humanguy wrote:I want to point out that when a child is molested it hurts everyone, not just atheists. Atheists are not the only people who are aware of and angry about injustices done in the name of religion.
Atheists are not the only Americans whose lives changed on 9/11. Statistics would probably back me up when I say that on that day far more Christians than atheists were murdered.
Implying that Christians aren't just as outraged as atheists are over 9/11 or child molestation by priests or people who murder abortion doctors is to dehumanize Christians, making it easier for them to be perceived as an enemy to be angry at.
Not ONCE did I do this, or even hint at it.
What is the point of this accusation? Indeed, my every post was couched in terms of "We're angry at this theists -- AREN'T YOU ANGRY TOO?" -- Clearly, my context is YES -- EVERYONE is angry. But from where I sit, theists make excuses about the root cause of the acts themselves:
"That's not how twue <insert religious sect here> acts"
"It's not the religion, it's politics!"
"These fanatics stole our religion!"
And when atheists say
"Things like this are clearly driven by the religious belief itself, and we're angry about that!"
We're marginalized, and dismissed, and tagged with "Angry" as if it's inappropriate to be such (which is why I ask "aren't you angry too? How is it inappropriate then?") -- hell, even you defend theists using the tactic, and use it yourself, and you're not even a theist! OR, we're categorized as "obnoxious" like mitchell does.
What we aren't given is the respect to be told, "Hey, you're right. I'm angry about this too and want to do something about it." Now -- what to do about it is clearly a different discussion, but the whole point of this thread, and what has actually been demonstrated multiple times -- is that rather than joining in on appropriate reasons to be angry, the business-as-usual litany of excuses were made, expectations that those who are rightfully angry need to be civil (we have been-- when is it your turn?), and the purposeful dismissal of the response itself (mitchell does it most glaringly because he claims to "ignore me" -- but he can't help intellectual defecation when the urge strikes him) -- is the order of the day. So far, Moonwood and yjoeyh have been the only theist to understand the issue.
You won't agree with me on this, and there's no doubt about that, but I'm convinced that these and any and all other atrocities would be committed even if there was no such thing as religion. Blaming religion for these sorts of horrors can only be the result of looking at life through a filter. There's just simply more to it than that, there's much, much more to it than that.
I don't disagree at all. Humans can be cruel to others for a variety of reasons. But you don't get the argument if you think this explanation is valid enough to be a primary one. A brief story to illustrate:
I was a 2-pack-a-day smoker for most of my adult life. And I'd often want to quit, and all my friends were smokers and they all agreed that quitting was the thing to do, but at the same time, as Los Angeles residents, they would say things like "Hell, I breathe worse shit than cigarette smoke every time I go out." Well, that's not exactly true, but the logic behind the argument is obviously broken.
So what if you breathe worse things just by going out? Does that justify doing yet another bad thing to yourself? Does quitting smoking increase my risk for lung cancer, or decrease it? And what about all the other effects of smoking, that have nothing to do with breathing, like heart issues due to the chemicals. The point is, smoking is bad even if the air isn't so great, or there are other ways I can get cancer, and that doesn't justify smoking or somehow magically change smoking into something beneficial.
So I quit -- 11 years ago this month in fact.
I view religion in much the same way. So what that politics might drive a war or an act of cruelty? Or that the loss of religion will not make child abuse or criminality disappear. Atheism is not a panacea to right the world's wrongs, it's merely the transition to the inevitable maturation process of the human being. Atheism removes the obstacles that divert human attention away from humanity, things like Heaven and Hell, and "salvation". People who believe that a god will come out of the clouds to save the day like some comic book hero -- and make no mistake -- the vast majority of people who are religious believe that a key benefit to having god is that "he will make things right in the end" -- are not going to be inclined to make things right in the end.
Is Catholicism to blame for child abuse? No. The doctrine itself doesn't state "go thee forth and rape thy altar boys". But the religious institution harms sexual psyche, invents a devastating culture of males (who happen to have evolved into highly sexually-driven creatures) and secrecy, and heaps massive amounts of guilt on people from birth going forward. This is both wrong and dangerous -- and believe me, if there were a secular entity that did the same (not that such would be allowed to exist in pursuit of its agenda for even a second) I would be just as angry at it. As it happens, there's an organization called NAMBLA that "exists" to promote some deviancy called "man-boy love"; it champions child abuse, and it make me angry that it even exists (they are not permitted to do much of anything but say they champion man-boy love). I won't link to them in any manner but a quick Wiki read will show they are for the most part defunct and have no national meetings or even local ones.
The difference is, everyone would instantly agree with me that an entity like NAMBLA is an immoral nightmare of pedophilia, and we can all join hands and "kumbaya" in agreement that our anger is justified. Not so with any religious organization. not only is the religious organization far bigger in sweep, with massive amounts of abuse dating back centuries, and not only does it specifically attract such pedophiles particularly because of its entrenched structuring, and not only has it purposely protected these deviants by moving them around, but it hires legions of lawyers to figure out ways to exonerate itself... and I'm the intolerant asshole for being angry at this.
Tell me, what other institution has been permitted to operate under such incredible abuses? Are you going to say "totalitarian regimes that give not a shit about human rights"? Well yes, but do we make excuses for such regimes? In some cases, we arm ourselves and go there to blow the fuck out of such regimes because they are bad and we are really pissed off at them. But what we don't do is make excuses for them, or protect them, or pretend as if the every ideology itself isn't to blame for the actions that ensure from the ideology itself.
And this is just to take issue with one element of what religion has fostered in humanity -- for instance, tyo continue to pick on Catholicism, it is the DOCTRINE of Catholicism that has led to the refusal to embrace safe sex procedures-- they are obsessed agianst "Onanism" -- which is a rleigious belief that "Wasted sperm is a sin to god" -- and this drives their endless prohibityions agianst condom use. This has a direct effect on the lives and safety of millions -- but to say "Religion drives this irresponsible practice" -- is to be dismissed. Let's say it again: The Catholic RELIGION should be held accountyable for MURDER (Negligent Homiscide) in its claims that condom use is A) A sin, and B) lies that condoms might promote AIDS infection. And that is a RELIGOUS tenet of Catholicism -- whether you interpret "onanism" as something else is not relevant. That's how they interpret it, and from where any dispassionate third party sits, neither your interpretation or theirs holds any dominance-- they are both equally invalid or valid.
("Your" = "general your", so I don't get accused of assigning these beliefs to humanguy).
The thing is, we don't NEED religion for these positive affects anymore. We may have needed them (or it) in the past, but we do not need them (or it) now.
My atheism stems from "religion's time as a needed human dynamic has drawn to a close". This means I don't dismiss its past positive effects, and am the first to admit that it has done a lot to inform and develop our culture. But that doesn't mean it's time isn't over with. We don't need it for law, we don't need it for morality, we don't need it for charity, we don't need it for justice, we don't need it for comfort, we don't need it for power, we don't need it for governance and we don't need it to explain a single thing in where we are, what we are, or who we can be. and the only thing that can "save" us ... is us.
Now to thank Moonwood for being the one who seems to actually get it.