Debate and Discussion

Is religion bad?
PhatScurl at 6:00PM, Nov. 15, 2006
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Just something i've begun to wonder. We've several debates on this forum about God and religion in general. Several people on this forum have shown themselves to be devout aethiests, and have no plans on converting anytime soon. It has been discussed that placing “fictional” (in quotations because i am a believer) entities into people's minds and ignorant for the person to believe they exist.

But in the core idea of the majority of religions, is it really that bad. The majority of accepted religions encourage good behavior. Be nice to others, don't kill, don't steal, respect mother and father, etc. And you'd have to make a pretty convincing arguement to prove these to be bad ideas.

I understand where several non-believers are coming from, you don't like the idea of people following something that never existed and never happened. But if it encourages people to come together, should we really get rid of it.

Throughout history religion has brought groups together to become more civilized, and grow. Religion has helped build bridges in culture. I can assure you now, if it weren't for religion coming into being we wouldn't be anywhere near where we are now.

Human laws provided was small borders in which to keep us in line, but yet everyday millions across the world break these laws and never get caught. Religion provides either a punishment and a prize we can't avoid. That alone will convince people to carry on.

Without religion, why shouldn't i just go around killing everybody on the spot, what's really to stop me from raping women, and what's to stop me from stealing countless dollars in money. Death. I'm gonna die anyway, why wait for it.

Religion stops this, and gives a person reason to continue and help the people around you grow.

Now, i'm seeing everyday somebody on tv trying to get rid of religion and rid the world of the “lies” so firmly planted in our minds. Honestly, i don't care if your aethiest, religion has proven time and time again to be a fundamental part of society, i think no matter who you are, we should be fighting to keep SOME type of religion alive that promotes ideas for the better of mankind.

And so i ask you…Is religion really bad?
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:43PM
Black_Kitty at 7:23PM, Nov. 15, 2006
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PhatScurl
Without religion, why shouldn't i just go around killing everybody on the spot, what's really to stop me from raping women, and what's to stop me from stealing countless dollars in money. Death. I'm gonna die anyway, why wait for it.

Morality? Moral conscience? Society and their laws? Pain?

I think a lot of good has come out of religion but I don't think that religion is the one thing that keeps everyone in line. People can still be moral and good (whatever “good” may be) and not believe in any kind of organized religion. People can also help other people without any religious reasons.

But again, I think a lot of good has come out of organized religion as much as people like to talk about all the bad. I don't really see the harm in subscribing to a religion nor do I see it as a sign of weakness as a lot of people like to suggest.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:23AM
subcultured at 7:34PM, Nov. 15, 2006
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it's only bad when you don't respect other people's religion or choices…you can take anything to the worst
J
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:00PM
PhatScurl at 7:34PM, Nov. 15, 2006
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PhatScurl
Without religion, why shouldn't i just go around killing everybody on the spot, what's really to stop me from raping women, and what's to stop me from stealing countless dollars in money. Death. I'm gonna die anyway, why wait for it./quote]

Morality? Moral conscience? Society and their laws? Pain?

I think a lot of good has come out of religion but I don't think that religion is the one thing that keeps everyone in line. People can still be moral and good (whatever “good” may be) and not believe in any kind of organized religion. People can also help other people without any religious reasons.

But this is counting on the fact that people are rational, and are willing to think. Let's face it though, there is still a part of us that when put in danger reverts back to savage instincts. Hurr. Katrina is a perfect example of this.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:43PM
Black_Kitty at 7:52PM, Nov. 15, 2006
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PhatScurl
But this is counting on the fact that people are rational, and are willing to think. Let's face it though, there is still a part of us that when put in danger reverts back to savage instincts. Hurr. Katrina is a perfect example of this.

Does your savage instincts include believing in God though?

Suicide bombers are an example of people who use religion to justify their own actions. When people are really set on doing something, religion (whether it be the presence or lack of it) isn't really going to stop them.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:23AM
BigFishComic at 9:07PM, Nov. 15, 2006
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subcultured
it's only bad when you don't respect other people's religion or choices…you can take anything to the worst

agreed. religion's not bad, it's what people do with it. Like guns.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:22AM
kyupol at 9:10PM, Nov. 15, 2006
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religion becomes bad when the people misinterpret them or use them to forward their own extremist agenda. Religion becomes an evil if the leaders of that religion twist the teachings of the holy book and turn it into hatespeech.

Do not blame the religion but the assholes who misinterpret it.


Religion has kept order in society. From religion, other forms of civilization have happened. Art, music, literature, fashion, music etc… was one way or another influenced by religion. Without religion, there would be no beautiful churches, mosques, temples, etc… Think about it.

Religion has also protected society from collapse. Through the creation of laws based on a religion and using concepts of eternal reward to encourage good behavior and eternal damnation to discourage bad behavior.


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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
yeahduff at 9:24PM, Nov. 15, 2006
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Religion may not soley be to blame for the world's ills, but it's not blameless either. The three Abraham-derived religions are deeply violent, judgemental, sexist and devisive, at their root. Hinduism is rigidly and brutally classist, and Buddhism can lean toward nihilism. They are all great philosophies that have done much good for the world. But each has a dark side that can't be discarded as misinterpretation. Religion is not morality.

It seems likely that religion is the best way to ingrain philosophy into the people. But the best in simplest form of morality that I've found is the Golden Rule. Fuck the Ten Commandments; Hang that in classrooms.
Get yourself a lawyer and a gun.


last edited on July 14, 2011 4:53PM
Tantz Aerine at 4:57AM, Nov. 16, 2006
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I think that before any debate is to offer any valid guidelines, we should first define what we mean by ‘religion’. Because a question of whether or not it is beneficial can have an answer of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ depending on what you think it is: By ‘religion’ do we mean only the teaching, the dogma, the rules set forth by the founder of the religion? Or do we mean the whole organisation, with the priests and the protocols and the etiquette and the demands made upon people by these structures?

I find that often there is a rather casual overlap of these two very different things which make people argue with basically very different ideas in their minds. Anyway, I think a ‘religion’ is a code of ethics and a frame of reference for the structure of the cosmos, so that a person can navigate and determine purpose and goals in their lives. In that sense, I believe that religion is not only beneficial but necessary (apart ffrom the fact that, as a believer, I believe it to be entirely, totally true).

However if we define religion as the status quo, the state-like ranking and the deification of symbols and people that demand it, then I think in these terms, religion can become something very detrimental indeed. In that sense, as well, we would be able to tag as ‘religion’ anything from money to following a football team. Anything that causes people to become blind fanatics and relinquish their own good sense (the golden rule, if you like) and judgement in the hands of some sort of (very mortal, very fallible) leader.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
VegaX at 8:44AM, Nov. 16, 2006
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Religion has been, and is, a way for people to keep their moral and spirits up, but putting that in contrast with how many people that has been KILLED in the name of “God” im having a hard time seeing religion as something good.




last edited on July 14, 2011 4:39PM
ozoneocean at 12:14PM, Nov. 16, 2006
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lothar
in response to the original question - Yes , yes it is .
Sorry Lother, no more one sentance statments. Or any statements at all unless they have supporting arguments.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:24PM
KomradeDave at 12:16PM, Nov. 16, 2006
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VegaX
Religion has been, and is, a way for people to keep their moral and spirits up, but putting that in contrast with how many people that has been KILLED in the name of “God” im having a hard time seeing religion as something good.

But were I to kill someone in your name, would it make you bad? I agree with BigFish, religion can be twisted and used to bad ends, but religion itself I believe is neither. Take http://www.godhatesfags.com, they are deeply religious but use their faith for hate. Others use faith to build and make things better. Religion is not good and it is not evil, it merely is.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:20PM
Tantz Aerine at 1:11PM, Nov. 16, 2006
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I seem to recall that to use religion (at least the Christian one) for hate purposes, killing, torture, blackmail, coersion and the like is in itself considered a sin (a pretty heavy one at that). If, of course, anyone bothers to read the actual texts. Many people base their whole lives on hearsay and statements by other people in authority positions. That is where it starts to become dangerous: letting it to others to interpret for you. Religion cannot be done through representatives. It is like trying to breathe with someone else's lungs.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
kyupol at 4:26AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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yeahduff
Religion may not soley be to blame for the world's ills, but it's not blameless either. The three Abraham-derived religions are deeply violent, judgemental, sexist and devisive, at their root. Hinduism is rigidly and brutally classist, and Buddhism can lean toward nihilism. They are all great philosophies that have done much good for the world. But each has a dark side that can't be discarded as misinterpretation. Religion is not morality.

Abraham-derived religions can be a pain in the ass. As far as the violence and sexism are concerned, it is the fanatics within those religions who do shit like that.

In Christianity, there are self-proclaimed “soldiers of God” who attack abortion clinics and preach hate to homos. The bible never said anything regarding violence against sinners. The bible says that it is only God who has the right to judge and not man. Sure these anti-abortion terrorists are pro-life. I am too. I believe that abortion IS murder. But violence is not the solution. It is up to God to punish these abortionists. Man's job is only to remind fellow man to stop doing evil. Violence actually puts you at the lowlife level of the murderer abortionists. Becoming a murderer like them just contradicts the message of pro-life.

As far as sexism is concerned, what is so sexist about “sex only during marriage”? It doesnt restrict only women but also men.

Christianity has female saints and some Christians worship the Virgin Mary like she's a goddess or something. They call her the “queen of heaven and earth” How can that be sexism? Men and women can be called to holiness.




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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
Tantz Aerine at 5:31AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Well said, Kyupol. :) It is very easy to profess you represent an idea, and actually go around doing the exact opposite of the doctrine one pays lip-service to. Of course, people will assume that it is the doctrine that is faulty. It is one of the most basic attribution errors.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
Nightmare Zero at 5:55AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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I believe that Religon is both a blessing and a curse. As a Roman Cathloc, I believe in most of what the church tells me. There are some things that I don't agree with, like having as many kids as you can. They want as many people in their religion as they can so they ask the people already in there to have like 12 kids. That scares me. There are also the bad stuff that happens in the name of god. The Crusades, Witch burning, I could go on. but I have to agree that along with the bad, there is more good in religion.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:16PM
Tantz Aerine at 6:07AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Nightmare Zero
They want as many people in their religion as they can so they ask the people already in there to have like 12 kids. That scares me. There are also the bad stuff that happens in the name of god. The Crusades, Witch burning, I could go on. but I have to agree that along with the bad, there is more good in religion.

All these things are actions sanctioned by people, not the doctrine. There is nowhere in the Gospels the order to burn, kill and annihilate others, wage war and cause innumerable blood baths. Truth is that after the first spread of Christianity (up to about a couple of centuries A.D.) many people joined in the religion without actually internalising the doctrine. Especially after Constantine made it the state religion, virtually barring people from communal/social positions and privileges with this, a great influx of people that were only just joining because they were forced to became part of the Christian group. With them they brought their own dogmas and doctrines which they continued following (after all, basic church organisation is identical to that of many other older religions, like the egyptian or ancient greek one). After that it goes pretty much downhill when it comes to official church stance on every day life- as it has become political in nature and not ideological.

Still, all that is not the doctrine's fault.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
Ronson at 7:42AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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How do you define the doctrine, Tantz?
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Mimarin at 8:05AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Religion can be bad like anything can be bad.

Things are bad if they:

- Are ever used to justify murder.
- Are used as a basis for prejudice or mistreatment of any group of people.
- Hinder the progress of science.
- Encourage people to follow any Person, group or ideal blindly and without question.

Politics, religion, individual people, insane right/left wing organisations have been known to do all of those, anything that does one of the above is bad in my book.

But I know from experience that religion really does help alot of people, and to them great, but it also negativley effects alot of people, good and bad then I suppose.

Incidently, Kyupol is silly, the bible (the old tesement particually, and especially noticably in deuteronomy) is full of instructions telling people to kill anyone who worships any other god.
Of course you will. All intelligent beings dream. Nobody knows why.

Also, tell random people they are awsome! it helps!
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:02PM
Tantz Aerine at 8:05AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Ronson
How do you define the doctrine, Tantz?

Doctrine= sets of guidelines and axioms about what is good and what is bad as well as a general frame or reference about the cosmos (who we are, what we are doing here, where we are going and how to get there). It is to be found in scriptures (NOT interpretations) documenting what was handed down by the founder of the doctrine.

I do NOT consider doctrine: rules and regulations about how to go about worshiping God. Official predictions made by ‘representatives’ of God/Church/etc. about who gets to burn, go to hell, purgatory, heaven and the like. Official blackmail by aforementioned ‘representatives’ (do this or you will burn in hell) and other coersion tactics (if you don't act in the way you do willingly, because it comes from your heart, then at the first occasion, you will stop acting so). Official affirmations that you will or will not burn if you do certain things (like buying stuff the church sells). Rules and regulations about who gets to be called what (saint, patron, etc). Overruling of what the scriptures say because ‘it can’t mean that, it's what I am telling you it means'. Official degrading that you can't directly appeal to God, but need to go through ‘representatives’ (but this also falls under the overruling thing I just said).

I hope this is a clear enough definition. I racked my brain to try and cover all the angles, but I may have left something (even significant) out. I will clarify on demand :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
Tantz Aerine at 8:10AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Mimarin
Religion can be bad like anything can be bad.

Things are bad if they:

- Are ever used to justify murder.
- Are used as a basis for prejudice or mistreatment of any group of people.
- Hinder the progress of science.
- Encourage people to follow any Person, group or ideal blindly and without question.

Politics, religion, individual people, insane right/left wing organisations have been known to do all of those, anything that does one of the above is bad in my book.


Anything in this world can be twisted into being evil. I think this is the whole point of existence: managing not to become twisted or twist anything else in the process.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
Ronson at 9:28AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Bold Mine:

Tantz Aerine
Doctrine= sets of guidelines and axioms about what is good and what is bad as well as a general frame or reference about the cosmos (who we are, what we are doing here, where we are going and how to get there). It is to be found in scriptures (NOT interpretations) documenting what was handed down by the founder of the doctrine.

SELECTED TEXT from the scriptures.

Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
– I Corinthians 14:34-35 (NIV)

If a man a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her … He must marry the girl … He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
– Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (NIV)

If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son … Then shall his father and his mother … bring him out unto the elders of his city … And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die.
– Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (AV)

… all who are under the yoke of slavery … who have believing masters … must serve all the better since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties. If any one teaches otherwise … he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy…, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind…
– I Timothy 6:1-5 (RSV)

Now, I am not saying that there aren't some good aspects to organized religion. But this is just a small sampling of passages from the bible that don't need to be interpreted to get their meaning.

But a lot of the writings in these scriptures - religious doctrine - condoned an awful lot of things we think of as wrong…and have led to violence and wars.

I can agree that a good ethical or moral code will help someone decide right and wrong - but that is separate from religious writings and church teaching. It isn't based on a belief or disbelief in a God. It's based on common sense.

So the answer to the question posed in this thread “Is religion good or bad?” is that it's both. And any attempt to separate the good things religion has done from the bad is disingenuous.

Now, we could shift the argument to whether religion has done more good or more bad … but I have no idea how to quantify it and would answer “I don't know.”
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Tantz Aerine at 10:00AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Tantz Aerine
what was handed down by the founder of the doctrine

I said that bearing in mind that Apostle Paul, Timothy and everyone else who has written letters had said what he'd said about women and other issues. I have not yet read deuteronomy (I haven't yet read the Old Testament well enough to be able to have a first-hand opinion on it, so I speak basically on the New Testament- reason why I never mentioned the word ‘Bible’).

However, all these texts are, even if very revered and in many aspects ringing quite true, not what the Founder has said- the Founder would be Christ. And his words and deeds would be found in the Gospels. I have yet to find a single moment when Christ said that women are inferior, that one should bow to an oppressor or that a raped woman is to be forever bound to her rapist. I have, however, read that he spoke with a socially disgraced woman as an equal at a well.

All of what you have quoted is words of men (I stress that I don't know about Deuteronomy first hand yet), who, no matter how good willing, have not the authority of God and Christ themselves. What they (the people writing at the time) said must be considered in context with the era and what it meant and how far they could push the envelope in a society that was pretty much unable to receive even a morsel of what was being preached. I am not saying that the letters should be written off- but it should not be taken in blindinly, because they are the words of people- not the words of God.

And I know that right about now you may be wondering ‘just how can you trust the Gospels, then, since men wrote those too after Christ?’ to which I would answer that they wrote what they saw and what they heard- and I trust the integrity of these specific people enough to know that they would write only what they saw- nothing more, nothing less, especially since it was about the Founder- Christ himself.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
Ronson at 11:23AM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Ah, my fault. I didn't realize founder=Jesus. I'm not familiar with that particular nome de plume.

Of course, now you're only defending Christianity and specifically Jesus' writings. Since the question was in reference to “religion”, your scope seems narrow in answering the question.

But since Jesus himself didn't actually write anything down, all writings of his alleged acts are written by man. Therefore, nothing in the New Testament passes your standards either. You have (at least) one-off interpretations of the acts and deeds of Jesus.

Which is fine. Being purposefully vague in the roots for one's belief system is a sure way to win nearly every assault upon it. In America, “cafeteria style” Christianity is all the rage - where people pick and choose which bits of the Bible they want to use and discard the rest.

But your argument - correct me if I'm wrong - is that the true words and deed of Jesus would never lead anyone to do evil things, and only the corruption of these words leads to the corruption of religion.

last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Tantz Aerine at 1:26PM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Ronson
Ah, my fault. I didn't realize founder=Jesus. I'm not familiar with that particular nome de plume.

Have I somehow made you irate or angry? If so, forgive me, that was not my intent. I did not wish to mask every religion with Christ and Christianity. I did use it to illustrate my view only because it is the one religion I am most familiar with. Also, the quotes you gave me came from the Bible only- therefore I focused on the aspects of Christianity, the founder of which is Christ, isn't it?

Ronson
Of course, now you're only defending Christianity and specifically Jesus' writings. Since the question was in reference to “religion”, your scope seems narrow in answering the question.

But since Jesus himself didn't actually write anything down, all writings of his alleged acts are written by man. Therefore, nothing in the New Testament passes your standards either. You have (at least) one-off interpretations of the acts and deeds of Jesus.

Like you very correctly said, Jesus wrote nothing. I am quite certain I made a big deal out of that. I also said that I trust that the people who wrote about Him, did so without altering anything regarding him (if you like, this is where my faith comes in: that the actual reports on Jesus have not been altered). Therefore, everything that is in quotes and is attributed to Jesus, I not only accept, but I believe ( and try to follow- it is very, very hard and I would be a rather unsavoury hypocrite to say I actually manage to follow what He said, in its entirety or continually). I do not see why I would have any sort of trouble with the New Testament- and I don't.

Ronson
Which is fine. Being purposefully vague in the roots for one's belief system is a sure way to win nearly every assault upon it. In America, “cafeteria style” Christianity is all the rage - where people pick and choose which bits of the Bible they want to use and discard the rest.

But your argument - correct me if I'm wrong - is that the true words and deed of Jesus would never lead anyone to do evil things, and only the corruption of these words leads to the corruption of religion.


I am not being purposefully vague- if you find that what I say is not clear enough, I am here to clarify it and will do so to the best of my capacity. I am not here to gloss over huge issues by saying something vague and then, if you do not accept it as valid, claim you are in denial like Freud had done on occasion. I am not very happy with how you tag what I said as “cafeteria style”, because every word I have typed for you comes and is supported by a lot of experience and hardship that led me to conclude certain things; therefore it certainly is not “cafeteria” philosophy and I am not a frivolous little girl who has been impressed with something someone dished out in a fancy wrapping.

My argument is that yes, the true words and deeds of Jesus are never going to lead anyone to commit evil actions. My argument also was, and I apologise if it was at all or any time obscure, that any person is bound to be led towards fanatism and wrongdoing of all shapes and sizes if they try to cramp themselves into a regular, official and cumbersome set of rules enforced on them. While I am not familiar with every religion well enough, I have come to realise that people who do NOT cramp themselves in the way I have just described, basically end up behaving and believing in the same few, basic truths, regardless their religion. In that sense, by founder I mean Mohammed, Buddha, Jesus… and anyone else.

Of course now, the argument could stray to the fact that certain religions may not be like the three basic monotheistic ones. On these, I have no opinion, and if I came across as defending everything from Jediism to Satanism, then I beg your pardon, for I was not.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
Ronson at 2:25PM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Tantz Aerine
Ronson
Ah, my fault. I didn't realize founder=Jesus. I'm not familiar with that particular nome de plume.

Have I somehow made you irate or angry? If so, forgive me, that was not my intent. I did not wish to mask every religion with Christ and Christianity. I did use it to illustrate my view only because it is the one religion I am most familiar with. Also, the quotes you gave me came from the Bible only- therefore I focused on the aspects of Christianity, the founder of which is Christ, isn't it?

I am neither irate or angry. I meant it. I had never heard Jesus called “The Founder” … that's a new one on me. :)

Tantz Aerine
Like you very correctly said, Jesus wrote nothing. I am quite certain I made a big deal out of that. I also said that I trust that the people who wrote about Him, did so without altering anything regarding him (if you like, this is where my faith comes in: that the actual reports on Jesus have not been altered). Therefore, everything that is in quotes and is attributed to Jesus, I not only accept, but I believe ( and try to follow- it is very, very hard and I would be a rather unsavoury hypocrite to say I actually manage to follow what He said, in its entirety or continually). I do not see why I would have any sort of trouble with the New Testament- and I don't.

I don't want to belabor the point, but I can find many contradictions in the New Testament where one book portrays an event in one way, and another book portrays it another.

Since the apostles were men, they had perceptions limited to men. They interpreted events with their own bias's and faulty memories.

…of course, that's not important if you believe that God took over their spirits and wrote through them. But that's another step in belief that isn't supported in scripture, IMO.

If you would like me to find passages in the New Testament that have been used to foster anti-semitism and other negative aspects, I can do that in about five minutes on google.

Tantz Aerine
I am not being purposefully vague- if you find that what I say is not clear enough, I am here to clarify it and will do so to the best of my capacity. I am not here to gloss over huge issues by saying something vague and then, if you do not accept it as valid, claim you are in denial like Freud had done on occasion.

You believe that only Jesus EXACT WORDS AND DEEDS can be used to make a religion free of distortion and corruption that leads to evil. Since that is unprovable (Jesus' exact words and deeds are unknown, and the recording of such can be shown to be at the very least inaccurate), you have belief that what has been left behind is accurate enough. Maybe vague is the wrong word, for which I apologise.

Tantz Aerine
I am not very happy with how you tag what I said as “cafeteria style”, because every word I have typed for you comes and is supported by a lot of experience and hardship that led me to conclude certain things; therefore it certainly is not “cafeteria” philosophy and I am not a frivolous little girl who has been impressed with something someone dished out in a fancy wrapping.

I'm sorry that it offended you. I wasn't really calling you personally guilty of the “cafeteria style”, just comparing the two.

You see, there are a lot of religious writings. Even if we restrict it to just the Bible, that consists of the Old and the New Testaments. Often, the old and the new conflict. Many times, there are contradictions in the same books. To have any religions based on both books means that somewhere a choice between two contradictory thoughts had to be made.

If you restrict your beliefs to just the New Testament, you are rejecting the first half of the book. Which is fine, but it's selective which aspects of scripture you've decided to follow. Also, there are the contradictions in the New Testament.

Tantz Aerine
My argument also was, and I apologise if it was at all or any time obscure, that any person is bound to be led towards fanatism and wrongdoing of all shapes and sizes if they try to cramp themselves into a regular, official and cumbersome set of rules enforced on them.

I can't disagree with that. I think our only disagreement comes into what defines a “regular, official and cumbersome set of rules”. I think the scripture could conceivable match that description.

While I am not familiar with every religion well enough, I have come to realise that people who do NOT cramp themselves in the way I have just described, basically end up behaving and believing in the same few, basic truths, regardless their religion. In that sense, by founder I mean Mohammed, Buddha, Jesus… and anyone else.

I think it can go beyond religion. Without mentioning God, it's fairly easy to see that a system that respects the lives and properties of others will work for the betterment of that society. Those are the rules that religions usually start with “Don't kill people” and “Don't take their stuff” … you don't need a God to see that logic.

Of course now, the argument could stray to the fact that certain religions may not be like the three basic monotheistic ones. On these, I have no opinion, and if I came across as defending everything from Jediism to Satanism, then I beg your pardon, for I was not.

Fair enough. Of course, I'd like to see the tally of violent wars that were caused by the big three vs. all the others.

But we've strayed. Sorry about that. And I don't wish to offend, just to point out the bits of your explanation that I truly don't understand. You're a very good explainer overall, and I enjoy a good debate. :)

My point is that religion - based on any book, scripture, or whatever - can accomplish a lot of good and a lot of evil. You can't separate “real” religion from “corrupted” religion because it's most likely that all religions are at least a little bit corrupted from their original intent.

I think though, that we're debating at cross purposes. I am talking about actually existant real religions. ALL the things people call religions. Not a one of them is free from what some people would call evil.

Of course, a lot of evil is in the eye of the beholder, but that's a whole 'nuther can of worms.

Thanks for the debate. Have a great weekend.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
Tantz Aerine at 3:22PM, Nov. 17, 2006
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Ronson
I am neither irate or angry. I meant it. I had never heard Jesus called “The Founder” … that's a new one on me. :)

Again, though I believe you mean no harm, your wording does you little service: ‘that’s a new one on me' translates: ‘I wasn’t aware that a group was calling Jesus the Founder'. Which is totally wrong and in a very incorrect perspective as the term ‘founder’ was used for every person whose life and deeds and work started a whole movement which evolved in a religion. So there is no ‘nickname’ with which you are to be now acquainted- ‘founder’ is a term, a variable x which may take any name depending on which religion we are focusing on.

Ronson
I don't want to belabor the point, but I can find many contradictions in the New Testament where one book portrays an event in one way, and another book portrays it another.

Since the apostles were men, they had perceptions limited to men. They interpreted events with their own bias's and faulty memories.

…of course, that's not important if you believe that God took over their spirits and wrote through them. But that's another step in belief that isn't supported in scripture, IMO.

Again, your wording does you little service: you seem to put in my mouth words I never said. Of course God would not have taken over their spirits because that would be infringement of free will (but of course I am not about to go into that and open yet another discussion on the subject of Christian dogma, which is but a subgroup of the topic of ‘religion’, as you have before said). I would be very much suspicious if the accounts were identical. I did not say that. I said they were accurate which means, they did not alter the reports of what they saw being said and done. It is not whether the event is portrayed in different ways, but whether the words and point of said event is always pointing at the same direction. Which is never, never contradicted.

Ronson
If you would like me to find passages in the New Testament that have been used to foster anti-semitism and other negative aspects, I can do that in about five minutes on google.

I would not mind that; it would not prove anything but what you just said: passages were used to foster anti-semitism. They did not foster it themselves. That is what is to be had when people rely on others to interpret for them what they should reflect on themselves.

Ronson
You believe that only Jesus EXACT WORDS AND DEEDS can be used to make a religion free of distortion and corruption that leads to evil. Since that is unprovable (Jesus' exact words and deeds are unknown, and the recording of such can be shown to be at the very least inaccurate), you have belief that what has been left behind is accurate enough. Maybe vague is the wrong word, for which I apologise.

Again you distort what I said: I said that His words and deeds can never lead you to do evil things; I never said it is the only way to make anything. You see in action how easy it is to distort or misinterpret even the tiniest, simplest phrase; therefore no religion in its formal expression can ever be free of this vice. Not unless people do what has been historically documented in the case of the first Christians, in the Roman times. I will not digress and describe that, as it is easy to be looked up on Google at any time ;)

Ronson
I'm sorry that it offended you. I wasn't really calling you personally guilty of the “cafeteria style”, just comparing the two.

I understood that well enough; and even that is not acceptable in my opinion, because it is not comparable in the way you did compare it. I did not offer any occasion for you to call my arguments frivolous nor the way I have been discussing with you. I assume you agree with me on that one. But apology very happily accepted, nonetheless :)

Ronson
You see, there are a lot of religious writings. Even if we restrict it to just the Bible, that consists of the Old and the New Testaments. Often, the old and the new conflict. Many times, there are contradictions in the same books. To have any religions based on both books means that somewhere a choice between two contradictory thoughts had to be made.

If you restrict your beliefs to just the New Testament, you are rejecting the first half of the book. Which is fine, but it's selective which aspects of scripture you've decided to follow. Also, there are the contradictions in the New Testament.

There is due answer on this issue in the New Testament; there is explanation for the parts that seem contradictory between Old and New. However, you take the subject elsewhere. I think the whole discussion is beyond the point. I don't think what we are doing here is to discuss whether my view on what a Christian doctrine is is what is relevant. What is relevant, is my view that no religion can be free of vice when it becomes stagnant and full of impositions and threats and empty obedience to form which does not reflect actual reflection and belief. Religion as in following a specific doctrine that you yourself, based on your own reflection and deliberation can only be good and is not only good, but necessary. Religion as in all the rest, will always have vices.

And since you have already agreed with me on that, I think the debate has, indeed, come to an end, at least on this level :)

Ronson
I can't disagree with that. I think our only disagreement comes into what defines a “regular, official and cumbersome set of rules”. I think the scripture could conceivable match that description.

That, I do not think is necessary to reach an agreement upon. What is a regular and official and cumbersom set of rules to you, is up to you and nobody else to decide.

Ronson
I think it can go beyond religion. Without mentioning God, it's fairly easy to see that a system that respects the lives and properties of others will work for the betterment of that society. Those are the rules that religions usually start with “Don't kill people” and “Don't take their stuff” … you don't need a God to see that logic.

But you do need God for a purpose, a goal to reach/attain.

Fair enough. Of course, I'd like to see the tally of violent wars that were caused by the big three vs. all the others.

But we've strayed. Sorry about that. And I don't wish to offend, just to point out the bits of your explanation that I truly don't understand. You're a very good explainer overall, and I enjoy a good debate. :)

Again, you would only prove what we both agree upon: people can use religion to cause fanatism and coerse others, who do not take it upon themselves to decide what is part of the religion's doctrine and what isn't, to do their bidding. I am talking about real religion just as much as you are- only I have a different definition which I have reached and ascribe to.

I enjoy a good debate myself. Thank you for the compliment.

 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
Aurora Moon at 4:35AM, Nov. 18, 2006
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posts: 2,630
joined: 1-7-2006
Tantz Aerine
But you do need God for a purpose, a goal to reach/attain.

uh, no people don't really need god for that. I don't believe in an god, and I already have a life-long goal to reach and attain, and I don't mean things like a Job. I mean the goal of leading an happy, content life and making my own choices and learning from them. To have a full life without no regrets, or at least only a few minor regrets rather than A LOT of MAJOR regrets. And also to try to be at least an decent human being according to my own standards and my morals.
in a way I'm already living that, but there's still the “end” to come, so I'm still reaching for that. and all without seeking god's guidance, without even beliving in him.I'm not aiming for Heaven or whatever… I could stay in the ground for all I care, which isn't much as seeing I'd be dead. what I'm aiming for..well, I already said it above.

Sorry, but it sorta irks me how some people who believe certain things, assumes that everyone else needs the same thing they do.

Sure, some people feels like they need to believe in something, whatever it be because of a weak will (like being unable to get rid of an addiction problem to alchchol otherwise) or to enforce thier own ideas and feelings that they're a good human being and that they're doing something that they should do.

but people like me.. I'm very sure of myself, and I don't need no god to enforce the fact that I'm at least TRYING to be a decent human being. which is more than what some certain people can say for themselves. (espeically those fanatics too caught up in the “word of god” to even regonize that they're less than decent… espeically those who picket at dead soilders' funerals just because they think that those soilders are defending an country that “promotes homosexuality”, and thus supports homosexuality itself.) people like me, we don't have the same needs as those who needs to believe in a god.
I'm on hitatus while I redo one of my webcomics. Be sure to check it out when I'n done! :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:09AM
Tantz Aerine at 6:50AM, Nov. 18, 2006
(online)
posts: 1,616
joined: 10-11-2006
Aurora Moon
Tantz Aerine
But you do need God for a purpose, a goal to reach/attain.

I don't believe in an god, and I already have a life-long goal to reach and attain, and I don't mean things like a Job. I mean the goal of leading an happy, content life and making my own choices and learning from them. To have a full life without no regrets, or at least only a few minor regrets rather than A LOT of MAJOR regrets. And also to try to be at least an decent human being according to my own standards and my morals.

Then you are one of the few happy people on this earth. And if you feel content, then that is all one can wish/ pray for. I don't see why, then, you are irked or in any way bothered. I feel I have (or am in the process of) attaining what you more or less described through my believe that God is there and so on and so forth. I am not bothered by your rejection of my view. Why are you bothered if I reject yours? I am not trying to enforce it on you.

Aurora Moon
Sorry, but it sorta irks me how some people who believe certain things, assumes that everyone else needs the same thing they do.

I second that… but in what way did I come across as wanting to um, enforce you into needing what I need? Or believing in what I believe, or converting to what I believe? It would deeply grieve me if that is indeed the idea I give. I don't feel though that I should stop from expressing my opinion when I speak with arguments. Don't you agree?

Aurora Moon
Sure, some people feels like they need to believe in something, whatever it be because of a weak will (like being unable to get rid of an addiction problem to alchchol otherwise) or to enforce thier own ideas and feelings that they're a good human being and that they're doing something that they should do.

but people like me.. I'm very sure of myself, and I don't need no god to enforce the fact that I'm at least TRYING to be a decent human being. which is more than what some certain people can say for themselves. (espeically those fanatics too caught up in the “word of god” to even regonize that they're less than decent… espeically those who picket at dead soilders' funerals just because they think that those soilders are defending an country that “promotes homosexuality”, and thus supports homosexuality itself.) people like me, we don't have the same needs as those who needs to believe in a god.

You come across as being a little too caught up in your emotionality to realise that you are now with no reason degrading me and my conduct without really knowing anything of the way in which I behave, be it decent or indecent. That is passing judgement, which is not very nice to do, even if you don't believe in God. Especially when you pass judgement without any data on which to base your judgement. I assure you that it is no easy matter to believe in God in a secular world who scorns anyone who truly acribes to ideas and not typology. To tell you the truth, sometimes you are regarded as more of a freak when you admit to believing in God than when declaring you do not. Not believing in God has become rather cool and innovative- would you not agree? So please, prove to me how believing in God means to have a weak will.

If you believe I represent some sort of group of crazed fanatics who brandish crosses and crucify anyone who questions God in any way, you are very much mistaken. It is also very sad to see that you have confused fanatism with belief in God. I am quite convinced though, that since you are a free spirit and you are not afraid to look into matters, that you eventually will examine things enough to reach such conclusions yourself :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:06PM
Rich at 7:19AM, Nov. 18, 2006
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Tantz Aerine
But you do need God for a purpose, a goal to reach/attain.

I fully disagree here. I was once like you, trying to find comfort in God and Christianity. I spent a long time praying and reading the Bible trying to find purpose. Despite the years of pain and misery I went through at the hands of my mom's fundamentalist Christian boyfriends (beating, mental abuse, other misc not nice things), my faith had never faltered. Not even once. I not once held God's word as responsible for any hard times I had gone through.

And I kept trying to find purpose in my life. The more and more I tried to find some meaning for me from the church, the more meaningless my life felt. The more and more I looked at it, Heaven looked more and more like Hell to me. I can't see the appeal of living for all eternity in a perfectly happy place. It simply IS NOT POSSIBLE! Over time, your mind would sink closer and closer to madness with the unchanging and permanent nature of Heaven. I can only imagine that over time, the so called Heaven will more resemble Hell as it drags out for eternity.

And then you got Hell. Supposedly, your god throws everyone who does not follow him into Hell. Buddhists, atheists, Jews (no Jesus for them = Hell according to the bible), Hindus, pagans, and Muslims all supposedly end up in hell. The problem with this is that a lot of the people out there are kind and hard-working. They can be just as nice and good as any Christian out there. And yet god would throw them into Hell. I would never side with a god that could throw his own children into Hell because they led a virtuous life but did not know Jesus. Such a god sounds more like the devil to me.

The only sort of religion that makes any goddamned sense are those pagan ones. They pretty much chuck out the whole ‘good vs evil’ style that all the organized religions run by. And the concept of rebirth is a whole lot more appealing since it doesn't involve spending eternity in a wonderful place until you go mad.

And not only that, they place more realistic expectations on you. Pagan religons pretty much tell you to not run around killing people and doing bad things. Christianity has more rules than I could care to write down, and half of them have multiple interpretations to sift through.

I say chuck out Christianity's complex rule system and orderly manner for Discordianism's over the top confusion. Christianity fosters order and understanding and creates anger and unhappiness. Discordianism fosters confusion and lack of understanding but results in love and laughter. Eris (The ancient greek goddess of chaos, and the goddess followed in Discordianism) isn't a goody two shoes hypocrite like the christian god. She wants us to cause creative disorder and to balance it with creative order. No killing people (destructive disorder) or forcing people to conform at the threat of misery (destructive order). And not only that, Eris doesn't really care if you worship her or not. As long as you cause confusion and laughter, that is all that matters. Simply put, Discordianism = WIN, Christianity = Boring.

And rounding this out full circle, at least the chaos Discordianism asks me to cause is friggin' hilarious and makes my life entertaining. Christianity made me feel bored and meaningless as I constantly struggled to be a ‘good christian’. Funny isn't it? I can't find meaning in a sensible religion, yet a religion that is disguised as a an elaborate joke disguised as a religion disguised as a stupid joke disguised as an elaborate joke disguised as a religion has made me feel complete.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:06PM

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