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The Forum > Article Comments > Fuzzy thinking on religion > Comments

Fuzzy thinking on religion : Comments

By Bill Muehlenberg, published 24/8/2006

We are currently undergoing a grand social experiment to see what life is like when we reject God.

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Bill Bill Bill rewriting history again Hitler, Stalin and even pol pot were religious stop saying they weren't. All three believed in the super natural a quick read of their speeches and writing will reveal that.
Secularism has been the key to the west success and agnostic's and reality based ideas like Atheism is the key to our future. Even Christian seen the folly of their ways thatís way they ignore half of their own rules.
Posted by Kenny, Thursday, 24 August 2006 9:19:37 AM
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Ah Kenny, you beat me to it. My first thought in response to this article was indeed that Hitler was religious, and perpetrated a large number of acts of violence against others predominantly on religious grounds.

But Bill Muehlenberg also misses the point on the evolution (no pun intended) of society. Firstly, while Bill is around, there isn't going to be a massive and overnight shift away from organised religion so that we can all watch the grass grow (whatever TS Eliot may have believed).

Secondly, I don't believe that it is necessary (as Bill so clearly does) for people to engage with organised religion in order to live according to values that some people seem to see as exclusively "Christian" (but which are present in other religions also) and certainly the absence of church-going is not ad hoc ergo propter hoc for turning people into covetous murderers.

Thirdly, I'm all for people speaking out on behalf of RELIGION if that is what they are doing, but Bill takes a very particular slant: that CHRISTIANITY is the religion most worthy of defence. It's assertions like this: which claim to be the broadest possible church (another unintended pun) but which represent one sector of the organised religions in the world which get secularists all hot and bothered. And before some one accuses me of being PRO any particular religion, I'm thinking of Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikh, as well as Judaism, Islam, Wicca and Jedi (oops, not really a religion yet, is it?).

People should feel free to subscribe to a religion if they wish, but the views of secularists should not be dismissed merely because they don't have the trappings of centuries of organised religion behind them.
Posted by seether, Thursday, 24 August 2006 9:52:51 AM
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It seems to me that Bill doth protest too much, just as he has accused Pamela Bone of doing.

John Shelby Spong's weekly newsletter for this week looks at the anger that seems to underpin much of what goes on within different religions.

I see that some atheists, too, can behave very "fundagelically", but that no more condemns all atheists, agnostics or secular humanists than does Bone's condemnation of Christians or Muslims, etc.

As a happy non-believer, I get the feeling that it is "religion" that is more the problem than genuine Christianity - being a follower of Jesus, or Islam - being a follower of Mohammed. Any group which works on a theory of being the only ones with the truth and of consigning everyone else to Hell, is, in effect, telling the rest of us to "Go to Hell!" Not very charitable are they?
Posted by jimoctec, Thursday, 24 August 2006 9:53:51 AM
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Well, Bill

Your comment: "While most religions are based on faith, some, notably Christianity, are based on faith informed by reason", is a trifle elitist.

I left Christianity for the very reason that blind faith leads so many of their flock to be unreasonable, often disgustingly amoral, bigotted and smugly superior. Not all, I hasten to add.

Having lived a life immersed in humanitarian work, I note that the majority of my colleagues are not religious themselves, but are generally tolerant and welcoming of religious workers. Some Christians are tremendously Christian, many are not.

The argument that West owes its success to Christianity may be true, but it also begs the question "Is Christianity, then, also responsible for the many inhumane, exploitative, murderous feats of capitalism that have taken place?"

The argument that moral values have to come from religion, not through secular humanistic belief, is just plain insulting.

There is good and bad in all belief systems. Depending on their standpoint, most people swear by one or the other, and put down the rest, but that's just their tribal nature coming out.

The good thing about these debates, including your essay, Bill, is that people are slowly working through this smug battle of supremacy for moral virtue.
Posted by gecko, Thursday, 24 August 2006 9:57:58 AM
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Bill
Where do I start to critique your strange spin...sorry essay.

1) You assert that although religious people have killed others this was viewed as an aberation. Rubbish!
The crusades were viewed at the time as a righteous enterprise. The pope even declared that "this is the only slaughter which is righteous". Some at the time may well have objected but they were in a minority.

2) Up until the enlightenment the fondest wish of the persecuted was to become the persecutors. This is found time & again in religious history. Augustine even argues in "the city of god" that the church not only has a right but a duty to persecute unbelievers.

you quote Durant to support your case. Hardly a great suprise that Durant [who was an evangelical christian] would say the society needs christianity is it? He's also hardly a great source of knowledge. His methodology is biased & his conclusions considered outdated.

You argue that christianity is a faith based on reason. Absolutely. Until reason contradicts the faith. Then reason is abandoned. Christianity's view of reason is best shown by Anselm "Reason must ever be the handmaid of faith; never the reverse"

But while we're quoting authorities try Voltaire. "those who can make us believe absurdities can make us commit atrocities."
Posted by Bosk, Thursday, 24 August 2006 9:58:17 AM
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You have got to be kidding me....

Religion is the root cause of the majority of conflict. Live in denial all you like, your beliefs and your segregation by way of worship are contributing to these atrocoties.

Last century may have been the bloodiest, but i put it forward it was due to population surges, advances in technology and the world in general being too small a place for expanding, yet conflicting religions.

You must realise your argument is as silly as a drug user saying pot is better than heroin, but you are even worse off if you dont use drugs at all, and non drug users are the reason we break into houses and darken society.

You are as brainwashed as any other god botherer out there, despite your obvious intelligence. What a shame your one eye cant see that.
Posted by Realist, Thursday, 24 August 2006 10:00:07 AM
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