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An intellectual conspiracy against religion?

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posted on May, 11 2006 @ 05:01 PM

Originally posted by Nakash
Fact is, mullahs,priests,or rabbis didn't cause the 40 million dead in the Stalinist era, tens of millions dead on Hitler's hands, 70,000,000 dead on Mao's hand, and so forth. Secular atheistic thought did.

It's still the same kind of thing, though. Irrational belief in the "rightness" of something, whether it's of a big Grandpa in the sky or an economic system that will benefit the proletariat. Patriotism and ethnic pride are every bit as dangerous as religion, and possibly moreso to the average thick-skulled people in the world who have no desire or ability to step back from their own beliefs and give them a good, rational analysis. Most people are more interested in being liked by a group than being reasonable.

posted on May, 11 2006 @ 05:08 PM

Originally posted by junglejake
I think the point being made was in reference to when you would react with "a bit of venom".

That's not what transparency quoted... why would you think he was responding to something outside the quote? Probably your interpretation.

Some religions have as a central element of the faith sharing it with others.

Yeah, even others who don't want to hear, even others who have heard it all a thousand times. I think if I tried to sell you my belief system over and over and over again, you'd get pissed too.
But dear Jake, you have never tried to force your beliefs on me and I love you for it!

"Sharing" your beliefs with others is different than "witnessing". I could share my beliefs with you but only if you asked. Witnessing has an element of 'talking others into it' or 'selling it' or convincing, or coersion that, yeah, I hate that crap.

However, that element of those religions makes you mad and you think they should keep it to themselves.

Actually, I don't care if they keep it to themselves or not, I just get tired of them APPLYING their standards to me, even when I tell them I have my own set of standards. It's the arrogance implied that I get upset about. It's the idea that people think they know the TRUTH for all people and are somehow obligated to convince others to see the light. I feel disrespected when that happens.

I don't think your wish for religion not to exist in the world is pushing your religious views...

Just to be crystal clear, I don't WISH religion didn't exist. It's not really a part of my life anyway, I just think the world would be better off without it and all the fighting and death that has come from different and clashing religions.

roger_pearse, I don't think you have a good idea of what atheism is. Sorry. Atheists don't hate Christians!
There's no hate involved.

And doesn't religion require a diety? When we talk about religion, aren't we talking about Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and so on? I think before we say whether science and atheism are religions we must define the term religion.

Merriam Webster says:

(1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural

Can someone explain how science or atheism serve and worship God or the Supernatural???

Yes, atheism is a belief, but I hardly see how we can call it a religion.

posted on May, 11 2006 @ 09:31 PM
Roger Pearse is making a statement that is one of those ideas that people tend to get characterized as anti-Christian if they oppose it - I have no fear of that at all. I'm not anti-Christian EXCEPT when Christians make statements such as this which tend to imply that they "own" G-d. Being a non-believer in any G-d does NOT make a person anti-Christian in any exclusive sense. Because, because, BECAUSE a person can believe in G-d and NOT be a Christian! You got that?! Criminy sakes! A great percentage of the world's population believes in G-d but does NOT, DOES NOT believe that the Christian Jesus was in any way divine!

OK, I don't like having to use such strong emphasis but, you are pushing the "G-d = Jesus" idea by very strong implication and I do not mind telling you that I resent it!

IMHO, there is plenty of reason to belive in G-d and very little reason to belive in the divinity of Jesus.

Besides, Atheism is not even anti-G-d, it's just a non-belief in G-d. One cannot be against something that one does not believe esists in the first place. Get a grip!

posted on May, 11 2006 @ 09:51 PM
Fact is nobody in Christianity is forcing anybody to believe in Jesus Christ, it's a non-issue. If "forcing" people to do anything could solve all the woes of the world in Christianity, it would already be done. I know RCs forced lots of people to take Baptisms, but I'm a Baptist and we don't believe in "sacraments" and other pagan doctrine, we believe in freewill and YOUR choice to make decisions independent of human meddling. One such decision being to become a Christian and enjoy the blessings bestowed upon by Christ. Honestly, I could be selfish and just say " Not my problem, I'm going to heaven and those poor suckers are going to hell because they didn't take the time to think on their eternity" but I'm not going to do that. Yet I can only do so much- debate, clarify ideology, and so forth. I can't "dorce" someone to believe something, that's ilogical, nonsense. Makes ZERO sense. At most I could manipulate things towards a favourable outcome for my beliefs....oh wait...NOT EVEN! Aparently Jesus Christ was opposed to the idea of "State religion", and he was right about it (look at the RCC and it's popes, crusades, and papist bigotry). So I'm stuck here instead attempting to clarify my beliefs and attempting on a daily basis to improve my adherence to the law for a better example.

posted on May, 12 2006 @ 03:02 AM
This discussion seems to be getting bogged down in fundamentals and definitions. It's also tending towards an implication that "religion" equals "Christianity".

Since I started the thread, I'd like to try and pull it back to a discussion on the two questions I originally raised, namely:

1. Do statements of the sort made by Sam Harris (in the page I linked to), Richard Dawkins, Salman Rushdie and others constitute an intellectual conspiracy against religion? In other words, is there a tacit conspiracy amongst intellectuals to denigrate, debunk and ultimately to destroy religion?

2. Would such an effort to reduce or remove the hold of religion over humanity be a good or bad thing?

A few points before I turn the debate back to you all:

a/ junglejake, the kind of thing I'm talking about is not a State ban on religion or any other coercive programme. Did you read the Harris essay in the link? What we're discussing here is whether or not it is time to do away with "respect for another's religious beliefs" on the basis that religious belief is dangerous nonsense that brings out the worst in humanity, often with diabolical consequences. I am not, at this point, stating my own position, though I dare say you'll be able to infer where I stand from what I'm posting anyway. I'm just asking for your views on Questions One and Two above.

b/ By the way, I disagree emphatically with your statement that "the most dangerous idea is the idea that ideas can be dangerous". Ideas are dynamite; ideas change the world; ideas create and destroy. The only thing more dangerous than an idea is the metastasis of an idea into an ideology.

c/ Enkidu (hi again!): in my view, Marxism and Nazism are very much religions, since both are based on an irrational, counterfactual, need-driven belief in ideas that cannot be proven (indeed, can fairly easily be proven false).

d/ Benevolent Heretic, I think your first response was also the first in the thread actually to address the questions I asked -- the second question, at any rate. You said, "as regards questioning religious people about their beliefs and sort of probing them as a means of getting them to think 'more rationally', I'm totally against that." I'd like to ask you to explain, in some detail if you will, why you're against it. The answer may seem obvious to you (even I can hazard a guess) but I'd like you to be explicit because I think doing so will move the debate up to a more interesting level.

What if the point of questioning religious folk -- loudly, publicly -- about their beliefs is not getting them to be more rational but to furnish a prophylactic against the spread of their beliefs to others, in particular the young?

Okay (rings little bell), let the next round commence!

posted on May, 12 2006 @ 04:16 AM
Why atheism? I think a utopian society woud be more agnostic than atheism. denying the existence is god is just as rediculous as claiming he exists. To accept faith in the unknown is the most reasonable outlook in my opinion..

The fact is that Ideas never hurt anyone, but beliefs cause war and segregation. Religions turn countries into teams that go to war with other teams in order to prove whos god is more riteous.

If we were all agnostic, we could all share faith, or lack of in a united sense. The most peaceful future would exist of a globalized government that gives the freedom to believe but denies the right to share belief because it is truly irrational to think that ones belief can be preachable without any evidence..

I have my own faith I dont need any re assurance from a church. I think that should be the general attittude of people around the world.

Religion is nothing more than a crutch, We should break that crutch and teach people to walk on their own.. I garuntee that the majority of religious people in the world are nothing more than a product of fear. Fear of hellfire!

posted on May, 12 2006 @ 06:40 PM
If children were not being forced into a belief system before they are old enough to think for themselves how many adults would choose some of these religions? The problem is forcing the beiliefs.

As for the conspiracy, I think that it is rather unlikely that the elite are trying to stamp out religion. I think it is more likely that they are trying to cause conflict between religions. Wars are extremely profitable for the people that own the BIS and central banks around the world. Plus, they keep people busy and distracted from the real source of these problems.

posted on May, 12 2006 @ 07:45 PM

Originally posted by junglejake
Science is not necessarily a religion, but atheism is.

By your own definition of religious belief versus scientific belief, which do you think Atheism falls under? It is an unequivocal declaration that there is no God. What evidence supports this?

WOW this thread got big fast. Religion is a primitive belief the super natural or what ever you want to call it, athiesm is a belief in noting, laws of physics are all around us.. Does that make it a religion? If it does then go worship the mighty atom

posted on May, 13 2006 @ 12:49 AM
Let's not get hung up on this word "religion". Atheism is a spiritual belief. Since it is a spiritual belief, it falls in the realm of all the religions and is subject to the same rules. Use the word "spiritual" if you like, we're still talking about the same thing. Atheism is not about rocks, clowns, or squirrels, it is about the concept of god or lack there of.


2. Of, concerned with, or affecting the soul.
3. Of, from, or relating to God; deific.

1. b. The doctrine that there is no God or gods.

For god's sake, the word God is in the definition of atheism, god d@mnit! Sorry atheists, you can't win this battle with semantics.

posted on May, 13 2006 @ 08:41 AM

Originally posted by gigaplex
Let's not get hung up on this word "religion"...

Off topic, I'm afraid. Like I said, let's not get bogged down in fundamentals and definitions. If you want to debate whether atheism is a religion or not, please start another thread. This one was started for a different purpose.

Thank you.

posted on May, 13 2006 @ 10:51 AM
As to a conspiracy, I don't think so, I think it's just that most intellectuals value rational thinking over faith and that's why many of them don't hold much with religion.
I do think it's a very good thing for all people to share their own personal religious/non-religious views with each other. There are so many myths about "other" religions that get passed around, it's a good idea to compare notes and debunk myths, in other words learn about each other's religion so as to become more open-minded.

posted on May, 13 2006 @ 03:33 PM

Originally posted by Astyanax
1.In other words, is there a tacit conspiracy amongst intellectuals to denigrate, debunk and ultimately to destroy religion?

I would have to say no. There may be an attempt to do something but I honestly don't think it's to destroy religion. I think more likely, the attempt is to 'equalize' belief systems. In other words, to make it such that everyone is able to disagree about belief systems without having it affect the rest of life. In other words, still, I believe what I believe, you believe what you believe and neither of us is 'wrong' or needing to be convinced to believe diffferently. It's a personal thing, not to be hoisted upon other people as if their life depends upon it.

To me, autonomous beliefs would be ideal. Nobody telling me how God did this or God did that and I need to do something to make sure I end up in the right place after I die. There's no way in this earth that I'm going to believe any of that. No amount of witnessing or testifying is going to change my beliefs, because my beliefs come from within me, not from a book, not from another person, not from a religion, but from my own experiences and innate being.

It is offensive to me when someone implies that I've got it all 'wrong' because of what they believe; what some book, person or religion told them.

2. Would such an effort to reduce or remove the hold of religion over humanity be a good or bad thing?

I think it would be a bad thing, simply because you cannot make a person believe. They choose. And if we, as a society, tried to rid the world of religion, people would not comply. They would hide and read their bibles and meet with like believers. The most we could ever do is force it underground, even if we desired to get rid of it, which I don't. The only thing I want to get rid of is the righteousness and wrongness that goes along with most organized religions.

Secondly, it would be against the First Amendment, which I hold dear.

You said, "as regards questioning religious people about their beliefs and sort of probing them as a means of getting them to think 'more rationally', I'm totally against that." I'd like to ask you to explain, in some detail if you will, why you're against it.

I think I have done that above, but just wanted to add that I came about my personal beliefs on my own, by questioning, wondering, reading and experiencing. Trying to influence others' beliefs is neither my right nor is it respectful of the person's ability and right to come to their beliefs on their own. I would be as guilty as those who I have felt forced their beliefs on me in the past.

What if the point of questioning religious folk -- loudly, publicly -- about their beliefs is not getting them to be more rational but to furnish a prophylactic against the spread of their beliefs to others, in particular the young?

I believe it is a parent's right to bring up their kids in the way they wish, religiously as well as morally, financially, etc. Once a child grows up, they are free to choose their path. I did. I came out of a very religious home. Of the 7 of us, we're all over the religious map. I have no right to subject a child to something against his parent's will for the purpose of 'getting' him to open his mind. He will see other ways of life in school and elsewhere as he grows that will help him form his belief system.

Originally posted by gigaplex
If children were not being forced into a belief system before they are old enough to think for themselves how many adults would choose some of these religions? The problem is forcing the beiliefs.

While I agree that religious beliefs are forced on young formative minds, I have seen plenty of people break out of that (me for one). And I've also seen people come to religion after being raised in a family with no religion at all. They grew up, discovered it and went for it. It should be a free choice.

Originally posted by gigaplex
If children were not being forced into a belief system before they are old enough to think for themselves how many adults would choose some of these religions?

I think very few would choose religion on their own, but some would. Simply because it's characteristic of man to wonder where we came from and where we're going. And unless we're willing to accept that we don't really know the answers to those questions, and live our lives not knowing what the future holds, I think it's easier to grasp onto a 'story' whether it's about Jesus Christ, Mohammad or Pleadians. It's comforting to have an explanation and feel some sort of control about our future.

Someone said something about "respectng other people's religious beliefs". I just want to point out that I think there's a difference between respecting other people and respecting their beliefs. I respect other people and their right to believe any way they choose, but I don't respect their beliefs. I don't respect the belief that gay people are sinners because the bible says so. I don't respect the belief that I am going to die and go to hell. I don't respect the belief that God (if there is such a thing) has a bunch of strict rules to which I must adhere to be a good person and finally be judged as worthy to spend time with him... I don't respect other people's beliefs, but I respect the people and their right to believe whatever they want.

gigaplex Very good point about atheism. It is, by definition, a belief about God, whether positive or negative, so I agree, while it's not a religion, it is a spiritual belief. Thanks for that definition. I still can't say that it's a "religion", but it's definitely a spiritual belief. (I'm not an Atheist, by the way)

[edit on 13-5-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]

posted on May, 13 2006 @ 11:36 PM
Benevolent Herectic and gigaplex made my point for me much better than did I - thanks!

I was trying to show that a belief about anything was just a belief - not a religion. I will concede the minor point that Atheism is a believe of the spiritual type (even if it is in the lower left quadrant on the spiritual belief chart). Moving up another level of granularity, a belief is a subset of opinion, I think.

posted on May, 13 2006 @ 11:58 PM
Al Davidson, I like your signature:

"The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell

Though I prefer the way Yeats said it:

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity".

I suppose passionate intensity is intended to scare away doubt, the same way the Chinese light firecrackers at celebrations to scare away evil spirits. I wonder if it really works, though.

posted on May, 20 2006 @ 11:59 PM

Originally posted by Lecter
Don’t even dare group Atheism in the same category as a set of primitive believes as religion. Religion is a primitive belief in the supernatural and in performing rituals like reciting certain (magic
) words to keep the "boogie" man away.

Without religion good men would still do good things and evil men would still do evil things. Only religion can make a good man do evil things.

[edit on 11-5-2006 by Lecter]

Why not dare? If one group can capriciously dismiss the beliefs of another, isn't turn about fair play?

Religion is far from 'primitive'. Some of history's greatest minds were devout men and women. Philosophy, the natural sciences, art, music, and literature have benefited from religious intellectuals. The monastaries of the Early Middle Ages were the sole custodians of knowledge. They preserved literacy, the institutions, literature, arts and sciences, and philosophies of the ancient Classical World AND advanced all of these subjects in vital, stimulating, and significant ways. Monastaries were also responsible for most of the argicultural innovations that broke the Feudal system and made possible the rise of the High Middle Ages and the Modern World. Primitive? Hardly, Lecter.

One definition of magic is the invoking, summoning, control, or domination of supernatural forces. From your tone, I infer that you are more likely referring to magic as some parlor trick or cheap feat of legerdermain. Either is somewhat insulting and hardly appropriate. If the secular humanist world wishes to engage in bashing religion, I have a piece of advice - know your enemy. The rituals involved in religious ceremonies serve two primary purposes. We practice certain discplines in order to prepare our minds and our souls to be receptive to the grace we believe that God incessently bestows. It's not summoning Divine Grace, it's preparing us in a way similiar to a runner stretching before a meet. I guess you could call that 'magic' if you are feeling particularly contrary or ignorant. A second and equally essential aspect of ritual is to allow the community of believers to share in that communal experience. To share in a communion not simply with God but with each other. This is a remarkably comforting and uplifting experience.

As to the final charge that good men would still do good deeds and evil men evil. Reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius lately? To a great extent, I agree. It's not about good and evil, though. It's about impact. The Knights of Columbus have raised over 8 million dollars - 5 of them going to Katrina and Rita victims. And we don't ask if you are Catholic before we help you. If we shut down Catholic Church financed social services and the Catholic hospital system, government would be overwhelmed. Just ONE of my local Catholic hospitals writes off about 40 million dollars in charity medical care a year. A year. Imagine what would happen to the government medical benefits system if we closed the doors. I have yet to see an Atheist or Secular Humanist hospital network. Nor do those organizations feed the poor, counsel those in crisis, and provide for the least fortunate the way we do. What about the welfare system? Brother, have your been paying attention? The governments - local, county, state, and federal would be paralyzed if we stopped our good works.

Somehow it has become fashionable for intellectuals and the more commonly encountered sub-genus pseuco-intellectuals to wear their religion-bashing merit badges with distinction. There are indeed some really ignorant religious zealots out there, no questions asked. But - once again looking at the Roman Catholic church - Catholic colleges are among the best in the nation and the world. Jesuits and Dominicans have a well-deserved reputation for being brilliant, well-educated, and intellectual giants. And, though I use my own faith as my base of argument, other organized world religions have produced men and women who are equally impressive.

I don't argue this point because the so-called intellectuals intimidate me. Hardly. I argue my points for a few reasons. I like to argue - that's why most of us are here, no? I believe that most people misspeak or attack positions alien to their own out of fear and ignorance. If I say something that gives ONE person a pause, then I have done my job. Finally, when the bully is kicking you, you don't lie on the ground and take it. You stand up and return blow for blow.

As always, thanks for your attention, and God Bless you, one and all...

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