reply to post by Xtrozero
Well that is my problem with your logic for you want to broad-brush everything that has led to negative consequences as religion base, but I
say that man in general uses many forms of motivators with religion just being one of them.
Of course there are other sources of evil in the world besides religion. People are motivated to do wrong by need, as well as from those famous
motivators Christians call the Seven Deadly Sins. But you have wandered far off topic and into irrelevancy.
It is my understanding that in this thread we are discussing scientific research showing that societies in which religious belief is the accepted norm
tend to suffer more crime and violence than secular societies in which large numbers of people are atheists; and also research indicating that
anti-social individuals tend to be religious rather than atheist, even after the great predominance of religious individuals in a given population is
This thread is for discussing why that should be the case, or else for intelligently disputing the research. The question of what motivates people to
do wrong is only relevant here to the degree that we can explain why religious people are more susceptible to these motives than atheists are.
To my mind, there are only two ways to explain that. Either people with preexisting anti-social tendencies tend to be more susceptible to the charms
of faith, or else religion itself makes people do wicked things. If you accept the research findings, then the question of why religious people do bad
things is the only subject up for discussion here. Making excuses for religion or trying to whitewash it is off topic. None of what you have said up
to now holds water or even demands consideration. Your excuses on behalf of religion are of interest to nobody.
You are, of course, welcome to dispute the research. Point out where and how you think the researchers have gone wrong in either their methodology or
their conclusions; we could debate that, perhaps.
If you want to label nationalism as a religion too then have at, but then we might as well just put every motivator in to the religious bucket
and change the definition to something more general.
Faith and nation are interwoven more often than they are separate strands of a society. In my own country, the dominant ethnic majority sees itself as
elected by the Buddha himself to defend the land in which his faith would be established for eternity. The inconvenient fact that the Buddha lived and
died without ever actually setting foot in this country is denied by a race-myth that insists he visited three times by supernatural means. In this
instance, as in myriad others, race and religion are not distinguished from one another.
The classic example of the equivalence of faith and nation is, of course, Israel - not the physical territory, but the people we know as the Jews, who
in their supposed wanderings in the wilderness were addressed by their prophet thus: 'Hear, O Israel.'
National myths always have a religious element. For example:
Was Japan driven by religion during WWII?
Indeed it was. Surely you are aware of this elementary, recent historical fact? The Shinto faith is a nation-myth of an overtly religious kind, in
which the Emperor was (and by many Japanese, still is) considered divine. It was religious fanaticism that motivated the kamikaze
religious fanaticism that fuelled the unusual viciousness and atrociousness with which the Japanese went to war. Haven't you ever noticed the outcry
that erupts among Japan's former enemies whenever a senior Japanese politician visits the Yasukuni
History teaches the equivalence or race and religion. Why did Horatio keep the bridge in the great days of old? According to the poet,it was for the
ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods. Why was Caesar worshipped as a god? Why did the men of Ancient Egypt's ruling dynasties marry their
sisters? Why do the Chinese, who worship their ancestors, return to their ancestral villages every lunar New Year? What does ancestor-worship mean in
the first place? I could multiply such examples almost infinitely.
To say that Nazi Germany was motivated by religion that led to WWII is where I really start to lose interest in this discussion.
No-one has said that, so I can't imagine why you mention it. But to speak again, as I was doing earlier, about the Holocaust: if the proposition is
'religion causes antisocial behaviour', that includes violence against the religious by others. Those who are martyred for belonging to a particular
religion, as the Jews were, are equally victims of religious violence.
If you have anything substantive to say in reply to the above, I look forward to reading it. I am not, however, interested in reading lame excuses for
religious vileness and attempts to show that two wrongs make a right by quoting lists of atrocities performed by the irreligious. Neither are
pertinent to the conversation at hand.
[edit on 3/6/10 by Astyanax]