Is Thiesm Evil
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24-09-2017, 06:45 AM
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
Our species ability to be cruel or compassionate is not being handed down from above. It isn't a comic book battle between a super hero vs a ground troll.

Is theism evil? Yes and no. The blind loyalty to naked assertions can lead humans to go on to commit horrible acts on others.

But, humans as individuals no.

I can for example, value the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. I can value the likes of Ann Frank. I can value the likes of Malala. Those are very empathetic humans. I only disagree as to where they would claim our species morality is coming from.

There is no pragmatic way to force any religion out of existence in any case. The best humans can do is to keep it on a leash and always challenge it's claims. The "evil" is when it is left unchallenged and ends up in tyranny.

Stalin may have been an atheist, but it took the support of a Russian Orthodox Christian Majority to allow his rise to power. Hitler as well, while his own brand of deism/Catholic/occult, again, convinced a German Christian majority to put him in power. Cuba, despite what some think, is not an atheist nation, but a Catholic majority. China also, despite what some idiots might claim, is not religion free. What all those states do is oppress dissent, not just religion, but any dissent. They will tolerate those who tow the party line though.

But no, my mom was Catholic, died believing, she was not evil. Most humans get sold the religions of their parents. I don't see that changing anytime soon. Humans will always do bad things, but we also have the capability of doing good things too.

Is religion "evil". Yes, when left unchecked with unlimited power. But I also don't think atheists should be chasing the impossible utopia of a religion free planet either. There is no such thing as a utopia, not for theists or atheists.

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24-09-2017, 06:48 AM
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
(24-09-2017 06:45 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  Our species ability to be cruel or compassionate is not being handed down from above. It isn't a comic book battle between a super hero vs a ground troll.

Is theism evil? Yes and no. The blind loyalty to naked assertions can lead humans to go on to commit horrible acts on others.

But, humans as individuals no.

I can for example, value the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. I can value the likes of Ann Frank. I can value the likes of Malala. Those are very empathetic humans. I only disagree as to where they would claim our species morality is coming from.

There is no pragmatic way to force any religion out of existence in any case. The best humans can do is to keep it on a leash and always challenge it's claims. The "evil" is when it is left unchallenged and ends up in tyranny.

Stalin may have been an atheist, but it took the support of a Russian Orthodox Christian Majority to allow his rise to power. Hitler as well, while his own brand of deism/Catholic/occult, again, convinced a German Christian majority to put him in power. Cuba, despite what some think, is not an atheist nation, but a Catholic majority. China also, despite what some idiots might claim, is not religion free. What all those states do is oppress dissent, not just religion, but any dissent. They will tolerate those who tow the party line though.

But no, my mom was Catholic, died believing, she was not evil. Most humans get sold the religions of their parents. I don't see that changing anytime soon. Humans will always do bad things, but we also have the capability of doing good things too.

Is religion "evil". Yes, when left unchecked with unlimited power. But I also don't think atheists should be chasing the impossible utopia of a religion free planet either. There is no such thing as a utopia, not for theists or atheists.

If I had a choice between two such alpha male atheists, I'd choose Aliza because of his better argument than yours but anyways... all is good.

Edit: Sorry Aliza if I overestimated your sex to be female or underestimated yours to be male - please correct my stand if at all.
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24-09-2017, 06:52 AM
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
(24-09-2017 06:48 AM)Thinker Wrote:  If I had a choice between two such alpha male atheists, I'd choose Aliza because of his better argument than yours but anyways... all is good.

Edit: Sorry Aliza if I overestimated your sex to be female or underestimated yours to be male - please correct my stand if at all.

I accept the designation "Alpha Male."
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24-09-2017, 06:55 AM
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
(24-09-2017 06:52 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(24-09-2017 06:48 AM)Thinker Wrote:  If I had a choice between two such alpha male atheists, I'd choose Aliza because of his better argument than yours but anyways... all is good.

Edit: Sorry Aliza if I overestimated your sex to be female or underestimated yours to be male - please correct my stand if at all.

I accept the designation "Alpha Male."

You certainly have my allegiance... let me alter your name -

Behold thyself, my dear Knight Aliswn Sarguise!
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24-09-2017, 07:21 AM
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
(23-09-2017 11:12 PM)JAH Wrote:  Theism is in fact evil and I think there are few here that will dispute that.

I will dispute your generalization. As other posters have noted, definitions are important. However the problem is that each theist defines their own individual set of beliefs. Each theist has their own god, a personal deity who, coincidentally, believes in the same things that the believer does. Each person uses their belief system to justify and support their worldview and their reactions to life.

In regards to defining good, evil and morality, that's a long and difficult thread. Multiple threads, actually. Big Grin

So you have personal definitions of belief and personal definitions of morality. Before any meaningful discussion can take place, those involved should discard generalizations and seek to understand what the others believe and why they believe it.

For reference:

THEISM:
Quote:Theism is broadly defined as the belief in the existence of a deity or multiple deities. In popular parlance, or when contrasted with deism, the term often describes the classical conception of god(s) that is found in monotheistic and polytheistic religions; a belief in a god or in gods without the rejection of revelation as is characteristic of deism.
link1

DEISM:
Quote:Deism is a philosophical position that posits that a god does not interfere directly with the world. It also rejects revelation as a source of religious knowledge and asserts that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator of the universe.
link2

ATHEISM:
Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities. Less broadly, atheism is the rejection of belief that any deities exist. In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.
link3

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24-09-2017, 09:36 AM
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
Personally, I count deists as a subset of theists. Theism only relates to one thing: belief in God. Just like atheists don't automatically also believe such and such, neither do theists necessarily believe anything more than "there is/was a God". By popular usage, which I'd term technically incorrect, it is assumed a theist is not a deist.

Of course, people use words in all kinds of different ways, so all that matters is that we understand each other and are clear about definitions.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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24-09-2017, 09:58 AM
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
"Evil" is a loaded, pejorative term that means whatever random people "feel" that it means. Religion is not evil by its own definition of evil. Each religion basically defines "sin" and "evil" as "not believing as we teach" and "righteous" and "good" as "believing as we teach". So it's rather meaningless as a question.

A better question would be "Is Theism harmful on balance to society" and there I think the answer is a resounding YES. There are of course a lot of people used to focusing on various seemingly "beneficial" things that some religions sometimes do -- the food kitchen or pantry, some aspects of foreign mission work, etc. But I contend that MOST of what MOST churches do is not true charitable work, it is the activity of a private club. And that a "lot" of charity work is allegedly done by churches simply reflects that churches are plentiful and deeply embedded in society. That charity work would get done other ways without churches. It's more accurate to say that good works get done in spite of churches, sometimes even by them, but that's because there are good people who are in churches, no thanks to the church itself.
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24-09-2017, 10:01 AM
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
Quote:Of course, people use words in all kinds of different ways, so all that matters is that we understand each other and are clear about definitions.

It's almost like you saw my post coming because I was going to question whether or not "evil" even exists.
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24-09-2017, 10:45 AM
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
“With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil - that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

Any good that comes from theism, comes from inherently good people. And even that is in great danger of corruption.

I think of theism as a means, a gateway to greater chaos and suffering. A long-con in which our worst behavior becomes virtuous.
The abrahamic religions stokes the fires of narcissism, tribalism, fear and rejection of rational thought.
It degrades human life by setting a precedent for slavery as legitimate - God owns us, so it is his right to kill or torture us at his pleasure.

But hey, the pope got a throne of gold out of it. So there's that.

"Throughout history, every mystery, ever solved, has turned out to be; Not magic."
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24-09-2017, 12:41 PM (This post was last modified: 24-09-2017 12:45 PM by JAH.)
RE: Is Thiesm Evil
I made two errors in my OP.

The first was not being careful with the term theism. I did not mean the simple belief in a god or gods but rather how the belief in one god is usually practiced in an organized way. In the specific case of male dominance one could argue that since most manifestations of a single god assume male characteristics right away one is going down the path of male dominance. I was however more thinking of the organized place of worship, generally led by a male or males and in many circumstances preventing females from any significant role. This to me is a clear way to suppress some 50% of the population. It demonstrates to all the worshipers the maleness should be dominant. Or in the case of morality the hierarchical nature that organized worship gives it makes it possible for dictation of morals that are false and inhuman as well as unnecessary.

I was also not careful with the use of the word evil. I will posit that I can with great ease list actions done in the name of a god that were evil. Still the word has too much baggage and must be used carefully. I acknowledge that not all theists are evil and some are good and useful people. I meant in this specific case that theism as a force in the society does more harm than good. On balance if theism and its practitioners were a significant minority that society should (note should) function better. A simple example if all those who are against premarital sex were a tiny minority we would probable have many fewer unwanted pregnancies.

Yes, Anjele it was kingschosen I was thinking of.

mordant, I must acknowledge your perception of my intent about about the benefits or rather lack thereof of theism.
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