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Old 11-09-2004, 05:12 PM   #1
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"Religion is a bloody disgrace"

Written by a Reform Jew, for The Guardian.

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Quote:
The alibis and excuses - they are not really Christians or Muslims because proper Christians or Muslims do not believe/do those things; you mustn't tar everyone with the same brush, some of them are nice, sincere, peace-loving people; people are entitled to their beliefs, you should listen to them; or, worst of all, "What can we do?" - simply underline our moral and spiritual bankruptcy. Wimps, the lot of us.

In fact, the situation is getting worse and worse. Except in northern Europe, both Christianity and Islam are growing at a rate so staggering that Matthew Arnold must be spinning. What is emerging is a phenomenon that the Anglican theologian John Bowden has described as "terrifying", forms of faith that are "very hostile to other faiths and driven by a sense of malevolent activity by hostile powers that have to be combated". Religion which is aggressive, triumphalist and thrives on conflict.

....

f only we were able to assert a shared platform that transcended the platitudinous, to stand up to those who pervert our traditions, and to work together for a justice that involves compromise and humility, we might even end up stemming the decline of faith in northern Europe. By demonstrating that religion still offers meaning, purpose and human values, rather than being at best an irrelevance or at worst a bloody disgrace.
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Old 11-09-2004, 05:22 PM   #2
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Thankyou!
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Old 11-09-2004, 06:07 PM   #3
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YEAH!
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Old 11-09-2004, 06:15 PM   #4
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there's a lot of truth in that article.
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Old 11-09-2004, 07:27 PM   #5
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Not all Christians and Muslims are violent fundamentalists....
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Old 11-09-2004, 07:37 PM   #6
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"Religion which is aggressive, triumphalist and thrives on conflict"

How about PEOPLE are aggressive, triumphalist and thrive on conflict? People have an extraordinary talent for taking anything originally intended for good and bastardizing it. It what we're good at.

The article , however, does make some good points.
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Old 11-09-2004, 07:38 PM   #7
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But violent fundamentalists are Christians and Muslims.
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Old 11-09-2004, 07:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
But violent fundamentalists are Christians and Muslims.
Maybe b/c a huge hunk of the world's population is either a Christian or a Muslim? I'm really not amused with all the "religion = violence" threads lately. Please. Lets see some numbers proving that religion is dangerous b/c a significant amount of religious persons are currently supporting or engaging in violent fundamentalist activity....oh, right, these people are using the most extreme examples of wackos and using them to stereotype boths Muslims AND Christians. Violent fundamentalists are DERANGED, that's what they are, regardless of what "religious" mask they choose to hide behind.
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Old 11-09-2004, 07:55 PM   #9
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That is all well and good, most people are not violent and I am not trying to argue that - but when people attempt to disown the deeds of the few, but at the same time advocate them in private - it is dishonest.
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:36 PM   #10
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You all seemed to enjoy this side.

Read the other side. A book called "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Phillip Yancey. Get a glimpse of what christianity was meant to be.
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Old 11-09-2004, 09:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by BrownEyedBoy
You all seemed to enjoy this side.

Read the other side. A book called "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Phillip Yancey. Get a glimpse of what christianity was meant to be.
Meant to be is different than what far too often is.

What I notice in this article is that the forms of both Christianity and Islam that seem to be making the most gains are the worst forms of each. Certainly most reasonable people don't believe that all Christians and all Muslims are hate filled wackos.

That said, the violent fundamentalists in each group (Christian and Muslim) are growing in power and scope. And, you know, it's not up to me, as neither Christian nor Muslim, to deal with them -- it's up to the normal Christian and Muslims to rein these idiots in and tell them "You will NOT sully this religion! You will NOT fuck up the good things the rest of us have worked for and believe!" To those who do say "we aren't all like this" that is true, but it is also true that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and the violent fundamentalists are extremely squeaky, so they get noticed the most. By ignoring them you give them power, you must actively counter them.
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Old 11-10-2004, 01:17 AM   #12
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Well, if you're going to put in fundamental Christians into the mix (who, today anyway, aren't really all that violent) you might as well throw the Zionists in. Its just a bit rich that an article, written by a Reform Jew, doesn't seem to call on a religion which has also, in practice, proven to be almost as divisive and confrontational as Christianity, though I will concede that neither of those are taking the form of suicide bombers).

I just think if you're going to call the way we deal with other religions spineless, and start throwing rocks in a glass house, so to speak, you should include the other monotheistic religion, especially when the Israel/Palestinian conflict is still as horrific as it is.

The article raises a few good points, but I don't appreciate the self-righteous tone of the author.

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Old 11-10-2004, 01:26 AM   #13
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Zionism does not denote fundamentalism and has some association to secularism, in fact some religious Jews oppose Zionism on the basis that a Jewish nation founded by man is blasphemous. The hardcore religious nuts are definitely not productive.

You see we have to drag fundamentalist Christians into the argument for the simple reasons that they are very easy targets for abuse, literallly nobody cares if Christians are criticised or their beliefs mocked because they are the unpopular and big monolithic religious block that the secular west rejects with vigour. It provides the scant protection one requires to hold some more respected and revered religions of the world to account.
/there is some sarcasm in that last paragraph, but it is not far from the truth - Christians are targeted more than others in the media because it is acceptable to do so, I think that criticism of religion should be more uniform.
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Old 11-10-2004, 04:18 AM   #14
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It's not religion per se that's evil, the evil is in having the wrong approach and mentality about your religion. If you're convinced you're right *and* you think you've got the right to stomp on people who are different, you've got problems. I have a religion myself; I'm Catholic. I do not think I have the right to stomp on people who are different, therefore I don't have a problem.
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Old 11-10-2004, 07:24 AM   #15
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Some good points A_Wanderer.

Well, the reason I brought Zionism up is because not only do I think its destructive, but I have heard too many of my Jewish friends relate to me just how bloody terrifying some of the Zionists they've met are. I don't know, it does sound like a form of fundamentalism to me.

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Old 11-10-2004, 08:25 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by indigo tree
People have an extraordinary talent for taking anything originally intended for good and bastardizing it. It what we're good at.

this strikes me as exactly what people have done to God -- created a religion around it, and then used that structure (enforced by human-created projects of the almight) to enforce rigid forms of social control. religion strikes me as the absence of god. it's not necessarily a negative thing, and religion can provide a desperately needed sense of community especially in countries like the US with the isolation of the suburbs and exurbs combined with a punishing work week and brutal commutes.

however, with the way that organized religion is making its presence felt on a geo-political level, it seems as if the best reaction is one of skepticism, if not outright resistence.
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Old 11-10-2004, 08:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
this strikes me as exactly what people have done to God -- created a religion around it, and then used that structure (enforced by human-created projects of the almight) to enforce rigid forms of social control. religion strikes me as the absence of god.
We need to be careful with blanket statements about religion, as such a rejection of "religion" can simply lead to the individual creating their own belief set about God - leading to similar results.
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Old 11-10-2004, 08:43 AM   #18
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It's time to call this mind set what it is: Darwinism.

Survival of the fittest is not a "christian concept," therefore anybody who embraces it is not practicing Christianity. Survival of the fittest is an athiestic concept and there is only ONE degree of seperation between Darwin and Hitler (a man named Neitzche, who expounded so eloquently the idea of a super man, prompting Hitler's super race concept.) Stalin was also not a religious man. To say that human nature is corrupt does not disprove the "religious" worldview and to say that men use religion to further their own natural corruption also does not tarnish religion's claims. I know most of the "God talk" on this board is purely emotional and very little actual objective or free thought enters into the equation now that it's become so trendy to trash religious people, but there are many great believers throughout our own nation's history...Lincoln, Washington, etc. Religion did in their cases what it actually does when men actually let it do it's work in their hearts, instead of trying to manipulate it to their own ends. Another case in point relevant to THIS board: Bono. A believer in God and a believer in the Bible. Has it turned him into a vile person? This half-baked theory of religion as the cause of all ills is easily done away with with just a few examples. The film "To End All Wars"(and the true story behind it) is also a great example of belief in God (or religion) giving dignity to humanity in the face of the inhuman.

To all atheists here I'll say this. The Christian belief in freewill gives me a healthy respect for your right to believe whatever you want. I am able to be "tolerant" of your decision not to believe in God while not having to accept it as the most rational conclusion to come to in the face of a big banged universe (big bang = cosmic virgin birth) and absolutely NO evidence of spontaneous life emerging from the random combination of lifeless particles. That worldview takes too much faith for ME to believe in, though you are welcome to it. However, conceeding as you do, the existence of any objective moral law (as any morality we have has simply evolved in us subjectively as a society) you have no grounds to feign dismay over muslims flying planes into buildings and christians retaking Jerusalem a thousand years ago. You also have no grounds to say the president SHOULDN'T force his beliefs down your throat, since survival of the fittest says the fittest basically can do whatever the hell they want. Your moral objection to this actuallly proves the religious worldview and the atheist worldview eats itself in the process. So please don't try to shove your own beliefs down my throat because of all worldviews the atheist's is the least objectively credible and takes the most amount of faith. In short, the LAST argument an athiest should make against religion's claims is a MORAL objection, since this argument is so self-defeating and, in the process of using it, the athiest actually proves the theist's point. The emperor isn't wearing any clothes at this point and many eyes see it, even if the emperor himself does not.
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Old 11-10-2004, 09:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


We need to be careful with blanket statements about religion, as such a rejection of "religion" can simply lead to the individual creating their own belief set about God - leading to similar results.

actually, i think a rejection of organized religion would do much to improve life for most people on earth, and it is precisely the concrete interpretation of any organized religion, and the subjugation of individual conscience to the will of man-made rules and regulations, that leads to much sadness in the world.

perhaps rejection is too strong. caution and skepticism are probably better. i can really only speak as an american, and while i respect those who draw strength from belief in a higher power (let's call that faith), i am unnerved by how many churches motivated and pamphleted their masses (calling into question their tax-free status) and how the current administration has intrepreted the election results as a mandate for a specific kind of moral values.
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Old 11-10-2004, 09:34 AM   #20
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hmm just out of personal interest do you think the tide is turning and that people around the world seem to be wanting rid of organized religion christianity muslim whatever.. in general and it has lost the grip it had on people like say compared 100 years ago

can you see religion playing an even less significant roll in the future and people distancing themselves from it even more?

Do you ever think there will be a day when people will just say we don't need religion and want to do away with it completely
is that the direction it is heading now?
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