So, I wanted to explain something here. People like me criticizing religious concepts and organizations are not doing it because they're nasty and they like to attack good faithful people.
They're doing it because they come from a religious culture, with religious references everywhere, in literature, in law, in politics. And they've looked into the model on offer, they've tried the moral, they have often sincerely listened to the supposedly sacred words. 
And the conclusion is this is an impasse. Religions develop a form of moral autism. People will seek comfort in it. And ok, I understand life can be so painful it feels like the only option to bear it. 
But what I see over and over again is people locked up in a good/bad obsession. It becomes a psychological dysfunction. If you see the devil in your foe, peace will never be reached. 
EarthlingWise EarthlingWise
25 Responses Jun 26, 2011

Yes, religion is used everywhere by leaders to develop guilt feelings among the poorest and dismantle the Welfare State when there is one. Spirituality will cure you. On the other hand subsidies are given to churches often insidiously. <br />
Worse still it has been thought that giving power to religious leaders would decrease crime inside and secure economic interests in countries like Afghanistan where the US supported the Talibans. Playing with fire.

Mmm, yes.
I think Bush chose a triad of evil nations because an excuse to go to was over seemingly religious issues helped to turn western nations to an enemy outside, deflecting from economic issues at home, and an approaching debt crisis...an historically common tactic. Trying to unite a dispate people with religion also has a long history as a way of garnering
political power.
If Israel would retreat to within the boundaries first agreed with the British after WWII, acknowledge the nationhood of Palestine, make Jerusalem an internationally neutral territory, and allow equal rights to Arabs who choose to live within its boundaries, Arabs would probably respond with mutually beneficial trade, and emergency services on each others holy days of rest. And terrorist groups that attack pro-Israel countries would rapidly lose support. Most voters in Israel want something like this anyway. It's the constitutional gerrymander that gives extreme weight to the votes of Zionists that keeps the crises continuing. Maybe it's time for people to consider boycotting trade with Israel until they create a true democracy?

Indeed, it seemed to have worked in South Africa.

K. How long until they bring you along?

sorry...I see your point...but you'll still burn in hell...if they don't use all petrol by the day you die

Silkco you've made perfect sense!! I beleive we should tell our children about all the religions of the world. And let them decide for themself which one they believe to be the truth...and it may not be any, and that is fine.

Olives Save !

Hey Ho, hello!

Yep. These words are mind-boggling. I'm sorry but at the end of the day, I just feel like saying, stop the nonsense, for olives' sake.

The idea that one needs Christianity to be moral (and I hear this often from Christians) is not only a huge problem, but it is also clearly nonsense. The implication is that there were no moral people before Jesus came along. People have been around for a long time.

" I understand that you are trying to save me from an eternity of indescribable agony."<br />
Well, I never!!! (ps: how religious this sounds)<br />
<br />
I'm saying atheists are not from another planet, they have gone down that path, to keep your metaphor. Everywhere I look I see the social and psychological damage this way of thinking brings.<br />
I see people on EP thinking they're bad or getting excited over the possibility they are, in a classic sado-masochistic pattern. Others will find contradiction so unbearable they will decide an atheist is fiction sent by the Devil (" Your a illusion of my imagination if I stop thinking you will disappear ")<br />
<br />
You ask a legitimate moral question and they recite : it is so "because the Bible teaches it."<br />
How adult is that? It is exactly what a sect member will say.

That's problem with the internet. It sounds as if you've misunderstood what I was saying. I thought I was being quite clear. No problem though. I say it's all equally profound and sublime, and it's all equally ridiculous. All of it.

Puck - I have no problem with your choice. I respect it. But one reason is that you respect me too. You don't preach to me, you don't tell me your god has all the answers. You don't tell me I'm going to hell unless I agree with you. And I get the impression that is how you live your life. A lot of this is about respect and tolerance for the beliefs of others. You've got that down.

Supposing we have to give account of ourselves and no one else, it stands to reason that we should let people follow the path they choose without any hassle whatsoever. I understand that you are trying to save me from an eternity of indescribable agony, and I appreciate that, but in this day and age we've all heard the gospel and have had the opportunity to choose or not to choose.<br />
There are those who think that life is nothing left to chance,<br />
A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance.<br />
<br />
A planet of playthings,<br />
We dance on the strings<br />
Of powers we cannot perceive.<br />
"The stars aren't aligned<br />
Or the gods are malign"-<br />
Blame is better to give than receive.<br />
<br />
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.<br />
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.<br />
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;<br />
I will choose a path that's clear-<br />
I will choose Free Will.<br />
<br />
There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,<br />
The cards were stacked against them- they weren't born in lotus-land.<br />
<br />
All preordained-<br />
A prisoner in chains-<br />
A victim of venomous fate.<br />
Kicked in the face,<br />
You can't pray for a place<br />
In heaven's unearthly estate.<br />
<br />
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.<br />
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.<br />
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;<br />
I will choose a path that's clear-<br />
I will choose Free Will.<br />
<br />
Each of us-<br />
A cell of awareness-<br />
Imperfect and incomplete.<br />
Genetic blends<br />
With uncertain ends<br />
On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet.<br />
<br />
<br />
More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/r/rush/#share

It's collective hypnosis.

Layne - your post is an example of the problem. You believe in a certain god and your life is dictated by those beliefs. When you encounter someone who does not share your belief, they are must be wrong - otherwise, your god is wrong - and that can't be because your belief system and so much of your identity are ba<x>sed on the belief that you and your god are correct. And that can pretty much end the dialogue. This kind of blind faith can and has led to intolerance, discrimination, genocide, war, etc., etc... for the simply reason that it is impossible to argue rationally with someone whose stance is "god told me to do it".


The only problem with this Sour Sweet is that religion cannot save. Talking about it, dissecting it, and trying to make sense of it is futile because it's man made and doesn't convey the message..... that Jesus Christ is the sin bearing Savior, the only way to God. It's about Jesus and only Jesus. No keeping rules, traditions, praying a certain amount of times a day, or anything else. People will be judged ba<x>sed on what they did with the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It won't matter what other people did in the name of religion. Basing what a person believes about Christ on the action of individuals, groups, or governments is NOT safe. Look to Christ alone.

Religion is not starting the day you die, it starts the day you're born with all the rituals that surround life's events. <br />
Atheists are humans, they can get emotional, and as any emotion their revolt gets stronger when it can't be expressed freely. In a secular context no need to get emotional, but when religion replaces reasonable argument, there's a need to get vocal. <br />
When religion is taught at school like in America, there's a need to get vocal.<br />
When religion is subsidized by an indebted state like in Greece, there's a need to get vocal.<br />
When religion condones honour killings like in some Muslim communities, including in the UK, there's a need to get vocal. <br />
When religion is used to steal land as in Palestine, there's a need to get vocal.<br />
When religion is used to control the minds of children and turn them into psychos or terrorists, there's a need to get vocal.

In my experience, Athiesm is as much a religion as any other. There is no benevolent being presiding over the supposed rules and regulations, but there is a huge and sometimes fanatical following that speak as though their beliefs are fact beyond contestation. The religious have a history of being very judgemental and forceful with their beliefs, but again I've never met an Athiest who wasn't ready to go to verbal war on the subject at the drop of a hat. Religion can be judgemental, exclusive and is given too much power at times - but Athiesm is mostly made up of STRONGLY opioned, very vocal people who I've often noticed think they are far more intelligent than the rest of the world because they're not being "blinded" or "controlled" by fanatical belief... it's ironic is what is it. You're a "modern intellectual" if you're an Athiest and a "wholesome, decent human-being" if you're religious. Either way you're a self-righteous fanatic attacking the beliefs of your fellow human-beings, which should be for the individual to decide. Live and let live, whether or not you are "positive" you are right because at the end of the day it's a personal decision and your arrogance is more offensive than your words. Whether trying to "save" someone from themself or simply belittling them for their life-choices, you're wrong in the long-term because "right" is a perspective. Whether nothing happens when we die or we go to a better place, nobody can KNOW until we get there, and to argue the point is a waste of time because whether your preaching or predicting, none of us can really know.

I agree with your Live and Let Live ethos, and I get the impression Soursweet does too. Some athests are against all unprovable beliefs, other are more against the evils perpetrated in the name of religion.
Rather than branding a person as right or wrong in their beliefs, arrogant or over emotional, why not explore the possibility that there is as much variation in thought amongst atheist as there is among the religious?

That was funny. Thanks for pointing out how politics and religion are bedfellows.

Except that my post was never about governments that solve problems.<br />
If you link the two things you imply that one substitutes for the other and that a world without religion is a world without moral rules, but humans have a conscience, they didn't wait for a book and a set of clergy people to think about life's dilemmas.<br />
Why should a person without religion become a worshipper of their government? I never expected salvation from it.<br />
Religions have always faced skepticism and opposition. Nothing new here. The only difference being nowadays they are lifestyles and people reclaim the right to believe in anything, fairies, foreign gods or whatever.

Even if one disagrees with a society ruled by a government (and then one would have to present another better model) , that doesn't make religions any better. A fallacy is a fallacy. <br />
You reason in a binary way. When you hear secularism you start your spiel about the evil of socialism, as many Americans do. I don't keep my critical mind for churches only. <br />
Religions have been used by kings and governments anyway, it is through alliances with the different clergies that they could terrorize the masses.<br />
Finally you jumped at the first atheist you saw but never addressed what was precisely written.

Defensive much? I didn't say I disagree with a society ruled by government, spiel about the evil of socialism nor jump at the first atheist I saw. There is a middle ground between having faith in government to solve all problems (including those it creates) and anarchy.

I always wonder how it is that some people will post on a forum which invites comments, and then react strongly if anyone posts another perspective. A bit of a conversation stopper, no?

Intolerance towards the religious is in vogue these days. It is the thing that it's currently OK to be intolerant towards. Meanwhile, there is a lot of ridiculous thinking in the world that does more damage, and thus more deserving of our disdain.<br />
<br />
The notion, for example, that government can provide solutions to problems like poverty, violence, drugs, joblessness, and education by running yet more money through the machine. As government munches through ever more taxpayer money before throwing what little remains at poorly conceived and ill-monitored programs and regulations, the problems they purport to confront continue to get worse. Billions are spent on a host of government bureaucracies that purport to oversee and regulate financial markets, and yet none of them did anything to prevent the meltdown, or even to stop a crook like Bernie Madoff!<br />
<br />
Still, many people blindly cling to the hope that their government-God will provide salvation. To me, that is more dangerous than people believing in an unseen Savior who promises them metaphysical hope in the bye and bye. <br />
<br />
Heck, at least the churches only tax 10%, and even that is voluntary . . .

I have so far met only 2 people who are intolerent of religion, although on Richard Dawkins website, I have come across some intelligent thinking, some of which skates the brink.
I wonder where and among whom you live and work.
In Australia, our govt does make mistakes, but for the most part our social services work very well. The rises and falls in social statistics reflect changes in demographics, such as the aging baby boomers, and economics, such as a general financial health due to stricter regulations on lending. There is less crime because there is less poverty, less density of population, and more education.
Most well adjusted and mature adults accept some some suffering is inevitable (illness, aging, loss), but most as curable by taking appropriate responsibility and actin accordingly; they certainly don't expect rescue or saving.
I am not Muslim, but Islam has a great law which forbids usary.
Instead of lending at interest, a buyer without sufficient funds does a deal with a bank, which buys the desired object and then resells it to the buyer by hire=purchase, a fixed some over a fixed time, which makes sensible budgeting more reliable and easier to manage successfully. If Western countries would consider such simpler and kinder forms of finance, many tragedies could be averted or resolved.
Church tithes of 10% seem very fair, but it would be good to see more evidence of how they actually use it.


Hmm, if someone believes the earth is flat, you can't tell them it's ok, you can only say you understand the misconception.

but if a person is brought up with the mentality that the earth is flat and has some sort of knowledge to support theyre statement...then who are you to come against theyre beliefs....im a christian because its what suits me and what i think is the rite culture...now hindus are following theyre tradition because they think its rite..and who knows?maybe it is!

As humans we need to know more about the truth of this world. Religions have developed some arts and practices but as far as biology and cosmology are concerned they're lame.

Religions reflect human quests. Still, you can't accept everything. Mostly you can't accept the impossibility of criticizing a theory.

I haven't found a religion yet that matches all the things that I believe...and I find that people who are within existing religions and who are very intolerant of others do irritate me a teensy bit.....I try not to let it bother me.....but it still does. I think the world would be a wonderful place if we could all respect one another's beliefs....live and let live....and allow for the possibility that each religion may contain some kernal of truth somewhere.... :)

Thanks. Just trying to tell things as I feel them. :)