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Old 02-25-2005, 05:35 PM   #76
Feed the Monkey
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Hey all. Great points from both sides here. Really nice to see such well thought out debate.

It is my belief that fundamentalists in any religion are vastly intollerent people. We can see this in Christianity, Islam and any other major religion. My own personal faith is Buddhist (japanese), and there are even fundamentalists within certain forms of Buddhism. Even fundamantalist Atheists haver a lot to answer for! It is the refusal to see anothers point of view, and I believe, a certain insecurity in their own faith, that means they cannot see the whole picture.

At the core of every religion of value is, I believe, a really good message. Be good to your fellow man, and to thine own self be true. It is the constant mission to find out what being good to your fellow man actually is, and also what is really meant by thine own self. Any faith that teaches self betterment and compassion to others is well worth it. Of course what is difficult is when misinterprets teachings of ANY nature. And this does happen with ALL teachings. Be that a Bible, Koran, Torah, Sutra, Theory of evolution. It is by constant practice, study and faith in WHATEVER we choose to believe that really allows us to really advance ourselves. And yes, the bible has no doubt been used as a means for some terrible attrrocities. But it was not the core of the attrocities. At no point in any relegion does it say "Go and kill someone you don't like". People use it as an excuse to fuel their own personal need to do such things. If the terrorists on Sept 11th weren't Islamic, would they still have bombed those buildings? Probably. If George Bush wasn't a fundamentalist Christian, would he go and bomb a little country of brown people? Probably. What these people are doing that is wrong, is saying that they are following the word of their teachers. They really need to go back and reanalyse what is really being said.

And to say that science holds all answers to lifes questions, be that evolution or whatever is unfortunatley a gross exageration. Science has yet to give us any solid answers as to why we are actually here or how we can be happy in this lifetime. Science can explain why someone dies, but never why we are alive. We can break down an atom into it's smallest component levels and realise that past a certain level there is.... nothing. It's all about rythms and energy. And i would also point out that it is because of science that we have atomic weapons, capable of mass destruction on an unprecedneted scale. So science, the new religion, has also prooved to be capable of taking human life also. "Hey, we have this new atom bomb. Lets proove that it works...."

Ultimately, if a faith works for someone, great. Be that jewish, islamic, christian, buddhist, sikh or jedi. If someone doesn't have faith in a relgion per se, then that doesn't mean that they can't become happy. And faith in a religion doesn't guarantee happiness. I beleive that we have to work hard in this lifetime to realise true happiness within our lives, and however we do that is entirely up to us. What we should never do is tell someone else what to do. Or kill anyone. Period.

Anyway, my two cents.....
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Old 02-25-2005, 08:54 PM   #77
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^^^^^
yes, well said. it is the strength of science though, that it
recognizes that it does not have 'the answer' but only a
certain paradigm for a certain time. this is the weakness
of religions. they claim to be able to answer the unanswerable.
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Old 02-25-2005, 09:32 PM   #78
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You believe absent religious belief, the WTC would still have been attacked or G Bush would restrain his trigger finger? Highly, highly unlikely.

Without the religious justifications (and the rage at non-Islamic, Western arrogance towards and misunderstanding of Middle Easterners), there would be no Al Qaeda. And absent the evangelical Christian fervor that is sweeping the nation, Bush would hardly be able to justify his actions by demonizing the non-Christian world. While his greed and selfishness is not necessarily Christian-based, without religion he would certainly be held more accountable for his actions, and be considerably less apt to behave as he does. (He also wouldn't be President.)
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Old 02-25-2005, 10:51 PM   #79
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Smartypants: Why would have the world trade centre not have been attacked? Why would GWB not have attacked Iraq? The point I was trying to make is that religion is not the fuel for these attacks. I repeat, in no religion does it say "Go and kill someone". It is peoples ignorance and hatred of those different from themselves, and greed that forces them do these things. I maintain my beleif that they use religion as an excuse. People have these feelings anyway. You're not a person of faith, but I'm sure you've wanted to hit someone before? Maybe got in a fight? Bad mouthed someone? Done something really bad to someone that you are ashamed of? We are all human, and therefore we are all flawed. Even christians, buddhists etc. Wars happen. Bad stuff happens. People are really shitty to each other. Its whether or not you want to view the differences between people as a negative or positive thing. Unfortunately, often people use differences as a negative force. And I'm afraid that in many of your views here, you do indeed see the differances between yourself and christians as a negative force. "Christians are ignorant because they beleive in the word of God" is equally as negative as saying "Only the word of God is right". As far as I'm concerned, what another human being chooses to beleive is none of my business, as long as they a: Don't try and force their beleifs on someone else and b: harm another human being. But, as you state, there are people who beleive things who are hurting other human beings. And I agree that this is wrong.

And Craig, yes, you're right. Religion does claim to answer the unanswerable. But I feel that it really answers these things through metaphor. I think that, for example the bible creation story is a fantastic metaphor: An unimaginable source of power and love (however you want to view that word) created this universe. Whether it is a concious entity or not is down to ones own beleifs. It created everything we see. Mankind was born out of this source of energy. Very quickly, mankind began to screw up and gave way to it's own desires. The minute this happened, the world stopped being a paradise because mankind always sought something outside itself to make it happy.

Now what I don't beleive is that God, a man shaped being, created the world in 7 days, made adam from the earth, made Eve out of his rib, and then cast mankind out of Eden for eating an apple. But its the metapor that this story, and any religious story represents.

It's like we are all children of the universe, brought together for a few years to live on this planet together. I mean, how amazing!!! And ultimatley how profound!!!

But agreed, it's when people are taking these a literal facts that things become distorted. Was Jesus really the son of God? Or a really great freedom fighter, who preached in an occupied land, beleived in non violence and was killed for his beleifs? He predated Gandhi and Martin Luther King by 2000 years, and we still talk about him today. Was he saying I am the son of God? Or was he saying we are ALL the son of God? I think Jesus would be very upset if anyone killed in his name.

I think people need to see with better eyes.
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Old 02-26-2005, 12:00 AM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feed the Monkey
Even fundamantalist Atheists have a lot to answer for!
Fundamentalist Atheists? What exactly IS that? Fmonkey, one is either atheist or isn't. There are no degrees of non-belief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feed the Monkey
I repeat, in no religion does it say "Go and kill someone".
If you don't start boning up on your Old Testament passages, someone might be tempted to dash you against the rocks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feed the Monkey
...And I'm afraid that in many of your views here, you do indeed see the differances between yourself and christians as a negative force.
Yes, but it is only the religious who use their beliefs to infringe on the rights or safety of others. Americans who treasure secular government believe members of any religion should be free to practice it; it is the religious who want to dictate the behavior of others.

Do you know any atheists who want to force Catholic women to divorce or use birth control? Who want to dictate sexual behavior of Baptists? Who demand abortions for unwed Episcopal teens? Of course not. But religious leaders are hell-bent on dictating the behavior and restricting the rights of people who don't subscribe to their doctrine.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:08 AM   #81
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Hey Smartypants. yeah good points and I see them all. I think you should really be careful about wording though. What do I mean by a fundamentalist atheist. I suppose a non-beleiver who shuns all people who don't subscribe to their ideas of non beleif. in the same way as fundamentaalist christian shuns all people who don't subscribe to their belief.

You say that it is only the religious who use their beliefs to infringe upon the rights and safety of others. I'm afraid I disagree. Anyone who beleives anything can infringe upon the rights of others, regardless of religion. Our prime minister Tony Blair isn't a christian, but still went to infringe the rights of people in Itaq. If one passes a law that affects the rights of one group of people, be that any law, one could say that they are using their beleifs to affect one group of people. One could say that the recent passing of law in this country making fox hunting illegal could be seen as an infringement of rights, and forcing one group of people to submit to a particular view. Religion has had nothing to do with it.

Talking of abortions etc. There are groups of people who do beleive in 'right to life' views who aren't based in any religion. In terms of divorce etc. there are some who beleive that marriage is a vow that should be forever, outside of religion. I agree that there are groups of people who use, as an excuse, religion to fuel their hatred and anger. But these are, I feel, a minority. The majority of Christians are a good peace loving people. As are Moslems etc.

And you say that religious leaders are hell bent on dictating the behaviour and restricitn the rights of those who don't subscribe to their doctrine. Be careful here. Because when you say religious leaders, it does sound like you are talking about all religious leaders. Not all religious leaders feel this way. In fact, again, the majority of religious leaders don't feel this way. If they are truly religious leaders then they have the deep wisdom atached to their faith. I do agree that there are SOME who do. We're not in dispute there. And I strongly disapporve, as you do, of these actions. These are a minority of people with very loud voices, and very pursuasive means and should really not hold the positions they do. And it only takes a few fires for people to take notice. I just have faith in the slower moving, but ultimatly more powerful glacier of acceptance, compassion and giving that is, I feel, slowly taking more and more root in our society.

I really don't beleive that religion is the basis of al negativityl. Mankind is the basis of it all.

It's also worth pointing out that I am religious, and don't want to dictate anything to you, or anyone at all. So to say that it is the religious who want to do that is a misconception.

Regards,

FTM
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Old 02-26-2005, 03:59 AM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feed the Monkey
I really don't beleive that religion is the basis of al negativityl. Mankind is the basis of it all.
Well said! (Although, what would religion be without mankind?)

Certainly, the restriction of rights isn't limited to religious leaders. From the American perspective, however, looking at today's hot button issues (and putting aside for a moment the rampant greed of those currently in power and their friends), organized religion -- specifically Christian fundamentalism -- is a serious problem.

(And FYI, in my head -- and my dictionary -- fundamentalism refers not to the shunning of those who don't share one's beliefs, but rather adherence to a religion's fundamental principles. Here's one dictionary's definition:

1. A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism. 2a. often Fundamentalism An organized, militant Evangelical movement originating in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century in opposition to Protestant Liberalism and secularism, insisting on the inerrancy of Scripture. b. Adherence to the theology of this movement. )

This country was founded on decidedly secular ideals. Despite mankind's great capacity for stupidity, our Consititution specifically names the People, and not any god, as the ones who should decide what's best. And at the same time we were declaring ourselves free of Britain's tyrannical monarchy, we were also a nation escaping the tryanny that would determine how and Who we would worship in Church.

This was not some heavyhanded unilateral decision by an atheist government, but a concept supported by deist leaders AND the religious leaders of the day.

And because it was understood by both sides that if any particular religion dictated matters of government, then freedom of any religion other than the one doing the dictating would be threatened.

This separation of church and state is one of the things that made teh Great Experiment of Democracy succeed, despite all expectation to the contrary, for over two centuries.

Unfortunately, ONE religion is threatening to finally bring that experiment to an end, with sad results. And it is in THIS vein that I speak of religious leaders. It is American religious leaders that want to use their own religious (and in my view, narrow) morality to legislate the morality of the citizens of this secular nation. They want to restrict the behavior of fellow Americans regarding issues that are none of their business, they want to deny government benefits to groups their religion doesn't approve of, and, perhaps worst of all, they are working successfully to demonize any fellow citizens who don't share their views, making it societally acceptable to think one's neighbor "less equal" simply based on his ideas. This is so UN-American, it should make the blood boil of any U.S. citizen that ever took a civics class.

Curiously, those who perpetuate this simply don't understand what's wrong with it, no matter how clearly one tries to explain it. Nor do they seem to understand what it would be like if the shoe were on the other foot. None of the bible-thumpers who want to deny gay marriage rights, or release the medical records of teenagers who've had abortions, or teach creationism in goverment funded schools, would think it at all fair if Orthodox Jewish leaders influenced government to forbid married women to show their heads in public, or fought to stop the sale of pork, or if muezzins were permitted to shriek their hourly calls to prayer from loudspeakers attached to the outside of U.S. mosques. But they do not see how their demands based on their religious beliefs seem just as abjectly wrong to the non-Christian.
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Old 02-26-2005, 01:29 PM   #83
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I agree with you. In these specific instances you speak of it is true that the role of religion in society is crossing into borders it really shouldn't. And it is a shame that it happens to be christians that are doing this in your counrty. Albeit right wing christians with loud voices. I suppose that it is very difficult to watch from an outsider looking in, to see a country being so dictated to by it's religious background, even when the so called 'seperation of church and state' should be in place, it quite clearly isn't.

In these specific instances, religion is getting a bad name. And ultimately I think that that is tragic, because all the good things that religion does within society get overlooked.

And your dictionary definition of fundamentalist is of course correct. I merely suggest that there are groups of atheists who look down on those with faith as being somehow ignorant or a bit simple, simply because they don't share views.

I believe that religion should serve mankind, not the other way round.

Regards

FTM
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Old 02-26-2005, 04:04 PM   #84
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yeah smarty, come on over to europe and you won't
feel so oppressed. we've got the mr gay berlin contest
coming up soon. you wouldn't wanna miss that!
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Old 02-26-2005, 05:22 PM   #85
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yeah smarty, come on over to europe and you won't
feel so oppressed. we've got the mr gay berlin contest
coming up soon. you wouldn't wanna miss that!

oooooh! Cool! Now, I would, but I was thinking I would go to the Mr Gay Vatican contest, which causes a schedule conflict. I hear what with a potential job vacancy imminent there, there are a LOT of guys who like to wear dresses signing up to vie for the title.
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Old 03-03-2005, 01:43 PM   #86
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thought you all might like this letter to president bush:


Dear President Bush,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have learned a great deal from you and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them:

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not to Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that, even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there "degrees" of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev. 24:10-16)? Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

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Old 03-03-2005, 02:33 PM   #87
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Thanks Craig.
I have been looking for this for a while. My Mom wanted to see it. She wants to bring it to church.
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Old 03-03-2005, 03:31 PM   #88
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Thanks Craig.
I have been looking for this for a while. My Mom wanted to see it. She wants to bring it to church.
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Old 03-03-2005, 06:49 PM   #89
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What! She's Anglican. The church I grew up in has gay ministers, gay marriages, wedding receptions in the hall downstairs with booze, and dancing. There is a peace park beside it for anyone of any belief system to go and sit and reflect or have a picnic. The church has an open door policy to all people of all beliefs. A few times a year it shares services with other religions to broaden the scope of understanding. I have been invited to participate in anything I choose, from a muslim service to an African something or other. I'd say it is pretty open minded for a church. They admit to the bible's confusing mixed messages and try to follow the ones that allow love and acceptance rather than the ones that promote hate and killing.
It is a small community with a big heart. Even though they know that I don't conform to religion as a means of becoming more than what I am, they still welcome me and do so without judgement.
They'll enjoy that. The same way they enjoyed Smartypant's post about looking for the apocolypse and being unable to see it.
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Old 03-03-2005, 06:53 PM   #90
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Thanks, CJ. That is always entertaining to see. But although I've seen that list or ones like it many times, I have yet to see ANYONE who believes in the absolutes of the bible comment on it. They just shrug it off as being smart-ass.

Thing is, it is a perfectly reasonable list of questions for people who use the bible as the rationale to condemn homosexuality. (And the bible's acceptance of slavery was used as justification for that practice by many slaveowners in the American south quite recently. Remember, it was a secular government who fought for Abolition in the U.S.)

So I'd like to hear from Clytie, or Chuckie, or TorahStan. What is so less absurd about nonacceptance of homosexuality based on adherence to biblical law than about the questions posted in CJs above list? (Serious question.)
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