Christianity isn't all bad
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30-08-2012, 09:03 PM
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
(30-08-2012 07:45 PM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  And every time I hear someone claim that religion can be used to do good things, I always reply, "we don't need the religious part." Keep the humanity, the good will towards man, the charity for the poor. You can cherish all these things without coupling them with a sky king who demands blood sacrifice and genocide.

This.

Name one thing that people do "good" with in the name of religion that you can't do without it?

I can go volunteer. I can help people. I can build things. I can help my community JUST as much without religion as someone with it. It is the human part that is helping humans.
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30-08-2012, 09:37 PM
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
This is the old argument that on balance religion has actually been beneficial to humanity; therefore, religion should be given a pass for its bad side.

Completely the wrong argument. It frames the question so that a delusion is acceptable because it has shown some good results. Also, making a measurable comparison between good and bad outcomes is next to impossible and not relevant to the real question of religious faith, is it defendable on its face.

Let's take the example of slavery. Slavery has produced things like the Great Wall of China and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. As slavery hasn't been all bad, let's bring it back. On balance society may be better off. It's also thousands of years old. If it were that bad it wouldn't have lasted so long as an institution.

Of course this is a complete bullshit argument. No one would argue that slavery should be defended based on its positive externalities. Likewise we should not even consider that religion should be supported because of a few positive outcomes.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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30-08-2012, 09:50 PM
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
Let's say I believe in some very sticky creature (that doesn't exist), but because I believe in it, it gives me hope to hold on just a little longer.
I learn from it's sticky ways that all you have to do is believe and your soul will become so sticky that it can't leave your body.
And this means that no matter what happens to you in your life, no matter how much you get beat down, your stickiness helps you hold on.
Even at the point of death, you know that your body can hold on and your soul will hold on until help can come to rescue you.

Having this belief has helped you hold it all together when things looked their worst.
The sticky one helps to keep families together, helps to keep a strong military unit close and sticky.

You can invent all kinds of religions that may mentally help you hold it together like some placebo of the mind, but as adults
do we really need to fool ourselves ? No, we don't.
If I'm in a really tough spot, I know that my human body is capable of extreme feats when pressed.
I know from past disasters that people can survive longer than we think. Their survival stories give me hope.

If they can make it, so can I. And I've seen this first hand when cave exploring through a fairly dangerous cave.
There was a woman who was a first time caver and my 9 yr old niece inspired her to cross a small section with a 15' fall
with muddy hand holds and foot holds and no rope. You cross it and you don't think about it. Just do it. (everyone made it through, no issues at all)

As humans we don't need christianity or any other religion. We can gather together as a community for the betterment of others.
We can offer our services to our neighbors. We can help those who need it and without all the crap that a religion brings.

So, lose a religion and you gain so much more. Freedom of thought, freedom of action and a realistic sense of the world.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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30-08-2012, 09:56 PM
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
(30-08-2012 05:15 PM)hylonome Wrote:  Looking around this forum, I've seen some pretty awful stories linked with Christianity. When people use religion in the wrong way, it can have terrible effects on a person's life and on the person themselves. Not for one minute am I doubting that. I do think, though, that religion can have a very positive effect on people. It can give people hope - the drive to carry on. I think that it's not religion that does damage, but people who use religion in the wrong way. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this, so please reply! Smile

P.S. I gotta state that I am from the UK, so this is based on religion as it exists in Europe.

I was just thinking that if you replaced "religion" with "alcohol" the post still makes sense. Actually, it seems to make more sense and be even more "true" in a sense.

edit:
hopefully no one noticed that before--I have a migraine and couldn't read through everything closely!
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30-08-2012, 09:58 PM
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
(30-08-2012 09:56 PM)elemts Wrote:  
(30-08-2012 05:15 PM)hylonome Wrote:  Looking around this forum, I've seen some pretty awful stories linked with Christianity. When people use religion in the wrong way, it can have terrible effects on a person's life and on the person themselves. Not for one minute am I doubting that. I do think, though, that religion can have a very positive effect on people. It can give people hope - the drive to carry on. I think that it's not religion that does damage, but people who use religion in the wrong way. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this, so please reply! Smile

P.S. I gotta state that I am from the UK, so this is based on religion as it exists in Europe.

I was just thinking that if you replaced "religion" with "alcohol" the post still makes sense. Actually, it seems to make more sense and be even more "true" in a sense.

edit:
hopefully no one noticed that before--I have a migraine and couldn't read through everything closely!

For your reading pleasure.
______________________________
Looking around this forum, I've seen some pretty awful stories linked with Booze. When people use alcohol in the wrong way, it can have terrible effects on a person's life and on the person themselves. Not for one minute am I doubting that. I do think, though, that alcohol can have a very positive effect on people. It can give people hope - the drive to carry on. I think that it's not alcohol that does damage, but people who use alcohol in the wrong way. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this, so please reply!

P.S. I gotta state that I am from the UK, so this is based on alcohol as it exists in Europe.
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30-08-2012, 10:10 PM
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
(30-08-2012 09:58 PM)Logisch Wrote:  ______________________________
Looking around this forum, I've seen some pretty awful stories linked with Booze. When people use alcohol in the wrong way, it can have terrible effects on a person's life and on the person themselves. Not for one minute am I doubting that. I do think, though, that alcohol can have a very positive effect on people. It can give people hope - the drive to carry on. I think that it's not alcohol that does damage, but people who use alcohol in the wrong way. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this, so please reply!

P.S. I gotta state that I am from the UK, so this is based on alcohol as it exists in Europe.

That was excellent atheist teamwork... Bowing

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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30-08-2012, 10:38 PM
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
(30-08-2012 05:15 PM)hylonome Wrote:  Looking around this forum, I've seen some pretty awful stories linked with Christianity. When people use religion in the wrong way, it can have terrible effects on a person's life and on the person themselves. Not for one minute am I doubting that. I do think, though, that religion can have a very positive effect on people. It can give people hope - the drive to carry on. I think that it's not religion that does damage, but people who use religion in the wrong way. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this, so please reply! Smile

P.S. I gotta state that I am from the UK, so this is based on religion as it exists in Europe.

From what I know Europe is becoming more relaxed religiously, like many of the Bishops and so on accepting evolution. So I think the damage is harder to recognize in your country then ours. The U.S. well hmmm we are, fucking nuts. I don't know what happened its like someone took a time machine and brought a bunch of zealots from the 1800's here.
On the less extreme side, because there is people here who I believe would be more like the majority of the European religious community, the tendency of looking for the hope and good in readings from holy books. I grew up in a Christian home, all of my family are still devout Christians, none of them have any idea Im an atheist. There was no "abuse" it was great, my parents always showed love, it was the ideal childhood. It gave me hope when I needed it, comfort when I felt lost, and purpose when I had no where to go. I think what people don't realize (and neither did I until it happened to me) is that the comfort, hope, and purpose really suppressed my feelings because I obtained those feelings through a false phenomenon. When reality approaches you are left with emptiness, because the thing that gave you hope, comfort, and purpose, is gone. I mean Ya if you never discover the truth then you will never be in that predicament, but avoidance of truth and false emotional reinforcement could never lead to real freedom. By freedom I mean the true discovery of you, of your strengths, the ability to control, the realization that you are the leader of your destiny. I am not near those things but I know that I will get there. Heart

“The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.”
― Baruch Spinoza
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30-08-2012, 10:50 PM
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
Monotheism has the singular redeeming quality of one absolute. One constant, one truth, one focus. Everything else is bullshit. So find yer Gwynnies and fuck the dumb. Angel

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30-08-2012, 11:05 PM (This post was last modified: 30-08-2012 11:10 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
Hey, Hylo.

I'm from Canada.





In Canada, we love hockey. Love it. Love, love, love it. In the NHL, there's a ranking system called plus/minus. You take any player, you take the number of goals scored by their team while that player is on the ice and then you subtract the number of goals scored against their team while that player was on the ice. If the number is positive (plus) then that's a sign that on balance, that player is good. If the number is negative (minus) then that's a sign that on balance, that player is bad. In this way, a player could be on the ice when his team scored 100 goals, but if he was also on the ice when other teams scored 101 goals, he's a -1.

Religion too can be looked at with the plus minus system, in fact, I believe that it SHOULD be looked at in this way because both blanket praise and blanket condemnation should be avoided because they're meaningless. The question is, does Christianity have a plus rating or a minus rating? Around these parts you can assume that most people will immediately say minus, but it's a very deep question.

Some people here have spoken about the non-reality of religion. I personally don't buy that argument for a second. It was proven in a Harvard study that the content of a culture's belief is irrelevant to their success, only that every one is on board. So it doesn't matter if one culture believes in hard science exclusively and another believes in magic pixies. So long as everyone is on board, they can be successful.

Secondly, reality is not fixed. Reality is malleable. It is a construct. This view is supported by what we know of human cognition. So not only does it not matter which culture sticks to "reality", it doesn't matter what they stick to at all.

This is all to say that Christianity cannot be dismissed for it's more... colourful ideas.

It has, however, as you say, done plenty to suggest a possible minus rating.

Christianity, for sure, does, promotes and supports good things both at the organisational and personal levels. Some of the best people I know are Christians. So I agree 100% that it's not all bad.

This notion of the "bad apple" though doesn't fly with me. You should watch The Corporation. There are some good insights into the idea of good people working for/in monstrous organisations. There's a particularly good bit from Noam Choamsky around the 43:30 mark.





Why do I mention the bad apple? Because for me, Christianity's problems are institutional. It's not a matter of a few bad apples using religion for nefarious ends, it's that Christianity, particularly the larger organisations because frankly, Christianity don't do but jack and shit on its own, is DESIGNED in such a way that such problems are inevitable.

The problems are not with religion per-se, but with the organisation itself. The major religions of the world are power maximising hierarchies. Structurally, there is little difference between the United States government, Haliburton, the Central Committee of the USSR, Coca Cola and the Catholic Church.

The difficulty, as I have always seen it, is that the cultural beliefs of Christianity, the ones that lead to all of the positive things, are nested within that power maximisation hierarchy; like the tasty milk inside the coconut.

My question has always been, is it possible to extricate those good things from the hierarchy that they are nested in? I don't know that it is. That's the real difficulty.

Option one is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Just chuck the whole damn thing. Really, you'd have to chuck all power maximising hierarchies for it to be an effective strategy (which is about as unlikely as it gets) so that option is problematic at best.

Option number two is to gut the system. Remove so much, make so many drastic changes that really, in the end, you're left with something that in no way resembles the original. It would not be something you could really call Catholicism, or the Church of England. People might still be able to call themselves Christian, but it would be, structurally, fundamentally different.

So yes, Christianity for sure has it's positive points and does its fair share of good. But the two questions for me are, what's Christianity's plus/minus and can those positive points exist in isolation of the organisation? I honestly don't have an answer.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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30-08-2012, 11:18 PM
RE: Christianity isn't all bad
WTF Canada got to do with the real world? Big Grin

I don't see it that way at all. I don't know any Christians that are good people, but I've met some good people that happen to be Christian. The difference is dogma, and dogma develops for that one absolute. For most of them Christians, it's hell. My little absurd social experiment of telling random Christians that I will burn in hell for you has left an indelible mark on my soul...lessness. They get all kinds of defensive, closed-minded, ignorant when you tell 'em there ain't no hell. (Or about gays, abortions, evolution; it's always something)

And I'm just not up to condoning a system of thought that inhibits thought. Angel

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