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Old 08-05-2003, 07:44 PM   #1
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is religion inherently divisive?

im not much of a historian and certainly not a religous or spiritual individual.

but it seems that many of the worlds troubles are, at least partly, explained as being rooted in religion and its various organized manifestations, both within and between religions.

having said this, any social institution is going to have its proponents and opponents. but religion seems to be the base of a large number of conflicts.

so, is religion inherently divisive?
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Old 08-05-2003, 08:06 PM   #2
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Old 08-05-2003, 08:13 PM   #3
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Old 08-05-2003, 09:38 PM   #4
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The common denominator in all conflict is humanity. We tend to lay blame and use religion as a scapegoat. Its easier to point fingers at a non tangible institution.
This is going to sound completely arse-backwards from everything I've ever said on religion, but it also happens to unify in a way that not many other things can.
Its not religion's fault in my view. Some people let it unite us, some let it divide us.
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Old 08-05-2003, 09:38 PM   #5
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Absolutely...

"Adam and Eve" didn't have religion, because they had a direct relationship with God. Man invented religion once God left the Garden. Man's invention was spirituality + politics= religion, and politics divide.
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Old 08-05-2003, 09:59 PM   #6
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Lots of wars and other troubles over religion seem to be caused by flawed or errant interpretations of sacred texts.
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Old 08-05-2003, 10:33 PM   #7
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the inherent problem with religion is that it goes beyond politics. If you don't like the president, elect a new one or attempt a coup. But religion, that goes beyond political boundaries. It REALLY IS about life and death and life thereafter. No politician can decide what your after life is like. There's a reason its God and country and not country and God.

Interesting topic. I was thinking about this today with the Indonesian bombing. What possesses someone to bomb a Western hotel because its not Muslim enough to represents Islam enough? Or bombing a store in Belfast because its not Catholic enough. Or kill someone because they aren't Jewish enough. Or kill someone because they are too Jewish.
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Old 08-06-2003, 03:15 AM   #8
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Originally posted by sharky
Interesting topic. I was thinking about this today with the Indonesian bombing. What possesses someone to bomb a Western hotel because its not Muslim enough to represents Islam enough? Or bombing a store in Belfast because its not Catholic enough. Or kill someone because they aren't Jewish enough. Or kill someone because they are too Jewish.
I don't think that events in Ireland over the last forty or so years are comparable to either the bombing in Indonesia or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While it's true that most unionists are Protestant and most republicans Catholic, it's definitely not a conflict between the two religions.
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Old 08-06-2003, 09:14 AM   #9
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Interesting topic. I was thinking about this today with the Indonesian bombing.
its something ive been thinking about throughout recent memory.

those i interact with who are religious seem to gain a great deal from it. and thats great.

but on a macro scale the passion attached to those religions seems dangerous in that it results in a lot of physical and emotional harm. im sure there is also some value in the congregation however.

i guess if tolerance has eluded us for this long, there isnt much hope of finding it anytime soon.
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Old 08-06-2003, 10:23 AM   #10
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Sin is the cause of our struggles and divisiveness. Our human working through a formal religion is one element. Religion in general is often the pat scapegoat. Millions upon millions have been killed on this planet with no religion involved (think Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.).

Sin also the divisive element between different religions. If a Christian believes Jesus when he said He was the only way, other religions must be false. But the Christian is to love all people, regardless of their faith. Our sin nature, on both sides, causes us to draw the lines.
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Old 08-06-2003, 02:28 PM   #11
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I don't believe that religion is at all inherently divisive.

It is what humans do w/ it, and how they twist it for evil purposes, that is divisive.
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Old 08-06-2003, 06:36 PM   #12
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good point, Mrs. And I also believe that brings up the issue of religion vs. faith. There is a difference between what a religious organization says you should do and what your heart says you should do.
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Old 08-06-2003, 06:58 PM   #13
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And what the Bible says you should do.
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Old 08-06-2003, 08:59 PM   #14
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And what the Bible says you should do.
Yep. And I just wish people would read their Bible's.
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Old 08-06-2003, 10:04 PM   #15
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Alot of people do read the Bible, and it's still - either taken so literally out of contex or believed so fanatically that the abuses of the past still exist. You don't have to be a biblical scholar to know some teachings are just so wrong in the contex of Faith. It's hard to believe the Bible has actually been read in alot of cases. To be quite honest, I'm still reading it, and it reveals more to me each time, sometimes differently than I read in the beginning. and just maybe that is the point.
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Old 08-06-2003, 10:24 PM   #16
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Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
I don't believe that religion is at all inherently divisive.

It is what humans do w/ it, and how they twist it for evil purposes, that is divisive.
But if religion is a manifestation of what humanity is "ideally" supposed to achieve... then don't you think the ambiguity of orthodox religions has truncated this pursuit?

Any idea on a large scale, as kobe was eluding to, has the capacity to cause misinterpretation and conflict. I think the question has to do with whether this is a result of the nature of religion... or a collective human ignorance that distorts thoughts from sources of both irrational and rational domains.

Religion is such a big issue because it is a universal value system that polarizes even the indifferent... not everyone subscribes to it, but everyone has an opinion on it. If religion weren't so embedded in the design of most political organizations, would its exposed idealism still have the potential for war?

I tried not to put too much bias in my comments... I speak from a vantage of indifference.

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Old 08-07-2003, 02:04 AM   #17
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Religion doesn't have to be divisive in practice, but I do think it is divisive by design. The books of many major religions declare that their beliefs are correct and others are wrong. Even though the texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam refer to the same God, not all beliefs are shared- and they all clearly indicate their way is the only way, straight from The Source. While the architects of these religions hoped everyone would be united under one system, it didn't happen. People in some countries are more accepting of other possibilities than in others, but acceptance (not to be confused with tolerance) of differing beliefs definitely isn't built-in to a lot of religions, and history unfortunately reflects that.
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Old 08-10-2003, 04:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar
Man's invention was spirituality + politics= religion, and politics divide.
Although I generally agree with you (except that, in the Christian religion, in the New Testament, Christ seemed to call for community), my take on that equation would be:

Wherever 2 or more people gather + a cause = politics, and politics can be divisive. On the other hand, not all politics are necessarily detrimental to an organization or society. Without certain political interactions (e.g., a vote on a plan for a new church building, which would generally come about after much discussion with opinions offered [i.e., politics]), an organization couldn't get anything done.


Quote:
Originally posted by kobayashi


those i interact with who are religious seem to gain a great deal from it. and thats great.

but on a macro scale the passion attached to those religions seems dangerous in that it results in a lot of physical and emotional harm. im sure there is also some value in the congregation however.
I don't know the answer to your question, but I can at least make a few possibly relevant observations about Christianity (I can't say much with respect to Islam, Judaism, or other religions):

The Christian religion is made up of churches. Churches are made up of people. People express their personal politics in all aspects of their life. People's politics are shaped by all possible sociological/experiential influences.

I disagree with many of the tenets of Conservative Evangelicalism. However, I realise that much of what I disagree with are the politics of that church, just as many Conservative Evangelicals would likely disagree with the politics of the more liberal laity of the Episcopal Church (e.g., electing a gay man as Bishop), of which I am a member.

I actually am sometimes disappointed that the church does not take a more vocal stance on certain injustices in this world. So in that sense, I'd like to see MORE politics coming from the church. But only in that sense. (Again, though, this goes to my personal political perspective. Can't escape those damn politics. )

I do believe that there is immense value in congregation, in community. However, I also understand that many people feel differently.

As to your comment that "on a macro scale the passion attached to [religion] seems dangerous in that it results in a lot of physical and emotional harm," well, I agree with you that it does seem that way. But I wonder, if religion did not exist, would people not find another way to collectively propagate their politics?
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:45 PM   #19
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I do believe that there is immense value in congregation, in community. However, I also understand that many people feel differently.
That's a Durkheimian notion and I agree with it.

My major complaint is that religions have killed spirituality, raped it, murdered it to the point there is very little left, IMO anyway.
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Old 08-10-2003, 07:09 PM   #20
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Not for all. I don't subscribe to the notion of organized religion, at all. Yet, I'm more spiritual than I ever have been. I think the atrociticies going around the world only strengthens the resolve of people with true convicitions to want everything possible done whether or not it is of their religious persuation or not. As it should be. IMO
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