Well I mentioned one of my pet peeves in my Happy New Year post, its caused a bit of a debate between me and commentator Galapagos Pete. Since it is getting long I figured I’d copy my latest answer as a new post. To follow the debate thus far go here:
I will first post reply to me and answer in a fisking format for easier reading:
“First are you just as angered concerning non-christian religions? If not then why should Christianity get one dander up when other religions do not?”…the former Soviet Union, China and North Korea are or were officially atheist and that didn’t stop them from slaughtering millions upon millions.””
Here’s a sentiment you may have come across in your life:
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Matthew 7:3
Let me explain what that means: Your bad behavior is in no slightest degree excused by the bad behavior of others, even if theirs is worse. If you lose your temper and punch someone in the mouth, no one is going to let you off the hook because someone else who lost their temper killed 9 people. And you shouldn’t let yourself off the hook, either.
But you would only agree with this if you subscribed to a moral code, particularly if it was one you believed was handed down by the supreme being of the universe. (Though, as an atheist who believes that the bible was simply written by men but has some very good thoughts mixed in with mythology, it happens to be a position with which I agree.)
Still didn’t get an answer to the first question concerning all religions vs Christianity. I ask this because this will be (once today’s party is done, tomorrow’s cleanup and a day to recover from both) will lead to a series of re-occurring posts on religion.
Nice dodge using scripture to duck the question however.
And although your explanation of the meaning of the passage is correct your application is wrong. Sin is by definition committed by men (in the traditional sense of the word) not by an organization. I of course use sin in the Catholic Christian definition.
The atrocities committed by the leaders of those countries were not committed in the name of atheism, they were done, in general, to suppress dissent. Religious atrocities are committed by people specifically to please their gods. The bible is full of examples, often done at god’s specific command.
The problem with your argument concerning communism is that the in it the state becomes the moral code and the practice of religion becomes anathema because it produces a moral code based on something other that the state.
This is why atheism can’t produce an effective moral code since it can only be by the standards of those producing it. Since those standards can change quite rapidly the code can then mean whatever people want it to mean at any time. Its great for building straw men but is not way to live a life.
A great example of this is an old column of Richard Cohen that I blogged on a bit ago. He was very free to call people bigots but had no history on the same standard.
I will concede without reservation that there have been things done in the name of religion or in the perversion religion that are contrary to their own moral code. There are also corrupt police who have bent the rules because they either wanted to take a dangerous person off the streets or to frame other for their own ends. Should we then decide that the police are a bad thing and the world would be better without them?
I will also state that religious people have used religion for their own ends, Oral Roberts “send me money or god takes me home bit comes instantly to mind. In current news a certain Governer in Illinois apparently has used elected office for his own ends, should we then eliminate elected office and democratic government?
Bottom line anything can be perverted and used wrongly, that is human nature. Why religion in general or as I would argue Christianity in particular get the majority of your animosity?
You say based on a culture rather than a religion but go on to say “Christian culture” and “Jewish culture.” Which comes first: is the culture founded on the religion or the religion on the culture?
If the former, the religion is very much responsible for the laws of the society. Indeed, this is the very point religionists keep trying to make, that all morality comes from their god in the first place. So religion must be blamed for much unnecessary human suffering.
Your question on which came first is a fascinating one and is the best part of your reply, that is a question for anthropology and would be a great subject for study. Your blame of religion for much human suffering because of its origin also must imply that religion should also get a lot of credit for human good since those same laws would have been in place as mankind advanced.
It is a fun argument because human suffering can be defined under this argument as “something I like that religion says is bad.” If only religion didn’t say stealing is bad, I could take what I wanted I can’t so I suffer. If only religion didn’t say that I could sleep around on my wife, because it says I can’t I suffer, et-al. This frankly is a lot of what the argument comes down to. Religion forbids something I like so it cramps my style. Thus I suffer. That is much of the modern objection to it.
If the latter, then religion is simply something made up by people to justify their petty but dangerous hatreds of those who differ from them, and to use as a club to enforce their will.
The justify my piety statement is fun because without religion you can’t have piety, but you can substitute the word habits since semantics are not the topic. I would again ask my primary question; do you refer to all religion or just Christianity?
As a Christian I believe or rather state that there is only one religious path that is correct, it led through Judaism to Christianity. Since I would state that other religions are “false” they would by definition be made up to some degree, either out of the whole cloth, or by a misinterpretation of events or by deception, but it would seem wrong to impute people’s motives without evidence. There are many Christians who would likely disagree with me on this due to the difference between how the Catholic faith sees other religions as opposed to most protestant denominations. The club bit I would refer to my police reference above.
Anyways that’s all I have time for I have to squeeze in one other post before the wife kills me for sitting on my butt with last minute cleaning to be done and guests due in 6 hours, so any replies to this post and approval to comments will be slow.