I generally love your stuff, and I can certainly see the point here. However, maybe some kind of warning is in order on that link. I'd really rather not have seen some of that stuff.
This was important enough for me to reset my Digg password and Digg this. Thought this was more important World News than Steve Wynn opening a new casino in Las Vegas.By the way, did you know Sarah Jessica Parker is a UNICEF ambassador? I don't have a punchline. Just something the photo made me think of.
Fair point, Jen.
Fair point? I have always loved this site and after that posting I still do, but I have to disagree with Jen on this point. Religion is the most destructive force on the planet and we constantly get there vile shoved in our face when they come knocking on our doors trying to sell us their poison while other groups - gay/lesbian groups, peace groups and environmentalists- get labeled as evil because they not only try to save the world but save it from those that promote destruction of natural resources (Hi Sarah Palin), or equality (Focus on the Family and about a bazillion other groups). Want to know what this images reminds me of? Missionaries who go to Africa and try and save lives by converting people that are literally disappearing and starving right in front of their eyes all the while the go back to missionary churches and feast while hundreds are outside their door dying. The world needs these images shoved in their face to let them know how fortunate we are and that we need to help one another not because of any religious purposes but because it is the right thing to do.
I meant fair point in that the images are disturbing -- and yes, it's just as disturbing to have someone shove Christianity in your face (or better yet, pictures of, oh say, aborted fetuses) in an effort to sway your opinion.
Maybe Rick Warren can vomit up some cheeseburgers for the kid. Oh, wait, no, the kid's probably gay, so he deserves to go to hell.
Yeah, anon 5:07...I'm sure ALL the religious folks "feast" while the people around them starve. Not like there's any compassionate ones, right? None of them actually trying to help, right? Missed many meals yourself lately?Religion can be destructive, sure. No doubt about it. But hey, feel free to ignore warlords who don't do any of their evil in the name of religion. Or Wall Street folks with their golden parachutes who can fuck us over with inpunity all in the name of avarice. Or any of those others who don't have an ounce of religion in their calculations.Because it's mostly or almost all the fault of people who believe in some kind of god, right?Go on, fool yourself some more.(And for the record, I love environmental groups, and advocacy groups, and people who bust their ass for the poor. I wish to hell I could do more to fill their coffers.)
I have to disagree with anon about "Religion" being the most destructive force on the planet. I would say that people are the most destructive force on the planet. How many religions out there very clearly have tolerance and goodwill in their doctrines? It is the assholes and morons out there that do shitty things in the name of religion or against a religious group. I think Trey and Matt had it right in one of the Southpark episodes I saw recently: if some people didn't fight regarding religion, they'd fight regarding something else. There are assholes out there and their reasoning has little to do with it.
I find it ironic that those who are so fervently against religion and its inherant ignorance and hatred, are some of the most ignorant and hate filled people you will find. Who ever the fuck posted that comment has more in common with the religious-right then he does with the rational people in the world. And frankly I'm disgusted with the people who state that religion has no place in today's society and that it is a force of evil in the world. Clearly this asshole has never been on a missionary trip, and does not realize that their are trips organized by churches to go build houses some where without trying to convert people.
I think there is plenty of blame to go around for us all to shoulder.
I will concede to Alex that, yes, people are the most destructive force on the planet. Would be be fighting over something else if we didn't have religion? Probably. I'm not sure, however, that we would fight anywhere near as close to as bloody wars as which have been fought in the past in the name of religion. There is a fire that people have have when they talk about belief and their God and it is very frightening. I have a fire, for sure, but I'm not willing to allow myself to sink to such depths as many have gone to in the past in the name of religion.The way that I see it is that there are many religions out there all accusing the other of being wrong in some fashion or another, so for them to say that I am wrong in what a believe is almost laughable, because, realistically, by deductive reasoning I can say with 100% certainty that they are wrong as well.Also, not to sound to cocky here, I can say that I am 100% not wrong because I can admit to myself that that I cannot know anything about what there is no information about, i.e. God. Is there a God? Probably, maybe, I think so. But it is (or he/she is) something which nobody has any information or experience with or about and therefore know one can say here is the absolute truth, no matter much they believe that they can.
Anon, I still think you are over-reaching here. I'm not sure what data can lead you to the conclusion that people wouldn't have fought as much without religion. I mean just look at the last major bunch of wars (I'm being very ethnocentric here as an American): the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Desert Storm, Desert Storm II: Out for Blood. How many of these were fought over religion?Also, I don't recall Jesus saying, I'm God and everyone should believe in me because other religions are wrong. Now, I didn't know the guy, nor am I a biblical scholar, but it seems that what Jesus was saying (albeit allegedly), along with most religious doctrine, was something on the order of "follow this belief structure and you will be a good person and good things will happen with you in the end." All the other muck is added and "interpreted" by men and women.I was agnostic for the better part of a decade after being brought up Presbyterian. My mother made me go to church for the purpose of being a part of the community. Going on missions, doing charity with a group and making friends that I wouldn't have normally have a social setting to meet. In fact, as part of Sunday School we visited other churches and learned of other faiths. I have a good feeling that the other churches in our city did much the same thing. Preached love one another as you wish to be loved, and worked to better the community. I attribute this, again, to the individual people that ran these churches and organized these events. The religious components were simply an accepted pretext as far as I'm concerned.Not to beat a dead horse (I know, too late), but again, Southpark makes the point with their Mormon episode: the individual is what's important.
Wait a second, Alex.You sure you want to make the argument that Gulf War I and II weren't fought over religion? Or World War II? (Hitler considered Nazism to be a religion, and well, we all know what happened to anyone of the Jewish faith).Religion also played a large, albeit somewhat indirect, role in the American Revolution and the Civil War.The fact is that, in the modern era, some form of religious conflict has been a part of just about every war on this planet.
Yea Chez, I should have focused that a lot more. That is the problem when generalities are used.Let me pose this idea to make my thoughts a little clearer here. Remove the religious component from any of those conflicts. I say that the chief reasons behind these wars would still remain and the wars would still have occurred.Now, originally, I wrote a much longer response to this, but as I wrote the response I came what, for me, is fundamental truth and erased all of these uncollected thoughts to instead sum up.I would propose that religion can be used to represent free will. Wherever religion is suppressed or oppressed, so is free will. There are obvious extremes where we limit this, but the rest of the time, we can all agree that one should always have free will.
As has greed Chez. And more blatantly then religion. For you to single out only religion in your arguments is beyond wrong. Hitler also killed gays, the educated, and Russians. I would like to here an argument that puts religion above want of oil for our going into the Middle East. And I have never heard of religion having anything to do with the Revolutionary War (and I know a thing or two about it). I can buy the civil war if you stretch the Second Great Awakening WAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYY too far. And in your explination about the Jews you make it seem like it is their fault for being prosecuted. If the Jews weren't religious there would have been no holocaust!!!
I'd say the root cause behind most of those wars was really economic Chez, and that folks wrapped them up in pretty little packages of nationalism and racism and religion to sell them to different groups. Elements of religious fervor in the Gulf Wars 1 and 2? Sure. We put a quick veneer of "stable region for the benefit of Israel" on it to sell it to the fundies. But the real reason we propped up the monarchy (despite our claims of "spreading democracy) of Kuwait, and toppled Sadam was oil, and oil money. We all know what a shitty state Germany was in following WW1, and their war concessions, and so the time was right for Hitler to seize on the national inferiority complex and slumping economy.If we want to go all the way back to the Civil War, religious was interjected on both sides, those claiming the bible supported slavery, and those on the abolitionist side (righteously, I must say) proclaiming that Christians could not tolerate such injustice. But the real underlying root was the impact of losing slaves on the southern economy.Revolutionary war? Hmmmmm. I'm having a hard time seeing the religious aspect there. Sure there were some pilgrims who came here for religious freedom, and that became a part of the national mythology. But the war was all about "taxation without representation". The biggee being, as always, taxation. We don't want to share our hard earned dollars. Most of the founding fathers weren't so religious. Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams were all Deists, or identified heavily with Deist philosophy, which is a very "hands off" non-religious philosophy of religion. I mean, these are the guys who wrote a separation of church and state into our constitution. Again, I think the big thing with the Revolutionary war was landed gentry wanting to hold onto more of their money (and/or grab more of other peoples money for themselves). If anything is the central theme of American politics, it's that.
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