PM
Wolfgang 12 Jan 06 - 12:52 PM
Wolfgang 12 Jan 06 - 01:02 PM
Bill D 12 Jan 06 - 01:55 PM
CarolC 12 Jan 06 - 06:13 PM
Bill D 12 Jan 06 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,zippo 12 Jan 06 - 08:39 PM
Amos 12 Jan 06 - 08:41 PM
CarolC 12 Jan 06 - 08:47 PM
Amos 12 Jan 06 - 08:51 PM
GUEST,zippo 12 Jan 06 - 09:02 PM
bobad 12 Jan 06 - 10:34 PM
GUEST,zippo 12 Jan 06 - 11:04 PM
bobad 12 Jan 06 - 11:15 PM
GUEST,Zippo 12 Jan 06 - 11:37 PM
bobad 12 Jan 06 - 11:43 PM
GUEST,zippo 12 Jan 06 - 11:52 PM
bobad 13 Jan 06 - 12:06 AM
GUEST,zippo 13 Jan 06 - 12:24 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jan 06 - 04:13 AM
Pied Piper 13 Jan 06 - 06:03 AM
The Shambles 13 Jan 06 - 08:35 AM
The Shambles 13 Jan 06 - 09:04 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 10:09 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Jan 06 - 10:22 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 10:33 AM
The Shambles 13 Jan 06 - 10:33 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 10:34 AM
The Shambles 13 Jan 06 - 10:40 AM
The Shambles 13 Jan 06 - 10:43 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 10:49 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 10:51 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jan 06 - 10:54 AM
Amos 13 Jan 06 - 10:56 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 11:03 AM
Donuel 13 Jan 06 - 11:07 AM
Paul Burke 13 Jan 06 - 11:18 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 11:23 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Jan 06 - 11:29 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 11:39 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 11:41 AM
Wolfgang 13 Jan 06 - 11:44 AM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 12:07 PM
The Shambles 13 Jan 06 - 12:12 PM
Peace 13 Jan 06 - 12:37 PM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 12:53 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jan 06 - 01:18 PM
The Shambles 13 Jan 06 - 02:04 PM
Bill D 13 Jan 06 - 02:15 PM
CarolC 13 Jan 06 - 02:50 PM
frogprince 13 Jan 06 - 03:05 PM
Amos 13 Jan 06 - 04:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Jan 06 - 04:41 PM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 04:51 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Jan 06 - 05:31 PM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 07:28 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Jan 06 - 08:01 PM
Little Hawk 13 Jan 06 - 08:26 PM
The Shambles 13 Jan 06 - 08:46 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 13 Jan 06 - 08:58 PM
Peace 13 Jan 06 - 09:07 PM
bobad 13 Jan 06 - 09:13 PM
Peace 13 Jan 06 - 09:14 PM
The Shambles 14 Jan 06 - 02:55 AM
The Shambles 14 Jan 06 - 04:27 AM
*daylia* 14 Jan 06 - 07:43 AM
Little Hawk 14 Jan 06 - 10:04 AM
John O'L 14 Jan 06 - 08:37 PM
Lonesome EJ 14 Jan 06 - 09:05 PM
Little Hawk 14 Jan 06 - 09:37 PM
Little Hawk 14 Jan 06 - 09:43 PM
*daylia* 15 Jan 06 - 10:33 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Jan 06 - 10:45 AM
the one 15 Jan 06 - 11:08 AM
CarolC 15 Jan 06 - 11:46 AM
John O'L 15 Jan 06 - 03:35 PM
Lonesome EJ 15 Jan 06 - 03:50 PM
The Shambles 15 Jan 06 - 07:30 PM
CarolC 15 Jan 06 - 07:43 PM
Peace 15 Jan 06 - 07:52 PM
pdq 15 Jan 06 - 08:21 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Jan 06 - 08:35 PM
Little Hawk 15 Jan 06 - 09:39 PM
The Shambles 16 Jan 06 - 02:03 AM
The Shambles 16 Jan 06 - 02:22 AM
The Shambles 16 Jan 06 - 03:46 AM
The Shambles 16 Jan 06 - 06:47 PM
autolycus 16 Jan 06 - 06:57 PM
Amos 16 Jan 06 - 07:02 PM
The Shambles 16 Jan 06 - 08:00 PM
The Shambles 18 Jan 06 - 05:21 AM
Lonesome EJ 18 Jan 06 - 12:57 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 18 Jan 06 - 02:04 PM
Peace 18 Jan 06 - 02:27 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jan 06 - 03:31 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jan 06 - 03:42 PM
Amos 18 Jan 06 - 04:01 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 18 Jan 06 - 06:55 PM
Amos 18 Jan 06 - 07:52 PM
The Shambles 18 Jan 06 - 08:12 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jan 06 - 08:41 PM
Amos 18 Jan 06 - 08:51 PM
Little Hawk 18 Jan 06 - 08:56 PM
Lonesome EJ 19 Jan 06 - 12:46 AM
The Shambles 19 Jan 06 - 03:27 AM
Little Hawk 19 Jan 06 - 08:43 AM
*daylia* 19 Jan 06 - 11:13 AM
The Shambles 19 Jan 06 - 06:53 PM
Amos 19 Jan 06 - 07:22 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 19 Jan 06 - 08:45 PM
Joe Offer 19 Jan 06 - 09:31 PM
Little Hawk 19 Jan 06 - 10:17 PM
Amos 19 Jan 06 - 10:23 PM
Little Hawk 19 Jan 06 - 11:03 PM
Joe Offer 20 Jan 06 - 12:12 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 20 Jan 06 - 04:02 PM
The Shambles 20 Jan 06 - 04:40 PM
Little Hawk 20 Jan 06 - 04:55 PM
The Shambles 20 Jan 06 - 05:15 PM
The Shambles 20 Jan 06 - 05:31 PM
Little Hawk 20 Jan 06 - 05:52 PM
GUEST,Joe Offer (at the Women's Center) 20 Jan 06 - 06:27 PM
The Shambles 21 Jan 06 - 06:17 AM
*daylia* 21 Jan 06 - 06:40 AM
*daylia* 21 Jan 06 - 06:57 AM
The Shambles 21 Jan 06 - 06:59 AM
The Shambles 21 Jan 06 - 07:05 AM
*daylia* 21 Jan 06 - 07:12 AM
*daylia* 21 Jan 06 - 07:23 AM
The Shambles 21 Jan 06 - 09:58 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 21 Jan 06 - 10:23 AM
*daylia* 21 Jan 06 - 10:37 AM
*daylia* 21 Jan 06 - 10:41 AM
Amos 21 Jan 06 - 11:10 AM
Joe Offer 21 Jan 06 - 02:10 PM
Ron Davies 21 Jan 06 - 02:53 PM
The Shambles 21 Jan 06 - 02:56 PM
Ron Davies 21 Jan 06 - 02:59 PM
Ron Davies 21 Jan 06 - 03:08 PM
The Shambles 21 Jan 06 - 03:20 PM
Ron Davies 21 Jan 06 - 03:32 PM
The Shambles 21 Jan 06 - 03:53 PM
Ron Davies 21 Jan 06 - 04:05 PM
Joe Offer 21 Jan 06 - 04:31 PM
Ron Davies 21 Jan 06 - 04:36 PM
Peace 21 Jan 06 - 05:05 PM
Ron Davies 21 Jan 06 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Joe Offer (at the Library) 21 Jan 06 - 07:55 PM
Leadfingers 21 Jan 06 - 08:03 PM
Bill D 21 Jan 06 - 08:13 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 21 Jan 06 - 08:35 PM
Lonesome EJ 22 Jan 06 - 12:52 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 22 Jan 06 - 06:19 AM
Ron Davies 22 Jan 06 - 07:41 AM
*daylia* 22 Jan 06 - 08:27 AM
The Shambles 22 Jan 06 - 08:31 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 22 Jan 06 - 08:35 AM
The Shambles 22 Jan 06 - 08:37 AM
Ron Davies 22 Jan 06 - 09:14 AM
The Shambles 22 Jan 06 - 09:17 AM
*daylia* 22 Jan 06 - 09:28 AM
Ron Davies 22 Jan 06 - 09:32 AM
*daylia* 22 Jan 06 - 10:09 AM
Ron Davies 22 Jan 06 - 10:21 AM
Joe Offer 22 Jan 06 - 10:29 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 22 Jan 06 - 10:39 AM
The Shambles 22 Jan 06 - 11:25 AM
The Shambles 22 Jan 06 - 11:40 AM
Ron Davies 22 Jan 06 - 11:42 AM
*daylia* 22 Jan 06 - 12:02 PM
*daylia* 22 Jan 06 - 12:36 PM
The Shambles 22 Jan 06 - 03:04 PM
*daylia* 22 Jan 06 - 03:31 PM
The Shambles 22 Jan 06 - 03:40 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 22 Jan 06 - 03:42 PM
Peace 22 Jan 06 - 03:44 PM
*daylia* 22 Jan 06 - 03:56 PM
The Shambles 22 Jan 06 - 05:49 PM
Bill D 22 Jan 06 - 05:58 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 22 Jan 06 - 10:05 PM
Bill D 22 Jan 06 - 10:47 PM
The Shambles 23 Jan 06 - 02:13 AM
Joe Offer 23 Jan 06 - 03:51 AM
The Shambles 23 Jan 06 - 05:10 AM
Paul Burke 23 Jan 06 - 05:38 AM
autolycus 23 Jan 06 - 06:43 AM
Bunnahabhain 23 Jan 06 - 06:59 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 23 Jan 06 - 07:16 AM
Amos 23 Jan 06 - 11:53 AM
Joe Offer 23 Jan 06 - 12:04 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Jan 06 - 01:23 PM
Rustic Rebel 23 Jan 06 - 02:24 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Jan 06 - 03:08 PM
Bill D 23 Jan 06 - 04:23 PM
wysiwyg 23 Jan 06 - 04:33 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Jan 06 - 04:50 PM
The Shambles 23 Jan 06 - 07:48 PM
GUEST,opinionated dipwad 23 Jan 06 - 08:05 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Jan 06 - 08:14 PM
Lonesome EJ 23 Jan 06 - 08:24 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Jan 06 - 08:31 PM
Bill D 23 Jan 06 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,ramlacan 23 Jan 06 - 08:48 PM
The Shambles 23 Jan 06 - 09:11 PM
The Shambles 23 Jan 06 - 09:19 PM
Little Hawk 23 Jan 06 - 09:25 PM
Joe Offer 23 Jan 06 - 09:38 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 23 Jan 06 - 09:40 PM
wysiwyg 23 Jan 06 - 09:45 PM
Bill D 23 Jan 06 - 10:28 PM
Ron Davies 23 Jan 06 - 11:17 PM
Ron Davies 23 Jan 06 - 11:29 PM
The Shambles 24 Jan 06 - 10:51 AM
Little Hawk 24 Jan 06 - 10:55 AM
wysiwyg 24 Jan 06 - 11:32 AM
Amos 24 Jan 06 - 06:29 PM
Little Hawk 24 Jan 06 - 06:50 PM
The Shambles 25 Jan 06 - 02:21 AM
The Shambles 25 Jan 06 - 03:16 AM
The Shambles 25 Jan 06 - 03:37 AM
The Shambles 25 Jan 06 - 06:24 AM
autolycus 25 Jan 06 - 07:15 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Jan 06 - 09:31 AM
Amos 25 Jan 06 - 09:48 AM
*daylia* 25 Jan 06 - 10:18 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Jan 06 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,Rustic Rebel 25 Jan 06 - 04:02 PM
Joe Offer 25 Jan 06 - 08:47 PM
Amos 25 Jan 06 - 09:28 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 25 Jan 06 - 09:36 PM
The Shambles 26 Jan 06 - 09:00 AM
The Shambles 26 Jan 06 - 09:17 AM
The Shambles 26 Jan 06 - 09:26 AM
Amos 26 Jan 06 - 09:41 AM
*daylia* 26 Jan 06 - 09:57 AM
The Shambles 26 Jan 06 - 12:47 PM
GUEST 26 Jan 06 - 12:52 PM
Amos 26 Jan 06 - 03:15 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Jan 06 - 03:49 PM
wysiwyg 26 Jan 06 - 05:44 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 26 Jan 06 - 10:36 PM
wysiwyg 26 Jan 06 - 11:16 PM
The Shambles 27 Jan 06 - 11:07 AM
The Shambles 27 Jan 06 - 11:21 AM
LilyFestre 27 Jan 06 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,*daylia* 27 Jan 06 - 12:27 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 27 Jan 06 - 01:03 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 27 Jan 06 - 01:25 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jan 06 - 01:58 PM
The Shambles 27 Jan 06 - 02:27 PM
GUEST 27 Jan 06 - 02:55 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jan 06 - 09:25 PM
wysiwyg 27 Jan 06 - 11:51 PM
The Shambles 28 Jan 06 - 02:43 AM
The Shambles 28 Jan 06 - 02:53 AM
Bill D 28 Jan 06 - 12:42 PM
The Shambles 28 Jan 06 - 01:41 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 06 - 02:27 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 06 - 02:54 PM
The Shambles 28 Jan 06 - 03:33 PM
Peace 28 Jan 06 - 05:07 PM
Joe Offer 28 Jan 06 - 05:09 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jan 06 - 06:57 PM
The Shambles 30 Jan 06 - 01:59 PM
The Shambles 30 Jan 06 - 02:07 PM
The Shambles 30 Jan 06 - 02:15 PM
Little Hawk 30 Jan 06 - 02:23 PM
The Shambles 30 Jan 06 - 04:08 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 06 - 05:00 PM
Little Hawk 30 Jan 06 - 05:16 PM
The Shambles 01 Feb 06 - 02:06 AM
The Shambles 01 Feb 06 - 02:18 AM
The Shambles 01 Feb 06 - 03:14 AM
Joe Offer 01 Feb 06 - 04:28 AM
The Shambles 01 Feb 06 - 07:43 AM
GUEST,*daylia* 01 Feb 06 - 09:26 AM
GUEST,*daylia* 01 Feb 06 - 09:45 AM
Bill D 01 Feb 06 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Spock 01 Feb 06 - 01:39 PM
Joe Offer 01 Feb 06 - 01:45 PM
Little Hawk 01 Feb 06 - 01:56 PM
The Shambles 01 Feb 06 - 02:05 PM
Little Hawk 01 Feb 06 - 02:10 PM
The Shambles 01 Feb 06 - 02:38 PM
Little Hawk 01 Feb 06 - 02:48 PM
Joe Offer 01 Feb 06 - 05:08 PM
Bill D 01 Feb 06 - 05:37 PM
The Shambles 02 Feb 06 - 02:20 AM
The Shambles 02 Feb 06 - 03:03 AM
The Shambles 02 Feb 06 - 03:16 AM
Joe Offer 02 Feb 06 - 04:29 AM
The Shambles 02 Feb 06 - 06:16 AM
The Shambles 02 Feb 06 - 06:22 AM
GUEST,Chongo Chimp 02 Feb 06 - 12:44 PM
Joe Offer 02 Feb 06 - 01:56 PM
wysiwyg 02 Feb 06 - 02:09 PM
The Shambles 02 Feb 06 - 02:32 PM
The Shambles 02 Feb 06 - 06:59 PM
Bill D 02 Feb 06 - 07:15 PM
Joe Offer 02 Feb 06 - 09:01 PM
Little Hawk 02 Feb 06 - 09:02 PM
wysiwyg 02 Feb 06 - 10:12 PM
Little Hawk 02 Feb 06 - 11:14 PM
The Shambles 03 Feb 06 - 02:16 AM
The Shambles 03 Feb 06 - 02:31 AM
Joe Offer 03 Feb 06 - 04:41 AM
*daylia* 03 Feb 06 - 08:39 AM
The Shambles 03 Feb 06 - 09:51 AM
*daylia* 03 Feb 06 - 10:01 AM
wysiwyg 03 Feb 06 - 10:26 AM
The Shambles 03 Feb 06 - 10:30 AM
wysiwyg 03 Feb 06 - 10:50 AM
Bill D 03 Feb 06 - 11:29 AM
*daylia* 03 Feb 06 - 11:53 AM
GUEST,Blind DRunk in Blind River 03 Feb 06 - 01:44 PM
The Shambles 03 Feb 06 - 02:37 PM
Little Hawk 03 Feb 06 - 02:48 PM
The Shambles 03 Feb 06 - 03:17 PM
Little Hawk 03 Feb 06 - 03:21 PM
The Shambles 05 Feb 06 - 07:56 AM
The Shambles 05 Feb 06 - 08:27 AM
The Shambles 05 Feb 06 - 10:03 AM
Little Hawk 05 Feb 06 - 07:04 PM
The Shambles 06 Feb 06 - 02:17 AM
Bill D 06 Feb 06 - 10:45 AM
The Shambles 06 Feb 06 - 11:51 AM
Little Hawk 06 Feb 06 - 12:30 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Feb 06 - 03:59 PM
wysiwyg 06 Feb 06 - 04:45 PM
Little Hawk 06 Feb 06 - 05:01 PM
The Shambles 07 Feb 06 - 02:18 AM
The Shambles 07 Feb 06 - 03:06 AM
The Shambles 07 Feb 06 - 05:19 AM
JohnInKansas 07 Feb 06 - 08:44 AM
*daylia* 07 Feb 06 - 09:44 AM
Amos 07 Feb 06 - 09:52 AM
Little Hawk 07 Feb 06 - 02:33 PM
Amos 07 Feb 06 - 03:52 PM
The Shambles 08 Feb 06 - 12:57 PM
The Shambles 08 Feb 06 - 01:21 PM
Joe Offer 08 Feb 06 - 01:24 PM
*daylia* 08 Feb 06 - 02:41 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Feb 06 - 03:17 PM
The Shambles 08 Feb 06 - 03:17 PM
Joe Offer 08 Feb 06 - 04:24 PM
Little Hawk 08 Feb 06 - 06:00 PM
Bill D 08 Feb 06 - 06:14 PM
Bill D 08 Feb 06 - 06:16 PM
Bill D 08 Feb 06 - 06:16 PM
Little Hawk 08 Feb 06 - 06:58 PM
Rustic Rebel 08 Feb 06 - 07:31 PM
Little Hawk 08 Feb 06 - 07:36 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Feb 06 - 08:30 PM
Little Hawk 08 Feb 06 - 09:00 PM
Amos 08 Feb 06 - 09:15 PM
Little Hawk 08 Feb 06 - 09:24 PM
Little Hawk 08 Feb 06 - 09:28 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 06 - 09:36 PM
Little Hawk 08 Feb 06 - 09:40 PM
*daylia* 08 Feb 06 - 10:02 PM
wysiwyg 08 Feb 06 - 10:23 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 06 - 10:31 PM
Bill D 08 Feb 06 - 10:38 PM
Lonesome EJ 08 Feb 06 - 11:01 PM
JohnInKansas 08 Feb 06 - 11:19 PM
The Shambles 09 Feb 06 - 01:59 AM
The Shambles 09 Feb 06 - 02:07 AM
The Shambles 09 Feb 06 - 02:09 AM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 06 - 02:31 AM
The Shambles 09 Feb 06 - 02:55 AM
The Shambles 09 Feb 06 - 06:13 AM
The Shambles 09 Feb 06 - 06:16 AM
*daylia* 09 Feb 06 - 07:19 AM
*daylia* 09 Feb 06 - 08:07 AM
*daylia* 09 Feb 06 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,Ned 09 Feb 06 - 11:48 AM
The Shambles 09 Feb 06 - 12:33 PM
wysiwyg 09 Feb 06 - 01:38 PM
The Shambles 09 Feb 06 - 02:08 PM
Little Hawk 09 Feb 06 - 02:23 PM
wysiwyg 09 Feb 06 - 04:20 PM
JohnInKansas 09 Feb 06 - 06:25 PM
Little Hawk 09 Feb 06 - 06:41 PM
*daylia* 10 Feb 06 - 09:29 AM
*daylia* 10 Feb 06 - 09:35 AM
Little Hawk 10 Feb 06 - 09:50 AM
The Shambles 10 Feb 06 - 11:02 AM
*daylia* 10 Feb 06 - 11:16 AM
The Shambles 10 Feb 06 - 03:14 PM
Little Hawk 10 Feb 06 - 04:30 PM
Bill D 10 Feb 06 - 06:18 PM
Lonesome EJ 10 Feb 06 - 06:20 PM
The Shambles 10 Feb 06 - 06:24 PM
The Shambles 10 Feb 06 - 07:52 PM
Little Hawk 10 Feb 06 - 10:58 PM
The Shambles 13 Feb 06 - 01:45 PM
frogprince 13 Feb 06 - 01:55 PM
Little Hawk 13 Feb 06 - 02:15 PM
Lonesome EJ 13 Feb 06 - 02:32 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Feb 06 - 04:07 PM
Little Hawk 13 Feb 06 - 05:08 PM
JohnInKansas 13 Feb 06 - 06:11 PM
Little Hawk 13 Feb 06 - 06:33 PM
Peace 13 Feb 06 - 07:32 PM
bobad 13 Feb 06 - 07:45 PM
Peace 13 Feb 06 - 08:21 PM
Little Hawk 13 Feb 06 - 10:42 PM
The Shambles 14 Feb 06 - 03:19 AM
*daylia* 14 Feb 06 - 07:42 AM
The Shambles 14 Feb 06 - 12:41 PM
Little Hawk 14 Feb 06 - 04:38 PM
The Shambles 14 Feb 06 - 07:15 PM
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Subject: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 05:26 PM

The Root of All Evil the first of two TV programmes starting this Monday night (9 Jan) on UK Channel 4 at 8pm.

It is an outspoken view on religion by Professor Richard Dawkins. The trailer for the show rather sums this view up. It is to the effect of the following

Without religion good people would still do good things and bad people would still do bad things.

It is only with region that good people do bad things.    -    and do them in the name of their religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 05:35 PM

Good point---check out the thread re: discrimination in Suffern

Bill Hahn


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: John O'L
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 05:40 PM

I don't see how he makes the distinction. Why would they have to be the good people?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Wesley S
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 05:45 PM

What a suprise ! A religion bashing thread on the Mudcat ! Shock, horror, and amazement !

I'm claiming post number 100 right now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 05:49 PM

I'm with Wes. We tolerate only a few forms of group-bashing here, but "Christians" is, repeatedly, one of them.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 05:53 PM

It could be one example of a reason good people to do bad things, but it's hardly the only one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 05:59 PM

Dawkins' position has nothing to do with the particulars of any one religion, WYSIWYG; it has to do with the human fallibility of subscribing to memes which override their own judgement.

Don't be paranoid, now! :D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:05 PM

I don't buy the "good people do bad things in the name of their religion" bit. The people who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center were not good people doing a bad thing in the name of their religion. They were bad people doing a bad thing in the guise of their religion. They abused their religion. That doesn't devalue the religion itself, just those who would twist it to serve their own needs and use it toward their own ends.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Burke
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:08 PM

I'm with CarolC on this one. Religion can be used to get people to do things they'd otherwise think of as bad. Jigoistic patriotism can too, so can demagogic leaders.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:18 PM

"Good" people? "Bad" people? I laugh. Anyone who can blithely divide the human race up into such imaginary and arbitrary categories as that has little to say of much use, in my opinion.

All people have the potential to act well and wisely...or destructively and unwisely. Most people act unwisely when they are subjected to unusual stress. Then other people say they are "bad".

Humph.

I never met anyone yet who wasn't religious about something. But most of them are religious about their own ego more than anything else. They serve it with the fanaticism and blindness generally ascribed to religious fanatics. That doesn't make them "bad", it just means they have lost their way, that's all.

No soul is bad in its original nature. If it was, then God would have to be bad too! (explanation: God = life itself = existence itself...ALL existence) And if that were the case...well, we'd have a bigger problem to deal with than either Mr Dawkins OR organized religion! We would all be "bad".

I guess there are some crazy religions out there who think we ARE all bad, aren't there? Talk about a twisted point of view...

Shambles - I see good people doing "bad" things all over the place...more often for the sake of money or convenience or security than anything else. Religion runs a poor third to those much more prosaic concerns in our world. People also do bad things in the name of their government. They also do bad things when ordered to by superior officers. You don't need organized religion to motivate good people to do bad things. Communists did bad things all over the place while categorically denying organized religion.

Go tell Dawkins to find a new obsession on which to pin society's problems.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:20 PM

I think the statement at the top is a little off. It was closer to:

"People who do good things are good people, and people who do bad things are bad people.
Religion allows people who do bad things to still be good people, as the bad things are done in the name of religion."

Now define good and bad. We need some moral framework independant of religion to do so.



I come to this as an atheist. I went through a rough patch a while back, and a freind brough me into a local christian group, and she honestly belived it would help. I could not find any comfort in being asked to belive that one book and it's central astonishing claims are true, when at the same time it makes many other claims shown to be false, and has sections very similar to the myths and legends of other peoples, but one is the word of God and the other not.


Faith is belief without proof, but to require belief in the face of ever growing contary evidence would make the God in question either vidictave or insane.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:24 PM

Buncha crap if ya ask me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:37 PM

Good and bad are largely opinions, ultimately. My opinion is that good acts are those that increase broad survival in its various manifestations--better survival for families, organizations large and small, species, including my own, and so on. This embraces a lot of colliding interests which have to be ironed out. But it serves me well as a rule of thumb.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:41 PM

Bunnahabhain, I find your reaction to the Bible to be quite understandable. ;-) Different people are comforted by different things. I am continually amazed that ANY human being can imagine that ONE book and ONLY one book out of all the books in the world can contain the one and only truth about God, Life, and the Big Picture!!! It's an astounding viewpoint for any sentient being to hold.

But this statement:

"People who do good things are good people, and people who do bad things are bad people."

KEE-RIST! That makes Dick and Jane books sound like the workings of a brilliant mind in comparison.

And may I add that ALL governments and authority systems of any type whatsoever allow people who do bad things to still be (considered as) good people, as the bad things are done in the name of that higher authority.

War, for instance, is a bad thing. Killing people is a bad thing. Destroying property is a bad thing. So are spying, lying, wasting, and stealing, as well as cheating, misleading, misusing, torturing, terrorizing, oppressing, and otherwise persecuting. All these things are done by secular authority systems...with or without the approval or influence of organized religion.

You don't NEED religious beliefs to act like an idiot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 06:55 PM

" They abused their religion."

That's the "No Good Scotsman" logical fallacy... yet again....

I think ALL religion is a tool of 'evil'... If it were up to me, all organized religion would be destroyed forever....

Be glad it's NOT up to me!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:01 PM

Be glad it's NOT uip to me CH

Why, Clinton? What would it harm, do you think?


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:04 PM

What's up to you, Clinton, is whether or not to crack another beer tonight before you go to bed. ;-)

There were jobs for people with your sort of violent prejudice in the Spanish Inquistion, my lad...

I would not weep at the thought of organized religion vanishing from this Earth. No indeed. Neither would I weep at the thought of our governments and military all vanishing either. Two halves of the same coin, as far as I can see.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:09 PM

" You don't NEED religious beliefs to act like an idiot."
No... but it sure helps....

"What would it harm, do you think?"
Me abolishing all religion would make a lot of people whine and suck....

"your sort of violent prejudice"
Intolerance of the intolerant is completely justified... and I don't see anything more intolerant than religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Mao Tse Tung
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:14 PM

"If it were up to me, all organized religion would be destroyed forever."

Spoken like a true man of the people, Clinton. Report to the next Communist worker's committee meeting and join the ranks. We have a place for YOU behind a gunsight, as we exterminate the religious everywhere and free the proletariat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Josef Stalin
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:19 PM

"If it were up to me, all organized religion would be destroyed forever."

Smile when you quote me, Clinton.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Zedong
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:37 PM

To the moron who used my old name

WAY CUP


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:39 PM

The programme was excellent. Can't wait for next week. I agreed with everything Dawkins said. The Christian Evangelical pastor and the Muslim fanatic were one and the same. Unless they are opposed by people of reason the world is in for a very dark age.
I see that in Birmingham, the Repertory Theatre having allowed Sikhs to force them to take off a production opened the floodgates to religious intolerance. Now the Hippodrome faces Christian opposition to a show. Are you watching "Invasion"?
"Don't let them in!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Jesus, Joseph and Mary
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:44 PM

Get religion the fuck OUT of politics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Jesus, Joseph and Mary
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:45 PM

OOPS

Get the religious fucks out of politics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,JJM
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:45 PM

Both of the above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:47 PM

Here's a GREAT "interview with Jesus" that makes total sense throughout....

It may be a joke. It may be serious. But I love what it has to say.

Interview with Jesus


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: bobad
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:48 PM

Amen to that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 07:55 PM

'Amen to that.'

Stop already with the amen to that crap.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: bobad
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:04 PM

What crap ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:07 PM

"Don't let them in!"

You lot should have thought of that before you invaded their countries.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:12 PM

I think you missed my point. Sigh. "Them" = the religious, of any faith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: frogprince
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:14 PM

Little Hawk, I want you to know that, as a Christian, I'm very offended by that piece...
waitaminute...; I'm really not. Actually, I think it's pretty funny, and pretty darn good.
Oh, dear; what's happening to me; excuse me, while I go pray for forgiveness...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:27 PM

I dunno. I think the premise of the thread is a pretty broad generalization. Some good people join a religion because they want to follow the dictates of a demagogue. If the demagogue tells people to do bad things, then I suppose the followers may follow. I think these people are what might be termed "religious fundamentalists," and I guess I'd agree that they can be dangerous. In my religion (Roman Catholic), they're a pain in the ass to the rest of us.

Other good people join a religion because they share religious ideas with other people. They belong to the religion because of shared ideas or a shared heritage, not because of obedience to a leader or an ideology. For these people, I don't really think that their membership in a religion is any worse than their belonging to any other organization or group where people band together because of shared ideas or goals or values or heritage.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: akenaton
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:38 PM

As an atheist I agreed with Dawkins analysis of organised religion.
ALL organised religion WYSTWYG not just Christianity.

Where the programme failed in my opinion, was that Dawkins didn't see the need for a "spiritual" dimension in human life.
Without that spirituality life would be a long depressing grind from cradle to grave, with no hope or expectations.

We've had this discussion many times on Mudcat, and Little Hawk's contributions on this subject are always inspirational.
The point of the programme was to illustrate that blind belief in an idea which flies in the face of reason, is the first step on the road to madness, evil, and murder of your fellow humans in the name of your particular "god"

I'll look forward to the next in this series.....Ake


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:46 PM

None of my "religious" experiences or associations in this life have led to me doing any bad things. Not one. Tough shit for Dawkins' theory.

And I have done some bad things too. (mostly of a fairly trivial sort in the greater scheme of things...but not in my life's journey)

I regard people who rail against all organized religion on principle the same as I do people who rail against all science and technology on principle. They've got a serious persecution complex allied with a gross ignorance of the real meaning and purpose of the subject at hand, and they need to find an external scapegoat out there in the big world somewhere to blame for what is little more than their own psychological maladjustment to life.

And get this: Life doesn't care what you think about religion or science or God. Life is sacred. Life is all there really is. Life goes on forever. Your opinions don't. You ought to find something TO believe in yourself, rather than getting your jollies by dumping on other people's beliefs. Other people's beliefs are no business of yours.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:50 PM

Well said Little Hawk


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:55 PM

I wish that people would keep their religions between themselves and their God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 08:55 PM

Yes, Akenaton...like most people who go into attack dog mode at the mere mention of "religion", Dawkins may have made the mistake of not realizing that spirituality does not equate to organized religion at all. They are 2 quite different matters, although one can find spirituality IN some organized religions and their adherents...just as one can find spirituality in people who belong to NO organized religion.

You don't need a "God" or a holy book or a church to live a spiritual life. You do need a positive outlook on yourself, life, and others, however.

Blind belief that leads to attacking others is always a disaster...whether or not it emanates from a religion, a political party, a political system, a racial purity mindset or some other contrived notion like that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 09:07 PM

I keep telling my dog that too, Bruce, but he won't shut up about it.

He worships food. And he keeps going on and on about it. Endlessly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ebbie
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 09:41 PM

"Intolerance of the intolerant is completely justified..." Clinton

That reminds me of what Barry Goldwater once said: "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

I have always felt that there was something wrong with these sentiments, or at least, in its potential abuse. Intolerance is best addressed by education, imo. Extremism in whatever cause demonstrates a rigidity that is scary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 09:47 PM

if somone is full of hate, greed, pain and also basically stupid, religion is just a convenient excuse for some of their 'bad' behavior. If he has support from some sort of peer group for his evil, it makes it a bit easier to justify.

Religion, or "orders from above" 'can' push people who are teetering over the line, but most religions 'officially' teach kindness, tolerance and love....it's certain interpreters who twist the message for ulterior purposes.

Of course, there are the well-meaning zealots who intend that you accept their particular brand of love and kindness, or else...*wry grin*...that's another issue which makes it kinda hard to identify 'good' and 'bad'.

*full analysis of layers of exceptions, disclaimers and variations takes another 47 pages*


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Don Firth
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 10:48 PM

All religions I've heard of preach peace, justice, and love and caring for one's fellow humans.

By sifting through and carefully selecting certain passages from the Koran or the Bible (or other such religious scriptures), taking them out of context and reinterpreting them, people who are hell-bent (!) on mayhem can usually find something that will justify their actions to themselves, even if to no one else, not even (particularly not even) to those who subscribe to the real, fundamental principles of the same faith.

One could reasonably argue that there are two radically different kinds of "fundamentalist." Those who take the scriptures as literal history, and those who recognize mythology for what it is and grasp the fundamental truth of the principles expressed by the mythology. Same scripture. Radically different beliefs. And behavior.

I just read the interview with JC, Little Hawk. Good. I think that captures the essence of the whole thing. "Just be nice to each other. And as far as the rest of it is concerned, not only do you not have a clue, you'll never really know what's actually going on anyway, so let the mystery be and don't get your knickers in a twist!"

And as far as Pat Roberson is concerned,
[Funky guitar intro.]
Coo coo kachoo, Reverend Roberson,
Jesus really doesn't like your show!
No! No! No! Ho ho ho!
Don Firth

(I'm not songwriter, but somebody oughta write some more verses to that.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: number 6
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 11:02 PM

"I wish that people would keep their religions between themselves and their God."

... so true peace. so true.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 11:10 PM

So here's to you, Doctor Robinson,
Hatred ain't what you're supposed to sow,
No, no, no!
No, no, no!

We'd like to know exactly where you got these strange ideas
We'd like to know how long the voices last,
We're sorry to explain to you, it isn't God at all,
It's only buried traumas from your past!

So here's to you, Mister Robinson,
Get a job where you can do some good,
Wo-wo-wo
Work with your hands, Mister Robinson,
Growing sane while making things from wood,
Oh-oh-oh,
Oh-oh-oh

(12 string riff and fade)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 11:12 PM

"Life goes on forever."

Bull... tell that to all the dead bodies....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 06 - 11:34 PM

Bodies don't go on forever, Clinton. Everyone knows that.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 12:56 AM

Clinton is incapable of imagining life without a body. ;-) You could say he's just a wee bit earthbound. I would regard his pissy attitude as intolerable, if I were by nature inclined to be intolerant. LOL! I would then be forced to either hunt him down like a mongrel dog or have him banned from decent society for the protection of the other intolerant (but "right") people like me who did not approve of him.

Be GLAD I am not both intolerant and all-powerful, Clinton! Your days would be numbered. Yes, I would conjure up a huge Godzilla foot. It would descend from the sky as you exited the local "Passionate Kisses" store clutching your brown paper bag, and squash you like a bug. Just like on Monty Python. P-PP-FFF-L-PPTHT! Lovely!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 02:49 AM

Very Bambi Meets Godzilla, LH. I like it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 04:07 AM

Dawkins was talking about the particular aspect of religion, in which the claim is made that, because God has revealed His truth via scripture, the believers in that scripture have the duty to follow the dictates of authoritative leaders, in moulding all society to reflect that revelation.

I suspect that few, if any, religious Catters follow that far down the party line; however, many defend the idea of faith FOR ITS OWN SAKE- it is a Good Thing to believe, and the more the faith can be sustained in the face of disproof, the stronger the faith and the better the person that holds it.

It is this aspect of belief that opens the cracks into which the charlatans and demagogues can insert the levers of power.

It's notable that, while some scientific secularists like Gould proposed the "non- competing imperia" model of a distinction between science and faith- that neither has anything to say about the other- many of the religious commentators simply took this as a capitulation, recruited him (conveniently dead now) as a supporter, and continue to attempt to force religious dogma on scientific education.

Religion bashing? If this is false, it IS religion bashing. If not, you, the honest religious folk of any persuasion who care about this world, have some hard thinking to do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: autolycus
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 05:12 AM

"Other people's beliefs are no business of yours."

So untrue, I fear,ask anyone on the receiving end of any war in which the will of God was invoked.

Also untrue because people's beliefs lead to people's actions. Those have consequences for others.

I think it is true that everything is interconnected, is a web, and that "no man is an island", that people's beliefs are part of the mix, and that consequently our beliefs are of vital interest to each other.

I prefer to the idea of good and bad people, the alternative that we are all damaged in various ways to varying degrees. And I mean all.

As afr as I can see, all dispute derived from "religion" amounts to differences of interpretation of , as the Jesus link points out, very old texts.

I like the story about the two people arguing who take it to a guru.
One says,"I think this."
The guru says,"You're right."
The other says,"Well, I think that."
The guru says,"You're right."
The first one says,"Wait a minute,wait a minute,we can't both be right."

The guru says,"You're right."


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:25 AM

Instead of trying to get the religion out of politics, woudn't it be more practical to get the politicians out of religion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Gervase
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:31 AM

Little Hawk: I regard people who rail against all organized religion on principle the same as I do people who rail against all science and technology on principle.
Why? One is the logical reaction of an inquiring mind to propositions which have no evidential basis. The other is the reaction of a closed mind to that which can be clearly demonstrated.

I do sometimes wonder if the Americans haven't made some sort of secret ammendment to the constitution to chuck out the ideals of the Enlightenment. As a secular humanist observer from across the water, the rise of the theocrats and the wilful and perverse rejection of science is rather scary.

Just as scary, in fact, as the zealots in Israel claiming that 'god' gave them the Paltestinians' land, or the Islamicists proclaiming the caliphate. To me all religion is bad, and the fact that it persists into the 21st century is depressing; I had really hoped that humanity would have grown out of it by now.

I notice that whenever an atheist rails against the attrocities imposed in the name of religion, someone will always counter with the Stalin/Hitler/Mao argument. However, if you look at the tortuous attempts to define religion over the years, culminating in the still-imperfect seven-point system of Ninian Smart, you'll find that the autocratic quasi-communist dictatorships fall largely within the definitions of a religion.

Secular humanism, as practised on an individual level, certainly does not. Canonise Dawkins now!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,wordy
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:33 AM

Other people's beliefs are no business of yours.
Oh yes they are Littlehawk. When they use them as a justification for killing, or for closing down a play, or for attacking the teachings of science, or for burning books and cds, or for attacking doctors,or for taking over schools, etc, etc, Then they definitely are my business. If the religious would keep their religions in their homes and in their churches I would have no problem with them, but when they bring them out into the lives of others they are worse than any government because they are unelected and unremoveable. Like all dictatorships they brook no opposition, and what they cannot control they will attack or kill.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Stu
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:44 AM

Well said Gervase.

The place of religion in modern world politics is largely (but not exculsively) to blame for the mess we are in now. Religion encourages us to abandon rational thought as the main method of deciding our actions. It cultivates intolerance amongst people who otherwise might be able to live together in harmony. It is a tool for manipulation and control of large numbers of people. It enables leaders to justify actions which are morally repugnant.

The terrorists who flew the planes into the WTC were (in their minds) going to paradise as martyrs and would be welcomed by God. The same God that 'told' GWB to invade Iraq, and drives the rise of the right-wing in the USA. The same God that as Gervase points out, the Israelis and Islamicists invoke to justify their continuing conflict. The list goes on . . .

I love the diversity of the world's various religions, their clothes, music and architecture. But this is a high price to pay for the conflict and misery religious influence has brought over the centuries.

You don't need religion to create a moral framework for our societies, to understand and learn about our world, or respect the right of every man, woman and child on the planet to live in happiness within a fair and just society of their choosing without the threat of violence.

Amen. (doh!)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 09:58 AM

The problem is never with the religion per se but with the underlying human hunger to find some piece of information that (a) makes them feel right and (b) saves them the pain and trouble of thinking things through.

This is the kind of meme Dawkins suggests (as Paul Burke so elegantly pointed out) that leads religionists of any sect into distorted estimstes of right action, resulting in "bad" action from essentially "good" people.

It is easy to say Atta and his clique of suicide bombers were "bad" peope, as their actions were despicable, yet in their minds they were bravely undergoing the ultimate challenge in service of God. They had a substitute reality held in place to avoid having to face a confusing world.

If they had looked for themselves to see how people interact and what the real role--positive and negative--of the UNited States is, they probably would have opened bicycle shops instead of stealing airplanes.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 01:25 PM

I don't see how he makes the distinction. Why would they have to be the good people?

If people do good things - this defines them as good people. If they do bad things - this defines them as bad people.

Organised religion has confused this simple morality and means that those of one faith can be good to others of their faith and be bad to everyone and everthing else - and still claim to be and be thought of as as good.

In the Radio Times he makes the rather worrying point that few if any members of the US Congress will admit to being an atheist. Yet 90% of the country's intellectual elite and especially scientists who daily confront the elementary principles of the universe are atheists


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 01:29 PM

"Clinton is incapable of imagining life without a body."
Not at all... But there's ZERO evidence to support your 'mysty-swirly' soul or whatever you want to call it, so I dismiss the idea until new evidence comes in...

"banned from decent society"
If yer what passes for it, I don't want to be part of it...

"I regard people who rail against all organized religion on principle the same as I do people who rail against all science and technology on principle.
Why? One is the logical reaction of an inquiring mind to propositions which have no evidential basis. The other is the reaction of a closed mind to that which can be clearly demonstrated."
Nice one


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 03:28 PM

We all really believe in the same basic stuff here about "good" and "bad", folks, we just cannot agree on the semantics...or agree to argue fairly about them.

What I mean is: we all (on this forum) believe that terrorists shouldn't fly airplanes into buildings and blow up innocent bystanders.

So I really see no point in anyone setting it up as a straw man to support your arguments against religious faith in general.

Your problem is that you think other people's concept of God is as tiny and ridiculous and infantile as the concept you apparently hold in your own mind when you say the word "God". It isn't necessarily so.

Do you deny all life itself? Do you deny the energy that binds atoms together and spins atomic particles? Do you deny consciouness and being? If so, then you deny God as I know it. And if so, you deny your own and all other existence. That being the case, I have to assume you don't fucking exist, and that your arguments don't either. You're a phantasm. Go away.

Science fully supports God, as far as I'm concerned, being a procedural way of observing various ways in which God (energy) manifests in material creation.

I don't envision God as an old man with a beard up in the sky, handing out rewards and punishments to sinners, like some cosmic Santa Claus.

If you think I do, and that is what my faith is based on, then you are probably capable of believing anything whatsoever.

Clinton, you are a dolt who assumes that others are as stupid as you must be...only in the opposite direction. I'd tell you to go to "hell", but I don't believe there is such a place. The evidence you seek regarding life after death will be provided only when your tiny little "inquiring" mind finally succumbs to its biological "death" (as it's called), expires, and you wake up liberated at last from the notion that you are gloriously separate from everyone else. You're not. You're one link in the chain, and connected to all others. Knowing that, you might learn some measure of compassion and not have to prove how goddamn TOUGH you are 24 hours a day. You have a talent for making people dislike you, and that's nothing to wear as a badge of honour.

My point...and my only real point in entering this discussion was this:

Good folk are persuaded to do bad things by EVERY SINGLE FORM OF HUMAN AUTHORITY IN THIS WORLD, NOT just by religious authority. it is inane to single out religion as the sole cause of good people doing bad things. And if one does so, one obviously has a severe psychological problem regarding religion, and might benefit from getting some psychiatric treatment to clear it up.

You might just as well blame every bad thing that good people do on:

Women
Money
Capitalism
Socialism
Men
Dogs
Sex
Philosophy
The Internet
Technology
Science
Satan
George Bush
Hillary Clinton
Martin Gibson
Katlaughing
the French
Negroes
White people
Jews

Or some other personal obsession you have dreamed up (in your nightmare) to pin all the World's problems on. Dawkin's mission in life, like Billy Graham's, sounds like a symptom of his own pathology to me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 03:47 PM

Sweet merciful crap on a pogo stick you do blather on LH... Like a soup sandwich, you run off at the mouth, and just end up making a mess...

"You're one link in the chain, and connected to all others"
What a colossal load of new age claptrap... It's hard to believe someone can be this "omphaloskeptic" with their head so far up their backside... I guess yer gazing at your navel from the inside eh...

"single out religion as the sole cause of good people doing bad things"
No one has... It might not be the ONLY "cause", but it sure puts its shoulder to the wheel


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Wesley S
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 04:23 PM

Little Hawk - You left off rap music.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 04:31 PM

The difference between performing an act based on religious faith and performing an act based on profit, helpfulness, revenge, kindness, ambition, security, scientific knowledge etc, is that faith-based actions have no fact-based rationale behind them.
Let's say one man kills another. If the victim is killed because he broke into a house and threatened the killer's family with a screwdriver, then the killer's actions were reasonable ones based on an assessment of the facts (the guy has a weapon and could kill my children with it), and a reasonable and predictable result(slugging the guy will render him incapable of killing my kids). If, on the other hand, the victim is killed because he is an infidel walking down the sidewalk who harbors the spirit of Satan, the killer's actions are unreasonable ones based on psychotic mythology(I am doing the will of a good invisible being who says this man's evil invisible being is out to hurt me), and an unproveable outcome based on this psychosis (I will detonate a bomb on my chest simultaneously sending the infidel to hell and me to paradise). The second example illustrates a simple fact : No one would commit such an act unless he were either totally delusional, or laboring under the effects of faith.
I will not argue that some strains of religious dogma are less virulent than others. You don't hear about a lot of Buddhist suicide-bombers. But most religions are based on a core mythology which requires a suspension of rational thought in order for the believer to buy in. Once this suspension of rationality is achieved, successive sacrifices of reason in the name of faith become easier to swallow. Follow this path and you will find a pandora's box of irrational activity.
When George Bush was contemplating what he should do about the problem of Sadam Hussein, he reported that he had discussed it with his "Father". And he didn't mean George Bush Sr, who probably had a rational point of view on the subject and might have given Bush useful information. No, he meant his Father in Heaven. So the final decision on Iraq was the result of Bush consulting with a mythological being. I suppose this was meant to give a lot of his constituents confidence that he was doing God's Work. It should be scaring the hell out of all of us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 05:18 PM

"Without that spirituality life would be a long depressing grind from cradle to grave, with no hope or expectations."

Could you provide your definition of spirituality please, akenaton?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 05:23 PM

Dawkins is a DORK! How does he know. He has not known my Jesus nor will he unless he wants to!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 05:24 PM

"If people do good things - this defines them as good people. If they do bad things - this defines them as bad people."

'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.' (Hamlet, Act II, Scene II).


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:31 PM

Hamlet had that right.

Clinton, I just can't help it. I've known you for several years now, I now how your mind works, I've seen you dump on way too many people, and I consider you to be a philosophical and spiritual pygmy, although I'm sure you're great at dealing with the practical aspects of life. Everyone has a talent for something.

I have about as much respect for your views as you do for mine, in other words...]

LEJ - Pol Pot was totally against religion. So too was Mao. Were their actions rational and fact-based? Or were they based only on certain selected facts which were used to support their insane rationale?

Facts can as well be used to commit atrocities as other forms of motivational things, such as what you describe as "faith".

And everyone relies on facts when pursuing a plan of action...but WHICH facts? They just ignore the facts that are not sanctioned by their favorite mythology.

Do you think the present mythology of an ever-expanding profit economy being a good thing for the World is based on facts? It is based on a few facts. It ignores a great many other facts. What it is truly based on is greed for money, an artificial item made up by people which everybody agrees to believe in...based entirely on collective faith that it is really worth something. It isn't. People are playing a game they made up in their own heads...exactly what you would accuse religion of doing.

What is the purpose of the game?

The trouble with most organized religions is that the purpose of their game soon changed from developing people's inner spiritual wisdom to enlarging that religion's worldly power base! For their own gain. Same problem as the economy. Same problem as the political world.

Spiritual study does not seek to enlarge a power structure, prosyletize, or convert. It seeks inner peace, brotherhood, compassion, forgiveness, non-violence, self-discipline...self-development in other words.

Religions usually try to build a big outer structure in the World. Spirituality cleans the house within the one person.

wordy - Other people's outer destructive behaviour may indeed be your business. Their beliefs are not. Just like their sex life is not, providing they don't sexually hurt anyone against his or her will. And that, my friend, is why all true democracies guarantee freedom of religion.

Everybody - When ANY religion uses its beliefs to justify an attack, invasion, or in some way a harming of other people...it's using those beliefs wrongly. Ditto for any government, political party, racial group, club, person, business organization, etc. So, why is Dawkins focusing so much on religion? Could it be that he has a personal hangup about it...or has he just not gotten around to investigating similar forms of corruption in other areas of human existence? I wonder...

My guess is, he's got a hangup about it.

In my opinion, there are no bad people. Ain't no such thing. But there certainly are stupid people, ill-informed people, ignorant people, angry people, frightened people, bitter people, fanatical people, and people who are totally confused and have lost their way. And they are all capable of doing very bad things. Some in the name of religion, some in the name of flag and country, some in their own name, period.

Remember: "patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings"

Stalin killed more people than Hitler. Stalin was not into religion. He detested it. Pol Pot killed a bigger percentage of his own country's whole population than anyone else in recorded history. He was totally against organized religion (and most other organized things too). He operated only on quantifiable physical facts in making his decisions. He believed in hard facts. His facts. No amount of "facts" can enlighten a mind that has gone mad and a heart that is functionally dead.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:33 PM

Wesley - Yeah! Rap music. And cell phones.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:36 PM

Two wrongs don't make a right.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:37 PM

Three lefts do, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:37 PM

"Sweet merciful crap on a pogo stick you do blather on LH"

It was worth it, Clinton, just to hear you say that! LOL! (best laugh I've had today)

I love you too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:48 PM

"Other people's outer destructive behaviour may indeed be your business. Their beliefs are not"
What nonsense! If the outer destructive behaviour is the direct result of the inner belief then we have to be concerned about the inner belief...that is the virus we have to eradicate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 06:55 PM

Ah. So you feel you have the right to engage in mind control, do you?

My, my...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:00 PM

"that is the virus we have to eradicate."

Don't worry, LH. He's into epidemiology.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: John O'L
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:11 PM

Good people doing bad things - unbelievably simplistic, but intelligent people seem to be taking it seriously so let's see:

"Religion makes good people do bad things". So does poverty, hunger, illiteracy, and some journalism.
I suggest that when these things are fixed you won't need to worry about your religious fundamentalists.
I further suggest that if you somehow eliminated your religious fundamentalists and left poverty, hunger, illiteracy and journalism at their current levels and standards, you would still have good people doing bad things.

Hawkins is barking up the wrong tree.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:23 PM

We could even eliminate Mr Dawkins, me, Clinton Hammond, all anonymous Guests, the Ayatollahs, and the Pope too, and I bet good people would still be doing bad things...

But hell, Dawkins has got to have someone to blame for his high anxiety levels, doesn't he? Maybe he should start a new religion and go on a crusade and save the World. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: John O'L
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:27 PM

Dawkins? When did he change his name?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:47 PM

LH

Hitler, Pol Pot, etc were truly irreligious, I agree. However, these regimes uniformly denied or twisted reason and scientific fact in an effort to support a delusional philosophy that included racist and anti-intellectual practices. Their successes were due to yet another blind acceptance of unreasoning dogma, of unjustified belief. The Third Reich blended real science with a twisted secular mythology, and like a dangerous religion, required the same suspension of rationality. Only critical and reasonable thinking can combat the madness inherent in a Third Reich OR a dogmatic religion.
As for "the present mythology of an ever-expanding profit economy being a good thing for the World", I don't see anything essentially bad about profit. When profit becomes an end in itself, committing masses of people to ignorance and virtual slavery, then it is wrong. These abusive activities are a product of greed, and the process is rational and understandable, even if wrong. Reasonable solutions can be applied to correct it.
There are many wrongs in the world, and certainly not all of them are the result of people blindly following an irrational religious credo. But there are few other stimuli that will cause a person to take his own life, kill his daughters, initiate a nuclear war, or decapitate an innocent nurse in front of a camera, besides the psychotic belief that he is doing God's will. Nationalism won't do it. Neither will the desire to make an obscene profit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 07:49 PM

After he read the famous Don Martin comic, that's when.

Karbunkle:   "Dawk...! Grab hold of this, Mr Bestertester!"

FLUSH-GLURKKKK!!!!   SHOOOOM-SHOOOM-SHOOM-SHOOOM!

GALUCK!   (end of story)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:10 PM

Correct, LEJ. (except for Hitler...he and the Third Reich were not "truly irreligious" by any means...the Nazis were constantly invoking God in various blatantly obvious ways...such as their soldier's military belt buckles which read "Gott Mitt Uns"..."God is With Us")

But thank you. You have joined me in my eternal argumentative position that all people are truly religious in one sense or another...but their religion does not necessarily have to connect at all with a God, gods, an afterlife or churches. It may, in fact, be fashioned around beliefs in anything whatsover, such as:

Racial superiority
Money
Art
Success
Fame
Beauty
Popularity
Sex
Gold
Jade
Fire
the Sun
the weather
themselves (the cult of the "leader")
an ideology
a philosophy
a style of dress
an economic theory
a technology
a scientific theory
a book (of any kind)
a relic
an idol
a habit


You name it. Now, if their chosen set of beliefs are handled in a rational and healthy way, it should produce some good results. If not, it can produce some bad results. In most cases, it's a mixture of the two.

You can have irrational beliefs about anything and back them up with plenty of facts...you just emphasize the facts which appear to support your irrational belief and de-emphasize or totally ignore those which don't.

Any negative system, religious or otherwise, may "deny or twist reason and scientific fact in an effort to support a delusional philosophy". A belief in God is not required for that to happen.

And virtually any atrocity can be committed merely to secure a profit. Note that snuff films have been made for just that purpose. Child porno is made for that purpose. Gladiatorial combats and throwing Christians (and other people) to the lions was highly profitable too. It sold tickets.

People who have a gut hatred of all organized religion (usually because of bad childhood experiences or strong parental influence of some kind, pro or con) can only see the bad that religion does...and are blind to the good that it does for many people. In so viewing religion as monolithic and "bad", they are as blind as the fundamentalist who views all people outside his own faith as inevitably bound for hell. In both cases, it's tunnel vision...extreme chauvinism hiding behind a mask of righteousness.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:15 PM

It is pretty obvious that asserting and dramatizing a cultist belief leads one into bizarre contortions of irrationality, and that resisting the same concepts, pictures or words with equal vehemence does exactly the same thing. The reason you don't hear about Buddhist suicide bombers is that Buddha taught to clear the mind of desire and of resistance both, in all dimensions, in order to achieve clarity and centering of the soul. Good advice.

The dramatic dance of desiring and resisting cultist beliefs changes form and hue depending on whether the cult involved is the Boy Scouts, the Jungbunde, the Sri Lankan Revenge Society, the Tamil Tigers, the Episcopalians, the Methodists, the Dianeticists, the Hamas, The Loyal Worshippers of Werner Erhardt, or the Martyrs of Islam Ad Infinitum. Any dramatization, taken on as a substitute for calm awareness and open dialogue, leads to contortion, distortion, aberration, and mellerdrammer. We like to tell our kids to stop "acting out", but often that is just because they aren't acting out the things we think they should. We don't really need to dramatize, but it helps pass the time.

We are TERRIBLY fond of having incidents in our lives, almost to the point of addiction. This is one factor in the endless panoply of Punch and Judy rock-a-billy that goes on across the planet, including here in our own threads.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:18 PM

Right flippin' ON, Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: akenaton
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:41 PM

BPL...I can't define it.....But I sure know what it feels like!!

(as the actress said to the Bishop)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 08:45 PM

"People who have a gut hatred of all organized religion (usually because of bad childhood experiences or strong parental influence of some kind, pro or con) can only see the bad that religion does...and are blind to the good that it does for many people."
Well, that ain't me. I don't hate religion, I just happen to think that most world views based on what people knew about the world 2000 years ago are fundamentally flawed. Chemistry has progressed. Medicine has made huge strides (we no longer bleed people to arrest nausea). Biology has made strides. Only in the area of religion do we ascribe over-arching insights to people who thought the sun revolved around the earth and plague was God's punishment for misbehaving. And why? Because all religious belief is based on faith rather than reason, and therefore could never be proven wrong.
Am I blind to the good done in the name of religion? No, but I happen to believe that humans will help other humans if given the option. They don't really need to feel like they're stacking up points in the afterlife in order to give a crust of bread to a starving man.
And I don't think religion should be abolished. I would just like to see it diluted by enough rationality that it no longer motivates martyrs. We really would be much better off without them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 09:02 PM

"We really would be much better off without them."

We would be much better off without the bastards who teach people to be martyrs, IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 09:09 PM

"all religious belief is based on faith rather than reason"

NOT so, my friend! You jes' bin readin' the wrong books, that's all. There has been phenomenal advancement in spiritual concepts in the last 2,000 years...and even significant advancement in some of the mainline churches.

Slavery was once taken for granted, and religiously sanctioned. No more. Women have gained much greater equality in much of the World. There has been a great cross-pollination of religious/philosophical ideas between East and West, revitalizing and broadening people's spirituality. Fewer and fewer people really believe the Pope is (!) infallible (!) anymore. ;-)

Lordy, lordy, LEJ, where have you been? Gotta get this boy a reading list.

"I happen to believe that humans will help other humans if given the option. They don't really need to feel like they're stacking up points in the afterlife in order to give a crust of bread to a starving man."

I couldn't agree more. That IS a spiritual viewpoint you just expressed.

"I don't think religion should be abolished. I would just like to see it diluted by enough rationality that it no longer motivates martyrs. We really would be much better off without them. "

Again, I'm in total agreement. Any wisely applied religion is extremely rational, and based on experience and questioning and testing, not on blind faith. If you can't actualize it, then it's only an idea in someone's mind...or a theory.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 09:10 PM

Agreed, Peace.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 09:13 PM

1) Religions are products of the cultures in which they originated. It is foolish (IMO) to think they can be imported/exported


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 09:21 PM

Well, you might also say that cultures are the products of the religions upon which they were founded. Virtually every basic idea about right and wrong that we now take for granted and enshrine in civil law was first expressed and set out in ancient religious texts. Upon those ideas, we have built a political and social culture.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 09:24 PM

No, no, no.

Carry that to its logical conclusion--in this case origin--and you have the shaman class preceding the rest of the society. It wasn't until later in human development that the priests became a class apart--people who controlled rather than led. There was likely never a time when humans didn't wonder, but there was a time when they wondered without being directed in/to that wonder by religious leaders.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 09:36 PM

"There has been phenomenal advancement in spiritual concepts in the last 2,000 years...and even significant advancement in some of the mainline churches.
Slavery was once taken for granted, and religiously sanctioned. No more. Women have gained much greater equality in much of the World. There has been a great cross-pollination of religious/philosophical ideas between East and West, revitalizing and broadening people's spirituality. Fewer and fewer people really believe the Pope is (!) infallible (!) anymore. ;-)"

This is what I am referring to when I say religion needs to be diluted with rationality. But I think the "cross-pollinization" of religious ideas between East and West is anathema to the true believer, LH. What you are talking about is the gradual erosion of dogma, and dogma is the bread and butter of the fundamentalist, Christian, Muslim, or Jew. We have deep, extensive, and proveable evidence of billions of years of evolution on this planet, but you have a sizeable contingent of people in the US (and probably Canada) who insist that the earth is 4500 years old and dinosaur bones are the skeletons of fallen angels. People like this believe in these kinds of fantasies because it allows the history in the Bible to remain intact and literal. Are they going to accept a refreshing influx of teachings from the Q'uran? How's about a nice dose of Revelations for the Sunnis?
It's Dogma that I'm concerned about, son. And 2000 years later, there's still enough of it around to pose major obstacles to man's future existence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 10:23 PM

I share your dislike for dogma, LEJ. I think spirituality is usually engaged in moving away from that and you are quite right that the fundamentalists react stridently against such broadening of minds. They are afraid of change. So are most atheists and conventional people of all kinds. People in general, religious or not, tend to resist change.

That's why Jesus got crucified. The fundamentalist-minded and more powerful people in his time were strenuously resisting change.

It the case of Taoism and Buddhism and the more advanced levels of Hinduism, it appears to me that one has spiritual philosophies primarily based ON rationality.

I believe it is mainly the Big 3 from the Middle East: Judeo-Christian-Muslim that you are concerned about when you give examples of fundamentalism. Of those three, they all have much good in them, and they all have some really serious problem areas too. They have conducted themselves in an aggressive manner.

But those Big 3 do not comprise the totality of "religion". There is Native American religion, many Asian religions, the Baha'i faith, the Janes, the Sikhs, the Tibetans, and on and on and on.

The best part of all of them seek to bring forth the finest virtues of humankind. That's why I respect all of them.

Peace: It is the job of spiritual leaders, whether shamans or priests, to instruct people in higher moral concepts and basic virtues, is it not? All primitive peoples appear to have been quite religious or mystical. It seems to be instinctive in humans. I am suggesting that that is where our moral structures, indeed our whole body of law and ethics, sprang from:   The mystical/religious view of life. The instinct in people that there was a greater purpose at hand than mere survival. After all, no one DOES survive in the end! Do they? That made people look beyond survival, and that made them truly human. Animals don't think ("I'm going to die one day"), they just deal with the present. Humans look beyond it. That leads directly to the deeper questions upon which religion and philosophy arose. It is only in an era where people fell into a deep cynicism about man's existence that "modern" philosophers could go so far astray as to come up with the notion that we are just...an accident...in an existence that really HAS no meaning. That is the existential despair of the modern age, when the obviously archaic irrationality of the old churches, combined with the emergence of practical science and industry to produce the new faith (in science and industry alone) that would dominate society and rob man of his soul...and make him just a scrambling little short-lived primate in a world that was ultimately meaningless and cruel. That's a recipe for insanity at least as bad as the worst of religious fundamentalism. That kind of insanity invents atomic bombs, H-bombs, germ warfare, poison gas, and other technological horrors not yet seen or perhaps even guessed at. That's what happens when you decide there is no God, no higher purpose, no sacred meaning behind life, nothing to do but "win" the brief and pointless game of social dominance.

That's what happened when people turned science into a God. It's not a god, it's just a useful method for observing, categorizing, and manipulating the material phenomena of life. Life is about far more than science can ever possibly deliver. People gave up one unreal God for another when they dumped archaic religion in favour of souless materialism. The worst result of that was the horrific excesses of Communism under such leaders as Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. There you had societies which truly believed that man DOES live by bread alone! And look what they did. They murdered millions in the name of rationality and progress.

Marx called religion the "opiate of the masses". Ha! He had not yet seen television nor had he seen a Walmart...or a Nintendo set in action with a "shooter" game on it.

We ARE living in Orwell's 1984, my friend. It just took 20 years longer to get here. The marketing and media $ySStem IS God in our version of 1984. That's what happens when people functionally lose contact with their own soul and spirit...because they don't even know they have a soul and spirit. All they know is money, material, desire, frustration, loneliness, excitement, and addiction.

That's a way bigger problem than Mr Dawkins has yet seen fit to address in his puny side issue about religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 10:25 PM

all this posting I been doing on the subject for several years, and now I see all I needed to do was ask LEJ to 'splain it clearly. ☺

ummm...LH, " There has been phenomenal advancement in spiritual concepts in the last 2,000 years."....how, exactly, do you tell? Why ISN'T one from 1000 years ago just as good? Morality? Pragmatic tests? You just LIKE the news ones better?.....We have tests for scientific advancements, but dang me if I can see how you can rate the ultimate 'value' of a spiritual tenet, except in so far as it satisfies you....and there you are with the subjective belief system again....it just feels better.

the basis of "all religious belief **IS** based on faith rather than reason" ...that's why the word 'belief' is used...it means 'can't be demonstrated/tested using standard scientific method'! This also means it can't be DISproven, which allows it to stagger on in many guises by people merely saying, "well, I believe that...or in, X"
Very handy...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:01 PM

We test spiritual concepts out, Bill, by actually trying them...but it's far easier to just talk about them of course! ;-) Go to church and you'll hear a whole lot of talk. If it's a really great church with great leadership, you might find opportunities to try out the concepts presented. They mostly concern subtleties of inner thought and interpersonal relating to others...(the Golden Rule).

I'm not asking you to believe in anything. I figure if you're like most people you already believe in enough useless crap to fill a giant Walmart anyway. Why make it worse by adding more?

I can't "rate" the ultimate 'value' of a woman or a sunny day either, except in so far as they satisfy me...and that's just MY interpretation.

I use science for what it's good for, and spirituality for what it's good for. I try not to beat eggs with a sledge hammer or light a fire with a fishhook, if you know what I'm saying. They're all useful in their proper place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:05 PM

I just heard the perfect quote to insert into this context, and it's a great example of what I was saying in my first post.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people say, "it's a business".

Alan Shore - Boston Legal


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: bobad
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:08 PM

♫ Whatever gets you through the night
Well it's all right ♫


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:16 PM

Nationalism won't do it.

Oh, yes it will. Most religious conflicts really do boil down to nationalism of one form or another. That's what it's really all about, only the "nations" in question are classified in religious terms rather than geographical ones.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:19 PM

Got that right, Carol. The new religion: sell a "hot" product or service, get rich, buy lots of stuff made in China, die fat and jaded. If you're lucky, you will die before the less "successful and upwardly mobile" break down your front door or shoot you on the way to the plaza.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:30 PM

THe test of good spiritual principles is whether they improve life in their application. We've been around this block before Bill. I can take one hundred people who have recently made spiritual breakthroughs of some kind -- getting in touch with the Infinite, or discovering great forgiveness, or finding out their hatreds were all misplaced and self-serving, or deciding they can let go of some trauma , or finding out they love their fellow man...and the "replicability" required by a good "scientific process" will simply be that in each case their lives began to go better for them. They may have found themselves communicating better, or having more friends or enjoying solitude more thoroughly or just being quietly happier.

The common ingredient in each case will be their personal sense of tolerance, or their personal sense of certainty, or their ability to exchange viewpoints comfortably, will go up.
That's my notion of spiritual change for the better.

Other things can produce similar results, like a sudden increase in wealth or overcoming hunger. But these are a different order of event -- a different piece of the Maslovian hierarchy, if you will.

Whether you think there is replicability there depends on what sort of gauge you use, though. If I insisted that a scientific experiment was not replicable unless it could be demonstrated that EVERY molecule in instance A had behaved the same way as EVERY molecule in instance B had done, you would scoff. It's not logical within the framework of applicability.

SO before you holler about spiritual changes not being testable by scientific method, define the framework.

Or don't. I'm easy, man! :D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:43 PM

No scientific method will ever adequately explain the bizarre conundrum that is Bill D...

But spirituality could! ;-)

I have met people, by the way, who are religious about female breasts, providing they're really BIG ONES. Quite a few in fact. How great a danger do you suppose these rampant, fantasy-ridden, foaming fundamentalists pose to our society? What should be done about it? Is re-education a priority or would internment camps be the way to go? Dare we contemplate...a final solution????


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:52 PM

Hey, hey, hey there, LH. Perfection is not a function of size; breasts of ALL dimensions satisfy the basic mandates of scripture here at the Temple of the Golden Curve.   No sense trying to touch up perfection...unless you are taking our advanced sensitivity training courses every Saturday evening. You get to keep the training bra.

Fr. Tacitus Eterni
Keeper of the Leading Edge of the Faith
Temple of the Golden Curve


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: SunnySister
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:54 PM

LH, are suggesting breast reduction surgery???

I can't keep up with this thread... my head is aching just trying.

I'm going to sit here and contemplate the keyboard, before I get up and contemplate going to sleep...

That's about it folks... you are all too smart for me.

--SunnySister, who is putting one foot in front of the other and having a hard time of it on a Tuesday :(


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: SunnySister
Date: 10 Jan 06 - 11:57 PM

BTW, I meant that first sentence as a joke- the rest is sadly true. Can't even seem to post tonight... now that's bad! LOL


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:28 AM

I'm mulling that over, Amos....hmmm...tempting...hmmmm...

You know, it's really odd that William Shatner did not drop in on the 100th post and settle this whole hash by pointing out that people could just worship HIM instead! The elegantly simple solution to melding science and spirituality in a vibrant and totalling compelling combination that few could resist.

He must be on tour again and really busy. I'll have to see if I can page him later.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Donuel
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:41 AM

ALL the big religions today are a club for men to use like club to hit women. Only the degree of female repression varies.
Christianity seperates womens participation and make the nuns wear veils etc. while Taliban Islam is full goose bonkers mysoginistic to the point of genital mutilation and murder - in the name of religion.

Oh sure you might be able to point to an isolated sect where women are the head honchos in the "church" but they are exceedingly rare.
Its funny but there are cults that want to be considered religions but unfortunetly they just don't put women down enough to be a REAL religion.

With few exceptions I can say if you are a member of a major religion you are participating in the denigration of half the population from the start. Then you are identifying other non members as less worthy non believers or worse. Its tribal, pure and simple.

Am I bashing tribalism? NO. I'm just discussing it.


PS

I was thinking, that the worst torture an insecure, virgin craving Muslim man could possibly bear would be to hear a women tell him after sex, "You know Sinjay, compared to Akbar your penis is very very small".


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: John O'L
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:55 AM

"I am suggesting that that is where our moral structures, indeed our whole body of law and ethics, sprang from: The mystical/religious view of life." - Little Hawk.
I think you'll find that morals & ethics were very much the work of kings rather than gods, up until the time The Torah was written. That was when the demarkation dispute began.

"Most religious conflicts really do boil down to nationalism of one form or another." - CarolC
Abraham left Mesopotamia on the premise that Yahweh was going to take him to the promised land where his people could murder the occupants (The Canaanites) and take their land. This is the basis for the three codes causing all the trouble.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:57 AM

Not a good idea, Donuel! If the aggrieved husband came from a more primitive Muslim tribal area or class he would have immediate reason (and supposed justification) to kill her for having committed adultery and shaming his and his family's honour.

You know, there are all kinds of Muslims, just like there are all kinds of Christians. There are liberal, modern Muslims and fundamentalist, backward Muslims. The ones I know are liberal and modern. You cannot paint them all with the same brush.

I agree, though, that most (if not all) major religions (and all modern societies) have treated women inequitably. That's been the result of a patriarchal mindset that reaches back virtually into prehistory.

There are some interesting rumours about a matriarchal time that preceded it. Bloodline was traced through the mothers, and the women ran the show at that time. If so, it was a very long time ago.

Equality sounds like the best idea to me. I note that women are generally paid less for their work in secular society too, and that the USA has not yet dared to even try electing a female chief executive.

I call that very sad. A great many other countries have managed it, including Canada (briefly) and Great Britain (although Maggie Thatcher was more masculine seeming than most men, in my opinion).


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 01:04 AM

John - The Kings were seen AS living representatives or embodiments OF the Divine, were they not? The priests were their retainers and advisors. Royalty was inseparable from religion until quite modern times. In Japan it was that way right into modern times. The Emperor was still seen as a God, right to the end of WWII, and for some even after that.

Kings, when still young men, learned morality and law the same place their subjects did...from the religious notions laid down as the bedrock of the society. The odd king, of course, was a maverick and instituted significant changes in the social order...usually because he had something to gain from those changes, I'd bet...or because change had become inevitable in any case.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 01:13 AM

" I can't keep up with this thread..."

That's because the majority of it is useless piontless blather... hollow claptrap designed to sound intelligent... But it's not...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 01:14 AM

I was thinking, that the worst torture an insecure, virgin craving Muslim man could possibly bear would be to hear a women tell him after sex, "You know Sinjay, compared to Akbar your penis is very very small".

LOL. Aside from the names, how would this be different from non-Muslim men?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 01:17 AM

I think you'll find that morals & ethics were very much the work of kings rather than gods, up until the time The Torah was written. That was when the demarkation dispute began.

This is incorrect. Zoroastrianism had moral and ethical codes and it predates the Torah.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 01:30 AM

Adherents of the Torah would prefer to think that nothing worthwhile predates it, I'm sure... ;-) Egypt also predated the Torah. Then there was Atlantis which predated Egypt, and...oh, I'd better stop right there. Heh! Our present history is just a scratch on the face of what has been in the past. A great deal of the old histories were reputedly lost when the great library at Alexandria burned, during a fight between Julius Caesar and the Egyptians under young Ptolemy.

Clinton - If you can't tell genuine passion and interest in a subject from just "trying to sound intelligent", TFB. Some have to try harder than others.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 01:35 AM

I don't have to try very hard at all to see right through the hollow man you're making here LH....

Stick to talking about Atlantis... Your facts make for better fiction anyway....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: John O'L
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 01:36 AM

Of course you are both right. I don't know where I got that idea from. I'll get me coat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 02:25 AM

The reason you don't hear about Buddhist suicide bombers is that Buddha taught to clear the mind of desire and of resistance both, in all dimensions, in order to achieve clarity and centering of the soul.

It is rather difficult to say why we may not hear much about certain groups of suicide bombers - Buddist or otherwise. I hear they wanted to hold a convention but due to a shortage of (living) delegates, it had to be called off. Does that say there is no such thing? Sadly it does not.

Prof Dawkins makees the point that if you are taught from the cradle to believe something and to base your life upon it - in spite of the lack of evidence - that leaves you with nothing but faith. So there is nothing for people of opposing faiths do do - but disagree and this is bound to only cause confrontations. And confrontations where there is little hope of any solution.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 04:04 AM

This thread seems to have drifted a long way, towards irrelevant particulars. But as far as I can see, no one has mentioned the crucial fact that Dawkins was opposing not religion but faith- the faith that makes people abandon critical reasoning and the search for evidence.

Others have pointed out (though they didn't seem to think of it that way) that faith has been found at various times in beliefs other than religious ones- fascism, communism, nationalism, patriotism, Manchester Unitedism- with identically destructive results.

So what Dawkins is saying, is not to have no- go areas in your mind that prevent rational assessment of your actions.

In fact, it is two convergent faiths- fundamentalist Christianity and social conservatism- that have caused the USA to involve itself with another coalition of faiths- fundamentalist Islam and revolutionary activism- in a war that is likely to severely damage the world.

We are about to witness what happens when an irresponsible force encounters an immoral object.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 04:21 AM

We are about to witness what happens when an irresponsible force encounters an immoral object.

Too beautiful, Paul.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 06:30 AM

So what Dawkins is saying, is not to have no- go areas in your mind that prevent rational assessment of your actions.

That sounds like he is saying that you should not have faith at all. I don't think that he is saying that you should not have faith or that faith or spirituality (rather than organised religion) is a bad thing. A brief glance back through history will probably be enough to suggest that organised religion has not generally proved to have been a good thing for our planet.   

But in the year 2006 it is probably enough for Prof Dawkins to ask folk just to make the effort to recognise when a view they hold is based on faith alone and also perhaps that this faith should always be seen as a personal thing. Not something that can be shared with thousands or millions of like-minded others. And certainly not something that can be forced upon others - especially those with an equally strong faith that their view is the correct way....irresponsible force encounters an immoral object.

I do not go all the way with science as the answer to all of our problems but I can see and understand Prof Dawkins frustration - coming as he does from being used to working with the scientific principle of being able to prove and reproduce results and of that being the basic expectation.

By all means let us still have our faith in the existence of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and the Tooth Fairy etc - but let us finally recognise our faith (or not)in these sort of things as the personal choices that they are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 06:50 AM

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_dawkins/


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 10:31 AM

Religion practised in truth and sincerity does just the opposite. It encourages and helps bad people to do good things... Anything that is distorted can be missused... including Democracy.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 10:46 AM

Sham:

I would offer that he is saying nothing of the sort; he is saying not to lock your mind on fixed datums. Faith can operate perfectly well in those zones that are beyond the scope of data, such as ultimate beginnings or destiny. It doesn't require data, other than a general sense of certainty, I suppose; but taking fixed idea on faith that CAN be looked at rationally, such as "The United States is The Great Satan", is an example of calling something faith that is actually stupidity.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 11:10 AM

Don't underestimate the power of 'symbols' to motivate people. Some visual representations of 'ideas' are extremely powerful. All forms of leading/coercing/convincing populations have relied heavily on symbolism, whether that be God, gods, afterlives, swastikas, nuclear disarmament symbols (sometimes incorrectly called the peace sign), x-number of virgins, etc. America calls its men/women to war with the flag, ideal(s) of American democracy, etc., as do all other countries when they decide to wage war. Most of the notions are altruistic. I think anyone would be hard-pressed to actually define what these things mean. They would NOT be hard-pressed to say these things are 'right'. IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 11:35 AM

well, I had to wake up early today for a delivery, and I turned on the TV at 6AM....and there on the screen...LO! I see what I have been missing in my disdain for spitituality! What, you ask breathlessly?

Read on......

None other than Kenneth Copeland and a cohort, explaining to me that God wants me to be wealthy! All I have to do is...ummmm...believe or something...and think positively about receiving the monetary blessings I am entitled to.....why would I doubt? I went to his website and saw it happened for Kenneth! ...and I don't even need an airplane! New tires for the van would be good, though....

    Now, I suppose someone is gonna tell me I shouldn't be getting my involved in THAT particular brand of spirituality, and that I shouldn't judge 'serious' spirituality by the worst examples.

Little Hawk says "We test spiritual concepts out, Bill, by actually
trying them..." and then Amos says some more about "Te test of good spiritual principles is whether they improve life in their application.."....and isn't that the point I've been trying to make? If life is happy, reasonable, productive and sane without a subjective immersion in concepts that are like cotton candy when you try to examine their substance, then it just removes a BIG layer of unnecessary complexity for me. The universe is interesting enough and has a lot to be discovered without positing "eternal levels of primal energy and realms of recurring lives with auras and subsuming of my conciousness into a vortex of universal beingness separate from my body"....(did I get that right?...I can't seem to wrap my head around the details..)

And if spirituality IS there for the taking (for those who "open themselves to it"), how do I know that Kenneth Copeland's version isn't right? Many, many millions sure agree with him, at least on the basic tenets?

...and I sure could use those tires....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:04 PM

Guest:

Go for it if it seems right to you at a deep level! :D


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:15 PM

You're right, Peace. Symbols often take on meanings totally contrary to their original meaning. The cross in Christianity was a reminder of the loss of a life so that others might live. The cross has very little meaning to many people these days. Rap stars who make millions of dollars glorifying violence, killing and hatred wear a cross and some new churches don't use a cross in order to be politically correct.

If you want to sum this all up, people do bad things. I do bad things. People start wars for their own reasons. They may use religion, or "Democracy" or a symbol to sell the war, but they aren't necessarily the "reason" for war. Does anyone believe we are in Iraq to promote democracy? Does anyone believe that Pat Robertson speaks for the Christian faith? If you practice Christ's teachings you will love your neighbor as yourself and commit yourself to a life of serving others. It's not Christ's message that drives people to "bad" acts .. or the Muslim religion. As far as I am personally concerned, my faith is very simple... God is love. Anything that contradicts that is not being obedient to God.
No one ever did anything bad out of honest love. They may do things in the name of love, but that don't make it love. All the rest is distortion.

I just received an e-mail with a lengthy article on Iraq, from an Iraqi paper. The best estimate of the faction of Iraqi's who are terrorists is that they represent 1% of the population. And yet politicians try to paint Muslims as being violent. The Koran does not promote violence. Violence comes from greed, or oppression and poverty. We provide the greed, Hussain provided the oppression. The only way to stop violence is equality: something Democracy stands for, but doesn't stand up for.

The minute you start saying things like "Christians are..." or "Muslims are.." you fall into the same trap as "Blacks are.."
You are being simplistic to support your own prejudice. Life is much easier in black and white. But not honest.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:19 PM

Dawkins is not opposing personal life enhancing mental strategies but the wilfully ignorant, and their attempts to force sane people to comply with there ridiculous beliefs such as creationism/intelligent design and a mindbogalingly stupid under estimation of the age of the earth.

PP


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:26 PM

well, I had to wake up early today for a delivery, and I turned on the TV at 6AM....and there on the screen...LO! I see what I have been missing in my disdain for spitituality! What, you ask breathlessly?

Read on......

None other than Kenneth Copeland and a cohort, explaining to me that God wants me to be wealthy! All I have to do is...ummmm...believe or something...and think positively about receiving the monetary blessings I am entitled to.....why would I doubt? I went to his website and saw it happened for Kenneth! ...and I don't even need an airplane! New tires for the van would be good, though....

    Now, I suppose someone is gonna tell me I shouldn't be getting my involved in THAT particular brand of spirituality, and that I shouldn't judge 'serious' spirituality by the worst examples.

Little Hawk says "We test spiritual concepts out, Bill, by actually
trying them..." and then Amos says some more about "Te test of good spiritual principles is whether they improve life in their application.."....and isn't that the point I've been trying to make? If life is happy, reasonable, productive and sane without a subjective immersion in concepts that are like cotton candy when you try to examine their substance, then it just removes a BIG layer of unnecessary complexity for me. The universe is interesting enough and has a lot to be discovered without positing "eternal levels of primal energy and realms of recurring lives with auras and subsuming of my conciousness into a vortex of universal beingness separate from my body"....(did I get that right?...I can't seem to wrap my head around the details..)

And if spirituality IS there for the taking (for those who "open themselves to it"), how do I know that Kenneth Copeland's version isn't right? Many, many millions sure agree with him, at least on the basic tenets?

...and I sure could use those tires....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:35 PM

guess who lost his cookie..probably to an OOT (Out of Thread) experience..


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 12:39 PM

The terms good and bad are simplistic but it is where basic social morality starts. Things that are beneficial to you, your family and your larger social grouping are encouraged as good and those that are thought not to be beneficial are discouraged as bad.

First by practical application and social convention and then more formally these conventions are taken-up by organised religious doctrine and then by formal legislation.

I think most of can accept that political systems are probably not good. They are supported by a legal system where we can clearly see many examples from recent history where things that may be socially beneficial are made legal and where things that are not so benificial are made legal to suit those currently in power.

But the whole point of organised religion - as separate from a personal spiritual belief - is that it is supposed to be good. And if it were the case that odd rogue individuals can corrupt whole systems so easily - perhaps it should now be accepted these organised religions and the fairy stories on which they are based, are not a force for good at all? Perhaps it is time that blame is not shifted away from organised religions and excuses made for why they have proved to be so harmful to our planet.

Religions are man-made - not made by God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 01:37 PM

We've flogged this horse pretty thoroughly, but I wanted to make a few points before bowing out of what has been a very interesting and mainly civil debate...

There have been some statements regarding the origins of moral/ethical codes which govern human behavior (ie thou shalt not kill). I would contend that, due to the universal nature of prohibitions of such things as murder, theft, and wife-stealing in unconnected cultures and religions throughout the world, that these laws were a product of a natural human urge toward behavior that tended to allow people to dwell together in relative peace, and not an imposed religious edict. Their presence in religious law simply represents a codification of existing moral behavior.

I was lauded by Little Hawk for having said that the natural human impulse is to feed the starving, when he called that a "spiritual" notion. I want to say that I have no argument with spirituality. I think there is a realm of existence beyond what can be seen, tasted, smelled, and touched. The fact that most religions perceive this realm in terms of what those senses can detect (example; lounging in a scented garden with a flock of virgins) seems to me to be a gut-level desire for a spiritual realm where everything is exactly like Earth only nicer. Neither do I see Science as a substitute for religion. Science is a tool for acquiring information with which we can (and I emphasize CAN) make better judgements about what will benefit ourselves and mankind in general.

LH said something about the promise of an afterlife redeeming the drudgery and pain of earthly existence, and that life without that notion is mere existence. I disagree. The continuation of my personal being throughout eternity is not necessary for me to gain an appreciation of what grace and beauty there is here in this life. If anything, this promise of dwelling in heaven becomes a stumbling block in the path man could truly take....using Reason to make of this world, the only world we have any evidence of, a place as close to the human concept of heaven as is possible. Spirituality could function on this level, that of helping mankind toward a more satisfying and happy term on Earth, as well as it does in assisting the individual, like LH and Amos, toward greater personal happiness.

Finally, regarding the absence of suicide-bomber Buddhists, I believe that many of us will recall several Buddhist priests who protested the continuation of the War in Vietnam by burning themselves to death in the public square in Saigon. Counter this act of self-sacrifice in a cause to that of the Muslim suicide bomber who seeks to take a host of those who believe differently from him along, and you can see that there is a substantial degree of difference in the impact that people of two different faiths have on their fellow human beings. I have contended and will continue to contend that the basic Islamic belief that death incurred in making Holy War guarantees entry to paradise is perhaps the most dangerous piece of religious dogma there is, and that's saying something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 02:24 PM

But the whole point of organised religion - as separate from a personal spiritual belief - is that it is supposed to be good.

Good for whom? Judaism, Christianinty and Islam are exclusive clubs; "Unless ye be born again of water and the Holy Ghost you cannot enter the Kingdom of God" etc.

I think the way Dawkins has been attacked by some in this thread (laughably before the TV program was aired, and, predictably, since by people who couldn't possibly have watched it) illustrates well the point that some just have no true interest in listening to opinions that threaten enlightenment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 03:30 PM

I've told the story often about the guy who was walking along conversing with Satan, when they saw another man up ahead stop, bend down and pick somethign up from the roadside.

Satan started laughing and his companion asked him what he was laughing about.

"See that guy up there? He just discovered Truth!", Satan replied.

"Well, great," his friend answered, but why should that make YOU, of all people, laugh?".

"Because -- I'm going to help him organize it!".

It is a clear point, and a good one. Spiritual truth, wherever it is found, is very different in its nature from dogma, text, lessons in words, or even instruction of any kind. I could offer an extensive exegisis on the point, but I ain't a-gonna.

I like the story, which is why I repeat it too often! :D

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 04:53 PM

Just an observation here about Buddhist "suicide bombers"...

The Japanese employed thousands and thousands of them in World War II. They were called "Special Attack Forces" or "Kamikazes" (in the western vernacular). They sacrificed themselves in order to kill MANY other people (at least they certainly hoped to). Sometimes they succeeded in that objective. The majority of them were nominally Buddhists, but I don't think their religion was the key factor influencing their willingness to die in suicide attacks.

The key factors were usually intense patriotism, political indoctrination, a self-sacrificing military and social honor code that they had been taught all their lives, great peer pressure (fear of being seen as cowardly by refusing when others volunteered willingly), despair in the face of overwhelming American military strength, a desire to materially damage "the enemy", and other such factors.

Their religion may have made a minor contribution to their willingness to die that way, but only a minor one, I'd say.

It was a faith-based decision, but it was also a pragmatic one. If you are virtually certain to die anyway in a conventional air attack against overwhelming enemy strength and you will do little or no damage in the process, then why not instead die in a way where one man can with his airplane destroy an entire ship full of enemy fighters?

Very pragmatic....but not very wise in a spiritual sense...according strictly to my view of spirituality, that is. My view says we are all of one family. The average Japanese airman did not see it that way in WWII, nor did the average American airman...although some of them eventually woke up to it, when the war was over and they got a chance to get to personally know some of the people they'd been sent out to kill.

Spirituality encourages one to see oneself in others, live and let live, and have compassion. That's not always easy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 05:07 PM

It was their political cult, not their Buddhism (or Shintoism) that drove their kamikaze behavior. It was still in some cuiircles in Japan an article of faith that the emperor was descended from divinity, IIRC.

This has nothing to do with Buddhism. He didn't do divinity.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 05:10 PM

Correct.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 05:45 PM

Dawkins is not opposing personal life enhancing mental strategies but the wilfully ignorant, and their attempts to force sane people to comply with there ridiculous beliefs such as creationism/intelligent design and a mindbogalingly stupid under estimation of the age of the earth.

It must be very frustrating and particularly so in his field to have to re-fight the battle that was thought to have been won long ago by the use of geological evidence, study and reason.

Also and especially in the U.S.A - to have the vast majority of educated people agree but still not having the courage to be seen to openly challenge the power of the 'wilfully ignorant' view. Is it done in the belief that if enough people accept as fact a blatant lie - that eventually become a kind of truth?

But can there really be such a thing as being 'wilfully ignorant'? Perhaps there is a more accurate term to describe those who would knowingly choose to teach children fairy stories as fact.............


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: John O'L
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 05:47 PM

I tell you, if you want to stop good people doing bad things, stop poverty.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 05:57 PM

People are not exactly "wilfully ignortant" so much as they are "conclusively ignorant". They use ignorance as a way of ending a condition of uncertainty that is uncomfortable. So they often adopt a copnclusion that serves as a token even though they leave huge areas of unknowns behind; they just decide "here is where my looking ends and here is what I conclude at this point". That makes it safe not to think about "X", whatever X is at the moment for the person.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 05:59 PM

This is what I should have said.

I think most of can accept that political systems are probably not good. They are supported by a legal system where we can clearly see many examples from recent history where things that may be socially beneficial are made illegal and where things that are not so benificial are made legal to suit those currently in power.

I tell you, if you want to stop good people doing bad things, stop poverty.

The poor - some organised religions maintain - will always be with us. And many rather wealthy organised religions seem to determined to adopt doctrines and policies that ensure that the poor always will be with us.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 07:15 PM

http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1740.html

Worth a look, IMO. Re kamikaze warriors/pilots.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 07:51 PM

"Eschew violence and intolerance..OR ELSE!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 08:09 PM

Hey, Shambles...the ignorant will always be with us too. Matter of fact, we're all ignorant about a whole hell of a lot. That's the human condition. Dawkins is fighting a battle where he is stating the painfully obvious, for the 7 millionth time, probably because he has an emotional hangup about organized religion, as I said way back at the beginning. He only sees the bad side of it. He only focuses on its most ignorant proponents.

I mean, really, how many of us here think that the Earth is only 4500 years old?

And if someone out there does think something that foolish (and yes, some do)...okay! Fine. Live with it. It doesn't matter anyway. You are never going to be able to get everyone else in the World to be as brilliant and well-informed as you are, right? It's just not possible. Accept it.

Find something more important to bitch about than the fact that there are some people who think the world is only 4,500 years old. It doesn't friggin' matter if they think that. Nor does it matter if someone thinks the sun rotates around the Earth or that the Earth is flat. It does matter, however, if a government thinks it has the right to pre-emptively launch a war over WMDs that didn't exist in the first place...and its people are ill-informed enough to fall for such a line of bull and support it. That matters.

Dawkins, I think, is beating a dead horse. He's saying, "Look! Look! This horse is fraudulent! It's not a live horse!" We know that, Mr Dawkins. So what?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 08:36 PM

While the poor may be always with us, how many religious groups say that poverty should be everlasting? It certainly is true that poverty has outlasted most ideologies, but I don't think there are many religious groups that encourage the eternal continuation of poverty.

For that matter, there are a number of Mudcatters who are religious in one way or another - how many of them do bad as a result of their religious beliefs?

I still contend that the original premise of this thread is a fallacy, which is a nice way of saying it started out bigoted. There's certainly plenty of evidence that people sometimes do bad things in the name of religion, but is that always (or even usually) the case? That certainly hasn't been proven in this thread.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 08:47 PM

Jeeze, LH, this drum has been beat since Dr Johnson misdefined oats. Count Korzybski fought this battle in the 30's; Hayakawa fought it in the 60's. The poeple who have chimed in on the theme that fixed ideas are aberrative, and semantic "identification" with the territory leads to stupidity in action, are innumerable. I think, overall they have done some good, but the problem of course is overcoming the "talk to   the hand" syndrome. As a young Barb Streisand said in "Butterflies are Free", ''none is so deaf as he who will not hear''.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Tinker
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 09:00 PM

Thanks for a wonderfully civil conversation that has been enjoyable to ponder. I made a conscious decision several years ago to stay within the "organized " structure and still per sue spiritual growth. In fact despite my protest each week the bulletin lists my name as a Christian Formation Consultant. ( No I'm not paid and please don't ask me to define it). I'm just trying to create a save space for folks of all ages to explore their beliefs (and disbeliefs) But there's a lot of food for thought in this thread that I will be exploring for awhile.

thanks


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 11 Jan 06 - 10:19 PM

Calvinism, Joe, I would submit, would argue that poor people are poor because they are not favored by God, and therefore they *should* be poor. Also, Hinduism. That caste system is designed just for the purpose of creating a perpetual underclass of desperately poor people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 01:39 AM

Yeah, Carol, I'll grant that there are a few religious groups (and others, and perhaps one political party I can think of...) who blame the poor for their poverty or say that it's well-deserved punishment from God - but I'm hoping people who think like that are a minority.

Many other religious groups have been in the forefront of the fight against poverty. Certainly, there are nonbelievers who work to resolve the injustices of poverty - but I think there are relatively few secular non-government entities involved in dealing with the problems of poverty. This is an area where the more progressive religious groups do a real service to society.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 02:20 AM

If an organised religion has amongst its founding doctrines 'to administer to the poor' - it rather has a vested interest in ensuring that it always has some poor to administer to.

And therefore no real interest in preventing poverty. For no organised religion has any interest in removing one of its prime reasons for existence and putting itself out of a job. It fact the argument could be made and there is evidence to support this - that like Governments and political parties - the main role of organised religions is to self-perpetuate. To seek power and influence and to then to do whatever it takes to hold on to it - sometimes at any cost.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 03:37 AM

Find something more important to bitch about than the fact that there are some people who think the world is only 4,500 years old. It doesn't friggin' matter if they think that. Nor does it matter if someone thinks the sun rotates around the Earth or that the Earth is flat. It does matter, however, if a government thinks it has the right to pre-emptively launch a war over WMDs that didn't exist in the first place...and its people are ill-informed enough to fall for such a line of bull and support it. That matters.

The point is that these things certainly have mattered a lot to those whose existence and influence is founded upon such concepts. Throughout history folk have been imprisoned, accused of treason and worse for just making a discovery that might lessen the grip that organised religion had over people. For these religions had a vested interest in keeping us ignorant and in the dark. Make no mistake the battle is not being waged by Prof Dawkins and scientists - it is one that has been waged with little mercy against them and scientific discoveries and one that has already cost our plant dearly. That is just as about as important as it gets.   

If the ignorant are always going to be with us - why then waste so much time and energy on education? For not educating people is the only sure way you can ensure that people remain ignorant. And if you are going to take the time and energy to educate people like Prof Dawkins - why then make their life's work pointless by choosing education as the way forward but not allowing children to be informed of his findings, as part of that education?

Is choosing to teach fairy stories instead a better option. That this form of education is even tolerated in the U.S.A. in 2006 is not taking the world forward but at best sideways and at worst backwards. You may not think these things to be important but what is the next fairy story that will be taught and generally accepted?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 09:35 AM

The teaching of myths as reality is very dangerous indeed.

If you are taught that the earth is 4,500 years old, why should you belive the scientists when they say that the earths climate is changing, just like it did in the past, and we should do something about it.

WE KNOW the earth didn't exist then, so they must be wrong. Anyway, the Rapture is going to sweep us up to heaven next week anyway. Nobaody will mind Holland, Loisiana, Bangaldesh...... being underwater.


Faith is not dangerous, fundementalism is.

The best model for faith of this kind is probably alcohol. Many people will not have any, many can enjoy it in moderation, and it does no harm, but some people are vunerable, and it becomes the dominating thing in their lives, which can very easily destroy them.



Isn't there a line in that Les Barker poem, Unclear Physics, along the lines of:

"When a moron meets a religion, it becomes a fundementalist"


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 12:17 PM

I agree that these people adopt ignorance as a defence mechanism against the evidence and that talking to them will have absolutely no effect. It's not there right to ignore with the evidence that I have a problem with, it's the rise of Christian and other religious Fascism that threatens my right to free thought and speech.
Have no doubt about it, these people are intent on forcing everyone to comply with their blinkered world view and there numbers in the US are significant and rising.
The time for reasoning with them is gone (if it was ever there) now we must oppose them (not just there ideas) by any means necessary if all the freedoms won from Religious dogmatism will be lost.

PP


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 12:29 PM

Yes, yes....lovely points. Couldn't agree more.

I'm now going to demonstrate how most of these lengthy and contentious discussions work. Ahem.

"BLAH!   BLAH! BLAH! &%$% Religion! *&$^ Clinton! (*&% Government! &*^% fundamentalists! *&% Bush! *^$%$ LH! *&^%% Shambles! *&^% pissant morons who believe whatever it is that I don't because I'm not that stupid! BLAH!"   

(There...that should fix the bastards...ha!)

******

Now it's your turn. Have fun, retaliate in kind, make devastating points, engage in brilliant analyis, keep your restless mind engaged, and impress people...as time ticks steadily by and you get older and start to look more and more like the people you contemptuously referred to as "old farts" when you were 18 years old and thought you were immortal.

With any luck we'll go to over 60,000,000 posts before we all croak.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 12:34 PM

Dawkins likes to quote the initial quote approvingly but he isn't the author. Maybe some could profit from reading the whole context

QUESTION: Do you think religion has value?
DR. WEINBERG: I think there's much to be said on both sides of that. I mean, certainly religion has produced great art. Where would architecture be without the great cathedrals and wonderful Japanese temples, and mosques. On the moral side, however, I'm less sure about it. Certainly good causes have sometimes been mobilized under the banner of religion, but you find the opposite I think more often the case. It's more often been the motivation for us to kill each other - not only for people of one religion to kill those of another, but even within religions. After all, it was a Moslem who killed Sadat. It was a devout Jew who killed Rabin. It was a devout Hindu who killed Gandhi. And this has been going on for centuries and centuries. I think in many respects religion is a dream - a beautiful dream often. Often a nightmare. But it's a dream from which I think it's about time we awoke. Just as a child learns about the tooth fairy and is incited by that to leave a tooth under the pillow - and you're glad that the child believes in the tooth fairy. But eventually you want the child to grow up. I think it's about time that the human species grew up in this respect. It seems to me that with or without religion good people will behave well and bad people will do evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

Steven Weinberg is a physics nobel prize winner.

Just by the way, for knee-jerk Wysiwyg, Christians are not even mentioned though other religions are.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 12:45 PM

Maybe we could change this thread title to:

Basically pretty darned good people who do some bad stuff, but not enough bad stuff to say that they are bad.

or maybe they are:

Bad people posing as good people by artificially doing occasional good acts in order to mask their true badness


or maybe they are

Just folks like you and me who do some stuff we label bad because they don't agree with us but we don't want to appear prejudiced, so we'll give them the benefit of the doubt on their goodness and say that we're really not talking about them.

The possibilities are endless

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 12:52 PM

The whole interview

Over the past decade, many physicists have been making an association between their science and "the mind of God".....

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 01:02 PM

It is only with region that good people do bad things (Shambles)

The 'only' to which e.g. Carol has reacted understandably is Shambles own addition. Weinberg is much too careful to say such a thing.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 01:55 PM

**IF** it happened to be the case that religion were based on ignorance and superstition which has been woven into a pattern so elaborate and inspiring that even many of the most intelligent are beguiled by the power of the imagery and tricked by their own ability to rationalize into holding to a particular version of culturally defined metaphysical truth.....I say *if* that were so...then, I submit that just telling them so and insulting them and making fun of their beliefs is highly unlikely to win any ummmm...un-converts.

   There are VERY good reasons why humans came to believe in various religious...and other...non-demonstrable concepts. The very attempt to satisfy curiosity about existence and resolve despair over death would force guesses to be made and theories to be constructed, even **IF** no metaphysical force or Supreme Intelligences 'gave' them answers.

   In many ways, the struggle to both 'know the truth' and maintain intellectual integrity is, by it's very nature, an unending battle. We will always wish to know more than we DO know, and the human mind being what it is, can imagine more concepts than are actually present in 'reality'. Separating 'real ones' from 'wishful thinking' becomes harder the more important the implications become.

I can see no easy way to resolve it as long as a man, when told "this is truth"...or..."this is NOT true" can merely say "I don't believe you...it's true for ME!"

The educational system is not set up to teach the basic points of logic and reasoning as important, required, and consistent aspects of schooling from the earliest days...and even if if did, there are those who could not grasp it, and others who would simply close their minds to to it...for various reasons.

   It is not suprising to find, still operating, those who will claim we never DID go to the moon, or that the Earth is only 5000 years old, or that the positions of the stars when you are born 'determine' your personality. We can at least GIVE the proofs for rejecting these absurdities, but something that is, ***BY DEFINITION*** not subject to physical 'proof' can only be countered by various attempts of appeal to reason of various sorts....to put it a bit differently,you cannot DISprove something if you can't get at the premises on which it is founded.
   This is a corollary of from false premises anything follows! "Elves can do magic-- magic was needed to build Chacago-- therefore, elves could have built Chicago"....bad premises, great logic...IF you accept the existance of magical elves!...and I can't PROVE there are no magical elves.

   I continuously enter these discussions seeking to at least point out careless use of unprovable premises and, when possible, bad use of logic and confusion of 'concept' with reality, but I don't pretend that I can sweep away thousands of years of ingrained and understandable superstition with a few *tsk tsks*......and I really DO try to leave the door open to any forthcoming proof or enlightenment that some of what I am skeptical about may have some basis......but pardon me if I don't hold my breath - I don't look good in blue!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 06:13 PM

If it was Weinberg who said this...

But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

Then he is perhaps not as careful as you might think. The above statement means essentially the same thing as this statement...

It is only with region that good people do bad things


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 08:12 PM

not quite.."evil" and "bad" are not synonymous


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,zippo
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 08:39 PM

So...the Khymer Rouge did no evil things? No atheist bureaucrat, liar, murderer, arsonist or child molester has ever done an evil thing?

LOL! Tell me another one, and I've got a bridge to sell you.

Evil things are done by people in a vicious or deluded state of mind. Viciousness and delusion are not confined to the religious, though certainly found in some of them.

Methinks we got someone here who can only see one side of the story...his side. It must feel great to be among the "saved" (those who eschew all religion on principle). Hail and Hosanna! Will I get to be among the elect too if I join up? Will I be lost if I don't?

Tune in next week for the answer to this and other vital questions of our time!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 08:41 PM

So if you need a hair cut, take it to Ole Bill...he's a whiz.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 08:47 PM

So in that case, Weinberg's statement was the stronger and less careful of the two.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 08:51 PM

Zippo:

I agree with you, fundamentally; but you will allow that no-one does something that he believes to be evil at the time, which, come tot hink on it, is a bit of an oddity considering how much apparent evil there is going on!! :>)


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,zippo
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 09:02 PM

Almost no one, Amos...

There actually have been a few, relatively few, cases of people who knew perfectly well that they were doing evil things and delighted in it! This was their particular form of defiance against a world they probably felt had done them wrong.

Blackbeard the pirate was one, for instance. He took great pleasure in committing atrocities, large and small, often against his own crew, all of which were designed to cause maximum fear in other people and increase his own sense of might and unholy glee at the suffering of others.

That is conscious evil.

I don't think he was very religious. ;-) At least it doesn't seem so.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: bobad
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 10:34 PM

"It seems to me that with or without religion good people will behave well and bad people will do evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

' bad people will do evil things.'

Get it zippo ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,zippo
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 11:04 PM

"But for good people to do evil things, that takes..."

religion...yes...

or...

government
a war
a chain of command
an order given and followed
a basically good person yielding to fear or pressure of some sort
a social custom
a misunderstanding
a body of law
false information
the desire for vengeance
a feud
a grudge
a vendetta
a need to "win" (an election or some other contest)
etc, etc, to infinity.

To say that only religion can cause good people to do bad things is ridiculous.

Any strongly held belief system can cause good people to do bad things. Nationalism, for example, is a belief system. It causes good people to do bad things. It has killed far more people than religion has in the last few hundred years. It has ravaged entire societies and destroyed entire cities with fleets of bombers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: bobad
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 11:15 PM

Fair enough zippo, but I don't think that Khymer Rouge, liars, murderers, arsonists, and child molesters are good people doing bad things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Zippo
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 11:37 PM

Every single Khymer Rouge fighter was by definition a BAD person????

How do you define "bad"? Does it mean "people who belong to any movement or group I don't agree with"? If so, you oughta get a career in politics.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: bobad
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 11:43 PM

The ideolgy man, like the nazi's, not every member of the nazi party was necessarily a bad person but the nazi party was evil in it's ideology.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,zippo
Date: 12 Jan 06 - 11:52 PM

Yes. That is my point. Political ideologies (quite aside from religion) can cause many good people to do bad things. So can any kind of idea that affects people's judgement and creates fear. It does not have to be a religious idea. People are easily influenced not only by religion, but also by culture, politics, media, philosophy, style, custom, commerce, race, you name it.

How many evil things have been done merely to make a good profit? Most of those things were done by basically good people who were caught up in the process of what they termed "good business". They were playing the financial game. They focused only on a specific result (which they deemed "good") while accomplishing other results which were very bad indeed (such as ruining the environment or putting millions of people out of work).


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: bobad
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 12:06 AM

G'night Zippo, you were my favorite back when I was an addict.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,zippo
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 12:24 AM

G'night, bobad. Nice talkin' to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 04:13 AM

"Blackbeard the pirate was one, for instance. He took great pleasure in committing atrocities, large and small, often against his own crew..."

Don't believe everything you read. No saint certainly, but Daniel Defoe made up the character you describe, an early version of tabloid journalism.

And please: it was Khmer Rouge.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Pied Piper
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 06:03 AM

I think the Khmer Rouge was a religious organisation (Belief in god is not essential) what is required, is blind faith in defiance of the evidence.
The 20th century was plagued by two mutually exclusive and incorrect religious dogmas one that human nature is only genetically determined and on the other that human nature is purely a social construct.
Whilst the first of these has been demonstrated to be false the second is still alive and well in the sudo-sciences such as sociology were the creed of absolute relativism is incanted every day.

PP


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 08:35 AM

Maybe we could change this thread title to:

>snip<

The possibilities are endless

Jerry


Yes they are - so perhaps you will accept that the title we have is as good as any other imposed title change won't change the contents - or would you also like to post and suggest that the contents be change to something more to your liking??

------------------------------------------------------------------
The human race (despite) evidence to the contrary - does not generally see the killing of other menbers of the human race as disirable (even for food). For the logical end result of this practice is the death of the species.

And although we have delveloped many fine ways of killing each other on mass and from a distance it is still not easy for one human being to kill another face to face or to get others to overcome their basic inhibitors do this. Many organised religions have elaborated further in their doctrines on what later developed into this basic morality.

So it is that in peacetime to killing of one's fellows is not encouraged and we had secular laws that declare this as the crime of murder. And murderers are not generally thought by society to be good for it society and the commiting of such a crime enough for most of us to consider these murders to be bad people as a result of commiting this act..Possibly it is the case that such 'bad' people simply lack the natural inhibitors that prevent most of us from doing such things? I am not sure what the factors could be for this so I will blame organised religion for this too. *Smiles*

However - in times of war and conflict - our countries will even award medals to those who they judge to have bravely killed their fellow human beings for the better good. [The better good is an interesting concept and probably deserves a thread of its own.]

So it is not true that only religion makes people do bad things. But this was not really the contention being made here, which was that organised religion has confused our basic moral concepts of what is considered good and bad and has probably done this quite intentionally.

In time of historical conflicts and in recent times - where is the moral lead given by our organised religions about one of their basic aspects? Are those of the same organised religion in one conflicting country grouping together to maintain to us all that the killing of one human being by another is bad? Or perhaps due to the practical realities and their own survival are they telling us and demonstrating in one way or another that God is in fact on our side?

And are basic concepts of what is good and what is bad so very difficult and really too simplistic for such sophisticated folk as us? Remember that we are talking here of very BASIC concepts.

Who is it that encourages us to see telling good from bad as such difficult concepts? Could it be those organised religions who rather wish the waters to be mudded and to have a floating decimal point on what is good and what is bad - rather than to show us a consistent moral lead by consistently following in the sprit of many of their founders?

For many organised religions - in spite of the teachings or their founders still teach that it is possible to do bad things and still be good enough - as long as we confess to them our bad deeds. And it was not too long ago that the wealthy were encouraged by some organised religions that they could ensure their goodness by purchasing it. A concept that seems rather common in some of todays organised religions especially in the U.S.......


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 09:04 AM

Yes. That is my point. Political ideologies (quite aside from religion) can cause many good people to do bad things. So can any kind of idea that affects people's judgement and creates fear. It does not have to be a religious idea. People are easily influenced not only by religion, but also by culture, politics, media, philosophy, style, custom, commerce, race, you name it.

The point being made here seems to be that organised religions are at least as bad as all the other examples given.

The point is that if they are to have any credibility they should always be better and showing a consistent moral lead. But of course although these organised religions may be the work of the men (and women) of God - they are first and formost men (and women). Well that is the excuse when it all goes wrong - when ALL human constructs (including organised religions) do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:09 AM

Pied Piper - "I think the Khmer Rouge was a religious organisation (Belief in god is not essential) what is required, is blind faith in defiance of the evidence."

Thank you, Pied! I have been making that same point on this forum for over 3 years...that ALL forms of intense belief in an idea...a mental construct...specially when those beliefs may be unconfirmed, unverifiable or at least debatable in the light of actual experience...are essentially forms of religious fervour.

Religion does not have to be about God, the afterlife, or anything like that at all. It does not have be be connected with churches. It does have to be about a strong belief system, a set of values used to guide human conduct.

The God of any religion is the set of ideas around which the intense belief is built that causes people to adhere TO that religion and practice it.

Communism is a religion, built around holy books such as the Communist Manifesto, prophets such as Marx and Engels, and a congregation and worldly organization (the Communist Party). It ironically is a religion that supposedly officially opposes religion! LOL! They don't in the least grasp that they have simply launched a new and superficially different religion of their own...one that rejects the traditional "God". They made up a new God...a God of materialism.

The Khmer Rouge (or however the hell you spell it) were another such religion that supposedly did not believe in "religion".

Corporate Capitalist theory is another such religion. It worhips the idea of increasing $ profit and achieving an unending expansion of goods and services (a very foolish notion to pursue on a World of limited space and natural resources).

Pyschiatry is another such religion. It has its holy books, its prophets (such as Freud and Jung), its supposedly all-embracing answers to the problems of life...and its blind spots and limitations. Like all religions it may be right about some things...it may be entirely wrong about others. It will typically make the error of figuring that it is THE best way to deal with reality, an error made, seemingly, by all religions.

Every great human ideal belief system is a religion. God is not required at all in the equation. Every human belief system is based partly on observable facts, partly on experimentation with the theory, partly on opinions, partly on unconfirmed theories, partly on mere supposition, and partly on faith.

Man cannot escape being religious, because man thinks, man imagines, man hopes, man theorizes, man comes up with notions of "right" and "wrong", man makes errors in judgement.

Every atheist is religious. Just not about the traditional "God" of earlier cultures, that's all. He's religious about something else that HE considers important.

If Dawkins just gave the word "religion" a lot broader definition, he'd be correct in saying that it is the main thing that leads good people to do bad things. (grin) Good people do bad things basically because they are motivated by beliefs that may be out of sync with reality. They may either not be fully aware of what they are doing...or they're not strong enough to hold up under the pressure of the circumstance, in which case they fail to do what would be the better thing to do (and they know it).

Dawkins sees the flaws in traditional religions. Fine. He might better look to the flaws in ALL religions, including his own. If he's conscious at all, he has a religion of his own. Even my dog has a religion of his own, I can assure you. It's based partly on experience, partly on emotion, partly on faith.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:22 AM

Excellent response, Little Hawk: Scientists call faith theories. Something they believe to be true but cannot prove.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:33 AM

Yes, and their theories are many. Some will yet be proven, others disproven, others modified, still others will remain a mystery. So it is with religion.

Some people think they are 100% objective. They're not. Everyone perceives only the portions of reality that his own subjectivity permits him to perceive. To put it another way...everyone is partially blind to reality. Being so, they must have faith in that which they cannot see...until such time as they DO see it. Then faith becomes knowledge.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:33 AM

Prof Dawkins nor Charles Darwin are expecting anyone to lay down their lives or burn anyone at the stake in the name of their theories on evolution.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:34 AM

Nor am I.

Why do you associate "religion" only with the actions of a few present day fanatics or violent stuff that happened centuries ago?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:40 AM

For that matter, there are a number of Mudcatters who are religious in one way or another - how many of them do bad as a result of their religious beliefs?

I am not sure if any are being acused of this but I hope it is not being suggested that their belief in the doctrines of any organised religion would prevent them from doing bad or even enable them to know the difference between right and wrong?

Perhaps members feeling they ahve to continue to excuse the rather obvous excesses and failings of their particular organised religions is less than helpful?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:43 AM

Why do you associate "religion" only with the actions of a few present day fanatics or violent stuff that happened centuries ago?

Why would you think that I do?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:49 AM

Darwin, by the way, was religious (in the traditional sense). He believed in God. So did Einstein. Traditionally religious people are entirely able to be excellent scientists and to use the scientific method to enlarge human knowledge and understanding.

There is no reason whatsoever to draw battle lines between religion (man's inner search for meaning) and science (man's outer search for observable knowledge).

Just because there are some fanatics who have used religion for crazy and immoral purposes does not invalidate all religious thought...except in the mind of someone who has an emotional problem about what he calls "religion".

If it's your boogeyman, then that's your problem. The problem is IN you, not in religion. Religion, like all forms of thought, can be good, bad or indifferent in its application.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:51 AM

Why do I think you do? I don't know...I guess it's just a general impression. ;-)

Why are you on this thread at all? What's your basic point or concern?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:54 AM

JR said "Scientists call faith theories. Something they believe to be true but cannot prove."

That is in fact the exact opposite of what scientists do. A theory is something that works (a bit) at the moment, and the scientist is trying to prove it WRONG. making predictions from the theory, trying those predicions in experiments, and seeing if the predictions were valid.

That's the opposite of religious belief. Is anybody doing tests of the comparative efficacy of Catholic, Baptist, Hindu, Shinto, Greek Orthodox, Islamic and Zoroastrian prayer? If your belief was of the same kind as belief in scientific theories, you should be. After all, a religious person wouldn't want to follow a false religion, would they?

Sometimes you might not recognise the tests in science: typically when the thing being tested is far away or long ago, or the results take too long to happen. But even in those cases, predictions can be made. If they can't be, it's not considered science, but metaphysics.

Like: the absence of human fossils from the Cambrian period is predicted by the theory of evolution. A single such fossil, fully confirmed, would destroy Darwin's theory utterly, and once the evidence is fully accepted, all biological scientists would have to review all other theories predicated on that one.

It happens a lot, in both big and small ways. That doesn't mean the disproven theories were worthless. The investigation itself advances knowledge, and this ongoing refinement of knowledge is the whole point of this human activity.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 10:56 AM

The reason for this bias is that, while science clings at least notionally to the priciple of constant review and the search for "better" models of reality, many cults, including religous cults, cling instead to the notion they have already determined the "right" model. Notice we are using the word religions here in the organizational sense. Little Hawk is using it in its abstract sense as describing a human quest, religosity as an individual mental or spiritual condition, not to describe institutionalized religion(s).

Dawkins point, as I mentioned above, is that any "fixed" meme, clung to uncritically and obstinately, will lead to aberration in actions at some point. Blind adherence is a form of human stupidity and it can get very ugly.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 11:03 AM

For some people, Paul, religion is a process of searching. An investigation. It's not a question of DECIDING at the beginning: "this religion is TRUE, 100% true, everything in it, and that's my whole base of belief from now on." It's a question of trying something that "seems to work a bit at the moment"...just as you describe in the scientific method, and seeing where it takes you as you go along.

Same basic process as science, only it's inwardly directed.

As I said: There is no reason whatsoever to draw battle lines between religion (man's inner search for meaning) and science (man's outer search for observable knowledge).

Each should complement and strengthen the best in the other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Donuel
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 11:07 AM

A religion with the backing of nuclear weapons is always a dangerous religion.


ALL the big religions today are a club for men to use like club to hit women. Only the degree of female repression varies.

With few exceptions I can say if you are a member of a major religion you are participating in the denigration of half the population from the start. Then you are identifying other non members as less worthy non believers or worse. Its tribal, pure and simple.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 11:18 AM

OK, LH, fine. But you are using the word in a non- standard way, so now we need another word for the Southern Baptists and Islamic fundamentalists. What's your suggestion?

Words that get used in 'good cop, bad cop' bait-and-switch ways:

'morality': are you using it to (1) set down arbitrary rules derived from some politically modern take on an ancient document or (2) talking about how people should behave to make it easiest and safest for us to live together?

'religion': do you mean a personal search for meaning or a social norm that others must follow willy- nilly?

'spirit': do you mean the human feeling of existence, or a non-material object which has certain non- detectable properties, but you know is there?

'peace': do you mean mutual respect and tolerance or my side winning?

'patriotism': what's best for the people of your country or big talk and flag worship?

The list goes on....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 11:23 AM

Well, Donuel, you will no doubt be relieved to know that I am not an official member of any major religion, just a friend to all of them. If I was an official member, though, I would be among those who were seeking to achieve equality for women in that religion. Things that are imperfect need to be improved, don't they? That is true of religions as well as of societies.

Anything with the backing of nuclear weapons is dangerous. (I take it your remark was directed toward Iran?) My friend, they are ALL dangerous.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 11:29 AM

"Relational realities can not be "proven." Because you can't "Prove" love, does that make it less real? What is the standard of measurement for compassion? You can't prove these things by anything measureable. One person may do what appears to be a compassionate act for selfish reasons while another may do it out of love and empathy.

The ultimate delusion is believing that everything can be known and proven.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 11:39 AM

Paul - Yeah, that's the trouble with words, and it's the main cause of most of these wrangles on Mudcat.

I guess I would call those people you are referring to (Southern Baptists and Islamic fundamentalists) as "religious fundamentalists" or "religious extremists of our time". Mind you, I've even known a fair number of religious fundamentalists who were totally nice and harmless people, although I did not share their simplistic views of God, history, and reality.

I usually take issue with people on Mudcat when they launch threads attempting to demonize an entire general category of people...in other words, they see it strictly as "the guys in the white hats, and the guys in the black hats". It's usually not that simple. In fact, it's almost never that simple.

What point is there to trying to give organized religion the sole (or the primary) blame for the existence of "good people who do bad things"? That was the premise I objected to at the start of this thread. I consider it an extremely inaccurate, biased, and unfair premise. That's why I am here posting on it at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 11:41 AM

Well said, Jerry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 11:44 AM

Carol,

when in the context of an interview about religion Feingold says that sentence you have quoted he does not imply that no other condition can lead to the result. A physicist would express it differently and more strongly if he intends to speak about a necessary condition.

Shambles' formulation changed a sentence that can have more than one interpretation (one of them being yours) into one that only allows your interpetation.

Littel Hawk and Jerry, a scientific theory is a completely different thing from how the word is understood in the vernacular. The people of the 'Intelligent design' movement make the same 'it's just a theory' mistake.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 12:07 PM

Mmmm.

Do you agree, Wolfgang, with this premise?

"There is no reason whatsoever to draw battle lines between religion (man's inner search for meaning) and science (man's outer search for observable knowledge)."

Is there an inner search for meaning? What do you think? If so, how would you deal with it? We all know how to deal with outer phenomena (at least I hope so!). We use our five senses, our powers of observation, and the instruments we have invented. Fine. No problem.

But what do we do in order to build an inner sense of meaning about our lives? Many people use religion for that. Are they wrong to do so? If it works for them and hurts no one else, what is the problem?

How can we experience love? How do we achieve a feeling of self-worth? How can we find true intimacy and inner peace? These are things that matter, and I suggest that you cannot resolve them in the laboratory. They are elements of the inner search.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 12:12 PM

I suggest that the sole purpose of all forms organised religion is to consistently show us what is good. Perhaps if this is thought not to be the case - some other definition for them can be found?

If as argued by some posters here in defence of organised religions - strictly following the doctrines of an organised religion is just as likely to result in us doing bad things as following a political party, making money or many of the other things that have been listed here - then perhaps organised religion should be judged as far worse than all of the other things listed?

If there is such a thing as a better good - perhaps organised religion can be thought of as a worse bad?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 12:37 PM

And how about racial stereotyping, Shambles. How do YOU explain that, huh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 12:53 PM

Naw. The WORST bad thing of all things that could possibly be listed here is man's inhumanity to ape! Just ask Chongo.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 01:18 PM

I dunno - I thought a religion was primarily a group that joins together to explore and savor the meaning and purpose of the life we live. Ideals and some sort of moral code usually flow from religious belief, but morality is not the central focus of most belief systems - meaning is, not morality. When the group forgets its original purpose and ties itself rigidly and mindlessly to an ideology, that's when you have fundamentalism.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 02:04 PM

The only attraction of organised religion to me - and I went to a Church Of England school - was a moral code that seemed to make a lot of practical sense to my young mind. The reported teachings of the person this organised religion was supposed to be following, are those that I can still get some comfort from.

But when I realised that this community at large and this organised religious community in particular did not appear to place much store or follow in practice the rather sensoble moral codes of its founder - organised religions rather lost any real attraction for me. A situation futher compounded when it was clear that things that were clearly myths were seen to be accepted by organised religion and sold to those ready to accept them, as truths.

As for finding meaning - do we really need to try and do this collectively and if we do - perhaps we would be better advised to try to find this meaning because of evidence rather than to make the attempt in spite of it? That way there would seem to be less room for division and conflict amongst all of us than a meaning of life found for some of us through a collective but always arguable faith?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 02:15 PM

Paul Burke, above, refers implicitly to a problem I have noted many times.....the use of equivociation or related logical fallicies to defend a position.

In order for a claim to even be considered, it needs to avoid errors such as Paul mentions where words are used ambiguously.

I started trying to make this point way back when people were tossing the word 'folk' into their defense of eclecticism in music, and trying to make the word refer to anything THEY liked.

I use the words 'spirit' and 'soul' in my personal discourse at times, as ways to express attitude & emotion, but I am perfectly aware that I am using them in poetic or metaphorical contexts....NOT as representations that there are some sort of 'actual entities' out there as referents.

An awful lot of this discussion would be eased if 'folk' would clarify exactly what they are claiming.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 02:50 PM

when in the context of an interview about religion Feingold says that sentence you have quoted he does not imply that no other condition can lead to the result

You're wrong, Wolfgang. In English, this statement...

But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

...has no other meaning than that no other condition can lead to the result.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: frogprince
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 03:05 PM

ALL the big religions today are a club for men to use like club to hit women. Only the degree of female repression varies.

With few exceptions I can say if you are a member of a major religion you are participating in the denigration of half the population from the start.


That this is still far too widespread, is patently obvious. But what constitutes a "few exceptions"? Millions of American protestants belong to churchs with policies which place no barriers whatever to keep women from the clergy, including higher level leadership; one of these female clergy may face difficulty from individuals with biases against feminine leadership, but it is in no way supported by church policy. (I specify American protestants only because I don't feel qualified to speak for others worldwide, not from any assumption that Americans stand apart and above morally).
Regretably, many of these churchs still stand firmly for the repression of gay people; but in my experience this bias is applied equally against male and female.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 04:19 PM

I can think of two general exceptions -- the UU organizations I have seen and the active Buddhist communities I have seen do not reduce women on any religous grounds.

Paul's point on the confusion of terms is universal and well constructed.

As regards morality, which is often a claimed turf by institutions of religion, I woudl offer the notion that there are two different sets of experiential phenomena: there are codes of mores, agreed-upon, in which compliance with the agreement is the senior good. Examples are "you will not eat pork" and "you will despise homosexual people", or "you will not walk under ladders". Some of these are sensible ("you will use soap when washing") and others are completely arbitrary, ("you will request permission to speak before speaking" or "you will wear a handkerchief on your head before entering a house of worship").

In dramatic contrast to these moral codes there are those decisions which are less about moral codes and more about the contemplation of optimum ethics, right action for the greatest good, enhancing the maximum number of futures, and such rational questions. These are questions of individual ethics rather than mores one may or may not need to guide his own reflections by.

In my humble opinion, an ethical decision honestly reached is worth a thousand moral mandates subscribed to because "it's the way it's done in these parts".

In some ways I think all our brouhaha about the invasion of Iraq hinges on the difference between these two terms.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 04:41 PM

My daughter, who is a Baptist minister would find your comments about religion suppressing women highly entertaining. So would the many other women who are Ministers and in positions of leadership in the National Baptist church. One dumb thing about generalities is that people pick that portion of the truth that supports their own beliefs and apllies it across the board. Are there religions that still suppress women? Of course. Are there hypocrites who go to church every Sunday? Of course. Have there been atrocities committed in the name of religion? Of course. Are there still atrocities being done in the name of religion? Of course. Do some people use their religion to judge others? Of course. (The people in here who are constantly judging Christians are no slouches at judgment.)

Are endless crimes committed because of the sexual urge? Of course.
Is sex "bad." No. People who misuse sex are "bad." Are endless crimes committed because of drugs and alcohol? Of course. People who misuse drugs and alcohol are "bad."

This discussion could go on until eternity, and no one would be closer than they are right now because the actions of some are used to paint all black. I could start an equally distorted thread titled Atheists do bad things because they don't believe in God. It would be as dumb and simplistic as the premise for this thread. When people use such unsupportable judgment of whole groups of people, the only thing they "prove" is their own prejudice.

Atheists, Christians, Muslims, Agnostics, Republican, Democrats, even Chimps (sorry Chongo) do bad things because there is bad in all of us. I do bad things, not because I am a Christian, or a Democrat, or a folk singer, or love disco (which I don't) I do bad things because I am not as loving as I should be, or as forgiving.

In the 60's Flip Wilson coined a phrase that everyone used for sevgeral years.. "The Devil made me do it." In Mudcat the phrase seems to be changed to "Religion made me do it."

(I would be equally offended by the way, if someone started a thread titled "Atheists do bad things because they don't believe in God.")

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 04:51 PM

LOL! Indeed, Jerry. That would be a lively thread, wouldn't it? Hoo boy...

I wish to add this: My dachshund does bad things because he's greedy. Psychotically so. He thinks about food 98% of the time (when he's awake, I mean). The other 2% of his waking life is spent thinking about vital issues such as territoriality and "the pecking order". He used to think about sex too, but something's been missing from his life, alas. He will not get to pass on his genes to further generations of gluttonous little dogs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 05:31 PM

I bet there are many times when Chongo is proud that he's not a human, LH. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 07:28 PM

Always, Jerry. Always. ;-) Chongo is an ape, and proud of it. He is only a bit conflicted over certain types of slinky human "dames". In regards to them, he gets a little confused about species boundaries. It's a fine line between too much and enough.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 08:01 PM

I suppose that Chongo could claim that bananas made him do it...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 08:26 PM

Well, they say beauty is only skin deep...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 08:46 PM

When people use such unsupportable judgment of whole groups of people, the only thing they "prove" is their own prejudice.

Rather late to be getting touchy on the subject of being subject to judgement, I would think. But perhaps it is different when you feel it is you who is being judged this time? Even if this is mistaken.

But it is quite clear that most of the defence being made here is because some individuals think that it is they who are being judged. If so - do they really think they are they above judgement? For all any individual may be being accused of in this thread is a generalisation that few would contend - that of being human and thus liable to screw up..........

It should be equally clear that what is being discussed here is organised religion not individuals so they do not eally need to defend themselves. It is not those individuals to whom their religion is important who are being judged. If it is their wish to defend the role of organised religions in the world - they are perfectly entitled to do so but perhaps they are not really entitled to accuse other groups of being prejudiced against them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 08:58 PM

No, Shambles... I am not concerned about myself being judged. It bothers me that all organized religion is judged so harshly. I know and love countless Christians who are loving, committed, just people who find their religion (yes, even organized) to be a strength and encouragement.) They are trying to live the basic tenets of Christianity : loving their neighbors and living a life of service. As for myself, while I have many friends here, I don't live my life to please others. Being judged by people doesn't bother me all that much. Blanket judgments of all organized religion does indeed bother me.

Mostly,simplistic statements bother me. I too am repulsed by much of what is done by Christianity. Perhaps unlike you, I see all the beautiful, loving things that are also done by organized religion. Unless at least some passing acknowledgment is given for all the good that organized religion does, I will continue to speak out against blanket condemnations and over-simplifications about organized religion. I have family members who are Muslim and I would protest general condemnation of that faith as well.

Perhaps you would care to acknowledge the good that is also being done by organized religion? Then the conversation could at least be a little more just.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 09:07 PM

I, __________________________, being of sound mind and body, do
not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of pinhead politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives
depended on it or lawyers/doctors interested in simply running up
the bills. If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to ask for at least one of the following

   ______a Bloody Mary
   ______a Margarita
   ______a Crown and Coke
   ______a steak
   ______Chicken Fried Steak with mashed potatoes and gravy
   ______Lobster or crab legs
   ______the remote control
   ______a bowl of French vanilla ice cream
   ______the sports page
   ______sex

it should then be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my appointed person and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes
and call it a day.

Signature:         ___________________________

Date:                ___________________________


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: bobad
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 09:13 PM

Chicken fried steak ?

Don't you know that stuff can kill you ?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 13 Jan 06 - 09:14 PM

"It is only with region [sic] that good people do bad things.    -    and do them in the name of their religion."

The premise is false--although it is partly true. "It is only with religion that people do things in the name of their religion."

That then posits a supposition from which and against which there can be no argument. The original statement is from someone who seems not to think things through. Lotsa wasted ink over this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 02:55 AM

Perhaps you would care to acknowledge the good that is also being done by organized religion? Then the conversation could at least be a little more just.

The conversation is just a conversation and there continue to be many interesting contributions to it. I feel it should be possible to have a conversation without being accused of offending you by the choice of a thread's title. If you are that easily offended by this thread's title then don't open it and if you are so easily offended then I would politely suggest is your problem and not the rest of the forum's.

As far as practical hands-on measurable good goes - would you accept that there are many good folk and organisations that can provide this just if not more effectively without the requirement and the restrictions of an organised religion. Can you provide us with any evidence that organised religions can do this better than secular organisations can? Or are we all expected to take it on faith?

Would you accept as many do, that having to work under the banner of one organised religion may actually complicate and make the process of aid and education in particular more difficult and less effective?

Perhaps this is not their primary role - perhaps you could suggest to us what now is the primary role of organised religions? If it is to attract as many people to it and much of the organised relgion's efforts are aimed at that - and as there are many of them - perhaps they are never going to be very effective in the provision of measurable good?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 04:27 AM

Perhaps you would care to acknowledge the good that is also being done by organized religion? Then the conversation could at least be a little more just.

If it is thought that individuals cannot or should not be blamed for the bad caused by their organised religion - perhaps it is a double standard to expect that individuals should be credited or acknowledged for the good you say is being done by organised religion.

Which is what exactly?

But perhaps it is time to re-state that the point being made here is NOT that only the followers of organised religion can do bad things. It is simply that when organised religions are the arbiters of what is good and what is bad and these organised religions are created and administered by flawed human beings just like you and I - the result is that the differences between these two opposites becomes blurred.

Without organised religion's practical and shifting survival tactics - I simply suggest that the world would and could yet be be a better, more just and a safer place.

But if those members honestly think that their organised religion is above any criticism and not responsible for the bad things done in its name - perhaps rather than only providing excuses or claiming to be offended - it is then their duty to change things so that they can evidence and demonstrate that their view is correct?

How many times are we told that the words of this or that the organised religion do not condone the terrible things done in its name - when these truly terrible things still continue to be done it its name? While these things do continue to be done in the name of the myths of organised religion - these claims will remain very hollow sounding to most people - especially the many families of innocent victims.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 07:43 AM

If it is thought that individuals cannot or should not be blamed for the bad caused by their organised religion - perhaps it is a double standard to expect that individuals should be credited or acknowledged for the good you say is being done by organised religion.

Which is what exactly?


One of my lifelong friends committed suicide last weekend.   Throughout his life, this person never entertained a spiritual or religious thought. He just wasn't "raised that way". Had nothing but scorn and ridicule for such beliefs. Ditto for his family and most of his friends.

Even so, the family was sure to arrange for a Christian minister to give the funeral service yesterday. And the devastated victims recieved their due measure of comfort, hope and peace through those readings and prayers. A good thing ... and yet the irony of it all kinda kills me.

"Religion = good folk doing bad things". What a bigotted crock. If my buddy had done a little more of those bad things once in a while,   if he'd learned to respect and value and appreciate the miracle and mystery and beauty of life and love a little more, he might still be with us today.

I'm not in the greatest of moods this morning. I mean no offence to anyone. It'll be better soon. I know. The Angels have been hugging me real close all week. So go ahead and sling all your mud this way now folks ... you couldn't hurt me if you tried.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 10:04 AM

It's really quite odd that a family who had believed in nothing religious all those years would hire a Christian minister to do a traditional service at the funeral. I guess they either just did what seemed like the standard thing or maybe for the first time in their lives they were actually forced to confront the issue of death head on.

My general impression is that the atheist mindframe is based somewhat upon denial of death...just don't think about it...think instead as if you will never die...keep focusing on your work, pleasure, entertainment, what's in front of you (like this computer screen), what's next....DON'T think about death at all!

Of course, a lot of religious folks do that too...

Sorry to hear about your friend, Daylia.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: John O'L
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 08:37 PM

Good wishes to you daylia.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 09:05 PM

Well, yes the title of the thread is flawed. I suspect Shambles was trying to be provocative. Good folks will do bad things for a lot of reasons, especially insufficient or innaccurate information. Good people have falsely convicted and imprisoned the innocent, for example. Good people can sit on a jury, weigh the facts in a case, and come to the conclusion that a person is guilty. Their intention is to prevent this person from further harming society (good). Their effect is to imprison an innocent (bad).
But I would contend that any of the other arguments about those who do evil through excessive greed, those who do evil through excessive jingoist patriotic fervor, those who do evil through a conviction of racial superiority...none of these qualify as good folk doing bad things. These are examples of misguided bad folk pursuing their own agendas. By the way, I don't buy the arguments about greed, jingoism, racism, etc being forms of religion. Webster defines Religion as 1) The belief in a supernatural power which governs our behavior and our fate, and 2) a structure of behavior deriving from this belief and governing those who share it. Calling greed a religion may be a good way of evading the crux of this argument by casting a net wide enough to call any strongly held conviction a "religion", but it's really just a misdirection because the debater has no solid ground on which to refute a basic point : Religion is motivation for irrational behavior in response to the instruction dictated from books which are the reputed to be the final word of an all-powerful supernatural force. The existence of the force is unproveable, and the tenets of belief are irrational, but any effort to question them on a reasonable basis is deemed evil or mean-spirited, and the questioner is invariably denounced as cold, unfeeling, materialistic, etc. These arguments are the same ones used by the Catholic Church in an attempt to lock up the reasonable breakthroughs of people like Galileo, Newton, and Davinci, because of their unwillingness to accept religious dogma as truth.
So, compare our well-meaning jury of folks doing bad things to a case of an honest Iraqi plumber who loves his children, pets his dog, feeds the hungry family next door, and then straps on a plastic explosive and a bag of ball bearings and kills 12 people at a wedding. The example of the jury describes the unfortunate but understandable example of acting on faulty, though reasonable, information. The second case demonstrates a situation where our plumber was motivated by one of two things...a)madness b)religion. To contend that they are different things may indeed be splitting hairs. Religion here being a literal interpretation of the teaching of a Holy Book, which is the mark of the True Believer.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 09:37 PM

Webster's was written by very conventional and conservative minds, LEJ, who were not trying to look beyond convention. I am unimpressed by the limitations of their definition of "religion". They're not philisophers. Philosophers look beyond the most obvious conventionality, and find what's under the surface of human habits and customs.

What's under the surface of most people's conventionality is a whole lot of faith in many, many things that they don't actually know for sure, but still assume must be so...because someone else told them it is! That's a form of religious faith, in my opinion. Why must it be about God?

As for madness...we are all mad, in someone else's eyes. Just depends who, and what HE takes for granted.

You make the mistake that I am trying to "win" an argument here. Maybe I'm not. Maybe I'm trying to expand a philosophical premise in order to better understand something that most people do, but don't ever think they are doing.

I know perfectly well how the dictionary defines "religion". That is hardly the point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jan 06 - 09:43 PM

A Holy Book. Like...Chairman Mao's Little Red Book? ;-) God takes many forms, some of them all too human.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 10:33 AM

Thanks LH, Jerry, John. Y'know, I'm tempted to start a thread called "Science=good folk doing bad things?"   That oughta be a piece of cake to prove ...

Or maybe I'll try "Music=good folk doing bad things?" After all, music has been used since time immemorial to march the soldiers off to slaughter, to draw the faithful into ritual (up to and including human sacrifice rituals), to drum up support for leaders and/or policies which did not merit that support etc etc etc.

Yup. I'm convinced now that music is truly evil.

Makes about as much sense as this thread title, anyway.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 10:45 AM

Hey, daylia:

How about Sex: good folk doing bad things?
    Prejudice:   "    "    "    "    "
Automobiles:   "    "    "    "    "

Man, and a occasional women seem to have an endless capacity for doing bad.

And good..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: the one
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 11:08 AM

repent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 11:46 AM

So, compare our well-meaning jury of folks doing bad things to a case of an honest Iraqi plumber who loves his children, pets his dog, feeds the hungry family next door, and then straps on a plastic explosive and a bag of ball bearings and kills 12 people at a wedding. The example of the jury describes the unfortunate but understandable example of acting on faulty, though reasonable, information. The second case demonstrates a situation where our plumber was motivated by one of two things...a)madness b)religion. To contend that they are different things may indeed be splitting hairs. Religion here being a literal interpretation of the teaching of a Holy Book, which is the mark of the True Believer.

This is a fallacious argument. Most suicide bombers do what they do, not because of religious reasons, but because their homeland is being occupied by a foreign government. In those contexts, the suicide bombers have not been from only one religion. Their religion is incidental to the political reasons for their act of suicide bombing. (Although I grant you that in some cases, religion has been used as a recruitment tool... but not the majority of cases). And recently, in China, people have begun using suicide bombing as a form of protest against the practices of their own government.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: John O'L
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 03:35 PM

I watched a TV program last night called 'Abraham's Children'. In a Jerusalem university teenagers were asked what they thought about suicide bombers, and a number of them said that it's the only weapon they have left. These were not hysterical fundamentalists, they simply felt that all other options have been exhausted and failed. I found it hard to believe that they accepted it so easily, but these kids just took it as a mathematical progression.

BTW on the same show they mentioned that the word 'religion' comes from a Latin word meaning 'to bring together, to bind'. I know this is irrelevant to the above argument, but interesting nevertheless.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 03:50 PM

Most suicide bombers do what they do, not because of religious reasons, but because their homeland is being occupied by a foreign government. In those contexts, the suicide bombers have not been from only one religion. Their religion is incidental to the political reasons for their act of suicide bombing.

The fact that terrorist groups have demonstrable short-term goals does not in the least suggest that they are not primarily motivated by their religious dogmas. These individuals live in communities which define themselves in religious terms. Suicide bombing, in the Muslim world at least, is an explicitly religious phenomenon that is inextricable from notions of martyrdom and jihad, predictable on the basis of these notions, and thus sanctified by their logic. It is no more secular an activity than prayer is.
I am not aware of suicide bombings in China, and thus can't comment on them or the motivations of those involved.
Regarding Webster and his dictionary, fine. Noah had a very limited imagination. That's probably good, or we would be consulting dictionaries that constituted 14 volumes. In any rational discussion, there needs to be some basic agreement on what the subject is. It would be difficult to discuss the pros and cons of capital punishment if half of the participants believe slaughtering chickens is murder.

By the way...what is Folk Music? ;>)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 07:30 PM

Man, and a occasional women seem to have an endless capacity for doing bad.

So, as has been pointed out time and time again in this thread - these are not good people doing bad things. They are bad people doing the bad thing that defines them as bad.

I am sure that some posters here would not be suprised at me damaging another car when pulling out of a parking bay - inspecting the damage to the other car (which was considerable) looking around to see if anyone was looking and quickly driving off. They may think this incident would be a good example a bad person doing a bad thing and may expect nothing else of me.

In fact I was just an unseen witness to this. It was my neighbour - a member of an organised religion - a regular church attendee, supporter of local good works and thought generally to be a very good person and an example to the community.

This is just a small example of a good person doing a bad thing. There is no suggestion that his organised religion made or caused my good neighbout to act badly or it was done in its name. But whereas some folk here may not expect anything better from me - perhaps a little more would or should be expected of followers of organised religions and those who would be thought to be good. Is it just me or when good folk do bad things - does the act seem far worse because of this expectation?

Perhaps my neighbour rushed off to sort it out or just forgot? Maybe he confessed his 'sin', was forgiven and felt better about it. Perhaps it was his minister's car? I am not sure of any of that but I am sure that he is still locally considered to be a good person. Except possibly by me and whoever owned the car and had to pay to get it repaired.

But to me it is that expectation that separates organised religions from the political, cultural and all the other causes given in this thread for good folk also doing bad things. For unlike these oganisations - the whole damned point of organised religions is to be on the side of the angels and to show us how we can be on the side of the angels.

It is telling that no one here seems to excluding organised religion from being a cause of good folk doing bad things - the only concern seems to be that this cause is not singled out as the only cause........


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: CarolC
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 07:43 PM

The fact that terrorist groups have demonstrable short-term goals does not in the least suggest that they are not primarily motivated by their religious dogmas.

This could not be further from the truth.

These individuals live in communities which define themselves in religious terms. Suicide bombing, in the Muslim world at least, is an explicitly religious phenomenon that is inextricable from notions of martyrdom and jihad, predictable on the basis of these notions, and thus sanctified by their logic. It is no more secular an activity than prayer is.

Except for the fact that there are Christian suicide bombers in what you describe as "the Muslim world", fighting against the same people the Muslims are fighting against. And most Tamil Tigers are not Muslim. Tamils are an ethnic group who want to establish an independent state in what is now Sri Lanka.

"The Black Tigers (Tamil) are believed to be the most effective unit of its kind in the world, as the rest of the LTTE it is also secular, not driven by religious fanaticism. The creation of the Black Tigers is based on the LTTE's studies of Asymmetric warfare; thus using suicide cadres balance the government's greater resources."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LTTE_Black_Tiger

Here is the story I saw about the suicide bombing in China...

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-01-06-china-blast_x.htm?csp=34


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 07:52 PM

"Man, and a occasional women seem to have an endless capacity for doing bad."

I don't know who said that, but it's pretty sexist, IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: pdq
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 08:21 PM

Serendipitous : the faculty to make happy and unexpected discoveries by accident. Coined by Horace Walpole (1754) after The princes of Serendip (Sri Lanka), a Fairy Tale                      The Oxford Dictionary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 08:35 PM

Aw c'mon, Peace.. I said that... can't a fella kid around anymore. Doing bad stuff has no gender... just different flavors.

Jerry (would that make me a female chauvenist pig?) :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jan 06 - 09:39 PM

You can simplisitically define people who do bad things as "bad people" if you want, Shambles. I don't. I define them as deluded, confused, conflicted, frightened, desperate, unaware or ignorant people.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't subject them to the normal penalties of law, in order to protect society. But...I do not consider myself or anyone else qualified to judge the essential worth of another human being. We are simply qualified (to some extent) to judge whether their actions are acceptable or not.

And there's the difference between spiritual faith in humanity...and the habit of judging others that most people engage in without a second thought. Guess why virtually all great spiritual teachings have advised us NOT to judge others?

If you figure they're just foolish myths, of course, you can just ignore them and go ahead and be the righteous judge, jury and executioner of your fellow man, whom you have judged irredeemably evil and expendable. Or to put it another way: "Sigg Heil!" No mercy. No doubt of your own infallible judgement. No regrets.

"Hate means never having to say you're sorry." And vengeance is the path of the very, very stupid who know not what they do nor what fruit it will bear in time.

Such people hijack airliners and crash them into buildings. Such people blow up marketplaces. Such people imprison and torture without due process of law. Such people execute the condemned. Such people start wars. They may be religious, they may be atheists, it hardly matters.

They are found on both sides of any violent political issue, calling for stern retribution and destruction upon those whom they see as the "bad people". They are the mirror image of one another, and they make the World bleed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 02:03 AM

Such people hijack airliners and crash them into buildings. Such people blow up marketplaces. Such people imprison and torture without due process of law. Such people execute the condemned. Such people start wars. They may be religious, they may be atheists, it hardly matters.
They are found on both sides of any violent political issue, calling for stern retribution and destruction upon those whom they see as the "bad people". They are the mirror image of one another, and they make the World bleed.


Sadly such people do not have horns and could well be living next door to you or I.

But are such people as you describe born like this or are they created. You could argue that if they were created that there would be many social and political factors for this and you would be correct. But is the role of organised religion to help show the way or to confuse it. Often it would seem that organised religions intentionally complicate whole issues and then distance themselves from the results of this confusion.

What is good and bad is a fairly basic concept for individuals faced with a choice of actions. And yes this is simplistic and in my view such things should be encouraged to be seen in simple terms. I am always suspicious of attempts to make such concepts appear more complicated than they are so that we then feel we need 'experts' to advised us.

'Thou shalt not kill' works fine for me as a spiritual basic guide as the how to treat my fellow humans. 'Thou shalt only kill under certain circumstances that we will inform you of nearer the time' does not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 02:22 AM

You can simplisitically define people who do bad things as "bad people" if you want, Shambles. I don't. I define them as deluded, confused, conflicted, frightened, desperate, unaware or ignorant people.

Do you think all the words you used actually come under the unbrella of good things then or could they all be described in simple terms as bad things? These words do tend to sound like the excuses they so often are.

Some posters here would appear to want muddy the waters and would wish us to consider in defence of organised religion that people who do bad things in its name are in fact really good people.....

Or wish to further complicate and excuse organised religion by the use of yet another word to describe 'good' people doing things in the name of their organised religion - as fundamentalists............

Perhaps sruggling with the words good or bad aleady present us with enough problems without the need to introduce yet more words to argue over and to further complicate the debate?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 03:46 AM

Before organised religion I suggest that if you did a good thing you knew it was good because the act made you feel good about doing it. And if you did a bad thing you knew it was bad because it made you feel bad about doing it.

With new improved organised religion I suggest you can do something that makes you feel good and therefore a good thing and be made to feel bad about it. And you can do something that makes you feel bad and therefore a bad thing and be made to feel good about it.

The bad feeling that you get when you do something bad does not tend go away when your organised religion try to make you feel good about it. It simply increases the guilt that we already feel. It is organised religion that has made this guilt into the harmful growth industry that is now in evidence all around the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 06:47 PM

Well said.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: autolycus
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 06:57 PM

"deluded,confused,conflicted,frightened,desperate,unaware or ignorant", you say,LH. Yes and I'd add "damaged", which I much prefer to "bad".

The original premise is flawed - other things lead people to do "bad" things than religion.

One take I have on religion is that people want certainty. Authoritative figures look the best bet except they disagree. God is a brilliant answer to the need for certainty;for the believer, youcan't argue with the word of God;thus certainty is solved and with it many of the problems and neuroses of life including the search for meaning.

As for the idea of 'damage', I pass on the anecdote of Abraham Maslow. When he was a medical student,he had a textbook which had the following frontispiece. A photo divided into 2 horizontally. Above the line, a baby;below the line, an adult. Underneath, just the question,"What happened?"

This thread, and Mudcat (and much of life) all point to the importance (for many of us) of what other people think/believe.

A.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 07:02 PM

Nicely put, autolycus.

GOodness and badness are, in the final analysis, opinions. People who do something they believe is bad are damaged by self-division, which is often a response to emotional overwhelm or physical pain. It is a form of unrecognized damage to the being that his life had brought him, from his own choices, to a place where he cannot wholly be himself and must surrender his integrity or be swamped and lost, or so it seems. Actually, integrity is the sole life ring under such circumstances, but that is a lesson slow and hard in the realization,.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 08:00 PM

It is telling that no one here seems to be excluding organised religion from being a cause of good folk doing bad things - the only concern seems to be that this cause is not singled out as the only cause........

----------------------------

People who do something they believe is bad are damaged by self-division, which is often a response to emotional overwhelm or physical pain. It is a form of unrecognized damage to the being that his life had brought him, from his own choices, to a place where he cannot wholly be himself and must surrender his integrity or be swamped and lost, or so it seems. Actually, integrity is the sole life ring under such circumstances, but that is a lesson slow and hard in the realization,.

Amos - Isn't what you describe here a rather long-winded description of what most of would more simply refer to as guilt?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 05:21 AM

[Tenet is defined on Word Web as : A religious doctrine that is proclaimed without proof.]

Perhaps we have created God, in our image and not the other way round?

Such Is The God

You will find, in the finest of gardens
Some small place, where the wild flowers grow
And you can't train children, like a gardener trains roses
You can't thin out, you just reap what you sow

Inquisitions and witch-hunts and final solutions
Moral pollution, that defeats it's own ends
The obvious answer, is it always the best one?
It's wise to question, both your foe and your friend

The rose and the thorn, fine fruit and the poison
The soldier's warning? Just a young man, afraid
Through the eyes of the uncertain and the cries of believers
Such is the god in whose image we're made
The body of man, the heart of a woman
Songs of bright morning and the cool evening shade
Through the eyes of the poets and lies of deceivers
Such is the God, in whose image we're made

Do you join in the song, that everyone's singing?
Do you follow the path, just because it's well-trod?
Is faith just a way, to avoid hard decisions?
For religions are man-made, not made by God

The rose and the thorn, fine fruit and the poison
The soldier's warning? Just a young man, afraid
Through the eyes of the uncertain and the cries of believers
Such is the god in whose image we're made
The body of man, the heart of a woman
Songs of bright morning and the cool evening shade
Through the eyes of the poets and lies of deceivers
Such is the God, in whose image we're made

Roger Gall 1996


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 12:57 PM

"GOodness and badness are, in the final analysis, opinions"...this from my friend and compadre Amos. I have to disagree.

Certain societal evils, such as marijuana smoking, are not objectively bad but have badness imposed on them by a culture that tends to condemn unproductive pleasure-inducing activities. But there are activities which attain the objective status of "bad". Murdering a person you don't know, in order to take possession of his wallet, is bad. There is no cultural context that I can envision in which such an action is good. I believe that there is such as thing as basic ethical truth that is embedded in reality, and detectable by man's nature. That is why I don't believe that right and wrong spring from any religious edicts, but that these edicts were conversely derived from basic ethical truth.
There is certainly room for intelligent dissent on what is right and wrong, but intelligent dissent has its limit. To quote Sam Harris "People who believe the earth is flat are not dissenting geographers; people who deny the holocaust took place are not dissenting historians...and we will see that people who practice barbarisms like honor killing (the recent murder by a Pakistani man of his daughters for suspected and potential adultery)are not dissenting ethicists."
The belief that right and wrong are completely based in context is not a new one. The name for that belief is Relativism. It states that no one is ever really right in what he believes; he can only point to a community of peers who believe likewise. A Relativist might have difficulty condemning the stoning of women for adultery in Serbia, because he sees the condemnation as an attack on Serbian cultural tradition. The view denies the often evident existence of cross-cultural beliefs in a reasonable recognition of good and evil.

Realism would be the opposing viewpoint. Statements about the world will be true or false not merely in virtue of how they function within the collection of our other beliefs, but without reference to any culture-bound criteria. Realists believe that there are truths about the world that may exceed our capacity to fully know them. Ethical realism is the belief that in ethics, as in physics, there exist objective, overarching truths waiting to be discovered...and thus we can be wright or wrong in our beliefs about them.
To Relativists, Truth, as well as the concepts of good and evil, is a matter of consensus. It seems apparent to me that while consensus of the group may establish a system of covenants for dealing with goodness and badness, this consensus doesn't constitute it.
Everyone could be in agreement and still be wrong about the truth of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 02:04 PM

Interesting thoughts throughout, Leej. One caveat: when people feel strongly enough about a cause to sacrifice their lives in protest, we can hardly wonder that some will want to do maximum damage on the way out. The degree of religious fanaticism is not necessarily the determining factor here. Jan Palach incidentally was another who took the benign option and killed only himself. (Tomorrow is the 37th anniversary of his death.) This was followed by another 30 or so attempts at self-immolation in Prague and elsewhere in Czechoslovakia, some of which were successful. As far as I know, they were not devout adherents of any religion.

Dawkins was surely quoting the American Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg. I trust he made this clear? Weinberg said:

"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."

Apologies if this heen pointed out already. I've skimmed the thread fairly quickly - especially, I'm afraid, some of Little Hawk's peculiar philosophising. Anyway, Weinberg was making a good point, in strong terms, notwithstanding that it is a broad generalisation against which exceptions may be cited.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 02:27 PM

I wouldn't belong to any church that would have someone like me as a member.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 03:31 PM

Neither would I.... (smirk)

(Just jokin', eh?)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 03:42 PM

Weinberg's remarks must be taken in context, of course, to be fair. In the context as he meant it, it's a fairly reasonable statement, I suppose.

I've noticed that all you have to do is say the word "religion", though, or "God" or "Jesus" or "afterlife" or "soul", and a lot of people start foaming at the mouth with overt hostility for some reason. Their zeal against religion is positively religious in its intensity. I always wonder why? What is their particular reason for that reaction? Did their parents force them to pray 15 times a day, beat themselves bloody with metal hooks in penance and then wear a hair shirt or what is it?

Such people leap onto a thread like this with the alacrity with which a starving flea leaps onto a dog. ;-) I find it an appealing subject too, but mainly because I like to discuss spiritual philosophy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 04:01 PM

LEJ:

I agree with you that htere is no standard of culture on this planet that would condone any such an act.

However, the strength of agreement on such issues makes the measure of its goodness more pervasive, more binding, more persuasive, but not more true.

If I were to kill a man to steal his wallet, because I was on the brink of starvation, and it turned out he was an incipient tyrant who in a few short years would have risen to found the second American Reich; while I staggered into a coffee shop to assuage my hunger, met the most wonderful woman on earth, turned my life around and gave birth to a Nobel Peace Prize winner, it could be argued that my intolerable and unjustifiable crime was good.

It happens sometimes that a being hits an epiphany where he shares the universe with all life at once and declares that it is ALL good. An extreme view, to be sure.

Most of us live in the middle ground where suffering indicates badness, good survival is the keystone of goodness, and unnecessary harm is against our code of ethics. I like that space, myself.

But it has no absolute referent in the universe that I can see. It is a purely human-scale sens eof ethics, a very powerful one and within that scale it is perfectly true. I uphold it and try to live by it, out of preference.   I think that is an exercise of choice based on the highest opinion I can form about such things. But I don't think ethics values are "a fact" -- more like a spiritual commodity, or currency of life.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 06:55 PM

Amos, that post doesn't get off the ground.

First of all there's no morality in which a bad act can become good because of unknowns that come to light later. Second you're on shaky ground if you think you're trying to live by those values you espouse. The suffering on this planet is widespread and intense - much of it a consequence of inequalities that governments in the developed world have helped to create and do nothing to redress. They do nothing because so very few people in their electorates - ie us - give a damn. Or if we do give a damn, too few would take that to the point of sacrificing living standards to ameliorate the suffering.

Those who think there will be a Day of Judgment, and who are living comfortable lifestyles in the midst of worldwide impoverishment, must surely believe they're doomed. Or do they think their prayers will save them? For the rest of us, there's at least the small comfort of knowing there'll be no such day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 07:52 PM

Peter,

Peace, bro. Don't misunderstand me. I think to be human and do nothing about the suffering of others is callous. You are right about the scope of morality. It's bound by our limitations.

Yeah, but you're right, that I don't exert myself toward good acts on behalf of others as much as I could. You're absolutely right.

Shambles: I don't think what I described is the same as guilt, no. I think at the very least it is a better description of what is going on when you feel guilt.   Saying Hail Mary's and counting rosaries will get you out of feeling guilt in some circles; but it will not restore integrity.

(BTW that apostrophe in Mary's is only there because my spell-checker wouldn't let me form the plural without it.)

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 08:12 PM

Their zeal against religion is positively religious in its intensity.

To continue to try and make out that it is a case of Prof Dawkins - and those who would accept many of his points - having some intense and blind prejudice against religion in general is really not really supported by their careful statements or many of the reasoned posts to this thread.   

The frustration of having to constantly defend many years of painstaking scientific study against those organised religions who would pour scorn upon the measurable results of it but not be expected to produce any evidence for their views, should be perfectly understandable to any fair-minded poster.

However, such tactics are hardly likely to endear these people to organised religions but perhaps it could at least be accepted that their criticsms of these organised religions are always reasoned and evidenced - not aspects that are usually associated with intense zealots.

Perhaps the least these folk should be provided with a level playing field for the argument before they are accused - like their opponents are seemingly encouraged and excused to do - of acting on a religious intensity?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 08:41 PM

Oh, you are soooo reasonable, Shambles. I am deeply moved. Can we...perhaps...meet for coffee? Perhaps you could show me where I have gone wrong. Perhaps in this manner we could arrive at a mutual understanding that would forgoe the more disturbing frustrations of the inadequate communications that occur via the one-way highway of cyberspace, wherein even the best of intentions can go sadly awry, and where a plangent disregard for the intricacies of subliminal thought patterns can be mistaken for nothing less than an attempt to render the character of one's societal peers in a manner that could be perhaps described as...mildly uncharitable? Perhaps. :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 08:51 PM

Plangent? PLANGENT!! My gawd, LH has been caught red-handed with a two-dollar woird in his mouth!!!

It is possible he may feel, understandably if not entirely accurately, that he may be vulnerable under such circumstances, as is often at least construed to be the case, to aspersions cast by those, lacking the compassion to understand the provenance of the poor fellow's predicament, who would prefer to assume the role of admonisher, regardless of any qualifications they may have or lack. However, it is also possible he would not feel this way; in which case, please ignore my afore-mentioned insight.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 18 Jan 06 - 08:56 PM

LOL! Don't you just love that word, Amos? Look, I have suggested to Bruce that he take over my debating with Shambles for a modest stipend. I'm afraid I may get carpal tunnel otherwise. If he declines this incredible opportunity, would you be interested? You definitely have both the verbal talent and the wind required to go the distance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 12:46 AM

C'mon you guys. You're both literate enough to understand what Shambles is saying. The concept that those who criticize religion may not be motivated by religious frenzy, but by a legitimate doubt about the basic belief system seems reasonable to me. I know lots of good Baptists, and in fact I used to be one. The fact is that many a person's existence is defined by his religion, and for me to say that it is mythology questions his deepest held beliefs. It may even make me appear to be Satan in their eyes. I hope not. If their Faith is strong enough, I suppose it will stand up to my point of view.
I believe that it is man's nature to question, and we do it out of a natural curiosity and the need to not simply accept things as we are told they should be. Religion seems nonsensical in its precepts, and non-productive in its effects. I hope that it eventually collapses under the weight of rational thinking. From that standpoint, discussions like this are constructive.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 03:27 AM

Throughout history organised religions in particular have perfected the tactic of making vague accusations to undermine the credibility or question the motives of certain troublesome individuals. Usually when they do have any real argument or evidence to put-up against what the individual is saying or demonstrating, but fear the loss of control that may occur when what is being demonstrated is generally accepted as fact.

This usually bad news for the individuals concerned - which is why the rest of us should not follow this example but always try to ensure that we are allowed to reason what we are trying to say - (whatever we may think of each other personally) and address this.

The good news is - and sadly in history this usually happens rather too late for the individuals concerned - reason will win-out in the end.

LEJ - I beleive the universe is very big. Does this make me a bigamist? LOL.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 08:43 AM

LEJ - Well, yeah, eh? I've been criticizing organized religion ever since I was 6 years old. I only went to Sunday school once, because I simply could not buy the crazy stuff they were telling us. Furthermore, I never went to church during my entire childhood and adolescence...except for a wedding once or twice, I think.

No, it's the snide superiority implicit in the glib comments of various people who leap onto any anti-religious thread that bugs me. They're not half as smart as they think they are. While they imagine themselves as brilliant for detecting the blatantly obvious unreality of fundamentalism that I could see through when I was 6, they fail to appreciate the more subtle concepts of spirituality which they might well learn something from. As for Shambles, he tends to sometimes verge into a sort of condescending tone, and I can't help pulling his beard when he does.

But he probably sees me as doing the same thing...and I probably do...which is probably why it bugs me so much! ;-) We are all ego-driven and all fallible, and I know it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 11:13 AM

To blame the sorrows and horrors of human behaviour (ie war, prejudice, abuse etc )on horrific childrearing practices is closer to the truth than blaming it all on religion. As parents, the human species has obviously come a long way, but just ponder the godawful history of human childhood worldwide for a minute if you will - from ritualized infanticide (ie India), the routine sexual use and abuse of babies and children by parents and relatives (ie China, the Middle East, India), the universal practices of child marriage and prostitution, standardized and accepted physical abuse of children (ie for "discipline"), pederasty (Greece, Europe, Asia), child labour (as practiced in England, say, in the 18-1900's), the practice of binding the "evil" newbornd in swaddling clothes and leaving it to hang in it's excrement on a peg on the wall for a year or so (so it was less trouble for adults), very little or no chance of education, the practice of "wet nursing" so that parents could have nothing to do with their own children for the first few years of life ...

ANd on and on. Throughout history and in all cultures, human babies and children have been routinely murdered, sacrificed, used and abused mentally, emotionally, physically and socially, ignored, neglected, bought and sold, beaten, mutilated, shamed ... in other words, driven to mental, social and emotional illness by their own parents and communities. It is no wonder that the majority of the human race grew up to be psychotic/neurotic, violent, self-hating and other-abusing (if they were fortunate enough (???) to grow up at all that is). Or that the political, economic, religious and social practices of I dare say every human society in history are just as psychotic, violent, and sick as the generations of abused victims who engendered them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 06:53 PM

I am not sure that anyone was blaming these things on organised religion alone.

But it is interesting that in this thread the best defence that made here for organised religion - remains that it not alone in causing terrible things to be done in its name. Seemingly that as long as terrible things are done in the name of many other things - this somehow excuses the many terrible things done in the name of organised religion..............

But I seem to have more time for those members who stick to the basic tenets of their organised religions. At least you know where you are and how to deal with someone who holds that everything in the their holy books are the literal word of God or that the various creation myths are fact.

When I was young at my church school I remember being very confused by ministers who plainly did not themselves believe in aspects like Adam and Eve etc but not only continued in this organised religion but continued to preach what they accepted to be a fairy story to young children. This was what probably first aroused my suspicion that organised religion was perhaps not something to be totally trusted.   

It is rather the same with politics. I knew how to deal with Margaret Thatcher a lot better than I can Tony Blair and Co. Even though I disagreed with it and thought that everthing she said, did and stood for was dangerous - at least this was not casting off the less acceptable aspects and constantly changing shape in a vain attempt to appear to be all things to everyone.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 07:22 PM

I submit that "organized religion" is an oxymoron, and is neither.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 08:45 PM

*daylia* it is beyond argument that much abuse suffered by children occurs within the family. But you also mentioned other forms of abuse - for instance the abuse of children by their communities. Very often this kind of abuse is motivated by religious faith of one sort or another, and blights lives in huge numbers. Genital mutilation, or the deomonising of infants in certain quasi-Christian rituals, are obvious examples.

But it is also abusive to instil in infants or other vulnerable people a fear of everlasting hellfire. It is even abusive to fill impressionable minds with garbage such as the tale that God sacrificed his son (created specially for the purpose, it seems), to redeem our sins. Of course, those who peddle this nonsense have no idea why God would have done such a thing. Maybe it earned him a smattering of applause from all the other Gods around the universe. Or if he's the only God, maybe the bloodletting just gave him a nice warm glow.

Young impressionable minds can be conditioned to believe absolutely anything. People who attach themselves to one religion or another must surely have ooticed the perplexing curiosity that what determined their choice of religion, in an overwhelming majority of cases, was the accident of birth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 09:31 PM

The prevailing definition of religion in this thread involves the obedient acceptance of a doctrinal and moral code, and little more than that. If that's what religion was all about, I'd want no part of it. I could make better money being a Republican.

I suppose I might believe in hellfire, but I think it's reserved for a select few. And no, I don't think God sacrificed his son. That's not how it works. Jesus died because he was betrayed by self-serving, self-righteous sons-of-bitches - probably people who felt threatened by his integrity.

I suppose what's important to me about my religious faith is something that's almost impossible to explain. It's a way of life, steeped in a rich tradition, based on wonderful stories (myths?) that have a lot of meaning to me. It's something that give depth and richness to my life, and helps me make sense of life.

I have a lot of respect for the wisdom and tradition and moral viewpoints of my Catholic Church, but I don't obey anybody. Jesus Christ is interwoven into all this is a way that is sacred to me, but not in a way I can really explain to somebody with a cynical perspective. I suppose what I can say is that if people look at me and see that my life makes sense to them, then maybe my religious creed will make sense to them.

I teach people who have chosen to explore the Catholic faith, and I get a lot of enjoyment out of doing that. But people have to make that choice to explore before I'll teach them much of anything - I see no value in going around trying to convince nonbelievers that they ought to believe.

I get a lot of flak from the neoconservatives about my approach to the Catholic faith, but I'm convinced that my open-minded approach is far more orthodox than theirs. They can't understand my rejection of their demand for my obedient acceptance of a doctrinal and moral code - but to me, that's not what faith is all about.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 10:17 PM

The real question, for me anyway, is not whether someone believes in any organized religion, holy book, or set of religious rules that got foisted on them by their society, family, etc...but rather whether they believe that life has some kind of greater moral/spiritual purpose behind it than just merely to survive (temporarily) and accumulate possessions and enjoy various forms of ego gratication (such as "success", popularity, fame, etc...).

Does life have a greater purpose behind it? I think so. I don't see that there has to be a human-like "God" for that to be so either...although the idea of such a "God" seems to help some people to grasp the notion of a higher purpose in life. Buddhists and Taoist see it in less personalized terms than that.

People really ought to read about all the major religions, if they can, before forming hasty assumptions about the general subject.

It can be argued that religion has done tremendous good in the world too, if one wants to argue from that angle.

The question is, do they? Obviously not, in many cases. If hating organized religion is important to you, then you will just focus on negatives most of the time, because attacking something you hate makes you feel good. ;-) (very briefly) It's a rush, isn't it?

We could just as well be having the same sort of debate about politics or modern industry. People see what they wish to see, based on their established emotional prejudices about such things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 10:23 PM

Well said, Peter.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 11:03 PM

"Young impressionable minds can be conditioned to believe absolutely anything."

Yup, that's the problem all right. That's why we have crazy religions, crazy political systems, crazy economic systems, crazy fashions, crazy wars, crazy drugs, and crazy all kinds of other stuff.

Pick the particular craziness that pisses you off the most, and start a thread about it on Mudcat. Irritate the hell out of people who don't think it's as crazy as you think it is...or are more concerned about some other craziness that they think is more vital than the craziness you object to.

Lotsa fun, and a guaranteed response every time! You may lose a friend or two in the process, but at least you'll be right and they'll be wrong. That's what's important, isn't it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Jan 06 - 12:12 PM

    People who attach themselves to one religion or another must surely have noticed the perplexing curiosity that what determined their choice of religion, in an overwhelming majority of cases, was the accident of birth.
...and perhaps one could say that choice isn't involved, that oftentimes one's religion could be the tradition and context one was brought up in. If religious faith is a way of life instead of a particular set of beliefs that one chooses, maybe it's not so bad that one is born into the cultural context of a religious denomination.
This matter of choice of religion may be a moot issue, if religion is not a creed and moral code that one selects from a menu of choices.
-Joe Offer, a Christian in the Roman Catholic tradition (progressive variety)-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 20 Jan 06 - 04:02 PM

The problem, Joe and LH, is that some faiths make an assumption that all other faiths are wrong. Witness the unequivocal pronouncement to this effect by Ratzinger, whose aggressive conservatism proved no barrier to his becoming the present pope. And Joe, being a progressive within "the Roman Catholic tradition" can't be much fun.*G* No wonder you nail your colours to the fence with such obvious discomfort!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jan 06 - 04:40 PM

Joe Offer
They can't understand my rejection of their demand for my obedient acceptance of a doctrinal and moral code - but to me, that's not what faith is all about.

No but it is what organised religion is about. Without it - surely this is not organised religion but a personal faith? Can you really have it both ways?

Little Hawk
It can be argued that religion has done tremendous good in the world too, if one wants to argue from that angle.

In the legal sense - if you have enough money - you can find someone who is prepared to argue anything. Winning the case and demonstrating that argument is a different matter. Unlike legal matters this is hardly an argument than can be won. But if you wished to argue such a thing - can you really demonstrate that organised religion has also done tremendous good in the world?

And even if you could - and as doing good is supposed to be its purpose - would this ever compensate for all the bad that has been and continues to be done in the name of organised religion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Jan 06 - 04:55 PM

Shambles, such an argument can easily be "won" if you seriously study the lives and works of people such as Buddha, Krishna, Gandhi, Jesus, Rama, Nityananda, Muktananda, Baha'Ullah, Mother Teresa, Lao-Tse, Joan of Arc, and many, many other inspired teachers with even a modicum of attention. From such inspired sources and examples have sprung the foundations of our entire civilization's moral and ethical bases for living. Without them, we'd still be animals, to all intents and purposes...and we wouldn't even have science or rational discourse. Ancient religions are the recording of the development and growth of human culture as we know it.

But no argument is ever won if its opponents refuse to quit arguing, is it? Nor is it ever lost. It just rambles and shambles on forever...like this discussion.

Peter K. - Any faith that "make(s) an assumption that all other faiths are wrong"...is (at least in that particular respect).....WRONG! ;-)

Any faith that recognizes that all other faiths contain valuable aspects of the truth is right.

Fundamentalists will always be a pain in the side of humanity. So will people who attack other people's faith merely because it is not in accord with their own.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jan 06 - 05:15 PM

Shambles, such an argument can easily be "won" if you seriously study the lives and works of people such as Buddha, Krishna, Gandhi, Jesus, Rama, Nityananda, Muktananda, Baha'Ullah, Mother Teresa, Lao-Tse, Joan of Arc, and many, many other inspired teachers with even a modicum of attention.

The argument proposed (by you) was not that the individuals you named and many others that you did not have done or inspired good things.

And if you do not wish this discussion to go on - then it may help if you stop posting to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 20 Jan 06 - 05:31 PM

Young impressionable minds can be conditioned to believe absolutely anything. People who attach themselves to one religion or another must surely have ooticed the perplexing curiosity that what determined their choice of religion, in an overwhelming majority of cases, was the accident of birth.

I have had many friends who have been brought up in the Catholic religion. I would like to say good friends but despite any wish on my part to be good friends - there has always seemed to be an invisible barrier to this.

The only explanation that I have for this barrier is that no matter how much we had in common - I feel like it was as if we had been raised on quite different planets. I can never understand the grip that an organised religion still has on its members - even those who are not currently actively involved in it.

And they do not seem to understand my problem in understanding this and can't really seem to be able to understand or imangine an upbringing where such a grip - and its resulting divisions on these grounds - was not a factor.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Jan 06 - 05:52 PM

Shambles - No, the main reason I entered this discussion was that I disputed the initial statement encapsulated in the title...the implication that only religion can cause good people to do bad things. That was a misleading and incorrect statement. It was an invalid implication. It indicates a form of chauvinism which I object to. It's as silly as saying "Atheism = good folk doing bad things?". Either way it's a statement of prejudice, not clear observation of human behaviour.

I guess I will post here, like you, as long as it still interests me enough to bother...we both have the same weakness in that regard, don't we?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Joe Offer (at the Women's Center)
Date: 20 Jan 06 - 06:27 PM

Yes, there are times when authority in the Catholic church can be bothersome - but that's the same with every organization. Upper management is, by nature, conservative. Despite that, the Catholic Church has a long history of cultural and intellectual diversity. Catholics never have been very good at obeying central authority, although there has always been a movement to enforce the power of the Vatican.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 06:17 AM

The point is that whatever problems they may have with the organisation - would it be a fair generalisation (if there is such a thing) to say that they do tend to remain in it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 06:40 AM

Too much of a generalization. Here's another: Families = good folk doing bad things. So is this thread title your entire argument, Shambles. And if you honestly can't see any of the "good" done by even just one of the world's major organized religions, at any time in history, well, I suggest you take the plank out of your own eye before you attempt to take the speck out of your neighbor's. (Learned that from a certain "organized religion" when I was about 5 years old. Works quite well, too.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 06:57 AM

PS here's just two small examples of the good done by organized religions, from my own experience. Here in Barrie Ontario, my former church (St Mary's Roman Catholic) runs a service called "Out of the Cold" in collaboration with the city's other Christian churches, providing Barrie's homeless with a hot dinner and a warm place to sleep throughout the winter months. Religious affiliations are neither expected or required of the grateful recipients.

And back in the spring of '84, when a good chunk of this city was wiped out by a tornado, it was the Mennonites from Hamilton area who came in droves to rebuild the city just a few days later, offering their supplies and services to the residents of Barrie absolutely free of charge.

But hey, maybe it's because their religion drove them all nuts?

;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 06:59 AM

The argument proposed was

Little Hawk
It can be argued that religion has done tremendous good in the world too, if one wants to argue from that angle.


To which I replied.

But if you wished to argue such a thing - can you really demonstrate that organised religion has also done tremendous good in the world?

And even if you could - and as doing good is supposed to be its purpose - would this ever compensate for all the bad that has been and continues to be done in the name of organised religion?


I can and others have in thread demonstrated the many bad things that have been caused by organised religion and these have largely been accepted (if excused). If it can be argued that organised religions had been resonsible for good things - is it really too much to ask for at least some of these to be demonstrated?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 07:05 AM

But hey, maybe it's because their religion drove them all nuts?

I hope you are not suggesting that it was only the members of these organised religions that were proving this practical help or that it is only possible to do good things through an organised religion or that it would not have been possible to provide this aid if there were no organised religions?

That might also be considered to be a generalisation if you were.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 07:12 AM

It was the Mennonites who came, unsolicited, offering their services and supplies to the residents of Barrie, absolutely free of charge. And They stayed and worked here for months as I recall, till the worst of the damage was repaired.

I don't know of any other individuals or groups who volunteered their services here, at least to that extent. And yes, to the best of my knowledge the Mennonites did all that, for a community of complete strangers, because of their religious beliefs and training.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 07:23 AM

PS And it is not Barrie's Chamber of Commerce, or the Kiwanis club, or the city's welfare dept, or any other private or gov't agency that provides the homeless here with "Out of the Cold" services. It's those "evil", misguided Christian churches, putting aside their differences and working together to help the less fortunate.

THe Salvation Army runs a hostel for men here too, year round, as well as providing other essential charitable services. ANd gee, y'know, pardon me if I'm wrong but I think the Sally Ann is founded on religious principles too ...

So are all the 12-Step programs -- although granted, they prefer to call themselves "Spiritual" rather than "religious", to avoid alienating people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 09:58 AM

Without religion good people would still do good things and bad people would still do bad things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 10:23 AM

Catholics never have been very good at obeying central authority

Joe, are you serious? LOL. Seems like you see just what you want to see, nothing more, nothing less. Or you see catholicism from a uni-dimensional, entirely USA perspective, and then only from the 1960s onwards. I believe it was as recently as about 1950 that Pius XII pronounced the assumption of Jesus's mother - an amazing piece of magic to which his obedient flock signed up in their millions, without murmur.

If you heard it in a fairground booth, you'd want your money back. But when people hear it in a church, they know better than to ask questions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 10:37 AM

Maybe. Religion is and always has been such a fundamental influence on human behaviour, can anyone possibly say for sure?   

I doubt it.

All I know is that certain priceless and timeless teachings and truths (like "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you", for one) did not exactly jump into my mind of their own accord, or fall out of the sky in golden letters one day as I was playing in my sandbox. They were taught me as a very young child, via my family's religion. I have continued to grow in my understanding and practice of them, to value and appreciate that religious influence throughout my life, even though I left the church of my youth long ago to explore other traditions. For what I consider to be excellent reasons.

It might be helpful to consider these words, taken from the information pamphlet provided for the public by the church of Sainte Jeanne d'Arc in Rouen, France. That Church stands on the very spot where the teenager was burned alive for heresy in 1431. The Church's treatment of Joan had always been one of the major bones I had to pick with Catholicism, all my life ... until these words afforded me a wider perspective:

Nowadays, when there is so much talk about forward looking youth, the progress of the position of women's political involvement and action for peace, Joan of Arc's life has much to tell us on these subjects.

One has to talk as well of her Christian faith which inspired her calling and her mission. Her relationship to God and her attachment to the Church were very much a part of her being, and guided her conduct.

It was however Church people who caused her to suffer. They never ceased harassing her with tricky questions, without ever being able to catch her out ... to eventually condemn her to the dreadful death which we know.

But she never mixed up Jesus Christ's church with its pitiful representatives at her trial."

If Joan, a poor illiterate peasant girl from the Middle Ages could do that, could forgive and bless the people who tortured and condemned her even in the name of her own religion and through the power of that very institition, well ... may I also someday find the grace, wisdom and compassion to do likewise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 10:41 AM

I meant that last post as a response to Shamble's "Without religion good people would still do good things and bad people would still do bad things."

ANd the last paragraph should not have been italicized -- they are my words, not a quote from the pamphlet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 11:10 AM

Well, I'd submit that when good people organize, they can be very effective at getting good things done. And when nutballs organize they can be very effective at ruining things and spreading chaos and misery.

Most large organizations of any kind contain both sorts in a sort of spectrum. I suspect that the vast majority of folks are good, and are keeping their nutballs side under wraps.

It is possible that imposing unwieldy models of the universe which don't make any sense lead to making a person feel isolated from reality, desperate, irresponsible, and prone to falling into their suppressed insanities -- of which we all have some -- to a dramatic degree. One example is the silly model of prayer as though it were a two-way communication session, which some people hold, looking for answers within 24 hours as you would when calling a hardware store or insurance company. Obviously those who understand the subject don't see prayer or God that way, but how many degrees of refinement do they have to go through to reach that understanding from the simplistic and misleading models offered to the young by the not too bright?

Bad models lead to bad thinking, even when their platitudes are good. Daylia, it seems, was wise enough to extract the wise platitudes or moral lessons without getting too het up by the strangeness of bad modeling, including authoritarian strictures, the divine rights of privileged classes and certain other kinks.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 02:10 PM

    Joe sez: Catholics never have been very good at obeying central authority

    Fionn sez: Joe, are you serious? LOL. Seems like you see just what you want to see, nothing more, nothing less.


Well, Peter, at one time, we had three popes - and there were many occasions when we had two (with saints in opposition, supporting one pope or the other). And regional patriarchs have often vied with the Patriarch of rome for supremacy, and national churches within the Catholic church have often had a lot of sway. In addition to that, Canon Law has always given local bishops more autonomy than most people understand (even pastors of local parishes are quite autonomous) - although Rome has not always honored that autonomy. The "cult of the Pope" as a supreme authority is a relatively new development, and it has never been universally accepted. In my lifetime as a Catholic, the Pope has had little effect on the day-to-day life of a parish. In previous ages, the lack of instantaneous communication has ensured that the Pope could never exert worldwide control over anything.

From the outside, the Catholic Church appears to be monolithic, but there have always been many cracks in the Rock of Rome that outsiders cannot see or understand.

    Shambles sez: The point is that whatever problems they may have with the organisation - would it be a fair generalisation (if there is such a thing) to say that they do tend to remain in it?


That's exactly the point - people do tend to stay in a church despite their disagreement with central authority because they see it as their church. I've often been heard to say that the Catholic Church is as much mine, as it is the Pope's. If that's the case, why should I leave it? If Catholics disagree with upper management, they do what they can to make management change its mind - or they deftly ignore management altogether, or they learn to accept diversity of opinion. Some evangelical Protestant groups tend to be more rigid in their thinking, and so they tend to split into opposing churches when there is disagreement.

That brings us back to my earlier point - obedience to authority is not necessarily a primary aspect of membership in a church. A church is a community of believers who are joined together and stay together because of a shared and valued experience of faith, tradition, and culture. Certainly, churches has authority structures (and obviously, the Catholic Church has a very strong authority structure) - but authority structures are rarely the defining aspect of an organization. Organizations are primarily the people within them, and who those people are and what they do - the authority structure is merely a framework. Management may see that framework as all-important, but it rarely is.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 02:53 PM

Man, this thread sounds like a bottomless hole where all your time will disappear. But I'm listening to Zauberfloete--to see how much of the German I can get --so I have some time to kill.

At any rate--Shambles--good things done by religion--

1)   Do you believe it was worthwhile for monks to copy and preserve literature for centuries while less literate folk were--shall we say--not interested in doing so?


2) How about all the hospitals founded and staffed by religious groups?

3) Even the so-called wars of religion were at least as much dynastic struggles.

And why do you suppose France and Spain-- who, if memory serves--were both Catholic--did not precisely get along-----for centuries.

Your glib attempt to put the ills of the world primarily on religion is doomed to failure.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 02:56 PM

If Joan, a poor illiterate peasant girl from the Middle Ages could do that, could forgive and bless the people who tortured and condemned her even in the name of her own religion and through the power of that very institition, well ... may I also someday find the grace, wisdom and compassion to do likewise.

Showing compassion is a positive thing and being able to do so in those circumstances, especially so.

But it is very clear that organised religion still needs people in order to survive - but do people need still organised religion in order to survive?

Does organised religion help the planet's chances of future survival or does it hinder them and just present us all with further complications?

Or is it thought to do neither? And if organised religion is thought to do neither - perhaps it is now time to say thank you, goodbye and move on without it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 02:59 PM

In fact, for centuries, religious groups were primarily responsible for most education ("book-larnin'" at any rate) in Europe. Perhaps you don't think education was worth anything in that time. Many would disagree--particularly given the alternative.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 03:08 PM

And if you don't think the best Western vocal music is--by a wide margin--religious music--from classical to gospel------it shows your narrowness.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 03:20 PM

Your glib attempt to put the ills of the world primarily on religion is doomed to failure.

I don't think that is what I am doing but it is true that I may not come over as the greatest fan of organised religion. I feel that it has past its sell-by date.

But is organised religion rather like continuing to take an expensive drug because it is supposed to make you better - when not only does this drug not succeed in this sole aim but also gives you all sorts of harmful side effects?

In defence of this drug many folk may point-out - that you may also get many of these side effects - like headaches and nausea at other times and without taking this drug - but does this excuse the drug or present any reason for you to contiue taking it? Or would it be wise under these circumstances to condemn this drug to the dustbin?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 03:32 PM

You may not think "your glib attempt...is what you are trying to do--but that's how it comes across--in spades.

Another benefit of religion--for a lot of people--perhaps not you--is that it helps them accept what otherwise would be crushing tragedy. If they believe there is a purpose to a death, un-knowable though that purpose might be-especially a death in their family-----it helps them accept it without going mad.

For a small example, check Tarheel's current thread.

It may not be your attitude--but please don't denigrate it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 03:53 PM

These examples of some the good things attributed to organised religion rather remind me of those 70s adverts for joining the regular Army - which showed shots of fine young lads swimming and water sking. from these adverts you could be mistaken for thinking that these fringe activities - like the water sking - were the main purpose - when of course the main purpose of the Regular Army was killing people. A point well made in this Monty Python sketch........   

Cut to colonel's office. Colonel is seated at desk.
Colonel Come in, what do you want?
Private Watkins enters and salutes.
Watkins I'd like to leave the army please, sir.
Colonel Good heavens man, why?
Watkins It's dangerous.
Colonel What?
Watkins There are people with guns out there, sir.
Colonel What?
Watkins Real guns, sir. Not toy ones, sir. Proper ones, sir. They've all got 'em. All of 'em, sir. And some of 'em have got tanks.
Colonel Watkins, they are on our side.
Watkins And grenades, sir. And machine guns, sir. So I'd like to leave, sir, before I get killed, please.
Colonel Watkins, you've only been in the army a day.
Watkins I know sir but people get killed, properly dead, sir, no barley cross fingers, sir. A bloke was telling me, if you're in the army and there's a war you have to go and fight.
Colonel That's true.
Watkins Well I mean, blimey, I mean if it was a big war somebody could be hurt.
Colonel Watkins why did you join the army?
Watkins For the water-skiing and for the travel, sir. And not for the killing, sir. I asked them to put it on my form, sir - no killing.
Colonel Watkins are you a pacifist?
Watkins No sir, I'm not a pacifist, sir. I'm a coward.
Colonel That's a very silly line. Sit down.
Watkins Yes sir. Silly, sir. (sits in corner)
ENDS


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 04:05 PM

As I said, it may do nothing for you--but it means a lot to a lot of people--including comforting them.   So please don't denigrate it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 04:31 PM

    Shambles sez: But it is very clear that organised religion still needs people in order to survive - but do people need still organised religion in order to survive?
This goes back to the very narrow concept of religion being simply a structure that allows some people to tell other people how to think and what to do. There's no simple way to define the function and essence of religion. It gives people an opportunity to reach out together and explore Whatever (or Whoever) is beyond us. It provides a community to give solace and strength in times of sorrow, and to join in celebration of joyful (and sorrowful) rites of passage. It allows people to join together in strength to pursue ideals such as healing the wounds of poverty and oppression in this world. It gives people an identity in an anonymous world, and allows them to join together to pursue and express what is best in ourselves. It can help people have the humility to understand that we do not and cannot understand all the mysteries that surround us - life, love, peace, death, beauty, pain, sorrow, and many other things - but that there is value in exploring these mysteries.

And yes, I acknowledge and deplore all the evil that has been done in the name of all religious denominations, including my own. Still, most religious peoople I know, don't do bad things in the name of their religious belief. I had a Catholic father-in-law who disowned his own son because the son joined another religion - but I didn't think this was right, and I told my father-in-law so on many occasions. Most Catholics I know don't live life perfectly, but they certainly wouldn't disown their children for joining another church.

So, maybe organized religion isn't something outside of themselves that people need - perhaps it's something that some people do to explore the depths of what is within them. And yes, if this is an individual process, then there's no need for organized religion. But if it's something communal, then I think it's natural to have some sort of structure or organization or community.

I firmly believe that people should be allowed to organize in whatever fashion they choose. If I'm Catholic and I like being Catholic and my being Catholic doesn't do any harm to you, who are you to suppress my right to join with others who share my perspective and tradition?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 04:36 PM

Wonderfully put, Joe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 05:05 PM

I know many kind, caring and just plain good people in and out of organized religions. Jerry is a church goers and absolutely wonderful human being. Amos (I don't think) goes to church, and he is another absolutely wonderful human being.

I cannot recall ever meeting a man or woman and within twenty minutes asking what church they did or didn't go to. This thread title is divisive, IMO.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 05:40 PM

Neither Joe nor I ever asked somebody what church they belonged to within 20 minutes of meeting them--I suspect strongly.

I don't consider myself religious in the least--and I certainly don't attend church regularly. All we are asking for from Shambles and those who feel as he does is to not denigrate religion, since it is important for many people---as we do not denigrate his choice to not be associated with religion.

It's a reasonable request.

And, as you point out, Peace, this thread is--needlessly--divisive. It is a needlessly inflammatory premise--and the thread should be allowed to die.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Joe Offer (at the Library)
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 07:55 PM

I have to say I wouldn't be eager to recruit a nonbeliever who sees religion in the authority/obedience model. Most likely, he'd quickly turn into one of those fundamentalists who look over my shoulder for reasons to report me for heresy and whatnot.

Maybe there are two kinds of people: those who see black-and-white, and those who see grey. This may be a bit too strong a division, but maybe both the fundamentalists and many atheists are in the black-and-white category???

Oh, and Peter, if my view of the Catholic Church is so far from reality, why do you think that church hired me to teach religion to adults?? Believe me, I've made no secret of my perspective.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 08:03 PM

At the risk of being repetitive ANY kind of exremism is a BAD thing , wether in Religion , Politics , or even Music !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 08:13 PM

not only do I not ask folks what religion they are in...or whether, but there are good folks I have known for years without them telling me! The Mudcatter who posts as Padre was a friend and singing/beer tasting buddy for many years before I even knew he was associated with a religion, and I was pretty surprised to hear he had decided to become a minister. I know others whose religion I am 'aware of', but it almost never comes up in conversation...except as a side mention about a schedule of something.

These folks HAVE a religion, but consider it personal and have NEVER inflicted it on me or suggested that I adopt it. Like the Mennonites, they just do good things, be my friends, and live their lives.

Others, as we know, wear their beliefs on their sleeves and carry on most conversations with religion as an evident background...and judge and condemn me and others daily based on on their personal beliefs systems.

Shambles....you are sorta right in a certain narrowly-defined way, but you really DO generalize too much. There is a real art to knowing how to BE right! Preaching 'righteous indignation' is about as tedious as having Jesus preached 'at' you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 08:35 PM

I'm with you, Bill:

I've known Gordon Bok for 36 years and have never had any desire to ask him if he follows any religion, or even if he believes in God.   I've know Ed Trickett just as long, and have never had that conversation with him.. don't know if he believes in God, and it isn't relevant to our friendship. I too knew "Padre" for years without knowing if he formally followed a particular religion and was as surprised as you to discover that he'd become a Priest. There are countless other friends of many years I've never felt any need to ask about their religious beliefs.
I talk about my faith because it is central to who I am, not who I am trying to make others become. I respect people who do not believe in God, as Art Thieme has been one of my closest friends for most of my life. The key is respect. Art has always respected my beliefs although he doesn't share them. I think that he sees the positive effect it has on my life and who I am. For a long time he kept a photograph of the Gospel Messengers posted above his desk at home.

I find it interesting that it's a handful of non-believers who are so strident and lead the attacks in here. They start endless insulting threads and are as judgmental as those who claim to be "religious".

Calling yourself religious don't make you religious. And you can live a highly moral life without being "religious." But there are many of us who make a serious attempt to practice what we don't preach.

You're a good, just, fair man, Bill

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 12:52 AM

And, as you point out, Peace, this thread is--needlessly--divisive. It is a needlessly inflammatory premise--and the thread should be allowed to die. .

Divisive exactly how? Is a Schism being created in the hitherto unified Mudcat demographic? For crying out loud. I'm not supposed to question a behavior that makes no sense at all because it gives a lot of people "comfort"? If you believe that standing on your head in the rain brings you into a oneness with the cloud spirits, it may give you plenty of comfort, but I still think its nonsensical behavior. If you and your football team prays for victory as if God is a Steelers fan I reserve the right to remark on the fact. If a friend of mine believes he must wear sacred undergarments as a sign of purity, I will freely say I don't see the connection. These in themselves are harmless if goofy behaviors, and any comment I may make shouldn't detract from the comfort derived by those who practice them. They are acts fundamentally based on faith, and my rational criticism shouldn't detract from their value to the user.

But when the finger on the nuclear trigger is on the hand of a man who deeply believes the Rapture is near and Armageddon is inevitable and counts Hal Lindsey among his advisers. I will not only say the belief is ridiculous, but also dangerous, and I have no hesitation in saying I would like to see it disappear from the face of the Earth no matter how much comfort it gives its possessor.

The topic is important and evidently people are interested enough to drive this thread past 300 posts. I have disagreed with Little Hawk and I still think he is an articulate and intelligent individual. I have disagreed with Amos, but I have found his comments thoughful and measured. Joe Offer has made a summary of his Christian belief which I find very persuasive. When we stop talking about our differences on this forum, and in the world at large, we make less, not more, progress. If anyone's faith is shaken by the comments herein, it's because those comments resonate as truth for them.

And that's a good thing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 06:19 AM

If everyone expressed themselves as well as you do Lonesome, this thread would be a pleasure. I'm as frightened of religious extremists of any flavor as you are. And non-religious extremist's, too. Disagreement is fine... down deep, we all feel that way, as long as everyone realizes that we are the ones that are rightest. :-)

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 07:41 AM

Lonesome--

All we are saying is give peace (and tolerance on all sides) a chance. Very few here are trying to inflict their religion (or lack of same) on anybody else.

But if you look at the thread title, I think you will realize it is needlessly inflammatory.

What's wrong with "live and let live?", "different strokes for different folks" or any number of other ways to express tolerance.

Or perhaps, as I think somebody suggested earlier, we need another thread "Atheism= good folk doing bad things"

In which, of course, we could hang all non-believers for the mass murders by Hitler, Stalin and Mao. It would make as much sense as this thread premise.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 08:27 AM

That's exactly the point - people do tend to stay in a church despite their disagreement with central authority because they see it as their church. I've often been heard to say that the Catholic Church is as much mine, as it is the Pope's. If that's the case, why should I leave it?

I've never heard it put quite this way before, Joe. Almost makes me want to come back! See what a good job you're doing? :-)

And you're right -- it was VERY hard to leave. And there's a part of me that is and will always be Catholic, I suppose. The part that bows and kneels in reverence of divine Presence and mystery, the part that automatically lies in bed at night going over the events of the day ("examining conscience"), the part that loves to investigate, be inspired and moved beyond words by stories of exceptional people (saints) like Joan. Hmmm ... if there'd been no Church, we'd have no Joan either.

Makes it all worthwhile, somehow! For me, anyway.


Does organised religion help the planet's chances of future survival or does it hinder them and just present us all with further complications?

Or is it thought to do neither? And if organised religion is thought to do neither - perhaps it is now time to say thank you, goodbye and move on without it?


Shambles, that's rather like asking if human beings help or hinder the planet's chances of future survival. I think the most appropriate answer is a (well-qualified) duhhhhhhhhh ....

It's really not worth getting your knickers in a knot over. Human beings need religion. And like many birds and animals, they also need ritual. Just like they need to make music. It's a mystery as to why, of course. The answers must lie locked in the deepest recesses of the human brain and psyche, and science will no doubt one day discover these intimacies. But in the meantime, to the best of my knowledge, just as there has never been a human community on this planet that did not engage in some form of music making, there's also never been one without religion and ritual. Of whatever genre.

There may come a time when humans no longer need organized religions - mentally, emotionally or socially. In that case, rest assured that Mother Nature will dip deep into her evolutionary bag of tricks and see to the changes without any help from you, Shambles. If and when that day arrives, organized religions will gradually shrivel and wither, attracting fewer and fewer followers until, in time, they are nothing but a memory.

Kinda like wisdom teeth -- apparently since we've learned to cook and process food better, we don't need 'em anymore. So fewer and fewer people have them at all, and if they do appear they can cause problems in some people, requiring extraction. This can be a bit painful; sometimes bones need to be broken to get all the bits and pieces of 'em out -- but hey, the whole process is relatively short-lived. And in the meantime, are those of us who still sport well-placed, well-formed wisdom teeth somehow "deficient" on the evolutionary scale?

I don't think so!

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 08:31 AM

This goes back to the very narrow concept of religion being simply a structure that allows some people to tell other people how to think and what to do.

This is exactly what we are talking about here. As I and many others have stressed the subject is ORGANISED rekigion and I would have fitted this into the title if that had been possible. If it is 'a narrow concept' then it is a narrow concept - but that is what ORGANISED religion is.

Mounting a defence of anyone's personal faith and any comfort they may derive from this faith in this thread - is not necessary for that is not being attacked. This approach is simply diverting attention away from the thread's real subject of ORGANISED religions and their purpose.

Could it be that our various organised religions - defined here by Joe Offer as "a structure that allows some people to tell other people how to think and what to do" is like some comforting old worn-out pair of shoes or a child's cuddly toy that we have become so used to and just cannot bear to part with?

I do feel that it is time for us all to try and take an objective view of organised religion. Not to attack them mindlessly and without reason - nor to defend them mindlessly and without reason.

I feel it would also be a good thing if we could discuss this subject in exactly the same way as we should be able to discuss anything else. And finally be free from the various diversionary tactics and excuses for the terrible things that are only done because of and in the name of organised religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 08:35 AM

for centuries, religious groups were primarily responsible for most education ("book-larnin'" at any rate)

"Book-burning" might have been a more appropriate phrase, Ron. And I'm not sure how you could be listening to a Mozart opera (albeit not the best) one minute and the next minute be saying we show our narrowness if we question your sweeping assertion that the best western vocal music - by a wide margin - is religious music. Verdi did not believe in God, and Wagner's music is religious only to the extent that he thought he was God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 08:37 AM

Hmmm ... if there'd been no Church, we'd have no Joan either.

She may have not died so terribly and so young.

And following the same logic (and regrets) the Christian organised religion would not have even existed without the organised religion of the time being largely responsible for placing its founder on the cross.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 09:14 AM

I suspect, Peter, that I know more about Verdi than you do. The fact that Verdi (and Rachmininoff, among other composers) were not religious, in the sense of attending church or believing church doctrine did not prevent them from writing sublime religious music. If, as I have, you had sung the Verdi Requiem and the Rachmininoff Vespers--,( among many many other wonderful large-scale choral works,-- with an excellent choral group, you might start to realize the transporting power of great religious music--even to people who are not in the least religious themselves--or are strong members of another religion than the one whose music they are singing.

More recently, I sang in a Martin Luther King celebration concert. Virtually the entire audience was black, as were most of the groups which sang. And again, the entire concert was religious--aggressively so. And again it was sublime.


So you think, then, I should start the thread about atheism being good people doing bad things--and start hanging non-believers for the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao? As I said, that would make as much sense as this thread premise.

Again, what's wrong with live and let live?

As I've said before, this thread premise is needlessly divisive.

And, in fact, in the US--stupid politically--attitudes like this played into the hands of true religious bigots in the 2004 election--who certainly do exist--and played a big role in retaining the maladministration in Washington.

If the Democrats don't distance themselves from suicidal attitudes like that behind this thread (and the Religion As Mental Illness one), they will have (again) big problems in 2008 and possibly this year.

I'm tired of government by demagogues on the Right because of stupidity on the Left.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 09:17 AM

I find it interesting that it's a handful of non-believers who are so strident and lead the attacks in here. They start endless insulting threads and are as judgmental as those who claim to be "religious".

This statement is of course not itself a less than helpful 'judgement' of one's fellow posters and it is also not going to be accused of being a generalisation.

But Jerry why is holding and expressing your honest views here on organised religion thought by you to be leading an attack on you or anyone else? Perhaps you would accept that you can find insults everywhere - if you are looking hard enough for them?

But as far as ORGAINISED religion is concerned - are not most of the contributors to this thread in fact non-believers (to use your divisive term)?

For are those posting here who are members of organised religions unwilling to swallow the whole shebang?

Do they freely express their own selective approach to the tenets of their organised religion?

Are not those dreaded 'fundamentalists' generally the dengrated whipping-boys who it is safe to place the blame?

But what is a 'fundementalist' but one who just holds the tenets of their organised religion to be true?

There is a logical progression of thought on organised religion from the (very) general consensus we seem to have arrived at and the use of some joined-up thinking should allow us all to build on this.....However, I suspect that it won't.

The old shoe - even with lots of re-soling and when wearing them now is the cause of many blisters and the patched-up old teddy bear - even with little of its original stuffing remaining and now smelling rather unhealthy - are still too much of a habit for many of us to discard completely.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 09:28 AM

She may have not died so terribly and so young.

And had she not died exactly the way she did her life story, her message, her example and her memory would have been lost in time. Ditto for Jesus. It's awful and horrible and tragic beyond words but, at the risk of sounding flippant, may I respectfully point out that whether we like it or not, for every action here in this physical world, there is always an equal and opposite reaction. And so intense "bad" always brings forth some form of equally intense "good".

On the same note, I could bemoan the fact that I can't live without killing too. I could waste my time and energy wallowing in guilt over the fact that everything I eat, be it plant or animal, must die so that I might go on living. Take that biological fact into contemplation for awhile, and it does seems truly horrible. But that's life. Cruel as it may appear, all life is supported by death, dependant on death.

So, like it or lump it, all I can do is trust that it's all for the best, be grateful, and "give back" by using my time and resources the best way I possibly can, for the benefit of all, as long as I still live.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 09:32 AM

Shambles-

Yet again, what's wrong with live and let live?

As long as we don't attack your non-belief (or whatever you choose to call it), why don't you refrain from attacking religious belief? Especially since we're not even all "believers" except in tolerance.

The thread premise is, indeed, needlessly inflammatory--and I suspect you knew it when you started it.

But I'm going to leave it to you pretty soon--you obviously have a lot more time to waste than I do.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 10:09 AM

"So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: "Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor's religion is." Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code."

- Mark Twain, a Biography

"There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.

We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection ... Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.

For those who may not find happiness in the exercise of religious faith, it's okay to remain a radical atheist. It's absolutely an individual right, but the important thing is with a compassionate heart -- then no problem.

In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher."

- His Holiness the Dalai Lama


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 10:21 AM

Also, if we're going to bring in history, let's be acccurate if we can. The Burgundians and English wanted Joan dead. It wasn't likely after her capture that they would have let her go. Burned for heresy--however, the pope was not involved in this one. It seems clear this was another abuse of religion.

Nobody argues that religion has not been abused. Just like patriotism has also been abused. There is such a thing as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Neither religion nor patriotism is worthless because they've been (and continue to be) abused.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 10:29 AM

I dunno, Shambles - as far as I can see, your definition of "organized religion" fits my definition of "fundamentalism" - a framework for blind obedience to authority. I would not be employed by very many Roman Catholic parishes to teach your kind of organized religion - but I AM employed to teach my kind.

And yes, there are fundamentalist Catholics who spend lots of money to ensure that their image of church is the one people see in the media, but I still believe my view is predominent in the Catholic Church and most other religious denominations. People who hold my view of church tend to waste their money feeding the poor instead of making wise investments in media coverage.

Almost any kind of large-scale religious community ends up being "organized" - but though organizations do have seem to have a natural tendency toward conservatism, they are not necessarily fundamentalist.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 10:39 AM

There is a basic falacy in this thread and your whole argument, Shambles. You simplistically reduce religion to a level that bears very little resemblance to the religions I have had experience with, and definitely not like 90% of the people I know who are members of "Organized religion." All good things are missused for evil purposes... patriotism, love, sex... you name it. There will always be those who misuse something good. How many times has the word "love" been used to get something?.. a woman in bed, favors of all sorts. Sex is the universal currency. Because people use others for their sexual pleasure, even raping them, that doesn't make sex bad... and you can't blame sex for it. All evil is done for complex reasons. When you simplify things as much as you do, it makes it impossible to even discuss anything with you. I can comfortably discuss these issues with Lonesome EJ, Bill D, Art Thieme and countless others in here and out of here. My friends and family have never been divided along religious or political lines.

Hey, how about a thread "Atheism: Unholier than Thou?" (Just kidding.) I wouldn't want to insult my wonderful Athiest friends.
Our common bond is that we both find the misuse of religion (or anything else abhorrent.) Our difference is that I don't make simplistic statements that because George Bush is Christian (or claims to be) that we invaded Iraq. That is such a ridiculously simplistic statement it puts my teeth on edge. I have no reason to believe that is even one of the primary reasons. When you try to make your point by gross oversimplifications you are impossible to communicate with.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 11:25 AM

Jerry it is difficult to see anything that I have actually said in this thread - rather that the things that I have not but which you accuse me of saying - that is any more of an oversimplification that the following of yours.

I find it interesting that it's a handful of non-believers who are so strident and lead the attacks in here. They start endless insulting threads and are as judgmental as those who claim to be "religious".

But this generalisation and all the rest of this would appear to be just another attempt to divert the discussion into areas where you may feel more comfortable and where you feel you will be supported.
Such as making and encouraging more personal judgements about some of your fellow posters and carefully excluding a few named others.

Perhaps we can concentrate on what is actually said rather than posting judgements on who may be saying it, speculating as to why they may be saying it and putting your words in their mouths that they have not said?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 11:40 AM

I dunno, Shambles - as far as I can see, your definition of "organized religion" fits my definition of "fundamentalism" - a framework for blind obedience to authority. I would not be employed by very many Roman Catholic parishes to teach your kind of organized religion - but I AM employed to teach my kind.

I may be accused of an oversimplification here - but either you are in the boat and teaching others the rules of navigation or you are overboard and taking your chances with the sharks.

And if you are going to swim - you may as well dispense with the boat altogether.

---------------------------------------------------------------
As no one in this thread is trying to steal anyone's old shoes or kick their old teddy perhaps certain posters could stop accusing others of making this attempt and address the issue?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 11:42 AM

What Jerry says is right, Shambles--there is a basic fallacy in this thread premise. As he says, there are abuses of love, patriotism--and for sure, religion. It does not negate that there is good in each one of these.

Again--how about live and let live----or do you want that thread on why nonbelievers have been responsible for far more deaths in human history than believers have been? (The 20th century gives non-believers an unfair advantage in this contest.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 12:02 PM

Also, if we're going to bring in history, let's be acccurate if we can. The Burgundians and English wanted Joan dead. It wasn't likely after her capture that they would have let her go. Burned for heresy--however, the pope was not involved in this one. It seems clear this was another abuse of religion.

Nobody argues that religion has not been abused. Just like patriotism has also been abused. There is such a thing as throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Neither religion nor patriotism is worthless because they've been (and continue to be) abused.


Amen.

Thanks for that, Ron. The baby and the bathwater analogy works perfectly ... actually, it's come to mind several times already, posting to this thread.

I, for one, am grateful for your thread and it's title, Shambles. I've been untangling a few personal "twists" here. In the process, I'm discovering that my angry, accusing and yes, (guess I'll admit it) rather intolerant attitudes toward organized religion(s) have softened up quite a bit since I started posting on the Cat a couple years ago. (Oh, be still my beating heart!) So thanks for this opportunity to get a bit closer to the truth, Shambles.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 12:36 PM

...And if you are going to swim - you may as well dispense with the boat altogether.

If swimming is a metaphor for personal spiritual exploration, and boating for organized religion, well --- I must say I've always loved to swim, myself. Boats are okay, but they get so crowded and cramped and confining -- swimming always seemed to suit me much better.

But there's been times when I've ventured too far out. Alone, in unknown and potentially dangerous waters, WAY over my head, just too tired to keep going ... those are the times I'm glad I didn't totally destroy that boat, in my zest for swimming. Cuz there it is, an oasis of relief and repose, all high and dry and comfortable and waiting for me, whenever and if ever I care to climb back into it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 03:04 PM

Our difference is that I don't make simplistic statements that because George Bush is Christian (or claims to be) that we invaded Iraq. That is such a ridiculously simplistic statement it puts my teeth on edge. I have no reason to believe that is even one of the primary reasons. When you try to make your point by gross oversimplifications you are impossible to communicate with.

Jerry perhaps you will either show where in this thread I made such a statement or even made any mention of Mr Bush or perhaps you will apologise for addressing and implying that was me who put your teeth on edge?

In truth is is difficult to see where our differences do lie except for your determination divide us into believers and non-believers, to see and accuse posters of insulting and of mounting attacks upon you when all they are doing is honestly expressing their views. If you have been under attack for your religious views it is elsewhere and it is not by me.

For I see no fallacy in either this thread's title or the many various and interesting views expressed in this thread.

For would seem to be accepted - is it not - that in fact people do bad things because of and in the name of organised religion?

And is it also accepted that the fact that people do bad because of and in the name of other things is not an excuse for the bad things people do because of and in the name of organised religion?

If so the only point being contested was that it was ONLY with organised religion that GOOD people did BAD things.

As organised religions tend to be the arbiters of what is good and what is bad, this has made it possible for folk who would be thought to be good people, to to things that would thought to be bad - often because and in the name of their organised religion - but still be thought by their organised religion to be good people.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 03:31 PM

If you have been under attack for your religious views it is elsewhere and it is not by me.

For I see no fallacy in either this thread's title or the many various and interesting views expressed in this thread.


Shambles, this thread title is more than just a fallacy -- it's a blatant attack. On religion, and on any reader who holds religion dear.

If you honestly cannot see that, well, maybe that plank is destroying your eyes?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 03:40 PM

It is just a title and the best I could fit in the box.

If I could have fitted my entire argument for discussion in the title box - I would have done so but there is a limit to this.

But hopefully posters do read more that than just the title of a thread before they post personal judgements of the threads originator and speculate on their motives?

For doing this would seem to be a bit of a 'polariod' reaction - i.e' an instant judgement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 03:42 PM

I apologize, Shambles. Someone made that statement in this thread, and I thought that it was you. I did indeed take the time to go back through this whole thread and read all of your posts. I don't know whether I can invest the time to read every post in here, but the statement does indeed set my teeth on edge. It's the kind of wild statement that slanders Christianity for just about everything.

Please accept my apologies..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 03:44 PM

When you feed trolls they keep eating.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 03:56 PM

It is just a title and the best I could fit in the box.

Well, thanks for the chance to practice compassion then.

Tolerance, too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 05:49 PM

It's really not worth getting your knickers in a knot over. Human beings need religion. >snip<

It may be true to say that some human beings have needed religion and some still do. But does anyone now need organised religion anywhere near the extent that organised religion still needs human beings?

For human beings can have a personal faith without organised religion but you can't have organised religion without human beings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 05:58 PM

*daylia* said: "Human beings need religion. "

I dunno...depends on who, and how broadly you define it. I think they need "reverence", which is not the same thing. I, personally have, I think, moved beyond needing "religion" per se, but I had better NOT outgrow my deep reverence for life, friends, music, knowlege (and the seeking of knowlege, and the freedom to have this discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 10:05 PM

I'm not an anthropoloogist or psychologist but I'm wondering if "organizing" isn't a basic human need. It certainly is one of the major foundations of science, math (why, even library science.) Folklorists like to organize, we organize our music collections, neighborhoods, folkies, nurses, bikers, birdwatchers, maybe even mimes organize. I think that it is natural that people of common interest come together, and that usually leads to some level of organization, whether it's political, social, scientific or spiritual. I think society would collapse without organization. Why make an exception for religion? And despite it being brushed off as inconsequential, there is much good done by religion through organization from the Salvation Army to the legion of homeless shelters, food kitchens, job counselling, after-school tutoring, visiting the sick that happen through organization of religion.

While this thread is about how baaad organized religion is, it might be good to ask whether organization isn't a natural human desire, and while it can lead to atrocious missuse, it can also lead to honorable ends, like much of the drive for equality in the United States.

perhaps..?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 22 Jan 06 - 10:47 PM

*grinning at the idea of organization*

Yep, Jerry, organization can be a very useful and important thing. It would be hard to use the library without a numbering and labeling system....but even there we have minor disputes about which shelf a book should sit on. At least we HAVE the books. A book does not get a place until it is in hand. Religious doctrines have, usually, one book with ambiguous credentials and thousands of interpretations. Do we organize the results, or the fundamentals?

Now, you take religion, which is VERY important as a human issue (no matter what the 'truth' is), and 'organization' becomes an issue as important as the basis of the religion, because whoever controls the details controls the way the religion functions in society. (Is it not Saudi Arabia which says that only Muslims can be citizens?) Of course religion, once it appears, is sought to be organized by its adherents!

The Bible speaks of "The Tower of Babel". I would submit the we have a parallel "Tower of Organizational Chaos" in religious matters. One of the reasons that I am not a religious person, is that I cannot comprehend 'God' seeing us with hundreds of different 'library systems', all claiming His organizational blessing, without popping in and ....ummmm....clarifying a few things.

I once took a course in comparitive religion where the varities of religion were organized for the sake of understanding how they have developed and affected society. Even there I heard complaints that the 'organization' favored (or slighted) this or that religion.

Sure...it WILL be organized...for as many reasons as there are opinions among the faithful as to what needs stressed.

You ARE correct, Jerry, that it is a natural thing to try...but organizing 'religion' is, by its nature, a different matter from organizing one's music collection.....one is a personal matter, the other affects the whole world, and is quite public.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 02:13 AM

You ARE correct, Jerry, that it is a natural thing to try...but organizing 'religion' is, by its nature, a different matter from organizing one's music collection.....one is a personal matter, the other affects the whole world, and is quite public.

We do seem to have accepted here that organised religion is to blame for the bad things that people do because of it and in its name. But first this blame is shifted to those terrible fundamentalists and now it appears that it is organisation itself that I really to blame.

But is organising one's music collection really any different. Both our musical tastes and our personal faith and its tenets are matters of personal taste - or as like our personal faith - perhaps should be? As there is no way of proving our taste to be right and another's to be wrong. We do not (yet) wage wars or justify terrorism because of our different tastes in music or the way we organise them. Mainly I would suggest because we accept things like this to be matter of personal choice.

If organised religion or organisation itself are thought faulty - the blame is always squarely on the human beings who created and administer these things. And up to them to first accept and then to correct this. Not just try to minimise the effects or to excuse this and deflect attention away from these faults.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 03:51 AM

OK, Shambles, but what's your point?

I think I can safely say that organized religions do neither good nor bad, and they are neither good nor bad in themselves - it's individuals (or groups of individuals) within an organization that are responsible for the good and bad done by the organization. Now, if evil was done in the name of an organization fifty years ago, or five hundred years ago, to what extent are the current members responsible for that evil? Are they morally bound to disband because somebody before them was a son-of-a-bitch?

I think that they do have some moral responsibility for what happened before their time - at least to the extent that they have profited from the evil done by their predecessors, but that's different from bearing the guilt of one's forebears.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 05:10 AM

Such bad things caused by organised religion and done in the name of organised religions are sadly not a thing of the past. So it is not a case of its current members looking back 500 years and saying tut-tut, providing excuses or defecting the discussion away from this sad fact.

It is a case of taking a hard look at the reality and of finding the reasons. And then working to ensure that these bad things are not done because of organised religion or in their name. And then there will be no need for folk to defend these organised relgions for there will be no justification for any one to critcise them on these grounds.

I think I can safely say that organized religions do neither good nor bad, and they are neither good nor bad in themselves - it's individuals (or groups of individuals) within an organization that are responsible for the good and bad done by the organization.

What is your point? That our organised religions are at best an irrelevance? That is rather the same point that I have been trying to make. That all organised religions are human constructs, will fail and should be viewed in the same way as all other human constructs.

I have lost count of the many excuses given here for the bad things done because of and in the name of organised religions - and by posters who are only too ready to condemn many other human constructs on far less evidence.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 05:38 AM

Now, if evil was done in the name of an organization fifty years ago, or five hundred years ago, to what extent are the current members responsible for that evil? Are they morally bound to disband because somebody before them was a son-of-a-bitch? said Joe.

OK, are you going to apply that to Nazis or Stalinists? If not, why are tainted religious organisations forgiven?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: autolycus
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 06:43 AM

I think the thread title is in a (forgive me) shambles. So why worry about it.?
Some, like Ron and Jerry, seem to me not to have read the title as it is,correctly.
Firstly, it doesn't use the word Christianity but the word religion. Misreading the one for the other has led them to be defensive of Christanity unnecessarily. Jews and Muslims can make the same false move.
Secondly, nowhere does the title say that religion doesn't = good folk doing good things. You require an either/or cast of mind to think the title ONLY means that religion only = good folk doing bad things.

The original thought of Dawkins appears to have come a cropper, so why worry on this site?

When I,as a Jew, read some of the New Testament, I started to see some of what He was essentially saying. In terms of life today, some of it was rather radical. Believers seem to have a rather erratic relationship to essential truths of their RESPECTIVE RELIGIONS. Then again it has seemed to me that organised RELIGION depends on INTERPRETATION of the holy writings.
"Man is a political animal" (Aristotle), and interpretation is one form of "being political", in the sense of picking and choosing.

Do all believers love their enemies? If so, where does ANY war fit in?

Auto.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 06:59 AM

Good or bad, religion has had one major effect this last week or two.

Shambles has been too busy to complain about censorship, which is a pleasent change...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 07:16 AM

Ron and *daylia*: the thread title, which has wound you up so much, is loosely derived from a quote posted above (12 Jan 06 - 12:34 PM), with attribution, by Wlfgang. OK, it's provocative, but it's led to an interesting debate. What's wrong with that? And by the way, the quote is worth reading.

Ron, I'd be interested to know what grounds you've got for your arrogant suspicion that you know more about Verdi than I do. But thank you for pointing out two examples of "sublime" music that owed nothing to religion. (The Verdi Requiem "sublime"?)

I'll understand if you don't get back to us on this, as you've already told us that you're busy, busy, busy. (Still trying to pick up a word or two of German from a second-rate opera, you clever thing?)

"Now, if evil was done in the name of an organization fifty years ago, or five hundred years ago, to what extent are the current members responsible for that evil?

Joe, an assumption has sneaked in here that you perhaps intended, that all is well with your church today. Sadly not so. Look at the damage and misery your church has caused, and is causing, in Africa with its crackpot (I would say evil, if I believed in such things) teaching about barrier contraceptives. Why, the Vatican didn't even rein in one of its "upper management" when his brainless zeal carried him into the territory of barefaced lying.

You would be spared all your public handwringing if you signed up with a church, or started one, with a creed that can accommodate yours - rather than clinging to a den if iniquity for reasons that by your own account cut no deeper than mere nostalgia.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 11:53 AM

From an odd website called Boing-Boing, the following tidbit:

Pope: Divine inspiration is copyrighted
The Pope has announced that henceforth, and retroactively, the "divinely inspired" words he utters and pens will be governed by copyright, and only publishable after permission is secured and royalties are paid to the church.
Publishers will have to negotiate a levy of between 3 per cent and 5 per cent of the cover price of any book or publication "containing the Pope's words". Those who infringe the copyright face legal action and a higher levy of 15 per cent.
The Union of Italian Catholic Publishers and Booksellers said that it had not been consulted, and that the edict "flies in the face of what we do -- spreading the Pope's message to the world".

A Vatican spokesman said that the Holy See had to defend itself against "pirated editions". The move is also aimed at "premature publication". Journalists accredited to the Vatican are handed papal texts under embargo. The Vatican said that if embargos were broken in future not only would the journalist face sanctions but also his or her publication would face legal action.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 12:04 PM

Certainly, the Catholic Church and other religious organizations are responsible for current ills. I've made no attempt to deny that. All humans, all human endeavors, and all human organizations are flawed to some extent - but it doesn't logically follow that one has to leave or destroy or outlaw an organization that isn't perfect. Reform is another alternative.

The Catholic Church has been MY church for my entire lifetime. I have disagreed with many of its practices, and I have worked hard to move toward change in areas where I felt change was needed. But as a whole, my experiences in the Catholic Church have been very positive, and it has allowed me to get a very good education and to do many very worthwhile things. Why should I leave all that behind?

It goes back to the logical flaw that started this thread - the implication that I am bound to accept and obey all the activities of my religion, even if I disagree. My Catholic church just isn't that monolithic. That's not what my religion is all about. And I think I can say the same for most denominations, Christian and otherwise.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 01:23 PM

I can speak knowingly about the Catholic church in America, having converted to Catholocism as an adult (and de-converted later.) I've fallen, but I can get up.

The Catholic church is anything but monolithic in the United States. I'm sorry that that weakens the comforting assertion that all Catholics are ruled in a completely authoritarian way. But, it is simply not true, so repeatedly making those claims either suggest prejudice or ignorance. Neither are platable options.

When I was a Catholic, I attended masses where the communion was given using white Wonder Bread (kinda a neat conjunction of concepts) and coca cola. Did Rome approve? Rome Schmome. Many, many, many Catholics reject the teaching that the use of contraceptives is a sin. Many use them. The Roman church at one point (and perhaps to this day) said that a divorced person could not receive communion, yet it knowingly happens all the time. I liked the "Home masses" because of their informality, lack of ritual and warmth. Others find ritual comforting or reassuring. That's fine, too. I found plenty of room within the American Catholic church for differences on major theological issues. I realize that my experience with the Catholic church is very different than it might be in a small village in Italy. I realize that my experience is only my experience, nothing more. If we all respect each others experiences, then we can gain a more honest udnerstanding of the issues. If that's what we are looking for.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 02:24 PM

So if you change the 'religion', why don't you change the name of your 'new' religion as well? I can see where the thought of hypocracy can come into play with the new and improved version of the Catholic religion- it could go like this-"I thought you couldn't use contraceptives or get a divorce. Your nothing but a hypocrite" Do you know what I mean?
Changing an age old religion to suit the times is a head shaker for me if you use the same name.

This has been a very good thread by the way-great discussion without hurting anyone too bad which is also my intent by my post (not to hurt)-just a question. (smile)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 03:08 PM

Hey, Rustic: I take your post (aimed at Joe, I guess) in good will. Joe has already said that he chooses to work for change within his church. I would answer the question the same way I'd answer the question, "Why do people keep coming to Mudcat if they are sometimes offended." Not to promote change from within, which would be a completely unrealistic (and not even desireable) reason.
When we have become involved with something, we usually leave it because we find that the "bad" outweighs the "ggod," or we find something else that we like better. I didn't leave the Catholic church because I felt repressed, or that I couldn't remain in the church and reject some of their teachings. I left because I found something that was more meaningful to me. In the long run, that's what it's all about... no sense doing something if it has no meaning to you... THAT is hypocrisy. If you find meaning or pleasure in something that outweighs the displeasure of some aspects, you stay in it and find your own pleasure. As long as you can.

Some people have left Mudcat because they didn't like some of the ugly infighting that goes on. I don't like it either, but I stay because I really enjoy this place, and 95% of the people in here. The same can be true for Joe in his church, and in here.

Different strokes for Different Folks..

Don't ya just love it?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 04:23 PM

"We do seem to have accepted here that organised religion is to blame for the bad things that people do because of it and in its name."

'WE' haven't precisely accepted any such thing, Shambles...you take liberties in generalizing from a few comments. I DO have problems with a lot of aspects of religion and its organized components, but I'd prefer to draw my own conclusions about my own opinions, thank you. "to blame" is a heavy remark, and it's not clear whether the schema or the adherents are meant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 04:33 PM

I think those who want any individual to take responsibility for all their denominations ills (past, present and/or future) should show us the way by taking responsibility for changing everything bad ever done by your gender, your country, your ethnic forebears, and your childhood comic book superheroes when you weren't looking.

Pay some reparations or make some apologies on behalf of same, to a group who asked for them, too-- Native Americans, African Americans, Jews of the Holocaust, etc., women if you are male and men if you are female.... the fur-bearing animals' coalition if you ever carried a rabbit's foot-- oh the shame!!!-- as a child.....

NO??? You don't want to DO that? Huh!

Me neither!

The thread title says what it says and means what it means. The sign for EQUALS was used. The punctuation makes the offense.... if what was meant was "Let's discuss whether religion involves good folk doing bad things," then another punctuation mark would have made it clearer. Pedantic? Not meant to be-- it's just that we aren't mind-readers out here. We can only go by what is POSTED, and I think it's fair to assume people will ascribe the usual conventional meanings to words or symbols used!

[shaking head]

Or--- hey! The thread originator could have requested a thread title change---- let's go THERE!?!?!?-- or changed the message title each time he posted after being made aware of the logical reaction engendered by the sloppy titling......

[Durvenyega!]

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 04:50 PM

Thank you, Bill. "We" is another dangerous word. It should be used carefully. Maybe I should put it in the Rogues Gallery Of Dangerous Words, along with "all."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 07:48 PM

>>"We do seem to have accepted here that organised religion is to blame for the bad things that people do because of it and in its name."<<

'WE' haven't precisely accepted any such thing, Shambles...you take liberties in generalizing from a few comments. I DO have problems with a lot of aspects of religion and its organized components, but I'd prefer to draw my own conclusions about my own opinions, thank you. "to blame" is a heavy remark, and it's not clear whether the schema or the adherents are meant.

I say 'we do seem to have accepted' this as I can't honestly remember a post that said that organised religion was NOT to blame for the bad things done because of it and in its name.

Bill are are you now saying that organised religion is not to blame for the bad things done because of it and in its name? If you are you would seem to be the only one here that is expressing such a view.

Jerry your apology is accepted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,opinionated dipwad
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 08:05 PM

Shambles, man, you are on the right track. Go to my thread about banjos. Our kind of people got to stick together and eliminate the bad things that are done by both religion and banjos. We will soon reduce the feeble arguments of the idiots who blindly support those kind of useless things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 08:14 PM

I'm reading your statement very carefully, Shambles. I for one do not necessarily agree that when people do something bad in the name of religion that religion is to blame. Sometimes it may well be, but people are definitely not above using religion as a justification for doing something bad when it has very little to do with their actions. And it's not just religion. Bush says that it is his desire to promote democracy by invading Iraq when very few people believe that. Is Democracy then to blame for Bush's actions?
I think not. The same thing can happen "in the name of religion," and even more commonly "in the name of love," with religion or love having nothing to do with it. In those instances, it certainly isn't just to "blame" religion or love for the actions.

Don't count me among the "we" of your statement. I'm certainly part of a "we" that agrees that atrocities have been done in the name of religion where the person committing the atrocities was convinced they were doing it because of their religious beliefs. When that happens, I go back to the beliefs for a reality check. If Christ said that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and someone claims that they killed their child out of love and at Christ's commandment, you got a sick puppy. You can't hold Christ's teachings, or even the Christian religion accountable for sick stuff like that. And it does happen.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 08:24 PM

Wizzy,
at the risk of surrendering my horseshoe-flower trophy, I have to say that Shambles' title, while provocative, is a QUESTION. Paraphrased, it would read "does religion make good folks do bad things?" We are free to answer yes or no. I have to say yes, as I stated in a previous post. As to slavery and genocide, those are clearly not examples of things about which the same question could be asked. For example "The Holocaust=Good Folk doing bad things?" would not even be open for debate.
Now I said in my previous post, that for goodpeople to do bad things generally requires that they be acting on false or wrong facts. Religion is the only thing that I believe can make an otherwise moral and kind person do something like explode himself in a funeral procession, taking a cluster of others with him. I believe that that person is motivated not by reasonable behavior, nor by a misreading of the facts. I believe he's motivated by irrational faith as derived from his holy book. In otherwords, the equivalent of madness.
Does religion also cause good folk to do good things? Yes, absolutely. But that wasn't the question, was it?
I'm just thankful that, at least here in Mudcatville, we can question religion. A healthy dose of scepticism contributes to friendly disagreement. When we can't criticize religion in a thread because, as Daylia said, it is interpreted as "a blatant attack. On religion, and on any reader who holds religion dear", we come damn close to moral censorship.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 08:31 PM

I do agree as well that there have been atrocities committed by organized religion supported by the church/mosque, religious teachings. In those instances, I would hold organized religion culpable.

I know this isn't as neat and tidy as you'd like Shambles. Truth is usually messy.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 08:44 PM

"Bill are are you now saying that organised religion is not to blame for the bad things done because of it and in its name?"

"...and have you stopped beating your wife?"

I am saying very clearly that your phrasing and attribution of blame is not useful or coherent....and I will also state that "organized religion" is not the kind of entity on which it makes sense TO place blame. PEOPLE do the bad things that are done in any cause, and religion can be organized and NOT do bad things.

   You want people to agree with some of a general point you are making, and then to co-opt their statements to make it sound like they are signing a petition you write after they have signed.

I'm sure you can make SOME statement about the problems with religion that I could agree with, but so far you haven't....you have painted with too broad a brush for me to simply say "yes, indeed!"

Sorry, but your Socratic method needs polishing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,ramlacan
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 08:48 PM

Arguing with Shambles is like wrestling with a bathtub full of spaghetti....messy, interminable, and ultimately a complete waste of time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 09:11 PM

I'm reading your statement very carefully, Shambles. I for one do not necessarily agree that when people do something bad in the name of religion that religion is to blame. Sometimes it may well be, but people are definitely not above using religion as a justification for doing something bad when it has very little to do with their actions. And it's not just religion.>snip<

Whose responsibilty is it when it NOT organised religions to blame? Is these cases is it God's or is it no one's?

The statement was 'because of and in the name of organised religion' For Bill D and the Pedantics - you could substitute the word OR for or AND but either way if there were no organised religions and their tenets - the perpetrator would not have that particular excuse - would they? And nor would you be able to use this excuse and nor would organised religions.

You may quibble about the odd case but it is not as if there are a shortage of many concrete and rock-solid examples of bad things being done because of and in the name of organised religions. Do you have similar reservations about blaming the trade in illegal drugs for the bad things done because of them? I suspect not.

And these examples may not be thought to make religion in general a bad thing any more than bad things being done in the name of democracy make democracy in general a bad thing. But whoever is responsible for encouraging these abuses in the name of organised religion or democracy should take the blame. For should the doing of any bad things done in the name of organised religion, democracy or Castro's beard ever be qualified excused in the way that you are attempting to do here?

The armed forces and organised regions may well also act as fine social clubs that enable you to do things like travel and learn to water ski - but that is not what these organisations exist for - is it? You can also learn to water ski in a non-millitary social club that will not expect you to go out and kill someone often - I hope you wiil sadly accept - with the blessing of an organised religion.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 09:19 PM

>>"Bill are are you now saying that organised religion is not to blame for the bad things done because of it and in its name?"<<

"...and have you stopped beating your wife?"

I am saying very clearly that your phrasing and attribution of blame is not useful or coherent....and I will also state that >snip<


So that's a yes then....................

Perhaps we can leave the same tired old personal judgements and just concentrate on the issues being discussed?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 09:25 PM

You assume that other people have that much time, Shambles. Is the USA still in Vietnam? No. There are some efforts simply not worth pursuing beyond a certain point.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 09:38 PM

    Rustic Rebel Sez: So if you change the 'religion', why don't you change the name of your 'new' religion as well? I can see where the thought of hypocracy can come into play with the new and improved version of the Catholic religion- it could go like this-"I thought you couldn't use contraceptives or get a divorce. Your nothing but a hypocrite" Do you know what I mean?
    Changing an age old religion to suit the times is a head shaker for me if you use the same name.

Well, RR, it goes back to the question of whether the Roman Catholic church is monolithically, fundamentalistally conservative or not. I have 16 years of Catholic education, including 8 years in a seminary studying for the priesthood. I have worked for the Catholic Church as a volunteer or employee all my life - and I am now emplyed by the Catholic Church to teach religion to adults. I really think I am able to have a fairly accurate, realistic view of what is and what is not Catholic. It may not be all-encompassing, but I think my perspective has a high level of validity.

The Catholic Church has always had both saints and sinners among its members. It has always done tremendous good as one of its primary purposes, but it has always had an element that has done tremendous harm in its name, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally; sometimes officially and sometimes unofficially. It has always had both progressives and traditionalists, intellectuals and anti-intellectuals. And, despite what outsiders (and some Catholics) may think, it has always been in a state of constant change. Believe it or not, discussion and disagreement haave always been an important part of the Catholic Church.

Yes, you are correct that the Catholic Church does not approve of "artificial" methods of contraception/birth control. Thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of Catholics openly ignore or defy that policy because they think that policy is wrong - is open disagreement hypocrisy? You're right that the Catholic Church doesn't acknowledge divorce (although it does grant annullments on fairly generous grounds), but it denies the sacraments only to those who divorce and remarry. If I disagree and get divorced and remarried, is that hypocrisy? - no, it's disobedience of a rule that I think is unjust. And good Catholics have defied unjust Church rules since the very early history of the Church.

In my many years of church work, I have found many flaws in the Catholic Church, and I have worked hard to remedy those shortcomings - and some of those shortcomings are truly deplorable. Still, most of my experiences in the Catholic Church have been very positive - so why should I leave it? I think it's far better for me to try to fix it, rather then leaving it behind.

Yes, I know that many people have had very bad experiences with the Catholic Church. I'm very sorry those things have happened, and many of us Catholics work to remedy those problems.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 09:40 PM

Hey Shambles: Has the thought ever occurred to you that the person doing the action might actually be to blame? Where is indivdiual responsiblity in your scheme of things, or is it always something else?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 09:45 PM

Oh Leej, DAMN. Nay, sir, I think you are ahead by yet one more garland. Double DAMN!!! :~)

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 10:28 PM

let me say it gently, this way:

Damn it, Shambles, I WAS discussing the issue! I was NOT "making a personal judgement"!!!!!! The ****STATEMENTS**** you made were not, in my opinion, either accurate or useful! YOU may be a sterling fellow, but your arguments are unsound....if you are going to take "personal" offense at having them critiqued, I can't stop you, but **I** was speaking to the message, not the messenger.

I DO have some opinions about your tendency to take almost all disagreement personally, but that was not what was going on above.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 11:17 PM

Peter--

Die Zauberfloete in your humble (or not so) opinion a second-rate opera? Now who's being arrogant? Please tell us about your universally accepted method for determining if something is second-rate. Geschmackssache.

In fact, Zauberfloete is germane to the topic--many consider it a defense of Masonry--which is often considered a religion--but more tolerant than most. But you knew that already--right?

It's also very funny--which is why I wanted to see if I got the humor. Ich kann ein Bisschen Deutsch, kann aber meistens den Humor kapieren. Du kannst auch Deutsch?

Re: Verdi--I did say I suspect I know more about Verdi than you. It's also completely possible that I don't. I'm always willing to learn more.

Obviously, that the Verdi Requiem is sublime is only my opinion. But if you have never sung it with an excellent group, I would say you are unfair to denigrate it. Perhaps you feel threatened by the hellfire and damnation. I assure you--it's not aimed at you. If you take it as great music and not as a Cotton Mather-style sermon, you'll be fine.

One of the recent highly respected books on Verdi is by Mary Jane Philips-Matz. About 900 pages--pretty thorough--and fascinating. Very good on his role in the Risorgimento--and on the writing of the Requiem Have you read it? I heartily recommend it.

One of my favorite parts is the incident which probably heavily influenced his anti-clericalism--at about age 6--you've probably heard this. Since he was distracted by music he heard from the organ loft, he did not hear the priest he was serving ask for the water and wine. When the priest pushed the boy, Verdi fell off the altar.

Verdi cursed the priest--"May you be struck by lightning!".

8 years later the priest was killed--- by lightning.

A great story. No wonder Verdi told it for the rest of his life.

I still feel that great vocal music-----and, sorry, the vast majority of great vocal music is religious-the overwhelming majority in Europe before 1800---can be transporting. Also Sacred Harp.   All the great gospel music of recent times. A lot of Carter Family music.

Even the Brahms Requiem is religious--but in the inclusive sense--explicitly not tied to Christianity. It is partly for that reason that it is my all-time favorite piece of any genre.

I am not saying any of these make you want to become Catholic--or black Baptist etc. It's just that you're moved by something greater than yourself.

Are you never moved by music? If so, it's a shame--you are missing one of the best experiences of life.


Hey, maybe this is a music thread now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 23 Jan 06 - 11:29 PM

Re: the needlessly inflammatory thread title.

A much more accurate title would have been: Abuse of Religion: Bad Results

But the thread would have been MUCH shorter--not what Shambles wanted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 24 Jan 06 - 10:51 AM

Hey Shambles: Has the thought ever occurred to you that the person doing the action might actually be to blame? Where is indivdiual responsiblity in your scheme of things, or is it always something else?

Jerry


Of course and there is no attempt by me to remove this and excuse the individual - quite the opposite in fact. For are you saying that individuals are free of their individual responsibility when they become part of an organised religion or any other organisation? Is not every organisation comprised of individuals?

You do seem still be to be placing a defence for the bad things done because of and in the name of organised that you would not make for other organisations.

Most of us would accept that the abuse of children by those who are entrusted with the child's welfare and education is a bad thing. And most of us would I hope consider that people who organise themselves into organisations (or rings) to this is a bad thing. No one is arguing that it is only organised religions cause their ministers to abuse children placed in their care. The fact that there is no shortage of non-ministers and non-members of organised religions who also abuse children placed in their trust, would tend to support this.

However, certain organised religions, also rather up-the-stakes by also requiring their ministers to be celibate. A course that many individuals do seem to be able to deal with. But with its many sacrifices and temptations few of us would contend this to be an easy path. The wisdom of such a course still remains a controversial issue for many reasons.

You could still place all of the responsibility or blame for this upon the individual so far - but the test of these organised religions come when some of the human beings that organised religion has placed in this position, do give-in to temptation and abuse children in their trust. There is after all no shortage of opportunity presented for these ministers to abuse children. Indeed a cynic may argue that such a system is the most effective paedophile ring ever devised - to ensure the protection of the abusers.

But no one is seriously suggesting that this is intentional but the term 'accident waiting to happen' comes to mind and the consequence to lives of the young victims of this 'accident' is about a serious as it gets. So having identified what in the UK would be called 'an accident black spot' - is the record of organised religions preventing such accidents a good one? Just as importantly is the situation really any better now - as a result of the many high-profile cases that we hear about and the many more low-profile ones that we do not?

Is this a case of good people doing bad things because of organised religion? Especially when known offending ministers are simply and repeatedly moved by this organised religion? Is organised religion responsible or to blame under these circumstances? Or can yet more excuses be found for why the bad things done because of and in the name of organised religion should not be treated and responsibility accepted like any other cause? And not denied, minimised and excused and some sort of special case made.

When there is publicity about these people making use of the internet and organise themselves online - are there not are loud judgement calls for the whole of the internet to be blamed, closed down and its use further controlled and limited - often from organised religions?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 06 - 10:55 AM

Organized religion is a paper doll these days in our society when put next to organized marketing. If you were a Saudi Arabian or an Iranian, THEN you would have reason to worry about organized religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 24 Jan 06 - 11:32 AM

Right on, Jerry.

Regarding Jerry's "defense" or anyone else's. Responding peacefully to accusations, in an effort to explain the world in which things have happened, by someone who has some understanding of that world from the inside, so that the accuser may improve their understanding-- is not "defense" and I hope no one here is trying to defend what IS NOT THEIR ACTION to defend.

Is this a discussion, as purported, or a trial? Does Shambles think he is a trial judge? That WOULD explain a LOT!

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 24 Jan 06 - 06:29 PM

A quote from one who knows more than I do about such things:

"There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.

We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection ... Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.

For those who may not find happiness in the exercise of religious faith, it's okay to remain a radical atheist. It's absolutely an individual right, but the important thing is with a compassionate heart -- then no problem.

In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher."

- His Holiness the Dalai Lama


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Jan 06 - 06:50 PM

Perfect, Amos.

Other than that, I wish Spaw would show up on this thread just once and do one long gigantic fart over it, just to finish it off neatly....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 02:21 AM

Litle Hawk - As one who has shown that they can take part in an interesting discussion - when not prefering to limit yourself to making personal judgements instead - why would you wish such a thing on a discussion forum?

As this interesting thread or any other will effectivily end for you or anyone else - who may simply choose to post to make some criticism of the thread or make some personal judgememnt of their fellow posters - if or when they stop opening it or refreshing it.

It never ceases to amaze me the indignation shown about any possible judgement by some of my fellow posters on our forum - who never cease but to freely post to judge this or that - when they feel that they or anything they beleive in is subject to any judgement.

Defend what you feel is under attack by all means but all that I am requesting is a level playing field. Surely anything that is the cause of people doing bad things is open to judgement. Why should organised religions be thought to be any different?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 03:16 AM

Organised religions are -if you like self-appointed middle-men. With the exception perhaps of those like the poor old Dalai Lama who has a job for life thrust upon them in which they have no choice.

Organised religions in common with most middle-men elsewhere have more ready-made excuses than the manufactures of 'one size fits all clothes' have - when you take them back because they don't.

When natural disasters cause untold misery to thousands they present their excuses on behalf of their Gods and at the same time will attempt to take credit for life's truly wonderful things.

We don't generally have an awful lot of respect for or wish to waste our time in dealing with middle-men. Or indeed much respect for spin doctors.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 03:37 AM

As far as organised religion is concerned - is it now time for us to cut out the middle-man and deal direct?

Jerry -

To my recollection - it was you who who first introduced the term 'non-believer' into this thread if not you certainly used this term. No one seem to have pointed out that this too is a generalisation. Perhaps you would now accept that it is a very divisive one?

The word 'infidel' would be thought by many to mean the same thing as non-beleiver but in fact this means one who does not share in YOUR belief. Great care would have been used over the use of this word. Either way it is hardly showing the tolerant way forward to use such terms and generalise in this manner.

When you use this term - do you for instance include me as one of your 'non-believers'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 06:24 AM

We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection ... Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.

Is no one going to post only to point out and distance themselves from these generalisations, criticise the phrasing of this argument, claim it to be unsound or 'needlessly inflammatory'?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: autolycus
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 07:15 AM

Jerry

Are you saying that those who took part in The Inquisition were purely and simply taking individual responsibility ?

Auto.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 09:31 AM

Hey auto:

Nothing of the kind. Why do people have to only see one extreme. There have been plenty of terrible things that have been done by organized religion.

There have been plenty of terrible things that have been done by organized religion.

There have been plenty of terrible things that have been done by organized religion.

There have been plenty of terrible things that have been done by organized religion.

There have been plenty of terrible things that have been done by organized religion.

That statement is suitable for quoting.

The sign of an argument rather than a discussion is to refuse to acknowledge that someone has made a statement, no matter how often they repeat it. This is one of Shambles favorite defences... usually posed as a question... as you have just done, auto. No matter how many times I acknowledge that there have been terrible things done in the name of organized religion I will be characterized as refusing to ackowledge it. Why even have a discussion if someone is unwilling to recognize that another person is trying to look at an issue from all sides? (and of course, Shambles will brush all of this off by claiming that it is a personal attack.)

That said, there are many things that are done in the name of religion, democracy and love that are done by individuals or orqanizations who claim that they are doing them in the name of religion or Democracy when they are done out of other motivations. If someone truly wishes to have a reasonable discussion and not just endlessly rant, they can acknowlege that reality is much more multi-faceted than their supposition.

Did I mention that there are many terrible things that have been done by organized religion?

Perhaps those who are making such an oversimplistic statement would like to post that not all things done "in the name of religion" are the fault of religion, and some/many (pick your percentage) of evil acts done in the name of religion are done by mentally ill individuals and are not the fault of religion.

It's like the argument that video games make children violent. Or playing with army 45's when I was a kid made us all gun worshippers.

Some folks think endlessly laying blame on others is a parlor game.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 09:48 AM

COMPASSION

True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason.

Therefore, a truly compassionate attitude toward others
does not change even if they behave negatively. Through universal altruism, you develop a feeling of responsibility for others: the wish to help them actively overcome their problems.

          DALAI LAMA


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 10:18 AM

"We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection ... Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion." (the Dalai Lama)

Is no one going to post only to point out and distance themselves from these generalisations, criticise the phrasing of this argument, claim it to be unsound or 'needlessly inflammatory'? (Shambles)

WHat, you don't care for kindness or compassion, Shambles? Do those ideas inflame you or what? ANd if I said "There is not a human being alive today who does not have a beating heart" would that be too much of a generalization for you??

With the exception perhaps of those like the poor old Dalai Lama � who has a job for life thrust upon them � in which they have no choice.

Sorry, Shambles, but just like you and me and every other every human being on the planet, the Dalai Lama has and always had a "choice". And he chooses, every day of his life, to live out his traditional role of "Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion", to demonstrate the principles of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance nad non-violence in all of his affairs, and for all the world to see.   

And he is anything BUT the "poor ole Dalai Lama". From what I've read, everyone who's met him marvels in wonder at the inner peace, joy, good humour, wisdom, compassion and friendliness this man always radiates. People walk away inspired and uplifted just be being near him. And he maintains his happiness, peace and commitment to the loving service of others, no matter what their social background or faith or lack thereof --- even in the face of the all the horror, tragedy and injustice inflicted upon himself and his people by Communist China PLUS all the attacks and ridicule directed at him, and all others like him, by those who misunderstand, hate, fear and sneer at anything even remotely resembling the "spiritual" or "religious".

The Dalai Lama's presence and his living example is a gift and a blessing for the entire planet. The man is a living saint, IMO. And he became what he is today only through suffering extreme tragedy, brutality and injustice - both personally and vicariously through the suffering of his people. Just like Jesus. And just like Jeanne d'Arc.

"Organized religion" is nothing more than the sum of it's parts --- and it's "parts" are the human beings, just like you and me, who choose to adhere to those particular beliefs and play out traditional roles within those organizations. If that's what you mean by "self-appointed middle men", well I suppose I agree with you. For once!

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 10:32 AM

Hear, hear, Amos and Daylia!!!!!

If there was ever anyone who wasn't "poor" it's the Dalai Lama. Admittedly, he does a lot of things in the name of organized religion: love, live compassion, Live humility, live forgiveness. He does this not because it has been forced upon him, but with a joyful heart.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Rustic Rebel
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 04:02 PM

Thanks Joe and Jerry for your answers. My thinking... all the new religions must come from old religions with a twist, a change of doctrine. Something that made a group break out of the old and into the new to suit their spiritual needs.
This is a list I would like to add to this conversation...organized religions-fellowship list from 2001 It's an interesting list/read of the many religions,sects and cults out there. Many that are newly created.

Rustic


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 08:47 PM

Allow the record to reflect that I have never supported the Spanish Inquisition; and I don't like most other bad stuff, either - past or present, religious or nonreligious. Many religious people join me in not liking bad stuff. I have to say that I have never heard any religious person speak in favor of the Spanish Inquisition.

I agree with Jerry that
    There have been plenty of terrible things that have been done by organized religion.


Are there any other obvious statements that should be made to answer questions posed? And if we don't make these obvious statements, does that indicate that we support all that bad stuff?

There is much in this thread that is worthy of discussion, but I do think there should be some respect paid to the rules of logic and common sense.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 09:28 PM

There have been many good things accomplished by religious organizations.
There have been many good things accomplished by religious organizations.
There have been many good things accomplished by religious organizations.
There have been many good things accomplished by religious organizations.
There have been many good things accomplished by religious organizations.
There have been many good things accomplished by religious organizations.
There have been many good things accomplished by religious organizations.
There have been many good things accomplished by religious organizations.
There have been many good things accomplished by religious organizations.

..also worth repeating.

It is not the organizing itself that is the sin, any more than it is money that is the root of evil, rather than the love of money. When you use an organized religion as a substitute for compassion, why, there you go.... down the tube. Even if it is just the Boy Scouts.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 25 Jan 06 - 09:36 PM

Thanks, Amos. Now if we could just stop them organizations from doing bad stuff, and expand the good stuff, we'd all be the better for it.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 09:00 AM

Some folks think endlessly laying blame on others is a parlor game.

Would you accept that rather than taking part in the parlour game of endlessly trying to ignore or deflecting and excusing the bad things done because of and in the name of organised religions - that there is a point when accepting blame and the responsibilty for the bad things done because of and in the name of organised religions - is an essential part of ensuring that such things are not endlessly repeated because of and in the name of organised religions?

In the issue I detailed of ministers who abuse children in their trust and organised religions whose response is largely to attempt to cover these things up and quietly move the perpetrators on, to enable them to abuse elsewhere - would organised religions finally taking the blame and accepting responsibilty for this be a sensible first step to effecting whatever changes are required to ensure these abuse and cover-ups are a thing of the past?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 09:17 AM

WHat, you don't care for kindness or compassion, Shambles? Do those ideas inflame you or what? ANd if I said "There is not a human being alive today who does not have a beating heart" would that be too much of a generalization for you??

No but if I had said it here - I suspect that it would be thought too much of a generalisation for Bill D and the Pedantics or Jerry and the Mudcat Riders Under the Double Standard. Or that they would find some other fault with it - perhaps they are the exeption and do not have beating hearts? *Smiles*


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 09:26 AM

Are there any other obvious statements that should be made to answer questions posed? And if we don't make these obvious statements, does that indicate that we support all that bad stuff?

Before you start on the excuses, deflection and minimising - perhaps it is it always a good idea to make any obvious statements or suggest any changes that may be required? For if you don't make these obvious statements or any of these suggestions - is can look as if you do support all that bad stuff.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 09:41 AM

The eye sees only what the mind
is prepared to comprehend.

      Henri L. Bergson


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 09:57 AM

...would organised religions finally taking the blame and accepting responsibilty for this be a sensible first step...

If you are talking about abuse by Christian clergy, I submit that the Church(es) have already publicly "owned" their share of the blame and accepted responsibility for damages done in courts of law. ANd those who have not are in the process of doing so.

My oldest son entered St Augustine's Roman Catholic seminary in Toronto a couple years ago. It may calm you somewhat, Shambles, to know that like all other applicants, he not only had to meet stringent educational requirements, but undergo three full days of intense psychological testing intended to assess mental, emotional, social and yes sexual health.   And he had to pass all these tests with flying colours, too.

The entrance requirements for Catholic seminaries have become much more stringent over the last couple decades or so. Like the rest of the human race, believe it or not the Catholic Church is evolving. Part of that "evolution" means doing everything it possibly can to protect the public by weeding out those who would continue to abuse the priesthood (ie use it as a "cover" for pedophilia etc).

On the other hand, many years ago I had to pull my sons out of a Catholic elementary school and enroll them in a public school instead, because of a vice principle who was an abusive pedophile. That was a real horror story --- but sorry, I can't blame it on the Church or on the Catholic school board.

If blame is to laid it all, I lay it on the (sick) man himself and this country's legal system. See, he'd been caught red-handed abusing children at the last school where he was employed -- but the victim's parents, quite understandably, refused to charge him because if they had, their children would have had to undergo further trauma testifying against him in court. Without legal reason to fire him, the school board had to honour their contract with him. So to placate those parents and that community, they transferred him to a school hundreds of miles away.

Unfortunately, that was our school. I don't know if any other parents pulled their kids out but I do know this --- the teachers at that school did all they could to discreetly warn parents and kids, even in the face of his constant threats of slander and other legal action (he pulled that one on me, too). I made no bones about why I was withdrawing my children -- the incidents my children and their friends reported were relatively minor but VERY upsetting, to say the least. And the following year, he was "demoted" from the position of vice-principle (which enabled him to spend lots of time behind closed door "disciplining" children) to a classroom teaching role. When his contract was up, he was let go immediately.

Not a perfect system yet by any means, but certainly an improvement on the "accepted" abuse that schoolchildren faced even while I was growing up in the 60 - 70's.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 12:47 PM

It is a bit like pulling teeth but we seem to have arrived at this - without too much quibbling.

I agree with Jerry that
There have been plenty of terrible things that have been done by organized religion.


Is this generalisation really so different or far away from - this attempt for some general agreement to enable us to move on?

"We do seem to have accepted here that organised religion is to blame for the bad things that people do because of it and in its name."

Or is only being agreed that these are terrible things but they are NOT the responsibilty of organised religion in the way that presumably they would be if these terrible things were down to some other cause?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 12:52 PM

Sorry folks for thread drift (again)-hope you don't mind....


Lars, a Norwegian from Cook County in northern Minnesota, was an older, single gentleman who was born and raised a Lutheran. Each Friday night after work, he would fire up his outdoor grill and cook a venison steak.

Now, all of Lars's neighbors were Catholic and since it was Lent, they were forbidden from eating meat on Fridays. The delicious aroma from the grilled venison steaks was causing such a problem for the Catholic faithful that they finally talked to their priest.

The priest came to visit Lars, and suggested that Lars convert to Catholicism. After several classes and much study, Lars attended Mass and as the priest sprinkled holy water over Lars, he said, "You were born a Lutheran and raised a
Lutheran, but now you are Catholic."

Lars's neighbors were greatly relieved, until Friday night arrived, and the wonderful aroma of grilled venison filled the neighborhood. The priest was called immediately by the neighbors and, as he rushed into Lars's yard, clutching a rosary and prepared to scold Lars, he stopped in amazement and watched.

There stood Lars, clutching a small bottle of water which he carefully sprinkled over the grilling meat, and chanted: "You were born a deer, and raised a deer, but now you are a walleye....."


Joy in spite of everything! Rustic


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 03:15 PM

ROFLMAO!! RR, that is a truly terrific parable!!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 03:49 PM

Shambles:

If you can't distinguish the difference between acknowledging that "There have been plenty of terrible things done BY otanized religion," and "organized religion is to blame for the bad things people do because of it AND IN ITS NAME," then it's hopeless to even try to communicate with you. If you believe that religion is to blame for everything done in its name and doggedly refuse to ackowledge that there are also people who claim that they are doing something in the name of religion, democracy or love who are doing it for totally different reasons and must bear the blame themselves, without holding accountable religion, democracy or love then its a waste of time even trying to talk with you. If you can't admit that, then it's been nice knowin' ya.

Have a nice day.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 05:44 PM

I think that....

Part of the mis-communication here is that Shambles seems to think there is a "we" who can be said to be in agreement about a thing. Mudcat ain't got no we-- only a series of "I"s, and a ddiiferent series at any given point in time that never add up to a "we."

.... And that on top of this, I don't see many here who are in search of "agreement" with anyone, even those who have been discussing in this thread; I do see discussion for the sake of discussion (as well as a few posts that seem to be for the sake of persuasion or venting of old feelings); but I do not see a widespread search for agreement. If I were to offer anything I see widely among those discussing the topic (whatver THAT is), it's something I can only characterize as "exploration in company."

I can't quite sort out if Shambles thinks himself prosecutor of charges, judge of procedure, legislator, or jury foreman. Anyone here nominate Shambles for any of those?

No?

If not, then, Shambles, what you have here is people willing to share a deeply personal perspective in a very public setting, for whatever reason. Not jousters in a tournament, nor anything else you seem to wish to do.

That about cover it, folks?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 10:36 PM

You're right, Susan. There is no "we" in here. Even considering the liberal/Democratic tilt to the left. That's as it should be. There'll be no prisoners taken in these discussions/diatribes, either. But sometimes trying to explain what you believe helps you (me) to better understand yourself, and those who are honestly seeking a dialogue.

I just wish there was a little more WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! in here.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jan 06 - 11:16 PM

I tried to put the WHEEEE in the Bush frailing thread, Jerry, but it's been hijacked by serious discussion of Bush instead.

I do have an idea for a fun thread but I fear it may ignite flames instead. "Mea Culpa: My Mudcat Sins." I would start it off by "confessing" that I often come back and post AGAIN in a thread because-- shame of shames-- I've actually been reflecting about the topic over several days' meditation time, and I have a further thought that's of a higher order of thought that my first one.

But I fear it would only become an excuse for another religion slugfest. People just have such a hard time catching the point of doing the backward-brag-- seems only our rural PA folks indulge in that left-handed compliment thing.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 11:07 AM

>>WHat, you don't care for kindness or compassion, Shambles? Do those ideas inflame you or what? ANd if I said "There is not a human being alive today who does not have a beating heart" would that be too much of a generalization for you??<<

No but if I had said it here - I suspect that it would be thought too much of a generalisation for Bill D and the Pedantics or Jerry and the Mudcat Riders Under the Double Standard. Or that they would find some other fault with it - perhaps they are the exeption and do not have beating hearts? *Smiles*

You're right, Susan. There is no "we" in here.

I told you so. Daylia 'WE' may have beating hearts but even that is too much generalisation for some.....*Smiles* I will try it.

We all seem to agree that we all have beating hearts (except for those of us who are dead).


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 11:21 AM

If you can't distinguish the difference between acknowledging that "There have been plenty of terrible things done BY otanized religion," and "organized religion is to blame for the bad things people do because of it AND IN ITS NAME," then it's hopeless to even try to communicate with you.

I can see the difference only too well. But if I had said that I cannot distingish the difference - there may be some justification in your outburst - but what I actually said was:

Is this generalisation really so different or far away from -
>snip<

Well Jerry - is it so far away for a very general agreement?

And is really me that is having the problem with communication. Is this not the second time in this thread that you have rather vigourously responded by accusing me of saying something that I demonstrably have not said....Will you be apolgising for this occasion too?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: LilyFestre
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 11:44 AM

Susan....it's not just a rural PA thing, it looks like it's a Chicago thing too....did you see Oprah take back what she said about the writer who fibbed in his memoirs? And get this, she thought about what she said and then thought better or it....she apologized too! So...it's a rural PA AND Chicago thing...go figure!   *G* No wonder you're good at it! *G*

Michelle


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,*daylia*
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 12:27 PM

What I said was "There is not a human being alive today who does not have a beating heart."

And here I thought I'd plugged all the loopholes with that word "alive". I pondered that statement for quite awhile before I posted, and the only exception I came up with was human embryos during the first few weeks after conception. Before the heart is developed enough to start beating.   

But then again many would argue that embryos are not human beings yet either ... so, I figured that, in general, my generalization was not really a generalization at all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 01:03 PM

Jerry, your story about Coke and Wonder Bread reminded me of Billy Coonnolly's reaction to non-alcoholic communion wine: "I can't believe it's not Jesus!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 01:25 PM

Yes, Shambles, I think there is a significant difference between those two sentences. A major difference that revolves around where blame is laid in instances where actions are done in the name of religion when they are done for unrelated reasons. No apology needed.

Tell ya what, Shambles. I don't see any purpose in discussing this further...

Enjoy your day...

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 01:58 PM

Am I a good person doing a bad thing if I claim#400?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 02:27 PM

But then again many would argue that embryos are not human beings yet either ... so, I figured that, in general, my generalization was not really a generalization at all.

Generally we may all agree with that. *Smiles*

But do you think we could ever come up with a generalisation on this matter that was broad enough for us all to agree on? I thought I had made such a generalisation.

Perhaps the problem is that the thought of reaching even the broadest of general agreement is not thought to be a good thing by some posters to this thread? Generally on other subjects - reaching a broad general agreement whenever possible is thought not only to be a good thing very often but the whole point.....To enable progress.

Where there is a will to reach agreement - there is usually a way. Where there is not a will - there is no way.

When some appear to feel terrified at the possibility that any agreement could be reached - there is no chance.

All that is being asked is for is a level playing field. For all those - organisations and individuals - who are undertake bad things - to take responsibilty for them. Are organised religions to be exempted from this and made a special case? That is how all this quibbling makes it appear.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 02:55 PM

Or...it could be this:

Yeah, Baby!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 09:25 PM

Well, Shambles, I think most of us think it's obviously true that organisations and individuals who undertake bad things should take responsibility for them. If that's your point, then what's to discuss?

As far as I can see, nobody here has suggested that any organization should be shielded from any responsibility it might have - although it was pointed out that many (perhaps most) times, misdeeds are the work of individuals or groups of individuals. Oftentimes, the vast majority of members of an organization are totally uninvolved in (and unaware of) misdeeds that were done in the name of the group.

If there is to be discussion, perhaps it would be more fruitful if it would discuss a specific situation instead of a generalization. If you try to charactize or blame all members of a group based on the actions of a few, you end up with bigotry.

Some Christians use scripture and religion to justify beating their wives. If I'm a Christian and read scripture and practice religion, am I responsible for wife-beating?


-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 27 Jan 06 - 11:51 PM

Perhaps diversity of opinion and viewpoint is a higher-order state of affairs than agreement, Shambles. IMO, such diversity certainly is more reflective of our endless capacity for creative thinking. It also is more useful when one is dealing with one's own back yard. For example I rarely find I can quite agree with daylia, yet I learn much friom her that I can put to good use in those areas where I can actually look toward progress. If she agreed with me, I think I could learn less and I don't think I could accomplish more-- she is 'way over there and I'm right here.

People who meet online but are located all over the planet can't exactly act in concert, or at least, not effectively. Not in the complex kinds of issues that are entangled in this thread. We CAN act responsibly, each in our own sphere of activity, and whether we define that in the same way doesn't matter much. We still have to evaluate our actions (and the consequences) based on what we see happening around us.

In any event, your own efforts to understand a thing seldom seem to lead to even the broadest agreement. If, again using the example of daylia and I, agreement were to occur, it doesn't seem to me that it would have anything to do with your efforts to pin us all into some kind of "agreement." It would happen on its own, more likely, and it would not even require that either of us say anything about it to each other or anyone else. People can be in concord without speaking a word. Indeed, sometimes words get in the way more than they help.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 02:43 AM

Some Christians use scripture and religion to justify beating their wives. If I'm a Christian and read scripture and practice religion, am I responsible for wife-beating?

Of course not. But the scipture exist and if it is taught by the organised religion and accepted by the perpetrator to be the literal word of God - does not the organised religion at least share in the responsibilty? Whatever may be taught by organised religions - what seems to be leaned well - is the ability to make excuses?

For would you accept that many similar judgements are made for other organisations that pass without comment or are thought to be generally acceptable and which do not bring forth the same excuses and diversions that we see here when members of organised religions here (many of whom are not slow to pass judgement themselves) think they or religion in general are being subject to the same sort of judgement?

If you accept - as many here appear to do that all organised religions are as much human constructs - as for example political parties and that these will always screw-up - it is really difficult for me to see where the problem lies in reaching a general agreement on the lines that I have suggested and been taken to task for.

Is it seriously being suggested that it should be accepted here that there is something that is divine about these organised religions?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 02:53 AM

Perhaps diversity of opinion and viewpoint is a higher-order state of affairs than agreement, Shambles. IMO, such diversity certainly is more reflective of our endless capacity for creative thinking.

I think that would be my definition of agreement. Such broad agreement as the kind I suggest on this matter would and does not only enable diversity of opinion and creative thinking it would encourage it.

Level playing fields do tend to encourage fair results and possibly enable creative thinking also.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 12:42 PM

Teams playing on even level playing fields have to contend with sun, wind, home town crowds (fans), and fickle referees. You will NEVER get totally neutral conditions for the endeavor, and debates will always rage about the fairness of specific playing seasons, games, plays within the game and individual behavior in any one play. And even 'instant replay' doesn't solve all debates!

If that is stretching the metaphor too far, let me just say again that "righteous indignation" is seldom very useful as a tool of debate, no matter HOW right you think you are on any issue...from disappointing ball games to unhappiness at religious behavior and institutions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 01:41 PM

Is it being suggested that the effort should not be made to ensure that any judgemenet is as fair as we can manage?

That we do away with 'due process of law' because we accept Bill D's generalisation that : You will NEVER get totally neutral conditions >snip


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 02:27 PM

Everyone needs a home, Shambles. I am please to see that you have found yours in this thread. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 02:54 PM

Regarding wife-beating, Shambles sez:
    But the scipture exist and if it is taught by the organised religion and accepted by the perpetrator to be the literal word of God - does not the organised religion at least share in the responsibilty? Whatever may be taught by organised religions - what seems to be leaned well - is the ability to make excuses?
Well, Shambles, I would suggest that it would be a misinterpretation of the sacred writings of most religions if one understands them to support spousal abuse. I can't make a general statement that all the writings of all religions thoroughly condemn spousal abuse because spousal abuse has been an aspect of some cultures, and religious writings usually reflect the cultures from which they sprimg. Generally, religions call people to a higher standard of conduct and higher ideals. There are some corrupt religious groups and groups within organized religions who do exactly the opposite - but they are generally the exception, not the rule.

On the other hand, I have to admit that religions do seem to attract people with strange ideas and conduct, and I don't know exactly why. Every congregations seems to have at least a few whackos - maybe these people find a home in church because church people are conditioned to tolerate others, even if those people are a bit strange. The whackos may be a nuisance at times, but they're generally harmless unless they're allowed to take a position of leadership in the congregation - and then all hell can break loose and it can be well-nigh impossible to break the whacko's grip on the power they've gained. An abusive battleaxe in the Altar Society can wreak havoc throughous an entire congregation. If one of those whackos becomes Mother Superior, you can end up with a situation like happened often in Ireland, as depicted in the films The Magdalene Sisters and Evelyn, or the scandal with abusive priests in the U.S., Ireland, and elsewhere. In another thread, Fionn implies (as always) that this was the norm for conduct within the Catholic Church - but in my experience, abusive conduct within churches has always been a deplorable exception to the rule, even though I have to admit that the Catholic Church has failed to deal with the abusers as it should have.

If I understand him correctly, Shambles says that "the ability to make excuses" is something that is taught by religions. In my experience, the exact opposite is true - religions generally call their members to a higher standard of conduct, and require errant members to repent and take responsibility for their misconduct. However, most Christian denominations have a fundamental belief in repentance, forgiveness, and starting anew (conversion) - and if this is misunderstood, it can cause real problems.

In the Catholic Church, I have never heard or seen an official statement condoning any sort of sexual abuse. However, I have heard sincere expressions of a belief that a molester can repent and reform, or that a molester can be given psychiatric treatment and cured. I believe in repentance and reform, too - that's one of my core beliefs, that no person is so depraved that he cannot change his life and turn toward good. However, I have interviewed a number of "former offenders" for government security clearances and I know that they can be very convincing in their statements of remorse and promises of reform. I tended to believe those statements, but I also knew that the recidivism rate was very high; so I knew that former thieves should not be given access to large amounts of money, and former molesters should not be given access to children. Church people tend to be unrealistically idealistic, and the Catholic Church made many tragic mistakes in allowing "reformed" molesters access to children.

The Magdalene Sisters problem was a bit different, since it was generally physical abuse instead of sexual abuse. When I was of school age, corporal punishment was still considered to be an appropriate method of discipline for children - and some people still think it is appropriate. Maybe it is appropriate at times for a parent to slap or spank a child - but every parent knows how easy it is to cross the line and do something regrettable when disciplining a child. It's often very hard to know where that line is, between what is appropriate and what is not. In an institutional setting like a school or an orphanage or a scout troop, that can be a real problem because it is so hard to define that line. The hard-liners were very reluctant to abandon corporal punishment, but I'm happy that it has been abolished in most settings in the Western world. There was a lot of harm done by people who "crossed the line," and institutions like the Catholic Church are going to be burdened with making reparations for a good, long time to come.

Still, it's important to analyze these situations fairly and honestly, and to avoid the temptation to demonize all the members of an organization for the misdeeds of some. Yes, there has been serious misconduct in almost every religious organization (and in almost every human institution) - but these problems will not be resolved if they are dealt with unfairly and if blame is placed where it is not due. Most religious people are very good people, and they do not deserve to be punished for the misdeeds of a few. Some religious people have used their religion as a vehicle for deplorable conduct, and they need to pay the price for their actions. And yes, religious institutions need to make reparations for the misdeeds done in their name, to at least some extent.

The matter of reparations is a very difficult matter. How long and how much must Germany pay for the misdeeds of the Nazis? How long and how much should Americans and Australians pay for harm done to the indigenous peoples of their countries? How long and how much must Catholics pay for the sexual abuses commited by priests? If I put twenty dollars in the collection plate to support the church, how much of my twenty dollars should be paid to somebody who was molested by a priest thirty years ago? It's not an easy question to answer. Yes, there should be reparation made - but to what extent, and by whom?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 03:33 PM

On the other hand, I have to admit that religions do seem to attract people with strange ideas and conduct, and I don't know exactly why. Every congregations seems to have at least a few whackos - maybe these people find a home in church because church people are conditioned to tolerate others, even if those people are a bit strange. The whackos may be a nuisance at times, but they're generally harmless unless they're allowed to take a position of leadership in the congregation - and then all hell can break loose and it can be well-nigh impossible to break the whacko's grip on the power they've gained. An abusive battleaxe in the Altar Society can wreak havoc throughous an entire congregation. If one of those whackos becomes Mother Superior, you can end up with a situation like happened often in Ireland, as depicted in the films The Magdalene Sisters and Evelyn, or the scandal with abusive priests in the U.S., Ireland, and elsewhere.

No comment - but only after using great restraint..*Smiles*


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Peace
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 05:07 PM

The religion didn't do that. Some people in positions of authority did that. Happens in politics, too. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. We can twist things from almost any book to suit our purposes. Found this on the web:

"Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other specific Biblical laws and how to follow them.

a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness (Lev.15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

d) Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

g) Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

i) I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? (Lev.24:10-16) Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)


I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging."

Just thought it was time for a laugh here. Have a nice day all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 05:09 PM

Congratulations, Shambles. Maybe you're learning.

All my life, I've been well aware of the myriad problems in the Catholic Church, even though my experience in the church has veen very positive most of the time. I've worked hard to right the wrongs done in the name of the Catholic Church, and I know many Catholics who have done the same. It is disheartening and unfair when outsiders condemn and blame all of us Catholics for the very ills we have fought against all our lives.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jan 06 - 06:57 PM

Praise Shatner! (oops)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 01:59 PM

A headline in today's Daily Telegraph reads:

Vatican admits that Inqusition was a mistake - but legally correct.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 02:07 PM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/01/30/ninq30.xml

Inquisition was a mistake but legally justified, claims Vatican official
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
(Filed: 30/01/2006)
The Vatican is preparing for fresh controversy over the Inquisition after allowing an official to appear in a television documentary to offer a defence of the "Holy Terror".

The Rev Joseph Di Noia, the Under-secretary of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, admits in a television series starting tonight that the use of torture and public burnings were "mistakes".

But the American-born cleric argues that these methods of suppressing heresy were explicable in the context of the times, when people believed passionately in heaven and hell.

Fr Di Noia's gloss on history is significant because the Congregation is the successor body to the Inquisition and, until last year, it was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.

The late Pope John Paul II apologised for the Inquisition in 2002.
He said the Church should show penitence for "accepting methods of intolerance or even violence in the service of truth".

The four-part documentary on the UKTV History channel draws on research gleaned from Vatican files only opened to scrutiny in 1998.

It highlights periods of the persecution that began in the 13th century and ended only in the late 1800s.
The Inquisition was established by Pope Gregory in 1233 as a special court to help curb the influence of beliefs deemed to deviate from official Church doctrine.

Interviewed in the documentary, The Secret Files of the Inquisition, Fr Di Noia says: "It was a mistake to torture people.

"However, torture was regarded as a perfectly justified, legitimate way of producing evidence and it was therefore legally justified."


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 02:15 PM

Congratulations, Shambles. Maybe you're learning.

Thank you Joe - I rather wish I could say the same for you but greatly regret that I can't....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 02:23 PM

A lot of mistakes are legally correct! LOL! Thousands of them. Look around.

Now let's talk about something that actually matters: William Shatner.

Isn't he just the greatest?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 04:08 PM

But the American-born cleric argues that these methods of suppressing heresy were explicable in the context of the times, when people believed passionately in heaven and hell.

Now this is interesting. The excuse is that this torture is explicable when individuals passionately believed in heaven and hell. I suggest that this fact should make it all the more inexplicable...

For no matter how enjoyable some people may find inflicting pain on others - few I suspect would consider it to be a good thing. Now how come all those involved in this suppression of heresy could undertake these bad things in its name - when they did so passionately believe in heaven and hell? They would know their fate for doing these bad things would be eternal damnation in hell. Or did they?

I am not sure thinking something like the Inquistion to be explicable makes any of it any more excusable. For it rather depends on what that explanation is.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 05:00 PM

Well, Shambles, corporal punishment was permitted in schools a generation ago, and it was the norm two generations ago. Now it's generally considered barbaric, and rightly so.

Five hundred years ago, torture was common practice. In our age, it's considered barbaric, and rightly so. It was barbaric then, but people didn't understand it to be so.

A generation ago, racial and ethnic and religious bigotry was the rule - now, for most people, it's the exception.

Some people, however, have failed to evolve.


-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 30 Jan 06 - 05:16 PM

It's all subjective, Shambles. Like you and me.

Now, let's talk about Shatner. That's a solid subject.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 02:06 AM

Five hundred years ago, torture was common practice. In our age, it's considered barbaric, and rightly so. It was barbaric then, but people didn't understand it to be so.

I know the Ten Commandments may not actually spell out - thou shalt not torture and burn or incite others to do so in my name - but would you accept that the eventually result of all this is covered by - thou shalt not kill? And even if it was not - such things certainly were then considered barbaric - especially if it was happening to you or members of your organised religion?

Folk do KNOW these things and (most) have natural inhibitors that prevent them undertaking such things - until they are TAUGHT by organised religions that such bad things are in fact not really so bad. And by some, that even if these bad things are done because of and in the name of organised religion - it can be forgiven and by the same organised religion that caused them to do it.   

As the tenents of many well-supported organised religions - especially those in the U.S. do passionately accept heaven and hell - is the Vatican saying that burning and torture is the inevitable end result of them succeeding in convincing the rest of us to accept this and is just punishment for those who may not accept this?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 02:18 AM

Well, Shambles, corporal punishment was permitted in schools a generation ago, and it was the norm two generations ago. Now it's generally considered barbaric, and rightly so.

If you can uderstand such progress - is it not possible to take the same view of organised religion? Not that it is barbaric (but much done in its name certainly was) but that it has had its time? Especially as a means of educating? For if ever this was the intention of organised religion - did this not turn to the attempted supression and control of knowledge - rather than its spread?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 03:14 AM

I am not sure thinking something like the Inquistion to be explicable makes any of it any more excusable. For it rather depends on what that explanation is.

When that explanation blames the context of the times but without the influential organised religions of those times taking any responsibilty for largely shaping those times - it sounds to me rather like yet another excuse.

It is seemingly OK for organised religions to blame individuals but not for individuals posting here to ever expect organised religions to accept blame for all the bad things done because of and in the name of organised religions.

The Vatican is saying - yes the torture and burning to suppress heresy which was led by the organised religion was a mistake - but it was not the organised religion's mistake - it was just the times when people passionately believed in heaven and hell. Without accepting the reason that this was the case - was that the organised religions TAUGHT us that it was the case. And set out to 'dazzle us with heaven or damn us into hell' (Leon Rossolson).

The victims of extortion and threats do usually have some sympathy from us. Those who extort and threaten, do not and are usually judged and blamed by us with little hesitation or excuse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 04:28 AM

Well, Shambles, I was taught in a Catholic seminary that the Spanish Inquisition was a horrible injustice, an atrocity. There is (and was) absolutely no legitimate excuse for it. Certainly, we can seek to understand what led people to such atrocities, but that's no excuse. I have never come across a Church History text that has made any attempt to excuse or downplay the Spanish Inquisition. I have heard people point out that this was the Spanish inquisition, and not worldwide - but note that at the time, the Pope was Alexander VI, of the Spanish Borgia family.
For most of its history, the Inquisition was simply a church court - that wasn't the case in Spain in the 1490's.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 07:43 AM

The Rev Joseph Di Noia, the Under-secretary of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, admits in a television series starting tonight that the use of torture and public burnings were "mistakes".

But the American-born cleric argues that these methods of suppressing heresy were explicable in the context of the times, when people believed passionately in heaven and hell.


It would seem that is being said in this quote is the use of torture and public burnings were mistakes.

I am not sure that whatever you are saying the Vatican is saying. But this quote does not seem to be saying that these attempts to suppress heresy were mistakes, or as you put it, a horrible injustice, or an atrocity.

It is saying that the terrible methods used to ensure that the tenets of one organised religion were generally imposed upon others by force - were explicable in the context of the times, when people believed passionately in heaven and hell.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,*daylia*
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 09:26 AM

From what I've read re the Inquistion, the Church per se never burned anyone. The Church, having no legal authority to put people to death, would hold a (twisted) "trial" to convict the person of heresy, then hand them over to the secular authorities for execution. The Church would not protect so-called "heretics" from the horrific secular "justice" of the times, but it did protect the faithful.

Just like in Jesus' day -- the Temple authorities tried Jesus, but handed him over to the Romans to be put to death.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,*daylia*
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 09:45 AM

The Spanish Inquisition (Wikipedia)

...The Inquisition was a religious court operated by Church authorities, but in contrast to other Inquisitions it did so under the supervision of the Spanish crown. If a person was found to be heretical, they were turned over ("relaxed") to the secular authorities to be punished, since "the Church does not shed blood". Torture was often used to gain confessions. Punishments ranged from public shame (dressing in the sambenito) to burning at the stake. Burning at the stake was carried out after death by garroting (strangulation) for those who repented; burning alive was for the unrepentant; and in effigy for those condemned in absentia ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 01:35 PM

to answer the rhetorical question from above:

"
Is it being suggested that the effort should not be made to ensure that any judgemenet is as fair as we can manage?"

No, indeed...if you add "as fair as we can manage practically". It is possible to define, rationalize, quibble, nit-pick, amend and otherwise analyze until nothing gets DONE. This is not usually the case for 'level playing fields', as instruments will tell you when a field is level.....but in matters of 'fairness', there are always subjective opinions about that never agree that a judgement is 'fair' until it agrees with certain pre-ordained conclusions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Spock
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 01:39 PM

Fascinating.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 01:45 PM

Well, Shambles, it could be that the tone of one person, Rev Joseph Di Noia, was not sufficiently contrite to satisfy you; or it could be the tone of the translator; or it could be the "spin" you put on his words. He said the Spanish Inquisition was explicable (explainable/understandable) because of the times - he did not excuse it.
Click here for the article on the Inquisition from the Catholic Encyclopedia. I can't find the publication date just now, but it was about 1915. I don't usually refer to it because of its age, but it gives a good indication that even Catholics a century ago, did not make excuses for the Spanish Inquisition.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 01:56 PM

We should conduct an immediate survey and find out how many Catholic Mudcatters deeply admire the Spanish Inquisition, and base their religious faith mainly upon its past record of meritorious public service... ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 02:05 PM

>>Is it being suggested that the effort should not be made to ensure that any judgemenet is as fair as we can manage?"<<

No, indeed...if you add "as fair as we can manage practically". It is possible to define, rationalize, quibble, nit-pick, amend and otherwise analyze until nothing gets DONE. This is not usually the case for 'level playing fields', as instruments will tell you when a field is level.....but in matters of 'fairness', there are always subjective opinions about that never agree that a judgement is 'fair' until it agrees with certain pre-ordained conclusions.

I can add the word 'practically' just so you will agree but is me having to do this because you require me to do so - just an example of the quibbling and nit-picking you refer to and which you appear have complete mastery of?

Would you accept that there is a difference between making a 'practical' effort to obtain a level playing field and going ahead in the full knowledge that it is not level whilst attempting to maintain that it is?

Are you suggesting that because what may be considered by many as 'fair' elections would also be matters of judgement, that efforts should not be made to ensure that they are as fair as practically possible?

Or that you might has well have them completely open to corruption and totally worthless because 'fairness' is subjective?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 02:10 PM

No....I think the only point I would suggest modifying was the one in your 34th to last paragraph, immediately following the word "and". I found that to be not entirely clear. Please restate it in detail, if you would be so kind, and ellaborate.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 02:38 PM

He said the Spanish Inquisition was explicable (explainable/understandable) because of the times - he did not excuse it.

If he does not take any responsibilty for his organised religion's part in largely shaping thise times - in my view his claim that these methods of suppressing heresy is explicable because of these times - is yet another excuse to support why some people think organised religions should be a special case.

Organised extortion rackets in 1930's Chicago could be blamed on the individuals concerned and the times but most of us would have little hesitation in blaming criminal organisations like the Mafia for these crimes and for largely shaping those times. I suggest that few of us would keep coming up with ingenious reasons why these criminal organisations should not accept the full responsibilty for the bad things done because of them and in their name.

Perhaps these organised gangs were not so bad and its members attended church, did good things for the community? And many of the bad things that were done in their name, were just bad folk using these organised gangs as cover and these organised gangs should not be blamed or expected to take the responsibility for this? As this would be an unfair attack?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 02:48 PM

Ah, yes. Food for thought! Hmmm.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 05:08 PM

You know, Shambles, it's really hard to argue with you, because it's really hard to figure out what you're saying.

So, yeah, since I can't win an argument with you I might as well admit it that Halloween is actually a subliminal Catholic celebration of the glorious victories of the Spanish Inquisition. You should believe that and stop trick-or-treating, so I can go to all the houses and get all the candy...

Oh, and those nuns you see walking around in habits - you may think they're innocent, but every single one of them is naked underneath. Oh, the scandal!!!

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 01 Feb 06 - 05:37 PM

"Would you accept that there is a difference between making a 'practical' effort to obtain a level playing field and going ahead in the full knowledge that it is not level whilst attempting to maintain that it is?"

yes...

"Are you suggesting that because what may be considered by many as 'fair' elections would also be matters of judgement, that efforts should not be made to ensure that they are as fair as practically possible?"

no...


"Or that you might has well have them completely open to corruption and totally worthless because 'fairness' is subjective?"

don't be silly...

The only point I was trying to make was that when subjectivity enters the process, someone must have the last word and the game must be played. This is similar to a point I and others have tried to make in the past in 'discussions' with you, Shambles. (A LOT of people, me included, thought that the Florida vote was 'unfair' in our 2000 election, but most of us are not continuously revisiting that or the court decision that allowed that election to stand.)

ok?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 02:20 AM

You know, Shambles, it's really hard to argue with you, because it's really hard to figure out what you're saying.

I often feel that some posters feel that they are compelled to argue with me - whatever I may be saying. Perhaps that is the problem? You have managed to understand well enough and respond sensibly up to this point in this thread....

It appears that when you run out of arguments to support your view or to challenge mine - rather than just move on - the next thing is to resort to making persoanal judgements or try and maintain that you do not understand what I am saying. Whatever you may say or do to try and discredit the messenger - the message will remain the same.

I am quite sure you understand perfectly well what I am saying and if there is something that you honestly do not comprehend - I am sure I can explain so that you do....

Perhaps the problem you have is that you do not really disagree with me at all but feel you have to and are trying too hard to do so?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 03:03 AM

The only point I was trying to make was that when subjectivity enters the process, someone must have the last word and the game must be played. This is similar to a point I and others have tried to make in the past in 'discussions' with you, Shambles.

Perhaps this was a point so minor and 'bleedin' obvious to us all - that it did not need to be made at all?

(A LOT of people, me included, thought that the Florida vote was 'unfair' in our 2000 election, but most of us are not continuously revisiting that or the court decision that allowed that election to stand.)

Perhaps that is why the result of your next election is likely to be just as unsatifactory?

The point that you keep trying to avoid in this thread is that a special case is made and many excuses given for the bad things done because of and in the name of organised religions - which are not made when bad things are done because of and in the name of other organisations.

Some posters who are more than ready to pass (and impose) their judgement here on individuals and many other things - are claiming that judgement placed upon organised religions is unfair.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 03:16 AM

I don't usually refer to it because of its age, but it gives a good indication that even Catholics a century ago, did not make excuses for the Spanish Inquisition.
-Joe Offer-


Joe perhaps the argument you and fellow catholics who think the Inquisition to be an 'atrocity' should be having is not with me but with this official view of your organised religion as expressed and sanctioned by the Vatican in this statement?

Which in my view and as explained, IS making excuses for your organised religion's part in the bad things done by the Spanish Inquisition.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 04:29 AM

You're repeating yourself, Shambles. I've answered your challenge - and you respond by simply repeating what you've said already.

You base your condemnation of the Catholic Church on the following statement:
    But the American-born cleric argues that these methods of suppressing heresy were explicable in the context of the times, when people believed passionately in heaven and hell.
Maybe the priest could have used stronger words, but maybe he was trying to convey an understanding how such a thing could happen. It was an age of atrocities, Shambles. Spanish conquistadors landed in the Americas about the same time, raping, pillaging, and slaughtering. A hundred years later, English Americans hanged women as witches at Salem. At about that time, Americans began their brutal history as slave owners, and they slaughtered American Indians for two centuries. I'm sure you can cite many instances of similar brutality in the British Empire at the time. And yes, religion was used as an excuse or a rationalization for many of these atrocities, and that is deplorable.

Is the only appropriate response to shake one's finger in disdain? Isn't it better to seek to understand why and how all these atrocities happened, so we can understand that we modern, enlightened people can be just as brutal if we make the same mistakes?

You speak as though I might belong to a small faction of "liberal" Catholics apart from the "real" Catholic Church, and that the "real" Catholics still support the Inquisition. I attended a Catholic seminary for eight years, Shambles - that's where they educate future priests. My professors were licensed by Rome to teach - and they're the ones who taught me forty years ago, that the Spanish Inquisition was an atrocity. I'm now employed by the Catholic Church to teach religion, and I also teach that the Spanish Inquisition was an atrocity.

Macchiavelli reigned supreme until well into the twentieth century, Shambles. People in power in Church, State, and Industry all believed they had a right to use whatever force they needed to control the lesser beings who were born to serve their power. That was then, and now is now - I doubt that a Spanish Inquisition is likely to take place in any church in the present or in the future. As a Catholic, do I still have to continue to grovel and make reparations for the Spanish Inquisition, which ended in 1620?

I have no defense for the Spanish Inquisition. It was a horrible thing. One could argue that it was the Spanish Crown that was primarily responsible, and that the Church was secondarily responsible - but does it really matter now? Should the Church wallow in guilt now, or would it be better for the Church to spend its energy and resources to serve the poor?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 06:16 AM

You base your condemnation of the Catholic Church on the following statement:

>>But the American-born cleric argues that these methods of suppressing heresy were explicable in the context of the times, when people believed passionately in heaven and hell.<<


The problem is partly because you think that I am condemning the Catholic Church and you appear to be programmed into an automatic defence. But what you are telling me is your organised religion' positions on the Inqusition is NOT what the Vatican spokesperson is NOW saying it is. But you still seem to think that you must excuse and defend it and argue with me rather than with the Vatican.

But I feel there are two issues arising from this statement.

One is the terrible methods like torture etc - (and I accept such things were was going on everywhere at that time) - and which the Vatican spokesperson accepts were 'mistakes'.

Two is the 'suppressing of heresy' - which the vatican spokesperson states were 'explicable in the context of the times, when people believed passionately in heaven and hell'.

It is probably the latter that I have most problems with and I suspect - if you were to be honest - would you. You may not be confused or unhappy about what is your organised religion's position NOW on the suppression of heresy - but I think it would be fair to say that others may be.

But there is a basic confusion. Organised reigion implies a common approach and generally accepted tenets - a well-trodden path for all its members to be happy to walk down.

If an organised religion (mainly it would appear for its survival) presents a path with many branches for it members to pick, choose and argue about - can it still be thought of and fuction as an organised religion?

Why does the Catholic religion in particular survive and be supported in a time when no one appears believe in what the Vatican is now saying nor passionately believes in heaven and hell? When this belief is what this whole organised religion is founded on and still maintains its grip on its members by - which is the fear of hell and the promise of heaven and in that order?

Why stay under a patched-up old umbrella that plainly neither keeps you dry enough or keeps enough sun off you?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 06:22 AM

Joe - Are those nuns you mention really naked under those habits?

And how do you know this?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 12:44 PM

He has insider information.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 01:56 PM

As for the nuns, Shambles, that's for me to know, and for you to find out.

You distort the basic beliefs of Christianity when you say it's based on a passionate belief in heaven and hell. Those are certainly part of the beliefs of almost all Christian denominations - but the primary emphasis of Christianity is on having a relationship with God, of seeking That which is beyond us. I know that's hard for a nonbeliever to understand, and that may be why all they see of religion is sin and guilt and heaven and hell.

You also seem to insist that religious denominations must have a strict uniformity of belief and obedience, and that is also a misperception. There are certain common beliefs that are defined in creeds and doctrines, but there is a vast amount of room for individual perception in most religious denominations. Within a given denomination, however, most believers agree on the basic beliefs - and I agree with most (maybe all) of the official beliefs of the Catholic Church (but not as they are defined in simplistic terms by the fundamentalists and news services). Certainly, there are those who seek a religion because they are afraid to think for themselves - and there are religious denominations that cater to that need. Some come to the Catholic church because they seek uniformity and "absolute truth," and some Catholic converts and some "cradle Catholics" have tried to recreate the Catholic Church according to their own narrow perception. We now have a situation where neoconservative Catholics question the orthodoxy of most bishops priests and nuns, and mistakenly see the Pope as the only source of truth and authority.

Shambles, you describe faith in terms that are far from the reality of the faith of many believers, and you posit that the "faith" you reject is the One True Faith. Well, the fact of the matter is that most believers don't believe what you insist they must believe. Certainly, there is profound truth in the faith of the Catholic Church and in the faith of all people of faith - but that faith cannot be expressed in sound bites and slogans.

You and Fionn and the Catholic fundamentalists keep insisting that I'm the one who does not know what is the essence of the Catholic Faith - and yet I'm the one who's employed to teach it. How is it you came to know so much? You take faith and redefine it in simplistic terms, and then reject it. It's a pretty classic case of "argumentum ad absurdum." And when the opposing argument is absurd, it's very difficult to argue against it.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 02:09 PM

Joe, you describe much of my own experience of the Episcopal Church, and of the anti-Christian rants that abound at Mudcat.

Once again I would like to offer a friendly challenge to any "naysayer" brave enough and clear-headed enough to begin to attempt to answer this question:

Can you please state what you DO believe in, in positive terms, without any denigration of any other belief system?

And, since this thread has the topic is has, perhaps anyone taking that challenge would also like to warrant that groups that believe similarly have never harmed others while hiding behind that belief system.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 02:32 PM

You take faith and redefine it in simplistic terms, and then reject it.

Perhaps you can demonstrate where I have ever rejected faith?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 06:59 PM

You distort the basic beliefs of Christianity when you say it's based on a passionate belief in heaven and hell. Those are certainly part of the beliefs of almost all Christian denominations - but the primary emphasis of Christianity is on having a relationship with God, of seeking That which is beyond us. I know that's had for a nonbeliever to understand, and that may be why all they see of religion is sin and guilt and heaven and hell.

It was the Vatican spokesperson who introduced the concept of a passionate belief in heaven in hell. And I do not say that it is Chirstianity that is based on this. What I said and stand by - is that this whole organised religion (i.e. the Catholic Church) is founded on this belief and maintains it grip on its members by the threat of heaven and the promise of hell - in that order.

If anybody can only see organised religion being sin and guilt and heaven and hell as you say - this is surely perfectly explicable given the times and history of organised religion? And where Christianity may be about a relationship with God and seeking what is beyond us as you say - I can go along with that. But what has any human constructed organised religion really got to do with God or a personal faith?

It is surely possible to have a relationship with God, to seek what is beyond us and have faith - without being a member of or accepting the tenets of any organised religion?

And if it is - what purpose does organised religion now serve?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 07:15 PM

"... what purpose does organised religion now serve?"

Music and sharing and ceremony and picnic lunches? I am not being factitious - some people just LIKE the 'togetherness'. It is impressive what churches do with light and buildings and music and pomp....not everyone cares for silent meditation and working it all out by themselves. IF they share a belief, I guess there are a few advantages to doing it in an organized way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 09:01 PM

I dunno about picnic lunches, Bill - but if you're Catholic, you get to have Friday night fish frys, with beer.
-Joe Offer-


Shambles sez:
    It is surely possible to have a relationship with God, to seek what is beyond us and have faith - without being a member of or accepting the tenets of any organised religion?
Certainly, Shambles - but if one shares belief and wants to be a member of a religious denomination, why not? And if one is choosing to join, is a 15th Century Inquisition particularly relevant to the choice, or should the basis of the choice be based on the current activities of the organization?

Believe me, Shambles, no Catholics praise the Spanish Inquisition, not even the right-wing Spanish Opus Dei demagogues. They may not use verbiage that you consider sufficently contrite, but you'll never hear words of celebration for the Spanish Inquisition. I'll agree that if you quoted him correctly, I might have wished the priest on TV to be more clear in his condemnation of the Spanish Inquisition - but the fact remains that Catholics don't applaud the Inquisition, and haven't for centuries.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 09:02 PM

"It is surely possible to have a relationship with God, to seek what is beyond us and have faith - without being a member of or accepting the tenets of any organised religion?

Absolutely! Coundn't agree more. You have just stated what I basically believe in for myself, Shambles...but not necessarily for others.

Then you say....

"And if it is - what purpose does organised religion now serve?"

Well, that's up to those who want the organized religion, isn't it? Maybe they just enjoy having a sense of community. Maybe they like the tradition. Perhaps it gives them a stronger sense of identity. Could be thousands of reasons, I suppose.

So I can do without it, but I don't object to it on principle.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 10:12 PM

I like the organized side of religion because it pushes me to think about and pray about things that I could so easily dismiss. "Fellowship" is not always fun-- sometimes it's hard work, that invites me to really stretch into unfamiliar territory.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Feb 06 - 11:14 PM

That's a very good reason for organized religion, Susan.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 02:16 AM

If you want to have picnics and share experiences with like-minded people - why not join the Mafia, or the KKK?

Joining these organisations are just as likely to enable a relationship with God, to seek what is beyond us and have faith.

In other words - all human constructed organisations are irrelevant to such spiritual matters but many bad things continue to be done because of these organisations and in their name. Would you accept this?

Those undertaken by The Mafia or KKK would be judged by many posters here without much question and the blame squarely placed by them on these organisations - no matter how good their picnics were.

The same cannot be said for organised religions.

Joe if you left your organised religion - you would be free to teach whatever you wished about the Inqusistion or anything else - without needing to argue, justify or defend this with anyone or any grouping in your organised religion.

However, you may have to give-up wearing the habit and oggling the nuns...............


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 02:31 AM

Joe if you left your organised religion - you would be free to teach whatever you wished about the Inqusistion or anything else - without needing to argue, justify or defend this with anyone or any grouping in your organised religion.

also you wouldn't feel obliged to argue, justify or defend to anyone outside - things that were held by your organised religion but which you did not agree with.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Here is more on what the Vatican's spokesperson was saying.

http://www.inquisitionproductions.com/home.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 04:41 AM

    In other words - all human constructed organisations are irrelevant to such spiritual matters but many bad things continue to be done because of these organisations and in their name. Would you accept this?
No, of course I wouldn't accept that. It may be true in your experience, Shambles, and I'm sorry about that, but I know from experience that it's just not true for me. Participation in a church has drawn me to probe deeper into the meaning and value of the wonderful mysteries of life that surround me, and it has provided me a structure that has enabled me to teach and serve many different people in many different ways. On top of all that, it gave me a darn good education, and a place to feel at home when I had no other home to go to. I was born, educated, married, raised children, and buried my mother in the context of my church. All that has relevance to me, despite the fact that I know my church isn't perfect (and I don't expect it to be, since it's a human institution). The Inquisition, while deplorable, is ancient history. Its relevance to my life is limited.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 08:39 AM

If you want to have picnics and share experiences with like-minded people - why not join the Mafia, or the KKK?

For God's sake Shambles (no pun intended) ... this? Even after carefully considering all the info and ideas and wisdom so kindly presented by your fellow Catters here for days and days on end??   

I don't know you at all, but I'm beginning to see what GUEST ragatash meant by --

Arguing with Shambles is like wrestling with a bathtub full of spaghetti....messy, interminable, and ultimately a complete waste of time.

If you really have it in for human organizations or something why not pick on, say, the military or the monarchy or secular law (as universal human institutions)? Better yet, pick on 'em all!! That way you could cover just about every human atrocity in history in one fell swoop.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 09:51 AM

If you really have it in for human organizations or something why not pick on, say, the military or the monarchy or secular law (as universal human institutions)?

If I did - I suspect that none of these would have many people feel they had some sort to duty to defend and find so many excuses for many bad things done because of these and in their name.

I remain a man that is open to persuasion. The use of reasoned argument is the only method that is likely to change any of my views.

It is looks clear that no ammount of reasoned argument will change a view that is held in spite of all reason. The tenets of organised religions are good examples of this and we see the results when these are taught to the young and attempts are made to impropose these fairy stories on others - as if they were the literal truth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 10:01 AM

It is looks clear that no ammount of reasoned argument will change a view that is held in spite of all reason.

Agreed. And your own posts here are the most excellent evidence of this yet!


... we see the results when these are taught to the young and attempts are made to impropose these fairy stories on others

Well, I impropose that they are "fairy stories" only for those who don't know any better yet.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 10:26 AM

I remain a man that is open to persuasion. The use of reasoned argument is the only method that is likely to change any of my views.

NOW I see why this goes around and around. Shambles is looking for reasoned argument that might persuade him of something and/or change his views. I see most of us, in this thread, offering instead a slice of what we ourselves experience as a helpful set of replies to what we perceive as a request for help in understanding the operation of a vast part of the world of today and tomorrow.

These are apples and rutabagas.

Shambles takes a gift (our sharing spirits) and responds that we are crazy-- how rude!

Others take his offer of reasoned debate and respond as if he has meant to insult us-- how rude!

Then the defensiveness sets in.

Neither party to the discussion is listening, because what we are listening for is not forthcoming. Each doggedly insists upon setting the paradigm for the discussion, and judges the other as wrong-headed for their paradigm.

Shambles, I have neither desire nor intent to persuade you of anything. That would be proselytizing. Are you "proselytizing" for irreligion? If so, I object to that, whether you intended it thus or not. If that is the result, shall I not hold you responsible for "Irreligion = good folk doing bad things?"?

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 10:30 AM

Brains are given to us for thinking with - not for washing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 10:50 AM

Anybody here trying to give Shambles a wash?

Shambles do you REALLY think that any of us are?

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 11:29 AM

perhaps we ALL need a wash This religious spaghetti wrestling seems to be addictive! ☺


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 11:53 AM

A wash? Well, if he's that stinky I figure that's his choice, and his problem. ;-)

From Shamble's opening post here -- It is only with region that good people do bad things.    -    and do them in the name of their religion.

Susan, assuming that "region" = "religion", is this what you meant by Others take his offer of reasoned debate and respond as if he has meant to insult us-- how rude!

Cause if it is, I beg to differ.

Does an 'offer of reasoned debate' start out by accusing an overwhelming majority of the world's "good" (whatever that means) folk, past and present, of doing "bad things" only because of, and in the name of, their religion?

Not in my book, anyway!

A while back, when I was a newbie to the internet and to this site, I started what ended up to be a monster of a thread called "Violence is the American Way?" The stupid thing went up to about 200 posts in 24 hours. It was supposed to be about an article of the same title by a American historian/scholar, which I'd found very interesting. I honestly wanted to debate the article, even used a "?" rather than a "!" in the title, hoping (in vain) that readers would see I wasn't trying to make a claim but to present an interesting point of view for honest discussion.

It didn't work. Every American on this site took offence at the title, and rightfully so I suppose. I was accused of flaming, trolling, everything under the sun. It was like I was on trial, and, most unfortunately, the article itself was sidestepped in the ensuing melee. I did learn something about how NOT to present a point of view from that experience though, so I suppose it was worth it.

I could excuse myself entirely for that mess of a thread, but I won't. Because truthfully, I'd started it just before the US invaded Iraq, and I WAS angry, and frightened, and resentful. So, even though I wouldn't admit it at the time, I knew I was "getting my digs" at the US with that title. And I paid the price, too.

Funny how this thread didn't raise half the amount of bile and ire as "Violence is the American Way?" though.   Maybe people are more likely to defer to men than to women? Or maybe Shambles and his mode d'etre are better known and more accepted here than I was? Or maybe because, in general, people love the USA more than religion?

Hmmmm ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Blind DRunk in Blind River
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 01:44 PM

NEVER "beg" to differ! People don't have no respect for beggers, eh?

Do what I do. Just flippin' DIFFER! And be proud of it.

Shambles, you are a flipfaced total flippin' retread that ouhgta flippin' stick his head in the toylet and FLUSH 3 times! I ain't religious. Not even slightly. I don't believe in God or nothin' like that. But I would be aggreeable to convert to almost any religion NOW if it would for once just SHUT YOU UP!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 02:37 PM

Does an 'offer of reasoned debate' start out by accusing an overwhelming majority of the world's "good" (whatever that means) folk, past and present, of doing "bad things" only because of, and in the name of, their religion?

Whether it does or whether it doesn't - the result is a thread containing much reasoned argument. Which should be food for thought for all of us. It certainly is for me.

But on this subject - there would appear to be a point where certain people seem to abdicate reason. Perhaps it should not be a surprise that those who have already abdicated reason in favour of accepting the tenets of an organised religion should do this?

However, it is frustrating that some do come so close to a reasoned and fair approach on this subject before jumping back on what appears to be the comfort of a conditioned response. Like the frustration of someone who would now be able to walk perfectly well without the aid of a crutch but just refuses to take that step.

There was a time when it could be argued that organised religion provided us all with a useful crutch. But there are many reasons why this crutch is not required and now actually threatens to impede the act of walking forward.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 02:48 PM

Having spent an entire life free of organized religion, Roger, I'm not too worried about it.

There was a time when it could be argued that the western concept of romantic love provided us all with a useful crutch. But there are many reasons why this crutch is not required and now actually threatens to impede the act of walking forward.

There was a time when it could be argued that the unrestricted profit motive as a rationale for organizing society provided us all with a useful crutch. But there are many reasons why this crutch is not required and now actually threatens to impede the act of walking forward.

There was a time when it could be argued that the search for military supremacy provided us all with a useful crutch. But there are many reasons why this crutch is not required and now actually threatens to impede the act of walking forward.

There was a time when it could be argued that antibiotics provided us all with a useful crutch. But there are many reasons why this crutch is not required and now actually threatens to impede the act of walking forward.

There was a time when it could be argued that the FDA and the AMA provided us all with a useful crutch. But there are many reasons why this crutch is not required and now actually threatens to impede the act of walking forward.

There was a time when it could be argued that political party organizations provided us all with a useful crutch. But there are many reasons why this crutch is not required and now actually threatens to impede the act of walking forward.

There was a time when it could be argued that multi-level marketing schemes provided us all with a useful crutch. But there are many reasons why this crutch is not required and now actually threatens to impede the act of walking forward.

There was a time when it could be argued that debating the many points raised on this very thread provided us all with a useful crutch. But there are many reasons why this crutch is not required and now actually threatens to impede the act of walking forward.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 03:17 PM

If you did argue those things - most would accept it - very few would feel you were insulting them and feel they had to defend those things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 03 Feb 06 - 03:21 PM

To the contrary, there are many that would feel I was insulting them and feel they had to defend those things, and would talk themselves blue in the face doing so. They already have, on numerous other threads.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 07:56 AM

Hmmm...........

I see it it terms of 'branding'.

There is detergent. It is pretty much the same basic product - whatever its fancy name or whatever clever marketing claims are made for it.

As time goes on and we get more educated - we are generally accepting that there is little real differnce between these products - other than the marketing claims made for them and the shape of the package.

Folk may be loyal to a partcular brand but would not be able to prove that their preferred brand was any better that any other named brand or from a very basic and un-marketed one.

If because of time, more knowledge and enducation your particular brand (brand A) was not only seen to be no better that anything else but perhaps had some ingredient that was actually doing bad things that its manufactures accepted (but largely excused) - it might be thought reasonable that it was time to distance yourself from this brand? You would still be able to use detergent and this knowledge would not make all detergent a bad thing (but some may argue that it is).

Where in the case of particular branded detergents - reason would probably prevail in the end - in the case of organised religions - reason does not seem to be a factor, past a certain point.

I suppose if you were taught from your ealiest years that brand A was the only true detergent and not to be blamed for its harmful side-effects - it may be equally difficult for reason to prevail even when self-preservation is so strong in us all?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 08:27 AM

Having spent an entire life free of organized religion, Roger, I'm not too worried about it.

Perhaps you should be worried? For organised religion does worry about you..........

And perhaps it is not this life that matters?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 10:03 AM

The Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II was characterised by its multi-ethnic nature and religious tolerance. Byzantine Greeks, native Jews, Muslim Arabs, Normans, Longobards and "native" Sicilian peoples lived in harmony. Feudalism was introduced in a form slightly different from that of Norman England, with more emphasis on royal authority, and slavery virtually abolished. Freedom of worship was preserved, with mosques, synagogues, Byzantine (Orthodox) churches and Latin (Roman Catholic) cathedrals existing side-by-side. Personal rights were respected, and the legal code permitted the accused to be tried according to the laws of their own ethnic culture. The "Norman-Arab" style of art and architecture flourished. It was Sicily's Golden Age.

You can read more about my illustrious namesake on the following site.

http://www.bestofsicily.com/mag/art124.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 05 Feb 06 - 07:04 PM

This life matters some, Shambles, but I don't think it's all there is. That's just my opinion, it's not a religious statement.

Do you figure we'll reach 500 posts?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 02:17 AM

Having spent an entire life free of organized religion, Roger, I'm not too worried about it.

You speak as if you have had your entire life already. Are you planning to leave it now? I trust not. if not there is always time for these claws to do their duty and grip you in order to save your soul.


Perhaps there are three groups?

Those like you who claime to have always been free of it.

Those like me who have struggled to be free of it.

And those who are not free of it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 10:45 AM

There are as many groups as you care to define.

Those who treat it as a social institution, but don't comprehend the basics.
Those who are intimidated by anything they don't understand, so they 'belong' but don't participate.
Those who use it as a base to further their business interests..

and so on to ∞................................(with everyone defining categories from their point of view.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 11:51 AM

No - those three examples are sub groupings of my third catagory - those who are not free of it.

Members of my other two categories are as free of organised religion as it will allow them to be.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 12:30 PM

I am free of many things, Shambles...

Organized religion, a 9-5 job, political party affiliation, marriage...

Organized religion has so far done absolutely nothing to force me to be like them, unless you count a scant few visits from Jehovah's Witnesses, one from the Mormons, and the odd conversation with some ardent Christian who wanted to "ssve" me.

Why should I feel threatened by any of those things? Am I so fragile that I cannot tolerate living in a world where some people belong to religions and think they can save me? So what? Let them think what they want.

If I was in Saudi Arabia, THEN I would be worried about organized religion, my friend. In Canada it does not worry me in the least.

Where are you living that it would worry you so much?

What if God turned out not to have any stake whatsoever in backing or promoting organized religions! Wouldn't that be amusing?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 03:59 PM

I really have read this entire thread, and for the most part it's gone the way of most, with lots of bickering about what's wonderful and what isn't about things as they should be.

It seems to me that what's important is to recognize that certain people, who have political power, are intent on doing what I consider horrific things "in the name of God;" and frankly I'm afraid they may be able to get by with it.

The nut cases (my personal opinion) are a lot closer to home than most people realize; but perhaps that's just because I'm where they're highly visible.

A look at one who is being pushed to be the next Republican Candidate for President

I'll concede that this is a slightly biased article, but I see enough of this guy to give quite a lot of credence to what it says, and he has an incredible amount of "support."

I'm not sure, even in Canada, I'd feel comfortable with this guy's finger on the trigger down here.

It is not necessary to debate whether religion is good or bad, or whether people who are religious are good or bad. There are organized and powerful people using the name of religion who are determined to fundamentally change the US and thereby the world.

I don't want to see it happen.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 04:45 PM

Those like me who have struggled to be free of it.

Shambles, I am sorry to say that IMO this isn't something Mudcat can help you with.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 06 Feb 06 - 05:01 PM

No, but perhaps a good therapist could...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 02:18 AM

Not sure that I asked anyone here for any help..............All that was asked for here was debate.

And the word was 'struggled'. Past tense.

But is there anywhere where organised religion does not feel they need to save your soul?

Except down below - when it is too late..........


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 03:06 AM

It seems to me that what's important is to recognize that certain people, who have political power, are intent on doing what I consider horrific things "in the name of God;" and frankly I'm afraid they may be able to get by with it.

That they do get away with such things and the reasons why those who could prevent it do not do so - is indeed worrying.

The right to insult and cause offence


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 05:19 AM

But is there anywhere where organised religion does not feel they need to save your soul?

One of the places where I have felt as low as I tend to get - is when away from family and friends, in what I find for this reason, to be very lonely hotel rooms.

And guess what - if you look next to your bed you will usually find something (apart from the contents of the mini-bar and the telly porn) that some organised religion has provided for your spiritual comfort.

You can run but you can't hide and you will never be free from those who are told it is their duty to save you - whether you wish to be saved or not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 08:44 AM

US Senate Bill S520 cosponsored by the above cited potential Republican Presidential Candidate.

A brief extract:
[quote]
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Constitution Restoration Act of 2005'.
TITLE I--JURISDICTION
SEC. 101. APPELLATE JURISDICTION.
(a) Amendment to Title 28- Chapter 81 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
`Sec. 1260. Matters not reviewable
`Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer or agent of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official or personal capacity), concerning that entity's, officer's, or agent's acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.'.
(b) Table of Sections- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 81 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
`1260. Matters not reviewable.'.
[end quote]

The meaning and intent of this bill is to prohibit any hearing or comment by the US Supreme Court, and by extension by any Federal Court, of any protest against any public action that claims to be "in God's name."

The specific surface actions intended are to permit posting of the Ten Commandments in public places, and to permit mandatory school prayer where any local jurisdiction chooses to require it. It would, in effect, permit any local school board to prohibit completely the "teaching of evolution" and would allow the enforced teaching of "creationism" as the entire "science curriculum" wherever a local jurisdiction chose to do so.

Should a local judge decide that you need "anger management" training, he would be permitted to order, and you could not appeal his order, that you attend counselling at the church of his/her choice not yours.

Should a local judge invoke the biblical punishment of stoning for blasphemy, the Federal Courts would be prohibited from hearing an appeal.

Additional text of the bill provides for the removal of any Supreme Court Justice, and by extension any Judge of any Federal Court, who offers an opinion on any case coming under this act.

While there remains, perhaps, some question whether the current President Bush really "believes" or is merely a political opportunist using the "born agains" as a source of political support, there is NO QUESTION that this Senator intends to impose HIS GOD on all of the world. The US is just a start, in his plan.

This bill failed to pass in the 2005 legislature, but not by a comfortable margin. It will almost certainly be re-introduced, in one form or another.

It parallels directly the imposition of a "state religion" by the newly elected Nazi political machine in 1933, in my opinion, and has just as much chance of eventual success. This, and other related actions already accomplished, and goals clearly demonstrated, by those associated with this Senator have every possibility of putting the US in exactly the same "nationalistic/religious expansionist" mode as was seen in Germany in subsequent years.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 09:44 AM

But is there anywhere where organised religion does not feel they need to save your soul?

Who's "they", Shambles? Organized religion is not a "they". Organized religion is an "it", and as an "it", it feels not. Notta blessed thing about anything, in fact. Organized religion is simply not capable of emotion.

Re hotel rooms --- how about the many, many folk who really do find inspiration, guidance and comfort via those Gideon Bibles in their hotel rooms? Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, their rights and preferences are just as important and viable (not to mention just as misguided) as your own.

If you don't like it, don't look at it. Simple. But leave the people who do appreciate it alone. Same with horror movies, late-night news, call girls, rock'n roll, pet goldfish, the key of Eb minor, the colour purple ...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 09:52 AM

John:

That Bill is an alarming and subtle perversion of the separation of powers, isn't it. Turns the whole thing upside down. instead of requiring the state not be involved in religion, it requires that Justice not be applied to anything that notionally claims to be religious. A complete perversion of the original intent, insidiously disguised.

And somewhat disgusting.

In a wiser era, Brownback would have been laughed out of the hustings at an early stage of the process.

A.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 02:33 PM

I don't get why it bothers you, Shambles. I really don't. I have stayed in many motels, and, yes, I'm aware there's always a Bible in the drawer. So? I don't have to read it. It's there for those who want it (who are probably in a small minority). There's also a TV there. I never use the TV, because I choose not to watch TV. It annoys me just slightly seeing that TV, whereas the Bible does not annoy me at all. Evidently a TV pushes my buttons, whereas a Bible pushes yours.

You have to look into your own feelings and reactions on this, not complain about the fact that some other people in this world are religious. The only thing you are at the mercy of in that hotel room is your own reactions to things. Your past is messing up your present by controlling your thoughts and making you unhappy when you see a Bible or hear about religion. Give it up. It doesn't matter. No one will force you to be religious if you don't want to be.

I'll tell you why TV bothers me. Because of the ads. I don't like hearing some obnoxious ad that is trying to get me to buy something I don't want. Accordingly, my solution is simple...I don't turn on the TV. I am now annoyed by the fact that when I go to the movies, I have to sit through advertising and a bunch of raucous previews before I get to see the film I paid to see! ARGH!

You see, Shambles, you and I have different hangups. It would be nice if we had none, wouldn't it? We'd be happier.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 07 Feb 06 - 03:52 PM

Actually, having come back to look at this again, I think the expression "to the extent that relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer or agent of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official or personal capacity), concerning that entity's, officer's, or agent's acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.'" is passing strange.

Literally taken, it means that you cannot get a court to hear a request for relief based on anyone's assertions about God, which is all well and good.

But that is the surface interpretation. The obvious illogic here is (1) does it have some other intended use in application? and (2)if not, why is it necessary? It is not as though there were a rash of epople being sued because they said a prayer or claimed a belief in Zarathustra as the source of all law. What ill is this Bill intended to remedy? If it is not remedying some known situation, why is this fellow proposiing it at all??.

One answer is that there is in fact a scondary agenda for the bill, coupled to but not explicit in its language, as John seems to deduce.

If this is the answer, then the man is not qualified for office as he is a slimeball.

Another possible answer is that the man is grandstanding to win the approval of a base just for PR gestures which do not improve anything of substance.

If this is the answer, the man is not qualified for office, because he is hollow and a PR manipulator.

A third possibility is that the man is so occupied with his focus on Christian icons that he can't see the trees for the forest, and is sucked up by his convictions into an unreality.

If this is the case the man is not qualified for office, because he is deluded by his preoccupations.

So anyway you cut it, as far as I can see, the man should never have been considered as a candidate for office.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 12:57 PM

You have to look into your own feelings and reactions on this, not complain about the fact that some other people in this world are religious.

As you are well aware - I am not complaining about what other individuals may choose to believe - what would be the point of this? That is their choice. The point here was simply to answer your claim to be free of organised religion.

Simply to point out that it is difficult to be totally free of those who wish you to believe what the tenets of their organised religion tell them and that if you or I do manage to be free of organised religion and its influence - it is not for the lack of these organised religions and their members feeling that they have to try.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 01:21 PM

Re hotel rooms --- how about the many, many folk who really do find inspiration, guidance and comfort via those Gideon Bibles in their hotel rooms? Have you ever considered that maybe, just maybe, their rights and preferences are just as important and viable (not to mention just as misguided) as your own.

Are the hotel rooms occupant's rights are being served by only being supplied with one organised religion's holy book for them to find comfort in? Those who follow that particular version of that organised religion may find comfort in being supplied with it - others may be deeply offended.

But it is exactly because I recognise that as a human being I may be misguided that I am concerned about fairy stories are taught to our children as fact and that scientific 'fact' is still being dismissed by many organised religions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 01:24 PM

I think it's a nice tradition to have the Bible in the drawer in the motel, but I wonder if they'll ever come up with a more recent translation. I read the Bible regularly, but I've rarely spent any time with a Gideon Bible. The Authorized Version (King James) may be a literary masterpiece, but it's more of a museum piece today. Still, there are some good stories in the Bible - excellent folklore for all you folkies out there, if you're not too politically correct to appreciate it. I like the Buddhist reading material better - you find that quite often in motels in California.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 02:41 PM

Are the hotel rooms occupant's rights are being served by only being supplied with one organised religion's holy book for them to find comfort in? Those who follow that particular version of that organised religion may find comfort in being supplied with it - others may be deeply offended.

Well, with professional counselling there may still be hope for the deeply offended.

And I'm glad I'm not faced with the Gideons PLUS, say, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Koran, the Torah etc every time I need a motel room. Like most of the population of North America, at least I could actually read (and maybe even comprehend) an English version of the Bible. If I cared to.

The others? *whew* they'd probably keep me awake all night.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 03:17 PM

Hey Joe -

The Authorized King James Bible, I'm told, isn't authorized. King James ordered it, but never got around to doing the paper work to accept the delivery. Or maybe it's just an urban myth.

I haven't travelled much lately, but on my last few trips a few years back I found it much more likely that the Mormon Bible would be in the motel room than the King James. Chicago, Milwaukee, Northern California, etc. Is that a trend?

Amos -

The problem is that this guy has lots of people who are extremely well organized, and who think all his ideas are just great. They've already done some damage, and could conceiveably create a new Reich right here in River City.

Ordinarily I'd dismiss This site as a bunch of conspiracy mongers; but I see too many reports on Mr. B to dismiss it entirely. You'll likely recognize several well known names.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 03:17 PM

Well, with professional counselling there may still be hope for the deeply offended.

Deeply offended as in calling for ALL THOSE WHO INSULT MUSLIMS TO BE BEHEADED?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 04:24 PM

You know, Shambles, I don't think you'll find anybody here who's in favor of beheading - not even the religious people.

So, what's the connection between the Gideon Bible and beheading? I have to say I look on the Gideon Bible as mearly an interestingly quirky part of Americana (which has spread to other parts of the world). I see no reason to suppress it. I'm so sorry that it annoys you - but hey, isn't it at least less annoying than McDonald's Hamburgers?

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 06:00 PM

LOL! I love it. I think this thread may yet outlast the MOABS.

Shambles, NEVER assume that you know what I am or am not "well aware of". I might just have blissfully missed your last key point, for all you know.

Here's why motels and hotels don't supply all the other possible religious books, plus the "Atheist's Companion", in order to comfort ALL their visitors in those moments of stress and loneliness:

They're too cheap! It would cost them a lot of money to provide a large variety of such books. Accordingly, they do the minimum necessary...what they figure is simply a token gesture to what was once a "Christian" society (at least in name), little realizing in their innocence that it will offend certain people like YOU! (chuckle)

Same deal with the TV. I don't care for TVs much, but will that stop them from providing one? I don't think so. I also don't care for really tacky, third rate pastoral art and ratty old carpets. Same deal.

And there's one other reason why they don't provide the 25 most important sacred texts in the world in a motel room: The little drawer by the nightstand isn't big enough to hold them all!

Got any more thoughts to share? I await them eagerly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 06:14 PM

with folks like Sam Brownback, that John in Kansas noted, getting into the power centers, it may soon make little difference whether 'religion' is organized or not. The Brownbacks of the world will 'organize' the laws, the Constitution and the courts until even relatively sane churches are rendered irrelevant.

There is no way to stress enough what a danger the extreme "christian evangelical movement" represents to basic rights and freedoms. They intend to become western versions of Muslim extremism and end up ***controlling*** church AND state in a country which was founded with the idea that the entities should be separate!

READ what John posted about Brownback and ponder how someone with those ideas can be elected Senator!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 06:16 PM

and just keep this at the top and ruin Joe's day..


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 06:16 PM

500!


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 06:58 PM

I feared it would come to this... (grin)

Can we yet dream of reaching 600? If we reach 700, the 700 Club should be informed at once.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 07:31 PM

I believe bibles are given freely to motels, hospitals, etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 07:36 PM

AHA! That explains it. People around here will gladly take anything off your hands if it's "free". Anything. Trust me. Old rusty crap that's totally useless. Books no one will ever read. Stale dog shit. Anything.

I always wondered why cynical old nasty and totally atheistic motel owners that look like vultures would be so kind as to provide Bibles in their rooms for the customers. Now I know. ;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 08:30 PM

Usually, from what I've heard, the Bible and the local "Entertainment Guide" are provided at no cost to the motel/hotel operators; but they still have the hassle of making the cleaning persons check and make sure that a fresh (enough) copy of each is in place, so it's not a total no-cost for them to actually keep the rooms supplied.

I've noted that the Bible was more often missing than the local guide to strip joints and massage parlors, so I'd suspect they're more careful about having what the customers want than about .......

Nah - couldn't be.

More people need a Bible than that other stuff, and take one home.

??

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 09:00 PM

I can just see it now. Shambles checks into a motel. He immediately goes to see if his worst suspicions are once again confirmed, and there is a religious tract secreted in the drawer! Thus once again oppressing and harassing him by trying to save him when he doesn't want saving!

To his surprise and consternation, there is nothing in the drawer except a TV Guide, a Reader's Digest, and a guide to the local strip joints and watering holes!

He can't believe it.

He searches every inch of the room, checks under the bed, behind the curtain, under the dresser, in the closet, in the toilet reservoir....no Bible.

He becomes incensed, and charges off to the front desk to protest.

"I know it's hidden in there somewhere," he yells, shaking his fist in the proprietor's face. "I know you religious nuts! Just tell me where it is now, and stop toying with me!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Amos
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 09:15 PM

Actually, LH, it is because the Atheists, Buddhists, Zorastrians, Mammaluccans, Griswaldian Rnewalists, Thorenologists, Lapidapatrists, Candidiolics, Sesquipalians, Crustacean Simonists and other groups have never had a guy like Mister Gideon rise up in their conclaves and start pouring out their holy books at the made rate established by Gideon's foundation.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 09:24 PM

There you go. If my church, the Church of Winona Ryder, only had sufficient funds we could have OUR holy book (lots of great pictures of Winona and quotes of stuff She has said) in EVERY hotel and motel room in the WOOOORLDDD! And we will. Just you wait and see.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 09:28 PM

My church needs your help urgently. My church is a little shrine in my room with a picture of Winona Ryder on it, and we are in bad shape at this point, partly because of that shoplifting scandal and partly because I'm the only local member.

We are accepting both converts and contributions from any and all sources. Winona must be restored to her former glory!

Call 1-800-2WIN-ONA....don't hesitate. Call now and pledge your contribution! We suggest $500. Lifetime membership for $1,000.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 09:36 PM

Is taking a Bible from your hotel room considered a sin? Is it a minor infraction like stealing the wash towels? I assume that someone who steals a Bible is in need of spiritual counsel, and therefore it is forgiveable. What about taking a Bible from a retail store? How about a really nice Bible with gold leaf and a leatherette cover? Surely that would be forgiveable as well. How about a Porsche with a bible on the back seat?
These are, I know, baffling theological questions, but I thought since Joe O was already here...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 09:40 PM

Man, those calls are just pouring in. Hooo-wee! Don't be left out. Call 1-800-2WIN-ONA now. You could miss out on the Rapture and be just one of those left gnashing his teeth and wailing in the shadows.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 10:02 PM

LOL! And if they ask "Smoking or Non?" when you check in you might be in trouble. If they ask "Bible or Non?" know you are definitely in BIG trouble. And if they ask "Breathing or Non?", well!   toodleoo   hasta la vista    bon voyage   godspeed   (no offence :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 10:23 PM

Leej, the Gideons put them out in those rooms hoping they will be carried home by someone in need. I kinda doubt the retail proprietors have the same thought in mind. :~)

I went to a Gideon's dinner once, where they were raising funds via local churches to buy and place those motel-drawer editions. Guess what! They were regular guys!

BTW, the reason they (and the many others who give away Bibles) use the KJV is because it's copyright-free. Think of it as the Mudcat's cousin in free-use resources.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 10:31 PM

OK. I'll keep it, then. But I guess I really ought to return the other one to Borders.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Bill D
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 10:38 PM

" I assume that someone who steals a Bible is in need of spiritual counsel, and therefore it is forgiveable."

You might be in a 'little' bit of trouble.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 11:01 PM

Looks like the Wyandotte Public Swimming Pool on Independence Day, Bill.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 08 Feb 06 - 11:19 PM

LH -

Is your alter anything like this Triptych?

(Miles Mathis - living & working artist)

Last time I looked the Gideons carried a message saying you were "invited to take it with you." That's been some time ago, so it may have changed.

I actually was at the desk in one hotel when an IRATE patron came down to complain that there wasn't one in his room. The manager(?) finally found one for him, in the maintenance room, on the cleaning cart, in the bottom of the trash barrel underneath the plastic liner where the "maids" carried them to have them handy for replenishment.

Maybe that guy was Shambles?

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 01:59 AM

Guess what! They were regular guys!

Not too sure what a 'regular guy' is it could be the effigy of Guy Fawkes that children in the UK guy are still taught and encouraged to burn at the stake on November 5th. This in order for them to remember the punishment received by the Catholic plotters who failed to blow-up our Parliament.

But I am sure that the members of the Holy Inquistion or members of the SS would have been thought by many and especially by themselves to be regular guys. I would be prepared to place more trust in those who were not thought to be 'regular guys'and did not think of themselves as being good.

For those who consider themselves to be good can group together and do a great deal of bad things. For the danger of this sort of thinking is that anyone who does not share this view or is seen to criticise them - is thought to be bad and therefore fair game.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 02:07 AM

So, what's the connection between the Gideon Bible and beheading?

Were you to kindly supply one to some of the Musilim fanatics currently demonstrating so angrily on the streets of the world and calling for anyone who insults them to be beheaded - you may find out.

But we must not risk losing our heads over this...........


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 02:09 AM

http://ky.essortment.com/gideonbible_rcwz.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 02:31 AM

LEJ asks:
    Is taking a Bible from your hotel room considered a sin?
I dunno, LEJ. Never tried to take one, myself. I wanted one of the Buddhist books from a California hotel, and the manager said I couldn't take it. Dunno if it's sinful - but it might get you arrested...
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 02:55 AM

Is is now written that?

Thou shalt not steal - except for copies of the bible from hotels.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 06:13 AM

I am sure that me going out on the streets to violently demonstrate dressed as a suicide bomber waving placards saying BEHEAD ALL THOSE WHO INSULT ME would be judged by some posters here as an example of bad people doing bad things.

Will these people who are currently doing this with placards calling for ALL THOSE WHO INSULT MUSLIMS TO BE BEHEADED be judged a good example of good people doing bad things because of and in the name of their organised religion?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 06:16 AM

Or will this be excused too?


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 07:19 AM

I lost my head once. All in the name of a soon-to-be-locally-organized religion. Found it again real quick though. None the worse for wear, either. And I learned -- don't sweat the small stuff. A head in hand is worth two in the bush, after all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 08:07 AM

PS -- on a more serious note, here's how a Bible close at hand can bring comfort and inspiration, even for an excommunicant like myself. If you remember, the first time I posted on this thread a month ago, a friend had just committed suicide. (If it wasn't for that I would have continued to ignore this thread).

The next day I was on my way to the funeral with my oldest son. He'd stopped at the bank, I was waiting in the car, feeling totally miserable. I've very little experience with funerals at all, and I was dreading what awaited at the funeral home. I was fluctuating between grief and anger and guilt and regret -- and I wanted to be a bit less of as basket case before I faced his poor family.

Thinking about this, I noticed a copy of "Living With Christ -- the Catholic Missal" lying beside me on the seat. I picked it up, held it in my hands, closed my eyes, and asked Jesus to please guide me to the passage that would do the most good. Flipped it open and lo and behold, my eyes were on the part just before Lazarus was raised from the dead. Sorry I don't know the passage/verse offhand, but it said that Jesus was in deep grief, weeping for Lazarus and his family -- not because he was dead (I think), but because his friends had not really heard or understood or believed the truths he'd tried to teach them.

This was just what I needed to hear --- first, that even Jesus became "basketized" at the death of a friend (which means I'm in Wonderful Company!), and second that what happened to my friend happened, essentially, because all his life he'd ignored / ridiculed / refused to live by the spiritual principles of love, compassion and respect for life (including himself); because he knew nothing of his own true nature or of life beyond what he was physically, no reason to hope for anything different, no teachings to fall back on, no "inner tools" to help fix whatever was tormenting him so badly.

Anyway, I'm just grateful that book was right there beside me when I needed it; that I had the presence of mind to ask for help and to recognize that help when it came. Even though "the Catholic Missal" is not my first choice among religious texts.

And I'm also grateful that I live in the 21st Century, and not say the 11th. The technique I used with that book could be construed as "divination" -- I think the word is "bibliomancy" -- and I could have been burned at the stake for it I suppose. Interesting how Jesus doesn't seem to mind, though!    :-)

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 10:01 AM

There is no way to stress enough what a danger the extreme "christian evangelical movement" represents to basic rights and freedoms. They intend to become western versions of Muslim extremism and end up ***controlling*** church AND state in a country which was founded with the idea that the entities should be separate!

This is so true, Bill. I often forget how different the political situation is for my American neighbours. In my locale, evangelical Christians (or any other type of Christian) are hardly visible at all -- certainly no threat to anyone or anything. So it's not easy to relate to all the hatred and fear and resentment pouring out of so many Americans around the subject of religion today. Mention religion and they hit the ceiling -- it's like touching a nerve.

The US is in a very dangerous predicament right now, but I do have trust in democracy and in the American people. They will eventually overcome and set things right.

daylia


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: GUEST,Ned
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 11:48 AM

Shambles - "I am sure that me going out on the streets to violently demonstrate dressed as a suicide bomber waving placards saying BEHEAD ALL THOSE WHO INSULT ME would be judged by some posters here as an example of bad people doing bad things."

No, I would call that..."ignorant and unwise people doing pointless and totally useless things".

How does a suicide bomber dress, anyway? Do they wear special outfits? This ought to make it much easier to detect and prevent them...


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 12:33 PM

How does a suicide bomber dress, anyway? Do they wear special outfits? This ought to make it much easier to detect and prevent them...

The demonstrator that was pictured on the front of our newspapers only had 'mock' bombs strapped to his person.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 01:38 PM

What a remarkable load of shite you wrung out of one offhand sentence in my post, Shambles! How brilliantly you read my mind to know and argue with what I had been thinking!

Uh, I think that's called TROLLING. Now you can demand that I defend that what you wrote is NOT responsive to what I was thinking, and from there you can try to generate another 500 posts quibbling about whether I ought to explain myself and whether I'm right and.......!

But.... I think I'll move to North Carolina instead.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 02:08 PM

Of course if it were 'trolling' - you could of just ignored it.

I think it rather interesting that your use of the word 'guy' probably originates with religious persecution - don't you? No obviously not as you think it shite....


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 02:23 PM

"Guy"? Elaborate on that, if you would...

Naw. On second thought, don't bother. ;-) I'm kind of pressed for time today.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 04:20 PM

"G."

OK, go ahead, read my mind and dream up a 500-word argument.

~S~


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 06:25 PM

I do have trust in democracy and in the American people. They will eventually overcome and set things right.

That appears to be what a lot of Germans thought ca 1930.

They had the nicely democratic Weimar Constitution adopted in 1919, that was considered by some to be (almost) a "model constitution" for a democratic nation. It gave, a year before women could vote in the US, equality(?) between men and women in voting.

It must remembered that after the German defeat in 1918 there was significant international pressure that may have influenced this original Constitution, and one must question how much was national intent and what may have been "lip service" to the ideals of others.

[quote]
Article 109         All Germans are equal in front of the law. In principle, men and women have the same rights and obligations.
[end quote] (italics added).

It appears that there were "traditional differences" that were almost immediately incorporated in laws that distinguished in significant ways between the rights of men and of women in some areas other than the right to vote. There appear to have been limitations on women's ownership of property and women's right to operate some forms of businesses, although the historical records I've found are vague.

The nation was generally regarded as "a highly religious" people, overwhelmingly Catholic and predominately rather liberal.

The Nazi party was elected as a "return to the good old days" Conservative Religious party. In the early days, ca. 1930 and shortly after, they were considered either "devout supporters of the faith" or "fairly harmless" by the people who "trusted their constitution and the people."

The Germans had a rather serious problem with unemployment, and it was sort of a national tradition to "abhore socialism" as a great threat to the nation. We have some recent problems with full useful employment, and since we lost "Communism" as the great puplic enemy we've launched our own jihad.

One of the first acts of the new German government was to sign a treaty with Vatican Rome. It was, in fact, the first significant international treaty the Nazis were able to obtain. It threw out the Consitutional prohibition against there being a "state church," and effectively made the extremely conservative Vatican doctrine the official religion of the nation. We don't seem to be able to do it with a treaty, so it's a matter at pecking away at our own laws.

It was a good thing for the Vatican, because they got rid of the "liberal Catholics" in Germany.

It was a good thing for the Nazis, because they got rid of the "liberl Catholics," who had been the only semi-organized opposition to their new and planned policies.

One of the first "pogroms" of the new regime was, apparently at Vatican direction, to formally criminalize homosexuality. Any one "suspected" of such tendencies faced loss of all civil rights and deportation to labor camps for "attitude adjustment," without trial. Accurate figures are difficult to find, but it is estimated that as many as 300,000 male homosexuals DIED IN LABOR CAMPS during this "crusade." Female homosexuals were largely ignored, since in Conservative Christian doctrine and tradition "they don't really matter."

We haven't done quite as well here. Only 23 states have passed Amendments to their State Constitutions denying homosexuals the CIVIL RIGHTS granted to "normal good Christians; although all but one of the remaining states have recently enacted laws with the same intent.

As in Germany, one intent of the Amendments to State Constitutions is to establish that the laws can and should "protect religious sacraments." Once this is accomplished, the path is open to impose additional religious doctrine BY LAW.

A next step was a purge of the courts to remove any judges not "sympathetic" to the Nazi philosopy.

We have already installed two new US Supreme Court Justices with dubious loyalty to the law, should it come up against Conservative Religious/Political doctrine. Hopefully they will stick to the law, but the obvious INTENT is to eliminate court interpretations that don't follow the "party line."

The attempted enactment of a Federal Law, already cited above, to prevent the Federal Courts, including and especially the US Supreme Court, from questioning any action taken "in the name of God" by any public official anywhere in the United States"is one of numerous such attempts in both Federal and State Legislatures.

A next step by the Germans was to "purge the beaurocracy" of all who failed to follow the party line. In a disturbing article in my local newspaper yesterday, not yet online that I've found, the report is that the US State Department has been "reorganized to support the war on terrorism" by EXPELLING ALL SENIOR ADVISORS on advanced weapons who have criticised the current administration and its policies. The majority of those removed appear to be those who have advocated "diplomatic approaches" to the control of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Among those expelled is reportedly our most senior and knowledgeable expert on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The Germans solved their massive unemployment problem by making "being unimployed" a crime, and shipping people off to labor camps or to prison where they didn't appear on the lists of "unemployed." Again, exact figures apparently weren't even kept; but it is reported that the majority of those sent to the labor camps never returned.

Withdrawal and/or reduction of social welfare support by the US Government may (or may not) be currently less severe than the German actions, but apparently are based on the same "they don't matter - just solve the problem" kind of philosophy. It could easily get worse.

Eventually they got around to the jews.

We'll probably do Arabs.

But we have "freedom of religion" in the US, and that will stop them.(?)(?)(?)(?)(?)(?)(?)

The current State Constitution in Massachusetts states that the state may require public school teachers to be "pious Protestants:"

Prior to 1877, the New Hampshire Constitution required all State Representatives to be Protestant.

The current Maryland Constitution bars atheists (and buddhists?) from testifying in any court of law. It also includes language quite similar to the Federal Law promoted by Sen Brownback and others:

[quote]
Nothing shall prohibit or require the making reference to belief in, reliance upon, or invoking the aid of God or a Supreme Being in any governmental or public document, proceeding, activity, ceremony, school, institution, or place.
[endquote]

Pennsylvania's Constitution expressly excludes atheists and buddhists from the rights of citizenship, demanding a belief in a Supreme being and in Heaven and Hell to "hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth." ("trust or profit" appears to include legally operating a business?)

And the above are just from the original 13 States.

The slope is slippery, and we are on it.

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Feb 06 - 06:41 PM

Interesting stuff, John. The Nazi movement was indeed very messianic and mystical/religious in tone, combining the more conservative aspects of oldtime Catholicism with a lot of harkening back to the Norse Mythos, and then melding those with "modern" innovations such as genetic theories about an Aryan race of supermen (read: "chosen people") who would use the most advanced forms of technology to usher in a "New World Order".

Yes, it all does sound kind of familiar.

I don't blame any of this on organized religion, per se...I blame it on people's tendency to use the most autocratic and narrow-minded varieties OF organized religion to further the most unholy of worldly ambitions. You can use science that way too. The church did not invent the Hydrogen bomb, nor was it their idea.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 09:29 AM

I blame it on people's tendency to use the most autocratic and narrow-minded varieties OF organized religion to further the most unholy of worldly ambitions. You can use science that way too. The church did not invent the Hydrogen bomb, nor was it their idea.

Exactly, LH. Gee, great minds must indeed think alike:

Like any instrument, science can be put to good use or bad. It is the state of mind of the person wielding the instrument that determines to what end it will be put. The central question - central for the survival and well-being of our world - is how we can make the wonderful developments of science into something that offers altruistic and compassionate service for the needs of humanity and the other sentient beings with whom we share this earth ...

Perhaps the most important point is to ensure that science never becomes divorced from the basic human feeling of empathy with our fellow beings ... Science is vitally important, but it is only one finger of the hand of humanity, and its greatest potential can be actualized only if we are careful to remember this.

By the same token, spirituality must be tempered by the insights and discoveries of science. If as spiritual practitioners we ignore the discoveries of science, our practice is also impoverished, as this mind-set can lead to fundamentalism. THis is one of the reasons I encourage my Buddhist colleagues to undertake the study of science, so that it's insights can be integrated into the Buddhist worldview.


- His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from "The Universe in a Single Atom: the Convergence of Science and Spirituality"

Sheesh, that last sentence sounds like just what the doctor ordered for evangelical Christianity (American style) too.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: *daylia*
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 09:35 AM

PS John, thanks so much for the treatise on the Nazis. THe parallels with the US today are chilling to say the least. One question though -- if Hitler was so enchanted with the Church, why did he choose the swastika - an ancient "heathen" (ie Hindu/Indo-European/Germanic) symbol of good fortune - for the Nazi flag?

One historical account I've read about Hitler claimed he hated the Catholic Church so much that as a teen, he'd spit out the Host at communion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Religion=good folk doing bad things?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Feb 06 - 09:50 AM

Hitler was involved in some strange mystical stuff, and was probably tutored in it by someone who knew some of the "magick" symbols, similar to what Aleister Crowley, for example, was well versed in. The swastika was a symbol common to many ancient cultures, and it denoted a number of things. One of them was the spiral or rotational energy of life (as in the spin of electrons and atoms and planets, etc.) The Nazi swastika rotated the opposite direction from the swastikas seen in Native American culture and India. In other words, instead of symbolizing the life force, it symbolized death. Powerful stuff, if you're into that kind of thing.

I have no idea what Hitler's opinion of the Catholic church was personally speaking, but the Nazi government certainly found it useful to work harmoniously with the Church of Rome, because this was a way of motivating religious and patriotic fervour on the part of ordinary Germans, since it was part of their traditional culture.

Not to mention that the inner echelons of the Church of Rome have indulged in some pretty weird mysticism themselves, from time to time...but not shared it with the general rank and file of ordinary people, necessarily... ;-)


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