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  •  Preview of my diary: "Religion Causes Insanity" (6+ / 0-)

    Yes, that is the title of my upcoming atheist diary.  But they are not my words.  They were written by another Kossack who, in a previous diary of mine on atheism, took a very hostile approach to describing people with religious belief.

    My new diary, which will be posted tomorrow (hopefully around 12 noon ET), will attempt to discuss in as rational way as I can the following topics: religion, atheism, war and violent conflict, and community.  I write it not simply to respond to a fellow atheist's comments, but also to express sadness over the recent events surrounding religion and Prop 8.  It's part of my ongoing series of holding a more civil conversation about what atheism means to me.

    Here is a sneak preview:

    Two weeks ago, I wrote a narrative describing my experience at a baptism.  I wanted to illustrate the conflict in my mind of supporting my girlfriend's Catholic family and their traditions, while staying true to my atheism.  I found that, despite whatever differences there are between me and my girlfriend, we are still united in our love and respect for one another.

    In that diary, I wrote that what ultimately matters isn't your beliefs, but your actions.  Religious belief by itself does not make people start wars -- their actions do.  But another user (who will remain nameless) responded with this hostile comment:

    religion is a significant cause of insanity. Since it's clearly possible to brainwash someone using religion into a suicide killer, then religion is a tool for creating insanity.

    I'd like to reset the conversation.

    •  Pre-pimping 24 hrs in advance, baby! (5+ / 0-)

      I'm glad to hear there will be more talk about this. Your previous diary got too comment-heavy before I got to weigh in.

      For now I'll just say this:
      There is a need to cast a wider net around here if we want to continue our recent electoral success.

      Dick Cheney rhymes with "sick meanie." Pass it on.

      by LaughingPlanet on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:06:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem with that argument (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueyedace2

      is that there are many religious people who never become suicide killers -- from the followers of the Dalai Lama to the members of most of the mainstream Christian denominations here in the US.

      I'd say that there would have to be some sort of mitigating factors to cause someone to become a killer in the name of religion -- someone who's got a happy home life and is financially content isn't likely to fall for that sort of thing, but put someone in a situation where they feel that they're being oppressed (say, they're the minority in their society) and there are no other options immediately available, then sure they might do it in the name of religion...but they also might do it in response to a line in a "death metal" song or after reading too many vampire novels or a call from a political leader to start the New Revolution. Religion isn't a cause of insanity, it just can feed on the insanity already there if misused.

      Civility is the way of telling someone to go fuck themselves in such a way that the someone agrees it probably is a good idea.

      by Cali Scribe on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:15:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have to disagree. (0+ / 0-)

        As a Gay man who has buried over 150 of his friends, acquaintences, and enemies to AIDS, I can tell you that the bourgeois religious are just as bat shit crazy as the psycho & socio murders.  religion is the problem not the solution.

        Have you forgotten about Jesus? Don't you think it's time that you did?

        by uc booker on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:19:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  religion is not the problem. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cali Scribe, oscarsmom, batgirl71

          It's the batshit crazy people that are.

          Religion is a convenient excuse, but it's not the only one and if it didn't exist these people (and by that I mean the batshit crazies) would be finding some other excuse to kill or hurt or otherwise cause harm.

          You have Shias killing Sunnis killing Shias in Iraq and they're all followers of Islam.  It's not always about religion, even when it is about religion.

          You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

          by DawnG on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:38:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  religion is the problem (0+ / 0-)

            and I'm glad it upset you so much because I know I hit a nerve of truth or you wouldn't be so defensive.  And, don't even get me started on religion and prop 8.  

            ;-)

            Have you forgotten about Jesus? Don't you think it's time that you did?

            by uc booker on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:47:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do not presume to speak for me. (0+ / 0-)

              I'm not the slightest bit upset.  I just pointed out a logical fallacy (as I often do).

              But thank you so much for inserting your assumptions and bias where you should be putting facts.

              You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

              by DawnG on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:53:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  logic & religion haven't worked since Kierkegaard (0+ / 0-)

                so, your presumption of a logical fallacy is disproven.  Now, what have you got?  

                Have you forgotten about Jesus? Don't you think it's time that you did?

                by uc booker on Thu May 28, 2009 at 12:57:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  okay now you're trying to invent a... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  terrypinder, dave3172, batgirl71

                  ...separate argument.

                  I was referring to YOUR false logic in assuming religion is the source of violence.   The source of violence is the people who commit violence.  Period.  If someone wishes to commit violence, they will and very often DO find excuses outside religion.

                  Removing religion will not solve the ills of the world because you'll still have the same people wandering around looking for the next best excuse to kill.

                  You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

                  by DawnG on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:02:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You keep holding onto your beliefs. Hope they (0+ / 0-)

                    work for you.  As for the religion not causing violence, you need to study the Inquisition.  YOU have lots of learning to do.  And, I was almost blown up in a Gay bar in Seattle by skinheads. What motivates them?  What is all over their webpages.  When the rude awaking occurs for you just know that I will be LMAO!!!

                    Have you forgotten about Jesus? Don't you think it's time that you did?

                    by uc booker on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:05:36 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  your assumption that dawnG is religious, (0+ / 0-)

                      simply for pointing out that human being suck in general, is amusing. she's given no evidence of such (unless she has in the past. I don't know. I really don't care what people believe in or don't believe in.)

                      (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

                      by terrypinder on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:09:54 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I am not presuming her religious beliefs. But, (0+ / 0-)

                        she is trying to create her own facts.  The Inquisition, the Crusades, to deny that religion has been a source of hatred, murder, and injustice across time and space is to show ignorance and/or stupidity.  And this false argument that religion doesn't kill people, that people kill people is as false as the argument that guns don't kill people, people kill people.  I have never heard of a gun just sitting there on a table going off and killing someone.  A person with a gun kills another person.  A religious person kills another person.

                        Have you forgotten about Jesus? Don't you think it's time that you did?

                        by uc booker on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:14:36 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  and you ignore everything.. (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          terrypinder

                          ...that has nothing to do with religion.

                          I've listen a few below.  Enjoy.

                          You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

                          by DawnG on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:16:50 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not going down your grocery list of insanity. (0+ / 0-)

                            Religion is a murderous problem in our society.  You can choose to keep your head firmly in the sand, but I'm not going to sit idly by and let you get away with it.

                            Good day.

                            Have you forgotten about Jesus? Don't you think it's time that you did?

                            by uc booker on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:18:58 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Heh. (1+ / 1-)
                            Recommended by:
                            terrypinder
                            Hidden by:
                            uc booker

                            so you're not going to sit idly by, but you're going to walk away?

                            I'm trying to point out that it's not religion that is the "murderous problem" with our society.  It's society that is the problem.

                            I don't want to make assumptions, but I will say if you think religion is the root of all evil in our society you are completely out of your mind.  "this would be such a nice place if it weren't for religion" is utopian level fantasy thinking and completely discounts and ignores the real problem (which would still exist even if religion were done away with).

                            You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

                            by DawnG on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:42:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Heh Heh. (0+ / 0-)

                            And now you're getting pissy and troll rating me, even though I didn't say anything offensive, merely presented my argument.

                            Perhaps you should rethink your position, if you are unable to defend them better.  

                            Just a bit of constructive criticism for you.

                            You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

                            by DawnG on Thu May 28, 2009 at 02:22:45 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  actually people do kill people (0+ / 0-)

                          it's a primate thing and it doesn't matter if there's religion involved or not.

                          while i don't know if Chimps have religion or not, they certainly do have territorial wars.

                          (+0.12, -3.33) perpetually amused by the silliness.

                          by terrypinder on Fri May 29, 2009 at 06:20:24 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  It's not a belief. (0+ / 0-)

                      It's an understanding of human nature. Religion is just used as one of many excuses.  People have, throughout history, used many many others.

                      Blacks vs whites.
                      Catholics vs Prodestants
                      Crypts vs Bloods
                      Shia vs Suuni
                      Hatfields vs McCoys
                      Republicans vs Democrats
                      Hetrosexuals vs Homosexuals
                      Nation vs Nation

                      There's a lot more but this is a good start.

                      Some people have tendancies towards violence.  Often times, whether those tendancies actually manifest in violent actions have more to do with the culture they are raised in, than their religion.  

                      I know it's easier to just blame religion unilaterally.  But it's also shallower and lazier.  Better to understand PEOPLE first.  It opens up so many levels of understanding about so many subjects.

                      You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

                      by DawnG on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:15:50 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  I agree Dawn-- (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DawnG, terrypinder, batgirl71

            Religion is primarily a meta-level, giving "reasons" to people who already are inclined to act on primal fears rather than approaching them rationally.  

            Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

            by oscarsmom on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:01:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, I don't think it's an either/or (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              oscarsmom

              Religion can make a person go a little crazier if they are already heading that way, but it can also twist the mind of someone who might otherwise have been fairly rational.

              I think it depends on the religion, on who is teaching it, and on the level of repression.

              Some find religion to be a spiritual thing - one which brings them closer to happiness, and to a feeling of awe.

              Others find it to be a dark and vile place, where the teachings they are given are hammered home with anger, fear, and repression.

              I've known good people whose minds have been tainted and twisted by bad teachings and propaganda... and others who are brought out of the darkness by the same beliefs.  Part of it is internal, but part of it is the external pressure that is applied.

              "Spread happiness... share it with all those who seek it." - Keith Olbermann

              by Diogenes2008 on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:07:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's certainly possible--as it is also (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Diogenes2008

                possible for religion to be a positive influence on otherwise troubled people.

                Save the parrots: Drink shade-grown coffee!

                by oscarsmom on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:11:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Precisely (0+ / 0-)

                  If you take a very small child, and tell them that they are "evil" and "going to hell" if they don't pick up their toys, that's going to twist their minds.

                  But if you take that same child, and teach them empathy... you will likely get a different result - and I have to say, most likely a happier and more well-adjusted adult.

                  "Spread happiness... share it with all those who seek it." - Keith Olbermann

                  by Diogenes2008 on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:12:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I have always been of the opinion... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Diogenes2008

                ...that WHAT you believe is not important, but how you apply your beliefs that is.

                that goes for everyone, devout and not.

                You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

                by DawnG on Thu May 28, 2009 at 01:45:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  But religion doesn't claim to be neutral (0+ / 0-)

      It's main justification (better stated, the main justification religious apologists make for religion) is that it makes people better. Most apologists even argue it is essential to human existence (and, by implication - always by implication - that those of us who lack it are somehow imperfect or inferior).

      If all religion can claim is that it doesn't have an effect one way or another on people's behavior, then it is a failure on its face.

      Every religion claims that by following its tenets, the follower is improved (and, again, by implication, those who fail to follow it are not). Every religion teaches that the value of giving up certain freedoms and following its constraints is a better world full of better people.

      It's a big deal, and the main argument for religion.

      I know of no religion whose central dogma is "Meh."

      So, arguments of the type "religion doesn't kill people, guns kill people (oops, I meant bad people kill people)" are nothing more than red herrings.

      The reason question is, if religion is such a manifest failure at achieving its mission, why not try reason?

      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

      by RandomActsOfReason on Fri May 29, 2009 at 12:34:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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