-1 vote

On Religion and Other Subjects Considered Taboo

Talk about religious principles has become taboo to many people in today’s society. Often, individuals will become uncomfortable when the subject comes up. In my humble opinion, lack of communication about difficult issues is what leads to the ultimate consequences that intolerance among different groups can bring. Traditionally and quite rationally, the rate of positive human progress comes in direct proportion to the level of free communication among the people. That’s why censorship and propaganda are such an effective team – increase one stream of communication while limiting others. By communicating and attempting to create a mutual understanding about difficult topics, divide and conquer strategies by outside influences can be made much less effective. Religion happens to be one of the most prominent examples of such a topic that is often used by demagogues to divide the public. So… let’s have a discussion about religion.

First of all, let me point out that I question everything. To forbid certain questions is a recipe for disaster. If a person can be convinced that there exists some entity that is beyond question, that person can likely also be convinced that there is another human that somehow knows the will of the supposed supreme being. Then, the messenger of a god – the shepherd – guides the flock. For instance, it is no secret that religious demagoguery against Muslims has allowed the long-term occupation of the Middle East. The same demagoguery is being used to target Iran. No person can answer the question as to whether a god truly exists. For the same reason, no person can be trusted when they claim to be in communication with a potential deity. It is always a good idea to determine the motives of individuals that try to influence your opinion using religious arguments. Recall a few years back when so many Catholic priests were implicated in the molestation of male churchgoing youth. Recall pastor Jim Jones that founded the People’s Temple in the 1970’s and subsequently convinced over 900 people of various social and ethnic backgrounds to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid. Beware of those people that use religion in attempts to guide other people.

Long standing religions have been adulterated by the ruling classes over the course of history. None exist in their original form. For example, Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Upon his conversion, the “Universal Church” was created. We refer to this church today as a name derived from the Greek word for universal – catholicus. During those times, Christianity had emerged from cult status and was in competition with other religious dogmas such as Zoroastrianism and Paganism among others. Accordingly, the Romans adapted the celebrations of the Catholic Church to bring these others into the flock. December 21st marks the winter solstice which was celebrated by Zoroastrians and Pagans alike. The Pagan influence brought on the existence of the Christmas tree. December 26th coincides with the death of Zoroaster and was a major celebration for Zoroastrians. Easter was named after Ishtar – the Babylonian god of sex, love, and war – and the day of celebration marks the resurrection of her lover Tammuz. Further, there are reasons why there are such texts as The King James Version of the Christian bible. Why do you suppose a particular king has a bible version dedicated to him? Why do you suppose the Romans tried like hell to create a universal church for all of mankind to follow? Why do you suppose religion is taboo in private circles while politicians and pundits invoke it at will? If a person puts themselves in a subservient position to organized religion, that person puts themselves in a subservient position to the will of other men.

As stated previously, no person can answer the question as to whether a god exists and provide any proof to support their argument. Currently, no experiment can be performed to give evidence one way or the other. Belief in a god can only come from faith. For this reason, the existence of a god or lack thereof is of no concern to science. Science only deals with testable phenomena. The apparent clash between religion and science spawned from idealists who refused to believe scientific findings such as the sun being at the center of our galaxy. To profess these types of ideas publicly was considered to be blasphemy. Printing of Copernicus’ findings was prohibited by the Roman Universal Church. In such circumstances, it has often been the case that religious leaders have found themselves in a position where they have stated through supposed divine knowledge that things must be a certain way only to later find a foot stuck in their mouths. Rather than swallow their pride, religious leaders in the past have manufactured conflict in attempts to preserve their reputation and influence with followers. To be quite honest, nature behaves a certain way, and no belief system contrived by man can change the laws of physics. It is the way it is. I promise you the belief system will change before the nature of the physical universe changes. How many of you would regularly attend a church that still believed that the sun revolved around the earth?

Nowadays, evolution is said to divide scientists from the religious. To this manufactured conflict I say, just as no human can rearrange the planets by religious edict, no human will be able to put a stop to evolution. Just as religious people will argue that a god put the planets in their current locations with the sun at the center, one day religious people will argue that evolution is the tool used by a god to create life and forever improve upon it. Through this argument, evolution will be accepted just as was the heliocentric universe. Man will continue to probe the workings of nature, and human guided belief systems will continue to find themselves adapting to new discoveries. Nature (A god) doesn’t give a damn how humans think the universe should work. It works a certain way, and we are at the mercy of its laws whether we choose to believe them or even know they exist.

Religion is a powerful tool. It seems that most people that have been considered major religious prophets have professed philosophies of peace. Only later have these philosophies been manipulated into tools of oppression. Radical Christian leaders will say that the Muslims are coming to get the Christians, and radical Muslim leaders will say the Christians are coming to get the Muslims. If the truth were to be told, it is that these religious leaders are to blame for the demagoguery that fuels the fire of religious intolerance. Once these fires are well stoked, politicians often use the momentum created to play religious pawns against each other. Don’t allow your religious beliefs to be co-opted in the name of violence. Certainly, Jesus and Mohammed wouldn’t approve of the millions killed in their names – many which have been innocent civilians. It is time for people to give up their hate of others just because they happen to be different in some way such as ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or social class. Allow religion to be a medium to propagate peace – not hatred and violence.

Having open discussions about difficult topics such as religion is necessary for the progress of mankind. Subjects like religion that are often avoided during everyday conversation leads to intolerance among people with different opinions. For instance, some people who read this may even feel a bit of anger about what has been stated. Because they refuse to communicate without limitations, those people will likely choose to maintain their religious intolerance against others that don’t subscribe to the same belief system they do. Complete silence about issues has never been credited for solving problems of diversity. Furthermore, only talking and associating with people that agree with each other has never been credited for solving problems of diversity. On the contrary, rational communication provides the only avenue for solving these problems. It is no coincidence that the word “ignore” roots the word “ignorance.”

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I usually avoid posts of this sort.

But I will continue to point out that belief in God and religion are two entirely different things, and someone who starts with the assumption that they are the same (as you seem to do) while at the same time attributing some kind of unbiased perception of truth to "science" as you seem to do, has not found a solid basis for beginning a discussion.

Your starting point can only lead to unending bickering, because you have no basis for your initial assumptions.

The fact that some religious people opposed a false assertion (that the earth revolves around the sun) out of fear of something that challenged their world view (and their own semi-false assertion) is no reason to embrace the false assertion. The fact, furthermore, that some Catholics attacked other Catholics without any real basis for doing so is no reason to embrace the kind of thinking leading to that false assertion. You prefer Copernicus and his scientific approach? Fine, that's an expression of your religion and probably his. Recognize it as such. I'm not going to attack you over it.

It is not true that the Earth revolves around the Sun. It is a matter of frame of reference, as far as any scientist understands at the present---in contradiction to pseudo-scientists (or sciophiles, or whatever you want to call yourself) who think the Catholic-Copernican controversy somehow settles all discussion of how to comprehend the universe. Taking a frame of reference with the Sun at the center---and making other obviously false assumptions---leads to a simpler mathematical analysis associated with planetary motion, because the Sun is more "massive"---though, of course, nobody really knows what mass is. That's it. There is no fundamental truth which says the Earth does or does not revolve around the Sun or the Sun around the Earth. The "laws" of physics are not really laws at all in spite of the pretentious name. They are not well defined, and they are not even understood---not any of them at any fundamental level. If you want to think about the nature of the universe and how things work, that's fine. But to come in with the totalitarian idea that others have to accept your "laws" of physics is absolutely no different than coming in with the idea that people have to accept the assertion that the Sun revolves around the Earth.

How is someone who recognizes your religion supposed to have a discussion with you, when you don't even recognize your own religion and are more than willing to use nature through your scientific understanding to destroy the lives of anyone who opposes your totalitarian beliefs? What are you doing to reign in the use of science and technology in destroying the world? Let me guess, you don't recognize that as your responsibility even though you uncritically embrace science as your religion. Lovely.

I agree

that the cathlic church is awful. But the fact of the matter is that as soon as the Bible got printed in different nations languages (not just latin, hebrew, and greek), the cathlic church almost died. For centuries they killed people in england for teaching their kids the Lords prayer, or the ten commandments in english. You know why, because both of those things showed the hypocracy of the catholic church.

For centuries if they found someone with a Bible (one of their banned books) they would tie it around there neck and burn them at the stake, and often times the person burning at the stake would (after the ropes around their hands were burned off) open the Bible and began reading it to the people.

The catholic church is the most corrupt entity on the planet, by far. But just because they have never ever heeded anything the Bible has to say does not mean the Bible is wrong. Heck Gods word refers to the catholic church as the great whore.

Their...

It's "their" neck, not "there" neck. And actually, it should be "his" neck in this case: "tie it around *his* neck and burn *him* at the stake." Or it could be *her* if you prefer, but not "there" and "them."

It seems to me you've been on here long enough to become wraithfourteen by now, and you should start learning such things.

It happened to hundreds if not thousands of individuals

so using him or her did not seem right. Heck in one county they burned so many christians at the stake that they ran out of fire wood, for the entire county.

Personally I would prefer to go back to a mare civilized time when we could spell the same word several different ways in the same paragraph and be alright, but unfortunately mr. webster messed that up for me :D

A mare civilized time, eh?

I think at least it would be mare civilized to give to each his own neck. That means mare necks should be included in your post.

Tie bibles to their necks, and burn them to a crisp. There's the ticket.

I was trying to make a funny

Hence the smiley face at the end

So was I...

So was I pal. I just didn't feel that the smiley emoticon fit in with my humor. ;)

First, let's define terms. : )

God:
God usually refers to the single deity in monotheism or the monist deity in pantheism.[1] God is often conceived of as the supernatural creator and overseer of humans and the universe. Theologians have ascribed a variety of attributes to the many different conceptions of God. The most common among these include omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence.

God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent".[1] These attributes were supported to varying degrees by the early Jewish, Christian and Muslim theologian philosophers. Many notable medieval philosophers and modern philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.

I only use Wiki as an extended definition of a generally agreed upon definition. I am sure everyone has their own way of defining it but if we are to use language to debate then we have to start somewhere. The bold emphasis is mine.

I cannot logically conflate the supernatural creator and overseer of humans and the universe and the source of all moral obligation into one subject, being, or belief system. To me these two issues have absolutely nothing to do with on another. So by these terms I am a strong atheist.

I dare say that Jesus called for the bringing hither of those mine[his] enemy, which would not that he should reign over them, to be slayed before him. Luke 19:27 There are far too many inconsistencies in the New Testament and obviously the Torah for me to understand the hype and allegiance to these texts. And, dear Mohamed did spread his message by the sword according to the Koran, from village to village, follow in line or die. It is in the foreword history of the Koran. Perhaps I do not know how these should be translated or interpreted but I have not received any responses challenging these allegations.

In that way I would best be described as an Pagan who uses natural law as my moral compass. I like the idea of using the sun as the ultimate symbol of the giver of life. It is. And it is good to give thanks now and again. I am not aware of any supernatural stuff going on but I have trusted sources that claim they have been on or seen the dark side and have interacted with ghosts and all the like. So I do not doubt that there is a dark side so perhaps there is also a light side. I have a friend who provides service to contact the light side or other side?!. I have never had any supernatural experience so I would be classified as agnostic in this area.

I wish I could see what all the fuss was about with these old books. I must be missing something. I truly believe that folks like to feel special. Life is a lonely place. You come here alone and you leave alone. Since humans can use logic they are able to see that life is sometimes short, unfair, cruel, or untenable. Life is not the happy fairy tales we were read as children. So it is easy and addictive to grab onto an unconditionally loving guardian angel that cares about what you think and what you do. It helps give meaning to lives. Whether it is there or not makes no difference. If it helps to make life less cruel than great. I am just too much of a realist to do it.

So there we have it. dw, you are a fantastic writer. I wish you would get into some of these old Rothbard works and write about them. This religious stuff is not my favorite subject. It offends too many and there is never any solution.

Here's a great one. Anatomy of the State.
audio
http://mises.org/media/authors/299/Rothbard
text
http://mises.org/document/1011/Anatomy-of-the-State

Just downloaded the pdf of Anatomy of the State...

I'm going to have to make a post with the introductory quote.

Finished it...

Good read.

So what did you think?

Was that not a truly awesome read?

These are all free Rothbard books!

http://mises.org/Literature

Theses are all free Rothbard audio (some his voice) whereas most are other readers.

http://mises.org/media

I just started with him and I love him. He is so smart and interesting in History and Economics at least. I just wish he was alive so I could ask him some questions. He has reams and reams of European and American History from about 1600. And the real stuff.

I would also like to comment on one of the bold portions...

of your comment that reads:

God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation..."

In light of recent findings, this particular statement leads to conflict with the many religious folks who believe that animals aren't worthy of supposed salvation. For instance, how many people think that rats go to heaven? What religious person desires to have rats in heaven? Coincidentally, it turns out that if given the choice between eating first or freeing another rat and then eating, rats will choose to free the other rat first. Even more revealing, the rat that is responsible for setting the other rat free tends to eat a larger portion of the food than the rat that was trapped. It turns out that humans aren't so unique in this respect (Primates tend to do the same, as well).

I'm curious to see what would happen if the rats were persuaded to fight before the experiment.

Exactly.

Also I get uneasy with the supernatural creator and overseer of humans and the universe part being only about humans. It seems so self absorbed. And then dragging morality into it excluding nature is a bit shaky to me. What other group of animals have killed and maimed their own species? Which species breaks off into different groups, some who want to enslave the rest ans some who do even know what is happening and those who don't want to be a parasite but don't want to be used. These are the alpha, beta, and gamma rats, respectively.

Animals are at a far higher level of consciousness than me. They fit in in nature and everywhere, the later I come home the happier they are to see me, Besides the chewing when their pup they are perfect little beings. Far better creatures than me. So that part loses me as well.

Thanks for your feedback...

What's funny is that my father was once a preacher before I was born, and we always attended church when I was young. I continued to go to church by my own will until I was 15 years old. My dad is still religious, but I am able to discuss these difficult topics with him because he doesn't get emotional and get consumed by anger.

Unfortunately, I feel like these things need to be discussed on some level to stop the complicity of religious people in the murder of other races and religions.

I've meant to read more Rothbard than I have, but I tend to go the direction my mind takes me. It's all tied together in one way or the other. One day I'm reading a Quantum Chemistry text and the next I'm reading Sun Tzu or Ron Paul.

I appreciate your input, dducks (feels like a stutter when I type that).

My father did the same. He drug me to Catholic Church.

I quit just as early as I was allowed and never went back. I thought it to be cold, repetitive, and I wasn't buying it. I went to a Jesuit College for a couple years and learned much. (nothing of the religious nature) They were about the best teachers I ever had. I transferred out and finished elsewhere though.

Unfortunately, ruler know they can appeal to men's religious sense and their nationalistic sense, and they do. Fighting for freedom and humanitarian reasons are the new tricks they use. If it was not for these reasons most would not be enticed into it. In a simpler time they were rewarded with booty from the vanquished. Now that booty is reserved for some special interest group.

The are of warfare was in interesting book. Let us know what you think please, in your such eloquent style. There is a ton of free Rothbard in text and audio now. I listen while I am doing other stuff. He was absolutely brilliant.

Thanks for the topic. So far it has only gotten minimal downvotes. It is pretty right on though.

I'll read it again tomorrow...

and try to put together a summary that will do it justice.

I enjoy listening to Murray as well. I've checked out most of his stuff that has been posted on YouTube. To me, he has a unique voice (someone in another part of the country may disagree). And - as with Ron Paul - it seems apparent to me that he is telling the truth as he sees it.

This topic has been around for several days now. The vote tally has fluctuated. It's mostly been slightly positive or zero with a high of +2. It only became negative earlier today (yesterday now... It's 4am! Yikes! Time to crash. Lost track of the time).

Take care. I had a good time typing with you.

Yet ANOTHER

long winded anti-Christianity, anti-religion rant disguised as an attempt at dialogue from a smugly superior "thinker" with an "open mind" and "no limitations" on his "thinking", blah, blah. More trotting out the abuses of priests in the Catholic Church (and no mention of the sexual abuse rampant in government schools (churches of the state worshippers) or state foster care neglect and abuse. Religious people are NOT necessarily closed minded. Rather it is YOU who close mindedly judge a faith that you do not have, a spirituality that your materialist-empiricist mind cannot grasp because it does not register with your finite senses.
Your idea of "rational communication" is insulting religious people thinking that somehow YOU are going to strip them of their faith, which in YOUR ego ridden view, is "irrational".

I attacked no religion in the post...

I only told the truth and warned against how religion is used against followers for the gain of other men.

I have no problem with any religion. Why are you so emotional about the topic? Would you like to harm me physically for what I have said? Do you have a desire to punch me or others like me in the face? If it was within your power, how would you handle us?

You have no problem with any religion???!!

Other than believers are closed minded, ignorant, irrational, blind followers of pedophiles and thinly veiled pagans under Svengali like influences of Jim Jones, et al??? Dummies that YOU in your wisdom are going to teach truth.
"Harm me physically"??! WTH??? You are a disgusting smear artist.
I live minding my own business and my own beliefs and I suggest you do the same.

The examples I gave were instances where religious devotion...

was used for the sake of other men. It does not mean the religion is itself in support of those acts.

If you would like to call the followers of the People's Temple dummies, that is your opinion. Personally, I just think they were misguided individuals that made some poor decisions based upon the blindness of their faith.

LOL!

You post this crud to try to divide the liberty movement. It is very transparent. I have a very strong religious faith but I have no desire to force my views on anyone or to insult the faith of others...even those with agnostic and atheistic faith...unless they try to force their views on me or insist on insulting and instigating trouble.

please read the following article

Learning From the Atheists
By Michael Pearl

I must say that I am more pleased when a man or woman boldly professes to disbelieve in God than when someone glibly claims to believe. I like talking to the atheists or agnostics. They are thinking. They have taken a position and boldly testify. They have reasons. I want to hear their reasons. When anyone claims to believe anything, he has made himself vulnerable. He has thrown his core beliefs into the public area for examination. So examine them we will.

Most people think the way to god is through religion. Not so. On the contrary, getting to god through religion is like getting to history through a hollywood production. All religions are based on a true story, with a whole lot of liberty taken with the facts and a good deal of imagination to make it interesting.

Lazy intellectuals are fond of saying that all religions and philosophies are just different roads leading to the same place. Only in fairy tales do all roads lead to the same place. Religions differ, and things different are not the same.

Read more here...

http://nogreaterjoy.org/articles/learning-from-the-atheists/

Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

I do not believe that selfishness should be loathed...

like hatred.

Pure altruism is impossible. Altruism would require that one place all others above one's self - sacrifice yourself for what the public considers good. Accordingly, altruism lays the foundation for socialism. We owe it to our fellow man to 'take care' of him. Redistribution under such a philosophy becomes a mandate. Altruism attempts to quell individualism.

This becomes apparent as the scope of altruistic policies are considered in a local setting. For instance, suppose your neighborhood is self-governing and decides to implement such a policy. Whenever someone in the neighborhood becomes unemployed, the rest of the neighbors are forced to give a percentage cut every payday to the person without a job. Maybe at first people find jobs quickly, and the income of each individual isn't greatly affected during the initial stages. However, soon it will be found that through this use of government force certain individuals will make a habit out of abusing the easy source of income. Further, people become more likely to quit their jobs for insignificant reasons. How long should the people in the neighborhood that have worked the entire time support the less or unproductive members? It turns out that the unproductive people were made that way through adaptation to the system. Before the system was implemented, many of these people were productive. Altruism fails.

The fruits of my labor should be mine. My life should be mine. I should be able to do as I wish as long as I am not violating the rights of another individual.

Rational selfishness is morally superior to altruism. Ultimately, altruism fosters the bad qualities of man.

The Holy Scriptures agree with you here.

"The fruits of my labor should be mine. My life should be mine. I should be able to do as I wish as long as I am not violating the rights of another individual."

God created us in His image. He even uses our rational selfishness to draw us to Himself.

Christians should not be warmongers! http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance87.html

Well I tend to wear spirituality on my sleeve

and I guess I'm a self-appointed preacher. And maybe the whole Native American religion thing kinda gets a free pass. I find people are not only tolerant, they are interested, accepting, very supportive.

I'm really quite grateful for that because I see other religions (yeah, yours) getting hashed, bashed, trashed. And I probably shouldn't even say this but in our religion, bashing somebody else's religion is like a cardinal sin (even though we don't really have an exact equivalent for "sin"). It was told to me very sternly:

"We are all seated in a circle, we are all facing the center, looking at the light. And each of us can only see the side of the light that we are facing. And none of us knows, none of us can know what the light looks like to the person on the other side." (Tom Bedonnie, Dineh Nation)

People seem to like it when I sing and I'm not sure they even know but most of those songs are prayers and singing them is an act of worship. The songs are prized beyond compare. They are as precious to us as life itself, they are life itself.

One cool thing, I wrote pastor Baldwin one time when he was describing his whole Dakotas thing was pastor, is there room in your people for one such as I of a different religion? He wrote back two words: yes, absolutely. And that just made me glow inside. Kinda makes me mist up.

The native relationship to Christianity is complex to say the least. It's the "dominant religion" in the same way many natives call...you guys for lack of better words the "dominant culture". But all over the place you find Christian indians. And Christianity seems to settle right on top our our tradition so...easily. Even the great Chiricahua warrior, one of the greatest warriors of all time, your name for him means "death from above", Goyanthley, Ge-Hron-Im-Aho, Geronimo said:

"In the old ways we hoped that familial and tribal relationships would be restored in the next place but we had no way of knowing. It seems that Christianity is a more direct path to the Great Spirit."

He didn't die happy but he did die a Christian. I can't wait to meet this guy.

My personal position? I'm very curious about all religions (though I'm quite happy with my own) and it seems that faith forms a common bond almost globally. And it seems that if you understand a bit about a person's faith that makes them at the very least PREDICTABLE. You kinda know how to act and what buttons not to push so you can get along better.

Respecting someone's faith, giving them time and space to pray, never put any object on top of a bible, koran, book of Mormon, whatever sacred text, never touch a Hasidic woman not even to shake hands, do not let your shadow cross an elder in a hogan, these little things go such a long way to fostering trust. These days I'm seeing it's all about trust. Somehow trust is the value of the future.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

You're the best, Smudge!

: )

More people need to be as open as you...

This world would be a much more tolerant place because of it. Thanks for your comment.

My mother is half Choctaw (Her father was full blood). My great grandfather on my father's side had Cherokee blood (not sure of the fraction) and refused any government benefits. I wish that I was more aware of that part of my heritage. My family (at least on my dad's side which I take after) is a family of individuals. We rarely associated with other parts of the family. My paternal grandparents didn't even know that I existed until I was around 5 years old.

On the question of religion, I am agnostic.

then here we go. BAM!

we don't want you to think of yourself as part anything anymore. You aren't part, you are whole.

You are Choctaw. Be that.

There is nothing strange about having a bar of soap in your right pocket, it's just what's happening.

Thank You Smudge

You are not one who "boos" the Golden Rule. I have thought about that.

Perhaps the "boos" were one of those join the crowd without thinking first reactions. Perhaps it was ridicule as honestly believing that this "Rule of Living" is a mere platitude...naive "Paul" or "pollyannaism."

Or maybe...just maybe whenever we look down on, show no tolerance for, have no respect for those of "other" religions and cultures, THAT is always "booing" the Golden Rule.

It remains a mere platitude found in all religions or a hypocritical regurgitation until it becomes the Word in Action. Only by being expressed in action (by one) and received and experienced (by another) does it become a positive in the Law of Reciprocity.., a rule by which all live and, hence, have "true" liberty.

fonta

dwalter..I Like The Original INTENT of Your Post

...thank you!

fonta