24th May 2012

“A religion, even if it calls itself a religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it.”

Sigmund Freud1856 – 1939

14 Responses to “24th May 2012”

  1. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    In faith we take sides, just as we do in politics, sports, art, and every human preoccupation. We champion our side and dismiss its other whether that be atheist, Muslim, or Democrat, or Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, or Manchester United, or Dali, Degas, and Jackson Pollak.

    We tout our successes as proof we are right in our obsession, we discount our failings for extenuating circumstance.

    Most of us take it all too far, most of us really believe our obsession is reflective of some larger truth, that can’t be denied, that it is real.

    No one knows humility that can not accept their belief is wrong. You can’t be Jesus or even like Jesus if you can’t also accept there is no god.

    Jesus could accept there is no god, he had to.

  2. Kittie Aldakkour Says:

    Humility – meet 90% of America.

  3. The Heretic Says:

    IMHO, a religion of “love” would have a lot more credibility if they also loved the people that didn’t belong. If they don’t, they are merely charlatans and hypocrites.

  4. Jeff Says:

    Heretic, I hate to be disagreeable, but I must. With the exception of Islam, almost all religions that claim love as a value do so with the inclusion of those who do not share their beliefs. The caveat is that they do so only to the extent that non-believers (other-believers in the context of this forum, I guess I should say) are potential converts. Like most of humanity, they fail to understand that a true God must love unconditionally. Just as a truly loving person must do. Even the Bible recognizes this, but it is rarely taught as a universal value:

    1 Corinthians 13:4 through 8

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

    That is the best definition of unconditional love that I have ever seen. (Sorry folks, wisdom is wisdom, no matter the source.)

  5. Dan Says:

    Jeff,
    That’s true, a lot (not all) of Christians do accept a lot of non-Christians, generally speaking. But most Christians claim that with Christianity they are more loving and kind and forgiving than non-Christians, which is false. In fact, as I understand it the evidence in psychology and sociology fields does support the conclusion that religion tends to make believers more parochial.

    Of course that’s generalizing however…

  6. Jeff Says:

    Dan, while it may appear that they are claiming to be more loving than others, and many Christians act as though that were true, most would say that they are more loving than they would be otherwise. Which, if we follow the line of reasoning from your data, would lead us to believe that they would be real SOB’s if not for their mythology. LOL

  7. r j Says:

    kittie……………….

    can you go into a little more detail ?????????

  8. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Wow! Juicy with comments today!

    Hi Kittie, Haven’t seen you before. How right you are!

    Heretic I love the line “…also loved the people that didn’t belong…”

    Jeff perhaps you could give some leeway to Heretic for practice not equaling whats preached? I mean as a practical matter he is correct. Perhaps not a fault of the faith, but the faithful as you say.

    Also to suggest Corinthians is the source (Sorry folks, wisdom is wisdom, no matter the source) of the thought that best defines unconditional love is like suggesting the Ten Commandments is why we don’t kill each other or covet neighbors wives, et cetera. Truth is these documents simply summarize thoughts that had existed prior. I’d have a hard time believing no one could define unconditional love prior to the writing of Corinthians.

    Dan you are certainly right about the “in public” general acceptance of people of different or no faith among Christians, and it is also true for most people of any faith or none as well. Reality is that most people do not adhere to their self professed faith all that literally. Most people aren’t Opus Dei, aren’t hosting Jihad, aren’t burning Korans, aren’t picking off Muslims kids with M16s from their homes in the occupied West Bank. I don’t think this is any guarantee that they don’t harbor opinions privately that aren’t consistent with loving.

    And Jeff I don’t know if you saw the post about a philosophy class I had way back when. It was about the reactions of several self professed religionists to me presenting the idea “what if I had a Pandora’s box that held within it proof beyond question that god didn’t exist”?

    I had asked the religionists how that would change them. Where the Irish Catholic said he’d “be covetin his neighbors wife” without god and the Muslim said he’d be killing people in the street.

    Clearly SOB behavior to say the very least. I was amazed that they allowed themselves to walk right into that and make my point. I ace every course so this course was no different but it was this presentation that aced this course for me. Perhaps the easiest A I ever got?

  9. Xhim Says:

    Sinjin, I don’t think I understand your point. Is it the difference between how people would be different if God actually didn’t exist and how they would be different if they were convinced that God didn’t exist? I realize my experience includes a lot of people who were pre-God very nasty people, and if they gave up on God would probably become very nasty again (and in fact, some of them have!). Help me out here.
    Sorry I’ve been gone so long. Been on the road, and will be for another month or so, can only occasionally glance at what you are doing.

  10. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    The presentation was based on “what if/how would that change you”.

    The discussion was about philosophy and religion and I was attempting to make a point about philosophy being a subject unto itself and that morality, virtue, and ethics not being dependant upon religious instruction.

    I am not a person who has been charged with a crime, let alone convicted.
    I have never believed in god.
    I have made an attempt to understand these subjects (morality, virtue, and ethics) apart from religion.

    To understand the differences, or the contrast, I have had to read and learn a good bit about religions.

    Now I’m likely to get into trouble with Dan here, but I think the connection between biology and morality, virtue, and ethics is stronger than between religion and morality, virtue, and ethics. I would tie neuroscience in with that statement too.

    This experiment, or some variation of it, has been performed many times so I lay no claim to being some closeted genius spewing the wisdom of the universe.

    Essentially I asked how their life would change, their answers indicated their morality, virtue, and ethics was not centric to anything within them, rather something external to them.

    It is an incredible fallacy to presume a non-religious life would be any less moral, ethical, or virtuous than a religious life: Simply put the preponderance of evidence is overwhelming against such a notion.

    But in the reverse this is not found to be true.

    *History is replete with examples of atrocities of the faithful, the examples are too numerous to ever fully quantify.
    *We are unable to even fully understand the rampant and out of control crimes being committed today by religious inspired actors.
    *Our prisons are filled with the self professed faitful, heck even our concept of imprisoning criminals is religious in its origins.
    *The religious origins of wars is reflective of religious writtings where god is repeatedly calling for or directing the faithful to engage in.

    These men said that they would behave terribly if not for god. That they behave the way they do not because that is their character, but the fear of god’s retribution, if they misbehave.

    I made the point that without god, it is up to me, my character, my reputation, to demostrate morality, virtue, and ethics of my own volition.

    This should be the reason everyone acts in moral, virtuous, and ethical ways.

    People have been around for 200,000 years, the Ten Comandments just over 2,000 years. No one needed the commandments prior to that, they knew inherently that we shouuldn’t kill each other.

    That instinct inherent in all of us has more to do with evolution of the species that some joker collecting tablets scribed by god on some mountain.

    The character traits of morality, virtue, and ethics stand on their own. We simply don’t need god for that. We need our own internal character, that all.

    And don’t forget the “too numerous to name them all” corrupt religious leaders who garner the “few bad apples” label. Neatly excuse from faith and categorized as non-faith infiltrators of faith.

    Like the silly game played with the devout Catholic Adolph Hitler, a man known to have had a close relationship with the Vatican and Vatican officials at many levels. A man who had his soldiers wear belt buckles with “God With Us” emblazoned upon them.

    It is nearly everyday that I see some religionist call Hitler an atheist. Mention that he claim so in Mein Khampf and they will call you an anti-Catholic bigot.

    I’m sure you know millions of people that became evil axe murderers the moment they went athiest but I want you to know they only exist in your head.

    In real life most atheists are fine, law abiding, citizens. Most atheists never end up in jail. Most atheists are charitable, volunteers, and measure up to the finest traits of of friends, neighbors, and citizens.

    I spent 4 years in the military, served in the Persian Gulf during the Iran/Iraq war. A volunteer to military service.

    I can’t imagine someone giving up on god and that having anything to do with them being bad or good. It speaks volumes that you have such illusions.

  11. Xhim Says:

    You make a pretty good argument, Sinjin. Just two things: 1) you assume that it is the fear of retribution that keeps religious people on track. That has never played any significant role for me, at least, although I have known a few people where at one point that was important. Just like I don’t cheat on my wife because I love her and would not want her to suffer, the main thing for me in my relationship with JC is I don’t want to do anything to cause him anguist. And 2) the nasty people who live better with JC weren’t atheists to begin with in most cases, and that handful in my acquaintance who became nasty again when they ceased living with JC did not specifically become atheists, they became self-centered. I suppose opening your Pandora’s box would necessarily result in these theists becoming atheists, but that part of it hadn’t occurred to me (strangely enough; another bit of perspective blindness, I suppose). What I was visualizing was the loss of meaning, of a consistent pattern for living that included reasons for morality.
    Thanks again for your comments. It does help me understand.

  12. The Heretic Says:

    Goodness Sinjin, we find more about you every post. “4 years in the military during the Persian Gulf” – why, so was I. 88-92 USMC. I often wonder at your nom de plume. An alias of James Bond in a View to a Kill. A Roger Moore fan? Or something deeper?

  13. Kittie Aldakkour Says:

    r j,

    “..no one knows humility that can not accept their belief is wrong” Sinjin Smythe

    me – “Humility meet 90% of America”…

    I was using Sinjin Smythe’s statement regarding humility and belief to introduce humility to the roughly 90% of America who claim belief in a personal god. Obviously they do not know humility for they are unwilling to even dabble in the idea that the reason bad things happen to good people could just be random and not some devine plot involving the weather, great parking spots and the last pair of size 8 manolo blahniks on the sale rack at Dillards. Thinking that maybe if they knew a bit more about humility, they would realize how silly they were for forcing small children with ever growing obesity issues to give thanks to someone they don’t know and can’t see before downing their goldfish snacks. Then having them grow up and never really learn about the children who die every minute from actual starvation on this planet, all the while still thanking that all powerful god for the excess of food in their gut… I could go on but I won’t.

  14. Dan Says:

    Jeff
    those two things are basically the same thing…