The lesser of two evils?

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Postby donnyton » Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:37 am

The simplest way for me to put it is that there's a cost/benefit ratio to everything.

In the case of rational humanism, the cost is to actually use your brain once in a while. The benefit is a better understanding of truth, the universe, and values (morality, philosophy, culture, etc).

In the case of buddhism, the cost is to meditate often and get rid of material things. The benefit is a better understanding of self, existence, and true happiness.

But in both these cases, the morality that arises is far superior to most organized theistic religions. Buddhism's Golden Rule far surpasses Jesus' twisted version of it, and humanism provides reasons for almost EVERY moral practice that ought to be existence.


In the case of most organized religion, the cost is to be willfully ignorant, bigoted, and to give up a search for truth in favor of an answer that doesn't exist. The cost is to give up control to a higher power that may or may not be moral at all, and to follow the power on blind faith not knowing whether you're dreaming or having a real vision.

And the benefit is that some people get comforted, the poor get some money, and some people feel happier.


But it's up to you to decide: is it worth the cost? The molestation of Catholic boys? The slaughter of millions of innocent Christians and Muslims? The attack on science and reason?


Can a man who rapes and kills 15 little girls say "Hey! I do undeniable good! I helped a lady cross a street a few years ago!" as an excuse to get out of prison?
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Postby daedalus » Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:08 am

This topic is intersting to me because it competes with my suspicions of Determinism though I don't like the idea.

1. Is Man Determined, a man is either good or bad from the start and determined to kill or not, therefore religion doesn't cause good or bad, but there are good and bad people.

2. If we aren't Determined, then any "world view" could be dangerous, since you can always claim that you are protecting the "good" world view (a Humanist goes on a Xian killing spree - to "save" the world from "evil").

3. The wrench in my thinking. If a man is Determined or not and kills for religious beliefs - and SOCIETY accepts those beliefs, then while he may be killing for good (according to society) (and we assume he is 'objectively' not good) then the support of religion is by accounts bad.

That is, counter #2, Man may not be Determined and chooses good or bad. Religion, which is a codified set of social rules may encourage someone to kill a "witch" (we can all agree he would be factually wrong about their being witches, but still believe that the person was a witch). The religion would have been the catalyst and support the act.

If Man is Determined, then religion STILL provides a "cover" since society would be leinient, since the religious text opens the door for the existence of witches, and thus, even if later shown to be untrue, sympathetic to the act.


I need to step away from this. THe problem I am having is how much we are determined or not. I see a guy like Fred Phelps and realize that he would have been a Fundi no matter what Era or country he was born. He would have hated something.

However, the fact that he hates "fags" is because of the religious text (I wager), and if he was born a Buddhist he would have hated... whatever Buddists hate (two hands clapping?).

Or, am I wrong - If gay bashing wasn't in the Bible, would he have been a great, loving guy?




Either way, it is obvious that the problem with religion is the factual errors. (e.g., witches don't exist). To suggest they do gives fodder to people who, Deterministically or Not, are going to believe they do once they hear that they should be killed.

"Der, kill witches?! I don't know what dem things are, but I gotta look out fer them suckers!"

Does this compel a peaceful person to kill? I don't think so, but it may make a peaceful person in a society accept "witch" killing. It, at least, gives a violent person a target that wouldn't have existed otherwise. Plus, the call for violence AND the presumed authority from God gives extra justification that Humanism, or other religions/Philosopies just don't give.


i suppose:
Are Jainists peaceful because Jainism has a doctrine of non-violence, or do non-violent people become Jains?
(I have never heard of a Jain going on a killing spree, bombing an abortion clinic, gay bashing or hanging a witch. Thouugh, they may have equally dangerous doctrines, e.g. no medicine a la Xian Scientists - I don't know)
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." Seneca the Younger

"SUCK IT, JESUS!" Kathy Griffin
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Re: The lesser of two evils?

Postby BunniRabbi » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:25 am

kpw wrote:Nevertheless it is still the case that the very belief in religion implicity conveys a selective and willful disregard for logic, rationality and the scientific method. This is because it does not take a great deal of intelligence to recognize that religion simply does not comply with what we currently know about the world; I trust that I do not have to provide examples of this, for evidence against religion simply inundates the scientific (and rational) world.


Actually, no, you are going to have to back up that statement. Examples aren't the issue, for the same reasons that examples of non-religious people doing good or bad could not be used to support secularism. The issue is that you will need to support the idea that religion is inherently antagonistic to science and a rational worldview.
If they tell you there is no such thing as truth, ask them if that statement is true or false.
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