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Author Topic:   Moral high ground
Modulous
Member (Idle past 93 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


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Message 56 of 318 (644794)
12-20-2011 5:38 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Portillo
12-20-2011 4:32 AM


the moral claims of atheism
Lets take a few examples. Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and their henchmen, in a period of 6 decades, killed 100 million people.
Atheistic regimes have killed over 100 million people.
Atheism does not claim that it is a system of morality that should be revered, respected, or that its arbiters should be worshipped. On the other hand, there are plenty of religious folk that do make such claims, and the evidence seems weighted against them.
Atheism may help us avoid making certain moral mistakes (ie., the religious ones) it does not claim to be a complete cure. It has no moral teachings or positions, it is simply a lack of belief in gods and by extension a rejection of moral systems with objective divine arbiters. There are still plenty of morally abhorrent things a person can believe while also not believing in gods.
The real enemy is dogma, held to be true without supporting evidence, that if true would mean we have to act in a certain way. Religion doesn't have a complete monopoly on dogma, but it has secured itself a pretty big chunk of the market.
Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 93 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 58 of 318 (644799)
12-20-2011 6:46 PM
Reply to: Message 57 by Taz
12-20-2011 5:55 PM


I'm just having a lot of trouble understanding what you guys mean by true christian
A true Christian is a moral person, of course. All examples of immoral people are either not true Christians or Christians with temporary human failings as they succumb to sin (the latter group can often be identified by their notpologies when they do bad things).

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 93 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


(1)
Message 69 of 318 (644867)
12-21-2011 10:43 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by Taz
12-21-2011 2:28 AM


Bush for years very vocally and openly supported throwing people in jail for homosexual acts. Christians (in my area at least) love to use GWB as an example of a real christian. I highly doubt you can apply "temporary" to what equates to as years.
One suspects that those same Christians you refer to do not regard throwing homosexuals in jail as being immoral. Therefore Bush is moral. Therefore, a True Christian.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 93 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 173 of 318 (645619)
12-28-2011 1:33 PM
Reply to: Message 167 by purpledawn
12-28-2011 9:49 AM


Re: Religous Motivation
You brought the Bible verses in as evidence of deaths for religious reasons. What were the religious reasons behind the deaths in the verses that you provided in Message 11?
There are admittedly religiously motivated killings in the OT, even if we discount actions by God himself (presumably on theological grounds which don't interest me - such as 'God's beliefs aren't technically religious'). For example in Deuteronomy 20
quote:
But of the cities of these peoples, that the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes;
but you shall utterly destroy them: the Hittite, and the Amori, the Kana`ani, and the Perizzi, the Hivvi, and the Yevusi; as the LORD your God has commanded you
I don't think it ever mentions how many people that is, however. If the Israelites came to this opinion, and this drove them to destroy the above mentioned groups as the Bible claims, it would have been religiously motivated. Whether it happened at all, and the reasons behind what really happened aside, those that would claim the Biblical history is accurate need to account for these relatively large (for the time (given lower population densities)) massacres in their tallies for religiously motivated deaths.
Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 93 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 174 of 318 (645621)
12-28-2011 1:50 PM
Reply to: Message 172 by Tangle
12-28-2011 1:06 PM


The concept of God being a Muslim, Hindu or a Baptist is utterly bonkers. Even those that believe in him, seem to know that he's above all that nonsense.
An important, but potentially off-topic, point should be made here. They don't seem to know anything, they profess the belief that he is above all that nonsense but they don't seem to know that.
There is no reason to discount the possibility that God is following his own religious views about the universe. That religion maybe about super-supernatural things, or it could be strangely self-referential. We don't know and we can't know. I suppose believing something strongly might give the appearance of knowing, but it doesn't fool most of us skeptics
To attempt to swing it back on topic, religious people often claim the moral high ground, despite not being able to know anything about the supposed moral system that they're following*. Something of a paradox, if you ask me.


* They just have strong beliefs about their divinely inspired moral system - I just cannot stretch to calling those beliefs 'knowledge'.

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 Message 175 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-28-2011 2:10 PM Modulous has replied

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 93 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 176 of 318 (645626)
12-28-2011 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 175 by New Cat's Eye
12-28-2011 2:10 PM


Well yeah, but if we're talking about "the god of the Bible", then there's things we can ascribe to him as a character... and I don't think we can call him religious.
You don't think, but you don't know either. The Bible does not state categorically that the god of the Bible is areligious. And further even if the Bible said it, we have no way if knowing that this statement truthfully corresponds to reality. But even if we grant the existence of a single God of The Bible, we cannot know if it is religious.
If you're comparing religion vs. non-religion, and wanted to add up the deaths caused by each, would you really count the deaths from The Flood as being religiously motivated (assuming you're counting for the side that believes in the Bible)?
I would say we do not know if the flood was religiously motivated since we don't know god's full motivation for his actions. How did he get from 'these people are wicked' to 'so I will destroy them all'? Maybe he has a religious view, who can really say? The Bible is silent on this, as far as I can tell.
Further, the question in the OP seems to be talking about deaths caused by man in the name of religion (and thus not by god) vs. deaths caused by man in atheist regimes... so either way it doesn't seem fair to include deaths caused by god.
I agree. That's why in Message 173 I mentioned the deaths that men caused in the Bible as a result of their religious beliefs, rather than deaths that God directly caused.
The OP talks about the kill rate of the various religions. It is only a minor spin from this to talk about the death rates caused by the gods. Not all gods command genocide. Not all gods slaughter thousands upon thousands of people directly. The God of The Bible* is himself guilty of killing many. If he really existed then the cost of that existence perhaps should be tallied when we are talking about moral high ground.
Can anyone who thinks that their god killed 15,000 people for complaining (Numbers 16) really claim the moral high ground? Can they claim it over people that simply lack the belief that their god did any thing at all?


* I deny that there is such a creature. There are many gods of the Bible.

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 93 days)
Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 180 of 318 (645650)
12-28-2011 6:05 PM
Reply to: Message 178 by New Cat's Eye
12-28-2011 3:01 PM


Too, if you're going to consider events that actually happened, I don't think you can just blanketly apply religious motivation to the individuals involved in that particular battle, or whatever.
We can detect religious influence though. The Crusades were called and getting into heaven was the promise given to those that made the long and dangerous journey to the Holy Lands. That and whatever wealth they could plunder. I think it safe to present the Crusades as religiously motivated violence, even if there were also secular reasons for doing battle as well.
Are you familiar with any arguments from Hitch that talk about the number of deaths caused by religions, or anything like that? Because I think P was referring to something specific if you go back and read the context of the quote.
Hitch famously argued that religious mindset was behind the so called atheist regimes. Maybe the leaders were atheistic, but they tapped into the power of belief in authority figures that religion had primed their audience to. Nevertheless, this is a separate thread, so we're given license to veer from the context of the specific claim and discuss similar and related claims at our leisure. But don't take my word for it, in a little over 2 minutes Hitchens is pretty much bang on topic for this thread:

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