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Faith - the conmans tool

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In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2009 18:21:08 GMT
Mr Davies,

I was looking back at your original discussion starter and I can't help noticing that you say "religion in general is the cause of most of the problems in the world." Granted that you precede this with the fact that it is your personal opinion (aren't you glad of free speech), but this does strike me as somewhat na´ve rhetoric (this is my personal opinion too).

Is religion the cause of people dying of old age, or of disease? Is it the cause for my niece being born with a genetic defect? Is it the cause of all the deaths and property damage of Hurricane Katrina and the Sri Lankan Tsunami? Is religion the cause of the multiple deaths in Hiroshima and Nagisaki at the tail-end of the Second World War? Is religion the cause of the concentration camps of Germany or Bosnia, or for the Siberian Death Camps of Soviet Russia? Is religion the cause of the numerous rapes and murders that occur daily throughout the world? Is religion the cause of the corruption of the fat-cat millionaires or the scandals of Enron and the like? Is it the cause of the current recession, or of the huge amount of unemployment that has resulted? Is religion the cause of the humanitarian disaster that is currently known as Zimbabwe, or of the starvation of millions in sub-Saharan Africa due to famine? Is it the cause of Politicians lies or their attempts to spin everything to their favour? Is religion the reason that Doctor Who was cancelled in 1989, not to resurface (properly) for sixteen years? (Okay that one may not be a problem of the world). Is religion the cause of global warming, or that no-one can agree whether global warming is true or not? Is religion the reason that the USA re-elected George W. Bush? Is religion the cause of malaria? Is it the cause of the car, train and airplane crashes of recent months? Is religion the cause of the snow a few weeks ago that caused me to slip over and cut my elbow?

Enough ranting! Could you please clarify what you mean by `most' of the problems of the world? Also, do you think that getting rid of religion would actually solve the problem?


In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2009 18:34:28 GMT
Hi Luke,

Nice bunch of quotes from the Bible, but I think that all of them work just as well in the context of polygamy as monogamy: In other words marriage is a commitment between two people (the actual word used is covenant, I think). The commitment is between only those two and does not relate to other 'marriages' - so theoretically it is possible for a man to marry multiple wives and to still commit adultery by having sex with a woman who is not one of those wives.

Divorce is also seen in the context of marriage as only being allowed if the partner commits adultery, which means that marriage to the person being divorced is also considered adultery.

My I also add at this point, that just because the Bible isn't explicit in forbidding it does not make totally acceptable (and that may just be my cultural upbringing speaking). I don't support polygamy, though I disagree with the Victorian mission philosophy that made converts to Christianity get rid of all wives except one.


In reply to an earlier post on 26 Feb 2009 23:28:15 GMT
Neutral says:
You haven't read the book so why are you on this review page? You may not say that everyone should be an atheist but Richard Dawkins is saying precisely that.

Posted on 27 Feb 2009 09:29:03 GMT
Mr Burchell

I appreciate that those things you mention are in some part tragic, particularly Doctor Who. But are you really going to compare those things with the number of people throughout history who have died in religious conflicts. Ranging from the crusades, to modern day. For example, the lovely people who perpetrated 9/11 did so for a religious cause, had this even never occured then the US and Britain would never have been able to Politically justify invading Iraq and Afghanistan, and look how many lives have been lost there. The years of murder and violence in Northern Ireland, all comes down to religious intollerance. Even the bible itself promotes intolerance in the Ten commandments. As far as the other things you mention, well for one, George Bush never would have got a second term in office, if half of America wasnt full of Redneck, televangelist, gun and oil worshipers in the southern bible belt, who were completely unwilling to vote for anyone other that one of their own, no matter how stupid a choice.

The things you mention are tragic no doubt, but all from the last 60 years or so, religious hate and violence permeates all of recorded history.

That said, when a man commits a crime or a horrific act, it disgusts me. But it disgusts me far more, when he commits that act in the name of a religion, and think they are going to be rewarded by their god for doing so!

As for the natural disasters or illnesses you mention, whose fault are they, if not God's, so im not inclined to let religion - the organised worship of this God, off the hook on those either.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2009 19:35:16 GMT
Neutral says:
C Davies

"the lovely people who perpetrated 9/11 did so for a religious cause", - No it was a political cause dressed in religious language.

George Bush never would have got a second term in office, if half of America wasnt full of Redneck, televangelist, gun and oil worshipers in the southern bible belt, - Have you ever been to the "southern bible belt"?

As for the natural disasters or illnesses you mention, whose fault are they, if not God's, so im not inclined to let religion - the organised worship of this God, off the hook on those either. - Ah, so you know the mind of God do you? Please advise.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2009 19:57:40 GMT
Vinogradov says:
"No it was a political cause dressed in religious language."

You have to admit, it was pretty well dressed. I'd hate to see what a real religious cause looked like.

"Ah, so you know the mind of God do you? Please advise."

I thought religious people claim to have a knowledge of the mind of 'God' (except when the questions are embarrassing, when it all gets a bit misty). Or have we got that wrong as well?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2009 22:09:17 GMT
Neutral says:

You really should carry out some original research into Osama Bin Laden and his political programme.

Avoiding the question again Vino - only to be expected I suppose.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2009 22:10:42 GMT
Neutral says:
By the way, you never did say whether you have ever been to the Southern Bible belt did you?

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2009 22:38:46 GMT
Vinogradov says:
What, ME?

Well - yes I have... but I think you actually asked this of someone else. I suppose one 'fool' is equivalent to another in your mind. And - sorry to ask this - but why the nasty comments the whole time? Don't you like people challenging your assumptions? Do try to be a little more pleasant. Thanks.

Anyway - do you think that Osama Bin Laden believes there is a religious aspect to his programme? I fully accept that there is a political aspect. But to imagine that there is no religious dimension seems, well, unlikely to me. Sorry.

Posted on 27 Feb 2009 23:47:22 GMT
Mr H says:
I find it fascinating that those of a religious persuasion can consistently ignore the arguments against religion and the existence of god, and maintain their stance in spite of valid argument. I also find it fascinating that those same people appear to consistently vote down comments that argue against the existence of god despite the fact that doing so is dishonest as the point of voting is to express whether a point adds to the discussion, and since the original post cannot fail to add to the discussion, it is most amusing to see that four people have voted against it doing so. Shame on you, you sinful people - don't you know your own god's commandments? Which, interestingly, also say that killing isn't allowed, yet the bible, particularly the old testament, is full of murders. Amazing.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2009 23:52:57 GMT
Neutral says:

And the repeat question was to the same person not to you. I should, perhaps have made that clearer, bearing in mind the order in which the posts were delivered.

"Do try to be a little more pleasant." - only replying in your own style.

I didn't imagine anything. 9/11 was a political statement, the religious language was ideological.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Feb 2009 23:56:37 GMT
Neutral says:
Actually Mr H, research would probably show that most of those who vote against a post do so because it does not share their view, irrespective of which side of the argument is presented.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2009 00:19:34 GMT
Mr H says:
Interesting choice of name there. However, in my experience of this particular board, I believe you are mistaken.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2009 20:07:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Mar 2009 08:58:19 GMT
Mr Davies,

Thanks for replying. I think that you should reconsider the death toll of 'religious conflicts'. While undoubtedly people died in such wars as the Crusades, it is naive to assume that all wars from ancient times forward were motivated by religion. Very few were and in fact many wars pitted (for example ) Christian country against Christian country (both Catholic) - such wars were motivated by power - who has it and who doesn't. Take a look at the War Audit conducted by the University of Bradford in 2004. On the one hand it clearly shows that wars were rarely religiously motivated (well over half the wars they investigated had no religious element at all). Religion does not come out of this smelling of roses, but neither is it so bad that it smells as foul as some have indicated.

The situation of 9/11 was, I believe, perpetrated by a small number of fanaticals. If all religious people were as fanatical as that then it would not have stopped there and we would currently be in World War III - not a war between nationalities, but between relgions. The fact that this has not happened suggests that religion can equally play a part in encouraging peace and tolerance.

Northern Ireland is not religiously motivated, but culturaly, though religion plays a part in this. People in Northern Ireland have considered themselves Irish or British and that (simplistically) is the root of the troubles. The fact that the Irish were mostly Catholic and the British were mostly Protestant does not make it religious war, and this can be seen by the Orange marches which have no religious connotation at all. Much of the troubles of my lifetime can be traced back to Bloody Sunday, which was not religiously motivated.

I cannot understand how America voted Dubya back in for a second term, but I can't help thinking that your description of Bible Belt Christians is somewhat slanderous and vague - I doubt that half of America is full of redneck, televangelist, gun and oil worshippers - though I have met very few Americans (the few I have would not fit into any of those categories). It is difficult to determine how American politics would look without the two-party system they currently have, but comparing it with British politics (which I am much more familiar with), we come off as much less religiously motivated in our voting and yet still managed to get into war with Afghanistan and Iraq.

You are right in saying that religious hate and violence permeates all of recorded history, though perhaps that is a selective way of looking at it. I would say that hate and violence permeates all of recorded history, and that religions permeate all of recorded history - and the only reason the two can be connected is that they have both permeated all of recorded history. It is not necessarily true that one is the cause of the other.

This goes for your next comment too: when a man commits a crime or horrific act, it disgusts me - but you don't explain why someone doing it in the name of religion is any more disgusting than someone who does it for no reason at all. For the religious person at least they have justification in their eyes (even if not in the eyes of the rest of the world). The non-religious man who commits such a crime does so for their own pleasure and I would see that as being far more disgusting. In fact as a Christian I would love to see the elimination of all crimes and horrific acts, and while I would have held the same view before becoming a Christian I am now more inclined to do something about it (rather than just talk or blame someone else).

As for natural disasters, why should they be God's fault. I don't see you proclaiming God as being responsible for so many good things in the world, so why lumber him with all the bad - to me this is a cop-out answer. God can only be held responsible by you for anything if you believe in him and if you believe in him (which you seem not to) then you stop seeing the world in such black and white terms.

To blame religion for most of the world's problems will lead to more problems. Everywhere that someone has turned around and started to blame one group for all their problems, whether Jew or Tutsi or Kurd or 'the West', or Christians, or Americans or 'religions', this inevitably leads to persecution for that group and possibly even destruction. And when all the death and destruction has finished - the problems are stil there. This is why the rhetoric of blaming any one group for the world's problems is actually quite frightening and is worse than the religiously motivated actions of the Islamic fundamentalists.

I am not sure how, but the idea that atheists are somehow more enlightened than 'religious people' is what comes across in Dawkins' book and in some of the postings here. I can't see that as being any more true than religious people being more enlightened than atheists. My experience is that people are people and that at the end of the day many will do things that they know are wrong but will justify them in their minds as being acceptable or necessary and they don't or won't need religion to do that.


In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2009 20:12:02 GMT
Mr Davies

...and another thing.

You say that the Ten Commandments promotes intolerance, though I am not sure how - the only commandment that I could think of that might fit into this category is "You shall have no other Gods before me". But this is not a command to go out and persecute those who do not worship God, it is a personal command to his people in the same way as a man saying to his son, don't call anyone else "father" - this does not apply to the whole population of the world, only to the son.

Please clarify.


Posted on 10 Mar 2009 13:59:02 GMT
No, but surely a God that truely created us, would understand the nature of his creation, which is to mistrust and presecute difference, and by stating that we should worship no other God, he creates the possibility of religious conflict, which we all know can, did and does occur.


You make a lot of good points, but i would just say that I dont see religion as being the cause of all of the worlds problems. But it does cause some of them, and yet as far as i can see solves none in return.

As far as 9/11 being the work of a select few radicals, and youre comment about us being in World War 3. Do you really think that if any of the muslim states had anywhere near the technological and military might of the west, that we would not have already had a World War 3, the only reason they resort to terrorism is due to an inability so win a regular conflict.

I agree that the Northern Ireland issue did not start of as a religious issue, but it certainly has kept it going, in the same way as this religious intolerance permeates Glasgow. The 2 sides cannot even get together for a football match without lashing out at each other.

When a man commits a crime for his own reasons, as deplorable as they may be, that has to be better than commiting a crime because someone else told you to - i.e. youre religion. I was just doing as i was told, was an arguement the Nazi's tried to use aswell!

As for the natural disasters quote, i dont believe in God, so do not blame him for anything, but a previous believer was using this as a plus point on the side of belief. For me, if you are a believer, how can you not blame God for all of the awful things in the world. If he created us, surely he must be resonsible.

And i must stress that i am not blaming one particular religion, but all of organised religion. I simply dont believe that you should live your life as someone else tells you. If through the course of your life you come to the natural conclusion that there is an all powerful being who created you, then fine, thats great. But how many believers would do this if they werent influenced by their government, their parents, their schools and their friends, not many i suspect, and it certainly would not take its current form.

Posted on 11 Mar 2009 13:28:05 GMT
Mr Davies,

You started this discussion thread by saying that religion is the cause of 'most' of the world's problems and now you have reached the point of saying that it is the cause of 'some' of the world's problems. I am glad that you have been educated to that degree :-).

I have little doubt that religion does cause some problems, but I am of the firm opinion that if you take religion away people will still find reasons for hatred and persecution, even if for the simple "he's got what I haven't". Religion can and should play a part in opposing those reasons. Sadly history has been littered with those who have used the church for their own personal gain, much as Bin Laden has used religious fundamentalists for his.

You don't believe that you should live your life as someone else tells you, but that is nothing more than anarchy. Whether we like it or not, there are always people telling us what we can or cannot do from our bank who says we can't go on that expensive holiday because we don't have enough money, through our bosses at work who tell us what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by (and sometimes watches as you do it), onwards to spouses and children whose demand on us of time and money often does not fit with our own desire, the advertisers who tell us we are not 'complete' without some item or another and ending with our governments that tell us that no matter how much we dislike a person, inflicting harm on them is wrong. It is naive to assume that our lives are completely free. However with the decisions we do make, surely it is best to get the wisest advice around - and for that there is an infinite, transcendent God who knows far more than you or I could ever conceive. If that god is telling me to live my life in a certain way, I would do well to consider what he is saying and why he is saying it.

Even when a human being is speaking from the pulpit, the fact that we know that humans are falliable (and that includes the Pope), should make us wary of believing every word they say, while accepting that the majority of it is inspired by the God who is infalliable.

God's desire is for people to live together in harmony as evidenced in the Garden of Eden and with the life and message of Jesus. The sad reality is that people have failed to achieve that goal as will be witnessed by the situation in Glasgow or pretty much any town/city centre on Friday night with drunks fighting (and occasionally killing) each other for no apparent reason. The conclusion is that many people do not need a reason to fight or hurt or bully. They will do it because they can.


In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2009 18:04:11 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Mar 2009 18:05:52 GMT
Neutral says:

"people do not need a reason to fight or hurt or bully. They will do it because they can." Correct. They will do it whether they have a religious faith or not. However, in some faiths they will not do it because their faith forbids them.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2009 18:36:10 GMT

I am not sure that forbidding violence has actually stopped it. Jesus call to love your enemies didn't stop 2000 years of fighting between Christian nations and the persecutions of the Crusades and the Reformation.

Having been around the church for twenty years I have seen plenty of things going on that do not tally with the Bible or are poorly justified. The church will continue to get a bad name while such things continue.


In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2009 20:31:29 GMT
Neutral says:

Going to Church does not make one a Christian. Calling yourself a Christian is not the same as being a Christian.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2010 16:36:16 GMT
while it is true that many people people become religious just because they are told to i think it is also important to remember that many more people have become religious because they actually agree with and understand the religion they are entering. also, i personally don't believe that religion itself is a con. i believe that it can be used as a con, but i don't think that that is what it actually is. after all, even though most religious texts do mention that you have to be good to go to heaven, the rules are fair, after all, would you really want to be in heaven with the person who murdered your daughter? i mean, it's not like religion is saying you have to follow this leader, you have to do what ever they say, and you have to do kill who ever doesn't agree with that. thats not what they say at all. some people have said that, but they were lying. plain and simple.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2010 16:47:11 GMT
hiya, your point about why it is considered adultery when both parties are willing is an iteresting point. and it may sound wierd, but what i would advise is to watch the Jeremy Kyle show, because on there the amount of people comming on because of issues like getting pregnant and not knowing who the Dad is, or having sex with someone and realizing their a creep should be explanation enough because having sex with someone with out knowing that you are both equally dedicated to each other (through marrage) has the potential to turn into those sorts of situations, and i do know that it doesn't always turn into those situations, but it only makes sense that while the threat is there God would try to protect us from it because after all, nothing hurts more than when someone who you though loved you hurts you

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2010 16:50:20 GMT
natural disasters are caused by the devil, as the bible says that until the rapture the earth is completely in his power i can't remeber why , but i will try to find out.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2010 16:53:03 GMT
killing wasn't against the rules before moses and the tablets, and i know there are loads of killings after that, but the killings then weren't supposed to happen, and most the time those people got punished during there lives. and if not then after.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2010 16:55:52 GMT
i became a Christian without being influenced from others. i mean, others did try to influence me, but that only pushed me away.
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Discussion in:  The God Delusion forum
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Initial post:  18 Feb 2009
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The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (Paperback - 21 May 2007)
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