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The good deeds of organized religion

Doctor Anaximander

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I mean it depends on the religion. Some are more 'enlightened' than others. Ultimately I find that often time people hold values that have little to do with the values of their religion but they just decide, despite evidence to the contrary, that this is what it means to be a good -insert religion-. A lot of what people think make them good -insert religion- is just , for lack of a better term, due to the westernization of their cultures. Which often leads to hilarity as the same people then profess dislike of the west most of their moral values come from.
People are weird / idiots.

In the case of Christianity the relation is a bit more complicated, of course, as Christian values coevolved with the same Western Culture(s) and values. Though in the late 20th and early 21st century these two are increasingly decorrelated. But I think it's not excessive to claim that overall, Christianity is the major religion that is closest to the modern definition of a 'good person' overall. Which is an idea worth considering, especially given that it would then follow that there would be a religion that is opposite to that. Food for thought.

But yeah, past that ultimately individuals are individual (to a varying degree) and except for some official decrees of religious leaders I don't think a good deed can be OF a religion, but rather strongly correlated to it. One exception I guess would be things done directly in the name of said religion, that if matching the precepts of said religion (holy books etc.) would have the fairest claim to be a deed 'of the religion'.


You may be oversimplifying the co-evolution of Christianity and western values. Christian institutions repeatedly fought against science, the enlightenment, egalitarianism, et al, then begrudgingly adapted and moved toward more moderate stances whenever it was clear they were losing the culture wars. There’s always been a tension and conflict with the church first resisting and eventually coming around to evolving values such as democracy and adherence to the scientific method (and yes, I realize the scientific method was developed by a religious person, but overall it has never been of great importance to religious leaders and followers). I mean, for example, it’s taken the Catholic Church how long to officially accept certain scientific truths about our planet’s position in and relationship to the greater cosmos?

The USA is a more complicated case. Although the government itself was founded by men who were (mostly) influenced by the European enlightenment, the culture itself was greatly shaped and influenced by religious fundamentalists, many of whom fled from Europe as it grew increasingly liberal and “enlightened”. The so called Great Awakening which occurred in colonial America during the mid 18th century also helped to shape the current culture. It’s shaped our culture to the point that even atheists on the political right here often agree with core Christian fundamentalist tenets—this is in contrast to many conservatives in nations like the UK

In short, I don’t really consider the USA a western nation in the same way I might the UK, France, or even Canada. All of the other western nations essentially dumped their fundamentalist baggage and the most fervent believers and sects into the new world. Why a nation like Australia is a different case (and I realize I’m also oversimplifying and generalizing a bit now) is that they instead had convicts and poor farmers and ex sailers dumped on them rather than Bible thumping social conservatives
 

Lark

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You may be oversimplifying the co-evolution of Christianity and western values. Christian institutions repeatedly fought against science, the enlightenment, egalitarianism, et al, then begrudgingly adapted and moved toward more moderate stances whenever it was clear they were losing the culture wars. There’s always been a tension and conflict with the church first resisting and eventually coming around to evolving values such as democracy and adherence to the scientific method (and yes, I realize the scientific method was developed by a religious person, but overall it has never been of great importance to religious leaders and followers). I mean, for example, it’s taken the Catholic Church how long to officially accept certain scientific truths about our planet’s position in and relationship to the greater cosmos?

The USA is a more complicated case. Although the government itself was founded by men who were (mostly) influenced by the European enlightenment, the culture itself was greatly shaped and influenced by religious fundamentalists, many of whom fled from Europe as it grew increasingly liberal and “enlightened”. The so called Great Awakening which occurred in colonial America during the mid 18th century also helped to shape the current culture. It’s shaped our culture to the point that even atheists on the political right here often agree with core Christian fundamentalist tenets—this is in contrast to many conservatives in nations like the UK

In short, I don’t really consider the USA a western nation in the same way I might the UK, France, or even Canada. All of the other western nations essentially dumped their fundamentalist baggage and the most fervent believers and sects into the new world. Why a nation like Australia is a different case (and I realize I’m also oversimplifying and generalizing a bit now) is that they instead had convicts and poor farmers and ex sailers dumped on them rather than Bible thumping social conservatives

I think you should perhaps read up on your history a bit before repeating all of that liberal revolutionary anti-clerical propaganda of yester year as though its fresh as the day was cooked up. Even the reporting of the controversies about a heliocentric universe are misreported in a great, great many ways and there's not a little modern conceit and self-congratulation about it.

The integration of potentially destabilizing new knowledge and innovation isnt something I would say that the world has exactly gotten right yet, the reformation is definitely not an example to anyone in that respect. Would that the world had learned a little more about how it had played out before the enlightenment and subsequent upheavels and history may have not been repeated just quite as it has been over and over.

The Christian institutions that you're pouring scorn on spent as much of their time being the only alternative for brutally repressed peasantry, serfs and freemen, as portrayed in fiction, including French fiction (France being, as you say fiercely secularist and secularizing) like Les Miserable or The Hunchback of Nottredam, or in fact if you consider Erasmus or others. I'd said to you before about the origin of Hospitals being connected to the Order of Hospitaleers, but you didnt like it so it never got mentioned again. Likewise the only sorts of poor relief available to anyone prior to the welfare state were religious in origin, charities, created as a duty, education, its a similar story. The cutting edge of science has a lot of Jesuits or other church authorities involved in it, including research at Cern and a number of biomedical science ventures too. It does not fit the narrative well, like I say, its an old narrative, pretty worn out.

The whole "religious individuals good" and "religious institutions bad" idea is done, the complexity of human life stands in direct contradiction to it. Although I could see it being something that's not going to appeal to anyone who is yet to really grasp the nettle of "something can be two things" or "two things can be true".
 

Doctor Anaximander

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I think you should perhaps read up on your history a bit before repeating all of that liberal revolutionary anti-clerical propaganda of yester year as though its fresh as the day was cooked up. Even the reporting of the controversies about a heliocentric universe are misreported in a great, great many ways and there's not a little modern conceit and self-congratulation about it.

No, it's well documented that the church didn't come around on the heliocentrism vs geocentrism debate until the 19th century, and only after the point at which a majority of schools and most of the scientific community had rejected geocentrism. However, I'd be interested in any sources you have to the contrary.

The integration of potentially destabilizing new knowledge and innovation isnt something I would say that the world has exactly gotten right yet, the reformation is definitely not an example to anyone in that respect. Would that the world had learned a little more about how it had played out before the enlightenment and subsequent upheavels and history may have not been repeated just quite as it has been over and over.

I never said the european enlightenment was the be-all and end-all, the greatest movement, anything of that sort, so you could drop the combative tone. Merely pointed out that progress was usually made in spite of religion, not because of or in tandem with.

The Christian institutions that you're pouring scorn on spent as much of their time being the only alternative for brutally repressed peasantry, serfs and freemen, as portrayed in fiction, including French fiction (France being, as you say fiercely secularist and secularizing) like Les Miserable or The Hunchback of Nottredam, or in fact if you consider Erasmus or others. I'd said to you before about the origin of Hospitals being connected to the Order of Hospitaleers, but you didnt like it so it never got mentioned again. Likewise the only sorts of poor relief available to anyone prior to the welfare state were religious in origin, charities, created as a duty, education, its a similar story. The cutting edge of science has a lot of Jesuits or other church authorities involved in it, including research at Cern and a number of biomedical science ventures too. It does not fit the narrative well, like I say, its an old narrative, pretty worn out.

No where did I say any of this wasn't true. Nor did I say secular institutions and individuals throughout history have been infallible, so again, you could drop the combative tone, and the black-and-white thinking and apologism while you're at it

The whole "religious individuals good" and "religious institutions bad" idea is done, the complexity of human life stands in direct contradiction to it. Although I could see it being something that's not going to appeal to anyone who is yet to really grasp the nettle of "something can be two things" or "two things can be true".

If you'd read some of my own posts in the past, you'd realize I never took such a black and white view that all religious institutions are bad approach, so there's really no need to come at me like such. Like, for example, in this very thread I noted the good deeds of the Quakers, a prominent religious group, not an individual. So you can politely back off with the passive aggression and the holier-than-thou tone. You talk as though I am "pouring scorn", and yet your own posts on this topic directed at anyone who shows even the slightest disagreement with your own narratives and versions of things drip, no overflow with scorn and rancor. It's getting to be quite tiresome and I'll let you in on a secret--well over half of the time when I don't bother responding to you, it's not because you've just laid out some uncontestable truth, some gotcha that left me speechless, it's because I just don't have the energy to deal with your shitty attitude and scornful rhetoric usually spammed in the form of word salad diatribes--have you considered a career as a pastor or minister?
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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You may be oversimplifying the co-evolution of Christianity and western values. Christian institutions repeatedly fought against science, the enlightenment, egalitarianism, et al, then begrudgingly adapted and moved toward more moderate stances whenever it was clear they were losing the culture wars. There’s always been a tension and conflict with the church first resisting and eventually coming around to evolving values such as democracy and adherence to the scientific method (and yes, I realize the scientific method was developed by a religious person, but overall it has never been of great importance to religious leaders and followers). I mean, for example, it’s taken the Catholic Church how long to officially accept certain scientific truths about our planet’s position in and relationship to the greater cosmos?

People also conveniently like to forget the bloody sectarian warfare in Christendom in the 17th century, as well as sacking Byzantium during the crusades.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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People also conveniently like to forget the bloody sectarian warfare in Christendom in the 17th century, as well as sacking Byzantium during the crusades.

Constantinople never did fully recover from that either, and was arguably left in a much weaker state than they may have otherwise been in when the Ottomans later invaded. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 effectively closed the main trade road to the east, and more or less sped Europe toward the age of colonialism and all of the atrocities associated with it (as they began searching for new trade routes to the west)--although I think that would have eventually happened even if Constantinople had not fallen to the Ottomans.
 

Julius_Van_Der_Beak

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Constantinople never did fully recover from that either, and was arguably left in a much weaker state than they may have otherwise been in when the Ottomans later invaded. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 effectively closed the main trade road to the east, and more or less sped Europe toward the age of colonialism and all of the atrocities associated with it--although I think that would have eventually happened even if Constantinople had not fallen to the Ottomans.

Do you think it made it possible for the Ottomans to defeat the Eastern Roman Empire?
 

Doctor Anaximander

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Do you think it made it possible for the Ottomans to defeat the Eastern Roman Empire?

Probably just made the demise of the Eastern Roman Empire happen faster than otherwise. I'm not really sure, but it seems like they'd already been in a state of decline for centuries. But who knows, they might have held on longer and made it to the modern era.
 

EcK

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You may be oversimplifying the co-evolution of Christianity and western values. Christian institutions repeatedly fought against science, the enlightenment, egalitarianism, et al, then begrudgingly adapted and moved toward more moderate stances whenever it was clear they were losing the culture wars. There’s always been a tension and conflict with the church first resisting and eventually coming around to evolving values such as democracy and adherence to the scientific method (and yes, I realize the scientific method was developed by a religious person, but overall it has never been of great importance to religious leaders and followers). I mean, for example, it’s taken the Catholic Church how long to officially accept certain scientific truths about our planet’s position in and relationship to the greater cosmos?

The USA is a more complicated case. Although the government itself was founded by men who were (mostly) influenced by the European enlightenment, the culture itself was greatly shaped and influenced by religious fundamentalists, many of whom fled from Europe as it grew increasingly liberal and “enlightened”. The so called Great Awakening which occurred in colonial America during the mid 18th century also helped to shape the current culture. It’s shaped our culture to the point that even atheists on the political right here often agree with core Christian fundamentalist tenets—this is in contrast to many conservatives in nations like the UK

In short, I don’t really consider the USA a western nation in the same way I might the UK, France, or even Canada. All of the other western nations essentially dumped their fundamentalist baggage and the most fervent believers and sects into the new world. Why a nation like Australia is a different case (and I realize I’m also oversimplifying and generalizing a bit now) is that they instead had convicts and poor farmers and ex sailers dumped on them rather than Bible thumping social conservatives

All true yeah, when I said coevolved i meant just that, not that they are a perfect match but that they are more correlated than say, Hinduism would be to westernized moral values.
I mean I did start my sentence by saying 'it's more complicated' when referring to the relation Christianity has to modern western moral values and I did say that the culture and religion are becoming increasingly decorrelated as time goes by. So I think that covered (albeit quickly) the grounds you are alluding to. But yes I agree with your argument, thanks for going more indepth.
 

Lark

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Even in a thread with the title this one has and created with the apparent aim of appeasing differing opinion you only have to wait a short time for the hate parade...

Same old, same old.

All day long.
 

Doctor Anaximander

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Hmm, well, I dont think I'm going to choose to be spoken to quite] like that anymore.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

giphy.gif
 

Siúil a Rúin

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I think organized religion is at its best when it is organizing charitable hospitals, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc. It requires administration and a plan to create these social services and sometimes organized religion helps build these.
 
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