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  1. #211
    Supreme Allied Commander Take Five's Avatar
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    Well so we can find more common ground, let's approach it from a different perspective.

    Granted there are Islamic and Christian fundamentalists who espouse violent means. Do they do this only because they are fundamentalists? No. Do they do this only because they are Muslims/Christians? No. Do they do this only because they are theist? No. Do they do this because they are theist, Christian/Muslim, and fundamentalist? Not completely. There must be other social, economic, or political considerations when explaining the roots of the violence.

    True, people have fought "in the name of God" and gotten others to fight alongside them. People have killed for heretical deviation of doctrine. True, all of these instances cannot historically be unlinked from politics. Blaming all this killing on theism is not a good thing.

    Take it a step further. I hope you will agree that not all religions are theistic. There are atheistic religions. Religion does not require belief in a creator God. Such religions have been involved in wars. But we cannot attribute the violence to atheism.

    So we all know that one need neither be a theist nor an atheist to engage in violence. However at this point, one could still argue that religion causes more violence than secularism. Religion, more accurately competing religions, makes groups and individuals susceptible to violent behavior. An organizer can appeal to religious grievances and mobilize an armed force. That same organizer can also use ethnic differences, tribalism, economic exclusion, nationalism, among many other things. Violence often occurs with these other things, and without the presence of religion. Yet there are no or few calls for the ending of ethnicity or tribal or all economic structures, even though ethnic or tribal or economic disputes are often the "cause" for violence. Instead we hear calls more often for peaceful coexistence, dialogue, political action.

    Degrees of exclusion, isolation, difference, belonging to a group, social structure in any form are the real "root" of violence in the sense that the New Atheists mean. Violence is human. It's been here before religion, before monotheism, before atheism, before everything. Violence is, in a sense, natural and not exclusive to any belief or disbelief.



    Now, when people here say "Atheists" a lot of the time mean those who advocate the primacy of human reason, science, and secularism. For better or worse, those things are becoming the characteristics of a group. It remains to be seen what it will do if it's ever as a group, singled out for something like economic repression, ideological cleansing, political fault line formation, etc. All hypothetical and unlikely, but the hypothetical capacity for group structure and ideology formation is there. Though these hypothetical malcontents may not use the battle cry "for atheism!" they could use something like "for rationality" "for science" "for demystification" or something that the atheistic trait is only a part of.

    I don't think this will happen, but I don't think any group is impervious to the temptation or justification of violence.
    Johari Nohari

    "If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. "--Niccolo Machiavelli

  2. #212
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    Religious ideas in most contexts are less about truth and ethics and more about the us vs. them tribalism that seems to govern large scale human behavior.

    Any idea can be a rallying point to build a tribe around, regardless of its ideological content. And any tribe can be induced to violence.

  3. #213
    Junior Member Danikov's Avatar
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    I don't think that the question as to whether secularism or theism has caused more violence can be answered. There are too many other factors involved and no real control groups. If it isn't religion, it's politics (and sometimes both). There is a lot to be said about the separation of the state and any religion or quasi-religion entity (including atheism), but that's an entirely different question from tolerating the mere existence of religion.

    I just think their methods are misdirected and ineffective. Even if religion were as bad as many say it is (the strong language they use when referring to religion, at least in my mind, sets of warning bells- 'propaganda, propaganda!'), standing on a pedestal and saying so is just as effective as street preachers insisting that you're sinful and you to repent. You antagonise those who aren't interested and will only appeal to those already are- it has a polarising effect.

    For great advocates of science, atheists could do with applying social sciences a lot more.

  4. #214
    Sniffles
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevo View Post
    The USSR was not defined by its atheism
    The USSR was officially an atheist state.
    and in fact drew a lot of support from the Russian Orthodox Church in many of its practices, including the genocidal ones.
    Yes after it was brutally suppressed and then had its leadership packed with obedient cronies(which helped lead to the split between the Patriarchate and the ROCOR), yeah I guess so.

  5. #215
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danikov View Post
    For great advocates of science, atheists could do with applying social sciences a lot more.
    What do you mean? Apply how so?

  6. #216
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by suttree View Post
    Religious ideas in most contexts are less about truth and ethics and more about the us vs. them tribalism that seems to govern large scale human behavior.

    Any idea can be a rallying point to build a tribe around, regardless of its ideological content. And any tribe can be induced to violence.
    +1

  7. #217
    Junior Member Danikov's Avatar
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    If they really think eliminating religion is necessary, they could go about it in much better ways than writing antagonistic books that polarise the issue. As suttree put it and Qre:us highlighted, it's creating more us vs. them mentality, which isn't helpful at all.

  8. #218
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    You misinterpret my post. I am saying such conflict is part of human nature.

    I disagree with your idea that atheistic books are antagonistic towards religion. For most atheists, the objections to religion have nothing to do with religious conflict or historical bloodshed or even increasing human happiness.

    Their objection tp religion is that, given what we know about the universe the existence of a god concerned with humanity is simply not a reasonable conclusion. If you think this, then organized religion and all the mythological artifacts that accompany it are given absurdly exaggerated importance.

    Because the objection is philosophical and intellectual in nature, written texts are an ideal means of communicating the ideas. Billboards and newspaper ads I can see you objecting to on grounds that they are more polarizing than convincing but books are appropriate.

    I would argue that churches reacting defensively and church leaders characterizing dawkins and athiests as a cohesive group attacking them as the polarizing force, a "them." There simply is no "us" when it comes to atheism like there is in religious communities.

  9. #219
    Junior Member Danikov's Avatar
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    If they were merely books on the belief that logic trumps faith, and logic leads us to believe that there is no god, I'd be happy with that. I don't think religious people object to that- to each and everyone their own beliefs. Intellectual/philosophical atheism is a-ok.

    It's when atheists say religion is immoral, evil, and damaging to society. It's going beyond having your own beliefs, it's stepping towards forcing those beliefs on others. That isn't ok, whoever you are. Those atheists who hold this belief claim it's a moral objection- that allowing religion to continue on is akin to standing by and watching a mugging, that inaction doesn't free us of moral responsibility.

    Religious people will tell atheists that they're sick in the soul- in the soul resides faith and without it, they're doomed.

    Atheists will tell religious people that they're sick in the head- in the head resides logic and without, they're doomed.

    Both will insist they're right and the others are wrong. I don't see how atheism has done anything to set itself apart from religion at all aside from having an intellectual basis, or how that gives atheists a right to morally object to religion. Atheism isn't totally disorganised, there are already special interest groups that champion atheistic attitudes and the advertisements that appeared here in Britain (giants ads on the side of London buses saying 'God probably doesn't exist, so stop worrying and get on with your life') were paid for by donations from atheist communities. What I see is a trend towards organisation, towards more activism, towards forming an 'us' and towards becoming just another quasi-religious organisation, complete with trappings of such status.

  10. #220
    What is, is. Arthur Schopenhauer's Avatar
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    @Danikov:

    If logic dictates that religion is immoral, evil and damaging to society, then would it be reasonable to write that into your little books, and to 'preach' it as it is?

    The world doesn't work in the 'why can't we all get along' way. Atheists and theists are destined to be opposed, completely, and undoubtably. This is fact.
    INTJ | 5w4 - Sp/Sx/So | 5-4-(9/1) | RLoEI | Melancholic-Choleric | Johari & Nohari

    This will not end well...
    But it will at least be poetic, I suppose...

    Hmm... But what if it does end well?
    Then I suppose it will be a different sort of poetry, a preferable sort...
    A sort I could become accustomed to...



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