Are all religions equal?
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07-02-2012, 04:46 PM
RE: Are all religions equal?
(07-02-2012 11:37 AM)Starcrash Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 11:17 AM)tazmin98 Wrote:  
(06-02-2012 11:39 PM)Starcrash Wrote:  I shake my head at the stupidity of believing in Buddhist gods, but I'd never waste my time trying to convert a Buddhist --- their belief system doesn't interfere with mine in any way.

I thought Buddhism didn't have gods? Do you mean Hinduism?

No, I meant Buddhism... but I realize now that only certain sects of Buddhism worship Gods, after looking it up. Forgive my ignorance of Buddhism. As I said, it doesn't behoove me to try to convert a Buddhist, so I have literally no interest in knowing more about what they believe in the interest of figuring out "what's wrong with it", like I do with other religions.

It's slightly better than some religions.Undecided

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07-02-2012, 05:48 PM
RE: Are all religions equal?
No, they're not equal. They're all equally untrue but they're not equal in their effects. Religions that teach violent or unhealthy messages are more harmful to society than others.
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08-02-2012, 01:31 AM
RE: Are all religions equal?
(07-02-2012 05:48 PM)Ben Wrote:  No, they're not equal. They're all equally untrue but they're not equal in their effects. Religions that teach violent or unhealthy messages are more harmful to society than others.

Well, are they really all equally untrue? Throughout the worlds religions, the demonstrably false elements differ. So, on a mathematical scale it would be like -1000 for scientology while a -999 for Christianity. I guess a better phrase for this would be demonstrably false. Not to say that we need to prove them false, as they need to prove themselves in the first place.
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08-02-2012, 06:37 AM
RE: Are all religions equal?
(08-02-2012 01:31 AM)confuzedsushi Wrote:  
(07-02-2012 05:48 PM)Ben Wrote:  No, they're not equal. They're all equally untrue but they're not equal in their effects. Religions that teach violent or unhealthy messages are more harmful to society than others.

Well, are they really all equally untrue? Throughout the worlds religions, the demonstrably false elements differ. So, on a mathematical scale it would be like -1000 for scientology while a -999 for Christianity. I guess a better phrase for this would be demonstrably false. Not to say that we need to prove them false, as they need to prove themselves in the first place.

They can differ in how obvious it is that they're false, but you can't be more false than false.
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09-02-2012, 08:55 AM
RE: Are all religions equal?
Hey, Sushi.

Treating them "the same" is odd because of course they're all different. But if it's meant in terms of respecting diversity, then I absolutely fall into that category.

All organisations exist on a time continuum. What they are today is not all that they are. So we can look at any one religion and say, "they do X and it's terrible," but it might easily have been different before and it may be different later.

Humans must form organisations. That's a genetic and a memetic imperative. Humans that live completely alone are dead humans. Unfortunately for us, the environment of the last 5 000 years has meant that in order to compete, humans must form hierarchical organisations. If they do not, they simply cannot compete: the colonial era is a sad testament to that.

All hierarchical organisations have a small rulership class and a large production class. The rulers are always trying to minimise the production class' power and the production class is always trying to maximise it; whether that power struggle be about freedom, income, ability to criticise the dominant ideology, and the list goes on. But that bar always shifts over time. Sometimes the rulers have near totalitarian power; sometimes the people on the bottom have incredible freedom. But that struggle is ongoing and constantly shifting. All of this is to say that any organisation, or any religion, can at times approach totalitarianism and at times move away from it. When we look at any one of them at a given point in time, we're simply observing the current position of the bar, not its absolute position. The position of the bar is not all that organisation can ever be.

For example, the US used to be a slave economy. Its chief export was cotton picked pretty much exclusively by black slaves. That is a system and a belief structure that is far worse than anything that any religion is doing today. By leaps and bounds. But it changed from that to blacks having a place in government. That's a big jump that no one living at that time would have ever predicted. As Daniel Quinn says, "No paradigm is ever able to imagine the next one."

More importantly than the fact that the bar is in constant movement over time is the fact, the proven fact, that when it comes to successful organisations, content is irrelevant. How they organise themselves, what they believe, all of the cultural content that differentiates them from other cultures, is utterly irrelevant. No cultural content works "better" than any other. The only criteria is that all of the members of that organisation buy into the cultural norms, that they row in the same direction.

So in the sense that content is irrelevant and the proximity of the bar to totalitarianism is constantly changing, all religions are functionally the same. All hierarchical organisations for that matter are the same, including any secular one you could think of.

So when we discuss better or worse, we have to ask, what is the baseline? Whatever metric one uses, one must accept that it is culturally biased, historically contingent and quite possibly ethnocentric.

For example, using "do they share an insidious belief" is hugely culturally biased and more than likely ethnocentric. Judging Islam under the Taliban is both culturally relative and historically contingent.

None of this is to say that any organisation gets a pass for shitty behaviour. I'm certainly not exonerating the US for slavery or Christians for the Crusades. I'm just saying that all of these organisations are functionally the same and that the content of their cultural beliefs and the historically contingent position of the 'bar of power' are not effective judging criteria in an absolute sense.

So do I treat them all the same. Yes, I think so. Do I subscribe to any of them? Nope.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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