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Religious Discussion 
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
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Thats an unusual remark from a historian... Have you read about how the Torah, the Bible or the Quran came to be? Something about their origins, transmission history, translations, etc...? Anything?

Suederwind the similarities between Judaism, Christianity, Islam and their respective texts have been internationally recognized and verified for over a century, if not more. Many stories and songs in the torah are also in the bible, which are also copied (sometimes word for word) into the quran. All three religions share many of the same prophets, holy sites, stories and there is a great deal of shared history between them all. All three are said to be "people of the book" and generally recognize each other as being fellow believers in the same god, but also consider each other to be fundamentally and tragically mistaken in many of their views upon god. At many times in history the three have been engaged in war against each other over the same lands which all consider sacred.

Quote:
I won't comment the rest, as it shows some serious lack of knowledge in many areas.

Suederwind if you have information which counters what I have been taught and what I have studied, I would ask you to please present it. We are both adults having an adult conversation and if something I have said is incorrect I will gladly admit that and apologize for it. To my knowledge, everything I have thus far stated is backed up by massive amounts of historical and scientific data.

Quote:
Please don't take this personally, but you should read more about how the first religions appeared, how this influenced humanity on social, biological and other areas. A start could be this article: Link. Yes, I know thats "only" Wikipedia, but English is not my first language and I have to improvise here.

Suederwind I am very interested in the beginnings of religion, truly I am. However as I am a citizen of the United States and as there has been an unprecedented attempt by religious fundamentalists to insert their religion into the secular functions of the United States, particularly into public schools, I am far more concerned with Christianity at this particular moment in time. I will review your link when I can, I hold little bias against Wiki articles, they are excellent places to begin the quest for knowledge.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:08 pm
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
This just squeezed in, today's comic from SaturdayMorningBreakfastCeareal-comics about heaven and who goes there (or not)...
Spoiler: show
Image

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Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:03 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Grayhome wrote:
I shall list a few right now, focusing upon Christianity to conserve time: [...]the African slave trade, the extermination and enslavement of indigenous South American peoples, the extermination of indigenous North American peoples, [...].
You do know why the African Slave trade did start? Because the church officially recognised the indigenous people of America, back then referred to as "Indians", as Humans, and thus prohibited their enslavement.
But the Church was not almighty, and there were limits to what it could do. [1, 2, the older factual recognition of Southern Amerindians by the Fransciscans, and Domenicans [3.]
You now rightfully ask why they never recognised the African populations as Humans at the same time, nor why they haven't been recognised earlier? And why they were not very enforcing in pushing?
There were limits to what you can achieve. And the personal interests of high-ranking people inside and outside of the church.
So, personal power of church-individuals and other individuals were running against the teachings of the religion.
And while the formal recognition in form of such a high-ranking publication was missing, the churches have recognised the indigenous Africans as Humans, why else would you ever try to convert them to Christianity?
(And I find it really bad that the church officially withdrew this bull, although it had its errors from the start.)

Grayhome wrote:
Quote:
- also my last post on this subject; the argumentations are circular by now and based on fundamental beliefs of persons participating - nothing good can come from that –

No Krulle they are not. You are stating things as true and then not providing any credible evidence to reinforce your claims. I am providing scientificfacts and historical facts backed up by overwhelming amounts of evidence which have been collected by experts in their chosen fields over the course of the last century. I mean tt really doesn’t take much to prove the bible to be inaccurate, the book claims convulsions are signs of demonic possession for goodness sake.
(I find most of what you cite extremely biased and hinging on questionable starting points, and they totally miss out on the historic context. Therefore I skimmed through most of your citations and dismissed them without further comments as much as you dismiss the teaching of religion because of church.)
I will not comment on the rest anymore. I will elaborate this a tiny bit, and hope you'll understand why and where I'm coming from.
My history teacher was very aggressively against anything "religious". This made me think about religion, belief, and church.
I had some very fine arguments with her (up to the point that the teacher's council had to step in).
That was about 25 years ago, and the discussion was based on German publications (mostly independent magazines, definitely I learnt to avoid church-sponsored organisation publications; for a large part it were "G-Geschichte mit Pfiff" publications).
The content of those publication got stuck in my head.
But I'd have to invest months to refind the publications, as they have never made the transition to electronic publications. I would have to trace down physical copies, scan them and translate them for you. No way am I spending that much time into an online discussion.
I could try to chase down other publications, but for obvious reasons I will refrain from using what I found in the short time I was willing to invest, as those are publications from church-sponsored organisations, which you will dismiss as biased immediately (and in large parts you are right - which is why I won't use them, as previous discussions have shown that they'll de dismissed just because about 80% of all publications of these organisations are... far from any scientific method; and some are utter rubbish to start with).

But from that time in school quite a bit of knowledge got stuck in my head, and as you will never take my knowledge as it is, continuation of the discussion is pointless.

It was the time that founded my belief. And many priests I had discussions with recognise what I believe in as "Christian", but would never define it as "Catholic", "Protestant",... I seem to have found my belief which seems to be independent from belief as taught by the established churches here.

Also: when I refer to JC, I don't believe that someone with the name of Jesus of Nazareth did exist and performed even half of the actions described.
I believe the stories are an amalgamated "best-of" collection of stories of the masses of wandering priests of that time.
The morals taught are still true.


And "JC" did say something against slavery.
Do you know the historic meaning of "turn the other cheek"?
Modern society interprets is wrongly. I'll let you find out yourself.
(It's NOT pacifism, although that's a (minor) part of it, and the only modern interpretation still in use.
The original meaning does not work in modern context.
And you'll need an accurate version of the passage, one that specifies the cheek. Modern translations often only refer to "cheek".)

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Last edited by Krulle on Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:14 am, edited 7 times in total.



Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:19 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion



I gave the study a look over and its deeply flawed. It pairs off "religiosity" and "dysfunction" and looks for correlations. It defines dysfunction through things such as homicide and abortion. The trouble is it treats the population of each country as a homogeneous unit, and does not identify nor break out subsections or outliers. Let me grab the asbestos suit and say it, race/ethnicity has a strong correlation. If you examine the subsections for "religiosity" you get different results than the study itself because of the strength of the US outliers.


Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:34 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Quote:
Suederwind the similarities between Judaism, Christianity, Islam and their respective texts have been internationally recognized and verified for over a century, if not more. Many stories and songs in the torah are also in the bible, which are also copied (sometimes word for word) into the quran.


Thats basically right, but didn't answer my questions. Again: have you read something about how those texts came to be? How they were translated, etc...? I think this could lead to a better understanding from your side and would invalidate many of your arguments.

Quote:
Suederwind if you have information which counters what I have been taught and what I have studied, I would ask you to please present it. We are both adults having an adult conversation and if something I have said is incorrect I will gladly admit that and apologize for it. To my knowledge, everything I have thus far stated is backed up by massive amounts of historical and scientific data.


Look, I have done this discussion with other people, likeminded to you, over and over again. Been there, done that, won the t-shirt. It has nothing to do with one of us beeing more adult that the other, its what you have brought up so far, that raises a doubt about your remark that your arguments are backed by masses of historical and scientific data.

Quote:
However as I am a citizen of the United States and as there has been an unprecedented attempt by religious fundamentalists to insert their religion into the secular functions of the United States, particularly into public schools, I am far more concerned with Christianity at this particular moment in time.


Grayhome, I know my fair share of religious zealots, too. I can't say much for the USA, but here in good old Germany such fanatics are usually left alone, as they are no threat to the public, with the exception of Islamists. Christians here live usually a peaceful life, sure there are some nutjobs, but those won't do more than preaching and handing out the new testament.
On the other side, and much more troublesome in my eyes, are those anti religious (read: anti christian) fanatics. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against atheists, agnostics, etc... beliving in a faith or not is up to each person, but I don't like missionaries and intollerant persons. People that are offended if you whish them happy christmas, that move next to a church and start sueing for the bells to be switched of at all times, that want to remove crosses on the summits of a mountains, etc...

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Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:33 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
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Communist governments killed just how many millions, tens of millions, estimates as high as 120 million or more of their own citizens through one means or another in the last century? Hardly say they put themselves out as representative of faith. Much the opposite. Communist doctrine, Marxist doctrine, holds faith as an enemy of human development.

Nemo, Russia was overwhelmingly Christian for centuries before the communists took over. After Stalin died the Christian religion reemerged quickly, and today Russia is measured as around 75% Christian. Given this information it is illogical for you to attempt to argue that Russia could simply flip a collective switch and turn off the religion. To my mind it is for more logical that their beliefs were hidden due to fear of being persecuted and once that fear no longer existed, they simply came out of the closet, so to speak.


Quote:
In fact, every example given in history of the terrible influence of faith shows collusion of both faith and government. And government devoid of faith is no better, as noted just above. Perhaps the corrupting influence is not faith, but the power of government? Western Civilization's separation of church and state was developed in no small part in recognition of that.

Nemo please understand that when you say that governments devoid of faith are no better than governments who have faith in the supernatural, you are quantifiably incorrect. Examining a single nation’s trends throughout a very small section of its history and then ignoring vast swathes of it’s history to prove a point does not donate credibility to your argument. We have peer reviewed, exhaustively researched, quantifiable evidence in the form of massive international research projects measuring the religiosity of dozens of nations and how that ties in with their respective prosperity. These research reports have been conducted by the most accredited sources on the planet, and have mountains of data backing them. These results have proven, beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt, that nations that have higher levels of faith have lower levels of literacy, education, wealth, while at the same time have high rates of unemployment, disease, hunger, civil conflict, murder, etc. Simultaneously nations with low levels of religiosity have high levels of employment, wealth, education, literacy and lower levels of crime, murder, disease, hunger, civil conflict, etc.


Quote:
But why does it matter? Separation of powers. As power becomes more centralized and absolute abuse follows. In modern governments we have separated the legislative and executive powers. (At least in theory, sore point for me there but I'll save that for another day.) That is, one body decides the law and one body executes the law. Where is the law then sourced from? Moral reason. What guides moral reason? Behind every well reasoned, or not so well reasoned, position of moral impetus lies a certain set of axioms held to be true on, ultimately, faith. Amusingly, even atheist morality requires faith to function.

Nemo atheism is not a morality. It is a rejection of the supernatural as explanations for phenomena occurring in the universe. There is no such thing as atheist morality.
As for the United States, we don’t base our legal systems on faith either, we base them upon what works. A good example of this is slavery. Slavery was considered a just and moral action by those of faith and they rightly defended it for centuries with passages from their respective holy books. However, even though the society believed that their faith based moral code made them superior to other societies, that did not stop their society from being measurably inferior to societies that outlawed slavery.
Another good example is the debasement of women in many societies throughout the world, both past and present. We know now for example that preventing half of your total population from having jobs, owning property, driving vehicles, joining the military, being educated is a stupendously foolish thing to do and nations which do these things are going to be measurably inferior to societies that do not. We go with what has been proven to work and we reject what doesn’t; there is no faith required in this equation, only math.


Quote:
Government is the power to carry out the predominate, common moral nature of a society. Again, that nature being an extension of faith. When government intrudes on the realm of the religious, it sets itself up as the source of moral nature. Axiom -> reason -> law -> execution becomes execution -> axiom -> reason-> law. In this way you could say it begets itself. This loop is dangerous. We witness the loop in atheist structures as well, except that atheists tend to believe themselves morally superior and immune to religious faults. Almost amusing, if not for the death toll.

Nemo I do not understand where you are getting this viewpoint that atheism makes claims of any sort concerning morality or immunity from faults. Atheism is the rejection of the supernatural as explanation for naturally occurring phenomena, full stop. You seem (and I mean no disrespect when I say this) not to understand the basics tenants to what you are saying here. The following link is to a youtube page which promotes positive atheism and clearly explains what atheism is, I respectfully ask that you watch a few of their videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheAtheistExperience


Quote:
Then you haven't examined them hard enough. Islam is inseparable from government, as it prescribes itself as the government in the Koran. Christianity makes a distinction between itself and Caesar.

Nemo I respectfully disagree with your analysis on this topic. The many legal battles that have been waged across the United States for the past thirty years or so to get religion into the schools, courtrooms, city halls, etc of America would disagree with you. We have god on our money, we have god in the pledge of allegiance, we have nativity scenes on city hall grounds all over the United States, the infringements of the church into state are well documented and frequent. Christianity was inseparable from the government throughout the majority of its history, and still is in many parts of the world. Do you honestly think that it could not be so in the United States, were the laws changed and the constitution amended to permit it?


Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:54 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Whoa guys please, one at a time here, I will get to every one of you, I promise.


Thu Aug 06, 2015 4:56 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
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Thats basically right, but didn't answer my questions. Again: have you read something about how those texts came to be? How they were translated, etc...? I think this could lead to a better understanding from your side and would invalidate many of your arguments.


Suederwind, that the Abrahamic faiths share (i.e. were plagiarized by each other) common elements, stories, prophets, holy sites is an internationally recognized historical fact. I can throw you a link or two that can get you started:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_and_Quranic_narratives
https://pressthat.wordpress.com/2007/05/08/similarities-between-the-bible-and-the-quran/

I found those in about 5 mins of online searching, that should be enough to get you started. Your counterpoints to my arguments so far seem to be along the lines of "nu uh!" and then personal assassinations of my character, questioning my credentials, followed by a total lack of any evidence whatsoever. I respectfully mention this as it greatly discredits you when you are attempting to counter my points in debate.

Quote:
Look, I have done this discussion with other people, like minded to you, over and over again. Been there, done that, won the t-shirt. It has nothing to do with one of us beeing more adult that the other, its what you have brought up so far, that raises a doubt about your remark that your arguments are backed by masses of historical and scientific data.

Then I respectfully challenge you to counter my argument with historical and scientific facts, because so far you have not. That the crusades, witch burnings, inquisitions, African slave trade, etc were all undertaken upon religious grounds, for religious reasons and with the direct support of the highest authorities of their respective churches of the time is not a debated point by any historian that I am currently aware of.

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Grayhome, I know my fair share of religious zealots, too. I can't say much for the USA, but here in good old Germany such fanatics are usually left alone, as they are no threat to the public, with the exception of Islamists. Christians here live usually a peaceful life, sure there are some nutjobs, but those won't do more than preaching and handing out the new testament.
On the other side, and much more troublesome in my eyes, are those anti religious (read: anti christian) fanatics. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against atheists, agnostics, etc... beliving in a faith or not is up to each person, but I don't like missionaries and intollerant persons. People that are offended if you whish them happy christmas, that move next to a church and start sueing for the bells to be switched of at all times, that want to remove crosses on the summits of a mountains, etc...

Well Suederwind that's true in Germany but here in the United States those same religious fanatics occupy positions of great power in the government. In many sectors of the United States it is now outright impossible to be elected into public office unless you profess faith in the right god of the right religion. Being accused of, or even associating with atheists is the kiss of death in the political arena.

Krulle
Noice, I here's another good one: http://oglaf.com/nostrum/


Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:48 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Grayhome wrote:
Quote:
and for you religious people out there, if you did not have the blanket safety and social acceptance of religion, the amount of delusions needed for being religious would quite possibly get you thrown into an asylum for being a danger to yourself and your surroundings, equality damn it!

Discord can you please clarify what you meant when you said this, it seemed to sound like the religious are somehow responsible for freedom of religion in the United States or that equality is the product of religious individuals or of religion itself. That would contradict much of what I know of the founding fathers and their reasoning behind establishing freedom of religion, most of which was due to many of them being from a nation where one church was overwhelmingly oppressive and dysfunctional and they desperately wanted to not have a repeat of that fiasco. If this is not what you meant I apologize, but please clarify.

#not responsible for it, just saying that if you remove 'religion' as a concept(and excuse) and just look at what they believe in, they would quite correctly be deemed delusional and possibly outright insane.


Quote:
so lets break this down in wildass guesstimates

Discord please, let's really not. Unless you have actual statistical information to provide to back up your claims, self admitted estimations of a population's religiosity are not beneficial to your argument. They instead dramatically weaken your argument. I am trying to be helpful here Discord.

#just wanted to point out that if you break up people of faith the amount of 'nasty' people is pretty much the same as in the general population, that and the overlap of personalities.

Quote:
Most people of faith are good people, they are quiet, pray to whatever when they feel the need and you seldom notice them.
I seldom(there is some correlation between these two previous 'seldom') have issues with these people.
A large minority are the crazies, which have utterly turned off their brains for the glory of....whatever
These are also the second most common group to be in authority positions.
Finally we have the manipulative bastard that are often intelligent, belief optional.
quite often in it for the booty.

Discord I respectfully disagree with you that any society or individual can base their decisions upon willful ignorance and a lack of credible evidence and earn the label of good. They may do some good by accident, but for the most part they are doing great harm. For example when a good person of faith donates money to their church, and their church takes that money overseas to a developing nation and uses it to proclaim "condoms are sinful" they are not doing good. They are measurably weakening that nation's population, economy, military, society, etc. To my mind, even in the best case scenario, the person of good faith is being conned into doing great evil. That is to say nothing of those people of good faith who support churches who have institutionalized the rape of children on the international scale, and when said churches are confronted about it swap those rapists from parish to parish so they can find fresh victims and threaten the victim's families with damnation in the afterlife and legal prosecution in this one.

#The individual donates money to what he believes to be a good cause.
#The cause then uses these funds to do not so good things.
#does this make the first individual evil? or doing bad things? no, he is a pretty nice person, just gullible and naive which is used by others.

Quote:
4: the conclusion.
combing #1 & #3 overlaying #2 bring us.
People of faith are often nice and good people, these nice people are also easily manipulated/brainwashed/controlled, which leads to others who are less nice then can do some really bad things with these people used as blunt instruments.
Which is why I say 'faith can be beautiful, but as soon as this becomes a group activity....well, shit happens.'

I do not understand how you can say that easily manipulated people who can be regularly deceived into doing great harm can be good. At best I see them as a chaotic element that swings wheresoever their whims dictate. Do you mean that evil actions do not count as evil because the people of faith believe them to be good? If it was my deep and heartfelt religious belief that my next door neighbor's daughter was a witch and that she was casting an evil spell over my house to murder me, and that the most moral action I could take was to destroy her, and I carry through with that action, am I incapable of being found guilty of murder?
Discord I do not mean to offer offense but I simply do not see how ignorance and gullibility can be viewed as beautiful. Can you please explain why you think this and provide a few examples? I am really not meaning to be disrespectful here, I honestly can not conceive of a situation where blind faith is a beautiful thing.


#faith comes in many forms, faith in yourself, faith in humanity(guilty of this one), faith in your spouse, faith that all mighty being tells you to be a better person and be nice to others.... or faith in a scientific hypothesis that your peers ridicule, most of these are often quite delusional, but makes you capable of pushing on and trying to achieve more, and every once in a while the results can be quite fantastic.


#individual people of faith are usually quite nice, once they get into a group it usually goes to shit with a rocket booster.
#sadly they seldom are alone. :(

i do not get these quotes....whatever, to lazy to bother.


Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:22 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
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Suederwind, that the Abrahamic faiths share (i.e. were plagiarized by each other) common elements, stories, prophets, holy sites is an internationally recognized historical fact.


I know that and thats a nice startingpoint. Go on from there. What else do you know about how those books were written, created, passed on, translated, etc...? What do you know about the authors, the books that didn't make it into the bible, etc... If you have done that, ask yourself if your following statement is still true:"The Christian bible is a bad copy of the Jewish Torah, and the koran is a bad copy of the Christian bible."

Quote:
Your counterpoints to my arguments so far seem to be along the lines of "nu uh!" and then personal assassinations of my character, questioning my credentials, followed by a total lack of any evidence whatsoever. I respectfully mention this as it greatly discredits you when you are attempting to counter my points in debate.


Look, my personal experiences tell me, that it is much better to show someone the way and let him find out for himself, especially if its someone how argues like you. But anyway, as you asked for it: Lets talk about one example, the crusades.

Quote:
were all undertaken upon religious grounds, for religious reasons and with the direct support of the highest authorities of their respective churches of the time is not a debated point by any historian that I am currently aware of.


First one has to understand, that the crusades are just one in a long chain of events between various faction and wasn't even the endpoint. But reducing the crusades simply to a religious conflict is far too narrow sighted.
So, to start, lets focus on the first crusade: Before the crusades, there were a lot of wars between Byzantium and the various muslim factions. The Byzantin Empire could hold out for himself, most of the time, but the situation got worse with the advent of the Seljuq dynasty. You have to understand, that Religion was used in that conflict (as many before and afterwards) as a tool, to get the various nobilities to go and support the East Roman Empire against their enemy.
Alexios I. Komnenos asked the Pope to send him help, as he thought, that he was the highest authority in the West (and he had some trouble with the German Kaiser). His bargin token was, that he offered a merger of the East and Western Church. All Alexios wanted were a bunch of mercenaries to strenghen his army, but the Pope had none. So, the Pope asked various Dukes and other nobilities for help and that didn't work, too. Only afterwards we have the events of 1095, because some of the Dukes he asked saw an opportunity to increase their wealth and lands.
What followed afterwards, the Peoples crusade, the fighting amongst the crusaders, the struggles between crusaders and Byzantium, the alliances with muslim leaders, etc... Was not what any of the involved churches would have wanted and lead to massive problems between Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
The following crusades were never as succesfull or well organised and therefore never succeded. It would take too long to get into details here, but when you actually look closer, you will find out, that the crusades were not only fought for religious reasons, upon religious grounds. Especially in later times crusades were simply used as a tool to fight someones enemies, the religious justification became less and less important (see for example the Fourth Crusade).
I am not sure if P. Thoraus "Die Kreuzzüge" was ever translated into English, another interesting, but controverse startingpoint could be R.Starks "God's Battalions". Maybe you look into those for more information.

I hope that answers some of your questions. Its similar with the other topics you picked, but I do not have the time to go through them all and temerature has rissen over 35°C.

Quote:
Well Suederwind that's true in Germany but here in the United States those same religious fanatics occupy positions of great power in the government.


That might as well be a matter of perspective. One of the ruling parties of Germany at the moment is the CDU, the Christian Democratical Union. I know people that think they are fanatics, because they have Christian in their name. However, who does occupy this "positions of great power" in the US goverment?

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Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:56 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
sueder: just about everyone, since it is damn near impossible to get into high office in the US without professing christian faith, which means you have to at least seem to care about religious hot potatoes.
until the end of the presidents second term, when he no longer needs to care and sometimes throw out some curve balls.

just to point out that in some parts of the US atheist is a worse label than murderer.... i think child molester still outweighs it though, assuming of course that the offender in question is not a catholic priest.

The US of A, today not so much developed country home of the worlds largest criminal gang(the police) and the center of christian fanatics to boot.
exaggerating for effect, but not far enough from the truth for comfort.


Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:11 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Grayhome wrote:
Quote:
Communist governments killed just how many millions, tens of millions, estimates as high as 120 million or more of their own citizens through one means or another in the last century? Hardly say they put themselves out as representative of faith. Much the opposite. Communist doctrine, Marxist doctrine, holds faith as an enemy of human development.

Nemo, Russia was overwhelmingly Christian for centuries before the communists took over. After Stalin died the Christian religion reemerged quickly, and today Russia is measured as around 75% Christian. Given this information it is illogical for you to attempt to argue that Russia could simply flip a collective switch and turn off the religion. To my mind it is for more logical that their beliefs were hidden due to fear of being persecuted and once that fear no longer existed, they simply came out of the closet, so to speak.

If you throw numbers, please take numbers that cannot be disproved so easily. Currently, all Christian factions together make less than 50% of the Russian population...1

And he never wrote that the Russians threw a switch.
Nor that such a switch would work.
He said that total Atheist governments are not better than you claim Christian governments to be.

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Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:25 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Krulle
Oops, you are quite correct sir, I read the graph wrong. 75% of the total religious population is Christian. Thank you for the catch.

Russian Orthodox 15-20%, Muslim 10-15%, other Christian 2% (2006 est.)
note: estimates are of practicing worshipers; Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers, a legacy of over seven decades of Soviet rule

Hmm, according to this only about 12% of Russians identify as atheists, and they have a growing Muslim population. Thank you CIA Factbook!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wga5A6R9BJg&list=RDWga5A6R9BJg


Last edited by Grayhome on Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:56 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Suederwind

I can offer you these videos by the internationally famous/infamous journalist Christopher Hitchens, who explores the subject of the curious similarities between the Abrahamic faith's holy texts in greater length. Brace yourself, to say that he is critical of religion is an understatement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbX0rknLhDI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGPaJvRne-A
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MmdR116qFY


Quote:
First one has to understand, that the crusades are just one in a long chain of events between various faction and wasn't even the endpoint. But reducing the crusades simply to a religious conflict is far too narrow sighted.

As I live and breath, I have honestly never had anyone try to argue the point that the Holy Crusades of Europe were not religiously motivated. Suederwind we have documents from the time, personal letters, memoirs, diaries, historical recordings by official scholars, vast amounts of documentation from the churches of the age, etc. All of this claims faith as the primary motivation for the crusades. The primary objective of the crusades was to reclaim holy lands from the infidels. I think I should also bring to your attention that the Roman Catholic church has officially admitted that they were to blame for the crusades and have issued official statements of apology.

Quote:
That might as well be a matter of perspective. One of the ruling parties of Germany at the moment is the CDU, the Christian Democratical Union. I know people that think they are fanatics, because they have Christian in their name. However, who does occupy this "positions of great power" in the US goverment?

Well our previous president, George W. Bush is an excellent example. He launched what is going to go down in history as one of the greatest military blunders of all time and called it a crusade, publicly claiming that god told him to do it. That man is going to go down in history as one of the worst US presidents of all time, he had a very powerful religious base.

Wow, I'm actually glad in a way that other nations don't know about the embarrassing fiasco our electoral process has become. Nowadays in many states you have no chance of winning unless you oppose LBGT rights, abortion, contraceptives, medicare, social security and are a fundamentalist Christian. The major challenger in the last election of our current president was a Mormon, for goodness sakes.


Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:28 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
@Discord:
Quote:
just about everyone, since it is damn near impossible to get into high office in the US without professing christian faith, which means you have to at least seem to care about religious hot potatoes. until the end of the presidents second term, when he no longer needs to care and sometimes throw out some curve balls.


Every German chancler since 1949 was in one way or another a christian, too. From the beginning of the current republic till about the 1980s christianity was a very important political factor. However, that shifted away since then. I don't mean they are unimportant nowadays, but they don't have this huge amount of political influence like in Adenauers days.

Quote:
just to point out that in some parts of the US atheist is a worse label than murderer.... i think child molester still outweighs it though, assuming of course that the offender in question is not a catholic priest.


I assume its that way because of those many little christian sects? There are a few of those here and most people won't notice them. Most of them are either remnants of traditions from the time of the reformation or recent imports from the US, like Mormons. The majority of people here (around 2/3) are either roman catholic or protestant. However, atheism beeing worse than murder... thats crazy.

@Grayhome:
Quote:
Well our previous president, George W. Bush is an excellent example. He launched what is going to go down in history as one of the greatest military blunders of all time and called it a crusade, publicly claiming that god told him to do it. That man is going to go down in history as one of the worst US presidents of all time, he had a very powerful religious base.


To say that this guy was bad is a serious understatement. Never liked that guy and that whole invade Iraq thing was bejond stupid.

Quote:
Wow, I'm actually glad in a way that other nations don't know about the embarrassing fiasco our electoral process has become.


I was never that good in US politics, but from what I have heard, electing a new president is almost absurdly complex.

Will further answer you tomorrow.

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Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:53 pm
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Greyhome, do you realize that this thread makes you look like an anti-religion bigot? Often in this thread you've pointed to various things (Crusades, slave trade, oppresion, etc.), but many of your claims are AT BEST relevant only to some particular sub-group.

The doctrine that blacks aren't human, which was used to justify slavery? You won't find this in the Bible, and by the time of the Civil War you wouldn't find this in Northern churches, either. This was a standard case of denial: the people in question didn't want to reexamine things, so they created a fiction to support their actions. Among other things, if they hadn't done this then they would have had to reconcile their treatment of their slaves with the behavior dictated by the Bible: because it didn't match.

Crusades: the Christianity spoken of in the Bible is quite frankly pacifist, the "war" is a metaphorical war, not a physical one. The "warrior" is supposed to go out and evangelize, not shed blood. So... how Christian were the Crusades? As with many things done by religious authorities during the Medieval period, the Crusades were more related to governmental power than to religious morality.

Transexuals are a bit different from those other two: that's a subject to avoid. After all, they are definitively (no, really, unless they undergo modification they are almost all fertile as their physical gender) of gender A, yet consider themselves to be an example of gender B. So, they're crazy in the same way that people who believe themselves to literally be tigers are crazy, right? But at the same time they aren't harmful to society, and are fully capable of recognizing the presence, origin, and nature of their physical reality/self identity dichotomy, so they aren't crazy, right? There simply is no good answer. Regardless, if you haven't explored the realms of psychology & such, the inherent dichotomy posed by transexuals is a perfectly understandable reason to find them disturbing, because they claim X, yet simple observation establishes Y (I actually suspect that the implementation of Christian opposition to both transexuals and homosexuals probably originated as a reaction to Roman persecution of Christianity, but that's another matter).

Some of your points are in some way or another in accordance with the Abrahimic religions, and against others more counters could be made, but I simply want you to think more on the subject, so I'll stop here.



As for the things you stated that actually have no tie to religion...

Are we in accordance that baboons probably don't have religion? And thus that baboon behavior could possibly shed some light on human behavior in the absence of religion? Here's a link: (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/13/science/no-time-for-bullies-baboons-retool-their-culture.html). To summarize, the alphas died off (all of them), and the troop calmed down. New members have been trained to be calm ever since. How is this relevant? The worst human behaviors throughout history have almost always been manifested in "alpha behaviors"; with humans, the identity of the "alphas" varies constantly (one minute the baron, the next the serf), but "alphaness" is primarily testosteronal in nature, and thereby varies in accordance to current thoughts and behaviors.

Similarly, elephants display such societal adaptation, as demonstrated by the famous elephant slaughter of rhinos.

And finally, violence: we're starting to suspect that it's infectious, rather like memes from Orion's Arm.

So, for all of the things that are NOT related to the religion of those who performed them, and in fact for the origin and thereby ACTUAL nature of those that developed within a particular group but were not rooted in previously existing religious precepts, we have not religion to blame, but instead the existence of society. As has been stated to you, most of these things are NOT validly blamed on religion, and will just as likely happen in the absence of religion as in it's presence.



Incidentally, your point about prosperity vs religion? You got the relationship wrong. Religion falls after prosperity rises in most nations, NOT before. Rather than the two being mutually discouraging, or of religion preventing "advancement", the lack of prosperity causes a reduction of emotional investment in existence, and an increase of emotional investment in something else (religion, progress, science, whatever someone can find meaning in).


Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:46 pm
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Absalom wrote:

Similarly, elephants display such societal adaptation, as demonstrated by the famous elephant slaughter of rhinos.



Sociopathic elephant serial killers. The world seemed so normal yesterday...


Thu Aug 06, 2015 6:46 pm
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Mr.Tucker wrote:
Absalom wrote:

Similarly, elephants display such societal adaptation, as demonstrated by the famous elephant slaughter of rhinos.



Sociopathic elephant serial killers. The world seemed so normal yesterday...


"However, the killings at Pilanesberg stopped when six adult elephant bulls were introduced to the park. The young ones' behaviour patterns returned to normal under their influence."

The lack of adult role models are at the heart of the problem. This goes for us humans as wells. Came to think of "lord of the flies".


Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:28 pm
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Quote:
The doctrine that blacks aren't human, which was used to justify slavery? You won't find this in the Bible, and by the time of the Civil War you wouldn't find this in Northern churches, either.


I read about this far and had to stop, I'm sorry but you are completely wrong. Racist interpretations of the Christian bible were (and still are) widespread throughout the entirety of the United States and the north was no exception to that. Neither were the northern churches, as the inferiority of the African American race was preached from the pulpit throughout the entirety of the nation. There are still many hate groups in both the north and south of the United States and have strong ties to religion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_Ham
Quote:
European/American slavery, 17th and 18th centuries

The explanation that black Africans, as the "sons of Ham", were cursed, possibly "blackened" by their sins, was advanced only sporadically during the Middle Ages, but it became increasingly common during the slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries.[58][59] The justification of slavery itself through the sins of Ham was well suited to the ideological interests of the elite; with the emergence of the slave trade, its racialized version justified the exploitation of African labour.


https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map


Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:44 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Far from being him completely wrong, that assertion is tenuous, at best and being generous. The assertion of the doctrine clearly does not come from the scripture you indicated, but from the vested interests who wanted it to be true and read their own will into the gaps. Which means he was correct, that doctrine is not to be found within the work itself. Over extending your claims does you arguments an injustice.


Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:25 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Grayhome wrote:
Quote:
The doctrine that blacks aren't human, which was used to justify slavery? You won't find this in the Bible, and by the time of the Civil War you wouldn't find this in Northern churches, either.


I read about this far and had to stop, I'm sorry but you are completely wrong. Racist interpretations of the Christian bible were (and still are) widespread throughout the entirety of the United States and the north was no exception to that. Neither were the northern churches, as the inferiority of the African American race was preached from the pulpit throughout the entirety of the nation. There are still many hate groups in both the north and south of the United States and have strong ties to religion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_Ham

The story's original objective was to justify the subjection of the Canaanites to the Israelites, but in later centuries, the narrative was interpreted by some Jews, Christians, and Muslims as an explanation for black skin, as well as slavery. Nevertheless, most Christian denominations and all Jewish denominations strongly disagree with such interpretations due to the fact that in the biblical text, Ham himself is not cursed and race or skin color is never mentioned.
You are right. Racist interpretation exists. And some may feel offended by your implications that it is a natural outcome just because of religions, which is in itself racism against religion.
Also, have you read the article? There are long passages about the theological discussion of meaning.
==Curse of Canaan==
*Genesis 9:25: "And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren,"
It is noteworthy that the curse was made by Noah, not by God. Some biblical scholars claim that when a curse is made by a man, it could only have been effective if God supports it, unlike the curse of Ham and his descendants, which was not confirmed by God or, at least, it is not mentioned in the Bible that he had confirmed it.
yes, some assholes interpreted something into a story which had lost its validity long before.

Like it was pointed out by several participants in this discussion, context is very important.
The small exercise I gave you should point out that it is nearly impossible to interpret these old texts, as the context has dramatically changed.
The whole symbolism people use nowadays has changed. Even the use of flowers to say something is not recognised by anyone today. (Especially in France you could use flowers as a gift to insult someone.) And in those times symbols were very important. Like which hand you used to do something. In today's time, the hand you use to do something is totally irrelevant, but far into the 19th century it was necessary to use the right hand, due to missing hygienic accessories. Which lead to discrimination of left-handed persons, but if the bible says something about that, it's the direct result of protecting the health of the whole population. (context: the left hand was used to wipe your ass, therefore you did not use the left hand for ANYTHING when with other persons. And you had to make sure the left hand did not come into contact with the food on the table, as that was considered barbarism.)

Also: just because some egocentric and dumb people interpret "holy texts" in a very (for them) convenient fashion does not mean that the interpretation is right, or followed by a majority of that religion.

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Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:37 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
krulle: do you know the most common cause for christian religious 'defection'? Actually reading the bible, cover to cover.
there are reasons why in the olden days ordinary people were not allowed to actually read the bible, only listen to sermons.

http://whistlinginthewind.org/2012/05/0 ... -5-racism/ <--- nope, no racism in the bible, no'siree.

one point to remember, for ANY point of view espoused by christians, there is usually some passage of the bible that strongly claims the opposite....except for fear god maybe.
an ex christian buddy of mine started to put together a list of common beliefs and how(and where) the bible said 'nope, not true'.
I put it through google translate, which actually seems to have correctly translated bible notation...and tweaked it a bit because machine translation are usually not very good.

http://collabedit.com/f49nq <---- do note, this was basically a few hours work from the top of his head, not any exhaustive search, the previous link got many more examples.
however, after a while we came up with a simple fact.
"the only honest and neighborly friendly christian is one that does not follow the bible and knows it." the good thing here is that outside of the US these are quite common.

if you are a christian, do yourself a favor and read the bible, cover to cover, and every time you come across something that you do not like(genocide, rape, murder, racism or whatever) have a text document and note book, chapter and verse....if you actually get through the entire book before admitting you do not like this book anymore i will be surprised.


Fri Aug 07, 2015 3:54 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
That were my discussions with my religion teacher... :p
Those discussions came long before the discussions with my history teacher.
But it did not go unremarked by my friends that I seemed to have turned 180° (from against bible to pro-belief).
I never had problems conciliating these two things, as I can belief without accepting the bible as "truth". I found those two things independent from each other. The third thing to keep separate is/are the church(es).
It is why I consider Atheists to be religious. They believe that God does not exist. There can be no proof either way. And without belief that certain things do exist, we stop searching for them, and things like bacteria, atoms, electrons, Higg's boson,... would still be unfound.*

Nope, while I do have some bibles at home, most are very old (published before 1800) copies which were once owned by people who wanted to show off their richdom by having extravagant bibles (handpainted illustrations, things like that), but are unsuitable to be read.
But I seldom read parts of the bible that were not passages that did form part of the religion lessons in school. Those were extensive enough and cover the "important" bits of the bible anyway.
Actually, I think I haven't read parts of the bible (except the ten commandments to refind a very specific wording) since at least a decade. (There are so many batter books around.) If I want to cite the bible I use online searching tools to find passages concerning a certain topic.
My belief never came from the bible anyway.

But reading the bible without knowing the historic backgrounds is like one of my favourite quotes:
Sukarno wrote:
Learning without thinking is useless, but thinking without learning is very dangerous!
You're just making the wrong conclusions if you do...


* There is a "Sci-Fi" book by Peter F. Hamilton: Night's Dawn trilogy that touches this topic marginally. Humanity runs into an uncomprehensible problem, arising from something which science has dismissed long ago (no, not God, but the individual eternal Human soul).
This book is an interesting read if you're into SciFi anyway. Maybe our science isn't advanced enough to detect God or Soul? Maybe either or both don't exist? We will never know, but you can believe either way, it will not change anything.
(maybe this universe exists only in the lab of "God" to test what happens "if", so he's only observing and not manipulating... We are lab rats.)

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Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:10 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Nemo

What do you mean? The story of Ham was in the bible and it was used to justify slavery. That it was twisted out of context to suit those purposes is totally irrelevant to any point either of us was making. However if you aren't convinced by that particular passage I can cite a few others that are a tad less open to debate, the following is from http://www.openbible.info/topics/slavery:

Quote:
Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,

Exodus 21:20-21 When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.

1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.

Titus 2:9-10 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Exodus 21:26-27 When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free because of his eye. If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free because of his tooth.

Exodus 21:1-36 Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’

Colossians 3:22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.

That's just a few of them there are tons more where they came from. Here is the rational wiki page info on the Curse of Ham http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Curse_of_Ham

Quote:
The Canaanites, descended from Ham via his son Canaan, have historically been regarded as the ethnic ancestors of the black peoples of Africa. Although Genesis does not identify Ham's skin colour, some ancient Jewish writings, including part of the Talmud, state that either Ham or Canaan had his faced "blackened" by God as part of curse, in punishment for Ham seeing Noah's nakedness and not covering him, or, in some variations, for copulating while aboard the Ark.

This idea became more widespread in Europe during Colonialism, as an argument for the inferiority of the black race, whose dark skin was believed to be an outward sign of the curse, and to sanction some instances of slavery. The belief was at its most popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to justify the Atlantic slave trade and plantation slavery in the British sugar islands and American South.[3] Noah's decree that Canaan should be the slave of Shem was seen as God's command that Africans should be the slaves to white Christians.

Although overwhelming discredited and largely forgotten, racial arguments based on the Curse of Ham are still clung to by some white supremacists, including blogger Alan O'Reilly and some members of Stormfront. During 2008, various ultra-conservative and racist blogs and websites invoked the Curse of Ham as an argument against Barack Obama's campaign for the United States Presidency. Apparently white supremacists can't think any better than the Bronze Age herders who wrote that part of the Bible; nor do they see the irony in using a Jewish text to justify their racism.


Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:56 am
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Post Re: Religious Discussion
Quote:
That it was twisted out of context to suit those purposes is totally irrelevant to any point either of us was making.


That is in fact central to the point he was making. You missed it.

Quote:
http://whistlinginthewind.org/2012/05/0 ... -5-racism/ <--- nope, no racism in the bible, no'siree.


Ah the sword verses. You do realize this is making the same mistake those preaching the curse of ham did hundreds of years ago? You are reading race into passages that deal with a different topic because it suits your need.

Interesting to note, the sword verses there are narrow in scope, both in time and place. In fact, I'll allow Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun to speak on that:

Quote:
In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. Therefore, Caliphate and Royal Authority are united in Islam, so that the person in charge can devote the available strength of both of them at the same time.

The other religious groups (here the Jews and Christians - people of the book) did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense. It has thus come about that the person in charge of religious affairs in other religious groups is not concerned with power politics at all. Among them, Royal Authority comes to those who have it-by accident and in some way that has nothing to do with religion. It comes to them as the necessary result of group feeling, which by its very nature seeks to obtain royal authority, as we have mentioned before, and not because they are under obligation to gain power over other nations, as is the case with Islam. They are merely required to establish their religion among their own people.

That is why the Israelites after Moses and Joshua remained unconcerned with royal authority for about four hundred years. Their only concern was to establish their religion


.

https://books.google.com/books?id=FlNZ5 ... g=PA183&dq




Aside from the sword verses it also makes note of the separation between Jew and Gentile. Should point out that the Jews wind up with all manner of restrictions and, as Khaldun noted, no imperative to impose them on others. Unlike Muhammad.

Quote:
I have been commanded to wage war against mankind until they testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God; and that they establish prostration prayer, and pay the alms-tax. If they do so, their blood and property are protected.


Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:33 am
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