Monday, October 17, 2005

Religion kills?

So, the most religious countries have the least healthy societies?

This is interesting:

"Of the nations studied, the U.S. — which has by far the largest percentage of people who take the Bible literally and express absolute belief in God (and the lowest percentage of atheists and agnostics) — also has by far the highest levels of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
This conclusion will come as no surprise to those who have long gnashed their teeth in frustration while listening to right-wing evangelical claims that secular liberals are weak on 'values.'"

Read the rest of the article here.

(courtesy of Mister Hand)

29 comments:

Mister Hand said...

That was a cool article, I was quite pleased to have it sent to me.

You need some word verification turned on, babe. (see above spam)

Tex Texerson said...

Where do Rwanda, Cambodia, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Congo and the rest of Africa fit on the religiosity scale?

And do we really need another leftist propaganda blog.. babe?

Mister Hand said...

God, now I'm really sorry for the "babe" comment. Tex has shamed me.

Sudan--very, VERY religious--and one of the worst places on the face of the Earth right now. Why? Because a whole bunch of people who ascribe to one religion want all the other people who ascribe to the WRONG religion to be dead. And so they, like those other countries you listed, are using mostly American-manufactured arms to kill each other real damned dead.

Does that answer your question?

Tex Texerson said...

There would be hatred without religion. Race, language, heritage, sexual orientation? People will always have different opinions, beliefs, skin color, fashion sense, etc. Some of those people will choose to strongly disagree with those who oppose their views. Some of those people are capable of hatred and violence, and a few of those people will act upon it.

What of the other African countries? Is Christianity really that big with poor Africans? Don't they have a bigger problem with STD's than we do here in North America? Is that on account of their lack of proper education? I wonder if the love of Jesus Christ drove Mozambique's men to spread AIDS? You know, I've also heard that teen pregnancy is a slight issue in Africa. Is this attributed to religion as well? Say, do the Red Cross' awareness campaigns warn against the dangers of religion (AIDS, pregnancy, death)?

Is religion to blame for illiteracy? How do they read the Holy Bible? Is literacy not another barometer for how healthy a society is, and perhaps a root cause for a person to be left behind by society?

I would be willing to bet that another common link between all those countries harboring unhealthy societies is their love of competitive sport. God knows Americans love it. Soccer, or football if you're not American, is pretty big in most of those countries. I mean, it's not like there haven't been any soccer riots, right?

While religion is a way of instilling discipline or hope in some, it is also just another convenient excuse for others to hate.

Tex Texerson said...

Hey, why isn't ethnic cleansing called religious cleansing? Oh, because it's sometimes motivated by race or heritage? That's weird.

"Does anyone doubt that Islamic extremism is linked to the recent rise in international terrorism?"

Hey, is Roman Catholocism linked to international terrorism? Just wondering, because there are a lot of those people.

Religions, like political parties, are sometimes just a convenient way of packaging a set of values. It so happens that these religions or parties have conflicting views and that spells TROUBLE. What is the root cause? Why, because Allah/Jesus says so? Or is it because... We just don't like it when people disagree with us? For many people, it is the latter. For anyone who is not polarized by that alone, they are told the former.

When a muslim child walks into random US high school and gets beat up, were those kids who did the beating were conditioned through religion to dislike muslims? Or is it because that child was different because of his skin color or an odd headdress, and We Don't Like Different People?

By the by, has anyone heard of any instances of religion helping anyone? Maybe we should just outlaw it altogether, because from what I've read today, it ain't never done no one any good.

Could it be true that the virtues instilled by religion are actually EVIL? I certainly couldn't see just a few evil people using religion as a tool to control people who are obviously, since they are religious, susceptible to outside influences? _Ok, they're gullible_.

Tex Texerson said...

Whoa, I just read that "With approximately 360 million followers, Buddhism is considered a major world religion."

I suppose I should crawl into my bomb shelter now in anticipation of the hail of bombs launched by angry buddhists raining righteous hellfire upon us? Or are they content with just impregnating, infecting and killing each other?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Tex, all evils in society are brought on by religion.

Spread of AIDs, STDs, teen pregnancy -- obviously linked to abstinance being taught my Christian missionaries, instead of proper birth control methods. These people in Africa (,etc.) don't have all of your money and westernized outlets to understand about health issues, because they cannot turn on your big screen TV and watch Sex with Sue to find out how to put on a condom (with your mouth!). Also, because the G8 is being veto-ed out of discussions about better funding in non-abstinence programs to Africa by the USA, not much is going happen to help them out (the POPE is against condoms, must I say more). They aren't stupid, they are just mis-educated about these issues, and live in such conditions (mostly brought on my us through european colonialism) that they can't do anything but listen to their religion.

Thus causing the them vs. us mentality -- Read some Clash of Civilizations and maybe them you'll understand their perspective.

THE END.

ps. this = Alanna.

Anonymous said...

I posted before I read the article -- when I say africa, also am refering to USA, because they are only taught absitence in school.

On this note I will quote Sue Johansson from the UofO newspaper:

SJ: Oh, the Sunday Night Sex Show! No, we are not doing the Sunday Night Sex Show in Canada anymore, but we’re still doing the American show.

MW: So is that because you haven’t been doing it as long?

SJ: That’s right, and because the American sex education is literally non-existent. Abstinence only, thanks to George Bush.

So therefore, their kids are not getting any sex education at all, and boy you can sure tell by the questions.

When people are mis-educated, they will act stupidly.

Tex Texerson said...

So even when the liberal Democrats were in power, they were teaching abstinance? Or did Africa only get all retarded in the past 6 years?

And while you're at it, perhaps you can point me to the evidence that says Africa would not be the same or worse without Christian missionaries.. Thanks.

By the way, Alanna, you know I don't do the whole reading thing -- it might affect my world view.

Mister Hand said...

Tex:

STD's and AIDS went down in Africa EVERY YEAR Bill Clinton was President. George W. Bush came along and refused to fund anything over there but "abstinence only." STD's and AIDS have gone UP every year since.

Abortion in this country? Guess what, tex? Went DOWN every year Bill Clinton was in office. Under G.W. Bush--guess what, tex? That's right. Gone UP, UP, UP!

Look it up.

You obviously didn't read the full story of this study. The person who conducted the study did not say it was conclusive that religion was a cause for all of these things. But they do seem to coincide in these places. However, in places where atheism or agnosticism rates are higher, guess what? Not so many problems. Showing that atheism or agnosticism certainly doesn't do any harm.

And the flip side of that coin is that if nothing else, religion is obviously not doing anyone much good.

And your facetious (and fatuous) comment about Roman Catholicism and terrorism displays one of two things:

a) You are either totally ignorant of history (look up the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition some time)

or...

b) You have very poor reading comprehension.

Mister Hand said...

Never mind. It's both "a" and "b", apparently.

Mister Hand said...

I feel bad about the snarky tone of my previous comments now, texerson. But yes, Bush has definitely "retarded" Africa's progress since his sorry-ass has been siting in the Oval Office (or, rather, since he's been falling down drunk underneath it, or on a bender at the Crawford Ranch, the stinking wino).

There. Now I feel I've made proper amends. Friends?

Tex Texerson said...

Oh... uhm... Sorry, when were the Crusades? Oh.. right.. Sorry, I thought it was 2005 for some reason, and I was writing on something called the Internet. Don't know where I got that from.

I didn't say agonistism and atheism didn't do harm either. I know, I know, reading comprehension is hard. Don't worry, it's not my cup of tea either.

"And while Paul's study found that the correlation between high degrees of religiosity and high degrees of social dysfunction appears robust, it could be that high levels of social dysfunction fuel religiosity, rather than the other way around."

Straight from the very article you posted comes the admission that, hey, maybe the bad seeds are attracted to religion and not the other way around. But, hey, as with all extremists, religious or otherwise, you believe what you want to believe, right?

Tex Texerson said...

STD's and AIDS went down in Africa EVERY YEAR Bill Clinton was President. George W. Bush came along and refused to fund anything over there but "abstinence only." STD's and AIDS have gone UP every year since.

What, do you mean there was an AIDS problem to cut down before Bush? Before Clinton? Ok, let's forget about that for the sake of argument.

So, we're saying that George W. Bush changed US policy, and he is responsible for the rise in AIDS and STD's and what-have-you in Africa? Ok. Now, please explain to us how one man's beliefs causing a rise in AIDS means religion is bad? Ok.

Hey, is Bill Clinton religious? It's ok, don't look it up, I'll save you the trouble. He is a Baptist. Why do I ask? Oh, no reason.

Oh, and.. I did look it up.

This graph is nice.

I don't see a decline in AIDS, do you? I also don't see a decline in new infections in that graph. It's rather steep during most of Clinton's term.

"Uganda has had the most successful national response to date, in the whole world; and has witnessed consistent national declines since the mid-1990s. However, several agencies have cautioned against viewing the stablised infection levels as the beginning of the end of the pandemic in Africa. Such trends often result from rising death rates from AIDS, which conceal a continuing high rate of new infections. When HIV prevalence falls, as in Uganda, the number of new infections can remain high. National prevalence statistics can also conceal much higher levels of infections in certain areas or amongst high risk groups."

What was Clinton's role in Uganda's decline in AIDS, by the way? It's ok, you don't have to answer that, because according to the Washington Post and various other national news outlets Uganda's AIDS Decline Attributed to Deaths of previously infected people.

Gosh, life expectancy sure took a nosedive during Clinton's term.

Bush's administration just donated $3 million to Hospice Uganda to care for AIDS victims. Friggin' Bush.

But I guess this is all kind of a pointless hypothetical situation, since AIDS won't be diagnosed for another 600-900 years or so and right now we have to deal with the scourge of Christianity!

Anonymous said...

Ok Alex, it's time to stop acting like a child. Your antics have gone on long enough wussballs. Stop playing devils advocate and fess up to the harsh truth that religion isn't as positive as you thought it was.

All it does is perscribe false values and instil hatred into peoples lives, so that they can have an excuse to drink wine on Sundays, and slaughter humans (first nations - happy thanksgiving to you too!) and animals alike(because "god - note the undercase- put them there for us to eat")

Tex Texerson said...

I'm sorry for disagreeing with your beliefs, Alanna. I know that my own are worth less than yours. I acknowledge that citing sources for figures rather than just stating my opinion as fact is childish.

But when the hell did eating meat come into this? It's weird that our teeth evolved the way they did, though. And it's really strange that cavemen were hunter-gatherers and not just berry pickers. Wasn't the caveman era before God was in fashion?

I promise to not have my own opinion anymore. Just like... a religious person.

Tex Texerson said...

Oh, the nice graph was actually this nice graph. There's no decline in AIDS there either.

Mister Hand said...

Interesting, tex. But what do you think about this, this, and as long as we're talking about Bush killing poor people, this?

Mister Hand said...

Oh, and yes, Clinton is a baptist, but Bush is a fundamentalist nutbag, much like these fundamentalist nutbags.

They say jihad, Bush says, "Don't mess with Texas! And Jesus and God and puppies and ponies and Fox News!"

By the way, I will debunk my own abortion rates rising under Bush myth.

Oops. I shoulda checked Factcheck.org first.

And, tex, you're taking assertions of the study out of context. When it is said that no one argues that Islamic Fundamentalism has been the keystone for a rise in violence around the world, and then says that Christianity has likewise done so, it is clearly referring to Christianity throughout history. And that is why I brought up the Crusades--which were essentially a series of massive missions to kill Muslims. And of course, the Inquisition was a massive effort to kill, torture, and imprison anyone who wasn't a specific kind of Christian (namely, Roman Catholic).

"And while Paul's study found that the correlation between high degrees of religiosity and high degrees of social dysfunction appears robust, it could be that high levels of social dysfunction fuel religiosity, rather than the other way around."

Yes, this is true--but in countries with high rates of atheism/agnosticism, you don't see the rise in homicides, teen pregnancy rates, etc. that you see in countries with high rates of religiosity. And a rise in religiosity does not seem to be doing anything to decrease these statistics.

And that's because people who are fundamentalist believe they have all the answers and all issues are black and white, and that one solution will fix everything. Whereas people who are not religious examine the complexity of problems and reexamine issues based on real results, rather than employing a "this is just the way it oughta be" attitude.

Before he invaded Iraq, Bush had no idea (he had to be filled in by an Iraqi expert just two weeks before the invasion) that the populace was divided into a few sects that had been fighting with each other for hundreds of years. Is the Sunni, Shiite, Kurdish conflict in Iraq an ethnic problem? Hell no. It's about how they interpret the SAME religion. Yes, they are ethnic groups, but they have differing views on how people should be governed based on what they believe they are being told by God. That's what the fight over the Iraqi Constitution is all about.

And the conflict in the Sudan is not an ethnic one--it's Christians vs. Muslims, is it not?

The WORST thing about religion is that when one religion (or one sect) decides it is offended by another religion or sect, there is no reconciling the issue because all of these people believe they are fighting on the side of God, and God doesn't take kindly (in their minds) to compromise. And God doesn't suffer heathens or heretics.

In this country, abortion has become a political issue for Fundamentalist Christians. They have been brainwashed into believing that God hates abortion. So there will never be any room for compromise on this issue and fundamentalist Christian voting blocks will continue to vote for any incompetent boob who promises to appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court. These idiots have made abortion their number one issue and helped to elect the worst President this country has seen since Harding.

I believe Bush's current approval rating (the lowest in modern history) speaks for itself. Practically the only people left who still think this guy knows his head from the shiny insides of his ass are the anti-abortion yahoos and the Fox News junkies.

Tex Texerson said...

So the "religion sucks" argument all boils down to the fact that you hate George W. Bush and his agenda to make his billionaire friends rich by getting at Iraqi oil and controlling sales of pharmaceuticals to Africa.

CHECK.

"it could be that high levels of social dysfunction fuel religiosity, rather than the other way around.
...
And that's because people who are fundamentalist believe they have all the answers and all issues are black and white, and that one solution will fix everything. Whereas people who are not religious examine the complexity of problems and reexamine issues based on real results, rather than employing a "this is just the way it oughta be" attitude."


Or..... is it because people who tend towards fundamentalist religions were already socially dysfunctional and could not think for themselves before religion found them or vice versa?

I know you like to stick to the issue of abortions, but let's try to apply the same argument to... hate crimes.. The original article did mention homicide, right?

So down south, when a bunch of white men in white robes with crosses get together and kill a black man, is that a religious hate crime? Have you seen a bible say black men are inferior? Religion is just a way for these crazy people to camoflage their racist agendas. It's giving people an easy reason to hate. Could one reasonably say the same about the Iraqi ethnic divide? I will. And since we can't prove it one way or the other, it's officially not part of this debate anymore.

It is convenient to only cite instances that support your argument, but do you have a model that fits universally? What is the constant between ALL cases of ethnic or religious violence? It's not religion -- it's that people hate other people who are different. Gosh, I feel like I'm repeating myself here, but no one really wants to address that.

By the way, why are you so against the idea of republicans -- sorry, that's not religious, I meant fundamentalist Christians -- robbing people of their choice to have abortions, but you don't seem to have a problem with speaking against people's beliefs in God?

The issue isn't gullible morons who cannot live a full life without the belief, or knowledge, that there is someone out there watching out for them that will take care of them after this life. It's the people who play on these gullible morons' beliefs and twist them to support their own agendas of greed or hatred. It's the extremists who take things too far because they are just a bunch of crazy people. That's why they're called extremists -- they take things to the extreme.

"Whereas people who are not religious examine the complexity of problems and reexamine issues based on real results, rather than employing a "this is just the way it oughta be" attitude."

Could you please make a bigger generalization? Seriously, this one just isn't broad enough for me. Also, say something about how all non-religious people are good looking and devoid of the ability to commit crime or something.

Mister Hand said...

TEXERSON SAID:"By the way, why are you so against the idea of republicans -- sorry, that's not religious, I meant fundamentalist Christians -- robbing people of their choice to have abortions, but you don't seem to have a problem with speaking against people's beliefs in God?"

Anyone who holds to a religious belief holds to something for which there is no evidence and for which they have no good reasons to believe in. Furthermore, that belief cannot be tested nor proved. I believe in none of that, which imposes nothing upon others. Religious belief is an imposition upon the universe--an assumption that the universe must fit into a set of beliefs that a person carries for the sole reason that he or she WANTS to believe it.

Faith = believing whatever you want to believe.

Therefore, I don't think it's wrong (in fact I think it's necessary) to point out that my beliefs do not go beyond evidence, religious beliefs do, and therefore should not be presumed valid.

And if you think the abortion issue hasn't been made a religious one you're out of your mind. It is the religious right that keeps this issue at the forefront. Otherwise it would have died on the vine long ago.

TEXERSON SAID: There would be hatred without religion. Race, language, heritage, sexual orientation? People will always have different opinions, beliefs, skin color, fashion sense, etc. Some of those people will choose to strongly disagree with those who oppose their views. Some of those people are capable of hatred and violence, and a few of those people will act upon it.

Yes, people will always have all kinds of reasons to hate each other, and maybe initially those reasons have nothing to do with religion, but they will always turn to religion to justify and deepen the hatred, and to ensure that no compromise with the other side can ever be possible. To uphold segregation, white Southern leaders used the Old Testament's commandments on how one should treat slaves.

What is the constant between ALL cases of ethnic or religious violence? It's not religion -- it's that people hate other people who are different. Gosh, I feel like I'm repeating myself here, but no one really wants to address that.

Yes, people hate other people who are different, and in EVERY SINGLE CASE religion is used to reinforce the hate and to instill it within a far greater number of people than would have been possible without religion. It's tough to sit someone down and say, "We need to hate these people because they threaten our economic well-being, create a competition for jobs that we cannot afford to engage in right now, blah, blah, whaterver."

Now, try this example:


"Hey, that guy thinks women should have equal rights with men, offending God! Get him! Gaaaaaaaaaah!"

Really, how do you think people rally support for a cause? Do you really believe you can create such entrenched, inflexible hatred between groups without both groups believing "God is on our side?" I'd like for you to find that specific example--a longstanding hatred between two large ethnic or economic groups that never had religion entered into it.

Yes, the reasons for hatred are diverse and convoluted. But religion puts the spike to the wall.

Mister Hand said...

Texerson, we both write too long.

Tex Texerson said...

Well you've just helped my argument, so I don't feel the need to cite that example -- Religion is but a convenient tool. If it wasn't around, we'd find something else. It's like guns -- Yes, they are used to kill people, but do you blame guns, or people? And what if everyone started killing people with knives, instead? Do we ban those?

But, since I can't resist...

Somalia has been ravaged by clan factions fighting for control of what little there is in Somalia.

"Years of fighting between rival warlords and an inability to deal with famine and disease have led to the deaths of up to one million people."

"Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days.

Most of the dead were Tutsis - and most of those who perpetrated the violence were Hutus.


Read this if you feel like being slightly less ignorant today, although you may want to avoid reading this article as it is critical of Bill Clinton's inaction. And this page talks about the same ethnic groups killing each other in Burundi.

In Colombia, they have a little problem known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, "established in 1964-1966 as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party". I'm fairly certain religion did not enter the equation, unless you consider Marxism-Leninism a religion.

What about North Korea versus South Korea, which was only ever a political issue? Not that there's been an actual war there, but there is certainly conflict.

Maybe, if you're feeling really adventurous, you could look into the India/Pakistan conflicts. They may turn out to be religious, but I'm not so sure. Really, I think I've proven my point anyway.

So, when you emphasized "EVERY SINGLE CASE", you meant.. EVERY SINGLE CASE (except the ones that don't suit my argument), right? Maybe I skipped over the fine print.

Sooo.... is this where you bring Bush back in?

Mister Hand said...

Somalia: The BBC article you referenced says, "The fledgling administration, the 14th attempt to establish a government since 1991, has no civil service or government buildings. It faces a formidable task in bringing reconciliation to a country divided into clan fiefdoms." A fiefdom is established by a single ruler's ability to control a large amount of territory held by "'divine right'", the right to rule granted by God and then passed on through heredity." If Somalia is a wholly non-religious affair, what the hell was Osama Bin Laden doing spending so much time and effort there?

I feel slightly less ignorant after reading the article you cited, and even more slightly less ignorant since looking at the history of Belgium, which colonized Rwanda and passed out cards designating people there as belonging to either the Tutsi or Hutu clan. The assignments were arbitrary and made to strengthen Belgium's hold over the region by dividing the populace. The Belgian colonization of the region was a result of an Imperical philosophy emanating from the fiefdom in power at the time (see above).

In Burundi, again we're talking about Hutus and Tutsi's, are we not?

The North Koreans are taught that their leader is a god. All of the history in their schoolbooks is devoted to how their glorious leader is more divine than Buddha. But surely you knew this.

The Indian and Pakistani conflict is EGGREGIOUSLY religious, for crying out loud. I don't even feel like I need to address that.

Again, EVERY SINGLE CASE...

Here's something that was posted by a commenter on my site that may clarify my feelings on this issue a bit:

"Faith usually defined as the belief in the absence of evidence (or even in the presence of contradictory evidence). I would say that there is actual 'evidence' that is being used, and that is the feeling of comfort of the individual holding a particular 'faith-based' view. Why else would they persist?
While this is all well and fine for large portions of the populations, it can be a risky thing. To paraphrase/quote Mill, using deference to feelings as a defence can allow for the consecration of all deep-seated prejudices.
One must be cautious to whom they might relate holding views that they will never change. "

If you want me to get back to George W. Bush, I certainly will. Over and over again this President has been slave to intractable world-views that he continues to believe are correct despite all evidence to the contrary. Why? Because these views fall within the purview of his religion.

As to individual religious beliefs, these are dangerous because it's like someone sticks a sleeper cell within your mind that they can call upon and manipulate at will. You can say that people hate each other for all kinds of reasons all you want, but you have yet to address my argument that when you want to get a large group of people to hate another large group of people for no good reason, there's no better go-to boy than religion to accomplish this task. And it is used over and over again. It is used by leaders to shore up their power. It is used by racists to give just cause for their hatred. It is used to muddle the process of creating governments. It is used over and over again all over the world to ensure that no one gets any peace.

And why is it so well-used? Because it's so easily useable. It's so easily useable because it is the most irrational of irrationalities.

It is rational to get along with other people. It is rational to avoid conflict and war. It is rational to avoid hatred.

If you want to overcome this rationality, the best way to do it is to convince them that rationality "ain't all that." Convince them that the only beliefs truly worth clinging to are the MOST irrational ones.

Voila!

Religion.

Tex Texerson said...

Wow! Revisionist vocabulary. BRAVO!

fief·dom
n.
1) The estate or domain of a feudal lord.
2) Something over which one dominant person or group exercises control: “long the independent head of a powerful fiefdom within the Police Department” (David Burnham).


I don't know, what was Osama bin Laden was there? Was he behind generations of clan warfare? Or was he just recruiting muslims for his own agenda?

North Korea -- The fact that Kim Jong-Il, or Kim Il-Sung before him, claims he is divine has nothing to do with the conflict between North and South Korea. If you bothered to read the history of that conflict, you'd know that. But it's a convenient little point to mention for your argument, despite its irrelevance, right?

Oh.. And since you've made so much up and I'm too lazy to look up the truth myself, let's hear about the Pakistan/India religion issue.

Good job with that Belgians are fiefdoms according to my fake definition which is religious and they escalated the pre-existing racism by making one race better hence religion bad. Hah, no.

Also, nice job ignoring Columbian rebels altogether.

Ok, now that it's back to EVERY SINGLE CASE (except the ones that do not support your argument), I will move on..

You color religion as evil - black and white, right? - and part of your argument is that it raises abortion rates. Except.. Abortion is not universally bad.. That is your belief. Oh, beliefs? Purely irrational! Ohh nooo! My world view has been turned upside down!

Also, while I do terribly enjoy how you selectively ignore things, I feel the need to mention again that religion does have its bright spots and has helped people, or at the very least moves along without causing anyone harm. In fact, I've heard that there are over 1 billion Roman Catholics. Actually, I read that. While they may be hurting you personally by believing in something you don't believe, I am willing to bet that at least, oh, 60% of them, are not doing anyone any harm. That's 600 million people right there. Also, I had mentioned previously this underground movement I caught wind of called Buddhism which is 360 million-strong.

Amongst the many official stances of the Roman Catholic church are that every person has a right to life and to a decent minimum standard of living, that humanity's use of God's creation implies a responsibility to protect the environment, and that the range of circumstances under which military force is permissible is extremely limited.

Buddha, meanwhile, recommended that a certain lifestyle or path be followed which consists of:
1. Right Understanding
2. Right Thought
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfulness
8. Right Concentration


Unfortunately, the concepts of GOOD, DECENT, RIGHT are purely subjective.

Anyone who holds to a religious belief holds to something for which there is no evidence and for which they have no good reasons to believe in.

Good, in this case, is purely subjective. You don't think that believing in God because you had a particularly good string of luck is good, but some people obviously do.

Furthermore, that belief cannot be tested nor proved.

Can the concepts of right and wrong, good and evil? If you only believe in what can be tested and proven, then please provide some scientific evidence..

Abortion. Discuss.

Also: Religion is currently doing more harm than good. Not only the specific examples that fit your argument. A universal model. That's the scientific way, after all.

You still have the EVERY SINGLE CASE thing hanging over your head.

Here's another one for you to prove: Africa would be better off without religion. Same argument for The Philippines.

Mister Hand said...

God, you're exhausting.

Your definition for fiefdom is correct but the "something over which one dominant person or group exercises control" part is instigated by a belief instilled within those being controlled that the person they follow has a divine right to lead.

One billion Roman Catholics and there would be considerably less if the Pope would let 'em use birth control. And there would be a few more to make up for the loss if the Pope wasn't intolerant of homosexuals (unless they happen to be priests, and they're child molesters, and then they get all kinds of protection).

I posted this on the comments on my site as well:

"It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. My views are near those of Spinoza: admiration for the beauty of and belief in the logical simplicity of the order and harmony of the universe which we can grasp humbly and only imperfectly. I believe that we have to content ourselves with our imperfect knowledge and understanding and treat values and moral obligations as a purely human problem--the most important of all human problems.

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

Albert Einstein.


So good is subjective? It is subjective that if I DON'T hate you I'm doing good? It's subjective that if I give you a gift rather than shoot you in the gut I'm doing GOOD? It's subjective that if I DON'T use God and Jesus and Buddha and whoever and whatever as a rallying cry to declare war on your country I'm doing GOOD?

As to abortion, it is what it is. If you disagree with it, fine. But I'm favor of it. I'm in favor of having fewer unwanted children in the world.

And I believe firmly in that bumper sticker slogan (and I normally don't go for this stuff) that says, "If you're against abortion, don't have one."

Why would people who never plan to have an abortion make it their NUMBER ONE issue? Because they are religious nutjobs, that's why.

And then when it comes to stem cell research, they get rabbleroused by religious groups that equate extracting stem cells from human embryos with abortion. An embryo is not a fetus.

Religion is doing more harm than good. Again, it's like a terrorist sleeper cell in your mind waiting to be activated. That's my firm belief.

And if you want history as a guide, it's obvious that religion has done more harm than good. Where are all the epic stories in history involving religion that don't encompass war, torture, mayhem, bloodshed, genocide, etc?

Tex Texerson said...

Sorry, divine has nothing to do with it, that's just your interpretation.

As usual, you choose to use contrived arguments. No, those "good" things probably are not subjective. But are abortion and birth control GOOD? That is subjective.

"Religion is doing more harm than good. Again, it's like a terrorist sleeper cell in your mind waiting to be activated. That's my firm belief. "

Well I think your belief is totally irrational.

And once again you ignore the possibility that religion has done someone somewhere out there some good.

I also note you didn't actually address anything from my previous reply except to give a half-assed "good isn't subjective" argument.

"Why would people who never plan to have an abortion make it their NUMBER ONE issue? Because they are religious nutjobs, that's why. "

By the way, is protecting lives GOOD? Or.. is that actually subjective? And is there basis in fact that these people are "religious nutjobs", or is that just your irrational belief?

Mister Hand said...

My very rational belief is to NOT believe in ideas not supported by any form of evidence whatsoever.

For all of your talk about my irrationality, I've yet to hear one word about why you believe religion should be categorized as "rational."

Is "faith" rational?

Tex Texerson said...

"Religion is doing more harm than good. Again, it's like a terrorist sleeper cell in your mind waiting to be activated. That's my firm belief. "

"My very rational belief is to NOT believe in ideas not supported by any form of evidence whatsoever."

So, which one is it? Show me the evidence of the former. You've made an awful lot of assertions. Why do you refuse to back them up with evidence? All you've done so far is ignore the good and focus on a few points which support your argument. And even then, some are totally subjective (abortion, birth control).