A Serious Threat to World Peace
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12-10-2011, 08:05 PM
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
(12-10-2011 07:22 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Thomas.

Quote:I don't believe we can separate human greed from religious doctrine.

I don't understand this. If to be greedy is to be human, then of course we can't separate it from religious doctrine... or from any other belief system for that matter?

Quote:The copout is to claim that religion played no part and this was simply human corporate greed.

Be that as it may, I never suggested religion played no part. My entire point is that there are multiple determinants.

Quote:You see my friend, religion is just human corporate greed.

Actually, I don't see. That doesn't make any sense to me.

Quote:I recently went to one of the mega churches to hear a presentation on Islam. The entire program was set up to "warn" Christians of this "invasion". Was the pasture really trying to cause some devoted followers to go out and harm Muslims? Probably not, BUT I can tell you from listening to the rhetoric that it made the hair stand up on the back of my neck because I could see it happening.

Ok. But I reiterate my critique. None of what you just described occurred in a vacuum.

Quote:Understand that the stakes are much higher now. They are not going to go after each other with swords on horseback. The planet is smaller and the weapons are larger. The next time all hell breaks lose they will take the rest of us with them. They believe they are going to an afterlife paradise. So what if the world ends. It's supposed to isn't it? Read revelations.

I cannot imagine a single scenario where the religious would take the rest of us with them, regardless of anything Revelations has to say about the matter.

Quote:Would the Israeli-Palestinian dispute over land be settled now if it were not for their respective religious views?
Could we not settle the abortion debate using reason and consensus if it were not for religious views?
Could we not settle the question of gay and lesbian acceptance/marriage if not for religious views?
Would women have equal rights to men if not for religious views?
Would we have a safer world if not for religious views?


Or:
Would we rather see women and homosexuals descriminated against and even killed for being born who they are?
Would we rather see the Israelis and Palestinians continue to kill each other over a 3000 year old religious feud?
Would we rather see abortion doctors shot while coming out of church in front of his wife and children?

This is my point exactly. This is way too simplistic.

Quote:That's not hyperbolic rhetoric, that's data and it's frightening.

I'm not going to let you get away with this one. If you present a dozen arguments that are hyperbolic and then offer one single reasonable statistic, you can't claim that you're not using hyperbole. For example:

Blacks are tearing apart the country. Their poverty-stricken ghettos are a breeding ground for anti-white sentiment. They're coming for us and they're starting with our women. Soon everyone will be brown, genetically impure, genetically inferior and shooting each other over crack. Black people are genetically predisposed to criminal activity. There are a disproportionate number of blacks in prison. That's not hyperbolic rhetoric, that's data and it's frightening.

Look, if you want to claim that religion is responsible for everything, well, that's your right. If that's your argument, I accept that it is your argument. I disagree wholeheartedly. I'm not saying that religion is innocent of all charges. I believe that there are multiple determinates and that oversimplifying the situation by placing all of the blame on a single node in a complex system presents the greatest possible threat.

ON EDIT: An analogy. It’s true that leaving the oven on is a serious threat to your house in that it might burn it down. But it is most certainly not the only threat to your house in that there are many other ways that it can burn down. As dangerous as leaving the oven on may be, suggesting that leaving the oven on is the only threat and, by extension, ignoring the other ways a house might burn down, represents a greater threat and in no way suggests that unattended ovens aren’t dangerous.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Hi Ghost, long time no chat!

Re "I cannot imagine a single scenario where the religious would take the rest of us with them, regardless of anything Revelations has to say about the matter."

Have a read about what Billy Graham (the most popular evangelist in the USA) and John Hagee ( who works for a media corporation with 20 million viewers in the USA) have to say on their official websites about the apocalypse and the end of the world. These people and others like them have a massive influence on politicians and voters in the USA. Billy has been on intimate terms with every president since Truman (although I don't know about Obama) because he wields so much influence on voters. Hagee actively promotes a glorious nuclear war in the middle east. These people are not fringe dwelling nutters...they are powerful men who are part of popular culture. It is scary stuff.
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12-10-2011, 08:52 PM
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
Hey, Mark.

In my humble and somewhat sarcastic opinion, if you believe that either Billy Graham, or some dude I've never heard of whose viewership represents just shy of 7% of the total US population, could usher in a nuclear apocalypse, then you suffer from a delusion of unspeakable proportions.

Quote:Ghost, I don't think Thomas is saying that religion is the only cause of the world's ills, but that it is one of the primary causes of those ills (which you admit as well).

I never said primary. That doesn't mean I said secondary or tertiary, just that I never said primary.

I do think that he's suggesting that religion is the only/greatest threat, but regardless, my argument is that refusing to look at the situation in all of its complexity constitutes a greater threat to world peace than religion does on its own.

Incidentally, why, pray tell, should I as an Agnostic be particularly aware of your suggestion that Christianity is fundamentally evil?

Personally, I neither think that Christianity is fundamentally evil nor do I think that that point should be hammered home. I think that organised religion poses certain threats that are very real, but that we should limit our critique of religion to the real, rather than the imagined and exaggerated.

Hey, Ludacris.

Have you been Lucradis this entire time??? Am I that fucking dyslexic?!?!?!?!?!

I'm glad that you've come to your senses and started agreeing with me Cool

I do agree. If an Armageddon cult gains full control of the planetary arsenal and assumes command of the major armed forces, we're all doomed. Also, if I fit my entire head into someone’s rectum, I'll suffocate. But I think its pretty long odds for both and I fear neither.

When I say I can't imagine any scenarios, I mean I can't imagine any real world ones. There's not an Arab, Muslim or Persian country on the planet that could invade any of the Superpower nations or NATO nations and there isn't an army in any of the Superpower nations or NATO nations that would accept orders from a madman bent on Armageddon. So sure, if we are including sci-fi novels, it's possible. Otherwise, not. So I see no need to be worried.

Now if one were to say that religious organisations and/or powerful religious figures could destabilise situations and possibly incite or prolong conflicts, I could buy that. Hell, Coke would do that. But this Armageddon stuff is utterly insubstantial.

Hey, GirlyMan.

Quote:If we can't separate the greed from the human then we're just fucking doomed.

Self-interest is a part of the human animal. But so is altruism. We don't need to separate greed from the human; we need to design systems that harness it in positive ways, rather than rely on systems that incentivise its naked indulgence.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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12-10-2011, 09:26 PM
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
In a secular world bad people do bad things and good people do good things.
In a religious world good people do evil things.
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12-10-2011, 09:35 PM (This post was last modified: 12-10-2011 09:39 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
(12-10-2011 08:52 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, GirlyMan.

Quote:If we can't separate the greed from the human then we're just fucking doomed.

Self-interest is a part of the human animal. But so is altruism.

Self-interest is not greed unless you allow it.

(12-10-2011 08:52 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Ditto,

Robert

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
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12-10-2011, 09:58 PM (This post was last modified: 12-10-2011 10:01 PM by defacto7.)
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
The strange thing is, there is not one of you I disagree with. But the points Ghost makes about complexity, is absolutely right. None of you are acknowledging the complexities of all these issues. On the other hand, The seriousness of the situation and the possibilities are far greater that most think.

Speaking of complexity, I met Mr. Graham long ago (but thank god I have never come near that jackass Hagee). Graham is simply mimicking the age old story of the apocalypse. That story has been told forever. It's the same old rhetoric that he and others have preached based on one of the many interpretations of scripture concerning end times taken from ambiguous bits and pieces of the gospels cut and pasted next to St. John the Crazy's Revelations. It's old Calvinist dogma. The difference is that information is far more widespread than ever before due to technology and you all know what effect that has on the gullible. It's too complex to simply give the impression this is a fresh phenomenon that is hanging over us. It's been around a long time. It does not make it less serious but we have to keep ourselves in check as people who espouse reason. I am very concerned for the current state of religion in the world but we cannot allow ourselves to get on a different train of unfettered rhetoric. Mass generalizations can be just as bad as pure apathy. Be aware, don't take anything for granted and be ready for anything... and for god sakes, keep trying your positions with balance.

(12-10-2011 09:26 PM)Thomas Wrote:  In a secular world bad people do bad things and good people do good things.
In a religious world good people do evil things.

Thomas, I love the minimalist approach you use in your writing but this is way too wide a brush.

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12-10-2011, 10:17 PM
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
(12-10-2011 08:52 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Mark.

In my humble and somewhat sarcastic opinion, if you believe that either Billy Graham, or some dude I've never heard of whose viewership represents just shy of 7% of the total US population, could usher in a nuclear apocalypse, then you suffer from a delusion of unspeakable proportions.

Quote:Ghost, I don't think Thomas is saying that religion is the only cause of the world's ills, but that it is one of the primary causes of those ills (which you admit as well).

I never said primary. That doesn't mean I said secondary or tertiary, just that I never said primary.

I do think that he's suggesting that religion is the only/greatest threat, but regardless, my argument is that refusing to look at the situation in all of its complexity constitutes a greater threat to world peace than religion does on its own.

Incidentally, why, pray tell, should I as an Agnostic be particularly aware of your suggestion that Christianity is fundamentally evil?

Personally, I neither think that Christianity is fundamentally evil nor do I think that that point should be hammered home. I think that organised religion poses certain threats that are very real, but that we should limit our critique of religion to the real, rather than the imagined and exaggerated.



Hey, Ludacris.Have you been Lucradis this entire time??? Am I that fucking dyslexic?!?!?!?!?!

I'm glad that you've come to your senses and started agreeing with me Cool

I do agree. If an Armageddon cult gains full control of the planetary arsenal and assumes command of the major armed forces, we're all doomed. Also, if I fit my entire head into someone’s rectum, I'll suffocate. But I think its pretty long odds for both and I fear neither.

When I say I can't imagine any scenarios, I mean I can't imagine any real world ones. There's not an Arab, Muslim or Persian country on the planet that could invade any of the Superpower nations or NATO nations and there isn't an army in any of the Superpower nations or NATO nations that would accept orders from a madman bent on Armageddon. So sure, if we are including sci-fi novels, it's possible. Otherwise, not. So I see no need to be worried.

Now if one were to say that religious organisations and/or powerful religious figures could destabilise situations and possibly incite or prolong conflicts, I could buy that. Hell, Coke would do that. But this Armageddon stuff is utterly insubstantial.

Hey, GirlyMan.

Quote:If we can't separate the greed from the human then we're just fucking doomed.

Self-interest is a part of the human animal. But so is altruism. We don't need to separate greed from the human; we need to design systems that harness it in positive ways, rather than rely on systems that incentivise its naked indulgence.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

I'll make it easy for you.

http://www.jhm.org/Home/About/PastorJohnHagee
http://www.jhm.org/Catalog/Product/B166/...%20Survive
http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.a...cleid=1603

Re "my argument is that refusing to look at the situation in all of its complexity constitutes a greater threat to world peace than religion does on its own." There's nothing complex about a low IQ fundamentalist Christian president surrounded by a cabinet of fundamentalist Christian colleagues sitting in the White House planning a nuclear war with Iran. You may accuse me of hyperbole, but we only need to get this wrong once and that's the end of the world. There are no second chances.


Re..."Incidentally, why, pray tell, should I as an Agnostic be particularly aware of your suggestion that Christianity is fundamentally evil?" Well....I hold no delusions that discussing religion with firm believers is likely to achieve much. Agnostics, on the other hand, are more likely to be open to new ideas, more likely to be convinced by a rational argument, and less likely to send their children to a fundamentalist school. Agnostics are not dangerous or evil

Re..."Personally, I neither think that Christianity is fundamentally evil nor do I think that that point should be hammered home." Well let's just agree to disagree about that then, ok? Or maybe...could I suggest you read the bible?

Re "I think that organised religion poses certain threats that are very real" HURRAH!

Re "but that we should limit our critique of religion to the real, rather than the imagined and exaggerated." YEP, I AGREE. Which bits of Christianity would you feel comfortable teaching your children as fact ie not imagined or exaggerated? The Garden of Eden? The virgin birth? The miracles of Jesus? The primordial, guilty sinful nature of man? The suppression of women? The killing of homosexuals? The reliance on faith? Assuming you found some admirable Christian ethics to promote, how then would you explain to a young child that he or she should ignore the other 95% of the bible? Which Christian priest, pastor or Sunday school teacher would you feel comfortable leaving your child alone with?
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12-10-2011, 10:48 PM
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
(12-10-2011 10:17 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I'll make it easy for you.

http://www.jhm.org/Home/About/PastorJohnHagee
http://www.jhm.org/Catalog/Product/B166/...%20Survive
http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.a...cleid=1603

Mark, I don't disagree with you at all, but humor me please. What do you think the difference in any of these messages are now than they were 50 years ago when they were saying the exact same thing? I didn't read anything on these sites I haven't heard for decades.

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13-10-2011, 01:42 AM (This post was last modified: 13-10-2011 01:46 AM by Ghost.)
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
Hey, GirlyMan.

You're right. Self-interest is not greed. That was lazy of me. I just meant to say that greed is normal.

Hey, Thomas.

That's a great bumper sticker, but it doesn't actually say anything.

Hey, Mark.

You'll make what easy for me?

As for horrible nuclear war, can we please do a quick check in with reality for a moment? It is unimaginably difficult to start a nuclear war. It's not something that a couple people in a darkened room can decide to do unilaterally. So can we stop pretending that anything is going on right now that might lead us to nuclear war?

I am totally willing to consider a rational argument. As soon as you show me one I'll get right to it. Ba-Zing!

You can suggest I read the Bible, but that won't change why I disagree with you.

Don't be too quick to Hurrah. Just because I think there's issues with religion doesn't mean I agree with you.

When I said let's keep our critique to the real, I meant let's only critique the actual traits of religion, not the ones we invent and exaggerate. You sort of wildly misunderstood me there.

Hey, defacto.

That's the point now isn't it? No one's saying these people are powerless and no one's saying they don't have some bat shit crazy ideas. The only point of contention is, do they represent an immediate apocalyptic threat? They do not. Plain and simple.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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13-10-2011, 04:43 AM (This post was last modified: 13-10-2011 05:36 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
(12-10-2011 10:48 PM)defacto7 Wrote:  
(12-10-2011 10:17 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I'll make it easy for you.

http://www.jhm.org/Home/About/PastorJohnHagee
http://www.jhm.org/Catalog/Product/B166/...%20Survive
http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.a...cleid=1603

Mark, I don't disagree with you at all, but humor me please. What do you think the difference in any of these messages are now than they were 50 years ago when they were saying the exact same thing? I didn't read anything on these sites I haven't heard for decades.

No difference at all. If anyone is interested in the background to the fucked up Christian ideas about the apocalypse they need to examine Mithraism, the writings of Paul and the ramblings of a fanatically deluded 19 th century Christian nutter named John Nelson Darby. It is not new drivel, yet it is becoming increasingly dangerous because of the advent of nuclear warfare.

We have been lucky for the last 50 years that Christian fundamentalists haven't managed to start a nuclear war in the middle east. That does not mean we can sit back and get complacent. A few years ago there was much US government talk about the pros and cons of a war with Iran, a move that would have most likely dragged the whole middle east into conflict. Bush became unpopular and the talk petered out, and many Fundamentalist Americans were bitterly disappointed. Armageddon had been postponed.

Nowadays America is also struggling financially, and the democrats are in power, so the country is not in the mood for more war mongering.

Some generalisations....intelligent ,educated secular people in America vote Democrat. They are very aware that the Republicans, leaded by another Christian zealot (they are having trouble finding one who is not a complete imbecile), may win the next election. Now I don't think it is likely a Republican government would start war no 3 in the middle east because of the dire financial state America is in, but it is possible. Imagine if they did get re-elected and there was a repeat 9/11. Anything could happen. They would need someone to blame, someone Islamic, and Iran is just sitting there defiantly.

Iran may have nuclear bomb potential, and similar Islamic religious zealots are in charge there.

Ghost may accuse me of not discussing all the possible causes of war, but I'm not pretending to write a thesis here. I'm simply pointing out that religious fundamentalism on both sides is the primary underlying reason for war in the middle east.

We ( the world's people) are not safe while religious zealots have their fingers on the buttons. This time around if there is a nuclear war there will be no winners...no second chances. That is one reason we must fight fundamentalism tooth and nail, and we need to start by sweeping out our own front porch first.


(13-10-2011 01:42 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, GirlyMan.

You're right. Self-interest is not greed. That was lazy of me. I just meant to say that greed is normal.

Hey, Thomas.

That's a great bumper sticker, but it doesn't actually say anything.

Hey, Mark.

You'll make what easy for me?

As for horrible nuclear war, can we please do a quick check in with reality for a moment? It is unimaginably difficult to start a nuclear war. It's not something that a couple people in a darkened room can decide to do unilaterally. So can we stop pretending that anything is going on right now that might lead us to nuclear war?

I am totally willing to consider a rational argument. As soon as you show me one I'll get right to it. Ba-Zing!

You can suggest I read the Bible, but that won't change why I disagree with you.

Don't be too quick to Hurrah. Just because I think there's issues with religion doesn't mean I agree with you.

When I said let's keep our critique to the real, I meant let's only critique the actual traits of religion, not the ones we invent and exaggerate. You sort of wildly misunderstood me there.

Hey, defacto.

That's the point now isn't it? No one's saying these people are powerless and no one's saying they don't have some bat shit crazy ideas. The only point of contention is, do they represent an immediate apocalyptic threat? They do not. Plain and simple.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt

Hi Matt,

Re "You'll make what easy for me?" As you didn't know who John Hagee was, and you didn't acknowledge that you'd looked him up, I gave you some relevant links. I did the same for Billy Graham.

Re "It is unimaginably difficult to start a nuclear war." I disagree. It's not that hard if you happen to be an angry Christian fundamentalist president with a government full of Christian or Jewish zealots. After 9/11, for example, Bush changed the law. It used to be that the USA could only legally use nuclear bombs in response to an attack. He changed that by giving himself the right to use them in a pre emptive strike as part of his "war on terror". Consider too that he invaded Iraq directly against the advice of his military advisors and without sanction from the UN. It is too easy to start a war, particularly when you have god on your side.

Am I being "sensationalist," or "over the top?" No...but so what if I am? The issue here is the safety of the entire world. That is bigger than me or Thomas or any of us.

Consider this. If the German people, and in fact other nations, had stood up to an obviously immoral Hitler in the 1930's, WW2 would have been everted and 6 million innocent Jews wouldn't have been murdered.

The time to stand up for what is right and moral is NOW, not when the shit hits the fan.

Re "You can suggest I read the Bible, but that won't change why I disagree with you." Well....the bottom line here is that if you don't have a reasonable understanding of the bible, the very foundation of Christianity, you will not have a very informed and nuanced understanding of the Christian agenda.

I also suggest you make an effort to understand fundamentalist Protestant America...these jokers are playing with yours and my world. I am no expert on this topic, but I did spend 6 months full time researching what they are about and I assure you they are a seriously powerful and very scary mob.
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13-10-2011, 05:23 AM
RE: A Serious Threat to World Peace
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoicism

Ladies and gentlemen, start evolving.

"We Humans are capable of greatness." -Carl Sagan
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